March 19, 2012 5:56pm PT by Philiana Ng
'Pretty Little Liars' Finale: 'A' Is Revealed
[Warning: Major spoilers from Monday night's episode. If you have not watched, do not go further.]
Did anyone see that coming?!
The identity of the trouble-making omnipresent "A" was finally named -- though that is open to interpretation -- on tonight's episode of ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars, more than 2 1/2 years after the drama series officially debuted. Was it everything viewers thought it would be? And what about the new mystery that was introduced in the final moments that will begin to take shape in season 3?
But let's get down to the big question of the night: Who is the guilty party? "A" is …
The moment of truth (or is it?) came after the Rosewood Junior Society's masquerade ball, after "A" tasks Aria, Spencer, Emily and Hanna to return what still belongs to him/her ("A's" phone, the girls believe) by midnight at the dance.
This all comes after the girls work against the clock to pinpoint the identity of their tormenter. Their quest brings them to Lost Woods Resort (those who check in "don't want to be found," the receptionist says), and Hanna comes closest to "A" in Room 1 -- though the following morning sees "A" spying on the girls in the room next door. It's uncovered that Alison was spying on "A," who was staying in Room 2.
Spencer and Mona eventually discover the remnants of Room 2, an impressive display of photos, newspaper clippings from Alison's murder, etc., in what Spencer describes as " 'A's lair." Most importantly, they uncover "A's" costume: the black swan. But not so fast. "Congratulations, Spencer, you figured it out," Mona says, wearing a black hoodie after Spencer puts two and two together (the clue was gum). That whole story about how Mona bumped into Alison spying on "A" in Brookhaven? All a lie.
"You can join the 'A' team, or you can disappear," Mona threatens Spencer before being thrown off a cliff. She survives, and the mystery doesn't end there because at the end of the tag, a person wearing a red coat visits Mona. "I did everything you asked," Mona says.
One possible theory: Was it all semantics with Mona as "A"? Mona could have been named "A," but the real puppetmaster could still be at large -- though that is pure speculation.
Executive producer Marlene King said earlier Monday during ABC Family's upfront that "A" was one individual, debunking fan speculation that "A" could have been two or more people working together. She shared before the finale that the person would have a bigger role in the third season -- and sure enough, Janel Parrish was upped to series regular status. ("Pretty Little Liars," "Pretty Little Liars in 10," "If Mona," "Spencer and Toby," "Dr. Sullivan," "Mona" and "ADay" were among the top Twitter-trending topics at different points during the day Monday in the U.S.)
King wasn't shy in saying that the reveal would make sense, reassuring viewers that Easter eggs have been included in every episode since the pilot. When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter last week, King said, "When we reveal 'A,' you’ll go back and say, 'Oh my God, it all makes sense!' "
At different points during the series, the likes of Melissa, Lucas, Noel, Mona, Jenna and Garrett (and others, of course) became No. 1 suspects. The rotating door of possible text messagers was exactly King's intention: "I hope so. I hope everyone is satisfied," she said.
So we ask this: Does the unveiling of Mona as "A" make sense? (She did say " 'A' team" to Spencer in the car.) What does this mean for Hanna especially? Who is the person who visited Mona in the final seconds of the episode? Who is the black swan? Why were Jenna, Lucas and the black swan together at the ball?
Leaving the doors open for season 3, a body is found, and it's believed to be Maya's. So, what exactly happened?
Pretty Little Liars returns at 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 5, on ABC Family.