‘Pretty Little Liars’ Finale Recap: Mona Lives, ‘A’ Is Revealed
Pretty Little Liars finally unmasked A when Spencer, Aria, Hanna and Emily found themselves trapped in an A-made dollhouse with a very much alive Mona in the season 5 finale, “Welcome to the Dollhouse.”
PLL 5×25 Recap
We begin with the girls being transported in a van, supposedly to another prison. Aria (Lucy Hale), Hanna (Ashley Benson), Spencer (Troian Bellisario) and Emily (Shay Mitchell) are all clad in their prison-issued orange jumpsuits, chained together after being arrested as accessories to murder. As to why they’re being transferred to a prison separate from Alison (Sasha Pieterse), they’re not sure, and they won’t get to find out. The van suddenly stops, and thumps are heard before a dark, hooded figure opens the back of the van and shoots in some kind of gas.
When they wake up, they’re in recreations of their bedrooms, with windows that open on concrete walls, empty picture frames and locked doors. The bedrooms are also all equipped with security cameras.
Mona Is Alive
Suddenly, a voice echoes over a loudspeaker, welcoming the girls and asking them to exit their rooms along a lighted path. The doors open automatically, and the girls exit to find themselves in some kind of dark bunker, but at least they’re together. They walk down the dark hallway, past a few metal doors, and into a room at the end. It’s a recreation of Ali’s living room, and, at the piano, sits a blonde wearing an Ali mask and the clothes Ali was wearing when she disappeared. She then takes off her mask to reveal she’s Mona (Janel Parrish)!
They gather for afternoon tea, but Mona refuses to acknowledge them as herself. She’s Alison, she tells them, and she won’t respond to her name. A chime sounds four times, which, according to Mona, means it’s game time. They move into a separate game room, but Hanna isn’t having it. She stands up to Mona and to the camera – there’s five of them and one of “him, her, it bitch!” Before the rest of the girls can stand with her, an endless alarm sounds. It won’t stop until they get into their rooms, Mona/Alison tells them, and they all run off.
In the middle of the night, Mona breaks into Hanna’s room. The generator dies every night for three minutes, like clockwork, so they don’t have much time. She tells the girls that she’s run in every direction, but hasn’t found any means of escape. The only thing she’s found is some kind of locked vault, but she doesn’t know what’s inside. When ‘A’ catches her out of her room when the power comes back on, he/she/it locks her in her room without food or water for days, blasting the alarm and torturing her.
Toby, Ezra And Caleb Bring In The Hastings
As the girls explore their new prison, Toby (Keegan Allen) works tirelessly from the outside to find them. Against Detective Tanner’s orders, Toby goes straight to Spencer’s parents and tells them that the girls have been abducted. Rosewood PD is trying to keep the alleged breakout quiet, so they can’t tell any of the other girls’ families, but Toby needs help. Tanner (Roma Maffia) is convinced that the girls escaped, and she won’t listen to Toby’s theory that they were taken against their will.
The Hastings (Lesley Fera, Nolan North) visit Ali in jail to get answers while Toby heads over to his apartment with Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) and Ezra (Ian Harding). Caleb puts his hacking skills to use to find out what happened to the police van, and ends up picking up a trail from A. A was too smart to be caught on video high jacking the police van, and he/she/it hacked into security cameras, leaving a trail. When Toby takes this information to Tanner, she tells him that she knows about the hack, but she doesn’t think it proves someone took the girls. Instead, she is convinced it was Caleb who hacked into the cameras and helped his girlfriend and her friends escape. In fact, she’s so sure of herself, she’s put out a warrant for his arrest.
In the visitor’s room, Ali appears stunned when she learns what happened to the girls. She can’t tell the Hastings much, because she honestly has no idea where they are, but she does reveal who took them: A. When the Hastings take this information back to the boys, they admit that it’s true, and show them some of the A files Ezra has collected. They’ve combed over them and found nothing, they say, but the Hastings want to look too. Toby warns them that A wasn’t just torturing the girls using their own secrets, A was using the Hastings’ secrets as well. Spencer’s mom declares “no more secrets” and then gets a call from Melissa. She answers, saying, “Melissa, there’s something you should know.” We never hear what exactly Mrs. Hastings tells Melissa, but we do see someone listening in: Andrew Campbell (Brandon Jones)!
With the Hastings now in the loop, Mr. Hastings goes with Caleb to the police station to act as his lawyer. The two of them, and Toby, are able to somehow convince Tanner that they aren’t responsible for the girls’ escape. Moreover, they get Tanner to agree to let Caleb track A’s hack. Using police software, Caleb is able to find the police van, and track it to the Campbell Farm, where the girls used to go apple picking when they were little.
The police search the farm and, though they don’t find any trace of A or the girls, they do find A’s lair, complete with security monitors that play footage of the Dollhouse. They see the girls trapped in their bedrooms, but it doesn’t seem to be playing live footage. It might not help them find the girls yet, but at least Tanner is convinced they’ve really been taken.
Charles DiLaurentis Is A
In the dollhouse, the girls receive invites to a Prom, and are taken to a huge empty warehouse where they are to throw the perfect dance. Spencer and Emily are on the decorating committee, Aria is on music, Hanna is on food and Mona/Ali is in charge of the ballots for Prom Queen. Realizing they have to play along, Spencer talks about ideas for creating a grand entrance for Ali, requiring fabrics and steel rods, lights on a timer and other electronic devices that could be used to fashion some kind of EMP, that could theoretically shut down the power long enough for them to get out of the Dollhouse prison, and at least get them into the mysterious vault. Meanwhile, Mona receives a gift from A – a gas mask – that none of the others receive, but so far, there hasn’t been any use for it.
The girls come up with their master plan, continuing to put on acts for the cameras, and Spencer realizes that A’s name must be Charles after seeing block letters lying around A’s game room. The blocks were out of order, but Spencer was able to arrange them in her head. Whoever is holding them, he must be named Charles, and for some reason, he’s obsessed with the idea of Prom. After reading the invites, Spencer also realizes that Charles isn’t just desperate to recreate any Prom, he is obsessed with the Night of the Opera themed prom that Melissa went to with Ian when she was a senior in high school.
When they arrive at the Prom, all dressed up and glamed out, the warehouse is full of dressed up mannequins, all wearing masks. After Ali/Mona makes her big entrance, the girls make their move. They turn to look out at the crowd and invite Charles to join them. They want to crown him Prom King, they say. A male figure, still masked, moves out form the sea of mannequins, and, as soon as he steps forward, Aria hits a button that sets off the EMP. With the power out, the girls run and make their way to the vault, where Spencer finds a sweet room decorated with family photos and an old projection set up. A home movie plays: it’s Mrs. DiLaurentis (Andrea Parker) and two blonde boys at the Campbell Farm. She holds baby Alison and the boys run around her. One boy leans down to kiss Ali, and Mrs. D reveals that Charles is Ali’s brother! (And, if he really is Jason’s twin brother, then he’s Spencer’s brother as well!)
“This is not at all what I thought it would be. A has a soul,” Mona says when she sees the room.
The girls run until they reach the outside, only to find themselves fenced in a small clearing. They rush to the fence, determined to climb it, when the electricity comes back on and Spencer yells at them to stop. The fence is electrified – they are stuck. Even if they had gotten out, there’s nowhere for them to go. The camera zoomed up and out, showing that the Dollhouse/dungeon is in the middle of a huge forest of dense trees.
And, that’s the end of Pretty Little Liars’ fifth season!
Who Is Charles?
Charles DiLaurentis is Jason and Ali’s brother. The boys on the home video looked to be about the same age, so many assume Charles and Jason are actually twins, which would make Charles also Spencer’s half brother. This, of course, begs the question, where did Charles disappear to all this time? And why don’t Jason or Ali seem to know of his existence?
— I. Marlene King (@imarleneking) March 25, 2015
Moreover, who is Charles? Pretty Little Liars showrunner Marlene King has hinted that Charles is actually a character we’ve seen before, and, based on the finale, all signs are pointing to Andrew Campbell (yes, Campbell like the farm!). Andrew is blonde (check), male (check), genius (check) and creepy (double check).
— I. Marlene King (@imarleneking) March 25, 2015
Pretty Little Liars returns for season 6 in the summer on ABC Family.
5 years… FIVE FREAKING YEARS OF MY LIFE IVE NEVER GIVEN UP ON PLL AND WHEN THEY TELL US WHO “A” IS I DONT EVEN KNOW WHO IT IS #PLLFinale
— andyyy ❁ (@dreaandrea_) March 25, 2015
— Pretty Little Liars (@PLLheadA) March 25, 2015
— Kat041113 (@ohrlypls) March 25, 2015