One of the recurring themes in Season 3 of Pretty Little Liars has been the missing contents of Alison’s (Sasha Pieterse) creepily unearthed casket.
The mementos that Spencer (Troian Bellisario), Aria (Lucy Hale), Hanna (Ashley Benson), and Emily (Shay Mitchell) buried with their friend have come back to haunt them -- both in the hands of the “A” team (as blackmail) and in their own minds, digging up buried memories of their time with their secretive BFF. Here’s a recap of the mementos that have been discovered so far (and a critique of how terrible they are), as well as what they tell us about the Liars’ friendships with Ali and the mystery surrounding her death.
Aria: an earring
Aria was the first of the Liars to get her casket memento returned to her in Season 3, Episode 2: “Blood is the New Black.” It was one of the pair of earrings that she and Ali found in her father’s office shortly after discovering he was having an affair with one of his students, Meredith. They assumed it belonged to Meredith, and Ali convinced an upset Aria to trash her dad’s office to make it look like a crazy, jealous Meredith had done it. After Ali’s death, we discover that it was not Meredith’s earring, leading us to believe that Ali planted it there to make it look like it was.
Can we take a minute here to talk about how this is a terrible momento? Even before Aria realized Ali probably planted the earring, this doesn’t sound like a particularly lovely item to place in your friend’s casket. Why would Aria want to memorialize her friendship with Ali with something from such a manipulative and terrible experience? It makes you wonder what kinds of gifts these girls got each other for birthdays: Surprise! It’s that piece of gum I stuck in your hair that one time.
Jenna (Tammin Sursok) was freaked out when she found the earring in the school’s bathroom. This could mean she was there the night the casket was dug up or it could mean that she has some kind of connection to the earring pre-Ali’s death. Maybe the earring originally belonged to her or Ali used it in another one of her schemes? We’re curious how the earrings will come up again. Aria refused to give them to Hanna so she could get rid of them, which means we probably haven’t seen the last of them.
Hanna: Ouija board pointer
The next casket trinket to pop up was the Ouija board pointer Hanna buried with Ali. The pointer resurfaced in Season 3, Episode 7: “Crazy.” It was from the night Hanna and Mona (Janel Parrish) were hanging out -- post-Ali’s disappearance, pre-Ali’s body being found -- when Hanna thought she saw Ali alive outside of the window. She called Ali’s parents and told her mother that Ali was still alive. Ali’s body was found a few weeks later, and the DiLaurentises have never forgiven Hanna for giving them false hope.
This isn’t much better a memento than Aria’s. It doesn’t really have much to do with Hanna and Ali’s friendship as it came after Ali’s alleged death. It is possible that Ali is alive and Hanna really did see her that night, but even if that ends up being true, Hanna wouldn’t have known that when she chose what to put in Ali’s casket. Did these girls not braid friendship bracelets?
As for what the Ouija pointer tells us about Ali’s death, it has definitely steered us in the direction of the twin theory. Alternatively, it tells us that Mona has been messing with Hanna way longer than we thought.
Emily: 25 postcards
In Season 3, Episode 18: “Dead to Me,” we discover Emily’s contribution to Ali’s casket: 25 postcards. The flashback that accompany them takes us back to Ali and Emily in an empty classroom, planning their dream vacation together to Paris and the French countryside. It’s one of the sweetest memories of Ali we’ve seen. When Emily plays along, asking Ali how long they’ll go away for, Ali replies with a smile: “How ‘bout forever?”
Finally, a memento not connected to a traumatizing experience. Hopefully, Emily hasn’t come to associate the postcards with misery now that they are be used against her -- the one she has was planted in her mother’s purse with the message, “Stop digging. The police already know it's you who's capable of murder,” scrawled in French on the back. Who knows where the other 24 postcards are or how they will be used against the Liars, but, as Emily pointed out, the “A” team has 24 more chances to frame them.
Spencer is the only Liar yet to reveal what she put in Ali’s casket. Something tells us the subject would have come up already, but we like a little suspense as much as the next PLL fan, so we’ll let it go.
Spencer hasn’t been Ali’s number one fan lately. She initially refused to go to Ali’s latest memorial and then showed up only to blow the lid on the potential Ali/Wilden pregnancy scandal to Jason, so maybe the re-appearance of whatever item she buried with Ali will serve as a reminder of why she cares. Spence has been the Liar to lead the investigation into Ali’s death. We know she cares.
Perhaps this could be related to Toby (Keegan Allen) playing for the “A” team? (No, we’re not ready to give up on him yet.) Maybe he’s still playing BFFs with Mona so he can get Spencer’s casket memento back? Yeah, we’re grasping at straws, but we can’t help it! If Caleb and Paige can go undercover to try to take down Team “A,” so can Toby.
What do you think Spencer buried with Ali? How do you think Team “A” will use the remaining mementos against the Liars? Let us know your theories in the comments below!
Catch the next episode of Pretty Little Liars on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.