After everything Alison and Mona have done in seven seasons of Pretty Little Liars, is it possible for them to achieve redemption in the final episodes?
One thing is already very clear in Pretty Little Liars season 7B. Alison Dilaurentis and Mona Vanderwaal still have a long way to go before the series ends. They may not see eye to eye on much, but they do actually have quite a bit in common. They’re both insanely intelligent, they’ll both do whatever it takes to get what they want, and most of all, they both just can’t seem to earn the complete trust of the Liars, no matter what they do.
Can we blame the Liars for keeping them at arm’s length? No. We can not. Mona basically tortured them for years, and Alison, at the very least, manipulated them and lied to them, both before and after her disappearance. Hanna, Spencer, Aria, and Emily are definitely allowed to take their sweet time to forgive both of these girls. In fact, if Pretty Little Liars was anything like real life, they would never be expected to forgive them, at all.
Even we, as an audience, don’t really know if we can trust them. Since their motivations are rarely clear, it seems like they’ve been walking the line between good and bad for ages. One moment we think they’re all aboard team Liars, and then they do something that makes us question everything, all over again. Throughout the seasons of Pretty Little Liars, we’ve been conditioned to doubt them, just as the Liars have.
Of course, making complicated choices and having tangled motives aren’t necessarily undesirable traits for a Pretty Little Liars character. There are countless characters with confusing motives. In fact, we’ve suspected almost everyone at one point or another, including the Liars themselves! With Alison and Mona, though, things are a little bit trickier than with the Wrens and Mary Drakes of the world.
We see so much of these girls, and they’ve worked so closely with the core four, that fans have grown to love them just as much as the original girls. We’ve seen enough of their good sides that we desperately want them to succeed. We want to see them take their place in the group of Liars, and become a true part of the strong bond that they share. We want this so badly, that we’ve even begun to develop certain expectations for them.
With Alison, a lot of those expectations are based around her relationship with Emily. Given our proximity to the end of the series, Emily has a strange amount of romantic options on the table, but many fans still view Alison as her true love.
So far, Emison has been the slow burn relationship of the century. They’ve kissed maybe five times, spanning from season 1 to season 7, had a couple steamy sleepovers, and…that’s really it. Their slow development really comes down to two things: Alison’s reluctance to admit her feelings and the fact that Emily still doesn’t completely trust Ali.
Well, the good news for Emison shippers, is that the first one might finally be changing. Now that Emily, Alison and Paige are all working together, Alison is forced to confront her feelings every single day, and she doesn’t like that her competition is also so close. The bad news, is that this is also bringing out a very manipulative side of Alison which we haven’t seen in a while.
Ever since Alison returned, the girls haven’t known if she was still the same girl who blinded Jenna, teased Mona, and manipulated them, or if her experience had changed her. When she lied to the police and worked with Cyrus behind their backs, it seemed to confirm the worst. Then, when she lost her mom, her sister, and her husband, that all went away. Nobody was sure exactly who Alison was, but she seemed like a much more mature and sweeter person than ever before.
Now, with only a handful of Pretty Little Liars episodes left, that’s being unraveled! After everything that she’s lost and with her pregnancy on top of that, Alison is back to her old harsh and vindictive self. Alison may have earned her spot in the opening credits, but she still has a long way to go to regain her place with the Liars, so this is not a good step.
If we ever want to see a strong, healthy, Emison endgame, we first need to see a more kind and stable Alison. Yes, she’s going through a lot right now, but we just can’t see it working out while she’s in this place.
She needs to be the friend that the Liars need her to be before she can be the girlfriend that Emily needs her to be, so she has a lot of work to do in the next few episodes of Pretty Little Liars. She needs to show that she has been changed by her experiences, and that this is just a momentary lapse in judgement, caused by her jealousy, confusion, and love for Emily.
With Mona, we just want to know that she’s gotten better, and that she’s on the good side, once and for all. Her past with the Liars has obviously been a rocky one, especially since she kept working for Red Coat after her time in Radley, but since then, she’s helped them a lot.
Even though she hasn’t been victimized as much as the other girls, she needs to solve the mystery of A just as badly. She started the game and they stole it from her. While the other girls left during Charlotte’s confession, Mona needed to stay for the entire thing. She needs the answers because that’s the kind of person that she is, but also because there has to be a part of her that feels guilty.
Mona planned to fake her own death to expose A, she suffered alongside the Liars in the dollhouse, and has helped them with her time, intel, and resources ever since. She even helped cover up Rollins’ murder without being asked.
It’s been ages since Mona actually did something to hurt the Liars, but her intelligence and the fact that she always has her own side projects (which we don’t even blame her for. The Liars really just slow her down) cause the Liars to always be suspicious of her. Hanna summed it up perfectly when Mona asked if she trusted her, and she answered with, “sometimes.” Mona then did something completely altruistic, and Hanna accused her of sabotage! Story of Mona’s life.
It’s no secret that Vandermarin is a big part of why we need Mona’s redemption so badly. Yes, we want to see her solve the mystery, have a great career, and maybe even rekindle her relationship with Mike, but her friendship with Hanna is what she’s always cared about most. She still always shows up when Hanna needs her, even though Hanna ignores her most of the time. We desperately need these two to be besties again!
Because Mona’s closest tie is to Hanna, Hanna’s complete forgiveness is the make or break factor to Mona’s redemption. At this point, there’s probably nothing that Mona can do to help that will change the Liars’ minds about her. She’s already helped so much that she would already have their forgiveness if it was possible to earn it that way. Through their work on Hanna’s fashion line, Mona will need to prove to her that she’s still a person that’s worth being friends with. Vandermarin will be the key!
So, we have Alison, the original leader who recently returned to her manipulative ways, and we have Mona, the original A who’s now one of the girls’ most valuable helpers. They’ve had very different arcs, but they’re equally on the fringe of the Liars. Alison had a spot, and slowly lost it, while Mona has slowly been trying to earn her way in.
Pretty Little Liars has a lot to accomplish in its final season, but the redemption of Alison Dilaurentis and Mona Vanderwaal should be a top priority. They’ve been on the sidelines for too long, and we need to see them take their rightful place with the Liars. Can they get there in the few remaining episodes of Pretty Little Liars? We sure hope so.