Pretty Little Liars Recap: Season 5 Summer Finale — Mona Dies!
Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC Family    

Pretty Little Liars

Pretty Little Liars Recap: Season 5 Summer Finale — Mona Dies!

Worst. Thanksgiving. Ever. Pretty Little Liars may have one-upped Gossip Girl’s tradition of notoriously terrible Thanksgivings with its summer finale, which saw Spencer (Troian Bellisario) arrested and Mona (Janel Parrish) murdered. Heck, Ezria didn’t even get the chance to eat their pumpkin pies! Is there no TV god?!

Here’s the full, epic recap for the Season 5 summer finale — Season 5, Episode 12 (“Taking This One to the Grave”).

Wherein Mona Gets Stuff Done. In honor of the great Mona Vanderwaal, we’re granting the honorary Liar her own section in tonight’s recap. Because she damned well deserves it. Girl gets stuff done, you know?

When the Liars realize that Alison (Sasha Pieterse) — aka “A”? — is talking to the police, Mona agrees to help them figure out what secrets/lies Ali has spilled. On one condition: no one can know. (Mona is really scared of what Alison will do to her, which is, apparently, a good instinct.) With the help of her trusty sidekick Lucas (Brendan Robinson), Vanderjesus hacks into the Rosewood P.D. servers and downloads a video of Ali taking a lie detector test. Ali doesn’t say too much, but the questions asked reveal the police suspect Spencer of Bethany Young’s murder. Worse yet, they are in the process of obtaining an arrest warrant. Time to scatter!

Pretty Little Liars Recap: Season 5 Summer Finale — Mona Dies!
Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC Family    

Wherein Spencer Looks Very Guilty. Holbrook’s theory? Spencer was so desperate that Ali keep Spencer’s amphetamine abuse a secret, she killed Bethany Young to earn favor. Spencer takes the news like a champ, logically informing the Liars that she will call Her Parents The Lawyers, and they will know what to do. But the Liars are all for one, and one for all — even Mona. She points out that the Rosewood P.D. didn’t call Ali in until they went through Bethany’s records at Radley. Vis a vie, there must be something in there that links the two together. Otherwise, why would the cops think killing Bethany would please Ali? Time for a secret mission.

Wherein All Roads Lead to Radley. The plan? Spencer and Mona don ridiculous nurse uniforms in order to break into Radley. Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) and Hanna (Ashley Benson) provide surveillance from the get-away car,Emily (Shay Mitchell) distracts Alison at her house, and Aria (Lucy Hale) distracts the nurse from the entrance desk using her cover as Worst Radley Volunteer Of All Time. What could go wrong?

Like most Liar operations, everything does not go according to plan. Holbrook shows up to interrogate Aria and Alison sees through Emily’s techniques. But it doesn’t matter: Spencer and Mona got what they came for: a connection between Bethany and Ali. It seems that Mrs. DiLaurentis was having an affair with Bethany’s dad, and that Bethany knew enough about Ali to comment: “Like mother, like daughter.” Apt.

Pretty Little Liars Recap: Season 5 Summer Finale — Mona Dies!
Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC Family    

Wherein Team Spoby Takes a One-Two Punch. The Liars escape Radley unseen, but a concerned Toby (Keegan Allen) gets into a car accident while on the phone with a delayed Spencer. Officer Toby comes away with a broken leg, which only means he can do nothing when Spencer is arrested for Bethany’s murder in the middle of The Brew the next day. Tell it to us straight, Pretty Eyes: Which hurt more? The broken leg or watching the woman you love led away for a crime she didn’t commit?

Wherein “A” killed Mona. Say it isn’t so, show! When Mona finds evidence in Bethany’s stolen Radley file that Ali lured Bethany to Rosewood, the non-jailed Liars rush over to Mona’s house. But they are too late. Before they get there, “A” breaks in and kills Mona. The Liars get there to find blood everywhere, but no body. Holbrook rules it a homicide, which is confirmed for us in the epilogue as we see Mona’s open-eyed corpse stashed in “A”’s trunk. A moment of silence in honor of the show’s best character.


— This show is putting in a lot of effort into convincing us that Alison is “A” and that she killed Mona. Verdict: We’re so not convinced.

— Crazy theory: Was Bethany’s dad Peter Hastings? Apparently, Bethany’s dad was having an affair with Mrs. DiLaurentus and we know for a fact that Mr. H. and Mrs. D. previously had an affair. This would explain the shared secret of the Hastings/DiLaurentis family, as well as Bethany’s “like mother, like daughter” comment. Perhaps she wasn’t talking about Alison, but herself.

PLL keeps teasing us with the twin clues. This week, it was Cindy and Mindy, aka Ali’s identical henchwomen. Are we the only ones wondering if Ali and Bethany were twins? Don’t think it hasn’t escaped our notice that we’ve yet to see a picture of Bethany. Why doesn’t this bother the Liars?

— Did “A” take all of Bethany’s file with her after she killed Mona? Probably. Brightside: With Spencer in custody when the murder went down, at least the cops won’t arrest her for this one.

— Why was Alison jealous of Bethany? Was it because Bethany was spending time with Mrs. DiLaurentis? Did Alison lure Bethany to Rosewood to kill her?

Pretty Little Liars Recap: Season 5 Summer Finale — Mona Dies!
Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC Family    

Other Things To Be Discussed

— Holy happy shipping! Tonight’s episode was chock full of coupley moments. Paily got back together with a school hall kiss. Spence gave Toby a pocket watch engraved, “You’re my once upon a time.” Ezria baked pies together. And Haleb were closer than ever following last week’s heart-to-heart. Despite all of the murder and mayhem, love is in the air.

— The Christmas-decorating scene may have been our favorite PLL bit of all time. Emily’s shirt! Hanna’s quips! Paily’s happiness! “Where’s the Jesus?” “Read her boobs: the girl likes Christmas.” Can the entire Christmas episode be like this?

— Why are the two former Radley patients the ones going undercover as nurses? This seems like a bad plan.

— The old Chamomile Ruse. Classic Ali.

— Emily just straight-up asks Ali if she’s “A”. Love it. If only Ali would give a straight-up answer.

— The continuing “bed buddy” joke was kind of adorable. See, this is why we need Mona! She begins the best jokes.

— We always knew Hanna was a genius. We don’t want to be there when Hanna tells where she’s going to college.

— Gotta love that all the Rosewood P.D. are on a first name basis with all of the Liars.

— Mona’s death is made even more tragic by her bright future, almost in reach. She had full rides to Yale, Harvard, and Dartmouth. She was about to get out.

— Speaking of which, we’re glad college is finally a thing on this show.

— As nice as it was to see the sweet moments between Mona and her mom, we couldn’t help but think Mona’s mom should have been introduced as a character about a million seasons ago. The moments between Hanna and Mona were much more compelling, as was Hanna’s reaction to Mona’s death.

— Finales remind us how good this show can be when stuff actually, you know, happens. With 25 episodes to fill in a season, we know there has to be some filler, but we couldn’t help wishing every episode were as intense and emotional as this one.

What did you think of the summer finale? Sound off in the comments below!

Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!

08.26.2014 / 12:00 AM EDT by Kayti Burt
Related: Pretty Little Liars, Features, Recaps, TV, Pretty Little Liars Season 5

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