The fourth season finale brings everything together. Everyone now knows that Alison is still alive, and Alison tells the girls everything that happened the night she was attacked, piecing together the missing links that we've been getting for the past four seasons. However, the mystery of who "A" is still lingers, leaving us with a cliffhanger once again.
A Is For Answers: As Told By Alison DiLaurentis
It's kind of satisfying seeing the events played out in order of what happened that night. We've been getting bits and pieces over the course of the show of the events that occurred, but never really understanding what exactly happened, and now we do. With a returning set of old characters we haven't seen in god knows how long.
Something that was interesting was how certain characters knew about Alison still being alive, like Noel for example (still want to know his story and how Alison could trust him, even with everything that has been said and done led us to believe he was nothing but a royal douchebag.) It's not so surprising about Mona though, considering her obsession and what we know about her now. It was fascinating seeing how she basically encouraged Alison to pretend to be dead and hide away, preying on that vulnerable moment and practically encouraging Alison to make everyone believe she had died and disappear while she took over the role of being popular. What's even more fascinating is the room in the lodge was originally just Mona's Alison shrine, which later turned into her "A" liar (possibly the moment that "A" recruited her? if this is true than we need more information on this, as well.)
Jessica DiLaurentis not being the one who hurt Alison, but being the one who buried her alive was a nice reveal. That was her own dirty secret, along with knowing who hurt her and covering it up. Having to carry that knowledge around all this time would definitely mess with your head, and her putting the blame on Spencer as a scapegoat for who she is protecting was something else to add to that list of dirty little secrets.
But who attacked Alison? Has this person been "A" this entire time?
Before we were convinced that "A" and the person who went after Alison were two different people, but perhaps that's what we were meant to believe at first. Perhaps that's why the "A" team was created, to draw the focus away from them and to have little minions do their dirty work so they could locate Alison.
It's obviously someone with an axe to grind against Alison, and against the girls, but mostly Alison since she was the one they went after first. And now that Jessica DiLaurentis apparently is dead, it would seem that now with everyone knowing that Alison is still alive whoever this person is wanted Jessica to remain quiet for good. Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead. That secret is now buried with her.
Who Is "A"?
The ever-burning question that still remains a mystery.
The biggest clue we've gotten is that Jessica DiLaurentis saw who did it. But there's more to it than just that.
Alison said that her mother was in hysterics, and while buried she overheard her mother arguing with someone. "How could you do this?" She is obviously covering for someone, and whoever this person is was worth protecting over her own daughter. But looking back at that night, we witness her in a frantic phone call. She advises Alison to remain inside the house instead of going out to see her friends, no questions asked, and no explanation as to why. What if whoever Jessica was concerned about over the phone was the same person who intentionally wanted to hurt Alison?
Also, there's the issue with the unnamed girl they found in Alison's place. Melissa seems to know who did it, shocking her own father, though we don't get to hear what she said to him. Could it be the same person, or someone else?
Unless whoever did this happens to be Jason, I still hold firm in the belief about the twin reveal. Since, let's face it, until we're proven otherwise it makes more sense after this finale.
Things I liked about the finale:
++ I loved the format of the finale, where literally it was a storytelling of flashbacks and understanding past events until the last five minutes of the episode. I liked seeing characters back, like Ian and Noel and Melissa, who haven't been part of the show for some time.
++ Alison DiLaurentis. Just everything about her, from seeing her with the girls and hearing her story and seeing her vulnerability; her remorse from the way she treated people back then, you can see how she has changed, even in the flashbacks you see there's a difference because of what she's dealing. When she told about how her mother buried her alive, describing the way she was feeling and wanted to scream but couldn't, that was heartbreaking. She's definitely not the same person she once was, and she's more afraid than anything. She's afraid of coming home because of her mother, because of this person that her mother is willing to protect in allegedly killing her, and she wants the girls to know so they can help her. I just, gah. I love Alison.
++ Seeing Mona in those flashbacks, the way she helped Alison, if only for the means of getting rid of her for good, and her in her lair, it really shines light onto who Mona was even back then. Her obsession, the instability of her mental state, yet able to conduct a plan on convincing Alison to disappear for good. She's a complexity wrapped in an enigma, and I really wish we got more insight to her (i.e. more scenes with her, tbh) I want that for season five, actually. More screentime for Mona.
++ Melissa mysteriously coming back is suspicious in itself, mostly because she knows more than she's letting on. She has mentioned in the past that she's been trying to protect Spencer before any of this all started, but what does that mean?
++ The final confrontation; the mislead that it was the police who found them but instead it was "A". My heart was beating fast when things started escalating, and even if we didn't get answers on that front and the chase was over rather quickly, it still was an intense standoff between the girls and their attacker.
Things I didn't like:
++ I'm disappointed with what they tried to do with Ezra, making him seem like a decent guy despite him spying on the girls, lying to them constantly and being a pretty shady person in general. Him taking a bullet for the girls was another thing to make him seem likeable because it "saved them" or whatever, and I'll be pissed if they make him survive that and to have Aria forgive him after everything. On the other hand, if the show decides to kill Ezra in this moment as his "last shining redeeming moment" (gag me), then I won't have to worry about having to see him again after this. Although, judging from the way the show operates, I have a feeling he'll be around after this. Granted he was shot in the stomach, I'm not entirely sure how long he would have, especially since they were on a rooftop with nobody around and they didn't have their phones. What would be the likelihood of his survival?
I guess I'm just disappointed with the way the show has dealt with the Ezra thing. I wanted him to be an unapologetic shady asshole, he appeared that way in many episodes after the big reveal, and his behavior and the way he was spying on the girls made it seem like he knew what he was doing and didn't care. When he discovered his lair in Ravenswood had been uncovered by them, he went ballistic. His anger issues is something I wanted them to explore, but they never did. I wanted the girls to see more of the surveillance he had on them (and not just from the photographs and notes from his apartment), but they never did. It feels like a wasted opportunity to present us someone who the girls thought was a decent guy to turn out to be a perverse creep.
I don't want to assume that it's because he's a "fan favorite" particularly in the Aria/Ezra shipping, but I can't help but feel that way. :/
Overall: Unfortunately we didn't get answers as to the identity of "A", but at least we got answers to what truly happened to Alison and everything that led up to her disappearance and her reappearance after all this time. I felt the finale was essential for that reason, for the girls to get the true story of the mystery they've been trying to solve ever since the first season as to what happened to their friend. The only question left is who is "A"? Also, what is going to happen now that everyone knows Alison is still alive?
Along with being renewed for a fifth season, Tyler Blackburn is returning to the show as well. Despite the cancellation of Ravenswood, I can't imagine them ignoring everything Caleb went through like it never happened, considering it made a huge impact on his character. So it's going to be interesting to see how they explain certain things about his time away and why he's returned.