'Pretty Little Liars' Recap: TodAy's the DAy
'Pretty Little Liars' Recap: TodAy's the DAy
Tonight is the night we've been waiting for ever since Pretty Little Liars premiered on June 8, 2010: the night we learn who A is. Garret is in custody as the leading suspect for Allison's murder and Melissa is left without her apparent new lover. Additionally, Spencer and the girls have their focus firmly fixed on her. Has it all been a clever ruse devised by Jenna?

Spencer Owns Melissa in Hide and Seek

Melissa shares a strange exchange with the girls about Garret's arrest, essentially giving the impression the right person has been charged with Allison's murder. She leaves and instantly a text comes to all four girls from A demanding that they get what belongs to them back, which is assumed to be their phone.

But A's not finished. A deliveryman brings each girl an invite to a masquerade ball that A demands that they attend and play a sinister game of hide and seek. A seething Spencer recalls her childhood hide and seek games with her sister and seems determined to make sure she carries on her winning tradition. Troian Bellisario is on top of her game selling this scene as it's easy to see that Spencer finally suspects her sister.

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Team Sparia is On the Case

Spencer finds an old pen that leads their search to a beaten-down hotel near an airstrip where Allison was last seen. They go to investigate and encounter an odd clerk that says he has no recollection of anyone named Vivienne Darkbloom. "Team Sparia" sneak off during the night to have a look at the hotel's guestbook and find that Vivienne had been there.

Meanwhile, Hanna takes the time to partake in what the clerk boasted as "the hottest water on the property." This gives A her chance to sneak in and possibly pull a Norman Bates on her. However, Hanna is startled by a phone ringing and forces A to dart out of sight. Later, Jenna is seen meeting in the woods with A confirming all four girls will be at the dance and reinforces that A knows what is expected of them.

Mona Has Some Inside Info

The masquerade ball begins with Caleb sneaking up on Hanna and getting in some smooches. But Mona is there over his shoulder to take credit for picking out his outfit. Spencer lauds Mona for being such a great friend to Hanna despite always not getting reciprocation out of it. Mona proceeds to tell her about the last time she saw Allison (dressed as Vivienne), in the hotel as she was spying on A. Spencer is able to determine that A had been living out of the hotel and takes Mona along with her to go look into the lead.

That Gum You Like is Going to Come Back in Style

Mona and Spencer arrive in room two of the hotel and find a shrine to the investigation and cover-up of Allison's murder. Spencer roots around and finds some sketches of the dress of the Black Swan seen at the ball, which Melissa coincidentally wore for Halloween the previous year. Mona offers Spencer a piece of gum just as Spencer sees that Allison's diary has been bookmarked using a spearmint gum wrapper.

It's become very apparent that Mona is A and Spencer is trapped. But the use of gum in the revelation of a show's villain is again a direct homage to Twin Peaks, which made the fanboy in me almost leap out of the chair. Mona returns from getting more gum out of her car, but Spencer has it all figured out. Mona is A and Spencer is knocked out.

Toby Brings Back the Doc

The black swan turns out to be Dr. Sullivan, whom A had been forcing to work for her or else her son would be in danger. Dr. Sullivan defines Mona's psychological disorder that makes her all-knowing and omnipresent. But beyond the doctor's reappearance is the reason behind it. It turns out when Toby stormed off for his hiatus, it was not to get away from Spencer, but to bring Dr. Sullivan back to help out the woman he still loves. They share a touching embrace that leaves us vulnerable for the revelation to come. With ambulances gathered, there seems to be a commotion outside Emily's house and the news quickly spreads that Maya is dead inside. Melissa is seen looking on outside the house along with a number of townspeople.

There was so much packed into this episode it was impossible to not be glued to the screen waiting for the next twist and turn. And to the show's immense credit, they kept coming at every opportunity. In hindsight, it's easy to notice how much on-screen time Mona started picking up in recent weeks and think that we should have known she had a bigger role in the show. But if you're being truthful, you probably didn't think she'd be capable of wearing the hoodie in the end.

The biggest shock of the night wasn't the revelation of Mona as A, though. It was seen in the season's closing seconds as Mona receives a visit from someone in a red coat at the mental hospital. The skillful camera work to show the red silhouette was enough for observant viewers to know that it was Ms. Darkbloom coming to check in on her popular disciple and set the stage for a long wait until the start of next season.

Casey Casteel
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of ABC Family)