Spoiler alert: This post contains plot from the series finale of Pretty Little Liars.
Mona Vanderwaal might not have been A.D., but she definitely won the game.
In the Pretty Little Liars series finale, not only did Mona help the Liars take down A.D. — which stands for Alex Drake, the name of Spencer’s twin — but the final moments of the show gave us a glimpse at the new life Mona chose for herself. Turns out, Mona left Rosewood behind for a life in France, and while that might seem harmless, she’s still very much so playing a game. Specifically, she’s holding Mary and Alex Drake captive in a dollhouse of her own making.
So it looks like Original “A” is the greatest “A” of all.
EW has an exclusive chat with Mona herself, Janel Parrish, to talk about Mona’s victory, killing Charlotte, and years of twists and turns.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I feel like I should say congratulations because you won!
JANEL PARRISH: I for sure won! I’ve been sitting on that for a long time!
When did you find out Mona’s ending?
I honestly didn’t find out until right before the finale, before we shot it. I was hearing whispers in the writers’ room about what was going to happen, but I didn’t know for sure until I got to that two-hour table read and all read it together. I thought it was a perfect ending for everybody, but especially for Mona. She gets her version of a happy ending: She wins the game and she moved to Paris, which she’s always been obsessed with, she has her love and her dolls, and literally her dolls in her dollhouse underneath her shop.
PLL fans are like little detectives so the second the cop came in and he had a French accent, I was seeing people tweet being like, “This has to be part of the ending. Why does he have a French accent?” They pieced it together so quickly that it was Mona’s boyfriend, that he wasn’t really a cop, that he captured them for her dollhouse. It’s so sick and twisted and perfect.
You’ve been involved in so many twists and reveals and played so many versions of Mona. What sticks out to you?
I always really like nerdy Mona because I just feel like that’s the reason why Mona is the way that she is. That’s the heart of Mona, really. She’s just this nerdy little girl who wants to be loved! She’s obviously got some issues. But you know she just wanted acceptance and it’s all she’s ever wanted from the girls and from Hanna and she wanted to be acknowledged. At the end, she gets the acknowledgment that she deserves, that’s for sure. I always like to see nerdy Mona it takes us right back to who she is at the core.
Along the way, did you ever believe: “Okay, she’s good from here on out.”
Yes. I think after the dollhouse. She was made a victim just as much as the other girls, and I really do think then she has her own agenda and she has always had her own angles, but ultimately, I think that from then on, she made the switch. We saw her struggle a little bit with the dark side when she was playing the game. She definitely had a mental breakdown and a lot of that was due to her guilt from killing Charlotte and not ever telling anybody that secret. The game plays with you in so many ways and I think that’s how it played with Mona was it got her to that breaking point of her guilt. I do think that she left her evil ways and switched over to a Liar, in my opinion, after the dollhouse, having that traumatic experience with all of them.
For what it’s worth, I would watch a Mona spin-off set in France.
That would be great! I have to say: I kind of feel bad that Mary’s in there! She didn’t really do anything wrong. She tried to help Spencer. I feel like Mona should just let her go free and let her spend time with her daughter and I’ll keep Alex for my doll.
Has it been difficult to say goodbye to this character?
I was so depressed last night. I watched the show with my parents and my boyfriend — I promised my parents since the very beginning of the show that I’d watch the very last episode with them because they’ve been my biggest fans and supporters, so I owed it to them to watch that with them — and it was the best ending I could’ve had. I cried in the last scene. Even though we finished filming last October, it felt like it’s lived on because we’ve been watching it. Now it’s really over. It’s something we all created and it’s beautiful but now it’s over. I was very depressed about it last night, to be honest.
Thankfully, it will live on.
Absolutely. Our PLL Army has been so incredible since day one and I know that they’ll always be our army and they’ll always remember the show and it will always live on in that way.