And now, before season four starts, a synopsis of the last three seasons.
First, a few characters:
Alison DiLaurentis- The dead girl who started it all. Alison DiLaurentis is the Liars' friend who was murdered. She was a fabulous, evil bitch. She often shows up in flashbacks (thank God)
Liar #1:Aria Montgomery- Aria is the Liar wearing too many accessories and crazy outfits at all time. She's mature, outgoing, and artistic (kind of). Her parents are the awesome Ella Montgomery and the lame Byron Montgomery, and she has a younger brother named Mike Montgomery, who is rarely seen. We suspect Aria of being "A."
Liar #3: Hanna Marin: Absolutely the funniest person on the show. Her mother is Ashley Marin. Hanna is the blonde.
Liar #4: Emily Fields: Emily is probably the best person of the four liars. She's a swimmer. She's gay. She's kind of boring compared to the other girls, but we still love her. She's really sweet and seemingly fragile, so when "A" picks on her, it's the saddest. The others can kind of handle it.
So...season one. Alison DiLaurentis, the tyrannical leader of a group of five friends, disappears. A year later, Alison's still missing and the four Liars are not friends anymore. Aria and her family spent a year in Iceland after Aria caught her professor father sleeping with a student. Aria is still keeping it a secret, and we find out that Alison knew as well.
Aria goes to a bar and meets Ezra Fitz. Ern thinks Ezra has a Fish Face. They hit it off and kiss passionately. When Aria gets to school, she finds out that Ezra is her new English teacher. Oops. Aria gets the first text from the mysterious, near-omniscient "A," a brilliant fiend who is out to torment the four Liars. It says, "Maybe he fools around with students all of the time. A lot of teachers do. Just ask your dad."
Meanwhile, Hanna and Spencer see each other at the mall. Hanna, struggling with her parents' divorce, shoplifts a pair of sunglasses and is later arrested, but her mother, Ashley Marin, sleeps with the cop, Detective Wilden, to get Hanna out of trouble. Emily meets her new next-door neighbor, Maya, who moved into Alison's old house. Emily has a boyfriend, but she develops instant feelings for Maya. They smoke weed together. "A" notices the sparks and sends Emily a text about it, also implying that "A" knew that Emily had a thing for Alison DiLaurentis.
Spencer meets her sister's fiancé, Dr. Wren, who is hot, British, and young. Spencer soon kisses Wren, and her sister, Melissa, dumps him. This isn't a first for Spencer. She kissed Melissa's last boyfriend, Ian, and Alison knew about it. Of course, "A" sends Spencer a text teasing her about her man-poaching ways. "A" also sends Hanna a text implying that "A" knows all their secrets that Alison knew. The four suspect that Alison is still alive, but the police find her body soon after that. At Alison's funeral, we meet Jenna Cavanaugh, who is always wearing huge sunglass because she's blind. "A" texts the Liars: "I'm still here bitches. And I know everything."
Jenna hates the Liars because they were present when Alison accidentally blinded Jenna by setting Jenna's garage on fire. This was meant as a prank on Jenna's weird step-brother, Toby Cavanaugh, the outcast who everyone suspects of murdering Alison. Emily befriends Toby and also breaks up with her horrible boyfriend, Ben, and starts seeing Maya. When "A" sends Emily's parents a picture of Maya and Emily kissing, Emily's mom is devastated to find out that her daughter is gay. Emily's dad accepts Emily faster, but her mom gets Maya sent to a religious camp by telling Maya's parents about her pot-smoking habit.
The threats and texts from "A" continue. The Liars suspect Jenna of being "A." "A" has moved beyond just texts to IMs, emails, cupcakes, letters, lipstick on mirrors (yes, A is trespassing), radio broadcasts, and more. Aria's mom, Ella Montgomery, receives a message from "A", telling her about Byron's cheating. The Montgomery parents separate. Hanna has a boyfriend named Sean, but he sucks. Hanna meets a nerdy boy named Lucas who worships her. Hanna finds out that her dad, who left her mom, has a fiancé. The fiance has a horrible daughter, Kate.
Spencer meets a cute, poor boy at the country club where she plays tennis, but "A" breaks them up. We still miss him. Tensions rise when someone vandalizes a town memorial to Alison. The FBI arrests Toby for Alison's murder after they find her blood on his sweater. He is fitted with an anklet and forced to stay in his home. Jenna is the one who turned him in so that he would be under house arrest and possibly have more sex with her. Oh yeah, we forgot to tell you that Toby used to sleep with his stepsister Jenna. She made him.
Aria briefly dates a classmate, Noel Kahn, in order to make her English teacher jealous/forget about her English teacher. We welcomed this, because we think an underage student dating a teacher is wrong and disgusting. We've hated that relationship from day one. Noel Kahn is hot, creepy, kind of mean, and fantastic.
But Aria and Ezra get close again, making out in a car. Someone writes "I See You" on the car's window. Hanna sees who did it (it was Noel Kahn, jealous of Aria and Fitz making out) and assumes it is "A." Before Hanna can tell anyone, "A" runs over her with a car. Hanna survives and sustains a broken leg. "A" stops by to sign Hanna's cast while Hanna sleeps. Yucky. Lucas visits Hanna in the hospital and gets upset because he wants to be more than friends with her, but she doesn't like him in that way.
Melissa's ex, Ian, returns, and the two elope, freaking Spencer out. Spencer finds some evidence that Ian and Alison DiLaurentis were together the night she died. Spencer also finds evidence that Alison and Ian spent the preceding weekend at a place called The Hilton Head together. Ian becomes the Liar's Suspect #1 for Alison's murder.
Hanna's mom, Ashley Marin, "borrows" (steals) money from the bank in which she works. Hanna returns home from the hospital and finds her mom's stolen cash stash. Hanna's formerly unpopular best friend, Mona, throws Hanna a Welcome Home Party where Lucas gets drunk and fights with Sean. Then Lucas confesses to ruining Alison's memorial. Alison always bullied Lucas, so he hated her.
At the party, "A" steals Ashley Marin's already stolen money. "A" uses this to taunt Hanna and force Hanna to "earn" the money back by doing shame-inducing things (like eating cupcakes and dancing with Lucas at a school function). After Hanna shares that forced dance with Lucas, Sean dumps her. Good riddance.
Later, "A" sends the Liars a video of Alison clutching dirt, breathing, and seeming to die. Ian is in the video. (We find out later that it's just a sex tape.) Sadly, Spencer's laptop and the video are stolen before the Liars can give it to the police. It is returned later with the video wiped from the hard drive. What's left is a picture of Alison walking and a shadow following her.
Aria figures out that this photo was taken from Alison's bedroom. Spencer goes to talk to Jason DiLaurentis, Alison's older brother, about the photo and the possibility that he could have taken it. Jason tells Spencer that he might have, but that he doesn't remember because he and Ian did a lot of drugs during that time. Also, Ian and Alison were definitely banging.
Hanna meets a cute hacker named Caleb. Caleb is perfect, and we will hear no word against him, ever. The actor playing him is more than competent as well. Caleb is a foster kid who ran away and lives at the school. Hanna invites Caleb to come live in her house, but keeps it a secret from her mom. They end up kissing and falling in love.
Emily has problems with her competition on the swim team, Paige, who bullies Emily and then dunks her underwater, in a rage. This could be interpreted as "trying to drown Emily." It's a controversial subject, haha. Paige feels bad later and confesses to Emily that she's gay too, but she doesn't have Emily's courage. A few episodes later, Paige even kisses Emily. They date briefly, but break up when Paige won't come out of the closet. Emily starts dating a blonde named Samara instead.
Aria finds out that her parents are secretly seeing each other again. Melissa is now pregnant with Ian's baby. Meanwhile, Aria is mooning around with Ezra and it's gross. We're not going to detail all of their drama. Just know that they worry about getting caught, break up all the time, and always get back together. "A" tries to get Hanna to expose the teacher-student relationship, but it doesn't work. And, long story short, Ashley Marin doesn't get caught for taking that money.
Spencer befriends Toby Cavanaugh after tutoring him in French. Toby is clearly afraid of his stepsister, Jenna. The evidence against Toby doesn't hold up, and Toby is released from house arrest. Toby and Spencer work together to decipher clues that could lead them to "A" and Alison's killer. They also fall for each other romantically, which never made sense to us until we saw Toby's abs.
Spencer's suspicion of Ian, general insanity, and aggressiveness get her marked as a "person of interest" in Alison's murder case. Good thing Spencer's mom is a lawyer. The Liars get into more trouble with the police after they turn in a trophy they believe to be the murder weapon. Of course, "A" is messing with them, covered the trophy with rat blood, and planted it.
Ashley Marin catches Caleb living in her house, so Hanna and Caleb run away together, camping in the woods. There, Hanna gives Caleb her virginity. Ashley feels bad and invites Caleb to stay at the house. Caleb makes a call to an unknown person and tells him/her "the deal's off." There's a reason he's been hanging around Hanna for so long...He was hired by Jenna to watch the Liars. When Hanna finds out, she ditches Caleb, throws him out of her house, and slaps Jenna so hard that the sound could be heard on other shows in that timeslot.
The Liars are sent a USB with videos that prove Alison DiLaurentis and other Rosewood girls were being stalked and secretly videoed for years. Alison took the USB from Ian (one of the stalkers), giving him a motive to kill her. There is also footage on the USB of Jenna threatening to cry rape if Toby didn't sleep with her. Gross.
Caleb tries to make things up to Hanna by writing her a goodbye letter with the phrase "I love you" in it. But Hanna never sees it. Her bestie, Mona, rips it up for Hanna's own good. Caleb boards a bus to Flagstaff where his estranged mother lives. Ezra quits his job at the high school when Byron Montgomery gets him a teaching job at Hollis College. Aria is upset because Ezra's former fiancé, Jackie Molina, is also working at the college. But hey, at least Ezra won't be Aria's English teacher anymore. It's marginally less disgusting now.
The Liars try to set Ian up and get a confession out of him, but he figures out that he's being trapped. He chases Spencer to the top of a bell tower and tries to kill her. "A" comes along and pushes Ian, who falls a long way. His body immediately disappears. We find out that Jenna is secretly dating a cop named Garrett, who the Liars knew before he joined the force. The Liars think he's a friend, but he's conspiring with Jenna. Lucas finds out that Mona ripped up Caleb's goodbye letter and drives to bring Caleb back to Rosewood. Nice of him. Also, pathetic.
The Liars' parents send them to grief counseling with therapist Annabeth Gish. "A" does not care for this and threatens them into keeping their mouths shut. Ella Montgomery moves back into the Montgomery house. Emily's parents move away for a job, but "A" finagles it so that Emily ends up living in Rosewood with the Marins. "A" makes it look like Emily takes performance-enhancing drugs, so Emily is thrown off the swim team.
Hanna is angry with Mona for destroying her letter. Mona dates Noel Kahn for a short time before he dumps her. Hanna rushes to comfort Mona and forgets their feud. Jason DiLaurentis buys his old house back from Maya's family and comes onto Aria, almost setting up a triangle before Aria goes weaseling back to nasty Ezra. Yeck. Also, Jason serves as another red herring for this show for a couple of episodes. Turns out, he does have a secret. He's Spencer's half brother. Daddy Peter Hastings cheated.
The Liars go through Alison's morgue files and find out that she was buried alive after having her skull bashed in. There is a page missing from the file (stolen by Jenna and Garrett). Aria runs into an intruder in Spencer's house who turns out to be her little brother, Mike, acting out because of his parents' rocky marriage, or his teenage issues, or his drug use, or that he's "A". Or whatever. We really don't know or remember, and we don't care. Because of Mike's breaking into houses and stealing, Aria finds out that Jenna is seeing Garrett.
The Liars find a text conversation between Melissa and what appears to be Ian. But Ian is found dead, shot in the head, and sitting next to a suicide note in which he admits to killing Alison DiLaurentis. The Liars quickly realize that the note was written by "A" and the suicide was faked. Melissa is devastated. Meanwhile, Hanna has a whole drama with her father and his horrific new family. If they come up again, just know that her stepsister, Kate, is the worst. Hanna almost parent traps her parents, but it turns out that Ashley doesn't even want the sod back. GOOD.
Hanna has a cathartic moment in Anne's office where she confronts the ghost of Alison for being such a bully. It's awesome. We're not doing it justice. This breakthrough gives Hanna the stones to stand up to Caleb's foster mom, who has been stealing from him. Hanna and Caleb finally get back together. Later, Hanna convinces Caleb to reconnect with his bio mom in California, so he leaves for a little while and comes back.
"A" starts to specifically target Emily, sneaking into a massage parlor and giving Emily a massage. Yeah, "A" had his/her hands around Em's neck. Emily is understandably freaked out, as are we all. Samara and Emily break up, but Maya comes back to town. Eventually, we find out that Jason, Ian, and Garrett used to be members of the "NAT Club," a group of guys who would film, spy on, and stalk Rosewood's girls. The Liars go to their therapist and spill everything. "A" starts targeting the therapist, who disappears just after leaving a message for the Liars that she figured out who "A" is.
"A" leaves each of the Liars a creepy doll with a message. The messages give the Liars one task that they must perform in order to save the therapist. Hanna has to ruin her dad's wedding by telling his fiancé that he cheated on her with his ex for a hot minute. Hanna performs this task, alienating her father, but it doesn't stop the marriage in the end. Aria has to blackmail Ezra's ex, Jackie Molina, into leaving town using evidence that Jackie plagiarized an important academic paper.
Spencer has to keep Toby safe, which would be a heck of a lot easier if "A" hadn't cut his brake lines. Spencer realizes that she has to dump Toby for his own safety. Emily's doll has a GPS for her to follow. She ends up on a carbon monoxide-filled barn and has a hallucination (?) involving Alison. Emily comes to and finds that someone dropped off a shovel, which is the suspected murder weapon used in Alison's death.
The girls meet in the woods and use the shovel to try to dig up the therapist, who they believe is buried alive. Instead, they are caught by the police, covered in dirt and holding that shovel. They are arrested and taken to the police station. Turns out, the therapist was blackmailed by "A" into keeping her mouth shut and leaving town. In the Halloween special, we learned that "A" was messing with Alison way before she was killed. After being arrested, the girls have to do community service and are pretending to shun Emily in order to trick "A" into thinking they are not friends anymore. This plan leads to Hanna getting close enough to "A" to hit "A" with her car. Ah, payback. "A" escapes, but drops his/her cell phone.
Hanna wants to leave Caleb out of it, but Spencer takes the cell phone to him. They are able to retrieve a photo of "A's" dolls in Spencer's lake house. Spencer goes to her lake house and finds a bunch of "A's" stuff. Toby and Spencer get back together. Jenna leaves town to get an eye operation that might restore her sight. Mona and Noel get back together and then break up again. Meanwhile, Lucas is acting strangely. He calls a teen hotline where Emily is volunteering and says some suspicious things. Hanna ends up on a lake in a rowboat with him, thinks he might be "A," and knocks him out of the boat with an oar. Lucas lives.
Ezra finally finally finally grows a pair and tells the Montgomerys that he is dating Aria. Byron, Ella, and Mike go nuts. We loved it. Ezra breaks things off with Aria, and Aria keeps calling him trying to get him to change his mind and freaking TRY for their relationship. Then an old friend, Holden, comes back into Aria's life. She uses Holden to fool her parents into thinking she's moving on.
Holden and Aria pretend to go out on dates, but Aria is secretly meeting Ezra. Holden is doing martial arts when he should be sitting down, because he has a heart condition. Still, he doesn't want his parents' concern for his health to keep him from his love of fighting or whatever. Holden kicks Noel after Noel chases Aria. We have no idea why Noel was chasing Aria. It's possible that he just enjoys being a dick for no reason.
Maya tells Emily that she had a boyfriend at the religious camp, but he went crazy and started acting like a stalker. Spencer finds out that Garrett checked Jenna out of a school for the blind on the night Alison vanished, but they never checked back in. "A" causes Toby to fall and break his arm, so Spencer breaks up with him again. Upset, Toby leaves town in his truck.
Jenna dumps Garrett and starts dating Noel Kahn. Yet another video reveals that Garrett, Melissa, Jenna, and Ian were in Ali's bedroom the night she disappeared. Ian taped their meeting because Garrett wanted out of the NAT Club.
The Liars also find out that Alison was using fake I.D. to pose as a brunette named Vivian Darkbloom. This clue leads Spencer to a claim check. Spencer uses the check to pick up a red raincoat. Caleb is slowly being told everything by Hanna and the other Liars and he hasn't been killed by "A" yet. Interesting. Of course, "A" tries to get him in trouble with the cops, but Spencer and Hanna save him.
Mona gets Emily back on the swim team, but Emily's troubles aren't over. Maya's parents find more weed and try to send her back to the religious camp. Maya invites Emily to run away with her to San Francisco. Emily isn't crazy, so the two part ways. Sidenote: Maya is our least favorite of Emily's girlfriends. We hated her almost as much as we hate Ezra.
Back to the evidence/search: In the raincoat, there is a phone number. A man finally answers when the Liars call, and they set up a meeting with him. Turns out, Alison was trying to find "A" and asked this cell phone company employee, Jonah, to help her trace numbers. Jonah found out who was threatening Ali, but Ali died before she could pay him. Jonah now demands money from Spencer in exchange for the answer to the big question. Spencer gets the money from her brother, Jason (she knows he's her brother now and they have an adorable relationship). All of this leads right to Melissa.
Melissa was working for a law firm years ago, and the texts from "A" were coming from that law firm. Spencer attempts to meet with her sister and have a heart-to-heart, but Melissa gets into a car with Garrett and then lies about it to Spencer, ditching their plans. This causes Spencer to lose it, get drunk, and go to Dr. Wren's place. They have the sexiest scene ever on this show before Wren decides not to take advantage of Spencer's state. For some reason, when Spencer seduces an older man, it's exciting and it doesn't feel like she's getting used. When Aria does it, it's just stupid.
Mona tells Hanna that "A" has started harassing her too and trying to get her to turn on Hanna. Paige comes out of the closet and starts pursuing Emily romantically. Ella and Byron Montgomery break up because Ella decides to support Aria's decision to date Ezra. Toby and Jenna return to town. Jenna has bandages on her eyes and may or may not be able to see once they come off. Toby ends up back with Spencer. Sad. We wanted her with Wren.
"A" frames Garrett, invites Jenna to a meeting at Jason's house, knocks Jenna out, and then blows the house up. Hanna and Spencer save Jenna's life. Maya contacts Emily to tell her ex that she is fine, but not to tell her parents. Emily immediately tells Maya's parents, because Emily is a good person.
Jonah discovers that there was more than one number sending Alison threatening messages. The law firm was only one of them. Jonah suggests the girls investigate another location: a creepy doll hospital. This leads to "A" scaring the pants off the Liars and the viewers, but no actual answers.
Aria dons Vivian/Ali's raincoat and catches the eye of a new guy, Duncan, who knew "Vivian." He's a pilot who would take Alison up in his airplane where she could feel safe and free from her stalkers. Duncan tells Aria that the Liars are wrong about the timeline of the day Alison died. They thought she returned from the Hilton Head much later than she did. Alison was in Rosewood a good seven hours before the Liars thought she was. This makes the Liars question what Alison was secretly doing in Rosewood on the day she died. Aria then goes back to dealing with Ezra drama. That takes up 90% of Aria's time on this show. She's hardly ever a part of the real action. Probably because she's "A."
Jenna pretends that her surgery failed, but in reality, she can see. Jenna gives Toby the stolen page of Alison's autopsy report. The page implicates Garrett. When Toby gives the page to the police, Garrett is arrested.
The girls still suspect Melissa of being "A." "A" continues to do really scary, incredible things with dolls. The Liars find out that Alison had found "A" and followed him/her to a hotel in the middle of the woods. Alison rented the hotel room next to "A's" on the day Alison died. While everyone else is at a school masquerade ball, Spencer and Mona break into "A's" hotel lair. It's the best lair of all time. It's so insane. Google pictures of it. You have to see it.
Mona finds a picture of a ballgown for the school masquerade ball. It's The Black Swan. Sure enough, there's a black swan at the dance, talking to Jenna and Lucas. Mona leaves Spencer in the lair on the pretense of going to the car to get gum. Mona returns dressed like "A". Black hoodie. Gloves. Mona is "A."
Mona tries to kill Spencer, but Spencer uses her phone to get the Liars to come help her. Mona is arrested and taken to the loony bin. Turns out, Mona was so obsessed with her best friend, Hanna, that she resented the other Liars for stealing Hanna's time and attention. Experts say that Mona is an insane genius whose "adrenaline spikes keep her in a constant state of hyperreality."
So is the show over? No. There are multiple "A's" working together. We're not looking for "A." We're looking for "A Team" and "Big A," meaning the person who started it all/the A Team's leader. The season ends with one more twist: Maya is dead and her body is found in Rosewood. Garrett, who made bail earlier, is arrested again on suspicion of killing Maya as well as Alison.
Five months later, Hanna is visiting Mona at the institution in order to help her recover, with Dr. Wren's approval. Emily is having a rough time, and she's drinking a lot. The girls have a sleepover where Emily is drugged. She wakes up next to Alison's empty grave. That's right, "A" is at it again. The Liars realize that Mona wasn't working alone. "A" sends them a photo of all the Liars at the empty gravesite and a text saying, "Mona played with dolls. I play with body parts. Game on, bitches." The Liars worry that if "A" releases that photo, they will be charged with stealing Alison's body.
There's some weird plotline where Byron Montgomery makes Aria apologize to his mistress, who he is seeing again, for being mean to her and trashing Byron's office years ago. It's disgusting and we can't believe Aria apologized. Trash his office again! Ella Montgomery is the new English teacher, and she cheats for Emily so that Emily can pass a test.
Emily starts to remember bits and pieces about the night she was drugged. She remembers being in a car driven by Jenna. The Liars realize that this means Jenna can see. They confront her, and Jenna begs them to keep it a secret, because she is being threatened.
Veronica Hastings agrees to represent Garrett in his upcoming trial, and Spencer flips out. Spencer continues to visit Garrett, trying to get information out of him. The Liars break into Melissa's apartment and find out that she was the Black Swan. "A" blackmailed Melissa into attending the party in the costume.
Melissa had a miscarriage and has been faking her pregnancy ever since Ian's fake suicide. Veronica Hastings is defending Garrett because one of the witnesses in the case would be testifying about Melissa's suspicious behavior. Veronica wants to shut that down. Peter Hastings hired a P.I. to investigate Melissa, because he wants to make sure there is nothing that could cause suspicion to fall on Melissa later. Melissa was sending threatening messages to Alison, who she didn't like, but that doesn't means she's "A."
Caleb doesn't like that Hanna is visiting Mona, and Hanna won't tell Caleb about the new "A." She wants to protect him, especially after "A" arranges for Caleb's mom to suffer a car accident. Hanna has to lie to Caleb a lot, and he's not happy about that. The two break up, because Hanna won't trust him (for his own good, but still).
Lucas becomes some sort of emo kid who likes to set things on fire or something. He's all dark. Lucas visits Mona at the institution too. Ashley Marin meets a pastor named Ted, and the two start dating. He's cool so far, and it takes Ashley a while to realize that she's good enough for him.
Emily receives a necklace made out of human teeth from "A." It's magnificent. Jenna tells Emily that the night Emily was drugged, Jenna found her drunk on the side of the road, drove her a little ways, and then let Emily out of the car after Emily started acting erratically.
Emily gets a job at a coffee shop and meets Maya's cousin, Nate, and the two become friends. Emily asks Paige out and gives her the flask she was drinking the night she was drugged. Jenna decides to reveal that she can see by throwing herself a big party with a Wonderland theme. We love Jenna so much. Paige ends up working for Jenna, handing out refreshments at the party.
The flask Emily gave Paige had remains of the alcohol Emily was drinking That Night. Also, roofies. Paige gets drugged and acts a mess at the party. Meanwhile, Lucas is fired as a photographer's assistant and Aria gets the job. Lucas accosts Aria, trying to get something out of his old boss's office. It turns out to be roofies he got from Mona.
Spencer lurks around the hospital, trying to get to Garrett's sick mother. Spencer believes that Garrett is slipping notes in his mother's bed when he visits her from prison, and the A Team is picking them up. She finds a message with the name "April Rose." This leads Spencer and her brother, Jason, to April Rose Antiques, a creepy shop where they find an old ankle bracelet of Alison's with blood on it.
They give it to the police, and it exonerates Garrett from Alison's murder. He's still on the hook for Maya (weirdly). "A" texts Spencer with the news that Garrett killed neither Alison nor Maya. Spencer has a breakdown, because she was emotionally dependent on blaming Garrett for all her problems. Jason is having emotional problems too, and Spencer has to save him from getting busted for driving drunk and crashing his car.
Emily remembers being at a diner That Night She Was Drugged with a boy sporting a rave stamp. Later, the Liars spot Holden with the same stamp on the back of his hand. A cop, Josh, believes that the Liars are criminals working with Garrett. Detective Wilden believes the blood on Alison's ankle bracelet is Hanna's. Veronica gets a court order to prevent Wilden from testing Hanna's blood, a solid for fellow-mother Ashley.
An older friend of Alison's, CeCe Drake, rolls into town after graduating from UPenn. Hanna gets heat from the DiLaurentis parents who hate her because she called them, thinking she saw Alison, one night when she was still missing. They see this as a cruel practical joke, so they are out for Hanna's blood. Mona gives Aria clues that lead to a website of Mona's, but it's password protected. Of course, Caleb can crack it. It's full of videos Maya made. Maya reads poetry about Emily, blathers, and annoys us, but there is a video of her in the woods, acting scared and then getting grabbed.
Hanna works with Dr. Wren to keep Mona from being transferred to an institution outside of Rosewood. Following their victory, Hanna and Wren kiss. Byron arranges things so that Ezra loses his Hollis job. Ezra's mother, Diane Fitzgerald, tries to pay Aria to break up with Ezra because Aria had a hand in ruining his teaching career. Ezra's brother, Wesley, arrives and tells Aria that Diane once paid a former girlfriend of Ezra's to get out of his life. Aria meets that girlfriend, Maggie, and Maggie has a young son named Malcolm. Ezra calls Maggie to catch up, but Maggie doesn't tell Ezra about his son, because she doesn't want Diane to revoke the money that is helping their son live well.
Paige confesses that she kissed Emily the night Emily was drugged, taking advantage of her roofied state. Emily forgives her quickly, the two kiss, and then they spend a lot of time together in the pool, swimming laps to music. Caleb and Hanna get back together, and Caleb is told all about the new "A." The Liars follow the Rave Stamp clue. Maya had that hand stamp at some point as well. It's a stamp that Noel Kahn's older brother (Eric Kahn) puts on everyone's hands when they go to one of his parties. That Night, Emily was at Noel Kahn's cabin, partying and getting drugged.
The Liars, along with CeCe, attend on of Eric Kahn's parties, where CeCe sleeps with Eric, just because she feels like it. CeCe helps Spencer turn in a late application to UPenn. At the party, Spencer and Jenna have a pretty entertaining showdown that gives us almost no answers. Jenna wants Spencer to turn over the videos the Liars have of her raping Toby. Ella Montgomery starts dating a younger guy, Zach, who owns the coffee shop where Emily works.
Spencer aggressively stalks Noel for answers. To get her off his back, Noel sends Spencer video footage from his cabin that proves Noel, Garrett, and Jenna were not involved in her abduction. Emily and Hanna go out to Noel's cabin and find a secret room with evidence that someone lived there. They also find Maya's unused ticket to San Francisco. Maya never left town. Someone shuts them in the room, and there is much scariness and violence, but no reveal. Emily gets them out, but Hanna is injured. Dr. Wren patches Hanna up.
CeCe reveals that Paige and Alison had a rivalry when Alison was alive. Alison, who feared Paige, called Paige the greatest mean high school nickname of all time. "Pigskin." Spencer starts believing that Paige killed Alison and might be "A," using Emily to get to them. Spencer cites the time Paige tried to drown Emily. We were glad someone hadn't forgotten that. Later, while Spencer is in a dressing room, someone puts a poisonous snake in with her. CeCe hears Spencer screaming, runs in, and kills it like she's Uma Thurman on Kill Bill meets The Bounty Hunter, only hunting snakes. Or something. Man, we love CeCe. Emily sticks firmly by Paige even as "A" tries to frame Paige.
A nervous Caleb acquires a gun. Garrett's trial for the murder of Maya begins, and the media surround Emily's house, trying to talk to the murder victim's former girlfriend. To escape the fracas, Emily goes to a remote cabin with Nate. GREAT IDEA. Once there, Nate reveals that he was the stalker boyfriend Maya met at Jesus Camp, and he hates Emily for stealing Maya away from him. He wants Emily to feel the same pain, so he has Paige/Pigskin tied up in the cabin closet, and he means to stab her in front of Emily. Emily gets out, runs through the woods, and makes it to the top of a lighthouse. Nate gives chase.
The Liars and Caleb eventually start trying to find Emily. After Spencer gives her v-card to Toby, of course. It's pretty hot. Those abs, man oh man. Emily accidentally stabs Nate while struggling with him in the lighthouse. Caleb finds and comforts Emily. A gunshot goes off. Caleb took his eyes off his gun long enough for Nate to grab it and shoot Caleb. Nate dies; Caleb goes to the hospital and lives. Mona escapes from the insane asylum and is helped by another member of the A Team. This member is revealed to be...Toby. Yeah, we were shocked too.
On Halloween, one teen dresses up as the corpse of Alison and runs around his own lawn, which the Liars find tasteless and we find hilarious. Garrett, proven innocent and released, promises an explanation of his behavior for Spencer. Garrett tells Spencer that on the night of Alison's murder, Ian, Melissa, Jenna, and Garrett were all in Ali's room (as the video shows), but Garrett and Jenna went downstairs, talking about how much they hate the NAT Club.
Alison shows up, physically cat fights with Jenna, and gets scared off by Garrett threatening her with a hockey stick. The result of this was that Jenna always thought Garrett killed Alison, but he didn't. Later, Garrett saw Alison arguing with Byron Montgomery. Remember, Alison knew that Byron was cheating on Ella at the time. It's also possible that someone was buried alive that night, because a hand came through a grave at some point in a flashback in the Halloween episode. This show confuses us.
There is a Halloween party on a train, and everyone in the world attends. Mona is on the train with a Phantom of the Opera mask (which is also Caleb's costume) and an Alison mask underneath that. Mona pretends to be Caleb and gropes Hanna a few times. Then she goes right back to the institution she escaped from. Aria is drugged and shoved into a crate. She turns her head, sees Garrett's dead body, and screams. Yes, "A" finally tormented Aria. We still think she's "A" though. Aria is in danger of being thrown off the train, but she is saved, and Ezra ends up looking suspicious.
"A" attacks Spencer on the train, and Paige saves her. Friendsies! We also have to tell you that there are weird twin happenings on this show. Alison once told a story about twins while she was babysitting in a flashback. They were twin girls and one was sent away. On the Halloween episode, Pastor Ted and Ashley are visited by some ghostly little blonde girl who was obviously one of the twins in Alison's story. It's clear to nearly everyone that Alison had a twin at some point, and her story and the little girl (who disappears, mysteriously) are meant to be connected in our minds.
Season three, part two
Mona officially and openly gets out of Radley and goes back to school, attempting to show that she's better now. Jason helps Mona post an apology video on the school website that earns her a cult of sympathy and trust. The Liars are not included in that cult, obviously. Caleb, still angry at Mona for trying to hurt Hanna, puts a cow's brain in her locker. Lucas tells Hanna that Mona has been sneaking out of Radley for a while. The school has a new janitor who Emily recognizes as the desk clerk from the motel in which A rented a room. The Liars go into the janitor's office and find Ali's diary, which proves that Ali was trying to blackmail Aria's dad. Aria rips out that particular page and they put the diary back. The school holds a fundraiser where Meredith, Byron's mistress, is injured.
It looks like Jason is the person who attacked Aria on Halloween. Lucas tells Hanna that he was only temporarily on the A team because Mona made him distract everyone so that she could grab Spencer back at the masquerade ball. After that, he smuggled messages from Mona in Radley to Jason. Mona knows that he used to sell test answers and blackmailed him into doing her will, but after an A-team member tries to run over him with a car, Lucas is done playing Mona's games. Mona wins the position as decathlon captain over Spencer and Hanna turns on Mona because of it.
Aria gets drugged and attacked by a crazy Meredith, but she's saved by her father. Aria confronts Byron. Byron levels with her. He did not kill Ali. Spencer finds out that Toby is on the A-Team. Spencer is tricked by A into telling Ezra that he has a son. Ezra goes to Delaware to meet Malcolm for the first time and tells Aria not to call him during that time. While Ezra is gone, Aria spends a lot of friendly time with his brother, Wes. Wes kisses Aria.
The Liars see a conversation between Ali and CeCe in Ali's biology notebook where Ali mentions a beach hottie. CeCe tells the Liars that she never found out the identity of the beach hottie Ali was seeing. But CeCe also says that Ali had a pregnancy scare that summer. Emily sees a picture of Wilden that leads her to believe he was "beach hottie." Jason and Emily get ahold of the picture, but when an elevator Jason is riding plummets to the ground, he ends up in the hospital and the picture is stolen. Shortly afterward, Jason disappears too.
Emily's memories of her lost night return and she recalls seeing blonde in a red coat. Emily concludes that this is the main A. Meanwhile, Spencer goes into a downward spiral. She gets to a sad, insane place. She's kicked off the decathlon team entirely and spends a lot of time investigating Toby. Spencer goes out with Wren (yay!), but the relationship is a nonstarter at this point, and they are seen kissing by Red Coat. Soon after, A traps Spencer in the Hasting's family steamer, and it's seriously scary.
Hanna goes to meet Caleb's uncle and quickly figures out that Uncle Jamie is actually Caleb's biological father. Hanna goes about repairing their relationship with each other and revealing the truth to Caleb. All goes well until she suspects Uncle Jamie of stealing from the local church. She's wrong and he was framed by A, but she ends up ruining the fledgling relationship between Caleb and his dad.
CeCe leaves Rosewood (sad), but, before going, she tells the Liars that Melissa stole the Wilden picture. After Wilden threatens Hanna and Ashley, Ashley runs over him with her car. His body goes missing, but the Marins are caught on Wilden's car camera. Hanna and Aria push the car into a lake to hide the footage and the crime. Sadly, Wilden reappears, acting like nothing happened. Later, he goes up to Hanna and threatens her, telling her that all he wants is his car back. Oops.
Spencer finally tells her friends that Toby is on the A-Team. Emily and Hanna find a Radley parking pass with the name "E. Lamb" in Toby's apartment. Spencer follows Mona into the woods and Mona leads her to a dead body that Spencer believes is Toby. After suffering a night of exposure and trauma, Spencer is found in a catatonic state and is taken to Radley. There, Spencer makes friends with a male nurse named E. Lamb. Lamb tells Spencer that Radley has recently had a hard time keeping control of visitor's passes and I.D.s.
Ezra returns with Maggie and Malcom in tow. They are moving to Rosewood to be closer to him. Ezra wants to teach at Rosewood High again, so Aria lies to the principal about the nature of their relationship. Back to square one. Mona visits an increasingly crazy Spencer and offers her a spot on the A-Team. Spencer accepts, but only to gather more information. Spencer's first assignment is to kidnap Malcolm and then return him. This episode greatly worries Aria. She tries to break up with Ezra, but he doesn't let her.
Spencer gets out of Radley just as her friends figure out that she kidnapped Malcolm. Spencer finds out that Toby is alive and that the body was someone else's. Toby and Spencer make up. They both joined the A-Team with good intentions: to protect each other. Emily catches Jenna, Shana (a lesbian who works in the local costume shop and who is trying to break up Emily and Paige), and Melissa conspiring at Jenna's house.
Mona, Toby, and Spencer have no idea who red coat is. Red Coat traps Mona and the Liars in a lodge and sets it on fire. Toby is attacked and knocked unconscious. The attacker plants a lighter in his hand, trying to frame him. Red Coat pulls the Liars and Mona out of the fire. Hanna wakes to see that it's Ali. Spencer and Mona also see Alison. On the way back into town, the Liars see Wilden's car parked in front of the church. The video of Ashley running him over is playing, and the footage also reveals Jenna and Shana dragging Wilden's body away. The five girls open the trunk and gasp when they see what's inside.