We’re still blubbering over the death of Mona Vanderwaal (Janel Parrish) in the Season 5 summer finale of Pretty Little Liars. Mona was arguably the most dynamic and complex character on the show! But that doesn’t mean we can’t see the narrative value in her murder. Here are five reasons why Mona’s death could be good for PLL. Silver linings and all that.
It raises the stakes. PLL may kill characters off like it’s Westeros, but there is a certain security for some Rosewood residents — or, at least there used to be. Mona has been on PLL since the pilot. She was one of the most popular characters. And she has been integral to the plot. Her death means something that Mrs. DiLaurentis’ or even Maya’s didn’t. It means that almost anyone on this show could go — and raises the stakes on a show that is already on its fifth season. Most shows have succombe to sentiment at this point and keep the best characters around just because people like them. Not PLL.
It motivates the Liars. The best TV deaths drive the narrative ahead in interesting ways — and Mona’s will most certainly do that. Mona’s murder will not only motivate the Liars to find out what Mona knew and who killed her, but create complex emotional reactions for the core four. After all, Mona hasn’t always been their friend — but she died trying to make up for all of the pain she’d caused in the past. That’s compelling stuff.
It says something about “A.” Mona was a fearsome player. Not only did she successfully help Ali fake her own death and pull off being “A” for years, she managed to continue her badassery long after she left the dark side for something more high school. Hacking into the phones of Rosewood police officers was second nature for this brainiac. She was always one step ahead. The fact that “A” managed to get one step ahead of Mona says a lot of about the black hoodied villainess. We are scared for the Liars.
It maintains the show structure. We seriously loved Mona’s redemption arc. This character went from all-out villain to morally ambiguous ally to honorary Liar in the final episode. We would have loved if Mona could have joined Team Liar for real, but that would have fundamentally changed the structure of this show. This way, the PLL model is maintained while still staying true to Mona’s redemption.
It gives other characters a chance to shine. We love PLL, but there are too many underdeveloped characters on this show. Mona wasn’t one of them, but — perhaps, with her death — we’ll have the chance to get to know other supporting characters better. This is a perfect time to check in with Mike Montgomery, who is likely to be greatly affected by Mona’s death. We’d also love to spend more time with Lucas. Without Mona, the show will have more time to give to other parts of this massive ensemble.
Do you think Mona’s death might be a good thing for PLL? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments below!