Pretty Little Liars season finale recap: 'Taking This One to the Grave'

One Liar lands in jail just as another high schooler lands in a body bag.
Ep. 12 | Aired Aug 26, 2014

CAUGHT IN A LIE Aria runs into Detective Holbrook at Radley and is forced to answer some uncomfortable questions.

Ron Tom/ABC Family

Operation: Steal all of Bethany's records from Radley is a go! Literally, Hanna is saying "Code: Go" into her headset. Who put that girl in charge anyway? On the ground, we have Spencer and Mona, interesting choices considering both are former patients at Radley. This just proves that Radley is full of the worst nurses in the world, and not only because they dress like they're stuck in WWII. Do they really not recognize their former patients? Guess not. And no, they don't see that gigantic headset either. Really, Mona? You have military-grade encryption software, but you can't get a bluetooth?

With Hanna and Caleb in the car and Aria inside "volunteering," Emily is stuck at home distracting Ali, who claims she "seriously" saw the hair rise on the back of Em's neck when she said hello. Ali, you did not "seriously" see the hair rise. A) You're 20 feet away from her. B) You do not have some sort of laser vision that allows you to see through Emily's luscious locks, which is currently covering the back of her neck. Anyway, Emily tries to convince Ali that she wants to make up, but after falling for an age-old trick and leaving her phone with Ali for half a second, Ali reads a text from Hanna about Holbrook showing up at Radley. Again, ladies. When you have a cyber stalker, put a lock code on your phone.

Emily confronts Ali by asking if she's "A," but Ali storms out and gets into a car with the twins, whose names are Cindy and Mindy. (That sentence sums up everything wonderful about this show.) Paige decides to follow Ali in her car and claims that they drove out to an abandoned farm filled with a dozen cars. Seriously, Ali has an army.

She also has a connection to Bethany, and it's a big one. In the recordings of Bethany's sessions, Bethany talks about how she thought Mrs. D liked her but that it had been a lie. Turns out, Mrs. DiLaurentis had an affair with Bethany's father and had been visiting Bethany at Radley. Brief pause for theories! So Mrs. D had multiple affairs? Or is Peter Hastings also Bethany's father? Or could it be that Bethany's father was also Ali's father? Considering how close Ali and Bethany were in age, could the twin theory come into play here?

And break! Back to the action: On the way out of Radley, Spencer gets a call from Toby who's rushing to his graduation when he gets into a car accident. But don't panic! Cadet Toby only broke some bones. He'll be fine. By Thanksgiving day, he's all patched up and ready to eat, unlike Spencer, whom Holbrook arrests for the murder of Bethany Young. But Operation: Get Spencer Out of Jail will have to wait.

Back in her room, Mona is hard at work listening to Bethany's recordings. Just as Ezra arrives at Aria's, Mona calls the compassionate Liar to reveal that Ali had lured Bethany to Rosewood. Ali knew about her mother's affair and was jealous. Mona claims that Ali wanted Bethany dead. Then, Mona says the words we've been waiting to hear: "Alison is 'A' and I now I can prove it." Well Mona, you definitely shouldn't practice threats in a mirror, especially when a hooded blonde, who we can only assume it Ali, is standing right behind you.

By the time the Liars get to Mona's house, there's blood everywhere. Like, everywhere. The police haven't found Mona's body, but they're declaring it a homicide based on the amount of blood lost. Mona was murdered, a fact that doesn't make sociopathic Ali so much as bat an eyelash.

And in the final moments of the episode, we get the show's weakest moment, followed by its most daring. "A" going to Emily's front yard nativity scene and swapping the baby Jesus for the Mona doll felt forced and too over-the-top, even for Rosewood. Just as a general guideline, let's leave Jesus out of things, huh "A"? But as for the show's most daring moment, when "A" retreated to his/her car, Mona's dead body was lying in the trunk. The camera zoomed in on her face first, and then slowly, her open eye.

For an ABC Family show, this is one of those moments that's so disturbing that it deserves a round of applause. When it chooses to, Pretty Little Liars can really push the envelope of what it means to create teen drama. With that one moment alone, the story of a cyber bully fully became that of a sociopath, as if fans had stopped watching high school drama and walked into Dexter's world. It was risky. It was bold. And it was the show's shining moment.

(Current) top suspect: Alison DiLaurentis

What did you all think of the finale? Were you shocked by Mona's death? Is Ali "A"?

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