Now that we know Pretty Little Liars resident mean girl Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse) didn’t really die the night of her disappearance, we want to go back and reexamine everything we know about that day with our new perspective. Here’s a rundown of what happened the day Ali “died” — including her run-in with Spencer and her shovel.
She flies in from Hilton Head that morning
Alison arrives back in Rosewood from Hilton Head, South Carolina that morning. She is flown in on a private plane, however, arriving back at least six hours prior to when the Liars originally thought she returned. In that “missing” time, Ali checks into the Lost Woods Resort under her favorite alias, Vivian Darkbloom.
She may have met “A”
In Season 2, Episode 24: “If These Dolls Could Talk,” Spencer notices a series of classified ads in some of Ali’s old newspapers that the teenage girl was using as a clandestine way to correspond with someone, presumably “A.” Ali was scheduled to meet that person at the doll shop in Brookhaven on the day of her disappearance, but we’re not sure if the meeting ever happened.
Ali’s disappearance happened shortly after “the Jenna thing,” which means — at the time — Jenna was still recovering from the accident in the Rosewood hospital. The afternoon of her disappearance, Ali goes to visit Jenna to tell her that, if she ever returns to Rosewood, she will “bury her.” (In retrospect, poor choice of words.) Alison uses the video she has of Jenna forcing Toby to have sex with him as blackmail material.
The storage locker
Alison rents a storage locker sometime during the day to keep the videos — both of Toby and Jenna, and others presumably taken by the N.A.T. Club — safe. She puts the videos into her lunchbox, and leaves them in the storage locker.
She meets up with the Liars
It is at this point that Alison pretends to the Liars to have just returned home via bus. She is also pretending to have come from visiting her grandmother, though the Liars later discover she was at the Hilton Head. Spencer calls Ali on the Hilton Head resort tag on her suitcase, but Ali just brushes the question off.
She gives Emily a snow globe
At some point during the afternoon, she gives Emily a snow globe with the key to the storage locker she just rented hidden inside of it. She doesn’t stay long because she has a prior engagement with someone.
She has dinner with her family
Though we haven’t seen it, Aria mentions that, before coming to the sleepover, Ali has dinner with her family.
The very first scene from the pilot of PLL shows the sleepover that the five friends had the night of Alison’s disappearance. They gossip and drink before falling asleep. When the Liars wake up again, Alison is gone.
A still unexplained moment from the night of the disappearance is the fact that, when the Liars first wake up to find Ali gone, Spencer is gone, too. She wanders back into the barn shortly, saying that she can’t find Ali anywhere and she heard a scream, but we think there’s more to the story. We later find out that Spencer and Alison had a fight sometime that night. Alison threatened to tell Melissa about Spencer and Ian’s kiss if Spence doesn’t before morning. Spencer agrees, but basically tells Ali that she’s dead to her. Ouch.
Ali meets up with Toby
Outside of the Hastings family barn, Alison meets up with Toby. He claims that Alison was helping him get free of Jenna’s harassment, but given how cold they seem towards one another in later flashbacks, we’re not so sure. Toby gives Ali his sweater because it is cold and watches her get into a car with an unidentified man.
Ali chats with Ezra
We now think the unidentified man Alison drove away with was Ezra. A promo shot for an upcoming episode shows Ezra and Alison sitting in a car together, and it looks as if she is wearing the same yellow shirt she was the night she disappeared. Ian had claimed that he was not the older guy Alison was meeting up with that night (even though they did, in fact meet up by the kissing rock). Now that we know Ezra and Ali shared some sort of romantic relationship, this makes total sense. It also somewhat explains why Ezra is so obsessed with discovering what happened to Ali, as he saw her that night.
The kissing rock
Alison meets up with makeout partner Ian at the infamous kissing rock. They film a video in which it initially looks like Ian has killed Ali. The vid goes on to show Ali getting up and leaving, showing that Ian didn’t kill her.
The N.A.T. Club’s videos
An important factor the day of the disappearance was the N.A.T. Club, aka some combination of Garrett, Ian, Jason, Melissa, and Jenna. They are desperate to retrieve the videos Ali has stolen from them. Presumably, the tapes are the club’s own surveillance of the people of Rosewoods, including many a dirty secret.
Melissa is mad
The night of the disappearance, Melissa was on a rampage for Ali. She shows up at the DiLaurentis house looking for her. It is unclear whether she ever finds Alison, but she does talk to CeCe later that night. CeCe happens to be wearing an almost identical outfit to Ali and, when Jason sees CeCe and Melissa talking outside of his house, he initially mistakes CeCe for his sister. Melissa was allegedly trying to get CeCe to talk some sense into Ali, presumably about the videos.
Jenna and Garrett run-in
Alison runs into Jenna and Garrett in the backyard of her house. She teases Jenna, reminding her of her promise to stay away, and a blind Jenna lashes out at her. Garrett pretends to kill Alison with a nearby field hockey stick, presumably to assuage Jenna, but he and Alison both obviously know she is still alive.
Alison tries to blackmail Byron
When Byron later returns to check on Ali, he sees her chatting it up with Byron Montgomery, aka Aria’s dad. Byron claims that Alison had been blackmailing Byron for money in exchange for keeping the secret of his affair with one of his students. That night, he alleged told Ali that he wouldn’t give her any more money.
Alison and CeCe
According to CeCe, Alison called her that night, freaking out about the videos. They eventually meet up to talk and Alison leaves, supposedly to retrieve the videos. CeCe claims that was the last time she saw Alison.
Spencer goes after Alison with a shovel
Due to her Adderall addiction, Spencer’s memories of the night of Ali’s disappearance are inconveniently fuzzy. She remembers wandering back into the sleepover after Ali disappeared, but nothing before that. She is starting to get flashes of a continuation of the fight she had with Alison. In them, she picks up a shovel and even chases after Alison. Are these memories or hallucinations?
Alison is buried alive
If any of the details of Alison’s “death” can be believed, she was hit in the back of the head with a shovel and then buried alive. Mrs. Grunwald comes to Ali’s rescue, pulling her from the ground and driving her to the hospital. When Mrs. G. heads into the hospital to get help, Ali disappears.
Are there any clues we’re missing? Sound off in the comments below!
Catch the next episode of Pretty Little Liars on March 4, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.