Field Guide to 'Pretty Little Liars'
I feel like I have an obligation to admit right here and right now that any Field Guide to Pretty Little Liars is most likely fraudulent. I’m not saying the info below is a lie, but after several years of dedication to this show (and TRUST I’m a huge fan) I have come to realize that everything I might think could very easily be wrong. And anyone who says they “know” the identity of A is such a liar.
DISCLAIMER: This post contains lots of spoilers.
One Truth You Must Accept
In Pretty Little Liars, everything and nothing is and isn’t exactly as it does or doesn’t seem.
This show is a major cluster you-know-what. I’ve been reassured that the writers do have a plan for the show, but it honestly feels like they are making it up as they go along. Know that at some point every single character will be implicated as A. Who is A you ask? Well let me explain.
It’s Impossible to List All the Characters (But I’m Going to Try)
The Liars, of course:
Spencer Hastings: The nerdy, waspy know-it-all. She comes from money and is a total brainiac. A doesn’t really have much over her, other than some weird drama with her sister.
Aria Montgomery: The tortured artist. Her parents get divorced and her family kind of falls apart. Her major secret is that she is dating her former teacher.
Hanna Marin: The beauty queen. Hanna is gorgeous and gets the hot guy. She is kind of a mess but sort of has it figured out. She is a savvy biotch who gets what she wants. A knows her mother essentially robbed a bank.
Emily Fields (I hate to say it but): The lesbian. Emily doesn’t have a whole lot going on. I love this show but she is such a pointless character. She comes out as a lesbian. She is the diversity the group needs. A ruins her swimming career; other than that, she’s pretty tame.
Alison DiLaurentis: The actual bitch. Ali might be A. No one really knows. Her dead body is found in the first episode, but her ghost haunts the girls. Some think she is actually alive and torturing the girls as A. Others think an Ali impersonator is A. Both could be wrong or right or mixed.
Mona Vanderwaal: This chick is tricky. She isn’t exactly a liar. She was Hanna’s BFF but they kind of became frenemies. She adored Alison but hated her too. We eventually find out she has been carrying out A’s wishes and torturing the girls. Mona is very complex.
Jenna Marshall: So she is a liar but not in the main four. She was never their friend. An explosion that Ali set off made her blind but then she got her sight back but pretended to be blind some more. Everyone thought she was A, but I guess she actually isn’t?
A: No one knows who A is or what A is or why she does the things she does or even if she is actually a she. Confused yet?
Caleb Rivers: The bad boy. Caleb has sultry dark hair and screams bad. Her apparently has some shady dealings with the law and runs some crazy underground internet business. In reality, he is a good dude who LOVES his girlfriend Hanna.
Toby Cavanaugh: An even badder boy who is actually good. Toby is Jenna’s stepbrother and took the rap for making her blind (something Ali actually did). He falls in love with Spencer and then become A to save her from A. (Confusing, yeah I know.)
Ezra “Fitz” Fitzgerald: Ew is really all I have to say about Ezra. He is some 30-year-old dude dating his former student. I don’t care how much they “love” each other. I am extremely creeped out by this storyline and I don’t understand why more parents in America are not more concerned.
People who kind of fall off the face of the earth:
Lucas Gottesman: Hanna’s former BFF. So Lucas was really good friends with Hanna and helped her out with stuff. But he HATED Ali so he is sort of connected to the whole A drama. He eventually disappears for several episodes and like half a season. He really isn’t that important.
Wren Kingston: A hot doctor who dated Spencer’s older sister. Spencer hooked up with him on and off, mostly when she was on the tragic rebound from Toby.
Maya St. Germaine: The love of Emily’s life. Maya was this bizarre character who eventually ran away from home and was murdered by her stalker. They never totally resolved that one. But everyone thought A killed her for a long time.
Jason DiLaurentis: Ali’s older bro who turns out to also be Spencer’s older brother. He floats in and out of the series and the actor who plays him actually changes midway through the first season.
Melissa Hastings: Spencer’s older sister. She was dating and then married Ian and kind of faked a pregnancy/miscarriage. It was all very confusing.
Ian Thomas: Lots of people thought this dude was A. He also hooked up with Spencer, even though he was dating Melissa. Ian, Melissa and Jason were involved in this shady group with friend Garrett. We still don’t know what they are up to. Ian was murdered (by A?) and it was made to look like a suicide (by A?).
Garrett Reynolds: He was in that cult, like I said. He is a cop who was good and bad and hid some evidence. He dated Jenna and helped her pretend to be blind. He was eventually murdered (Poor soul).
There are dozens of other characters who come in and out of the show. If I listed every single one, we would be here for days, y’all.
Aria moves back from a year away. We find out she is hiding the fact that she and Ali caught her father cheating on her mom with one of his students. The girls reconnect once Ali’s dead body is found after a year of missing. The girls are kind of implicated in the murder.
A drama starts. This mysterious character sends them texts and notes and sets them up. She seems to be working against them and with them all at the same time.
Aria meets Ezra at a bar and they “fall in love” before he knows her true age and that he is about to be her teacher. (Still I puke.) Hanna falls her Caleb, even though her boy Lucas is totally jonesin. Emily realizes she is a lesbian and falls for Maya. Toby is arrested for Alison’s murder, eventually he gets out of jail and falls in love with Spencer.
Hanna mom steals money from the bank and A obviously knows. She holds it over Hanna’s head. And the girls discover that Ali was being stalked by Ian, Jason Melissa and Garret.
Caleb becomes homeless and tries moving in with Hanna but that doesn’t really work. He ends up leaving to be with his mother. He tries to tell Hanna he loves her in a note but Mona rips it up. This is when we realize she ain’t so sweet.
Remember those videos the girls found? Well they blackmail Ian, and he tries to kill Spencer. A then rescues Spencer and kills Ian but stashes his body.
The liars go to therapy to deal with all the Ali trauma, when in reality they are more tortured by this secret A character. A has so much over their heads, they can’t even tell the therapist what is going on. A eventually sets up Emily so it looks like she is taking HGH and she is kicked off the swim team.
Jason moves back to town after briefly appearing and disappearing in the first season. He tries to get with Aria and basically fails. Then we find out he is Spencer’s half bro, too.
The liars continue to look for answers with Ali. They search her files and uncover Garret and Jenna are up to some shady business. They stole some of the file and we are left to believe they might just be the killers.
Ian’s body is uncovered and it is made to look like a suicide. Melissa is extremely distraught because she was getting messages form Ian’s phone. However, that was just A who then frames Spencer, causing a major falling out between the sisters.
The liars decide to tell their therapist everything and then she goes missing. A tricks them into searching for the therapist but it only leads them to the murder weapon that killed Ali. Once the girls find it the police show up and immediately think the girls must be the killers.
They deal with some legal drama. Ezra tells Aria’s parents that they are dating. It doesn’t go so well and they are banished from seeing each other. THANK G. Unfortunately, they get back together. Jenna has eye surgery that helps her regain her sight but she keeps it a secret. The liars uncover that Ali liked to pretend to be a different person sometimes name Vivian.
The AMAZING dramz happens towards the end. The girls continue to suspect Melissa of being A. I doesn’t go so well for them though. Every time they try to catch her they fail. Then they discover A’s lair. Shortly that leads them to finding A. Kind of.
At the end of the season. Mona is revealed to be A and sent off to a mental hospital. But the drama doesn’t end there. Maya (who had gone missing) is discovered dead in her backyard. Garret is arrested for the murder of Maya and Ali.
So it starts off with Mona in the bin. She won’t talk to anyone and Hanna keeps trying to break through to her. She is obviously wacked. We learn there is another A helping Mona sneak in and out of her hospital room to carry out horrible acts against the girls.
Emily is dealing with her grief by drinking a whole lot. She ends up getting drugged and dragged to Ali’s grave. When she wakes up, Ali’s body is missing and Emily seems guilty. She eventually starts remembering bits and pieces and that she saw Jenna driving a car, AKA she can see.
This random chick Cece shows up and says she was Ali’s best friend. She looks shockingly like Ali and acts real shady but not much comes of it. Then, Garret is let off of his murder charges and we find out this crazy stalked name Nate killed Maya. Still no answers on the Ali homefront, though.
Toby and Spencer finally get their freak on, only for us to find out that Toby is one of the A posse. Spencer doesn’t make this realization for several more episodes. It is all very tragic.
On Halloween, Garrett is murdered by A and Ali’s missing body is found. Mona comes back to school and continues to ruin people’s lives, this time she is just more upfront about it. Oh, and we find out Ezra had a kid? So that’s fun.
Spencer tells her friends that Toby is A. She freaks out. Then Toby disappears. She thinks he’s dead. She gets put in a mental hospital. Then she finds Toby. He reveals he became an A to protect her so Spencer is like, “Oh, okay. I want in, too.” Spencer becomes a member of the A team to find answers.
The A’s are led by a red-coated figure… very similar to that Vivian persona that Ali once had. None of them know her true identity. They develop a plot to unmask her but everything goes up in flames. Red coat rescues all of the liars and a bunch of them think they see Ali at some point.
At the very end, the girls open a trunk and gasp. WHAT YOU FIND IN THERE?
Bring on Season 4
So there you go, folks. If you made it this far, bravo! I can’t guarantee that you aren’t completely confused. But what I hope is that you might be intrigued. I TOTALLY recommend you go back and watch the show for yourself from start to finish. There are also lots of wiki pages you can peruse and I’m sure DOZENS of fan blogs. But be prepared: PLL is a slippery slope and once you commit there is no going back!
Featured image via ABCFamily.com