7:00 pm EDT, June 28, 2017

‘Pretty Little Liars’ ending explained: Breaking down the biggest reveal

We’re discussing that big reveal from the Pretty Little Liars series finale to explain the ending. The good, the bad, and the not-so-pretty.

The Pretty Little Liars ending didn’t give us all the answers we needed (mostly because that would have been impossible), but it did deliver on its promise for some closure. Most importantly, we discovered the identity of A.D., the entity who’s most recently been torturing the Liars.

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Read on as we explain everything that we loved and hated about the ending’s big reveal, and let us know what you thought, in the comments.

Once and for all, A.D. is revealed

pretty little liars, spencer hastings, mary drake

Actually, A.D. was “revealed” a few times in the series finale of Pretty Little Liars.

A.D. was first revealed to be Melissa Hastings who, somehow, actually had nothing to do with A.D. despite everyone around her being so intimately involved! After a few, blissful moments of believing that Lady N.A.T. was the big bad, the literal mask came off, revealing Mona Vanderwaal.

Mona is many things, but A.D. is not one of them. Mona did actually join the A team for a while, though, hoping it would help her to discover A.D.’s true identity.

Finally, after more anticipation than we knew we could handle, we got the real reveal.

Pretty Little Liars fans found out A.D.’s identity along with Spencer. However, if you’ve been among the die-hard “Twincer” theorists, it was more of a confirmation than a reveal, since they’ve been planting the clues for quite some time.

Even though it was predictable, the actual reveal was deliciously creepy, with Spencer thinking she was seeing her reflection, only to realize it was another person! Alex Drake, to be exact, her twin sister. And if the term “evil twin” was ever applicable, this is the time.


Since Veronica and Peter Hastings had already driven away toward their house down the block by the time baby Alex was born, Radley had no choice but to send her to adoptive parents in England. Yet another example of the fine work that establishment has always been known for.

When Alex was very young, she started exhibiting signs of “trouble,” so her new parents took her to an orphanage and stripped her of their last name. These guys sound like they would fit right in around Rosewood!

Mary Drake, being among the few people to even know of Alex’s existence, had been under the impression that she was dead up until a few weeks prior to the finale. Alex had Mona broke Mary out of jail, only to put her into Alex’s own containment cell where she also housed Spencer, and later Ezra, for the majority of the Pretty Little Liars series finale.

From what we saw, Alex seemed to be doing okay in England (meaning she had a job and could obviously afford to not be stingy with the eyeliner, at the very least) when a very confused Wren Kingston wandered into her bar. Once he finally wrapped his head around the fact that she was not Spencer, he told her all about her family, including both Spencer and Charlotte, and they fell in love. Yeah, Wren definitely has a type.

pretty little liars, cece drake, vivian darkbloom

Wren orchestrated an introduction between Charlotte and Alex, and they became fast friends. Also, on her way to meet her sister, Charlotte met Archer, and they fell in love, too! This two minute explanation from Alex could easily have been its own series.

When Charlotte left London to go back to Rosewood to play the game, she promised Alex she would come back. Unfortunately, Mona made that rather difficult for her to do when, you know, she killed her. Hence, Alex became A.D. to avenge her sister’s death, and the Liar’s Lament was born.

Already Alex has built an incredibly high tech and complex lair, and an impossibly intricate board game. How? Well, Charlotte left Alex everything, and apparently “the Carissimi Group” was just the tip of the iceberg. We’re just supposed to accept that it came down to a ridiculous amount of disposable income and the fact that she shares Spencer’s genes.

On her quest to discover who killed Charlotte, Alex had to step into Spencer’s shoes a few times. She impersonated Spencer with both Hanna and Toby, and she kind of liked it. So much so that it was Alex who shot Spencer at the blind school! Unfortunately, that pesky Mary Drake stepped in to save the day.

When the game ended and Mona revealed herself as Charlotte’s killer, Alex still wasn’t quite satisfied. Actually, she seemed to have abandoned her original game entirely because although Alex sent Wren to kill Mona, she eventually let Mona join the A team! Her whole scheme had been to reveal the killer and get justice, and then she allowed Mona to join the inner circle. Great.

pretty little liars, mona vanderwaal

After telling Spencer what she’d done and why, Alex basically announced her intentions to take over her life, both because she was jealous that Spencer had everything (the friends, the Toby, the rich parents, oh my!) and because she’d begun to fall for Toby.

Oh yeah, she also super casually announced that she killed Wren and had his ashes formed into a necklace. Because “diamonds are forever.”

Pretty Little Liars fans have been theorizing that Wren was A since season 1, so it’s cool that he was so involved in the series finale, even if he ended up being just as much a victim as the Liars. Would it have been way cooler and more satisfying if his intentions had been secretly malicious from the start? Yes. But technically A.D. was formed because of him, so it’s borderline satisfying for “Wren is A” theorists.

This is where everyone else comes in! While the audience and Spencer were discovering A.D.’s identity, the other Liars, as they so often are, were completely oblivious.

Ezra was the first to figure her out, and he got thrown into Alex’s lair for it. Next was Spencer’s horse, who luckily managed to escape the same fate due to being large and having hooves. Finally, Jenna Marshall, of all people, literally sniffed out the Twincer in the room.

We already knew that Jenna had been helping A.D., but Alex revealed it was because she gave her the money to get another eye surgery (which failed, yet again).

It’s actually nice that Jenna came out on the good side, or at least neutral, in the Pretty Little Liars series finale. Yes, she helped A.D., but it was to regain her eyesight which, technically, the Liars took from her. Also, she was pretty badass against Addison and, in the end, she helped the Liars save Spencer by calling Toby.

pretty little liars 7x20, spencer hastings, alex drake, jenna marshall

Oh, Toby…the man who slept with Twincer/Alex, and in the end, only realized Spencer had a twin because her book didn’t have any notes in it. If the audience could so plainly see that Spencer was acting out of character in those moments, you’d think the love of her life would’ve been able to tell, but alas, no. In the end, it was the book (and really it was Jenna).

The fact (which we’re all going to have to accept) that he didn’t know makes us really sad for him. He went through so much with Yvonne and was completely taken advantage of by Alex. Not to mention all those moments that he thought he had with Spencer were fake.

When Toby showed up to inform the Liars about the inconsistencies in the book, everyone was like, “OMG Spencer must have a twin!” With the help of some quick tech, convenient intel, and Mona Vanderwaal saving the day one last time, they found Alex’s lair under the house that Toby built. After a stressful scene in which Alex perfectly portrayed Spencer and nobody knew who to shoot, they took her down.

pretty little liars 7x20, series finale, spencer hastings, alex drake, emison baby

The reveal was really great for a few reasons. For one, it was definitely possible to predict from even a full year before the finale. While it’s nice to be surprised, the last thing that Pretty Little Liars fans wanted was for the reveal to come too far out of left field. It needed to make sense, and for the most part, it did. It also tied in well with the Charlotte storyline, keeping the A game continuous.

Another thing that made the reveal worthy was that Alex Drake is an awesome character and Troian Bellisario is a queen. It was so fun and exciting to hear about everything she’d done because she was so exciting and fun and crazy. The scene in which she made Wren shoot her left us dumbfounded!

Unfortunately, there are also a few reasons why the A.D. reveal was less than satisfying. The biggest one being that, in the end, the impact was limited to Spencer. After everything the Liars had been through, it all came down to only one of them being in danger, and only one of them being fully relevant to the reveal. It made the things that happened to the other Liars throughout the course of the game feel trivial.

For example, impregnating Alison. What the hell did that have to do with either finding Charlotte’s killer or stealing Spencer’s life? Potentially the only motive was to pass on Wren’s genes, but why wouldn’t Alex just impregnate herself, if that was the goal? Also, sabotaging Hanna’s career. Why would Alex do that to someone she wanted to befriend?

The Alex reveal happening after the Charlotte reveal somewhat limits the scope of the entire story (following season 2) to the Dilaurentis/Drakes, with Aria, Emily and Hanna being collateral damage. It would’ve perhaps been better if A.D. had been someone whom the Liars had all wronged.

pretty little liars 7x20

Alex’s reasons also could’ve been more comprehensive. As Pretty Little Liars fans, we couldn’t really appreciate how difficult her past had been, if it was at all. The revelations that she was falling in love with Toby and wanted the Liars to be her friends felt a little thin. If she had actually been in love with Aria, explaining why she sabotaged her wedding and let her on the A team, it might’ve changed things!

Another disappointing part of the reveal was that so many questions were left unanswered. We still know so little about Charlotte, Sara Harvey the N.A.T. club, and countless other loose ends, following the Pretty Little Liars series finale. The main story lines were tied up, but there are still plenty of plot holes.

The final part of Alex’s story and the A.D. reveal came courtesy of Mona. It turns out Mona did save the day by having Alex taken away, but it wasn’t because she called the cops (nothing good ever comes from calling Rosewood P.D. anyway). She had Alex and Mary Drake taken to her own private lair in France!


First of all, Mary Drake probably didn’t deserve this fate, since she did go to jail for the Liars for a crime she didn’t commit. Also, although this is a win for Mona, in a way, she never got the acceptance she craved from the Liars and was actually dissed by Hanna because Caleb didn’t want her hanging around.

Related: The one Pretty Little Liars spinoff every fan actually needs

We would’ve preferred it if Mona had gotten better and achieved everything she wanted, but having the original A playing the game with the one who stole it from her did make for a fitting ending to Pretty Little Liars. Now that’s a full circle moment!*

*Feel free to join us in ignoring the cringe-worthy actual “full circle moment” that concluded the Pretty Little Liars series finale.

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