We Finally Understand The Pretty Little Liars Ending

It's hard to believe Pretty Little Liars ended in 2017; it seems like just yesterday we were unable to sleep, trying to piece together how exactly the show's big twist all came together. That's because it was yesterday. Seriously, it's been keeping us up at night.


Fans of the Freeform series became embroiled in the show's whiplash-inducing twists, trying to get to the bottom of who "A," and then "A.D." really was. Even now, years after the curtain closed on Pretty Little Liars for good and the stars have moved on, it's hard to fully understand how the ending came together. Luckily, after several watch-throughs of the series, we've finally wrapped our heads around the turn of events we all should have seen coming.

Looking back, the Pretty Little Liars plot was incredibly simple when the show first started airing. After the season two finale, Mona, Hanna's once-best friend, was revealed to be the vindictive mind behind "A." After that, though, things started getting much more complicated. 


For seasons three through six, Alison DiLaurentis' sister/cousin, Charlotte (born Charles DiLaurentis) was "Big A," the second iteration of the show's lethal cyberbully. When Charlotte was ultimately killed at the end of season six, the Liars should have finally been safe. But in this world, there's always an "A" waiting to fill the void left by their predecessor.

Fans had some pretty wild theories over the seasons

Pretty Little Liars was filled with enough twists and turns to give even the most astute viewers a headache, but the mystery surrounding the show is undoubtedly what kept viewers coming back each and every week. As pieces of the puzzle started coming together, fans started theorizing who could be the elusive "A" that has been tormenting the Liars all these years — and the theories were pretty wild. 


One of the most prevalent theories throughout the show, even after the actual culprits were revealed, was that Aria was somehow involved. A popular Tumblr post provides an extremely detailed breakdown of just how this theory works, and it's hard to argue against. In fact, if we didn't know how it actually did end, we might be first-class passengers on the "Aria is A" train. 

For a time, fans also thought that Lucas, Hanna's friend and former-victim of Alison's bullying, was A. It was even revealed early on that he was helping Mona when she was in charge. Another Tumblr post outlines how it all works. 

Bustle reported on several other plausible theories. They range from speculating that Wren or Ezra is A.D. to the entire thing being a delusion in Aria's head. All of these theories sound insane, but once the evidence is laid out in front of you, it's easy to see how they could potentially work. The endless speculation fueled fan discussions for years as they rewatched the series over and over again trying to pick out the most minuscule details that could provide them with the truth, once and for all. 


As it turns out, they should have been paying more attention to the stars' interviews leading up to the show. According to Entertainment Weekly, Troian Bellisario literally always said, "It's me!" when asked who "A.D." was, but no one believed her.

A.D. couldn't have been anyone else

In the series' last season, "A" became "A.D." and the messy family tree revealed in the Charlotte DiLaurentis-era got a whole lot messier. You see, "A.D." was Alex Drake, Spencer Hastings' long-lost twin sister who was bent on avenging the death of her friend, Charlotte. Throughout the last season, the theory that Spencer had a twin gained traction (via The Hollywood Reporter), and for good reason, considering it was right. 


According to The Hollywood Reportershowrunner I. Marlene King said after the finale that "A.D." simply had to be Spencer's twin. She revealed, "A.D. really needs to be someone who's a series regular, and fans were always wanting it to be one of the girls. [W]e love twins on this show and making it a twin of a PLL is sort of having your cake and getting to eat it too."  

Given how intertwined Spencer and Alison's families turned out to be — Spencer's dad was Alison's brother's real father and Spencer's biological mom was actually Alison's aunt — the final piece of the puzzle makes a ton of sense. Even as the show solved mystery after mystery, viewers were always left feeling like something was missing. Spencer's tormented twin sister tied up all those loose ends.


It's hard to follow, we know. Luckily, there are ways you can see how the finale came together yourself.