'Pretty Little Liars' Red Coat Clues From Season 3 Prove She’s The One Running "A DAngerous GAme"
According to the Powers That Be behind Pretty Little Liars, they series has been dropping clues about Big A's identity since the beginning of Season 3. If you've forgotten — since it has been quite a long time — that's the season when, to quote the great and powerful Mona, "the game changed." Mona was no longer behind the black hoodie, but, instead, an even bigger and badder A rose to power. This new A made all of Mona's A shenanigans look like child's play. So, as we draw the close close of Season 6A — and HOPEFULLY the reveal of A once and for all — let's look back at the Pretty Little Liars Season 3 finale for any clues we can find in "A DAngerous GAme."
There's a ton of stuff that leads up to this episode, but the big thing to remember is that it takes place during a time BA. That's, "Before Ali." Because PLL can be divided in half — one half for when the Liars think Ali is dead and the other half for when Ali comes back — it's important to note that "A DAngerous GAme takes place in the former time on the series. It's a little confusing to listen to the Liars talk about how Ali's dead because you just want to yell at Netflix, "BUT SHE'S NOT." Yet, here we are.
Elsewhere, Spencer has just been released from Radley after finding Toby's presumed dead body out in the woods and having an extreme psychotic break. And Mona is being deliciously evil, and clearly working with this new A. As for everyone else — Shauna's around and Emily's got a bad feeling about it and, of course, Aria and Ezra are on the rocks. Now, what's up with these clues, you say?
Spencer Makes A Huge Callback
The Hastings have decided to throw Spencer a party for her release from Radley — because that's what you do when you daughter is released from a sanitarium — and Hanna, Aria, and Emily are hanging out at Spencer's house, waiting to see her. When she comes downstairs, she mutters this quote.
Now, this might seem insignificant, but Spencer has said this exact same thing before. Going all the way back to the PLL pilot, when Melissa first tells Spencer that she and Wren are moving into the barn and Melissa hoped that her sister would be happy for her, Spencer replies:
No, this does not mean Spencer is A/Red Coat/behind anything. It's just a weird callback. Is it supposed to remind us of the first time she said this line, and who she said it to?
Everyone Agrees That Red Coat Is Behind Everything
This episode is more about Red Coat than it is about A. I'll admit sometimes it's hard for me to keep track of these two, but it seems that everyone agrees that they are two different people. Forget the fact that Ali has been known to masquerade as Red Coat (and CeCe Drake, too). There's still someone else out there who's (probably) neither one of those people, and she's the one in charge. Everyone also agrees that Red Coat is a she.
Both Toby and Mona, who have joined the A Team in this episode, mention that they don't know her real identity, but they agree that Red Coat is behind everything, more so than A.
However, in this episode, it's strongly hinted that Ali is Red Coat. I mean, it's not wrong to say that she isn't, but she isn't THE Red Coat. Ali is no longer pulling strings and is just as marked as the rest of the Liars come Season 6. Along the same lines that Mona's A game was stole from her, Ali's Red Coat game was taken from her, too.
Ezra Makes A Bold Statement
Is there a PLL book club out there? There should be. Ezra is hired as a teacher, again, at Rosewood high and shows up in the Liars' English class. It's then that he recites this glorious quote from Ernest Hemingway.
Looking back, and knowing what we know now about A/Charles, this fits quite perfectly line with his story thus far. He was just an innocent child who made a mistake and his whole life was ripped away from him.
Up In Flames
This is also the episode that features the infamous fire. A gets all of the girls into this house (and wasn't it supposed to be a party? Didn't Spencer have a whole stack of invitations to hand out? How come it's literally only the four girls, and Mona, in attendance at this party?). A then sets the house on fire which, back in Season 3, was his boldest move to date.
The Liars are pulled out of the burning building in a smokey mess and A's plan is foiled, yet again. But it was really a close call for them.
Also, the burning building totally looks like it's in the shape of an A, right?
Ali's Alive. Duh.
Who pulled the girls out? Ali, of course. Who shows up in the nick of time on her plane. In this episode – which going back to watch is kind of confusing, I'll admit that — Ali is Red Coat. It's inferred that she's who Mona's talking to and she's the one who wants to see the Liars. She's ready to come clean and admit to them she's still alive.
However, Ali's plan is foiled by A. There are two different forces at work here. Back in Season 3 when this aired, I assumed they were working together. Going back for another watch, however, it's clear that they're not.
This Clue That Won't Make Sense For A Few Seasons, Maybe Ever
Toby, who's very much alive, is knocked out in the woods. A lighter with a compass symbol is dropped next to him, seemingly to frame him for the fire. It's been thought that this compass is a clue for True North (seeing as how North is the boldest direction on here) and all of this leads back to Maya.
Tumblr PLLTheories thinks it's a reference to North by Northwest , which is just another Hitchcock reference for PLL (there are so many).
This lighter could also be a reference to Campbell Farm. Though not the exact logo or design, the compass does look a lot like the Campbell's sign that we see.
So what does this all mean? Even back in Season 3, it was anyone's guess. Maybe the biggest takeaway is that Big A and Red Coat are two different people, who weren't always playing the same game. Now they are, though, and everyone should be very, very worried.
For more Red Coat theories, check out the latest episode of Bustle's PLL podcast Taking This One To The Grave below:
Images: ABC Family/screengrab (9); Giphy