Talk about a crazy end to a wild Pretty Little Liars season! The shocking surprises on the finale (Season 1, Episode 22; March 21, 2011) just kept coming — Ian (Ryan Merriman)'s dead, Jenna (Tammin Sursok) is hooking up with Officer Garrett, and Emily (Shay Mitchell) is getting ready to spend a year in Texas. We won't blame you if you need a second to catch your breath.
This roller coaster of a season finale, entitled "For Whom the Bell Tolls," began with the girls watching Ali's video, with footage of Jenna pressuring Toby Cavanaugh (Keegan Allen) to hook up with her. The girls are now convinced that Ian killed Ali and was the one filming them, so they want to find out what Jenna knows.
Aria's dad Byron wants Ella to come to the faculty mixer that he's throwing at their house, but Ella turns him down. Plus, Aria is getting frantic texts from Ezra about Officer Garrett snooping around. But when Aria meets up with Ezra, he's forgotten all about Garrett and has taken a new job at Hollis, meaning he will no longer be Aria's teacher and they can be together in public! Or so we think.
Emily finds out from her mom that the family needs to relocate to Texas for the year, as her dad will be stationed there. If you ask us, escaping "A" for a year sounds like a blessing, but apparently Emily doesn't see it that way.
The girls corner Jenna in a classroom, who tells them that Ali showed her the video the day before she disappeared — while Jenna was in the hospital — and threatened Jenna to never return to Rosewood. The girls then realize that, when Ali told them to "wait for it," she was referring to the video.
Spencer tracks down a pre-paid untraceable phone. The girls use it to text Ian and tell him they have Ali's video; when he texts back, they tell him to bring a ton of cash to the park at 9 p.m. And if you're thinking to yourself, "That doesn't exactly sound foolproof" — well, you might be right!
The episode saw the long-awaited return of a number of characters. Among the returnees was Lucas, who overhears Mona telling Hanna that Caleb never left her a note, even though Hanna's mom tells her he was going to. And then, when Mona later finds Hanna's phone and informs Caleb that Hanna isn't interested, Lucas is there again. This guy is quite the eavesdropper!
Now is when things start to get good. Toby and Spencer turn into cuddle bunnies, as Toby promises to get info from Jenna. But then we see Jenna call Ian and warn him that the girls have the video, although Ian says he has it under control. And then we see Officer Garrett — who just got done reassuring Emily that he's on their side — show up in Jenna's room, and the two of them make out! (Maybe those two creeps deserve each other?)
Aria and Ezra are able to get a little flirty at Byron's faculty party — that is, until Ezra's ex Jackie shows up and ruins it all! Ezra confesses that Jackie is a new professor at Hollis, where he'll be teaching, and that he should have been upfront with Aria. But Aria isn't ready to accept the apology!
Then, we get two unexpected car scenes. First, we see that Lucas is driving Caleb back into town because he thinks Hanna deserves happiness. What a guy! (Did he pick him up from Arizona, though?) Then, Spencer gives Melissa a ride from the church — Melissa was there preparing for their baby's christening, but Ian never showed. Spencer turns the car around because Melissa left her phone at the church, and they get in a huge car accident! (Seriously, what was with everyone forgetting their phones in this episode?)
At the hospital, we learn that Spencer is fine after the wreck, but Melissa is injured and the baby's health is in doubt. (And just so you know, it took a lot of restraint for us to not refer to that baby as "the spawn of Satan"!) Meanwhile, the other three girls are waiting for Spencer in the woods, and who should arrive but Officer Garrett, whom the girls foolishly invited. Garrett then points a gun at the next guy who arrives... but it isn't Ian. It's some dude named Logan, whom Ian hired to deliver the money. Where's Ian?
Spencer heads back to the church to retrieve Melissa's phantom phone, when who should she meet but Ian himself! Uh-oh. Ian isn't thrilled when he discovers it was Spence who sent that unmarked text. She tries to distract him by throwing the USB drive with Ali's videos across the church, but he still manages to track Spencer down in the bell tower. (Uh, why exactly would she choose to run up a precarious bell tower?)
Ian plans to make Spencer's death seem like suicide and blame Ali's death on her. However, right before he can throw her off the tower, a mysterious hooded figure appears, saving Spence and instead pushing Ian off the edge and he ends up getting hanged as he falls into the ropes holding the bell. Yikes. Yet when the police arrive, Ian's body is gone, and when the girls get a last-minute text from "A," they figure that "A" is responsible. (And why exactly was Noel in the crowd as the girls emerged from the church? Strange indeed.)
All we can say is, "Wow!" Granted, it will be a long stretch before we get any additional info — we're counting the days until new episodes resume on June 14th! — but at least this was an action-packed finale. Is Ian really dead? Is Emily really moving? And which couples will still be together in June? So many questions! (And here's one more question: Is it June yet?)
MORE ABOUT PLL SEASON 2: