kelly duncan looks at the season finale of the ABC Family series …
Last night’s Pretty Little Liars season finale was full of twists and turns that were nearly impossible to keep track of. The show begins with a welcome home get-together in the Hasting’s kitchen. With a full brunch spread, the girls eagerly wait for Spencer to come downstairs. Unsure of what is and isn’t ok to talk about, Hanna questions the difference between an English muffin and a crumpet. Light and easy is not the typical tone of conversation for these girls. It quickly turns to the more serious topic of how Spencer wound up in Radley in the first place, and her being released after she finally decided she was no longer going to be A’s victim. Spencer then invites each of them to her official homecoming party being held at a fancy lodge in the woods later in the week. Moments later, in Mona’s new lair, the viewer learns that the party is a hoax being used to get all of the girls in one place at the same time.
On the Ezra and Aria front, things are becoming increasingly difficult. In order to help support his son, Ezra needs to find a new job. Unfortunately, his best opportunity is as a substitute teacher for Rosewood High. Sadly, if he decides to take that job, it doesn’t look like him and Aria are going to be able to stay together. What is a boy to do? Ezra’s more than willing to keep looking in order to keep his relationship with Aria alive. Aria, however, seems incredibly concerned about the fact that A got a hold of Malcolm. Between his welfare and Ezra’s need for cash, she thinks it’s best to end things. The decision isn’t shocking because they have made a few break-up attempts in recent weeks, but it’s disappointing. These two were just about one of the cutest couples on TV.
The break-up may not have been shocking, but it was when the viewer learned that Jenna and Paige’s new swim pal, Shana, are friends. Only time will tell what this means in the long run. However, the real shocker of the episode is that Toby IS NOT dead! Apparently one cannot trust any character death on this show. Turns out Spencer, who told Mona she is now on her side, had some alone time in Mona’s trailer and was able to track down Toby’s contact info. She makes contact with him and sets up a meeting in a secluded diner. He thinks that he’s meeting with Mona, but surprise. They make some small talk and he asks her to follow him somewhere. Turns out it’s a motel room, because he hops back and forth between a few motels. Toby tells Spencer that he still loves her and their relationship was real. He only teamed up with Mona to make sure Spencer was always safe. Just like Spencer, he wanted to work from the inside. That’s all she needs to hear to hop back into bed with him. It seemed like it was meant to be sweet, but she wound up in the loony bin because of this guy and all it takes is a one minute apology to act like nothing had ever happened?! here is no way in hell most people would be so quick to forgive and forget.
How is Spencer managing to join the A-team without her friends getting suspicious? Well, she doesn’t. Hanna is determined to find out who took Malcolm to the carnival and takes a babysitting job in order to dig for some intel. She sits Malcolm down and tries to make a game out of looking at pictures of all of the usual suspects. She shows him photos of Cece, Mona, Melissa, even Toby, all with negative responses. It isn’t until he’s playing a game on her phone and gets a photo text message that she finds the answer: “Alison,” was Spencer! In order to gain Mona’s trust, Spencer kidnapped a seven year old and broke up one of her best-friend’s relationships. With the girls in the know, they can’t bring themselves to believe it. Have no fear though, they devise a plan to find the truth. Hanna dons the infamous red coat and lures Spencer into the girls’ bathroom during a swim meet and all of the girls corner her. They figure if she’s still trying to figure out who Red Coat is, she can’t really be switching teams, and they are right. Now, being a step ahead of A, they plan to finally put an end to all of the harassment. But wait, there’s more! While Emily is out on a run, she sees Melissa banging on Jenna’s door. After Melissa goes inside, Emily spies through the front window and discovers Melissa, Jenna, and Shana all having their own special meeting. Emily also sees Melissa giving Shana an invitation to Spencer’s big bash. Anticipation for the day when viewers find out just how wide Red Coat’s net is grows, because she seems to have people, with no connection to Rosewood at all, ready and willing to torment these girls; all for reasons unbeknownst to us.
The girls are all dressed up for Spencer’s big party, knowing that someone from A’s team will surely be watching them as they head off to the party. In the lodge, Mona is getting frantic about their late arrival. She’s terrified of the possible consequences of disappointing Red Coat. But the viewers are in for a surprise: Red Coat is flying herself to the party! The whole premise of this show is pretty unbelievable, but for the puppet-master to be flying in just to harass some high-school girls is by far the most ridiculous thing to happen yet. As Mona and Spencer argue about the liars’ tardiness, the girls are outside changing their clothes and preparing to sneak into the lodge without Mona knowing. Toby and Spencer set up a rouse to get outside and hunt down Red Coat. However, once the girls are inside, someone on the outside locks them in. Seemingly, Mona is unaware of other members of the A-team. This fact becomes even more evident when someone sets the lodge on fire.
Out in the woods, Spencer and Toby have split up so that Spencer can get a look at Red Coat’s true identity. Someone attacks Toby with a shovel, knocks him out, and throws a lighter at him. At the same time, Red Coat drags Mona, Hanna, Emily, and Aria out of the fire. They all passed out, but Hanna can swear she saw Alison standing over her. Mona and Spencer confirm that they saw the same thing. Suddenly, Mona appears to be on the same side as the liars. She said she made a deal with the devil, and clearly she’s right. All of the girls leave the lodge together, completely not concerned with the whereabouts of Toby. If they’re all on the same side, shouldn’t they maybe have combed the woods a little bit looking for him? Very confusing. When the girls make it back to town, they are shocked to find Wilden’s car dragged out of the lake and left out in plain sight for all to see. Amazingly, the video of Hanna’s mom running Wilden over is still playing; however, this time there is a little something extra. The extended footage shows Jenna and Shana are the good Samaritans who saved him post hit-and-run. Cue Mona, who draws everyone’s attention to the trunk. As they open the trunk we are treated with a group gasp and nothing more. After all, what would a season finale be without a major cliffhanger?