To be a fan of Pretty Little Liars requires a healthy ability to suspend disbelief. It is a show populated by a shiny-haired troupe of teen sleuths who spend a lot of time drinking coffee, sleeping with men who are too old for them, and evading danger at every turn. The central tenet of the plot is figuring out the identity of “A,” a mysterious team of various people who, for reasons no one knows, is intent on their demise. By now, the mythology surrounding A and its motives is one big tangled yarn, frustrating at times for viewers but compelling enough to stick around. You root for Hanna, Aria, Spencer, and Emily because you’ve stuck with them since the beginning. After five seasons of the most ridiculous wild goose chase on television, with tiny reveals here and there, the start of the sixth season has given us the first concrete clue as to who — or what — A actually is.
If suggested hashtags mean anything, this summer’s season of Pretty Little Liars will be the #SummerofAnswers. We now know that there is a man named Charles who appears to be the head honcho, the man in chArge. Finally, after five years of waiting, we have the closest thing to an answer the show has ever given us. But the road to discovery is littered with the warm bodies of abandoned plotlines. In honor of these fallen soldiers, here’s a comprehensive list of all the dropped plotlines of Rosewood.
Mrs. Grunwald, the sorority mother/Ali’s savior, and her secret panic room. Mrs. Grunwald is the psychic sorority mother who grabbed Ali from her shallow grave and stashed her in a panic room built within the walls of the sorority house at Cicero College. Why this panic room existed in the first place, and whether or not Mrs. Grunwald existed solely as a tie-in to PLL spinoff Ravenswood, is never established.
The preponderance of ghostly twins. The ghostly girl who shows up in the third season’s Halloween episode also made an appearance in the second season. You could chalk her appearance in Hannah’s house in the Halloween episode as mere coincidence, but casting the same actor twice in a year to play a twin obsessed with dolls in a show that makes excellent use of creepy dolls as an agent of A’s wrath feels too purposeful to be a throwaway.
Ezra’s great American novel. It is very difficult to believe that a man who spent what felt like years spying on four teenagers from various bunkers full of surveillance equipment all in the name of an accurate true-crime novel would be totally fine with letting the pages of his hard work flutter to the ground off a ski lift, all so he could continue to statutorily rape Aria. I’m not buying it, Ezra. Wasn’t your agent mad? Weren’t you just the teensiest bit mad at those years of expensive research and time disappearing? Once the cat’s out of the bag, Ezra’s budding career as the next Truman Capote is never mentioned again.
Who killed Jessica DiLaurentis? I sincerely hope that Jessica DiLaurentis gets the closure she deserves, even though she was a terrible mother and her children don’t really seem to be mourning her. I imagine had I found a parent buried in a shallow grave in my backyard, I’d be pretty distraught, but Alison and Jason solider on, seeming to forget the fact that someone killed their mother in their backyard.
What is Mike Montgomery’s deal? He disappeared for three seasons, came back, began dating Mona, started stashing vials of Mona’s blood in a tree in one of the many forests that surround Rosewood, and has not been seen since. Why did he have Mona’s blood? And, where is he now?
All of the unsolved murders, including Garrett's. The easy answer here is probably A, but that’s not enough. If the Rosewood police have been investigating the cases of both Alison and Mona’s not-really-murders so thoroughly, you’d think they’d be looking into everyone else who died suspiciously as well.
The unsolved mystery of Harold Crane, inn proprietor and part-time janitor. Harold, for those who don’t remember, was the proprietor of the Lost Woods Resort way back in the second season. This is also where they find one of A’s many lairs. In season three, he shows up at Rosewood High as a janitor, purportedly stalking Mona, and is now AWOL. No one has seen him since then. What gives? Why did he have one of Alison’s diaries in his possession? So far, he’s proven himself to be one of many red herrings, merely a plot device that functions to speed things along, but why make such a big deal about him and not wrap up — or follow through — with his story line?
The importance of Marion Cavanaugh, Toby’s mom, and Bethany Young. Toby’s mom technically died in an accident at Radley, but like everything else on this show, the circumstances of her death are suspect. Yes, Toby believes his mother died by accident, but she was somehow involved with Bethany Young, the girl who was murdered the same night Alison supposedly was. Furthermore, they made such a fuss about Toby’s mom, letting her existence carry an entire season’s worth of subplot, only to never speak of it again.
Is Jenna blind or not? What does she know?
Jenna started off as Toby’s blackmailing stepsister with incest-adjacent tendencies, and now she is somehow working on the Liars’ side, even though they don’t quite trust her. What is her story? Can she see? And, most important, what does she know about the night Alison was murdered?