I'm still shocked at Pretty Little Liars midseason finale and trying to cope with the death of my favorite non-Liar. (Spoiler alert for anyone who hasn't been on Twitter or the internet in the last week...) Rest in Peace Mona, you died and a little piece of my PLL-heart died too. Thankfully I've got the greatest PLL experts ever on my side: Jaymie Bailey, founder of All Things PLL and Tara Filliater, founder of Crazy PLL 901 are here to discuss "Taking This One to the Grave."
VB: Last week we mentioned the possibility of Mona being killed, how will her death affect the Liars?
Jaymie: I want to start by expressing my love for Janel Parrish and what she brought to Mona Vanderwaal. People would think it's nearly impossible to like a character who tortured the Liars for years, but they'd be wrong. I loved Mona so much, and that's in big thanks to Janel and what she did with that character. Mona won't be in present day Rosewood, but I am glad that Janel will still be a series regular in flashbacks. If she was completely off the show, I'd consider not watching. Maybe.
Tara: I'm shell-shocked Mona died! Yes, it was a possibility, but I honestly never thought the reality would become true. As far as the Liars go, I think this will send them on a roller coaster. They're most likely going to have it in their minds that Ali killed Mona, so they'll be terrified. It's sad to see this death as soon as the Liars realized Mona was doing this out of rage and never truly had intentions of hurting them.
Jaymie: Mona's death is probably the biggest thing to happen on the show. Mona knows so much, and she was willing to help the girls despite the danger that put her in. She believed Alison was "A," and that she could prove it! This is a major death in the girls' lives. Hanna is going to be heartbroken. It will affect her the most, even if she doesn't have the fondest memories of Mona. Mona holds some important information and that's why she's where she is now. The girls are going to be more determined than ever to figure out the "A" game so no one else in their lives will suffer.
I know Ali's the prime suspect, but if you look carefully the murderer's hairstyle changes. Who really killed Mona?
Jaymie: I think whoever killed Mona is wearing the blonde wig we've seen around Rosewood, and I think "A's" face is the last thing Mona sees before she dies. My guess right now is CeCe Drake or Lucas wearing a wig. I think CeCe is still part of the "A" game and Mona tortured Lucas, I'm not sure a couple of how-to-be-popular lessons allowed him to forgive Mona for everything she did.
Tara: I honestly don't think Ali killed Mona. I have a few theories on who killed her: 1) Mona's mom. We meet her for the first time and all of a sudden she is asking Hanna if A has started up again, which is interesting. Then we see her outside Principal Hackett's office lying to Mona, and then she leaves. Did she come back? 2) It's a man in a wig. 3) Meredith, Byron's Mistress. This is a long-shot, but Meredith will always be in my mind as someone big in the A Team because she was the main person in Marlene King's directing debut. Byron said she was sent away for HELP... Radley perhaps?
We all seem to agree Ali didn't kill Mona, but that doesn't mean she's in the clear. Ali may have targeted Bethany after discovering her mother had an affair with Bethany's father. Could Ali have lured Bethany to the yard to kill her?
Jaymie: Absolutely. Like Spencer said, Bethany was wearing an identical outfit to Alison's for a reason. I think she definitely could have lured Bethany there to talk about the affair. Also, I believe it's a possibility Jason has a twin sister who went a little crazy and was sent away to Radley. The truth will unfold, and everything going on revolves around Alison.
Tara: I have been thinking long and hard about this one. I can't believe Mrs. D and Mr. Young were having an affair! Now, the main question is... for how long? And why is Mrs. D visiting Bethany? Let's say hypothetically that this affair happened a very long time ago... like perhaps Bethany is Mrs. D's daughter before Ali was born. That would make them sisters. Mrs. D was embarrassed about her affair so she sent Bethany to Radley.
She then had Ali with Mr. D and treated her like a queen. Eventually, Mr. Young gets mad that his lover is treating their daughter like crap and goes to the yard and sees Alison... and hits her on the head. Yes, that's right, I am almost thinking Bethany's father hit Ali! Then Mrs. D buries Ali freaking out and walking along she sees Bethany... She hits Bethany.
That would take the blame off my favorite Liar, Spencer. She's arrested for Bethany's murder and there's no definitive proof yet she isn't the one who struck Bethany with a shovel.
Tara: There's always been the possibility in my mind that Spencer could have in fact killed Bethany. I know I'm contradicting what I just said, but... I mean you can never just have one theory in Rosewood!
Jaymie: I don't believe Spencer had anything to do with Bethany Young's murder. She had every intention to hurt Alison, but I think after Ali pointed out Spencer's actions she headed back to the barn. Melissa's hands have the dirt on them, but her video left too much to the imagination for people not to point fingers at her sister. Spencer did have a shovel in her hand. Bethany did get hit in the head. But I don't believe those two are connected.
As much as I hate to say this, why didn't Melissa say this to Spencer face-to-face? Does she have another motive for leaving a video behind? She admitted to burying Bethany but the cops are putting Spencer in handcuffs for this murder. I want to see the evidence they have against her because as far as I'm concerned, there is no definitive answer to who hit Bethany Young. Melissa Hastings buried her. That's all we know.
What are some other stand-out moments? Personally I really want to know why Ali is sneaking away to a secluded barn and who she's meeting there.
Tara: Several things--
Granny Rose: One thing that sticks out when Aria says her grandmother's name, "Granny ROSE." Rose seems like a pretty common thing in PLL: "April Rose has the proof" Rosewood, Apple ROSE Grill. I think it's curious.
The Field: Does anyone remember Duncan Albert? The mysterious man from Brookhaven that Ali trusted with everything. She told him about Vivian Darkbloom and A. He said the weekend Ali ran away he took her to an abandoned field, just like Paige described. I don't know what's going on, but it definitely sounds interesting.
Jaymie: Alison herself is what stood out to me this week, specifically her scene with Emily. Alison's face changes within seconds of Emily showing even the slightest compassion for her. Alison believes she has the Liars wrapped around her finger and she knows just how to move their strings.
Another scene that stands out is Alison at Mona's murder scene. Not only was she there, but she was smirking. It takes a lot for me to dislike Alison (just because Sasha Pieterse plays evil so well), but I was legitimately mad at her during that scene. One of my favorite characters is pronounced dead, but she's standing there with a look of satisfaction on her face. I want to know what she's up to, and I still want to have hope she's being evil for a good reason.
I hold out hope Ali's doing this for the right reasons too but you're right - that smirk on her face at Mona's crime scene has me seriously questioning her.
With a fan-appreciation hour replacing their traditional Halloween episode we'll have to wait until this December for any answers. Until then we'll be here to keep examining our favorite show, so stay tuned for more in-depth analyses from your resident PLL experts!
Pretty Little Liars airs on ABC Family. Image used with express permission.