Pretty Little Liars will never rank among the great prestige dramas of our time, nor does it have to, but there's something to be said about the show's certain brand of kitschy, macabre entertainment. When it stumbles, it at least stumbles spectacularly. For six seasons, PLL has delivered madcap twists and game-changing surprises at a breakneck pace, culminating with heart-pounding finales that leave us aghast -- and searching Tumblr for fan theories until 2 a.m.
This season, however, the show hit pause on the shock and awe in exchange for more character-driven narratives. Instead of twists and turns, we got a sexy, slow-burning relationship between Spencer and Caleb, driven by electrifying performances from Troian Bellisario and Tyler Blackburn. Tonight's Season 6 finale was no different. Despite the looming mysteries at large -- Who killed Charlotte? Who's the new A-moji? -- I felt myself more drawn to the show's smaller story lines: Hanna's sacrifice, Caleb and Spencer's star-crossed romance, Ali's nightmarish visions, Aria and Ezra's rekindling, and Caleb and Hanna's heartbreak.
That's not to say the finale didn't deliver on its promise to deliver a seismic reveal (it did), but it really didn't matter much. I was too wrapped up in my emotions, thinking about Hanna running through the rainy streets of New York City toward an uncertain future. I was thinking about how Toby and Spencer never had as much chemistry in the show's six seasons as they did in that moment on the couch, comfortably flirting in French. And how hard that confession must have been for Hanna, knowing that Caleb had already moved on with one of her best friends.
Alas, that's not what PLL is about, and the final two minutes of the episode lived up to the show's standard for wacky plot twists and heightened levels of melodrama -- and that's exactly what we're going to talk about. I don't know how this season simultaneously managed to be the best and the worst, but it did. Kudos to you, PLL writers.
(Aside: I want to award tonight's MVP honor to TOBY CAVANAUGH, WHO NOT ONLY LOOKS BAE IN GLASSES BUT SPEAKS PERFECT FRENCH. SIMPLE BAE NO MORE, OFFICER TOBY 🔥🔥🔥.)
Jason is putting Charlotte's money to good use.
Jason is now working for the Carissimi Group, where all of Charlotte's money is being used to "help people." Or he's spending it on hair products for those beautiful blond locks. You decide. (I digress. This is actually important.)
The twin was finally revealed.
...And of course it was Mrs. DiLaurentis! Listen, I'm not going to say I told you so, but it's heavily implied. While snooping around in the bowels of Radley, Spencer, Toby, and Mona discover a patient file Charlotte kept safely tucked away. It appears that 25 years ago, a Radley Sanitarium patient by the name of Mary Drake gave birth to a baby boy named Charles... who was later adopted by Kenneth and Jessica DiLaurentis. So not only was Charlotte adopted -- she and Jason were practically the same age -- but she wasn't even a DiLaurentis. GASP.
Mary Drake is still alive, and she wants her money -- and revenge, naturally.
Mary Drake stormed into Rosewood like she was Rihanna in her "Bitch Better Have My Money" music video. Not only does she want what's her's (a.k.a. Charlotte's seemingly endless supply of paper), but she also wants revenge on who killed her daughter. So I think this makes Mary Drake the new A (or maybe not, but I'll get to that later), who we've now affectionally named A-moji. (I knew an actual young person couldn't be behind those bargain-bin emojis!) But that's not all, as Mary Drake wasn't acting alone. Warning: prepare yourselves for the soapiest twist PLL has ever delivered.
Elliot Rollins is riding with Mary Drake, and he once was involved with Charlotte.
OK, now this is where things get complicated. The "Good Doctor" wasn't so good after all. In fact, he's kind of a heartless dick who just so happens to also be British. His entire relationship with Ali was a scam. He didn't love Ali; he just wanted financial control over the Carissimi Group to -- yep, you guessed it -- get Mary Drake's money back. But Dr. Rollins' plan only works if Ali is out of the picture, and in order to do that, Mary Drake and Elliot had to literally drive Ali crazy with ~ visions ~ of her dead mother and dead Detective Wilden. Yep. He donned a silicone mask of Wilden's face and continued to parade around the DiLaurentis house terrorizing Ali. (These people are serious psychos.) To make matters even more complicated, Elliot once had a relationship with Charlotte, which is very odd considering that he was her DOCTOR. At least now we know why Charlotte was so upset when Ali told her she had been seeing Elliot. Either Charlotte was upset at her beau for hooking up with her sister, or she was worried for Ali. Maybe Charlotte and Elliot had a falling out.
Ali commits herself.
Poor Ali. After being driven mad by visions of "dead" people, she commits herself to Welby State Psychiatric Hospital. At the time she thinks it's the right decision -- and let's face it: Ali never really got the treatment she needed for being an arrogant, self-absorbed little teenage psychopath -- but little did she know she conveniently played right into Elliot and Mary Drake's master plan. With Ali locked up in Welby, she gave full financial control to her husband, which means he can start withdrawing those banknotes at any time.
Hanna may or may not be dead.
There's no way that Hanna is actually dead, but that didn't stop me from gasping when I saw A dragging her seemingly lifeless body on the ground. You see, Caleb is smart, but he didn't account for one thing: hidden passageways under the floor. When Caleb, Aria, and Ezra snuck out to catch A in the act, A was already one step ahead -- and he snatched Hanna out from under them (literally). But there was something rather odd about A's message to the Liars. "Thanks for giving me Hanna -- A.D." Hold up. Who the f-ck is A.D.?
A.D. can't be Mary Drake, which kind of ruins my theory that Mary Drake was Uber A. But if Mary Drake isn't Uber A, then what the f-ck does her demented story line have to do with any of the others? If she's not A, then could she be the person responsible for killing Charlotte? Clearly, Mary Drake and Elliot are in it for the money, so it's possible that with Charlotte out of the hospital, her estate would go back to her -- and not her psycho mom. Perhaps Mary Drake wasn't a plan of that new financial agreement and decided to kill her daughter instead. If that's the case, then that's really fucked up.
But I digress. Let's get back to this "A.D." person. The only character with those initials is Alison DiLaurentis, and honestly, it is way to late to unpack that mystery. Could the real Alison DiLaurentis have been lurking in the shadows this entire time? Or is A.D. a DiLaurentis or Drake we have yet to meet? I'm siding with the latter.
Hanna and Caleb kissed; Aria and Ezra hooked up.
Hanna's disappearance was made all the more heartbreaking by Caleb, who just minutes before was making out with his former flame on a dingy motel bed. Hanna confessed to Caleb that the night he left for Europe, the night they broke up, she raced back to their apartment to apologize only to find all of his stuff packed and gone -- and it shattered my heart into a million tiny pieces. Hanna said she never stopped loving Caleb, and judging by his impassioned reaction to her confession, I think there's a piece of Caleb that is still hopelessly in love with Hanna as well. (Sorry, Spencer, but you can't deny true love.) And now he feels especially guilty for leading A right to her.
As for Aria and Ezra, Ezria fans will be happy to know that their favorite ship -- and America's new best-selling writing duo -- has rekindled their romance with a steamy hookup. I've never really cared much for Ezra, but the poor sucker has been through a roller coaster of emotions these past few months, so he gets a pass.