Welcome to my final PLL recap for season 6A which concluded with the answer-filled episode titled 'Game Over, Charles'. As always spoilers are after the jump... please don't read on if you haven't heard who A is yet!
And just like that we finally know the identity of A. #FAceToFace
As the episode was pretty much just a chain of answers (finally we have some facts!), I thought for my final recap I would break things down by taking a closer look at each of these revelations.
Cece Drake Was Once Charles DiLaurentis
I think it's best to get this one out of the way first as it's the big reveal every PLL fan has been waiting for. After S6E10 we know that Cece Drake has been the face behind the black hoodie for the last few years, taking over the game from Mona whilst she was in Radley. At the end of season five we were told Charles was A, and now we know that Charles became Charlotte, and then became known as Cece.
As mentioned back in my episode three recap I'd been reading up on some Cece theories which made a lot of sense and
was really hoping to see her face under the hoodie as opposed to
someone like Wren who was also the centre of many popular theories.
After cornering Ali at the prom Cece dragged her off to a familiar location; Radley. Not only did she trap her little sister there, she also drugged her father and brother leaving them paralysed, able to hear everything but unable to move - the same thing she did to Mona last season when we all believed her to be dead. Thanks to Mona's smarts the girls became aware that 'Charles' had been texting Alison via his own cell network based at the Carissimi group (side note: Rhys was a decoy hired by Cece) and they headed off to save their friend.
"The game, it's like a drug. And I was really good at playing it." - Cece
As far as we know, Cece's motive for targeting the girls was her jealousy over their close relationship with her sister Alison. Cece gathered all of her information on the girls from a spaced-out Mona (who at the time thought she was speaking to Alison due to the meds she was on) whilst at Radley. Later in the episode after she broke them all out of A's control room using her casual badass 'there's a spike concealed in the heel' pair of shoes, Mona chose to stay behind and hear out the rest of Cece's story, perhaps feeling emotional about the role she played in the game.
In a previous episode we learnt that a young Charles was initially sent away to Radley for trying to drown his baby sister but in the mid-season finale we saw this day through new eyes. As Cece recounts the story we hear about a young boy who loves his baby sister more than anything and when she won't stop crying all he wants to do is help. We see him bang on the window and call out to his mother (who is outside playing with Jason) but when there is no answer he decides to make Ali feel better by cheering her up with something that always makes him feel better; a bath. From this sequence we learn that whilst Charles was sent away for trying to drown his sister, an act we previously saw as vicious, he never intended to hurt her at all. The question now is did Mr D know Charles was only trying to help?
"Now we know who taught A to treat people like dolls." - Aria
"Mr D abandoned him but Mrs D taught Charles how to be A." - Emily
Another issue I'm so glad was addressed is Cece's relationship with Jason. We had previously heard about how the pair dated and this was one of the main things that threw me off track when trying to figure out how Cece theories could fit the A mystery. I mean, surely Cece couldn't have once been Charles because that would make Jason her brother... turns out I was wrong about that. Naturally Ali had the same questions, wondering why her mother would have allowed this relationship to happen knowing who Cece really was. Cece explained that whilst Mrs D did know she had become Charlotte she was unaware of her life as Cece Drake until that famous trip to Cape May. Also mentioned was the fact that we have previously seen, via Jason's not-so-reliable memory, that Cece was dressed like Ali and Bethany on Labor Day weekend, wearing the famous yellow top. Cece denied this and in her version we saw her wearing the black hoodie instead, supposedly clearing up any confusion over the matter.
Up until this point Mrs D believed Charlotte had been attending classes at UPenn having been granted permission to do so by the board at Radley due to how intelligent she was (not only is she a genius but she also made all of her money by becoming a stock market whizz!). Instead she had found studying boring, claiming to already know everything that was being taught, and decided to spend her time outside of Radley getting to know her siblings instead. She took to Rosewood High to track down Jason and met him there during yearbook photo day, explaining why she was in a Rosewood High yearbook even though she did not ever attend the school.
We also got to see Cece's reaction to finding out that her father believed her to be dead. Mrs D was very clear that her husband must not come home to find Cece at the house and when Cece questioned what her father's reaction would be, Mrs D confessed that she had told him Charles was dead, using the grave at Aunt Carol's house as proof. A grave Cece had previously believed was created for her benefit, to leave behind her life as Charles, but instead was all part of Mrs D's secret-keeping.
"You almost froze Aria and Spencer to death."
"You drove a car through Emily's house!"
"Yeah, and I almost cut her in half too. But is she hurt? No. Is her mommy hurt? No. I only got mad when you didn't listen."
"You can't steal people from their families and lock them up to play with them like they're your toys."
"Yes, I can, and I did. I know you won't believe me... but I love all of my dolls. That's why you're still alive." - Ali & Cece
One of the creepiest moments of the episode was seeing Cece speak about the hell she has put the girls through. She claimed that she loves 'all of her dolls' and that is the reason they're still alive despite the dangerous and horrific situations they have been exposed to over the years. Her reasoning behind picking on them still doesn't seem particularly solid though.
Both Red Coat & Black Widow Were Sara Harvey
Although it was quite an unpopular reveal, this was something I was quite pleased to find out during the episode as I had been suspicious of Sara right from the season premiere. There were definitely a few clues noted along the way - in previous recaps I mentioned the disappearance of Red Coat's long cascading blonde waves (after Sara's dramatic haircut), and how much the figure who replaced Aria's photos at the gallery resembled Sara.
When the group arrived at A's secret room they were unable to figure out the entry code for the door. After trying various combinations Sara decided to pipe up with a snippet of info she claimed was from her time in the dollhouse; a date on which Charles brought her a cupcake every year. It turned out that this special date was the key to opening the door but still Sara chose to 'wait outside' - I just knew she couldn't be trusted! Sara was set to play a big part in Cece's latest plan which appeared to be to blow up Radley. Fortunately the girls tracked her down in time and she was surrounded by Hanna, Aria and Emily as Spencer worked quickly to stop the explosion.
This revelation also led to what was one of the most memorable moments of the episode; Emily punching Sara. As we know the two have recently become romantically involved and Emily clearly had no idea that Sara was A's little helper. Speaking of which, I'm incredibly curious to find out how Sara and Cece teamed up in the first place and hope they address this at some point because at the moment it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Bethany Pushed Marion Off The Roof
Although I don't think any of us truly believed that Marion committed suicide, it was an interesting reveal to see a young Bethany push her. This idea had been floating around within theories for a long time now, thanks to clues such as Bethany's drawings, however I expected her to have been a little older when the incident occurred.
In the flashback sequence we saw a young Charles sitting atop Radley's roof with Bethany, wearing a pretty white dress and planning how they would one day escape Radley. Although Mrs D and his friend Bethany were both seemingly accepting of his choice to dress in girl's clothing Charles was clearly afraid of what would happen if Marion saw him dressed this way and asked Bethany to distract her whilst he hid. From Charles' point of view we saw the two talking and Bethany finally push Marion over the edge of the roof. When Charles rushed over and asked 'what did you do?' Bethany showed her true colours and blamed everything on him.
"What did I do? You pushed her... freak." - Bethany
One thing I'm a little confused about is Charles' age when this incident took place. If I recall correctly we've previously seen a flashback of a teenage Toby and Alison which also featured Marion, but if Bethany killed her when she was only a child how was she still around to see Toby grow up? We also learnt that Wilden was the one who made sure the death was ruled as suicide, surely he isn't the right age to fit into the story either?
"Just because we know who you are doesn't mean the game is over." - Spencer
Possible plot holes aside, the story came full circle with Cece ending up atop a roof ready to jump. We saw the girls beg her not to do anything stupid, claiming to understand why she treated them the way she did and in the end she saw sense and jumped down to face them all. It's not clear what happened to her next, or whether we'll be seeing her again after the time jump.
Mona Hit Bethany...
As we already knew thanks to her heartfelt confession video for Spencer, Bethany was buried by Melissa, but until now we weren't sure who actually hit her over the head and why. In the finale episode of the summer season Mona confessed to the crime stating she killed Bethany thinking that it was Alison. When Emily asked Mona 'You hated Ali that much? Enough to kill her?' she explained how Alison's bullying had made her feel.
"When I hit her, all I could hear was Ali berating me. Every awful thing she'd ever said to me all at once." - Mona
We also discovered that Bethany was at the DiLaurentis house that night because she snuck out of Radley with the intention of hurting Mrs D, someone she clearly wasn't fond of.
...And Cece Hit Ali.
From Mrs D's reaction to seeing Ali hit over the head, and the fact we knew she had buried her own daughter that night, it was clear that she had a close connection with whoever committed the crime. When we first heard about Charles being a DiLaurentis it certainly made sense that his mother would bury Alison to protect him and the episode revealed this to be true; Mrs D did what she did to protect another of her children. That night Cece snuck out of Radley, following Bethany who she thought had left to hurt her mother (who was having an affair with Bethany's father), and ended up hitting Alison over the head instead.
Again, things seemed to come full circle as we saw a devastated Cece stumble across her mother's body when she came back to Rosewood to say goodbye before leaving for New York. This time it was Cece who had to bury a beloved family member stating 'Mom was the only person who ever really loved me.'. Unfortunately though, we still don't have an answer for the who killed Mrs D mystery.
The Girls Are Off To College & Ali May Be Married?!
It looks as though the four girls finally have things worked out as they're all headed off to college, leaving Alison behind in Rosewood. Previously it was unclear whether any of them would actually make it to college, or if they would even graduate from high school after everything that has happened. From what we can see Emily is off to Malibu, Aria to Savannah and Spencer to Georgetown. There's no mention of where Hanna is headed although after last week's episode we can make a fair guess that she still plans to move to New York with Caleb.
In this scene we also hear the girls discuss Sara, as she has been released from hospital that same day. They seem to speak of 'what happened to her that day' not being their fault although it isn't 100% clear what they are referring to. The inclusion of this conversation does suggest that Sara will be back for 6B, but could she be out for revenge?
At the very end of the episode we were treated to our first sneak peek of the girls post five year time jump. We saw Alison in a classroom, carefully writing Mrs Rollins on the chalkboard - could she now be married with a teaching career? The four girls showed up in quick succession, looking concerned for Ali's safety and talking about the fact that 'he' is coming - who do you think they could be referring to?
So that concludes my PLL recap series... at least for 6A! I'm still not really sure how I feel about the whole thing but I am hoping some of the plot holes will be addressed later on. If you're interested in confirming who committed some of PLL's most memorable crimes to date this interview with Marlene King shared over on EW has you covered. I'm still left wondering how the mum's got out of the DiLaurentis basement though...
What did you think of 'Game Over, Charles'? If you have any thoughts or theories don't forget to leave a comment below - I'd love to hear them! Don't forget if you haven't seen it yet you can catch my previous roundup for the episode titled ‘Last Dance' by clicking here.