This review contains SPOILERS! Don’t read it if you haven’t watched the finale and don’t blame me for ruining it for you because here I am warning you!
We’ve waited for five and half seasons for the BIG REVEAL. We know “Charles” is A, but who the heck is Charles? Season 5 ended with us finding out that A’s real name is Charles DiLaurentis but we all know with Pretty Little Liars that doesn’t actually mean much of anything. We also knew that whoever Charles is, he or she stole the game from Mona at the end of season 2 when she was locked up in Radley. We also questioned whether Mona had been working for “Big A” all along. And of course there were all the questions lingering from the past 5 seasons: Who hit Ali on the head with a rock and caused Mrs. D to bury her own daughter to protect some unknown entity? What was Mrs. D and Bethany’s connection? How did Bethany end up dressed like Ali the night she disappeared and killed/buried alive anyway? Who killed Mrs. Cavanaugh (because we all know it seems too suspicious to really be a suicide)? Who’s the real Red Coat and Black Widow? Who killed Mrs. DiLaurentis?
Pretty Little Liars Season 6A has been boasting itself as the #SeasonofAnswers on social media and that “all will be revealed,” and I think in terms of answering the above questions (except for the one about Mrs. D’s death) it does a good job. It ANSWERS our questions, but for the diehard fans, we’re left with the question, “Are we satisfied with the answers?” I feel like there has been so much build up and red herrings and false A reveals and plot twists that the writers have written themselves into a bit of a hole. So I went into the summer finale with an open mind. Whoever they decided A to be, I was going to be okay with it. I might not like it, or totally understand it, but I’d be okay. I’ve actually been more excited about the 5 year time jump and essential reboot of the show starting with Season 6B in all honesty. But I wanted to go through the 6A finale and see where it leaves us as fans of the PLL universe.
- They actually set out a list of questions that would be answered and then answered them. For a show that likes to trick its viewers repeatedly, I have to give it props for actually doing something it says it’s going to do.
- CeCe is A. Of my possible guesses for who A is, CeCe was my number three guess. (With Wren being my number two, and my number one being that this whole series is a delusion of Alison’s while locked up in Radley). I had actually considered a transgender storyline when I heard that they weren’t going to do anything with twins but that they kept introducing clues about another DiLaurentis girl (e.g. the two dresses Ali found as a little girl and Mrs. D told her to lie about). However, I’d heard somewhere that Marlene King said they weren’t going to jump on the transgender bandwagon so I put it out of my mind. But I guess someone lied. It’s not really surprising with PLL.
- CeCe didn’t kill Mrs. D. We still don’t know who killed her (if she just died from a stroke from too much stress over a lifetime of secrets), and I hope that’s answered in whatever crisis seems to have come up in that teaser at the end when they’ve jumped five years in the future.
- Toby’s mom didn’t commit suicide! Yay! But didn’t we already all suspect that? What I liked was that it was Bethany who pushed her off, which is what I thought all along.
- Mona was the originator of the game not CeCe. I like that the game was legitimately stolen which is something I’ve been questioning all along. I think they did a good job of explaining how it was stolen and making it believable because obviously CeCe is certifiably crazy. There’s a part where she talks about how she thought the game was over after New York when the girls thought A was dead but that it got into her head because she was so good at it that got into her blood. To me that explains the absences of A. We always sort of assumed that A was off plotting his revenge somewhere during these times, but this reveal suggests that maybe A didn’t always want to be A, but it was more of an addiction than a true desire to torture the girls. It felt too good to play with the girls like dolls and how it was affecting them didn’t really matter.
- A is a girl. I like that both A reveals have been women. If one or either of the A reveals had been men, I think it would have taken on a different meaning. Like when we thought Ezra was A (and even when we realized he was just a creepy dude spying on the girls for his novel writing purposes), it felt especially violating to me. An adult man torturing teenage girls in this way seems so much sicker than a twenty-something (transgender, not that it really matters) woman. Instead, PLL becomes a story about the pressures and bullying that girls inflict on one another (of course, to a hyperbolic degree).
- Nothing about Mrs. Cavanaugh’s death timeline makes sense. I think where they made the mistake was using adult Ali and Toby in that scene before Mrs. Cavanaugh went into Radley a few season’s ago. Yes, Toby was dressed like a 12 year old with a side part, but no, he did not look like one. But then they cast tween actors for Charles and Bethany for the “Pushing-Mrs.Cavanaugh-Off-the-Roof” scene which I think is how in the timeline it is SUPPOSED to happen, but seems fishy to PLL fans because how could Ali be older looking than her older brother in a scene that was supposed to take place before what was shown in the finale? The person in charge of continuity had to have gotten fired. Whoops!
- Sarah just kind of shows up in season 6, but we’re supposed to believe that she’s been Red Coat/Black Widow this whole time. But didn’t she go missing? So she wasn’t locked up in that dollhouse for years? If we were going to have a betrayal like that from a “friend/girlfriend” I would have rather it been Paige, or someone who we’ve been invested in longer.
- The advanced tech room the Liars get locked in to watch CeCe reveal all her secrets to Ali was just weird and over-the-top. Like a motion-detecting camera that starts beeping to show them Red Coat setting up a bomb? Or that holographic video screen?
- Sarah’s line when she doesn’t want to enter the fancy tech room (aka prison room): “I think I’ll stay out here. It seems kind of crowded in there.” And no one’s like, “It’s a trap! She’s working for A!”
- The believability of Charles/Charlotte/CeCe’s transition. Do mental institutions let you out to have sex reassignment surgery? It seems like it just “happened,” and Charles “died” and then there was Charlotte. But don’t those things take time? And all kinds of therapy, hormone injections, and money? I know money wasn’t a problem for Mrs. DiLaurentis, but how would Radley have handled the whole situation. I feel like there would have been documentation somewhere.
- CeCe and Jason dating. Just ew. I know she alluded to the fact that they didn’t have any physical relations (“Why do you think he was so frustrated all the time back then?”), but it’s still gross and something they couldn’t have been thinking of when they originally wrote it into the script and had to just kind of gloss over it now.
Questions Still Needing to Be Answered
- Who killed Mrs. DiLaurentis? (This must be answered in the next season and half or we shall riot, right?)
- Where did Ian’s body go? I think during “Ali tells all,” we learned that Ali accidentally pushed him or Ian accidentally fell during that fateful night in the church bell tower, but then what happened to his body and who moved it? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t ever think that part of the mystery has been answered.
- Who’s the “he” that come back for Ali and the Liars feel the need to protect her from (as suggested in the teaser from 5 years in the future)?
- Who is the Mr. to Alison’s Mrs. Rollins? (Technically, this is a new question.)
- What happens to CeCe after she admits “game over?”
- What the heck was going on with Sarah Harvey? I want all the answers! Is she actually crazy evil? Did she run away from home and somehow get hooked up with CeCe to do her bidding? Was she ever imprisoned in the dollhouse or was it all an act? Is she going to jail? Did she actually like Emily? Is Emily going to figure out any of these answers and actually forgive her?
- Is Bethany actually dead? I know, it seems so, but she had such a big part in the downfall of Charles/Charlotte that it seems like a letdown to really admit that she’s dead and can’t cause any more destruction.
- Did Mona really kill Bethany? That was a shocking reveal. I was definitely wondering how Bethany ended up unconscious causing Melissa to bury her thinking Spencer had murdered Ali while in a drug-induced, but how has Mona not mentioned to anyone all this time that she bludgeoned a girl in the head with a shovel the night Ali disappeared? Like what?
So there are probably a hundred more questions I have about Pretty Little Liars that I’m not thinking of right now or haven’t realized yet, but for now I feel a fair amount of catharsis after watching the #FAcetoFace summer finale. It wasn’t the best finale I’ve ever seen, but it satisfied my longing for answers. I suppose we’re not always going to be happy with TV writers (in fact, after 3 seasons, I’m usually quite unhappy with the way most TV shows go). But hey, you take what you get with entertainment!