The Progressive Twist Pretty Little Liars Never Saw Coming

Yesterday, while my boyfriend and I were getting off the subway, he turned and asked me what Pretty Little Liars was even about. I laughed and told him we didn’t have enough time to get into it. We only had 15 minutes to get to the theatre.

It’s a running joke that nobody, not even the biggest fan (and certainly not show runner I. Marlene King) has any idea what’s happening on PLL.  Given the amount of twists, turns and straight out of left field plot developments, sometimes PLL can feel like a psychological test that’s trying to see how much shit a person can take before they just give up.  But nobody gives up on PLL.  Because we’re all just as crazy and obsessed as its characters are.

Even though everybody promised that we’d finally learn who “A” was in the summer finale, I was skeptical. After all, how many times has this show promised us a big reveal only to leave us feeling more confused then when we had initially pressed play? Remember that time they had us believe that Ezra was “A” for like a whole half of a season? Remember when they promised us we’d learn who “A” was and all we learned was that A’s name was Charles? However, this time was different. Or at least, that’s what PLL wants us to believe.

Warning: if you don’t want the summer finale ruined for you, stop reading now. And don’t get your panties in a twist – the headline doesn’t really ruin anything.


The episode begins the same way the episode ends. The girls, still dressed in their elaborate fairytale prom dresses follow Allie to the roof in an attempt to stop Charles from doing everybody a favor and killing himself. But wait, what’s that coming out of Hanna’s mouth? “We heard your story and we understand?” Not only do they want Charles to live now but for once the Rosewood PD is standing by, guns cocked and aimed at the malicious stranger dressed in black? What the f-ck is going on?

Believe it or not, but Charles DiLaurentes is actually CeCe Drake. While it’s easy to be cynical and say that PLL is just hopping on the transgender bandwagon in an attempt to make their show hip and edgy again (as if it ever more than just an ABC family show), the most surprising thing is that it actually makes a lot of sense. I never thought I’d say this, but I think I finally understand what’s going on.

Basically, CeCe was born Charles and while Jason got to play outside in the yard with Mommie, Charles got to stay in his room, completely unsupervised, and play with his recently born sister Allison, whom he treated like a doll. One day, Allie started crying and Charles decided to do what he did for himself when he got sad: let her soak in the bathtub. Allie almost drowns, Mr. D runs in and yells at Charles, and in a matter of seconds Mr. D. makes sure that Charles gets sent off to Radley, assuring his wife that it’s all for the best. Only CeCe maintains that their father was less scared of what he was doing to Alison, and more scared about how Charles liked to spend his spare time (AKA playing dress up).

At Radley, even though Charles is relatively more free to walk around wearing dresses, he has the misfortune of befriending Bethany Young, who seems like an innocent girl who doesn’t know how to tell lies in one moment, but then two minutes later she’s pushing Toby’s Mom off the roof and blaming it all on the boy wearing a dress.

Charles spends the next seven years more or less in solitary confinement as punishment, but Mrs. D pays off the police so that the official ruling is that Toby’s Mom committed suicide. Turns out the Rosewood PD spent so many years being incompetent because Detective Wilden was constantly being bribed by Mrs. D.

Then, Mrs. D has a funeral for Charles and Mrs. D. presumably pays for her son to undergo reconstructive surgery so that he can become Charlotte. Even though Mrs. D. accepts Charlotte as her daughter, she sends her back to Radley where Charlotte remains until she gets to go to school on good behavior, but really just winds up going to her sibling’s high school, dating her brother and getting into all kinds of mischief with Allie.

The rest is just filling in the dots.

While you would think the girls would have a lot of questions about all of this, they don’t.  They’re just hungry for the truth.  After five and a half years of torment and unanswered questions, the truth is the only thing that matters anymore.

However, even though at the end of explaining her story CeCe maintains that the game is finally over, by the end of the episode, we’ve jumped five years in time, Allison is a teacher and the girls rush in to tell her someone is coming for her.  Some man.  But before they can explain who the man is or how they were all able to come back from their respective colleges so quickly, Spencer reveals that whoever he is, he’s already here.

Even when you get all the answers you were looking for, the game is never over on Pretty Little Liars.  But at least it’s good to know that every five and a half years, somebody will make it all make sense.  At least we can all take comfort in that.

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