In Season 3, Episode 1: “It Happened ‘That Night,’” the Liars have just spent the summer apart and decide to have an end-of-the-summer sleepover to catch up, but the night doesn’t go according to plan (shocker!). The girls wake up in the middle of the night to discover that Emily, who is still heartbroken over Maya’s death, is missing. They find a drunken Emily standing over Alison’s (Sasha Pieterse) empty grave, a shovel in her hand. It doesn’t take long for the girls to realize they have been set up. They flee to Spencer’s family lake house out of town to create an alibi for themselves. If anyone asks, they were there all night!
Things only get worse from there for our Liars. Though their lake house alibi sticks (for now), the girls begin to get terrorized by “A” again and realize that, even though Mona is stuck inside a mental health hospital, they are still not safe from Team “A.”
Spencer It’s been a rocky season for our favorite brainiac. For much of the season, Spencer was dedicated to the investigation into Ali’s death and the identity of “A.” This search for truth is constantly causing conflict with the people she loves.
Through it all, Spencer keeps looking for the truth, even if it means suspecting the ones she loves, but she hasn’t had such an easy time getting over the reveal that Toby (Keegan Allen) is part of Team “A.” Will his betrayal be the blow that keeps Spencer down or will she keep fighting to discover the truth?
Aria Spencer isn’t the only Liar who has had to confront the possibility that someone she loves could be involved with Ali’s murder. In Season 3, Episode 13: “This Is a Dark Ride,” Garrett confesses to Spencer that on the night Ali was killed, he saw Aria’s dad, Byron (Chad Lowe), and Ali in a heated discussion. Aria doesn’t want to believe it, but when Garrett is murdered minutes later, the rest of the Liars don’t know what to think.
The existence of the “A” Team isn’t the only secret Aria has had to keep this season. In Season 3, Episode 11: “Single Fright Female,” Aria learns that Ezra has a seven-year-old son he doesn’t know about. The boy’s mother, Maggie (Larisa Oleynik), asks Aria not to tell Ezra about the boy’s existence. Aria wavers between keeping her promise to Maggie and telling Ezra the truth for much of the season before finally deciding to tell Ezra in Season 3, Episode 17: “Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Inferno. Unfortunately, “A” tricks Spencer into telling Ezra before Aria can. Ezra drives away from Aria to go meet his son.
Emily Emily started the season at a real low point, still struggling with the unsolved murder of Maya. After getting drunk and finding herself, shovel in hand, at Ali’s empty grave, she has been trying to figure out what happened to her that night. In Season 3, Episode 5: “That Girl is Poison,” she discovers that she was drugged.
Emily’s romantic life is equally chaotic. She begins to explore her feelings for Paige (Lindsey Shaw), but is also drawn to Maia’s cousin, Nate (Sterling Sulieman). In Season 3, Episode 12: “The Lady Killer,” she discovers Nate is not who he claims to be. He was actually Maia’s stalker from True North, Lyndon, and killed Maia when she fell in love with Emily. He kidnaps Paige and intends to kill her in front of Emily. Emily ends up killing Lyndon in self-defense, but not before he shoots Caleb. (It’s ok. He survives.)
Paige and Emily start dating, but Emily is still plagued by memories from the night Ali’s grave was dug up and the night she killed Lyndon. In Season 3, Episode 18: “Dead to Me,” Emily undergos hypnotherapy with Dr. Sullivan (Annabth Gish), and remembers seeing a woman in a red coat at Ali’s grave that night.
Who is the figure in the red coat? In the final episode of season 2, Mona tells a mysterious figure in a red coat that “she did everything you told me to do,” implying that the red-coated figure is the brains behind Team “A.” This has been the ongoing mystery of season 3, as the red-coated figure keeps popping up. Most recently, Hanna saw her in the manikin shop in Season 3, Episode 16: “Misery Loves Company” and Emily remembered seeing her in the graveyard the night Alison’s grave was dug up. Hopefully, we’ll find out who the person in the red coat is by the end of the season, but until then, you can read our theories on who it might be here, or post your own guesses in the comments below.
Catch the next episode of Pretty Little Liars on Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.