Alex Drake (Pretty Little Liars)

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Alex Drake
Pretty Little Liars character
Alex Drake PLL.jpg
Alex eavesdropping on a conversation between Veronica Hastings and Jenna Marshall, taking place outside the Hastings and Hastings law firm.
First appearance
Last appearance
Created by I. Marlene King
Portrayed by Troian Bellisario
Information
Full name Alexandra Drake
Nickname(s) "A"[b]
A-moji[c]
Big Bad[d]
"Not A"[e]
The Stalker
Uber A
Waldo[f]
Aliases Spencer Hastings [g]
Occupation
  • A.D. (formerly)
  • Bartender (formerly)
Affiliation The A-Team (formerly)
Title "A.D."
Residence
Status Alive

Alex Drake is a fictional character created by I. Marlene King and portrayed by Troian Bellisario on the American television series Pretty Little Liars. She was officially introduced in the episode "Till Death Do Us Part", revealed to be Spencer Hastings' identical twin sister as well as the elusive "A.D.". Alex believed the Liars knew who was accountable for Charlotte Drake's homicide and also she impersonates Spencer due to being jealous of the upbringing that she was able to have. She was adopted by a wealthy British family that later abandoned her, forcing Alex to bounce around foster homes and orphanages for a large portion of her childhood. She is considered to be the deadliest antagonist of the series.

Her character pays tribute to Alison and Courtney DiLaurentis, characters of the Pretty Little Liars book series.

Development

Troian Bellisario portrayed both Alex and Spencer.

Bellisario was cast as Spencer Hastings, in November 2009.[1] Alex is Spencer's identical twin sister, whose existence was unknown until the series' final episode. During an interview to Elle, Bellisario disclosed that Marlene King, the show's creator, was planning to introduce Spencer's twin since 2014, when the show's fifth season began airing. She also commented that King was initially doubtful towards the storyline since Freeform wasn't decided if the show was going further forward. However, by the end of the sixth season, Marlene warned Bellisario they were staying true to the plan, so they began working on the character's history and characteristics.[2]

According to Bellisario, the difference between Alex and Spencer is that "Spencer approaches things with her head and her heart, and Alex approaches things with her head and her groin. That's not to say she doesn't have a heart or feelings, but she's gotten really good at putting a thick coat of armor over her heart."[2] Referred to as the series' "ultimate villain",[2] Alex is an "Essex girl"[3] whose portrayal was influenced by late singer Sid Vicious.[4] She is a manipulative woman who can easily disguise and pass herself off as Spencer. Alex was desperate to take over her twin sister's life since Spencer had a supportive cycle of friends and family, while Alex was twice abandoned and forced to live on her own terms.

Background

Alex is the third and last child born to Mary Drake. Mary had walked into a restaurant and ran into Peter Hastings. She took advantage of the moment to pose as her sister Jessica DiLaurentis, whom Peter previously had an affair with. Mary ended up seducing him and their brief sexual encounter resulted in a pregnancy. Afterwards, Mary gave birth to identical twins at Radley Sanitarium, a mental institution she had been re-admitted to several times. The oldest child Spencer Hastings, was taken from her much like her first born Charlotte was and placed in the care of their biological father, along with his wife, Veronica Hastings.

Alex's existence was unbeknownst to Peter and Veronica since she was born minutes after Spencer was given to them post-partum.[5] Mary, desperate to escape Radley, allowed Doctor Cochran to arrange Alex's adoption in exchange for $500,000 and a resignation from the psychiatric hospital. Alex was later adopted by a wealthy British couple. However, she started to develop mental health problems at an early age, and the family that fostered her refused to tarnish their reputation. Alex was stripped off of her adoptive name and placed into an orphanage. She bounced around foster homes and orphanages for a large portion of her childhood. On her tenth birthday, Alex ran away from the Ambrose Home for Wayward Children, a year before Mary discovered she was there.

She later obtained a job bartending where she met Wren Kingston, who originally mistook her for Spencer. The two began a romantic relationship, and Wren told Alex about her blood relations to the Hastings and DiLaurentis. Alex even met Charlotte prior to her death, when the latter flew from a transatlantic flight to Paris to meet her. Both of them grew extremely close within the little they spent together. Kingston had already assisted Charlotte's schemes during her reign as "A" and preceded to work for Alex when she decided to take over the game and avenge her maternal half-sister's homicide.

Physical Appearance

Like Spencer, Alex has a very slim face complimented with high cheekbones, thin lips, and almond-shaped eyes. She also has a peach and cream complexion and long medium brown hair usually worn down in waves. She eventually styles her hair with bangs to mimic her sister's. While impersonating Spencer, Alex is seen dressed very similarly to her sister. However, when she is dressed as herself (as evidenced in flashbacks) she wears heavy makeup and dark clothing in a tomboy style.

Storylines

Season 6

By the end of the "Of Late I Think of Rosewood", Alex makes her first appearance as the new "Big Bad", although she only appears behind the car window glass during the aftermath of Charlotte's funeral. Whilst inside her limo, she listens to Patsy Cline's "Crazy".

During the closing scene of "Charlotte's Web", a mourning Alex places flowers on her half-sister's fresh grave next to Jessica DiLaurentis' and walks over to a black vehicle. Before stepping inside, her chauffeur expresses his condolences.[6][7]

Alex officially commences the newest "A" game in "The Gloves Are On", after gaining possession of Charlotte's former belongings. She sends the Liars (minus Alison) a text message, threatening them to expose Charlotte's assailant. Afterwards, she cuts open a bin containing A's signature black hoodie and dumps it into a garbage pail, but not before going on the internet to search for "UNIFORMS".[8]

In "New Guys, New Lies", Alex takes pictures of Spencer sitting outside The Brew. Later that day, costumed as a mailman, she watches Emily sitting inside the Montgomery household from the window. In the episode's final moment, Alex, dressed as an old hotel concierge, makes her way into a black limousine to remove her disguise, further indicating that she sports latex masks to hide in plain sight whilst stalking the girls.[9]

Throughout "Do Not Disturb", she continues to blackmail the Liars and signs her messages with emojis, leading them to nickname her "A-moji". Alex instructs Hanna to hand her over the backup drive from The Radley. She watches her from inside a black vehicle as she leaves the drive in a garbage can. When she plugs it into her laptop, Caleb appears on the screen delivering a video message before a virus that corrupts her files is spread across the computer.

At the end of "Where Somebody Waits For Me", she is seen cleaning off an electric switchboard at The Radley's secret basement whilst listening to "Whistle While You Work" from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.[10][11]

While Hanna, Emily, and Alison enter Sara's hotel room closet in "We've All Got Baggage", Alex, clothed as a maid, walks into another room. As the Liars escape, she walks back into the room after having heard them making noise, and removes her disguise. Still wearing the maid gloves during the episode's concluding sequence, Alex reads a manual to a universal remote control. Next to them, is a slice of white wedding cake meaning they likely attended Byron and Ella's wedding.

In "Did You Miss Me?", Hanna Marin lies to Alex via text stating that she is accountable for Charlotte's homicide, which culminates on the events of the following episode.

Throughout "Hush, Hush, Sweet Liars", Mary and Charlotte's former psychiatrist, Elliott, dress up as Jessica and detective Darren Wilden in order to drive Alison insane and trick her into checking herself at the Welby State Psychiatric Hospital. Footage of Mary nearby the fence Caleb built outside the Lost Woods Resort is later captured. However, the Liars were unaware of Mary's existence and mistook her for Jessica instead. As they left the forest, Mary returned to the DiLaurentis' house where she met Elliott. There, she asks if Alison "signed the papers." Elliott confirms, stating that 51% of the Carissimi Group shares were diverted at the time Alison signed her entry to the psychiatric hospital. Mary reveals that she is planning a revenge against her deceased sister. She then tenderly glances at a picture of Charlotte in a frame and states that her eldest daughter would've approved her malicious agenda. In the meantime, Hanna is abducted by Alex and begins using the alias "A.D.".[12]

Season 7

During "Tick-Tock, Bitches", Alex holds Hanna under captivity and tortures her. Alex sends a photo of a severely abused Hanna, alerting that they only have 24 hours to find Charlotte's killer in exchange for Hanna's safety. The Liars and the others admit to believing that Alison killed Charlotte and they set out to find proof. Aria and Ezra search the DiLaurentis residence, and are almost caught by Elliott. At the psychiatric hospital, Alison, in a drugged state-of-mind, seemingly admits to Emily that she killed Charlotte. After Aria recalls to have seen someone with a red jacket follow Charlotte the night she was murdered, Emily finds the jacket at Alison's house. Caleb hands the proof to Alex in order to rescue his ex-girlfriend. Alex also makes her first onscreen appearance during the episode. She poses as Spencer and Hanna deduces their interaction is a dream. Their conversation culminates in Hanna managing to escape captivity, being later found in the woods by Mary.[13]

In "Bedlam", Hanna is driven by Mary safe and sound to Spencer's house. Someones knocks at the door and Ezra opens it. He finds a jar of flowers with a message from "A.D.". Aria, Emily and Spencer meet up with Elliott in order to gain the opportunity to visit Alison, as he continues to deny it. While Rollins is talking with someone over the phone, the girls receive a new text message from “A.D.” and they realize that the stalker maybe is not so far as they think. Mary opens up to Spencer about the reason why she was committed to Radley as an adolescent. Jessica was babysitting Teddy Carver, when she phoned Mary to replace her so she could go on a date with Matt Brooks. While babysitting, the baby died under Mary's care and she was sent to Radley Sanitarium as a consequence. Mary told the baby's parents she hadn't even touched the boy and that it was her sister's fault, but no one believed her word due to Jessica manipulating people into thinking she was volatile.[14] The episode ends with Alison being drugged by Alex and taken to a surgery room, where she implants Alison with Emily's eggs, thus impregnating her with Emily's offsprings.[5]

During "The Talented Mr. Rollins" and "Hit and Run, Run, Run", the Liars attempt to rescue Alison from Welby to protect her from A.D.'s threats. She manages to escape Rollins, who chases her to the woods, where a distracted Hanna hits him with her car.[15] The girls bury Elliott's lifeless body in the forest and with Mona's help hide all the evidence that links them to Rollins. At the psychiatric hospital, Alison finally comes clean to Aria about the night Charlotte died. She followed her cousin into the church and up the bell tower, where they argued about Elliott's romantic involvement with Alison. Ali left the building after Charlotte accused her cousin of merely visiting her to get closer to Rollins. Mona intervenes with a cover-up plan to help the girls, for better or worse. Jenna comes back to Rosewood and is revealed to be in Elliott's payroll for undisclosed reasons. Whilst Hanna and Mona are looking for Hanna's golden bracelet on Elliott's car, they find the item and subsequently, Elliott's burner phone ringing. Mona answers the call, and the individual on the other end is revealed to be Jenna, who refers to Elliott as 'Archer'.[16]

In "Along Comes Mary", Alison is released from Welby into the care of a relative, leaving her under the suspicious watch of Mary. She discloses to Alison that Archer contacted her in London to inform that Charlotte had died just hours after her release from medical supervision. Archer also acknowledged his suspicions that Alison was accountable for her cousin's homicide. Mary admits that at first she too believed Alison was responsible for her daughter's murder, presuming she had inherited Jessica's ruthless nature but claims she stopped assisting Dunhill's schemes once he revealed his true colors. Whilst investigating Archer's apartment, Emily and Aria discover that Mary and Jenna were under his payroll for undisclosed reasons. Alison later discovers through a message from Alex that the girls gave her up as Charlotte's killer in order to rescue Hanna.[17]

During "Wanted: Dead or Alive", it is revealed through flashbacks that Charlotte enlisted Jenna's help to find her birth mother's whereabouts and make Archer the alias of Elliott Rollins in order to purposely meet Alison and take advantage of her good intentions for her eventual release. At the end of the episode, Alex watches on her computer footage of Hanna and Spencer digging up Archer's grave. Boxes labelled "Charlotte's books" and "Letters from A.D" can be seen, this indicates that Alex and Charlotte wrote to each other after Charlotte was institutionalised. [18]

In "Original G'A'ngsters", the Liars discover new information about Mary and Jessica, leading them to a secret storm cellar at Carol Ward's house. Inside, they learn that Jessica was investigating their lives and Alison's disappearance. Jessica also kept files of each Liar (minus Aria) as well as Mary's medical history. Within a Mary Drake file, Spencer discovers that Jessica was in charge of Mary's mental health treatments and that she had authorized electroshock therapy. In another file, Emily discovers that Mary had a second child while she was hospitalized in Radley, and that this child would rank in the same age pattern as them. They then begin suspecting that Charlotte's biological sibling may be their latest tormentor. The cellar explodes right after they exit, and someone writes "I see you" on the rear window of their car. Meanwhile, Alex walks into her lair with Aria's and Noel's files. She proceeds to drink a shot of whiskey before lighting a match to burn Noel's file.[19]

During "Exes and OMGs", Spencer and Aria team up to find Dr. Cochran, and discover that he was responsible for the birth of both Mary Drake's children when she was hospitalized at Radley. Alex makes her second on-screen appearance whilst looking at a Hastings family photo album. She stops on a page of baby pictures presumed to be of Spencer, and stares at them for a few seconds before looking away irritably.[5] After not getting any help from the Liars in obtaining answers, Hanna goes rogue and decides to work alone in an unknown plan to discover "A.D."'s identity.[20]

In "The Wrath of Kahn", Jason and Aria band together to gather more information on Mary's background and discover that Steven Kahn, Noel's father, was the judge who presided over her second child's adoption. At the end of the episode, Hanna knocks Noel from behind after failing to obtain information from him.[21]

During "The DArkest Knight", Alex poses as Spencer and gives Toby a book as a parting gift and asks if she can kiss him one last time. They proceed to kiss before Alex leaves. Meanwhile, Hanna holds Noel hostage in an attempt to obtain a confession from him that proves he's their tormentor, but Kahn doesn't regain consciousness. Impatient, she instead ends up slashing one of his legs with a knife in order to test his DNA and see if it matches Mary's. The results later come back negative and Noel ends up escaping. Mona and Caleb manage to bug Jenna's cellphone and eavesdrop a voice message she left for Noel after he failed to return any of her calls. Afterwards, Hanna contacts Mona to help her return to Rosewood with a convincing narrative after having abducted Noel. Once Hanna successfully fabricates a story to the police on how she went to Hollybrook to track down the girl Kahn pushed down a flight of stairs at a frat party, Mona purposely bumps into Marshall at The Radley. Jenna is given an ultimatum to conspire with the Liars, after Mona implies that Marshall's partnership with Noel would send both of them to prison. Jenna initially subdues to Mona's coercion, seeing as her and Caleb later await for Marshall by the Radley's bar. Nonetheless, Jenna manages to trick the duo after hiring Sydney to pose as a decoy and serve them coffee in order to buy Marshall sufficient time to track down the Liars at gunpoint at an abandoned school for blind students. The Liars all get a text message ordering them to head over to 1465, Elm Street. Once the girls arrive to the location, they make their way inside an abandoned school for blind students where they're held hostage by Kahn and Jenna, with the later tracking down the Liars at gunpoint. During the cat-and-mouse chase, Emily and Hanna end up fighting Noel which causes him to trip over an axe that decapitates him. Spencer is subsequently shot by an unknown assailant, giving Jenna the leverage to finish her off. Nonetheless, Mary emerges from behind and knocks out Jenna before she could do anything harmful. Whilst A.D. drags Jenna away from the building, the Liars stumble upon a severely wounded Spencer laying on Mary's arms. Presuming Drake is accountable for their friend's critical condition, Mary swears she'd never harm Spencer and tearfully claims to be her biological mother. Meanwhile, A.D. places Jenna in their van and gives her back her glasses. She questions who they are and they hand her the old man mask. She feels of the mask and immediately realizes she is with A.D., who proceeds to fix their hoodie.[22][23][24]

In "Playtime", it's revealed that Mary ran off from the abandoned school for blind students before the authorities and paramedics showed up at the scene to aid Spencer. A week later, Veronica Hastings arrives back in Rosewood, finally concluding the victory cruise she embarked on shortly after being elected State Senator of Pennsylvania. Spencer discloses to Veronica what Mary had told her and demands answers about her parentage. After initially resisting to her daughter's confrontation, Veronica proceeds to explain that one day she was working on her living room when Jessica DiLaurentis knocked on the door to have a discussion. Veronica avoided her neighbor at the time, due to Jason being a product of an affair with her husband Peter. Jessica presented to Mrs. Hastings a rundown of her troubled history with Mary. Veronica was initially puzzled as to why her husband's former mistress was telling her about a secret relative with "emotional problems" until Jessica unfolded that Mary was pregnant. Unlike her previous pregnancy, the medical staff at Radley was able to determine who the child's father was because Mary identified him. Mary had seemingly posed as Jessica at a restaurant where Peter was dining and tricked him into sleeping with her. The purpose of Jessica's visit was not only to come clean about her sister carrying on her affair but to also provide Veronica the option to adopt the baby. Veronica was distressed when she discovered that her husband had committed infidelity once more but couldn't stand the thought of Spencer being delivered at a psychiatric hospital and ultimately deserted. Shortly after Mary gave birth, Veronica alongside Peter made arrangements with Steven Kahn in order to gain custody of Spencer. According to Mrs. Hastings, caring for Spencer as if she were her own was the key to forgiving her marital disputes. Unable to process the truth on how she came to be, Spencer decides to distance herself from Veronica. At the same time, Alex delivers an interactive board game named Liar's Lament, which shows notable places of Rosewood and figurines of the Liars. They decide not to play the game, but later in the episode, A.D. challenges Spencer to a truth or dare game, instructing her to pay a visit to Toby in order to gather a reward. After doing so, A.D. gifts Spencer with an old letter Mary wrote to her, stating that just because she's the outcome of a hateful act, doesn't make her vile.[25][26] During the episode's closing moments, Hanna attempts to break the board, but its center-phone plays a video of the Liars burying Archer's body. The final scene of the episode shows Jenna seated in A.D.'s lair, sipping tea. She thanks the unidentified individual for the drink and reminds them of their promise to update her on the "game". Dressed in a nurse's uniform, Alex drops a binder on Marshall's lap with pages of information written in braille. After Jenna reads a paragraph, she mutters the word "endgame" and grins in delight.

Emily decides to play the game in "These Boots Are Made for Stalking", and, following the triumph of the mission delivered to her, she wins a piece of the board puzzle. Spencer realizes that through the junction of the pieces, a map that will lead to something or someone will be revealed.[27] Later, Jenna walks into the police station in order to come clean about her actions and interrupts a conversation between Spencer and detective Marco Furey. Marshall reports that she kept a low profile after the events that took place at the abandoned school for blind students to avoid being harmed by Noel. According to Jenna, Noel was accountable for Sara Harvey's homicide and she feared to be his ensuing victim. Kahn recruited Jenna with the assertion that Charlotte left enough money in her will to afford Marshall another eye surgery. Nevertheless, Jenna suspected Noel of stealthily plotting to steal the cash all to himself since his parents had financially cut him off. In an attempt to spare her life, Marshall brought a gun to the deserted sight school as an act of self-defense and pretended to hold a grudge against the Liars. After Jenna describes her side of the story, Furey orders one of his associates to escort Marshall to a conference room so she can make an official statement. As Jenna exits the room, Spencer claims that she's an unreliable narrator. However, Furey informs Spencer that the authorities don't have any evidence against Marshall because the bullet that injured Spencer didn't match the gun found at the location. A few hours afterwards, Emily spots Jenna exiting the Brew accompanied by an entourage of blind individuals. Marshall pauses right by the coffee shop's doorway and instructs her phone to send a text. A faint beeping is heard from across the café and the recipient is revealed to be Addison Derringer, a local Rosewood High student whom Emily has disciplinary issues with. She instantly suspects Addison of being in cahoots with Jenna. Later on the episode, Mona and Hanna are having a business meeting at The Radley's bar when Jenna suddenly walks in to meet her newest associates. Marshall is wearing an exact replica of the dress Hanna designed for Katherine Daly, but in white instead of black. Mona and Hanna storm up and confront Jenna, who gleefully divulges it was a gift but refuses to acknowledge the identity of its purchaser. Hanna, alongside Caleb, decide to stalk Marshall and her group of friends to the building where Hanna’s cobbler works. The couple suspect Jenna is planning to steal the shoes that the senator’s daughter was supposed to wear to counterpart the dress. Once Marshall's clique heads inside the building, Caleb engages in a face-off with Jenna in order to buy Hanna sufficient time to sneak into the cobbler's office to regain her shoes. After Marshall is cornered by Caleb, she explains to him that she's on her way to rehearse for a concert since there's a studio on the top floor. Caleb points out that her friends didn't bring any musical instruments and as Jenna suggests him to back off, he replies with the same statement before pointing out that Marshall couldn't have worn a specific dress without a helping hand. Jenna attempts to flee but Caleb takes a hold of her cane to warn Marshall that the cops were beginning to find inconsistencies in her allegations. Jenna assures Caleb they won't be able to prosecute her since Noel was the only person who could contradict her statement.

During "Hold Your Piece", Alex hands Hanna the task of wearing a discriminatory Oriental-themed dress during her meeting with her oriental bosses. However, Caleb tries to invade the board and a dangerous gas is released from it, poisoning his eyes. With this, Hanna's reunion is interrupted right in the beginning when she is warned about what happened to him. Ultimately, Alex calls Hanna a loser and doesn't hand her piece of the puzzle. In the meantime, Aria and Emily team up to track down Sydney's whereabouts in hopes of finding Jenna. After searching her name online, they discover that Driscoll graduated from Berkeley College, with a double major in Economics and French. Sydney currently resides in a loft at Fishtown, Philadelphia, whilst working as a bank teller at a private department that services extremely wealthy clients. The girls also learn that Sydney checked into a charity gala for the Manhattan Children's Hospital, the same ball where Katherine made an appearance wearing Hanna's dress. Following this enlightenment, Emily googles the event and comes across a picture of Daly posing on a red carpet whilst Driscoll sneakily uses a phone to photograph her dress. The girls deduce that Sydney's loyalty to Marshall places her as the strongest contender serving as Spencer's shooter. They conclude Driscoll most likely made adjustments for Marshall to be clothed in a duplicate of Hanna's dress so Jenna could omit the truth from the authorities. Aria promptly suggests for her and Emily to head over to Sydney's address to gather more insight into the situation. Following a quick lesson from Caleb on spying techniques, Aria instructed Emily to approach Driscoll and clone her phone. During a conversation with Emily at an outdoor diner, Sydney explains that she tried to distance herself from Marshall over the years. Driscoll further adds that she did the coffee delivery unbeknownst that Noel and Jenna were intending to kill the girls. Their interaction is cut short once Sydney informs Emily that she has conference calls all afternoon. However, this information is quickly proven to be false. Through access to Driscoll's phone, the girls discover that Sydney had an appointment at the Vogel Vision Institute and eavesdrop the meeting. Turns out Driscoll was paying for an operation to give Jenna her sight back and she uttered the initials "A.D." as the donor for the cost. After Sydney exits the clinic, Aria and Emily aggressively confront her. Driscoll still claimed to not knowing where Marshall was, so Aria slipped a tracker in her bag to maintain her under their radar[28]

In "Power Play", Spencer arrives at her barn only to stumble upon her father's belongings. Amongst Peter's luggage, she finds his passport and discovers that he arrived in Philadelphia at the same time as Veronica. Peter suddenly emerges and Spencer engages in a heated argument with her dad, questioning him as to why he chose to avoid his own daughter. Peter divulges that he was searching for Mary's whereabouts and trying to assure she wouldn't return to Rosewood to cause more damage to their family. He further explains that he wanted to find a way to redeem himself after the emotional rollercoaster he put his daughter and wife through. When Spencer asks him if he was able to successfully track down Drake, Peter replies that he's working with a private investigator in order to do so. Spencer rebukes her father for attempting to chase Mary away, and storms out. The following day, Hanna is hanging out at Spencer’s house when she spots the P.I.’s business card from Peter’s briefcase. She convinces Spencer to infiltrate the investigation in order to locate Drake, and theorizes that Mary might be able to help point them in the direction of “A.D.". Afterwards, Hanna picks up the phone and calls the P.I., pretending to be someone from Peter's office. After getting help from the P.I., Hanna and Spencer knock on several doors until they approach one house and much to their surprise, Pastor Ted Wilson (Hanna's former step-dad) opens the door. The girls show Ted a picture of Drake and ask him if he has seen her, to which Wilson informs them that he hasn’t. Hanna offers to grab coffee with Ted at the Radley later to catch up, and she also asks him to call her if he happens to spot Mary. As the Liars turn away to leave, Drake shows up in the doorway. Ted turns to Drake and questions her on what she's truly doing there. Later, he reaches out to Hanna to talk and they meet up at Lucas' loft, where Wilson reveals to have lied about Mary's visit. Ted further confesses that Drake is an ex-girlfriend of his back when he was a college student and that she met up with him to inform they had a child together. Things get even more intricate when Wilson discloses to Hanna that said offspring was Charlotte and that he knew his daughter prior to her sex change. It turns out that Ted used to run a summer camp for troubled boys, and Charles was a camper there. Wilson is disheartened when describing that he interacted with a "soft-spoken, sweet" boy without awareness they were related. Ted then showcases Hanna a picture of himself back when he worked at the camp, chaperoning Charles and Lucas Gottesman, whom he described as his son's "only friend". This shocking revelation leaves Hanna stunned. Later, when Spencer arrives home, she is reprehended by her father, who is mad that she spent the entire day looking for Drake. Peter claims that Mary's behavior in the past suggests she's unhinged. When Spencer demands her father to expose whatever knowledge he has on Mary, Peter finally gives in and discloses that the last time he saw Drake was after Spencer came back from rehab. Peter was in the kitchen drinking a glass of wine when he spotted whom he presumed to be Jessica quietly descending the staircase and making her way to the front door. Just before she exited, Peter turned the lights on and confronted her, until the woman explained to her former lover that she needed to see their daughter, prompting him to realize that it was actually Mary. Peter further clarifies that Mary pursued retribution after Jessica told her that Charles committed suicide in order to withhold information about his transition into a woman. After Peter refused to aid Drake on her vendetta, Mary used Peter's heart medication pills to poison her sister and proceeded to bury her on the Hastings' backyard. At last, Spencer comprehends her father's concern, seeing as Drake wanted to blame Peter for Jessica's murder. That being said, Spencer is disappointed to learn that Peter knew about Charlotte's connection to their family prior to exposing herself as "A". He then assures his daughter that despite her hard feelings, he'll always guard her from harm. Meanwhile, Emily reveals that Driscoll played them and left the device on a greyhound to Philadelphia. Aria receives a FaceTime call from a blocked number on her iPad. Once she answers, we see "A.D." in a black hoodie on the other end. The mysterious entity divulges to Aria they own a stolen file from Jessica DiLaurentis' burnt lair at Carol Ward's storm cellar containing information that could send Ezra to jail. Aria immediately disconnects the call, marches over to the board game, and hurls her player piece across the room. Later in the episode, Aria and Alison are following the game’s directions for Ali’s turn. Abruptly, the game phone starts making a quacking sound in Ali’s purse, which confuses the two girls momentarily until Aria spots a nearby store called the Darling Duck. There, Alison discovers that Emily's donated eggs were fertilized and implanted inside her uterus. Suddenly, Aria gets another FaceTime request on her phone, so she urges Ali to go inside, assuring her that she’ll meet her in a minute. When Aria glances down at her phone, she sees a message from “A.D.” that reads: “Meet me now,” with a GPS location. She immediately turns and heads in the opposite direction of the store to her secret rendezvous with “A.D.". Once Aria arrives at the specified location, she makes her way inside a black limo, where she's greeted by a hooded person revealed to be Sydney. Driscoll is quickly exposed as a minion of "A.D.'s", seeing as Aria spots an ear piece on Sydney's ear that's being used to communicate with the person driving the vehicle. During their ride, Driscoll took credit for shooting Spencer, helping Jenna escape, and creating the board game. Sydney attempts to lure Aria into her tormentor's side, further disclosing that she's earned a piece of "A.D.'s" trust by agreeing to meet her in the limo. When Aria questions Driscoll's motives, she explains that working for their enemy means being a part of the "winning team". After being dropped off, Aria reunited with her friends but didn’t mention anything about her run-in with Sydney. She received a text message from A.D. asking if she had made a decision about Sydney's offer.[29]

During "In the Eye Abides the Heart", the Liars are gathered at the Brew discussing Pastor Ted’s mysterious photo of Charlotte and Lucas. Together, they wonder if Gottesman and Charlotte managed to stay in touch throughout the years. The girls decide to search Lucas’s loft in an attempt to obtain answers, but Aria points out that the entire building could be bugged, considering his affinity for high-tech gadgets. Later, Emily and Hanna commence their search through Lucas’s apartment. Hanna is quick to defend her friend, but while rummaging through a box of comic books, the two Liars come across a manila envelope tucked all the way in the back. Hanna reaches inside and pulls out another comic titled Arcturus. The author signatures at the bottom catches their eye, which reveal that it was conceived by Lucas and Charlotte. Aria soon joins Emily and Hanna, and they inspect the comic together. The content seems to be about a troubled boy who befriends a woman from outer space with magical powers. Together, they seek vengeance upon people who have hurt him. The girls can’t help but notice that there are some eerily familiar drawings that resemble the electrical switches from Charlotte's Dollhouse. Almost immediately after this uncovering, Aria is seen on her phone, telling A.D. all about the comic through FaceTime. Back at the loft, Hanna pulls out the box where she previously found Lucas’s mysterious comic, only to realize that it’s missing. Aria is then seen bringing the comic to Rosewood High in the middle of the night. Her mission is to place the book in locker 214. Just as she starts to walk away after doing so, Aria appears to have a change of heart. She immediately doubles back to the locker, only to find a black hoodie hanging from the hook in its place. Spencer visits Marco at the police station to bring him a box of cupcakes and make small talk about Archer's severed finger that A.D. sent the authorities. Furey reveals that he spoke with a nurse at Welby and learned that Mary and Archer had an argument right before he went missing. Marco deduces that Drake might have been involved in Archer’s murder, but his suspicions also lean towards Spencer. When Spencer returns home later that day, she immediately realizes that someone trespassed her house. Sure enough, the front door to the barn is ajar and a bottle is poised in front of it, with a note sticking out at the top. She unravels it quickly, only to reveal a message from Mary that states “Need to talk.” Spencer writes a response and sticks the paper back inside the bottle. The following day, Hanna pulls out the box where she previously found Lucas’s mysterious comic book he wrote with Charlotte, only to realize that it’s missing. Hanna immediately dials Spencer to inform her, but she dismisses her quickly in favor of opening up the latest note from Drake, which contains a single gold key. At night, Spencer unlocks a door at the Lost Woods Resort and stumbles upon a pile of mail right at the foot of the doorway. Suddenly, she hears a noise outside, and Furey walks in. He divulges to have followed her, realizing that Spencer was planning on meeting Mary at the motel. Marco shares that every theory he has about Dunhill’s death somehow links back to Spencer and the other Liars. To make matters worse, Furey discloses that he ordered copies of Archer’s paper receipts to inspect the signature. Spencer immediately realizes that she accidentally used Archer’s credit card to pay for the drinks that she and Marco shared that night. Spencer proceeds to exit the Lost Woods abruptly. At the end of the episode, she receives one more note from Drake that says "You brought the police. I understand. Goodbye." It turns out that Mary waited for her daughter at the resort but when she spotted Furey, she assumed Spencer had tipped him off. Mona is enlisted by Hanna to investigate the Liar's Lament board game after disclosing that Lucas canceled her friend's fashion business ahead of its release. Mona gets fascinated by the game's structure, and starts taking photos of the building. Hanna instigates Mona to play the game to find out how far "A.D." would go, but Mona insists she may end up getting addicted again in the process. Hanna is, however, able to convince her to play, stating that Mona will feel good when she realizes that she has defeated the stalker. Outside of town, Ezra is at the airport waiting for his flight when he sees Spencer and Wren Kingston talking. She immediately gets up and walks over to Ezra to quickly introduce him to her ex-boyfriend. Alex posing as Spencer, then pulls Ezra off to the side and explains to him that she hasn't spoken to Kingston since before Charlotte's homicide. She met up with Wren in order to seek for enlightenment on his behalf given that he helped her former tormentor sneak in and out of Radley.[30]

In "The Glove That Rocks the Cradle", Alex orders Aria to destroy Alison and Emily's nursery, while wearing the black hoodie. She almost gets caught by Emily and is forced to flee. In Hanna's return at the game, Uber A makes her pick up something at the computer repair shop and bring it to Rosewood High. Emily realizes that "A.D." has a helper who destroyed the room while they were at the school. Spencer steals a flash drive from Marco. The item contains footage of Lucas admitting to the authorities that he wasn’t Hanna’s alibi on the night of Charlotte’s murder and that the other Liars are capable of homicide. Gottesman is then shown clutching the comic book that Aria handed to A.D. and later spotted by Hanna awaiting someone at The Radley. He is finally caught by all of the Liars when searching through the contents of his apartment and they confront him in an attempt to learn more about his connection to Charlotte. Lucas claims to have been unaware that Charles transitioned into a female and took inspiration upon the narrative of their book. A worrying Gottesman further divulges that he may have fed Charlotte all the information needed to torture the Liars since they stayed in touch through e-mail. During high school, Lucas disclosed to Charlotte that Alison bullied him and the other girls did nothing to prevent her out of loyalty. An anonymous individual proceeded to return the graphic novel to Gottesman, along with a note instructing him to meet them at The Radley or else his former friendship with Charlotte would be exposed. The person who gave him the ultimatum failed to show up, prompting Lucas to run back to his loft. As it turns out, Gottesman was concerned about a second graphic novel that had never been completed because it continued his first book’s revenge storyline, only this time turning the events into a game. Afterwards, Caleb and Hanna return to Lucas's loft with the hard drive Hanna picked up based on "A.D.'s' instructions. The audio file contains a Patsy Cline song. Hanna remembers that "A" played a different Patsy song back at the Dollhouse. At the end of the episode, A.D. is seen flipping through pages of the missing novel and starts drawing the next chapter of the story, which includes a gravestone (presumably Charlotte's) nearby a tree.[31]

During "Driving Miss Crazy", A.D. blackmails Aria into placing a burner phone with a pre-made audio recording to play over a sound system at the Hastings residence. The recording ends up being a secret conversation between Mary and Peter, which ultimately reveals that Peter and her sister were plotting to kill her. This leaves Peter in a rage, who begins to frantically search for Drake around the house, thinking that she might have planted the recording. He tears the speakers off the walls, instructing his wife and daughter not to listen to the "delusional ramblings" of a mentally unstable individual. After hearing the conversation playing on a loop, Veronica considers contacting the authorities but Spencer persuades her mother not to call the police. Later at night, Marco confronts Spencer outside her home, after learning that she is Caleb's ex-girlfriend. Furey further points out their romantic involvement gives Caleb enough motivation to protect her and cause a flood at The Radley that destroyed all of the hotel's security footage. Spencer threatens to embarrass Marco at the police station with personal details about their relationship, prompting him to drive off. After she gets in her car, Drake who was hiding in the backseat, covers Spencer's mouth and orders her to drive to the Lost Woods in order to explain her version of events. Mary denies planting the recorded conversation at the Hastings household, but isn't regretful Spencer heard it. After Spencer points out how Drake committed a heinous crime, Mary tells her not to judge. Through a flashback, we learn that Drake was told by Peter she would never see their daughter again. Peter and Jessica came up with a plan to use Peter’s heart medication pills to kill her. Mary thwarted the plan and killed Jessica with his pills before burying the body at the Hastings' backyard. Feeling like she was cheated out of the chance to know Spencer, Drake asks her daughter to come live under the radar with her. Afterwards, Spencer goes home to confront her father. When she gets there, her parents are reading the letter Mary wrote to her. Peter, once again, tries to warn Spencer that Drake is manipulating her. Spencer alludes to her dad’s involvement in the murder plot against Mary, but Peter makes no apologies for his actions. He clears up that his intention was to protect his family from a "deranged sociopath", and that he'd do so again if necessary. Peter storms out and Veronica informs Spencer that she is dropping out of the Senate due to fear of Peter's wrongdoings becoming public knowledge. Spencer meets up with Drake again, but this time it's to say goodbye. Mary assures Spencer she understands, and in return she implores her biological mother to forgive herself in order to move on with her life. As a reward for having obeyed Alex's orders, Aria is handed one piece of the puzzle and some confidential files. Furey reveals that he has crucial evidence that could lead him to Dunhill's killer, and Hanna worries. She then heads next to the Liar's Lament board game to play, and enlists Mona's help. Mona also teams up with Emily to find more information on Alison's terrible fertilization. They visit the doctor who performed the operation, not getting much information. Mona then heads to the address of the doctor's house, which she found in a magazine stolen from his office, and finds an envelope with money. She pressures the doctor, who reveals that he has never seen the giver and that everything was negotiated online. Hanna returns to where Archer was buried, in search of the shovels she and the others used to bury him. She then encounters a park ranger, who reveals the shovels were taken by the authorities. By the end of the episode, Mona returns home and it is revealed she took away the board game to investigate it.[32]

In "Choose Or Loose", Rosewood P.D. officers confiscate the Liars' personal stuff and cellphones through search warrants. Enraged, Spencer heads to the station to understand what's going on, and discovers that Detective Tanner is now handling the Dunhill case. Tanner expresses her concern about the possibility of the Liars being involved in the case, and indirectly threatens Spencer, saying that she always found them guilty of something, just did not know of what exactly. After her phone was taken, Aria discovers another one hidden inside an air duct that "A.D." left to communicate with her. Aria claims to meet "A.D." since she is a reliable person, and the tormentor sets a date, as long as Aria wears her uniform. In a room of The Radley, given by Hanna's mother, the Liars and Caleb get together to discuss the Dunhill's murder when the board game begins a new round: "Choose or Lose". The Liars have to choose one of them to go to jail accused of the murder or all of them go. Mona arrives shortly thereafter and warns the girls that Aria might be working with "A.D." The girls initially don't believe, but Mona exhibits evidence and a recording of Aria and "A.D.", leaving them in panic. Detective Tanner finds pieces of a windshield in the drain of Spencer's bathroom with traces of blood. Alex proceeds to impersonate Spencer again and visits Toby in his cabin, leading to a sexual encounter. [33]

During "Farewell, My Lovely", Caleb divulges to the Liars that Mona has the board game and they jump to the conclusion that she is Uber A. Spencer notices a message from Drake in a wine bottle while she was with the other Liars. Following its instructions, Spencer headed to the Lost Woods where she found Mary awaiting her. Preparing to leave town, Drake discloses to her daughter that she put the resort's deed in her name and Alison’s so they could use it for money in case they needed legal assistance. Mary further states that preventing Lieutenant Tanner from obtaining arrest warrants for her family was the least she could do. Later that day, Hanna notices rose petals falling from the church's bell tower which prompts her to investigate. There she finds Mona dressed like she used to back when she was an outcast in high school. Hanna is puzzled over the fact that her friend keeps referring to her as Charlotte. Mona divulges she killed Charlotte and through flashbacks we see the two of them engaging in a heated confrontation. After realizing that her health condition hadn't improved after all and her intentions were to torture the Liars again through even worse approaches, Mona held a screwdriver to Charlotte's back. She taunted her former tormentor to jump or else she'd push her. Shortly after narrating a portion of the events, Mona suddenly grabs Hanna and attempts to throw her off the bell tower until Caleb and Spencer arrive just in time to prevent any collateral damage from happening. Mona is then taken to the Lost Woods and discloses to Spencer she messed up killing Charlotte. Asking what she meant by that, Spencer coaxed the full story from Vanderwaal who revealed that a fight broke out. Charlotte cruelly assures Mona the Liars will never love her back, causing Vanderwaal to gain the upper hand and shove her against a wall. A metal rod impales her spine, killing Charlotte instantly. Vanderwaal then threw her lifeless body from the bell tower and placed a rose on her hand before throwing rose petals. This revelation led to the final pieces of the puzzle being left for the Liars to find on Hanna’s car. They placed the pieces into the board game, which A.D. had moved to the DiLaurentis residence. The phone from the game bid the Liars congratulations and through augmented reality informed them the grand prize was to discover Archer’s corpse buried at Carol Ward's house. The girls rushed over there with shovels to dig the body up but Aria persuades her friends to stop playing the game and walk away. As they did, Tanner and the authorities turned up and the girls were all taken into custody. Fearing that they were about to be charged with first degree murder, the Liars are shocked to observe Drake in the interrogation room confessing to the murders of Dunhill and Jessica. While the Liars (minus Alison) knew she was accountable for her sister's homicide, they were shocked to witness Mary take the fall for Archer's involuntary vehicular manslaughter. Tanner allows the girls to walk away free but made it clear that she knew Drake wasn't responsible for Dunhill's death. Spencer tearfully watches Mary get taken away and whilst the two briefly make eye contact, Drake puts her finger to her lips, instructing Spencer not to stop her from sparing them a prison sentence. In the episode's closing sequence, Alex is seen driving off into the sunrise with the Liars' game pieces in a plastic bag.[34]

In "Till Death Do Us Part", a year has passed since A.D. went off the radar after obtaining closure in relation to Charlotte's murder. Mary, now an inmate, receives a visit from Alex, posing as Spencer, who asks for a favor. Later that night, the Liars and their respective partners are gathered at the Lost Woods for a joint bachelor/bachelorette party. An elusive figure in a black hoodie is watching them through the bushes while they're eating dinner. Suddenly, the anonymous entity turns around and is revealed to be Melissa. Melissa proceeds to spy on Aria talking over the phone to her doctor about her infertility issues. A few minutes later, she walks away from the resort to unzip the hoodie. As Melissa reaches into it, she pulls off a lifelike mask to reveal that it was actually Mona. Vanderwaal proceeds to FaceTime "A.D." and it is divulged that they sent her to the Lost Woods in the Melissa mask as a loyalty test. After successfully obeying her orders, Mona heads to Spencer's barn to knock her unconscious. Thereupon, Spencer wakes up in a cell and looks at what she believes to be a mirror. Alex, unable to keep up the ruse, quits impersonating a reflection. Spencer is visibly puzzled, and Alex startles her. She starts laughing gleefully as Drake walks up behind her and makes her way into Spencer's room, where she states they didn't think she'd wake up so early. Mary then injects Spencer with a sedative, causing her to fall asleep instantaneously. A few hours later, Spencer awakens once more, only this time attached to a holter monitor and with a foot chained to a bed. She comes face to face with Alex in tremendous stupefaction, who informs Spencer that their mother is preparing a special lunch for the three of them. Alex proceeds to share with Spencer details about the circumstances that lead to avenging their half-sister's memory. As a teenager, she obtained a job bartending at a pub in London where she met Wren, who originally mistook her for Spencer. Kingston disclosed to Alex her blood relations to Spencer, Charlotte, and Mary. The two eventually fell in love and began a romantic relationship. According to Alex, Melissa had been out of the picture at the time since she was dating a composer. It is ultimately revealed that the person whom Ezra ran into at the airport with Wren before almost leaving for Maine was Alex. The couple was engaging in a heated argument over whether or not Alex's true intentions were justice for Charlotte. Sometime afterwards, Kingston and Alex argued once more at his apartment in London, with Kingston advising Alex to come clean about her past to the Liars in hopes they'd embrace her. The pair kiss passionately before Alex picks up a gun and instructs Wren to shoot her in order to originate a matching wound to Spencer's. He initially hesitates but ends up doing so. Alex explains that the plan was to physically replace Spencer, but Kingston always thought of her as Alex. This prompted Alex to murder him out of anger, before turning his ashes into a diamond necklace. She then realizes the time and states that she has to get ready for Aria's wedding. A few hours later at Aria's dressing room, Pam walks in with one of Emily and Alison's daughters. Alex takes the baby into her arms and bounces her as she walks to a mirror. She starts chatting to the baby, complementing her looks and stating that she has her "daddy's eyes", revealing Wren as Alison's sperm donor and the biological father to her and Emily's children. Back at Alex's lair, Mary suddenly shows up to deliver Spencer's lunch and is met with accusations of having a helping hand in Alex's maneuvers. Mary reminds Spencer that she's a wanted convict for a murder she didn't commit and asks for her daughter's trust. This causes Spencer to ask where they are but Mary is unaware of the location, however, Drake mentions that Alex promised to keep both of them secure. Spencer interrogates Mary on why she never told her about Alex's existence, to which Drake declares being unsure whether Alex was alive or not until she paid her a visit a few weeks earlier. According to Mary, the existence of a second twin was unbeknownst to the Hastings, since Alex was born minutes after Spencer had already been handed over to Peter and Veronica. Mary, desperate to escape Radley, allowed Dr. Cochran to arrange Alex's adoption in exchange for $500,000 and a resignation from the psychiatric hospital. Alex was later adopted by a wealthy British couple. However, she started to develop mental health problems at an early age, and the family that fostered her refused to tarnish their reputation. Alex was then stripped off of her adoptive name and placed into an orphanage with her birth name. On her tenth birthday, Alex ran away from the Ambrose Home for Wayward Children, a year before Mary discovered she was there. Drake proceeds to unlock the code to Spencer's cell and the two share an emotional embrace. Spencer takes advantage of the momentum to steal one of Mary's hair pins to later pick the lock of her room. At the wedding, Ezra is revealed to be standing up Aria, and Alex watches as Aria addresses her father about what to do. She instructs Aria to try dialing her fiance again, however, Fitz fails to answer her calls. It is subsequently revealed that Alex kidnapped Ezra and is holding him prisoner in the same bunker Spencer's trapped at. The wedding is called off, after Aria discloses to her friends and father that she received a text from Fitz's phone stating he couldn't compromise to her. Later, Alison welcomes Aria to stay at the DiLaurentis household and informs that "Spencer" called to let them know she's bringing their friend something else to wear. Once Alex returns to her underground bunker, Ezra goes on to claim he and Spencer understand why she became A.D. and attempts to talk her out of her vengeful agenda. This angers Alex, who demands privacy, but not before reminding Fitz they met once. She recites the exact same words she spoke to him during their airport encounter with Wren, leaving Ezra stunned at her convincing portrayal of Spencer's voice. After Alex closes the doors to Fitz's cell, she turns to face Spencer, who insists that after learning about her sister's background, she empathizes with Alex and has forgiven her. She further persists that the other Liars will most likely forgive her, since they forgave Mona. Alex scoffs at this, aware that Vanderwaal was never truly welcomed by the Liars. Spencer puts two and together immediately and questions her sister if she developed feelings for Toby, considering they slept together twice. Alex notifies Spencer that whilst he settled for Yvonne, he was now widowed and free to be "with his one true love". Spencer declares that Alex can't keep her locked away forever, prompting her to happily assure that she can and that Spencer has their mother to thank for her safety. Alex reminds Spencer that Mary's protective nature is what kept her alive and that she rescued her from the abandoned school for blind students. This revelation causes Spencer to jump to the conclusion that Sydney was aiding Alex whilst Jenna and Noel chased the Liars. Alex giggles hysterically at her sister's assumption and clarifies that Driscoll was merely a "one-off" deal. As it turns out, Alex blackmailed Sydney after randomly discovering that she was stealing from the bank she works. Driscoll agreed to persuade Aria into joining the A-Team. She then explains that Jenna requested Noel to search for her whereabouts. Marshall was aware Charlotte had another sister and that she left Alex her possessions. Although Jenna didn't know Alex's name nor her physical attributes, she offered to do her bidding in exchange for one last chance to regain her eye sight. Alex paid for Jenna's treatments, which proved unsuccessful, therefore becoming counterproductive to her agenda. As for Sara, Charlotte told her she hid "her greatest treasure" at The Radley. Harvey deduced it was money, when it was actually Mary's medical file that Spencer and Toby found in the underground alley beneath Sara's hotel room. Alex further clarifies that all Charlotte asked for was a family. Alex was introduced to her half-sister prior to her death, when the latter flew from a transatlantic flight to France just to meet her. In a flashback at an airport, Charlotte is seen talking to Wren over the phone about Alex. She says that she found twelve Alex Drake's and none were related to her. After Wren informs Charlotte that Alex looks a lot like someone they're acquainted with, she is stunned to stumble upon a girl identical to Spencer before realizing it's her twin sister. According to Alex, the two bonded instantaneously and walked the streets of Paris until the sun came up, feeling like they'd known each other their whole lives. She goes on to clarify that Charlotte met Archer on the plane, and they initiated a romantic relationship. Spencer questions if Archer was on the A-Team as well, but Alex quickly dismisses her doubts by explaining that his severe mistreatments towards Alison at Welby was a stunt he pulled on his own. He persuaded Mary into aiding him, believing that her niece was the mastermind who orchestrated Charlotte's murder. Wren and Alex went on several double dates with Charlotte and Archer before she returned to Rosewood to continue the "A" game. During another flashback at a bar, Alex attempts to convince Charlotte to stay with her in London, thinking she allowed the Liars to have power over her, Charlotte however believed herself to be the one with the power. After she suggests departing with Charlotte to meet Spencer, she warns Alex to stay away from the Hastings as far as possible. Alex insinuates that Charlotte wanted Spencer all to herself, prompting her to disprove Alex's hints of jealousy. She insists on offering Charlotte a ride to the airport, but Charlotte declines, further justifying that a pre-meditated goodbye would be too hard to handle. The sisters share a final embrace and Charlotte gives Alex a vinyl record of Patsy Cline's Greatest Hits record as a goodbye gift. Back in present time, Alex explains that Charlotte never returned to London, and the next time she saw her was when she first paid a visit to her grave. Spencer asks Alex why she believed Charlotte's depiction of her. Alex responds that whilst their interactions were brief, Charlotte seemed honest enough when she described Spencer as "toxic". She then states that she has to leave again, and opens up the door to Ezra's room before leaving. She is later seen at the barn walking up to her sister's rescue horse, Bashful, and tries to put a saddle on him. The horse rears, recognizing that Alex isn't Spencer. Toby runs into the pen and settles the horse and asks if she's okay. Alex responds that she is, and the best thing to do when the horse gets like this is to walk away. She then leaves, and Toby looks at her confused, as this contradicted what Spencer had said to him the day before. A few hours later, Alex is seated on a bench outside of the *Hastings and Hastings* law firm. Jenna emerges from the building with Veronica, and the two women briefly discuss a legal situation involving Addison's behavior at school. After Veronica leaves, Marshall sniffs the air around Alex and questions "Spencer" on whether she's sporting a new perfume. Alex laughs it off, explaining that she spent the morning taking care of Spencer's rescue horse, before heading in the opposite direction. After she walks away, Jenna pulls out her phone and calls Toby to warn him that there's an impostor posing as his ex-girlfriend. Aria is about to send an S.O.S. to Spencer when Toby walks into the DiLaurentis household and orders her not to do it. He then unveils to the Liars and Caleb that he knows about the existence of Spencer's twin sister, as the book that Alex gave him didn't have notes in it, and Spencer was always writing notes in it. He goes on to speculate that twins run in the family that it's time for Plan B and that Alex needs to tell her who she is. Alex is then spotted angrily leaving a house with Drake in tow. Mary points out that Alex promised she wouldn't injure Spencer, and she angrily proclaims her need to dispose of "the proof" before grabbing an ax off the side of the building. Drake states that if they leave straightaway, they can arrange a mother-daughter trip to Europe. Alex insists that she's not going anywhere without Toby and claims he's in love with her. Mary responds that Toby's in love with Spencer, which causes Alex to furiously yell that she already became her sister. Mary notifies Alex that she knows what it feels like to believe in something so desperately that you start to believe it's true. Alex wisecracks that she can't fathom her mother's words and punches Drake in the nose, knocking her out. In the meantime, Mona arrives at the DiLaurentis household and explains to the Liars that the elusive figure in a black hoodie who paid her a visit at Welby a year earlier was Wren, hellbent on killing her under Alex's orders. However, Vanderwaal persuaded him and Alex into sparing her life by helping Mary escape prison. Through Mona's assistance, the Liars, Toby and Caleb discover where Alex is after Vanderwaal divulges the coordinates of their enemy's lair. They quickly figure it out that Alex bought the house Toby built and must be holding Spencer captive there. They then rush out to find them. In the meantime, Alex is seen stalking through the hallways of the bunker clutching the ax. She heads to Spencer's room, only to discover that both her sister and Ezra have escaped. She is annoyed by this and puts the ax on her shoulder before walking off to find them. Spencer and Fitz discover that what they believed was a house and lawn is in fact a fake scenario Alex built underground. At the same time, the Liars, Caleb, and Toby arrive at Toby's former house to discover that the living room is filled with replicas of Spencer's furniture. On that occasion, they find the pathway to where Spencer, Ezra, and Alex are. Ezra informs Spencer that the only way out is to go back, but Spencer refuses to go through the bunker again. Moments later, Alex switches the lights out and sneaks up behind Spencer and Fitz and attempts to murder them. She knocks Ezra down and his head hits on a rock. Alex rises her ax to murder him, but Spencer jumps in front of Fitz and orders Alex to stop. Alex mockingly mimics every word Spencer utters, until Spencer states that it's not too late to be family. This irritates Alex, who claims that it is before raising the ax and striking down. Spencer bulldozes Alex and knocks her to the ground, leading them to roll around, punching and hitting each other. Finally, they break apart and one twin goes for the ax, grabbing it, and the other twin grabs it and they struggle for it. However, the Liars, Caleb and Toby burst in, with Cavanaugh holding his gun up and ordering both twins to drop it and both do so instantaneously. Alex tries to convince Toby that's she's Spencer and Spencer quickly warns him not to listen to her. Alex gazes at Spencer astonished and accuses her of being deranged. Toby puts his gun away and walks up to Alex looking her in the eyes before pinning her hands behind her. He asks her to tell him her favorite quote from the book she gave him, and Alex can't answer the question. However, Spencer quotes the line in fluent French, leaving Alex furiously stunned. A police officer runs in and Mona discloses to the Liars that she contacted the authorities. The officer states that Mary was caught a few blocks away, and handcuffs Alex. Whilst the man takes her away from Toby, Alex pauses in front of Vanderwaal and heatedly states "no one can call you Loser Mona anymore." Mona enthusiastically replies "you don't know the half of it." A defeated Alex is taken into custody upon their interaction. At an unknown time, Vanderwaal is seen running a doll store in France. Once she finishes selling an item to a customer, the officer who arrested Alex and Mary walks inside to greet Mona with a kiss, revealing that they were somehow in cahoots. They make ensuing dinner plans and after he exits the shop, Vanderwaal heads to a basement. A dollhouse is set up with two dolls seated in the upper division, to which Mona voices that it's tea-time before handing them a toy teapot. Behind the dollhouse, a light goes on in a room that shows Alex and Mary, who are costumed as dolls while sipping tea together. Alex unleashes a heavy sigh, and Mary professes to her daughter that Vanderwaal can't hold them hostage indefinitely. Alex, embracing the unavoidable, rolls her eyes and elucidates, "Of course she can, she's Mona". She then irritably glares through the glass at Vanderwaal, who is also sipping tea and looking utterly satisfied, knowing she has finally taken control of the "A" game again and owns two dolls of her own.

Reception

The character's introduction and subsequent reveal as the series' final antagonist was met with a deeply polarizing response. Many viewers expressed considerable dissatisfaction in regards to Alex's backstory and motives. Moreover, Troian Bellisario's performance also faced mixed reviews, with her attempt at a British accent being singled out for criticism.

Some television critics were welcoming towards the twist. Gavin Hetherington of SpoilerTV enjoyed Alex's reveal as "A.D." and her connection to Spencer, stating it was "actually well done."[35] Yana Grebenyuk of TVFanatic echoes the same sentiments of praise, writing that "Alex delivered above and beyond what a Spencer twin could have actually turned out to be. She was truly everything A.D. should have been, including ruthless and ready to kill anyone in her way." [36]

However, several other critics shared opinions similar to most target audience members. Isabella Biedenharn of Entertainment Weekly was unhappy towards some of Alex's characteristics, asking herself: "did she really need to have a Cockney accent?! Couldn’t she just be regular British, if she had to be British at all?"[37] While writing for Vulture, Jessica Goldstein gave the character introduction an unfavorable review, saying: "For me, it came way too late in the game to pack any punch, except for the punch she used to knock Spencer out. The idea that Alex wants to single white female Spencer because she’s jealous that Spencer won the parent lottery — which is really saying something about that lousy orphanage, considering Mr. Hastings’s whole deal — is not exactly all that original or exciting of a concept."[38]

Notes

Footnotes

  1. ^ Alex's first appearance as A.D. took place in the episode "Of Late I Think of Rosewood". However, her first unmasked appearance portrayed by Troian Bellisario occurred in "Tick-Tock, Bitches".
  2. ^ The Liars, Mona, and Caleb have referred to her as an "A" in certain episodes.
  3. ^ Caleb Rivers comes up with this description for Alex due to communicating with emoticons through her text messages.
  4. ^ The Liars use the term Big Bad to refer to Alex initially when not using "A" or the Stalker.
  5. ^ Hanna refers to Alex as "Not A" after revealing that their tormentor doesn't go by any initials.
  6. ^ Caleb suggests "Waldo" as a nickname when discussing Alex's anonymity.
  7. ^ pretending to be her sister.

Sources

  • This article incorporates material derived from the "Alex Drake" article on the Pretty Little Liars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License (July 2, 2017).
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