Pretty Little Liars fans waited six whole seasons for the reveal of the villain known as Big A, and most of us were pretty shocked when that villain turned out to be none other than Alison's older confidant and lookalike Cece Drake. Of course, the real shock came from the fact that Cece was actually Charlotte DiLaurentis, Alison's sister who spent most of her locked away in Radley Sanitarium. Charlotte told the sad story about her unhappy childhood during her unmasking, and Alison seemed to sympathize with her older, damaged sister — so much so that, five years later, Alison was helping Charlotte get released from the mental institution she stayed at to "get better." Alison definitely believed that Charlotte was ready to rejoin society and had put her A tendencies behind her — but now clues from Pretty Little Liars suggest that wasn't so much the case. So, I have to wonder: Did Charlotte play Ali, and remain a villain even after the Big A reveal?
I'm starting to think that's more and more likely. As nice of a story as it would be for Charlotte to overcome her trouble childhood and a history of villainy, sometimes "mean girls stay mean," as Hanna might say. Here are a few clues that suggest Charlotte never got over the A game:
1. Her Alias Suggests She Knew Her Real Mom
It hasn't been confirmed that Charlotte actually knew Mary Drake, her biological mother, but the fact that she went by the alias Cece Drake and the fact that Mary clearly knew of her speaks volumes. It Charlotte did know that Mary was her biological mother and not Jessica, it means she left out a big detail about her backstory — one that ultimately could change everything. Why would she skip this detail if her connection to Mary didn't portray her in a bad light?
2. She Didn't Give Up Her Dolls
In Season 7's "The Talented Mr. Rollins," it's revealed that Charlotte gave dolls representing the Liars to a farm girl that she and Dr. Rollins would visit regularly. Given that Charlotte kept the real-life version of the girls locked away in a torturous dollhouse for weeks, it's super creepy that she still considers them playthings, even if they aren't hers. As Aria puts it, how much better could Charlotte really be if she's still naming dolls after the Liars?
3. Her Relationship With Dr. Rollins Is A Red Flag
RIP, Dr. Rollins. Before he became road kill, Dr. Rollins was perhaps one of the most sinister villains ever to appear on Pretty Little Liars. Sure, he tortured Alison after believing she killed the love of his life, but anyone else would have probably just called the cops. The fact that Charlotte wanted to date someone who would be totally cool with torturing the sister that took care of her for five years shows that she hasn't lost her sense of cruelty.
4. She May Have Been In On The Carissimi Plan
If Charlotte and Dr. Rollins really were in love, then it's perfectly logical for Charlotte to be in on Dr. Rollins' plan to marry Alison and steal her fortune. We know that Alison and Dr. Rollins were dating at the same time as he was dating Charlotte, so unless he was a total jerk and messing with both of their hearts, it seems that Charlotte knew about his faux-mance with Alison all along. Was the plan for Dr. Rollins to marry Alison, steal her money, and then run off with Charlotte? I'd buy it.
5. She Was Killed For A Reason
It's been suggested that the person who killed Charlotte may have done so to protect the Liars, or even themselves. We know that Charlotte's killer isn't specifically after the Liars — the only time we saw that person get aggressive was when they were trying to steal back the potential murder weapon — so it's plausible that the killer isn't actually an evil person. Perhaps the person killed Charlotte because Charlotte was coming after them, or because they knew that Charlotte was going to hurt the Liars or someone else if they didn't.
Charlotte may be dead, but the truth about her motivations might ultimately change everything for the Liars. Her reformed act might really have been just that.