How the Rooms Change the Game on Pretty Little Liars
Can the Liars Emerge from the “A”-Trap?
Here we are in season six of Pretty Little Liars. Did you ever think we’d get here? That we would FINALLY know who ‘A’ is? Or that who he is would be so irrelevant?
I mean, yes, he’s a DiLaurentis/Hastings (assuming PLL doesn’t go all soapy and go the fraternal twins with different fathers route). Great. He’s not someone I’ve invested in and his motivation is obvious – he thinks he was thrown over for baby sister, Alison. That’s probably not true. Like most of you, I think Charles mental illness became dangerous and he was a patient at Radley. But, it’s too late, Marlene. I don’t care about “A” anymore.
What’s always been PLL’s saving grace, what makes its fans love it despite plots that twist and turn but never fully pay off, is the friendship between the Liars. And now that the “A” storyline has run its course (really, Marlene, it’s done), it’s time to restore Pretty Little Liars to its glory days as it enters its last two seasons. We need a new mystery to bring the Liars together and Charles gives us that: what happened to the Liars in the house that Charles built? And what does it mean for them going forward?
It’s the beginning of the end, fellow PLL fans, and here’s the way I think the Liars should move out of the “A” shadow to tell their own stories. (No spoilers, just speculation ahead.)
What happens next is directly tied to what happened to the Liars in their rooms. Pretty Little Liars has spent the past several seasons proving that the girls could change; the Liars aren’t the same people who let Ali boss them around, who stood by while Jenna was blinded. Charles seems to disagree and he forces the Liars into the uniforms of the girls they used to be and separates them for three weeks. Could staring at the reflection of the girls they were embarrassed to admit they were be their breaking point? The Liars have always drawn strength from each other, will being alone on this torturous journey be too much for them to handle?
More than any of the other Liars, Spencer depends on “A” for her identity. The “A” mysteries have given Spencer love, taught her loyalty and ended her rivalry with Melissa (somewhat). She’s the leader of the Liars, more than Ali ever was.
Inside that room, Charles shoved Spencer into the clothing of the insecure girl who never wanted to be second best at anything.
“Melissa risked everything to save you,” Charles would remind her. “What did you do for her? Steal her boyfriends. Get her baby killed. Think about turning her into the police.”
“Where would you go if you managed to get out of this room,” he’d ask. “Your sleuthing broke your house, there’s no one home.”
“Are you going to ruin Toby’s career the way you ruined your parents’ marriage?” Charles would question. “He’ll no more choose you over the Rosewood PD than any of those Ivy school that wait-listed you.”
“Without “A,” what will Emily, Aria and Hanna need you for,” he taunted. “Not even homework help, now that Hanna got into more schools than you did.”
And she fought it, stayed strong enough to get the Liars out, because that is what Spencer does. She defeats “A,” she saves the team.
Without “A,” she sees that Charles was right. Her parents are still getting divorced. Melissa’s moving on. The girls go away to different schools, make new friends who don’t cringe when the text alert goes off on their phone. Toby decides he wants to be a detective. And Spencer feels alone again, easily defeated by Charles, turning back into that girl who begged Ali to rig results for student council and popped pills to study more.
Season six and seven become about saving Spencer, instead of waiting for Spencer to save the Liars. Are they strong enough to do it?
Aria has probably changed the least, of all the Liars. Maybe because “A” has given her a pass when he doles out punishments or maybe it’s just her nature, but Aria is still all about what she wanted in season one. Mainly, Ezra, a writing career and her family together. After Spencer gets them out of the forest lair, Aria finds her parents reconciling and Ezra waiting with open arms. Charles putting pink streaks in her hair, lights a fire under her to embrace her inner artist and be that writer she always wanted to be, to live her dreams. So she journals and eventually decides to mix business with pleasure and tell the story of “A” and the Liars using her feelings and Ezra’s detailed research logs from his days as fulltime boyfriend, part-time stalker. It’ll be a huge success and spin-off into a television series, maybe one day even a movie. She just has to get the Liars together to sign off and agree to do press for the book. Aria never considers the other girls wanting to keep Charles, “A,” and the mysteries of the room secret.
Hanna’s the most emotional of the Liars and whatever Charles does to her in that room centers on it. He threatens her mother, her friends and Caleb. Whatever Charles does, she wont speak of it for fear of losing the people she loves.
Being Hanna, she decides to stay close to home for college, to keep an eye on her mom. She protects Caleb right into a healthy relationship, with a proposal looming. Her friends, well, Aria’s trying to sell them out and Spencer’s a mess, but she keeps in touch with Emily.
When Aria’s tell all leads to new “A” shenanigans, and Spencer falling further into despair, she’s has to decide if saving Team Liars is worth talking about what happened in the room, telling the secret that Charles has convinced her he has on her, which could destroy the happy life she has.
Remember when Emily was the weakest link? Charles thinks it will be easy to torture Emily in that room, but he’s wrong. Nothing he says resonates. She’s been tortured the most; from dead girlfriends to dealing with her family’s reaction to her sexuality to losing her scholarships for swim, Emily knows she can survive the worst.
She gets through college with a good GPA and a degree in social work and psychology. She’s the first Liar to realize Spencer needs help pulling herself out of the spiral Charles set them in and the one with the strongest grip.
What do you think is next for the Liars? Are we finally done with “A”? What do you think happened to the Liars in their rooms? Will it be the new “A”, haunting them throughout season six and seven? Can PLL get past “A”? Tell us how you want it to end.