Well, we’re finally here, PLL fans — the season five finale, aka the one with the much-touted #BigAReveal! Lindsay is off enjoying all The Vegas has to offer her this week, so I’m taking on this recap solo. And boy, is it a doozy! Let’s tackle what may have been Pretty Little Liars’ most riveting — and game-changing — finale yet.
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
We open on the liArs, in their orange jumpsuits, being transported in a secured van. There’s some exposition about why they were arrested (accessories to murder) and why they’re being separated from Ali (the warden was tipped off that the 5 of them were planning something big) and then a really sweet moment in which the girls tell each other they love each other. Then, the van crashes, A flings open the doors and the girls wake up...in hell. AKA A’s dollhouse, where each liAr has a room modeled after their own bedroom, and MonA (who’s alive! Yipee!) is dressed as Ali, in an Ali mask and the yellow top Ali was wearing the night she faked her own death. A controls the girls as its’ dolls using PA announcements and chimes, and Ali/MonA is A’s favorite doll.
We find out via some Tyra Mail that A wants the liArs to plan and attend senior prom, and of course, where there’s prom, there’s drama. After realizing that this prom has the same theme as the one Melissa and Ian went to back in the day (hint! hint!), the liArs devise a plan to blow the power and escape — and of course this plan is the brainchild of one Spencer Hastings, who also goes into a fugue state during the night to remember that the blocks in A’s game room spell out “Charles” when rearranged. #AnagramAlert! I am confused, though, why MonA doesn’t offer up the tidbit that her mirror messages are also anagrams for “Charles DiLaurentis” when Spencer shares her “Charles = A” theory...could it be that MonA didn’t actually plant that note in the mirror?
Anyway, once the liArs arrive at a mannequin-attended prom (seriously, those mannequins in masks are going to haunt my dreams tonight) and dance halfheartedly, they convince Charles to come out and take his rightful spot as prom king when “Ali” (MonA) is announced as prom queen. He does (masked, of course) and they blow the fuse and run like the wind. After a stop in A’s vault (see below) the liArs escape, only to find that they’re surrounded by an electric fence. “Don’t Fence Me In” plays as we fade into black...and season six.
Meanwhile, Back in Rosewood...
Toby fills the Hastings parentals in on the missing liArs situation, but tells them that no other parents and the general public can’t know yet. Tanner, aka #BadCop, is convinced that the liArs escaped the van themselves and are now on the run. After the Hastings visit Ali in jail and she comes clean about A stealing the game from MonA, they go back to Toby, who’s working with Caleb and Ezra to track the van, and demand to know more about A. They dig through Ezra’s boxes of A-vidence (A evidence) before heading to the PD with Caleb, who Tanner suspects of helping the girls hack/escape the van. Tanner FINALLY comes to her senses when Mr. Hastings points out the obvious: how would these four girls be SO good at evading the cops? Although, let’s be real, the cops in Rosewood are bumbling idiots. And Spencer Hastings is a genius.
Anyway, the cops let Caleb embarrass the resident police hacker and they find the van at Campbell Farm — where Mrs. Hastings notes that she used to take Spencer apple-picking there. Hmm, Campbell Farm, any relation to Andrew Campbell, our favorite sketchy honor roll student, who creepily intercepts a phone call from Melissa to her mother in this episode?
At Campbell Farm, Toby and #BadCop find A’s underground surveillance lair, and video proof that MonA is alive and she and the liArs are being held somewhere...but they don’t know where...
The Big A Reveal
On their way out of the dollhouse, Spencer stops in A’s vault and pokes around a bit. She plays A’s home movie collection, starring Mrs. DiLaurentis (RIP) carrying a baby girl while apple-picking at the Campbell Farm and asking two twin blonde boys to “give [their] little sister a kiss.” Charles sneaks up behind Spencer, but MonA interrupts them and he dashes off. So #CharlesIsA, y’all. But who is Charles? My theory is that Charles is Jason DiLaurentis’ twin brother. If we assume the baby girl in Mrs. D’s arms was Ali, then those two twins are her big bros — one of whom we know is Jason. Plus, A’s prom was a twisted re-enactment of the prom Melissa, Ian, and probably Jason (and Garrett and maybe Cece!) went to...meaning that perhaps A was their year and missed that prom or had a horrible experience there...and therefore, wanted a re-do. But why, if Charles is Ali’s brother, is he so obsessed with her? Why would he want to be the king to her queen? Here’s hoping we find out in season six.
And here’s a bonus theory: is Charles currently hiding in plain sight as one Andrew Campbell? A/Charles does seem to have a special fondness for Campbell Farm, and Andrew has been acting mighty fishy lately... (but if Charles is Jason’s twin is Andrew, why did he make out with his half-sister Spencer once upon a time???).
Pretty Little P.S.:
- The BFFAEAE dynamics were on full display in this episode, and I dug it. The liArs went fully to bat for each other while trying to deal with their living nightmare, even including MonA in their fold once and for all. They worked together, even faking a fight to distract A, and even if they’re not out of the woods yet, I have faith that they’ll lean on each other to finally make it out of the dollhouse.
- How sad was it when MonA asked about her mom? Poor girl’s been all alone and tortured with sounds of people crying at her funeral at the hands of A — I was so happy when Hanna finally gave her a hug for the ages.
- Aria, as usual, was hella funny this week, first making a crack about peeing her pants in fear in the prison van, and then giving the best delivery of, “Aria Montgomery: music committee” I’ve ever heard.
- Hanna was at her most badass when she was threatening A via the security cam and snarkily biting into a Ho-Ho after A put her on the food & drink committee. Also, damn MonA, you really had to tease Hanna with a cookie just like the real Ali would? There’s playing along and then there’s being kind of a bitch.
- A’s dollhouse is terrifying. Cemented in doors and windows, photo frames with stock photos and pictures of mannequins inside, and whiteboards that say “Welcome home!” and “Home sweet home.” And why will MonA need a gas mask (gifted to her by A)? Shudder.
Well, this was definitely the most terrifying episode of PLL ever. And it totally changed the game (the gAme) — what will the next season entail? Hell if I know. Leave your theories in the comments and we’ll see you this summer for season six!