Tensions were running high in Pretty Little Liars‘ summer finale, as World War ‘A’ kicked into high-gear — and those who were once thought to be dead were suddenly… not. However, the biggest twist of the night came in the form of yet another ‘A’ unmasking — and this one puts the previous reveals of Mona and Toby’s nef’A’rious dealings to shame.
FREEBIRD FRENZY | ‘A’ immediately makes good on his or her promise to bring down a world of hurt on the Liars should Hanna’s mom Ashley go free — Spoiler Alert: she does — by sending them a Mona-centric surprise. Arriving via a mini-coffin, a doll that looks an awful lot like the reformed ‘A’ssistant comes with a message of doom: Find the missing Mona before the cops do. Otherwise, the girls will be implicated in yet another murder. Having yet to locate her, another treat arrives for the girls — this one touting the theme of a magic show. A brief bit of web browsing reveals that there’s a magician dropping by the neighboring town of (and subject of the upcoming spin-off) Ravenswood, so the girls hit the road.
SLEIGHT OF HAND | While the ladies watch Aria take part in a “disappearing act,” it’s Emily who actually vanishes. The three remaining Liars embark on a wild friend chase and find Em trapped in a coffin of her own — one that is chained to a conveyor belt and rapidly approaching a table saw. After Red Coat Numero Uno turns the belt off (yes, there are a pair of them present!), Spencer chases one and Aria goes after the other.
MOVES LIKE BUFFY | Without hesitation, Aria puts a slayer-level beatdown on her pretty little red one, learning that her identity is in fact Cece Drake. However, in the midst of the battle, Cece falls over a railing and “dies.” (But she doesn’t die; she escapes, much to the Liars’ shock and dismay.)
BOND, ‘A’ BOND | The second Red Coat, meanwhile, appears to want Spencer to follow him/her, and leads her straight to an ‘A’ super lair. (Think Mona’s little motel room, only super-huge, super-classy and super-high tech.) The Ravenswood-area dwelling features timelines documenting the lives of the Liars, some of their men and even Red Coat. (Are they not in cahoots?), There’s also a bank statement that indicates ‘A’ has his or her own corporation. Also up for interpretation: A closet full of men’s business attire.
SHE LIVES! | As the ladies exit the building, they encounter Ali’s old sorority house pal Mrs. Grunwald — who reveals that Alison is alive! (!!!) She explains that way back when, Ali knew she was being stalked and sought out the Ravenswood soothsayer for help. Feeling that something was “off” the night of Ali’s murder, Grunwald drove to Rosewood and rescued the latter from her grave of dirt. However, Ali vanished from her car before she was able to check her into a hospital. “It’s dangerous for you to go chasing after her,” she insists to the baffled Liars. “She doesn’t want to be found!” More telling, though, are her final remarks: “You’re being watched…. He’s hoping you’ll lead him to Alison.”
REUNITED | Before moving on, let’s flash back to the beginning of the installment: Jake suddenly seems a little disinterested in his relationship with Aria, which leads her to a very sweet run-in — and an even sweeter kiss! — with Ezra, at The Brew. Alas, Red Coat is watching the reunion from right outside. Toby and Spencer, too, came back together, with the former vowing to let go of the search for truth about his mom.
EZR’A’ | As the ladies decide to not heed Mrs. Grunwald’s warning — opting instead to stick around Ravenswood for a costume party (aka the setting of the Halloween installment airing Oct. 22) — a black hoodie-wearing figure lurks in the shadows. Said figure then makes his way to the super lair, removes his hood and… IT IS EZRA! (Take a breath. Let that sit with you for a minute. You good? No? We’re not really either…) Ezra canvasses the room, and then, in a fit of rage, slams shut a closet door with all his might. Is he mad because the girls are in on the truth about Ali? Or is this just another red herring and really Ezra is just attempting to look after Aria and has just uncovered the fact that ‘A’ is still tormenting his lady love? (We predict the latter. Though Ezra did come to town for the very first time in the pilot, so…)
EVERYTHING ELSE | Shana is somehow connected to Wren, who is once again tied to Spencer’s always nutty sister Melissa. Upon following her to a meeting with an alive-and-well Mona, Toby overhears the following convo:
MONA: “You sure she’s OK with this?”
SHANA: “She doesn’t have a choice.”
Meanwhile, Caleb is hopping on a bus to Ravenswood — aka his new home — to assist Hanna & Co.
So, Little Liars, what say you about Ezra’s big reveal: ‘A’wful? ‘A’mazing? ‘A’trocious? ‘A’bsurd?