So, it seems like Pretty Little Liars is pretty committed to this whole “Ezra as ‘A’” thing. In last night’s winter premiere, the English teacher was acting extremely shady. Even his passionate defense of Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was heavy with unsettling layers. Why so shady, Ezra? We speculate on his motivations below.

To protect Aria (and the other Liars)

We know the PLL Powers That Be have promised they won’t pull another Toby-like fake out with Ezra’s “A” plot, but what does that really mean? We think, unlike Toby, Ezra might be in charge of his own “A” operation, but, like Toby, he is in it to protect the girl he loves (i.e. Aria). Perhaps, Ezra got involved with the “A” game only after he learned about Aria’s victimization in it.

To seek revenge against the real “A”

Or, maybe, his involvement dates back further than that before he ever got involved with Aria. She has, perhaps, become a wonderful complication someone he doesn’t want to hurt, but who must eventually learn of his betrayal. We know that Ezra is “A,” but that doesn’t mean he is the only “A.” If Ezra has beef with the person who is ran Ali out of town, then it makes sense that he would track the allegedly dead teenager.

To expose Radley

Was anyone else a bit blindsided by how much play Radley got in the winter premiere? Though we’ve always thought the mental hospital popped up in the “A” game way more than was coincidental, now we’re sure it has something to do with the larger “A” mystery. Could Ezra’s “A”-ness have something to do with Radley, too? Perhaps, like Mr. Hastings, he aims to shut the institution down and, for some reason, needs Ali to do that.

To find Ali

So, we were actually pretty intrigued by Ezra’s rant about how pre-judged Jekyll and Hyde is. He argued that most people judge it by what they think they know about the work without actually reading it to form their own impression. Is Ezra already prepping Aria for his eventual “I a ‘A’” reveal? Probably. Even if Ezra is stalking Ali, it doesn’t mean he intends her harm, and we think this little speech proved that. He is asking the Liars not to judge him immediately by how the situation seems, but to let him explain his role in it. After four seasons, we’re willing to give Ezra the chance to tell his side of the story.

Why do you think Ezra is “A”? Share your theories in the comments below!

Catch the next episode of Pretty Little Liars on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC Family.

Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!