Twitter makes me feel personally victimized by 'Pretty Little Liars'
Pretty little spoilers ahead!
This week’s episode of Pretty Little Liars dropped a very huge, very confusing clue in its final 30 seconds. Charles, who is currently the show’s number #1 A suspect, received a mysterious birthday present with a card signed by “Your Friend and Ally.” Hold the burner phone. Does this mean Charles has an accomplice? More importantly, does this mean that there is more than one A?
In many ways, it would make sense that Charles isn’t working alone. Or — in a seriously devious twist — there could be another villain in Rosewood. Maybe that’s why Charles got so possessive of Aria, leaving her a note saying, “You’re MY doll,” as in “not that other A’s doll.”
In an A-ending from season three, we saw the yet-to-be-officially-identified Red Coat purchasing a whole closet-full of black hoodies, prompting the cashier to ask if they’re “for a team.” The same shady lady in red also visited Mona in Radley, implying that Mona was taking orders from her. Even when Mona was A, she had a whole minion squad. And let’s not forget little Miss Black Widow (also known as Black Veil) with her scary burned Ali-mask – we still have no idea if she’s evil or if those flowers she sent to Bethany Young’s parents were a kind gesture.
With all these other possible A’s lurking, there’s a good chance that Charles isn’t the head mastermind here. He might just be A Jr.
When this theory occurred to me, I was overcome by a strong sense of betrayal. “But it’s the freaking #SummerofAnswers,” I said out loud to the 18 tabs of PLL theory blogs open in my browser. “How can they do this to me?”
I don’t think I’m alone in feeling I’m personally victimized by Pretty Little Liars. The series has become so much more than sitting in front of the TV for an hour on Tuesday nights. Promises about who is who and what questions will be answered aren’t only being teased in the show’s promos, but on Twitter by the show’s creators. Heck, I read executive producer I. Marlene King’s feed so often that I assume I’m on a first name basis with her. This past winter when A supposedly killed Mona, stuffing her cold corpse into the back of a sedan, I didn’t believe she was really dead until Marlene (er … Ms. King) confirmed it.
But just as commercials can tell half-truths (#BigAReveal) to keep audiences hooked, real-life people can tell whole lies on social media. Mona stayed dead for barely a dozen episodes, shaking the fandom’s trust in what they read on the web. When fans jumped to calling Marlene a liar, she compared fibbing to protecting her children.
It got kind of ugly.
Since Spencer found the name Charles DiLaurentis in that disturbing doll house, I. Marlene has been defending the notion that #CharlesIsA, even as what played out in the show – A having boobs, Charles’ grave, his organ donation documents – totally contradicted it. If Charles’ gift-bearing “friend and ally” turns out to be an even A-ier A, an Uber A, then dedicated fans of the show might be upset. It would mean “Charles is A, but … haha Marlene gotcha again!”
But it’s important to remember that the show must go on. Literally. ABC Family okayed seven seasons, so there has to be more to the story. If Red Coat or the Black Widow (or Officer Barry Maple or Zombie Maya or that Cheetos-loving raccoon) is working on an A Team with Charles, that means we get to watch Aria, Hanna, Spencer, and Emily figure out the next mystery, most likely wearing unbelievably cute outfits. Isn’t that why we were watching the first place?
Being able to communicate with television writers and producers has changed how we watch TV. We’re not just watching it, we feel like we’re taking part in it. That’s why it’s tempting to feel personally victimized when another question gets answered by more questions. But, honestly, I think we’re just plain lucky. We get to watch our favorite show and hashtag it, too.
So, if Charles having an ally means that the PLL community stays alive for another two years … I say, bring it on.