After seven seasons of plot twists and turns, reveals and mysteries, “Pretty Little Liars” comes to a heartbreaking, (nearly) brilliant, satisfying end of its series – for now.
Attention: Spoilers ahead!
After the Liars have put up with the latest product of the Evil-A-machinery and (kind of) concluded the game A.D. made for them, the two-hour-finale seems at first rather insignificant. Obviously, the finale is set to unmask the Liars’ torturer A.D., but the episode is not really framed into an overall storyline – it rather serves as the missing puzzle piece which ends dozens of minor or forgotten plotlines. But does it really complete the puzzle and solve all the mysteries?
The episode starts with Mona imagining an absurd scenario of the girls “missing” A. Knowing that up until now, season 7B of “Pretty Little Liars” has already shown a fair amount of dream sequences, this stylistic move was not not a surprise and therefore uneffective. Instead of just diving into the episode, it left a numb feeling at the start.
Then, the first third of the episode does not truly impress. Even when every viewer wants to see his or her favorite character happy and in love, the major question at hand is still: Who is A.D.? Thereby, it becomes difficult to focus on the romance when you actually want to find out the mystery. Slowly, but surely, the plot-decisions become clear: Without diving generally into each couples’ love life, it would have seemed odd to explicitly point out Toby and Spencer’s newly awakened romance; without a life-changing event – like Aria not being able to conceive – creating a conflict disrupting the pre-wedding bliss, Ezra missing out on the wedding would have lead to an immediate reaction. Even though it is interesting to construct the plotlines according to this scheme, it becomes too transparent for the viewer who soon previews the big A.D. reveal.
But: The A.D. reveal in itself was pretty spectacular and classic. A stereotype, but so well-reproduced and acted out that it made all those years of theorizing and plotting and thinking worth it. After having been hit on the head, Spencer wakes up and scrutinizes her reflection – until the Spencer in the glass does not follow her movement anymore. The viewer meets hereby Spencer’s twin, alias A.D., aka Alex Drake.
What follows is a rollercoaster ride which even for its characteristic speed seems way too rushed. Alex’s story gets told in a few flashbacks, with the help of an exaggerated British accent and her loud and dry laughs. Proportional to her role as the main Baddie in the series, the amount of time spent on her story of becoming the Liars’ torturer is way too little. But the story must go on and no Psycho gets less crazy over time: Alex becomes leatherier with every passing second.
The scenes switch from a sad, but slowly worrying Aria with her entourage to a dollhouse scenery 2.0 presenting us with two of its finest exemplary: Spencer and Ezra. As Ezra is the only (unknowing of it) witness of Alex’s existence – when he saw “Spencer” with Wren at the airport – it makes him the N°1 target for Spencer’s doppelgänger. Now, there is no way to stop the madness, even Mary gets pushed (in this case hit) out of the way by Alex who wants to end the twinning once and for all and make the evidence of her existence disappear. But no one ends Spencer that simply, thus the twins end up being intertwined in a fight, when the whole squad finds them and is as confused as the viewer. Who’s who?
Toby gives the viewer the answer for that: the smarter and more versatile one is Spencer. After this intense action, the episode nears its end with Ezra and Arias wedding – including a horrible joke of creator I. Marlene King –, takes a brilliant and stunning twist which seems to end on a high-note, but ruins it all with a marketing gag in order to open up the possibility of continuing or making a revival of “Pretty Little Liars”.
To conclude, the series finale of “Pretty Little Liars” presents the viewer with a plausible, believable and well-played and –constructed answer to “Who is A.D.?”, but stretches the romantic elements too much which somehow numbs the ultimate episode. Many loose ends, for example how the moms got out of the basement, are being brought back and get completed, though the cameos of King and her family appear rather ridiculous, than hilarious.
The viewers will surely miss the Pretty Little Liars who said a bittersweet Goodbye right before the end of the episode, shedding tears that for sure were no lies at all.