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'Pretty Little Liars' Season 3 Finale Recap - Red Coat Reveal and Jenna/Shana What?

'Pretty Little Liars' Season 3 Finale Recap - Red Coat Reveal and Jenna/Shana What?

If there’s anything the writers of Pretty Little Liars do well, it’s season finales, and with a mystery A-team leader and Spencer’s new hobby of child abduction, Tuesday night’s episode was gearing up to be no different.

This could probably go without saying but there are major SPOILERS!!!!! ahead for anyone who missed the finale. 

If there’s anything the writers of Pretty Little Liars do well, it’s season finales, and with a mystery A-team leader and Spencer’s new hobby of child abduction, Tuesday night’s episode was gearing up to be no different.

Spencer has been released from Radley, and the rest of the girls are waiting for her downstairs in the Hastings house, eating tea and crumpets, while the Hastings parents are (of course) nowhere to be seen.  They agree not to bum Spencer out by talking about Toby, but Spencer overhears them and quotes herself from the show’s pilot saying, “hope breeds eternal misery.”  But that’s not important.  What’s really important is that Spencer got her wardrobe back. 

She tells the girls how she let herself completely break down after finding out about Toby’s death (umm... ya think?) and that she refuses to play the victim any longer.  In Hastings fashion, her parents have decided to throw her a return from Radley party, where they’ve told people she was being treated for exhaustion. 

Not exactly the best cover.  Anyone who has ever read a People magazine knows what it means when someone is “being treated for exhaustion.”

Over at A-headquarters, an A team member in the standard digs is downloading contacts from a super fancy looking computer.  Mona comes in with coffee and tells this unknown A, “We like your plan.  You’ll get your reward on Friday,” adding, “Those bitches are finally going to get what they deserve.”

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Back at Rosewood High, the girls are, of course, learning - aka talking in the hallway.  Ezra has posted signs around the school for a babysitter for Malcolm, and the girls wonder if Mona was the one who kidnapped him.  While Malcolm is the only one who knows who took him to the carnival, Aria is a little less than thrilled with the idea of bringing her boyfriend’s son into the A mix.  After she leaves, though, Hanna takes the flyer and decides to apply for the job.

 Suddenly, up walks Shana, who is taking a break from her busy schedule of working at the costume shop, trying to win back Paige, and befriending Olympic athletes.  A member of a rival school’s swim team, Shana is at Rosewood because her coach arranged a practice there, but she seems to be more interested in hitting on Spencer. 

After Shana leaves, poor Hanna is jealous and says, “I hate her... She flirts with everyone but me!” 

Aria sees Ezra in the hall and not so subtly pretends to read a book while they walk and talk.  He says he was interviewing for the substitute teacher’s position, but he doesn’t think he got it.  Not sounding too sympathetic, Aria tells him she’s sorry to hear that.  Later, though, while Aria’s dad is proving once again that he possesses zero paternal authority, he reveals to her that Ezra was offered the job and was taking a day to think it over.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Jenna, but it’s good to see it’s business as usual, as Jenna is on the phone with someone worrying about police evidence.  A hooded A-teamer is outside her house, and sends her one of A’s ever so pleasant texts.   She hurries to the window, but the hooded figure is gone.

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At Rosewood’s singular hangout spot, the Brew, Ezra is interviewing Hanna to be Malcolm’s new babysitter.  Since Ezra has his weekly meeting of the Boring Club that night, he agrees to give Hanna a test run with Malcolm.

In the woods (another one of Rosewood’s hot spots), Jenna is meeting up with the mystery person on the phone, who tells her that the girls will be all together on Friday.  In possibly my favorite reveal in PLL history, we learn Jenna is talking to Shana, and from the looks of things, Jenna has jumped off the boy train. 

In a strangely romantic moment (considering they’re both probably evil), while holding hands across a picnic table, Shana tells Jenna, “On your darkest days, you know I’ll be here for you.”

Aria and Ezra broke up.  There was crying, talks of Malcolm, and Ezra is so boring.  That’s the gist.

Dressed in a black hood, an A-teamer sits at a diner booth, presumably waiting for company.  The camera pans to reveal who the person in the hood is meeting, and it’s a very not dead Toby.  That sort of leaves me wondering who the dead creeper in the morgue is, who decided to get Toby’s exact tattoo.  Toby tells the person, who he believes to be Mona, that Hanna got the job, but is surprised to see Spencer look up. 

She said that Mona had told her that Toby was alive and she could see him if she brought the girls together on Friday.   She earned Mona’s trust by kidnapping Malcolm, a trust she subsequently just majorly broke meeting up with Toby.  Spencer says she downloaded his contact info from the cell lair.  Toby insists he was just working with Mona in an attempt to protect Spencer and asks her to follow him.


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At her new babysitting gig, Hanna invents a game called “Guess Who,” which should really be called, “Son of my former teacher, please help me find this psycho murder-team ring-leader.”  Malcolm recognizes Aria, but doesn’t know who Mona is.  Having thought that Mona was the one who kidnapped him, Hanna shows him pictures of Ce Ce, Melissa, Jenna and Toby, but Malcolm says none of those people were the mysterious “Alison” that took him from karate class.  

Ever the responsible babysitter, Hanna breaks the game abruptly to call Emily, who’s out for a run.  Just then, Emily sees Melissa at the Cavanaugh house, and she hangs up with Hanna.  Melissa meets Jenna and her new girlfriend Shana (loving this) and calls the liars bitches for like the 400th time they’ve been called that over the course of this show. 

She hands the couple an invitation to Spencer’s back from exhaustion party, the guest list of which seems to be pretty tiny.

Ever the charmer, Toby has brought Spencer to a seedy hotel, one of the few he stays in, and the only one Mona doesn’t know about.  He tells her that he doesn’t know who Redcoat is, but that she is the one in charge.  Finally, the two kiss and... reunite.

Back at Fitz’s, Malcolm is playing with Hanna’s phone while Hanna talks about how she used to be fat.  Hopefully she does a better job watching him than that.  We wouldn’t want another dreaded chin-bump incident.  Suddenly, he gets a picture and recognizes Spencer in the photo.  He tells Hanna she is the “Alison” who took him to the Carnival.

While Aria has been off at her boring break up, Hanna and Emily were busy getting some pretty big news, so Aria is now getting her mind blown by both of them.  Aria thinks Radley must have gotten to Spencer, and Mona could have had people on the inside.  Emily, who has so far been pretty good at figuring out who’s actually on their side, says she knows a way to test Spencer’s intentions.

Back at school, Ezra tells Aria that he took the substitute-teaching job, which, since he’s at the high school in the middle of the day, is kind of redundant.  Then they kiss.  Did I mention these two are boring?

After a swim meet between the Sharks and Shana’s Red Devils, Spencer spots Redcoat and follows her into the girl’s room.  There she finds Hanna, who lured her, knowing that if Spencer followed her, it meant she doesn’t know who Redcoat is. 

Aria and Emily come out of the stalls, and they all seem to trust her again, despite the fact that Spencer did still take a seven-year-old boy and leave him alone at a carnival.  Spencer tells them the truth about her agreement with Mona and, much to their relief, the fact that Toby is alive.  Finally back together, the four girls decide to go to the lodge and face Redcoat themselves.

The next day, Ezra walks into a classroom to teach, but Aria is (of course) too distracted reading Hemingway to notice her substitute teacher.  The real star of this scene is Spencer’s hat.  Thank goodness this girl finally got her swag back!


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Friday night at the lodge, Mona and her two double agents are awaiting the arrival of the other three liars. 

Spencer tells Mona that they are running late, and when she asks how late, Spencer makes out with Toby.  Not helpful, Spence.  Meanwhile, Redcoat has decided to fly in a small plane to the event, which just seems like a tremendous waste of money.  Upstairs, the other three sneak into the house via the window.   Toby puts on an act for Mona like he is going to kill Spencer and after they leave, Hanna, Emily and Aria confront Mona.  But not before they don and ditch dresses for Spencer's faux party.

Unbeknownst to them, someone locks them into the lodge.

Just as Mona tries to tell the girls that they’re making a mistake by messing up Redcoat’s plan, the lodge goes up in flames.  Normally, fires in Rosewood are just one body part specific, but this one looks to be a doozie.  Thinking that she’s going to die, Mona yells out, “I’m never gonna know who she is!” marking the second biggest reveal so far in this episode.


Walking around outside and somehow not noticing that a nearby building is on fire, Spencer sees Redcoat getting off the plane, and believes it to be Ali.  Separated from Spencer, Toby is following someone, too, but before he can see who she is, he gets knocked out by an accomplice.  My money is on new lesbian power couple Jen-na (whatever, we have the summer to come up with a nickname for them).  Leaving him on the ground, they plant a lighter next to him, which he wakes up and finds later.


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Finally, Spencer notices that the lodge is on fire, and runs to find her friends.  Redcoat, meanwhile, has dragged all the girls, including Mona, to safety, and for a split second, Hanna opens her eyes to see who she is.  Thinking she must be imagining things, Hanna is looking right in the eyes of Ali, who is supposed to be way more dead.  The girls are in disbelief when Mona and Spencer say they saw Ali in the red coat, too.

Back home safe in Rosewood (sure), Mona tells the girls that she made a deal with the devil, so to speak, to get herself in and out of Radley.  They’re all jerked away from their conversation when they see a very soggy cop car sitting in the street.  It looks like Wilden’s squad car has reemerged (literally).  Somehow, the video surveillance from that night survived being underwater, but a girl may or may not have just come back from the dead, so we’ll let that detail slide.  The girls, however, see a piece of video from that night they haven’t yet seen:  as Wilden is limp on the ground, Jenna and Shana whisk his body away and into the woods.  Their phones beep, and all five girls get a message from A:  “You’re mine now.  Kisses.  – A”.  The girls open the truck and gasp, leaving me hanging at the end of the episode sounding like Brad Pitt in Se7en:  “What’s in the truuuuuuuunk?”

 As our send-off to the summer, we see a hand pop out of a freshly dug grave in a nod to Brian DePalma’s Carrie! So many unanswered questions and a brand new lesbian couple – like always, Pretty Little Liars leaves us satisfied.  Now time to somehow wait three long months to see Emily and the girls again!

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Annie Hollenbeck