These days, it’s anyone’s guess if Alison (Sasha Pieterse) is really dead on Pretty Little Liars. Even the Liars have begun to question the supposed death of their best friend. With the answer to this question promised by the end of Season 4, we speculate: Is Ali alive? 

Yes, and she’s “A”

Who else could pull off manipulation at this level? Ali was not only the person who knew most of the Liars’ secrets (and presumably had practice spying on them to get them), but she had the, uh, moral disposition necessary to pull off emotional blackmail on her “best friends.” This outcome is so simple (“A” for Ali) that it might actually be surprising. We’re not sure what would have prompted Ali to fake her own death and finish her transformation into The Universe’s Biggest Bully, but we think mental instability and/or a royally screwed up childhood may be involved.

Yes, and she’s not “A”

We can’t ignore that, before she “died,” Ali was getting harassed by “A” (or so she claimed). Toby incredulously theorized in the Season 4 premiere that, if Ali is alive, then maybe she doesn’t think it’s safe to show herself. And, last season, we saw a flashback between Ali and Spence that shows Ali telling Spencer about the diary she is keeping for her friend to read after she’s dead. Did Ali fake her death to get out of harm’s way? After spending a few years in Rosewood, we can understand what might drive someone to such extreme measures.

No, but her twin is

OK, so there was a body confirmed as Alison DiLaurentis, but that doesn’t mesh with the fact that the Liars keep “hallucinating” Ali (we’re sorry, but that is not a mask). In the PLL book series, Ali had a twin sister, Courtney, who was actually the one who became friends with the Liars. In the book, Ali killed Courtney for stealing her life. Though the PLL Powers That Be have said they are not exploring the twin storyline, we kind of don’t believe them. We doubt they will follow that scenario exactly, but we think a twin may be involved. As far as far-fetched theories go, this one makes a lot of sense. (The inverse of this theory is that Ali is alive, but her twin is dead.)

No, and stop with the conspiracy theories

Of course, there is also the possibility that Ali is dead, she doesn’t have a twin, and we’re seeing conspiracies where there are none. This would still leave the show plenty to work with, given that the mystery of who “A” is and how/if she was involved in Ali’s death can work without a live Ali/Ali’s twin. In some ways, we hope Ali isn’t alive and tricking the Liars (either as “A” or by continuing to let them think she’s dead) because either option has obviously caused these girls a lot of pain. PLL is a show about friendship and these girls’ love for one another and their dead best friend. We like to think that Ali really loved the Liars, too.

Do you think Ali (or her twin) is alive? Why or why not? See if you can find any clues in our premiere recap below, and tet us know in the comments below!

Catch the next episode of Pretty Little Liars on Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.