Summary

  • Alison’s disappearance and the identity of “A” create fear, enemies, and gripping twists in Pretty Little Liars.
  • Mona helps Alison disappear, showing her manipulative nature and increasing her own social status.
  • Alison’s return to Rosewood stirs up anger and uncertainty among her friends, and her relationship with Emily becomes complicated.


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One of the key mysteries of Pretty Little Liars is what happened to Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse) and why she left Rosewood in the first place. She is considered the ‘Queen Bee’ of her small town and is known for being a mean character who takes pride in knowing her best friends’ secrets and sharing them at awkward times. In the pilot, it appears that Alison has been murdered, but when it is revealed in season 3, episode 24 “A DAngerous GAme”, that this isn’t true, there are questions surrounding where she has been and what she has been doing.

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Throughout the show’s seven seasons, there are hints and clues about the identity of the person who has been stalking the main characters, and many people are “A” throughout Pretty Little Liars. While the dangerous threat of “A” is why Ali disappears and why her friends are frightened by the situation that they are in, they end up making even more enemies along the way. Ali’s character arc is one of the most thought-provoking parts of the popular teen series and the twists and turns make for a gripping story.

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Mona Helps Ali Disappear After Her Mother Buried Her Alive

Mona smiling on Pretty Little Liars

In season 4, episode 24, “A Is For Answers,” Ali explains to her friends in New York City that Mona Vanderwaal (Janel Parrish) helped her leave Rosewood. The night that the girls have a sleepover, which is shared through flashbacks in the pilot, Ali’s mother, Jessica (Andrea Parker), knocks her out with a rock and buries her. While she is eventually rescued by Mrs. Grunwald (Meg Foster), it is Mona who convinces Ali to hide at the Lost Woods resort, create the alias Vivian Darkbloom, and leave Rosewood.

While this was quite a shocking scene initially – especially since Mona is revealed to be “A” in the season 2 episode “UnmAsked” – it did make a lot of sense as helping Alison disappear showed why Mona was able to increase her social status and get closer to the Liars. This detail also emphasizes how emotionally manipulative Mona can be, as she realizes that Alison is in a vulnerable position and uses her fear of being killed to her advantage.

Bethany Young Was Buried Alive, Not Ali

Bethany Young smiling on Pretty Little Liars

Although Alison was revealed to be alive, the viewers soon learned that a murder did take place on that night as Spencer Hastings’s (Troian Bellisario) older sister, Melissa (Torrey Devitto), shares that she buried Bethany Young (Jessica Belkin) alive after she thought that Spencer murdered Ali. Not only was this one of Pretty Little Liars’ shocking plot twist, but it was also key in CeCe Drake’s arc (Vanessa Ray) as the two met at Radley Sanitarium together, where Bethany eventually escaped after stealing her identity (as she wanted to punish Ali and CeCe’s mother, Jessica, for secretly dating Bethany’s father).

Why Pretty Little Liars Made It Appear That Ali Was A

When Ali shares why she ran away at the end of season 4, this is a shock; the other characters had assumed that Ali was “A”. Since Ali was also seen to bully her friends (and many other students before leaving Rosewood), it also made sense that she would be “A” as every text message that the Pretty Little Liars characters get focuses on a dark secret that they don’t want anyone finding out (but Ali was often aware of). Although the show’s red herrings could be frustrating, this is a clever one that makes for a better viewing experience.

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Ali Returns To Rosewood In Season 5

An image of Alison Dilaurentis smiling in Pretty Little Liars

Ali returns to Rosewood in season 5, episode 2, “Whirly Girl.” She lies to the police that she was kidnapped and held prisoner for two years. The questionable Rosewood police department doesn’t appear concerned about Ali’s well-being. While Ali’s friends are upset that she is asking them to withhold the truth, Ali later says that she doesn’t want the police to know that Aria killed Shana Fring (Aeriél Miranda) – a minor PLL villain. Since an “A Team” member texted Ali that they would share this information if she wasn’t careful, Ali took this threat seriously, attempting to be a good friend.

Ali’s friends are angry at her return, as they have become stronger and more confident in her absence, and they don’t like that she wants to take control of their lives the way that she always did. If she didn’t want them to lie and cover up that she actually left out of her own volition, they might welcome her with warmth. Instead, Aria, Spencer, and Hanna are unsure if Ali is still playing games.

Ali and Emily’s Pretty Little Liars relationship is another compelling part of her return. Because Emily had romantic feelings for Ali for years, she wants to go along with Ali’s plans. Once Ali makes it clear that she loves and misses her friends, and once everyone realizes that “A.D.”, who ends up being Alex Drake (also played by Bellisario), is the real threat, the characters work as a team. While Emily and Ali’s romance is moving and Ali grows, she never fully explains where she hid for two years, which is a thread that Pretty Little Liars left hanging.

Pretty Little Liars and the spinoff series Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin are also available to stream on Max.

  • Pretty Little Liars Poster

    Pretty Little Liars

    Release Date:
    2010-06-08

    Cast:
    Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Holly Marie Combs, Lucy Hale, Bianca Lawson, Laura Leighton, Chad Lowe, Shay Mitchell, Nia Peeples, Ian Harding

    Genres:
    Drama, Mystery

    Rating:
    TV-14

    Seasons:
    7

    Writers:
    Ina Marlene King

    Franchise(s):
    Pretty Little Liars

    Showrunner:
    Ina Marlene King

    Story By:
    Sara Shepard

    Network:
    ABC, Freeform

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