The murder of Mona Vanderwaal (Janel Parrish) broke our hearts in the Season 5 summer finale of Pretty Little Liars. Mona may have terrorized the Liars as “A” for the first two seasons of this show, but she’s grown so much as a character since then — truly apologizing to the Liars for all of the misery she’s caused. Even when Mona was being evil, she was awesome. We’re going to miss this smart, snarky, and complex character oh-so-much. Here are our top 15 favorite Mona moments of all time.
1. Mona shoplifts with Hanna. It seems like ages since Mona and Hanna spent their days shoplifting scarves and sunglasses from the local mall. In one of the opening scenes from the PLL pilot, we meet these besties and they seem inseparable. It’s hard to imagine everything that’s to come.
2. Mona destroys Caleb’s letter. OK, so this is actually a pretty heartbreaking moment, but it all worked out eventually! When Caleb gives Mona a letter for Hanna, explaining why he is leaving and telling her that he loves her, Mona destroys it before Hanna can see it. Still, we think this came from a place of love. Mona was trying to protect Hanna — in her own, twisted way.
3. Mona reveals herself as “A”. There is perhaps no greater Mona moment then the one in which she drops her hood and reveals herself as “A” to Spencer. Then, she promptly knock Spence out. Creepy, classic, and representative of just how good Mona is at the “A” game.
4. Mona speaks in code to her dolls. How awesome is Mona? In an attempt to tell Hanna what she knows without anyone else getting wind of it, she starts speaking in an acronym code — i.e. "Miss Aria You're A Killer, Not Ezra's Wife" = MAYA KNEW. Pretty great, right?
5. Mona as Catwoman. In a sign of things to come, Nerdy Mona transforms into the Mona we know and love today in a flashback to Halloween of yesteryear. Dressed as Catwoman, she approaches Ali with a “Meow.” “Do I know you?” Ali asks. Mona’s reply? “No, but you will.”
6. Mona sings. Janel has an amazing voice, and we loved any opportunity PLL took to showcase her talents. One of our favorites came early in Season 3 when Mona sung herself to sleep at Radley, Queen of Hearts playing card clutched in her hand. It was simply and beautifully shot, and totally creepy.
7. Mona breaks out of Radley. When Mona was a patient at Radley, she had that place wired. In a precursor of what was to come in the Season 5 summer finale, we see Mona dressed as a Radley nurse, walking calmly out of the institution like a badass. Basically, no one can keep Mona locked up.
8. Mona sips Spoby’s anniversary wine. With Mona’s brilliance, sometimes it’s easy to forget all of the terrible stuff she’s done to the Liars. One of the most callous we’ve seen? Spencer crying at Toby’s door to let her in, while Mona sits silently inside, sipping Spoby’s anniversary wine. Harsh.
9. Mona and Spencer go head-to-head. Mona and Spencer are both competitive brainiacs. Watching them go head-to-head for the captainship of the academic decathlon team was the best thing ever. And we totally believe that Mona could list the former Soviet republics by population and GDP.
10. Mona visits Spencer at Radley. Mona comes to Radley to visit Spencer, and give cookies to her favorite nurse Sybil. While there, she delivers this little speech to Spence: “Look at all that’s happened since you turned me down on our little drive up the mountain. All the pain and disappointment and loss because you were stubborn. But I believe in second chances. I’m a generous person.”
11. Mona v. Wren showdown. Mona is back in Radley after confessing to killing Wilden, and she gets a one-on-one session with the sexy Dr. Wren. As usual, Mona takes control, “Why would you ever be honest with you? … By the way, you forgot the ‘G’ in diagnosis.”
12. Mona tells Aria to suck it up. Aria is none too pleased when Mona and Mike start getting flirty. When she confronts Mona about it, Mona calls Aria and the other Liars out for ditching her from their group after the Wilden confession: “Well, I’m tired of being yo-yoed, and I am hanging out with a different crowd now. So, suck it up, Aria.” Best. Thing. Ever.
13. Mona in the film noir episode. Mona fit right into Spencer’s film noir version of the world. Her fur-wearing. Her smoky voice. Her moral ambiguity. One of our favorite moments from the episode was Mona’s image reflected in a dozen different mirrors. And Mona and Ezra skulking together in the shadows was perfection.
14. Mona “rescues” Alison. Any flashback to Nerdy Mona is fascinating to watch, but seeing the Mona we know now and the Mona of old come together in this Season 4 finale flashback was perfection. Mona “rescues” Ali from the side of the road, then convinces her to fake her own death. We think there’s more to the story of this, but seeing Mona play naive while she’s planning her “A” game is kind of great.
15. Mona helps the Liars. How could we create this list without mentioning Mona’s final scenes? It says a lot about the growth in Mona’s character that she spent her last episode risking her life to help the Liars, and apologized to them for everything she had done. Watching Mona hack into the police database and break into Radley with Spencer was a final reminder that Mona was the most competent person in Rosewood. And she went out being brave, seeking justice, and doing it in her own signature style.
What are your favorite Mona moments? Can you believe she’s gone? Did you hear she’ll be back for more flashbacks? Sound off in the comments below!