Entertainment Weekly

Olivia Conway, co-online editor

Warning: Spoilers ahead for the “Pretty Little Liars” series finale.

“Pretty Little Liars” fans, rejoice! The end has come. The curtain has fallen. Our protagonists have said their final goodbyes. The suspenseful television show, “Pretty Little Liars,” concluded its seven year run with a two-hour finale filled with twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat until the credits rolled. If you listen closely, I bet you can hear the entire world letting out a collective sigh of relief, finally able to rest after seven years of unanswered questions and one of the most confusing plots ever to grace modern media.

This moment, for me at least, is bittersweet. While “Pretty Little Liars” was mentally exhausting and occasionally legitimately frightening, it will always be special to me. I started watching the show when I was in eighth grade and I have stuck with it ever since. Surprisingly, “Pretty Little Liars” helped me develop a closer relationship with my mom. After watching an episode or two my mother decided she enjoyed the show and it became something we watched together and discussed afterwards. But, all good things must come to an end and “Pretty Little Liars” definitely ended with a bang. Let’s take a moment to reflect on this crazy seven year journey…

“Pretty Little Liars” originally focused on four girls living in the fictional town of Rosewood, Pennsylvania about a year after the mysterious death of one of their closest friends, Alison (Sasha Pieterse). After Alison’s funeral, the four girls, Aria (Lucy Hale), Spencer (Troian Bellisario), Emily (Shay Mitchell), and Hanna (Ashley Benson), all receive a threatening text from someone who uses the alias ‘A.’ Basically, ‘A’ threatens to spill their secrets if they refuse to comply with ‘A’s’ strict orders. What starts as simply cyberbullying quickly escalates into physical harm and death/prison threats as ‘A’ grows more vicious and the girls’ crimes pile up. Here’s a quick list of ‘A’s’ more serious actions: trapping the girls in an underground bunker, forcing Hanna to stop her father’s wedding, stealing Emily’s eggs to implant into Alison (btw it turns out she faked her own death and was in hiding for a while), surgically inserting tracking chips into the girls’ necks, and hitting Hanna with a car. Of course through out the show there are multiple people acting as ‘A’ as well as countless characters taking part in the ‘A’ Team. The first, and the best in my opinion, was Mona (Janel Parrish), who successfully tortured the girls for two seasons. Next the “game” of torturing and threatening the four girls is taken over by Charlotte (Vanessa Ray), who turns out to be somehow related to both Alison and Spencer (I have never exactly been sure about how this works, but the point is that the three of them are related). Charlotte’s most famous act as ‘A’ was trapping the girls in an underground bunker and subjecting them to various tests and psychological trauma. Charlotte was killed at the beginning of season seven after surrendering to the police and the girls and “apologizing” for her actions. Finally, in season seven, AD begins her reign of terror with some of the more disturbing ideas, such as a giant board game that forces the girls to do horrible things in order to avoid prison and the implantation of Emily’s eggs into Alison without either’s knowledge. In the second-to-last episode of the show, Mona confesses that she killed Charlotte and the show makes a one-year time jump for the finale.

The finale opens on the weekend of Aria’s wedding to her longtime boyfriend, Ezra (Ian Harding). Mona is recovering after her confession to killing Charlotte, and the girls are happy to be free of AD and the board game (which ended once Mona confessed), but are still wondering who their mysterious torturer really was. Ah, the calm before the storm. In a matter of minutes, things get crazy and Spencer is kidnapped by Mona and deposited in ANOTHER BUNKER where she finds her biological mother, Mary Drake (Andrea Parker), and a long-lost twin sister, Alex Drake. You’d think that after seven seasons of these crazy twists I would have expected something like this, but a secret twin reveal was beyond my imagination. Alex Drake thankfully decides to explain her backstory to Spencer and reveals that she is AD and her motive was that she was jealous of Spencer’s life and close friends. Alex wants to take Spencer’s place in Rosewood and admits that she has already successfully done so on multiple occasions. With this shocking twist, Alex Drake/AD struts out of the bunker to steal Spencer’s life. Spencer is understandably upset but soon discovers that her fellow prisoner in the bunker is Ezra, who was kidnapped and missed his wedding to Aria. Spencer and Ezra escape from their cells and run through the halls of the bunker looking for an escape while Alex prowls after them, armed with an axe. Meanwhile, the rest of the girls figure out that Alex was pretending to be Spencer and with Mona’s help find their way to Alex’s bunker. Mona saves the day again and calls the police to meet them at the bunker where Spencer tries to stay alive during Alex’s attacks. The show ends happily for the girls as the police arrest Alex and Mary Drake and the girls can go back to leading semi-normal lives. Although, in the last few minutes, the show takes an ominous turn and repeats the events that started this entire mess (way back in season one), but with a different group of girls, implying that the horror of ‘A’ could happen again. Maybe a possible “Pretty Little Liars” spinoff? I think I speak for most fans of the show when I say that we are all too tired for that.

Overall, I liked the series finale. Usually, I find it difficult to sit through TV shows, but the two hours of this finale flew by and I grew more and more anxious as the time ticked on. I found it exciting, suspenseful, and amazingly sweet at times since the friendships and relationships between the girls were also highlighted. It was nice to see how much each character had changed since the earlier seasons. I watched them develop into more capable, mature people over the course of seven seasons. The actors themselves changed too, growing up to fit their roles and becoming more in touch with her respective character as the show progressed. However, I did find the AD reveal a bit anticlimactic, especially when compared to ‘A’ reveals in past seasons. I am also not a huge fan of the secret twin plot line because it felt kind of cheesy and a bit rushed. I wholeheartedly believe that Mona’s ‘A’ reveal was the best of the show since it was so unexpected. The other ‘A’ reveals were of characters who had almost never been mentioned before, compared to Mona, who was a central character. I did really like seeing the happy endings for the girls, though. After seven years of trauma and torture, I felt they deserved peace and normalcy. The ending was interesting and creatively done, since it almost exactly mirrored the beginning of Alison’s mystery, but I am not a huge fan simply because I do not think I have the energy to go through another version of this show. “Pretty Little Liars” has been a big part of my life for the past two years and I am definitely sad to say goodbye. I found comfort in the girls’ witty banter and it was fascinating to watch a show so far from the events of my own life. The finale was riveting until the final moments, but I think I am ready to close this particular chapter of my life. “Pretty Little Liars,” you will be missed.