Who Isn’t “A?” (2021 Thoughts Added)

Warning: This post contains Pretty Little Liars spoilers. If you haven’t watched the whole show, then proceed with caution.

A little note: In August 2014, I started watching Pretty Little Liars. That November, I started blogging about it until it ended in 2017. I haven’t watched it since, but people are still reading my posts in 2021. So, I’ve decided to add thoughts and comments based on the feelings and opinions I have in 2021. Because you’re reading this now, I want to thank you! Tbh, after the disappointment of the series finale, I felt like I wasted time writing these posts. Because you’re reading this, it doesn’t feel like a waste anymore. So, thanks!

(Unless otherwise noted, parenthesis indicate thoughts from 2021)

**Originally posted December 28, 2014. Republished February 23, 2021. Yes, a Tuesday, in honor of the show originally airing on Tuesdays.**


“Who is “A?” That is what every person in the PLL Army is asking. I suggest we stop asking, “Who is ‘A,’ and start asking, “Who isn’t ‘A?’” Everyone has a theory about who might be “A.” Many think it is Aria or Alison, maybe Ezra, or possibly someone’s secret twin. (Worst reveal ever! I can’t believe I put so much time and energy into PLL only to be let down like that.) I highly doubt it’s any of them though. (Boy was I wrong. Ugh.)

I. Marlene King is a BRILLIANT writer. (Or so I thought before the big reveal that left many questions unanswered.) She is smart, incredibly clever, and extremely sneaky! I doubt that she would ever make any of the five girls be “A.” (Technically true, but not entirely.) Smart writers never have their sleuths double as the villain. The whole reason people read and watch mysteries, like Pretty Little Liars, is to figure out “Who-dun-it.” Stalker/Murder mysteries are supposed to be as realistic as possible. (The first reveal was decently realistic. Having had my own stalker, many of the first two season issues felt relatable. Even the second reveal was somewhat realistic, if not infuriating. The final reveal? Terrible.)

If any of the girls are “A,” then it would mean that they have tortured themselves for the past two years. And it was for no other reason than to make friends, family, and fans alike believe that it couldn’t be them. Realistically, no one would torture themselves the way “A” has tortured them. Spencer has also technically already been a part of the “A TEAM.” She is also suspect number one on the Rosewood Police’s suspect list. We can pretty much rule her out as being “A.” Alison couldn’t possibly be “A” because we’ve all kind of been suspecting it the whole time. That would be a terrible reveal. Even I suspected she was back when I was only watching the previews for four seasons. A great writer wouldn’t allow her viewers to discover the criminal right away. For the other girls, most of the “clues” gathered against them can be picked apart so fast it’ll leave your head spinning.

Other popular theories try to prove that one of the “bed buddies” is “A,” which is absurd! Ezra, Toby, and possibly Caleb each have alibis as to why they couldn’t be “A.” Maya was murdered, and Paige… well, Paige could still possibly be “A,” but I highly doubt it. (I never did like Paige, which is a bummer because I wanted to. Only because she was played by Jennifer Mosley. Aka Lindsay Shaw.) As we all know, Ezra’s alibi is that he was writing a true crime novel about Alison’s disappearance. So, at first, he only talked to Aria because he knew she was one of Ali’s closest friends. Upon finding that he was attracted to Aria, he stopped writing the book. Then, he picked it up again when everything in his life was upside down. Toby’s alibi was that he was on the “A TEAM,” but only because he wanted to protect Spencer. Finally, Caleb’s alibi is that he worked with Jenna, before falling for Hanna. Also, that he faced a lot of crazy crap in Ravenswood that now makes him wary and skeptical of everything else. (I never finished Ravenswood, but that show was crazy!) That said, he and Alison always seem to share strange glances now that she’s back in Rosewood. So, until we find out if he and Alison are connected in any way we can’t completely rule him out as a suspect. (Did we ever learn if they were connected? Or did he just hate her? And vise versa? I really can’t remember.)
We also can’t claim that Melissa could be “A” anymore. She revealed the reason she was being so sketchy was that she buried Bethany Young to protect Spencer, whom she thought had killed Bethany in the first place. (Why don’t any of these twenty-somethings ever call the police? I know she was protecting her sister, but come on!)

So, we can also potentially rule out Peter Hastings, whom we know knew the truth about Melissa. We may also be able to rule out Peter as a suspect because his secret was that he is Jason’s biological father. However, we can’t know for sure if that’s a reliable alibi or not, because Peter is such a shady guy. So, he may have very well attempted to kill Alison for blackmailing him. Then, killed Jessica DeLaurentis for saying that she couldn’t protect him anymore.

It’s liable that we can rule out Noel Kahn and Cece Drake as suspects as well. (Boy was I wrong. I liked Cece! I wish things had worked out with her, or that she had just been CeCe. She had more than enough reason to be A without the convoluted Charles plotline.) It seems, their sketchiness has been based on the fact that they knew Alison was still alive. And that they have been and probably still are helping Alison escape the evil clutches of “A.”

Other than that, we can’t for sure rule out anyone except for those characters that have been killed. There are a few characters that we can possibly rule out, based on certain evidence. But it’s not proven evidence, so I’ll give them their own post instead of including them here.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you need anything! Like seriously. I’m here for you!

Find me on Twitter and Instagram – @ogbrittanyalex

Find my podcasts “The Mask; Her Aid” and “Obsessive Girl Podcast.”

You can also buy my book “The Mask; Her Aid” by Brittany Alexandria on Amazon for Kindle.

Lent, the Wilderness, and a Global Pandemic

In 2020, I participated in Lent for what I remember to be the first time in my life. I always thought Lent was a Catholic holiday and since I’m not Catholic, I didn’t care about it. When I learned it wasn’t exclusive to Catholics, I thought it was about giving things up and I didn’t want to do that. Last year, on Annie F. Downs‘ podcast, That Sounds Fun, the She Reads Truth (and He Reads Truth) ladies taught me what Lent is and isn’t. Lent is a liturgical (sort of a fancy word for religious or Christian) holiday. It is not a Biblically mandated holiday. Lent is about focusing on Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. It is not about giving something up for the sake of giving something up. Lent is a private and personal humbling of self and the acknowledgment that we are sinful and broken without God. Lent is not a public statement to show how great we are for “humbly” giving something up for Christs’ sake. Lent is an acknowledgment that Christ’s death made us pure, holy, and forgiven. That in dying for us He gave us grace and mercy, saving us from an eternal death that we all deserve. It is not an act of earning salvation. We can’t earn salvation. Salvation is a gift, with no strings attached, given to us by God and God alone and that is what Lent is observing. It is a remembrance that we are fallen, broken, and in desperate need of a Savior. My pastor’s brother is also a pastor. His church regularly acknowledges that we are “badly broken and deeply loved.” In turn, my pastor reminds us of that specific phrasing pretty often too. In essence, that is what we are observing in the days of Lent. We’re remembering Romans 5:8, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and goes 46 days until Easter/Resurrection Sunday. We model it from the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness after His baptism and before He was tempted. I could go into the ins and outs of the traditional observance of Lent, but I’m not going to. Partly, because I’m new to Lent. Mostly, because I believe Lent is personal and private. Instead, I’ll remind you of what Jesus did in the wilderness. Jesus fasted. He abstained from all the luxuries of life. I’m not sure what luxuries looked like during His lifetime, but I know He gave them up for forty days in the wilderness. Why? To grow closer to the Father. In His physical weakness, He became spiritually strong through prayer and Bible study. Then, when Satan attacked with fiery arrows of temptation, Jesus was ready with a shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit. And that is what Lent is all about. It’s prayer, Bible study, and becoming more like Jesus, because our battle is not physical, it is spiritual, mental, and emotional.

When I decided to observe Lent for the first time in 2020, it was February 26 and life was still normal. I had no idea what the year would be like. All I knew was that I needed to be closer to God. So, I gave up a few things, including secular music, movies, and TV shows. For as long as I can remember, music, movies, and TV have brought me comfort. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, because we all have things we enjoy. I do think there’s something wrong with giving all your free time to such things. And that’s what I had been starting to do again. It wasn’t the first time I’d abstained from secular entertainment and it probably won’t be the last. This time it was different though. This time we had about two weeks left before facing a national and global shutdown. This time I was about to go into three consecutive months of not having much to do and rarely leaving my room.

Normally, I would’ve been thrilled to stay home for 3 months. I’m an introvert with social anxiety. I thrive when I get to be alone all the time. And, in the end, I did thrive on personal level in 2020, but not in the beginning. In the beginning, I was so not thrilled. I was only 2 weeks into a 6 week “fast” from secular music, movies, and TV. What was I supposed to do with myself if I couldn’t be entertained in ways I usually would be? If I’m being honest, I was a little mad at God. Mostly I was annoyed, but I was a little mad too. How was I supposed to survive a global pandemic without my usual means of escape? And therein lay my problem. Instead of running to God in a global emergency, I was complaining about giving something up. I even said or thought many times, “If I had known this, I wouldn’t have given that up.” Yikes. That is a sure sign that I had given the right things up for Lent. I was mourning the loss of something I wanted to run to instead of running to Whom I should’ve run to. God was the only One who was prepared for the pandemic and I was still struggling to run to Him. Though it was hard in the beginning, I am now thrilled I gave up secular entertainment right before I’d “need” it most.

There isn’t anything wrong with secular entertainment in and of itself. In fact, God teaches me more often through my favorite shows, movies, and music than anything else. I believe if I had said, “You know what? I’ll do Lent next year. This year I need to be entertained,” then I would’ve been okay. As earlier stated, Lent is not a God-ordained holiday. It is a manmade holiday that observes God’s goodness and our sin. However, I do believe we are most healthy when we take times to abstain from things that aren’t inherently Christian. I also believe had I changed my mind about Lent, then I would’ve missed out on some major blessings. I might’ve even suffered through the year.

I had been watching The Vampire Diaries when I started Lent. If I had been watching that at the beginning of the pandemic instead of abstaining, I don’t think I would have started my own daily journaling habits. If I had been listening to secular music when it all started, I don’t think I would’ve built the habit of starting and ending each day with Scripture and worship music. If I had been binging anything at the beginning of the pandemic, I don’t think I would’ve started a study of the Gospels and Acts which I’m still doing almost a year later. And if I hadn’t started daily journaling, morning and evening worship time, and my study of the Gospels and Acts, I think 2020 would’ve crushed me. I do think part of what prepared me for 2020 was the practice of Sabbath and pausing (literal quiet time throughout the day) that I started in 2019. But more than anything, I think what prepared me for giving up so much in 2020 was that I’d already told God I was willing to give and get my comfort to and from Him. Otherwise, I genuinely believe I would’ve gone down a dark path in 2020 and I’m not sure I would’ve been able to get out of it. Because I’ve faced hard times in the past and I didn’t handle them well until I learned to humble myself before God and draw closer to Him.

So, in 2021, I highly suggest you consider observing Lent if you don’t already plan to do so. If you choose not to observe Lent, I still highly recommend you evaluate your life and figure out what’s out of alignment. You’re human and therefore imperfect which pretty much means there’s always something in your life that’s out of alignment with God. So, what is it for you? What can you give up for Lent? What can you take in for Lent? What can you give to the Lord as a gesture of saying, “All I need is You, God.” What is causing you to stumble? What are you placing a little or a lot too close to God’s presence in your life? The commandment to “have no other gods before Me” means your love for anything other than God should look like hatred in comparison. Are you running to something other than God for comfort? It might be time to let that thing go, maybe forever or maybe temporarily.

At the end of the lockdown in Texas, when we started to open back up again, I opted not to go back to church right away. Part of it was because wearing a mask for longer than a few minutes gave me anxiety (I’ve gotten used to it now). Mostly, I knew I let the building and body of church–what feels most like home and family to me–get a little too close to God in my life. I had to get right with God and say, “I’m grateful for the gift you’ve given me by way of my church building and church family. I am more grateful for you, the Giver. You are God and You are my comfort, strength, and treasure. Nothing in my life matters compared to You. Not my people. Not my home. Not my comfort.” When I knew God was in the right place in my life, I was able to go back to church–a month after physical services started–and it was all the more special. And that’s what Lent is all about. We give something up, sometimes even things that are mostly or fully good for us, and we draw closer to God. When we give things up for God, whether temporarily or permanently–He’s going to give us something so much better. I fully and completely believe that, even if we don’t always feel or see it.

Remember, Lent isn’t about rules and it isn’t a Biblical ordinance. You don’t have to observe it and there are no rules. You don’t necessarily have to give anything up. You might need to start something. I believe Lent is personal and private, especially before and during the observance. So, I won’t tell you what I’m doing this year, at least not now. I will say for me Lent 2021 is more about adding spiritual practices to my life than taking other practices out. We gave up a lot in 2020 and a lot of us picked up a lot of healthy practices. Maybe you can’t think of something to give up. Or maybe you can’t do it with a willing heart. That’s okay. Listen to the Holy Spirit and He will guide you. There are many ways to observe Lent, but the core purpose remains the same. We remember that we are sinful and broken and that without Jesus’ perfect life and brutal death we would be hopeless. For more encouragement from someone far more experienced in Lent than I am check out this year’s episode of That Sounds Fun with the She Reads Truth ladies.

A final note: The purpose of Lent is to remember and prepare for the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. Fridays can be seen as weekly observations of Good Friday. Sundays can be seen as weekly celebrations of the resurrection. Some people choose to fast or abstain Monday through Saturday and feast/break their fast or abstinence on Sundays. Remember, this is a manmade holiday. Let the Spirit guide you in how you should or shouldn’t observe Lent.

Disclaimer: I’m new to Lent and I’m not catholic or orthodox. Actually, I’m nondenominational. So, I’m not necessarily writing to those who observe Lent in a traditional sense. Instead, I am talking to all Christians of any denomination who want to find new ways to strengthen their faith. And I believe observing Lent is great way to do that.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you need anything! Like seriously. I’m here for you!

Find me on Twitter and Instagram – @ogbrittanyalex

Find my podcasts “The Mask; Her Aid” and “Obsessive Girl Podcast.”

You can also buy my book “The Mask; Her Aid” by Brittany Alexandria on Amazon for Kindle.

The Truth about Ezra Fitz (2021 Thoughts Added)

Warning: This post contains Pretty Little Liars spoilers. If you haven’t watched the whole show, then proceed with caution.

A little note: In August 2014, I started watching Pretty Little Liars. That November, I started blogging about it until it ended in 2017. I haven’t watched it since, but people are still reading my posts in 2021. So, I’ve decided to add thoughts and comments based on the feelings and opinions I have in 2021. Because you’re reading this now, I want to thank you! Tbh, after the disappointment of the series finale, I felt like I wasted time writing these posts. Because you’re reading this, it doesn’t feel like a waste anymore. So, thanks!

(Unless otherwise noted, parenthesis indicate thoughts from 2021)

**originally published November 19, 2014. Republished February 16, 2021. Yes, a Tuesday, in honor of the show originally airing on Tuesdays.**

In season four of Pretty Little Liars, the girls found out about Ezra’s book, and Emily asked what was on everyone’s mind.
“If he’s been watching us, then he has to know about “A.” How could he just sit back all this time and not do anything to help you?”
Aria answered, “It’s simple. He never really loved me.”
After I cried my eyes dry (not really; being dramatic is sort of my thing) because of the empty look on Aria’s face when she said that, I started thinking. Look at Ezra from the subjective view of Aria and the other girls who have been in close contact with Ezra. It makes sense that Ezra was just a sketchy writer. Now, look at it from the somewhat unattached slightly objective view of an outsider. You can see that Ezra really does love Aria and he was protecting her from “A” all along. Throughout each season, Ezra shows his feelings for Aria in different ways.

Season one shows how conflicted Ezra feels about his relationship with Aria. Sure, the beginning makes Ezra look like a perverted jerk. He knew how young Aria was and made out with her in the bathroom of a bar anyway. After watching every other Ezria scene after that, I kind of want to cut him some slack though. In reality, if she was already out of high school, the age gap wouldn’t be considered that big of a deal. (I was twenty-three when I wrote this. I can’t believe I shipped 23-year-old Ezra with 16-year-old Aria so hard. Or at all. Never in a million years would I have been okay with a 23-year-old dating at 16-year-old in real life. Why was I so blinded by this show to think it was okay even in fiction? It wasn’t and it isn’t.) And honestly, there are so many scenes throughout the rest of the series in which Ezra talks about how he only talked to her for research. Then, as he talked to her, he couldn’t help falling for her on the spot. (Yes, he could. And if he couldn’t, then he should’ve moved.) I can’t help but love him. (Ugh. What was wrong with me? Ezra was and is so problematic.)

Aria and Ezra spend the first half of season one on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Almost every other scene with them has one of them trying to convince the other they shouldn’t be together. (Darn right, they shouldn’t be!) That is until episode nine when Ezra shows up after spending three and a half episodes in New York.

Here’s how I picture Ezra in New York. He was sitting in his room at his parents’ place thinking, “I can’t do this. I need to end things with Aria before things get even more complicated. But wait, how will I write my book? Never mind. Who cares about the book? I’m in love with Aria. But what about her parents, other teachers, and the school board? I can’t put her through that. What if I just leave Aria and Rosewood all together? No. I can’t leave Aria.” So, he cancels his book deal and goes back to Rosewood where he sees Aria almost kiss Noel. “Okay, I need to end things with Aria. She needs a normal relationship.” But then she reads his poem and he can no longer deny his feelings for her. So he asks her to meet him and they makeup and make out…again. (I will give Ezra credit for allegedly canceling his book deal. At least he was mature enough to do that. Though, he definitely should’ve been mature enough to end things with Aria. Sure, we could reason the brain doesn’t fully mature until 27, but he should’ve known better. We all should’ve known better.)

Then Aria found out about Ezra’s ex-fiance, Jackie, and “Bam!” Everything exploded and didn’t slow down until the end of season two. First, it was Jackie, then it was Jason, next it was Jackie again, and finally, it was Aria’s parents. Ezria spent the entire second season fighting outside forces and trying to make things work. (Why? Why fight that hard? So inappropriate. Even Aria should’ve known better.) If that’s not enough to make you believe Ezra truly loves Aria, then remember what he said in the finale. “No matter how hard I try. I can’t stay away from you.” (Yes, yes he could have. It might have been hard, but he could’ve stayed away from her.) Let me also point out that this is one of the many scenes in which Aria was with Ezra while something huge was going down with “A.” I used to think it was kind of sketchy that Ezra was often with Aria the moment of or immediately after an “A moment,” but not anymore. Now I find it sweet and charming. He was watching “A” so he always knew when Aria needed him and he was almost always there for her! (I do commend him for being with her in these moments, but he was 23 and she was 16. He should’ve notified proper authorities about A, especially since he was no longer writing his book.)

In the season three premiere, Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer were called down to the police station and Ezra showed up to take Aria to dinner. I’m sure Ezra knew how risky it would be for him to show up where the police and one or both of Aria’s parents would be, but he didn’t care. He wanted to see for himself that Aria was okay. (Okay, that is kind of sweet. Still inappropriate, but sweet.)

In the Halloween episode when Ezra had to cancel his plans with Aria but then showed up anyway, that was sketchy. Now I know it was Ezra being Aria’s knight in shining armor. He knew about “A” and he knew that Aria was in trouble, so he showed up to make sure she was safe. (Again, he should’ve called the police.)

Finally, in the season finale, when Aria wanted to break things off with Ezra, he unhappily obliged because all he wants for her is safety and happiness. (That’s sweet too, but he should’ve been the one to break things off a long time ago.)

Season four was awkward for Aria and Ezra. Aria was dating a guy named Jake and Ezra was acting super sketchy. Even that didn’t stop them from caring for each other. They shared a secret cabin and Ezra even set the passcode to “B-26” (the number of their song from the bar). While Ezra was acting sketchy, Aria found out why. Ezra knew and dated Alison, before knowing Aria. In fact, Alison was the reason he knew Aria. He only ever talked to Aria, because he was writing a true crime novel about Alison. Because of this, Aria assumed that Ezra never loved her. We know that can’t be true. Even when Aria tried to hate Ezra, he did everything he could to protect her and win her back. First, he gave her the space she asked for; then, he took a bullet for her and her friends. (He deserved that bullet.)

In season five, he’s kind of like a wounded puppy. He’s afraid to move or make noise because he knows that he doesn’t deserve Aria’s forgiveness, but he wants it anyway. So, he follows her moves. When she’s cautious with him, he’s cautious too. And when she throws caution to the wind, of course, he does too! He wants her to know that his love for her is, was, and always will be real, but he doesn’t want to push her. That’s how you know Ezra loves Aria. He waits for her and he’ll continue to wait if he has to. (If Aria was 26 and Ezra was 32, or even if Aria was 18 and Ezra was 24, this would’ve been a good example of what love looks like. Since Aria’s 16 and Ezra is 22 or something like that. It’s just wrong. That said, once he’s no longer her teacher and Ella is sort of okay with the relationship, I don’t think it’s wrong. Still weird, but not necessarily wrong.)

If he knew about “A” all along and if he does love Aria, why didn’t he do more to protect the girls from “A?” It doesn’t seem like “A” knew he was onto him/her. The answer is simple. He was afraid. He didn’t want to lose Aria and he knew that by going after “A” he would have to tell Aria how he knew about him/her. And he knew that doing so would be risking losing her. (He also knew if he went to the police, he’d have to give himself up for dating a student and stalking teenagers.)

So, even though it kind of makes him seem like a wimp because he lied to Aria, he’s just a lovesick fool. (More like just a fool.) And in the end, he was able to use his lie to protect Aria and her friends from being shot by “A.” (Yeah, that did end up being a good thing. But he was still basically stalking them.)

Who can blame him for keeping the book a secret anyway? (I can. I blame him. 23 year old me was a bit of an idiot if she didn’t blame him. He lied. And lying is wrong. He also stalked them and fully knew who Aria was when he made out with her. Creep.) Not only did it reveal that his original meeting with Aria was a lie, but it also showed that he dated one of her best friends. (Also inappropriate. Though, to be fair, Allison did trick him into thinking she was 18. Was it at all possible he thought Aria was 18 too and his shock of seeing her in class was genuine? I don’t remember if that’s addressed, but I guess it’s slightly less creepy if he did think she was 18.) Would you want the love of your life to know that about you? I doubt it! So leave poor Ezra alone! (Again. What was wrong with me? Ezra was a creep. This was written at the beginning of season 5. While I think Ezra did redeem himself some in the end, he had come nowhere close to redeeming himself when I wrote this.)

Forever Team Ezria (Wrong. Not team Ezria anymore.)

P.S. Let’s talk about Ella Montgomery for a minute. In one of the season 5 episodes, Aria is talking to Emily on the phone and Ella overhears her. “I’m the one confusing things, Em. I can’t trust Ezra, I don’t. People don’t change just because you want them to.” We all know only one person is less of a fan of Ezra than Ella and that’s Byron. So, I think it’s safe to say that if Ella is willing to talk to Aria about Ezra and even go as far as to say, “Aria, listen to me. I don’t know what exactly happened with Ezra, but Zach is not going to be the one to write the book on relationships in this family. Not if I have anything to say about it,” then I think it’s safe to assume Aria and Ezra should indeed be together. (Should they though? I mean… she’s still in high school at this point…) Sure, Ella doesn’t know what Ezra did, but who cares? Clearly, Ella knows how much Aria and Ezra love each other. And with that look in her eyes when she’s talking to Aria, it’s clear that she thinks they belong together. She may not want them to be together, but she clearly thinks they belong together.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you need anything! Like seriously. I’m here for you!

Find me on Twitter and Instagram – @ogbrittanyalex

Find my podcasts “The Mask; Her Aid” and “Obsessive Girl Podcast.”

You can also buy my book “The Mask; Her Aid” by Brittany Alexandria on Amazon for Kindle.

The Truth about Mona Vanderwaal (2021 Thoughts Added)

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Warning: This post contains Pretty Little Liars spoilers. If you haven’t watched the whole show, then proceed with caution.

A little note: In August 2014, I started watching Pretty Little Liars. That November, I started blogging about it until it ended in 2017. I haven’t watched it since, but people are still reading my posts in 2021. So, I’ve decided to add thoughts and comments based on the feelings and opinions I have in 2021. Because you’re reading this now, I want to thank you! Tbh, after the disappointment of the series finale, I felt like I wasted time writing these posts. Because you’re reading this, it doesn’t feel like a waste anymore. So, thanks!

(Unless otherwise noted, parenthesis indicate thoughts from 2021)

Originally, this post was published on November 19, 2014. It’s being republished on February 9, 2021. Yes, a Tuesday, in honor of the show originally airing on Tuesdays.

Picture an uber nerdy, pretty much friendless girl who is one of the main targets for the school mean girl. What if that mean girl disappeared? Would you blame the nerdy girl if she took her chance to become the new “it girl?” Would you blame her if she took the “weakest link” in the original “it girl’s” clique and became her best friend? I can’t imagine anyone would say anything to her for either of those things. But what if, after all her hard work, the nerdy girl felt like she was losing her new best friend to the original group? And what if she felt like the only way to get her back was by torturing the girls in an attempt to break them up again? Now, that is something to talk about! So, let’s talk about Mona Vanderwaal, but first let’s talk about Alison DeLaurentis, the “it girl” who picked on Mona.

Hanna Marin described Alison DeLaurentis as the girl who can be both your best friend and your worst enemy. She knows exactly how to make you feel like a precious diamond, even when she’s treating you like a piece of trash. No one knew why she wanted to be Alison’s friend, but every girl did, especially Mona Vanderwaal. Before Mona could join Alison’s team of “it girls” though, Alison was murdered. At least, that’s what the police led everyone to believe. The truth is, Alison DeLaurentis faked her death and Mona Vanderwaal helped her do it. Why? Because if you can’t join them, beat them.

When Alison left Rosewood, PA the polar opposite girls from her clique fell out of touch and Mona made her move. She befriended “Hefty Hanna” Marin, the “weakest link” from Alison’s clique. Together, they turned themselves into the school’s new “it girls.” More than that, they became best friends. After a year apart, Hanna and her old friends started to reconnect and Mona feeling left out again. Afraid of being friendless and unpopular again, Mona decided to do whatever she had to do to keep Hanna as a friend. Every Pretty Little Liars fan knows what Mona did to the girls. But in case you’ve forgotten or you’d rather read about it than watch it, let me tell you what happened. Let me also share what I noticed when re-watching the first two seasons of PLL in 2014.

Season One In season one, there were five major clues I noticed that helped me realize how obvious it was that Mona was A. I’ll call these clues “Shoplifting,” “Camp Mona,” “Welcome Home Hanna,” “Heartbreaker,” and “Heartbroken.”

The pilot episode introduces Hanna and Mona as shopping buddies who walk straight past a security camera while wearing stolen merchandise. Somehow, Hanna is the only one caught and charged for the crime. That never made sense to me. Why on earth would Hanna be the only one caught? Surely, “A” was not above going after a close friend. Why should (s)he be? After watching it with a new perspective, I understood. Mona was A! “A” wouldn’t let herself get caught for something so trivial.

One of the most obvious “Mona is A” clues was “Camp Mona.” First, we see Mona invite “Hanna and her clanna” to go “glamping” with her. When she walks away and the girls start looking for reasons why they can’t go with Hanna. Then, “A” sends them a text saying (s)he would be there. The next day, Mona claims she received a text from someone called “A” and uninvites Hanna from her party. At “Camp Mona,” we hardly ever see Mona. Why not? It’s her party. Naturally, it’s because “A” is busy sending the girls on a wild goose chase.

Less obviously, Mona also gave us a clue at Hanna’s house right before the surprise “welcome home” party. She said, “Whoa, what was that? I just saw a shadow at your door.” As I’m sure Mona intended, Hanna started freaking out. There were many other ways that Mona could have set Hanna up for the surprise, but she chose the creepiest way. Why? Because Mona is “A!”

Also less obviously, we were given a clue that maybe “Mona is A” when Hanna was told to break Lucas’ heart at the dance. Who, other than maybe Alison, would care enough to make Hanna break Lucas’s heart? Mona, that’s who!

Finally, when Caleb left a letter for Hanna with Mona, she ripped it up and threw it away. When questioned, she claimed that it was to protect Hanna. That was a lie. We know that in those episodes, “A’s” main goal was to break Hanna’s heart. As Hanna’s best friend, Mona, aka “A,” knew that the best way to break Hanna’s heart. She had to make her believe Caleb left without saying goodbye. It worked.

Season Two “Mona is A” clues from season two that led up to the big reveal. “The Cafeteria Scene,” “Truth-Up Day,” “The Cellphone,” and “Never Around.”

After Dr. Sullivan suggests that the girls spend time apart, we see the girls at four different tables for lunch. We also see a shot of Mona with the hint of an evil smirk on her face before the camera moves away from her. Next thing we know, the girls receive a text from “A.” “Look at you. All alone in a crowd. I win! Xoxo – A.” How the heck did we miss that obvious hint?

Mona spends most of season two trying to be friends with Aria Montgomery, Emily Fields, and Spencer Hastings, aka Hanna’s other friends. In the “Truth-Up Day” episode, Mona goes as far as to hack into the school computer, collect classified information, and get out without being caught, all to help Emily get back on to the swim team. This should have been a dead giveaway for us all. Mona is supposed to be clueless and Caleb is supposed to be the only tech-savvy person in school. Clearly, that was not true.
At one point, Ashley Marin and Ella Montgomery, Hanna and Aria’s moms, get closer and closer to finding out about “A.” So, Hanna destroys her phone so that no one can see her texts from “A.” And from whom did she get a new phone? Mona Vanderwaal. That’s who. A herself.

Finally, did you ever notice who was never around when the girls got “A” messages? That’s right. Mona! Haven’t noticed? Go back and watch. It’s so obvious it’s painful.

Mona was “A” and it all makes sense now! Mona had moments when it was so easy to believe she was too clueless to be “A.” There were even moments when she was downright likable. And that is what made her the perfect suspect! In the end, (yes, even in 2021) she will always be one of my favorite characters. Sure, she was manipulative, sinister, and a bit psychotic, but she was not heartless. In fact, I believe she had one of the biggest hearts in Rosewood. She was just a broken-hearted girl who never fully recovered from being bullied as a kid. All she wanted was to be loved and accepted by “it girl” Alison DeLaurentis, “cute boy” Noel Kahn, the other girls, and most importantly her best friend—Hanna Marin.

**2021 Thoughts** It’s been over five years since I wrote the bulk of this post. Honestly, it’s not some of my best writing, but it wasn’t really about the writing. It was about Mona Vanderwaal and how obvious it was she was “A.” It was also an appreciation post of sorts. I loved and still love Mona. Maybe I’m biased since I’ve loved Janel Parrish since she starred in Bratz (2007). That’s possible. Or maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for outcasts and psychology. Mona was the ultimate outsider in Pretty Little Liars. And the psychology of her character is fascinating. But whatever the reason, I do love Mona. Even though Pretty Little Liars was ultimately not worth the time and energy I put into it, I do still love Mona. And, I still stand by my belief that Mona being AD in the series finale would’ve been the ultimate twist. She was already A and she did so much to make people believe she had turned over a new leaf. I think it would’ve been brilliant if she had been A. It certainly would’ve been better than the real reveal. Yuck.

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