UPDATE: An earlier version of this article speculated that Mrs. DiLaurentis' body was the one buried in Alison's grave. However it is now clear that Mrs. DiLaurentis was murdered at the end of the episode, and not in a flashback.
The spring finale of “Pretty Little Liars” took ABC Family viewers on a WILD ride. Episode 24, “A is for Answers,” united the Liars with Alison, but their reunion took a deadly turn.
“A is for Answers” kicked off with the Liars driving to Philadelphia to meet Alison. But they were surprised to find Noel Kahn at their designated location instead. Confused as to why their ex-classmate would be there, the girls were interrupted when Alison appeared, and revealed that Noel has secrets too.
After hugging her old friends, Alison explained that she needed their help. With the cops reopening the case and about to start looking for her again, Alison told the girls that she can’t go home until she figures out who “A” is.
Hanna reveals that they suspect her mother, but Alison says it’s a little more complicated than that.
“I’m ready to tell you guys everything,” Alison says. “If we can’t figure it out tonight I’m going to have to disappear again. And this time it’s going to have to be for good.”
So, what happened to Alison that September night? In an effort to escape “A” for a little while, Alison headed to Hilton Head with Ian. But their weekend rendezvous was ruined when Melissa showed up, angry for Ian’s betrayal with Alison. Overhearing Ian’s conversation and reconciliation with Melissa, Alison chose to escape through the balcony … but not before stealing some files off of Ian’s computer.
Besides a video of her, the blonde teen discovered a video labeled “Jenna & Toby.” “There’s nothing wrong with us,” Jenna says in the video as she wraps her arms around Toby. “We’re not even related.”
Armed with knowledge of Jenna and Toby’s relationship, and speculating that Jenna was behind “A,” Alison decided to pay her a visit. Threatening to show everyone the video if she gets another threatening message or if Jenna returns to town, Alison stalks out of the room … but receives another message from “A.”
“B**** can’t see you but I do. Tonight’s the night I kill you. – A”
With Jenna crossed off her list of suspects, Alison returned home and found yet another message from “A.”
“I’m everywhere and soon you’ll be nowhere. – A”
It was the final night of the summer – the night Alison went missing – and her mom didn’t want her sleeping over at Spencer’s house with the girls. Mrs. DiLaurentis was still worried about the messages Alison was receiving, and believed that Spencer was the bully. “I’ve seen what they’re capable of,” Mrs. DiLaurentis tried to explain to Alison of the Hastings family. “You have to remember you cannot turn your back on a Hastings.”
Ali’s mom was distracted by phone calls, though, and when her back was turned Alison stole sleeping pills and left the house. Desperate to know if her friends were the ones behind the “A” texts, Alison drugged them at the barn … and then went to run some errands.
Upon opening the barn doors, Alison ran straight into Toby. And Ali was able to cross Toby off her “A” list because he was beyond grateful that Alison got him away from Jenna.
Meanwhile, Ezra pulled up unexpected, confronting her about her lies. Turns out Alison told him that she was a 21-year-old student student at UPenn and roommates with CeCe. Ezra became fascinated with her after meeting her at a pub near Hollis, and while the pair didn’t have a sexual relationship, Ezra was set on writing a book about her.
So, was Ezra so mad that he wanted to hurt her for her lies? Nope!
“God help me, Alison, I actually like you,” he told her. “I just don’t want to see you get hurt.”
After leaving Ezra, Alison headed to the kissing rock to meet up with Ian. “No hard feelings, right?" Ian asked upon seeing his former hookup.
“Please,” Alison fired back, twisting words that Ian told Melissa in Hilton Head. “This is just me killing time while I’m waiting for something better to come along … You and Melissa deserve each other. She’s such a b****.”
Needless to say, Ian’s not happy with the turn of events … especially after Alison revealed that she has copies of his home movies. Alison threatens to send him to jail if he or Melissa doesn’t stop with the threatening messages, leaving Ian to stalk off.
Returning to the barn, Alison was surprised to find an angry Spencer up and waiting for her. It turned out that Spencer had bottled up some bad feelings for Alison after she threatened to expose Spencer’s relationship with Ian to Melissa. But Alison wasn’t willing to deal with Spencer’s drama. Alison chose to walk away, but Spencer chased after her … with a shovel. However, Spencer didn’t get a chance to hit Alison. Instead she tripped and sent the shovel AND her pills flying – exposing her speed habit to Alison.
Surprisingly, Alison was understanding and even promised to keep Spencer’s habit a secret. But she made Spencer promise to not take any more of the pills that night, and to never take them with alcohol. Spencer ended up listening to Alison and went back to the barn to go to sleep.
Alison didn’t follow her, though. She still had one more errand to run – meeting up with Aria’s dad. According to Ali, she didn’t think that Mr. Montgomery was “A,” but she needed him to know that she had the tapes of his affair. Afterward she returned to the barn and waited for another text from “A.” But no text ever came. Believing that she finally had silenced “A,” Alison decided to head home. but she stopped dead in her tracks when her mother spotted her through the window.
Mrs. DiLaurentis had a shocked look on her face when Alison was struck over the head with a rock. But who tried to kill her?
Alison doesn’t know, but she does know who buried her – her own mother.
Mrs. DiLaurentis was covering up for the person who knocked her out because Alison overheard her talking to someone while burying her. Alison explained that she tried to call out to her mother, but couldn’t get the words to come out. All she could do was listen to her mom as she hysterically cried out repeatedly, “Oh, what have you done.”
It wasn’t Spencer, because Alison had left her sound asleep in the barn. So Alison came to the conclusion that her mom – to this day -- is still covering for someone.
So, what happened after Alison’s mother accidentally buried her alive?
Mrs. Grunwald was telling the truth about pulling Ali out of the ground and taking her to the hospital. But Alison ran after that because she was scared. Walking down the road, Alison was picked up by Mona who brought her to Lost Woods Resort … the same place that Mona had her obsessive room dedicated to Alison set up.
Mona helped Alison come up with the plan to fake her death and leave town. And in return Alison gave her suggestions on how to not be a loser, which is how Mona turned into the “cool kid” at school.
But Alison realized shortly after that Mona played her like a fool. Discovering that Mona was tormenting her friends, Alison returned to town and did everything in her power to protect them, which is where the “Red Coat” came from.
As Alison tells Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily everything that happened, CeCe’s in police custody. Initially not talking, CeCe decides to try and strike a deal for the murder of Detective Wilden. Holbrook doesn’t seem to bite … until CeCe reveals that she knows who killed “that girl, the one you thought was Alison DiLaurentis.”
Holbrook asks if Alison is somehow connected to the death of Wilden, but CeCe won’t say. “Maybe nothing,” she says coyly. “Maybe everything. You’re the cop.”
CeCe does give Holbrook one big bombshell – she has proof that Alison is still alive, and that the person who killed the mysterious body in Alison’s grave is the same person “still trying to hurt my friend.”
CeCe’s piece of information leads the police to look for Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily. But when they can’t find the girls they begin to question their parents. But only a handful of people are brought to the station for questioning – Mrs. DiLaurentis and the entire Hastings family … including Melissa.
Melissa returned from London after meeting up with Toby. Toby explained that Spencer relapsed and needed her, which led Melissa to head back to Rosewood. And it seems she came back in the nick of time, because her family is falling apart.
“God, they know,” Mr. Hastings confessed to Melissa. “I must have missed something. I did everything I could to protect her.”
But based on Alison’s story, it appears that Mrs. DiLaurentis framed Spencer for attacking Alison. And Melissa knows it, but “Pretty Little Liars” fans will have to wait to find out what Melissa knows because she whispered it in her father’s ear.
Getting a warrant to track Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily’s phones, the police send a team to the address they are at in Philadelphia. But “A” gets to them first. Breaking the window of the café they’re hiding out in, a hooded figure holds up a gun. The five girls manage to escape up to the rooftop of the building, but they have nowhere to escape from there. But to their surprise Ezra arrives to save the day. Confronting the gun-toting “A,” Ezra tells the hooded person that he knows who they are and that the police are on the way. A fight breaks out between the two, leading to a couple of gunshots before the weapon goes flying.
Hanna picks up the gun and aims it at their tormentor. The five girls yell for the hooded to figure to take off the mask, but instead of doing so, “A” decides to jump to the roof of another building. Seeing the way that “A” moved with such ease, the girls decide that there is no way that it could be Alison’s mom. But that still doesn’t answer who “A” is.
But that’s not how the spring finale of “Pretty Little Liars” ends. Aria runs to Ezra to thank him and is horrified to find that he has been shot in the gut. Ezra collapses to the ground and closes his eyes … leaving the girls to yell for help.
The final moments of episode 24 show someone burying another body in the ground … Mrs. DiLaurentis’. Viewers last saw Mr. Hasting's confront Mrs. DiLaurentis about their "deal" regarding Spencer.
(My initial thoughts upon the first viewing of the episode was that Mrs. DiLaurentis was the real body buried in Alison's grave. However after watching the season finale for a second time it's now clear that Mrs. DiLaurentis' murder happened in real time and not in a flashback. My apologies for any confusion.)
Season 5 of "Pretty Little Liars will premiere on ABC Family on June 10.
Let us know your thoughts on the finale in the comments section!