We’ve been skirting around the question for the entire season, unsure if we are piecing together clues that lead to the truth or if we are just piecing together clues that lead to the truth the Pretty Little Liars Powers That Be want us to believe. But, it needs to be asked once and for all: Is the mysterious Red Coat Ali’s secret twin?

Who is Red Coat?

Red Coat popped up at the end of Season 2 as the person giving Mona instructions on how to emotionally torture and manipulate the Liars. As Season 3 progressed, we came to understand that Red Coat is the leader of the ever-expanding “A” team. All of the Liars have caught glimpses of her watching them or running away from the scene of an “A” crime. Spencer is set to meet her in the Season 3 finale.

 

Who is Courtney Dilaurentis? (Book Spoilers!)

In the book series, Alison Dilaurentis (Sasha Pieterse) had a twin sister, Courtney. In a very confusing nutshell, Ali manipulated her parents into putting Courtney into Radley, but Courtney eventually managed to switch places with Ali. Courtney was the twin who became good friends with the Liars, and was later killed by a jealous and furious Ali.

 

If Ali did have a twin in the show, it is unclear if other book facts would hold true as the PLL writers have only loosely followed the plot of the books. In the books, Ali takes over the “A” role once Mona dies, but that doesn’t seem to be what’s happening in the show. Mona was never acting on her own. Red Coat always seemed to be guiding her.

Clues They Are One In The Same

Physically, Red Coat matches the description of Courtney Dilaurentis. She is small in stature, as far as we can tell, and has long, blond hair (though we can’t be sure that isn’t a wig). As for the whole dead thing, you don’t think either Dilaurentis twin would let a little snag like that stand in her way, do you?

Red Coat and the Dilaurentises also seem to have the same modus operandi in the way they manipulate and blackmail those around them to get what they want. In flashbacks, Ali and/or her twin have no problem with manipulating Ian into kissing Spence or blackmailing Aria’s dad for cash. The examples of Team “A's" manipulations are too numerous to count, but the implications that the members of the “A” team are blackmailed into joining seems important enough to mention.

In spoilery scoop on the Red Coat Reveal, Troian Bellisario said, “There’s something about the ‘Red Coat’ that they all recognize as part of their past.” Troian’s phrasing about recognizing rather than knowing implies the red-coated figure looks like someone the Liars knew, rather than is someone they knew. We can’t help pointing our finger at one Courtney Dilaurentis.

Clues They Are Not The Same Person

Of course, there is always the possibility that the PLL masterminds are purposefully leading us to assume Courtney is Red Coat just so they can shock! us with her true identity (a la Toby’s “death”...we hope).

There are fewer clues that call into doubt the possibility that a Dilaurentis is not Red Coat, but they do exist. In a recent “hallucination” (we aren’t convinced these sightings are in the Liars’ heads), Ali tells a drugged-up Aria that she sees “A” everywhere she turns: “So do you. You all do. I’m surprised Spencer hasn’t figured that out.” Going with the assumption that only one of the Dilaurentis sisters is still alive and that she is telling Aria the truth, then they cannot be the same person.

Most clues that point away from Courtney point towards Alison, but it is hard to separate two identities we know very little about. If Ali did have a twin, it calls into question every single flashback we’ve seen (was that Ali, or was it Courtney?) and everything we thought we knew about Alison. Looks like we’re going to have to rely on the de-hooding of Red Coat to sort this one out.

Do you think Red Coat is Courtney Dilaurentis? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments below!

Catch the next episode of Pretty Little Liars on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.