Warning: Please note that this article is a full recap for Pretty Little Liars Season 5 Episode 12 and therefore contains major spoilers. Please do not scroll down until you have watched the gut-wrenching #FatalFinale — titled “Taking This One To The Grave” — which aired on Tuesday, August 26th on ABC Family!
The episode opens to a chaotic scene. A crime has just been committed by
the George R. R. Martin of the PLL writing staff a murderer and the girls are trying to assess the situation, their faces stricken with grief and disgust. Unfortunately, they don’t have time to process all the shit that just hit the fan because not even a dead body can put a stop to A’s addiction to texting. The bitch sends them an alert basically blaming them for the town’s latest murder. Ugh. So now what? Well, hop into our PLL time machine (that was probably built by Caleb’s magical fireflies) and witness the spine-tingling events that occurred just a mere thirty six hours earlier!
Liar Liar: First up is Alison’s (Sasha Pieterse) lie detector test at the local precinct. With Lucas’ improv skills, the Liars and Mona are able to hack into the police department’s system and steal files from the session. In these video recordings, Ali, “the unofficial” leader of the pack, answers a series of bland questions, including the color of her shirt and her legal name, while Detective Holbrook (Sean Faris) observes her with intrigue. But then things grow interesting! Ali gets asked a lot of q’s about Spencer and her whereabouts the night of the barn sleepover. The interrogator wants to know all about Spencer’s abuse of amphetamines and whether she was desperate to keep her secrets safe. Alison admits that Spencer had a tendency to get angry and emotional while on drugs, but she promised her she wouldn’t say anything. She then sits up a little straighter and her face grows stone cold: “I didn’t have anything to do with Bethany Young’s murder.” The girls shut the laptop and start analyzing everything they just heard, and Mona points out that, although nothing major was revealed, the cops sure seem obsessed with Spencer. Not only that, but after they do some digging on the police database they discover an affidavit that was sent to the district attorney the day after Bethany’s body was dug up: “Spencer Hastings murdered Bethany Young to gain favor with the group’s leader.” WHAT? That spirals everyone into a frenzy! Lucky, before the Liars spontaneously combust from emotional turmoil overload, Mona cools them down with an easy-peasy solution — sneak back into Radley to figure out Ali’s connection to Miss Opposite of Old!
In Mona We Trust: Back at the pristine Vanderwaal home, Mona (Janel Parrish) is jamming to some old-fashioned Parisian lullabies and leisurely reading. Her quiet evening is interrupted by a knock at the door; her mom (Sydney Penny) informs her that she has visitors and the look of delight upon Mona’s face breaks our hearts. (Even her mom looks thrilled — Mona probably doesn’t get too many visitors.) All she’s ever wanted was to belong, and even if she went through some drastic means to get attention, she’s just a young girl with simple dreams and big brains (not cow ones though), trying to make it in this cruel hyper-reality. Anyway, Mona heads downstairs and finds the Liars waiting for her. They need her help! “Because you’re Mona,” Aria explains, pretty much naming her the Chuck Bass of Rosewood. Mona then goes all Chuck Norris on them and is like ‘Let’s get this Delta Force on the Road, ladies!’ She apologizes for taking her Ali frustration out on them (getting branded as the school’s biggest loser by a manipulative bitch takes a toll on a person and then heads upstairs to alert her army that Alison is plotting something big.
Mutiny: Unfortunately for Mona, none of her minions have her back. When she heads to the Brew to meet up with them, only Lucas (Brendan Robinson) shows up. He hesitates to tell her what’s going on because the truth hurts, baby! But he cracks under the pressure and reveals everyone has turned on her so that they can follow “Saint Alison.” Oh, and another thing? They’re calling her Crazy Mona which is as uninspired as it is rude. (Just because someone does a stint at Radley and runs her SUV over her BFF’s legs doesn’t make her psychos!) Mona gathers the girls up to inform them of this tiny change of plans (namely that Ali has gone “full-on socio”) and that the only reason Ali ever befriend them in the first place was to “play” with them like dolls. Spencer is the smart one, Emily is loyal, Hanna is the one who is most admiring, and Aria is compassionate. Unbeknownst to Ali though, her friends are just like little balls of onions — full of layers and wonderfully complex. But they’re freaking out because they can’t exactly backpedal on the whole “kidnapping” story without appearing guilty.
Bad Girl, Good Cop: Spencer kicks off the episode with some sexual seduction and foreplay courtesy of her police-academy-graduate boo. ‘Oh don’t arrest me, Officer, for I’ve been a very naughty girl,’ she coos while fluttering her lashes at Toby (Keegan Allen), who’s looking ultra fine in his uniform and seems excited about being in the dominant position for once. And in case the truck and her affection weren’t enough, she presents him with a shiny pocket watch because #SPOBYFANFICTIONISREAL. Ironically though, Spencer ends the evening with an arrest as well — but this time with real handcuffs (of the non-furry variety) and real Miranda rights read to her. Apparently Detective Holbrook doesn’t understand that coffee hour at the Brew is sacred and interrupts her mid-sip to tell her that she has the right to remain silent. He carts her off to prison for the murder of Bethany Young. And even though her besties rush to her defense, the damage is done and she’ll need Olivia Benson aka Veronica Hastings aka Mama Lawyer to use her legal prowess to free her before she starts rocking doo-rags and sending cock-roaches on cigarette runs! (Honestly though, the only crime this chick is guilty of is destroying all remnants of decaf coffee in the local area.)
The Paily Sun Also Rises: Christmas has come early, sweethearts! Emily wants nothing more than to patch things up with Paige (Lindsey Shaw), but she’s worried that her ex has already moved on to another relationship. Fortunately for Em, Paige forgives her for doubting her intentions and loyalty, and gives meaning to the adage “actions speak louder than words” by planting a sweet kiss upon her fair lady’s lips right in the school hallway. Hooray! And that’s not all — Paige even assist Em into turning her home into a winter wonderland and joins in all the sleuthing activities, too! Upon spotting Alison hanging with a bunch of random people at an isolated barn, Paige realizes her tormentor is building an army comprised solely of Death Eaters and fills Emily in on the latest development in the case of How Bat-shit Crazy is Alison DiLaurentis. (#WhatWouldBatmanDo? More like #WhatWouldMcCullersDo yo!)
Unfaithful: As it turns out, Mrs. Jessica DiLaurentis loved to get down and dirty! Apparently, not only did she have an affair with Spencer’s dad but also with Bethany Young’s dad. She took one look at his handsome old face and was all, ‘He can get it!’ Spencer and Mona stumble upon a recording in which Bethany complains how Ali’s mom is a two-faced street urchin who can’t be trusted. She then ponders aloud whether Alison was at all like her mom — which leads to the girls wondering if Bethany and Ali were acquaintances.
Crash Into Me: After getting irate with Spencer for not showing up to his “po po school graduation” celebration, Toby calls her to find out where she is. Spencer doesn’t want to be like ‘Oh just breaking and entering — you know, the usual’ so she fibs and pisses off Toby. But they agree to still meet up so he jumps into his car and away he goes. Unfortunately, the joy ride comes to a screeching halt when the show borrows a plot twist from Glee Season 3. Toby get distracted by his phone and bada bing bada boom…another vehicle collides into his. Luckily, as we learn when the show flashes forward to Thanksgiving, he’s okay with the exception of a broken leg. Spencer, overcome with guilt, tells the girls she told her wheelchair-bound “bed buddy” everything. (Hopefully Toby has enough cash saved up to pay for his car repairs and that cast!)
Buh Bye, Mona: Many fans suspected that Mona was going to get the boot, but no one wanted to believe it. After all, she’s one and only Vanderjesus of Rosewood. She’s vulnerable yet diabolical, totally geekish yet oh-so-sassy and we adore her as much as Ezra adores pie, vests, and cans of chick peas. Anyway, after figuring out that Ali lured Bethany to town under false pretenses, she calls up Aria to spill the deets. “Alison set her up,” she declares. “She was jealous, and she wanted Bethany dead. Aria, Alison is A. And now I can prove it.” Upon hearing those words, Aria hangs up and grabs Ezra to head over to the Vanderwaal house. Unfortunately for Mona, the Devil wears fancy blonde wigs and has the ability to creep around her house unnoticed. And because this is Rosewood, this wannabe Dark Lord sneaks up on the greatest teen mastermind to ever exist and brutally cuts her up like Edward Scissorhands would an ice sculpture.
Away in a Manger: Later on, during a press conference (which is held BEFORE anyone even bothers to tell her own mother that she’s gone for good), Holbrook confirms that although Mona’s body is missing, the amount of blood smeared across the walls indicates her wounds were fatal. She was MURDERED! Everyone is freaking out, save for Alison who slithers in between cars and smirks as though she’s a citizen from the Capitol watching The Hunger Games for the very first time.And in case that isn’t morbid enough, the disturbed individual responsible for this wicked deed hooded figure heads home to work on a little DIY project: inserting a photo of the four Liars into a snow globe. He/she then heads out to steal the Baby Jesus from Emily’s manger and place it upon Mona’s cold, dead body — all while placing a Nerdy Mona doll into the wee basket because that’s how you pay proper homage to Vanderjesus, son!
That said…..WHY DAMN IT? SHE WAS TOO FABULOUS TO DIE!
What are your thoughts on Mona’s gruesome death? Are you as flabbergasted as we are? Irate? Upset? Spill! Who do you think killed her? And based on the startling information revealed in the Pretty Little Liars #FatalFinale, who is A in your opinion? Let’s take this discussion to the comments, and hugs to you all. May the force of Mona Vanderwaal always be with you.