'PLL's Aria Has An Unbearable Road Ahead

It hasn't bee that long since we were shocked to the core. Remember that time Pretty Little Liars' Aria killed someone? It'd be understandable if you didn't — it happened only two episodes ago, but Pretty Little Liars has done a good job of pushing that little plot point under the rug and giving Aria only a few minutes out of each episode to show her grief. But that's about to change.

In the series' Season 5 premiere, we found out that Shana shot Ezra... and after creeping on him in his hospital room, she found the Liars (minus Aria) in an empty theatre and pointed a gun at all of them. It turns out she was still pretty mad at Ali on Jenna's behalf and wanted revenge. Just when things got heated, Aria popped out of nowhere, grabbed one of the prop guns on the stage and clocked Shana in the head. And just like that, Aria became a murderer. (This is assuming that Shana is actually dead — something we can't really trust this show with. CeCe, anyone?)

Understandably, Aria's been struggling with this. It was self-defense, her friends tell her. It was her or us, they say. But these lines don't seem to comfort Aria very much. In last week's episode, Spencer asked Aria if she needs anything. Aria, staring off into space, replied, "Yeah, I need to know that it didn't happen." But it did happen, and now it's time for Pretty Little Liars to explore Aria's subsequent depression over what she's done, a topic with which the show is familiar. We've seen Spencer grapple with a pill addiction and Hanna turn to cupcakes for comfort (though that storyline has always rubbed us the wrong way), but this is the first time we'll see Aria truly struggle. The teaser for this week's episode already tells us that Aria "looks for comfort from an unlikely source," which could mean a few different things — here are some ideas:

Aria distracts herself with Ezra

Ezra and Aria are soulmates — this we know. No matter how many trust issues they have, they are most likely going to get back together at some point and now would be the perfect time. OK, not perfect, but it would make sense: Aria is struggling with the fact that she killed someone and she wants some distraction so she looks to Ezra to give that distraction to her. It may not be the healthiest way to cope, but, uh, at least he's cute?

Destination: Radley

Ah, Radley. A place we know so well and yet so little about. Aria suffering a mental breakdown when she realizes that she can't pretend she never killed Shana would make sense because it'd put her back at the mysterious Radley. Aria going there could mean she makes some headway on the whole Toby's mom storyline or finds out more about the elusive and probably evil (but adorable) Wren, all while learning how to cope with her depression.

Ali + Aria = BFFs

Aria and Alison have always seemed like an unlikely pairing — Ali's all sassy vitriol and Aria's a sweet bookworm — but the two are going through some unimaginably tough stuff right now. Sure, Ali's mom getting murdered and Aria murdering someone aren't quite the same, but Ali may understand Aria's depression (and vice versa) more than the others at this point. Nothing like a couple murders to bring two women together, right?

She turns to the bottle

Since Spencer has already proved to have a weakness for pills in times of stress, Pretty Little Liars most likely won't repeat that coping mechanism for another character, but it could show us Aria's relationship with another mood alterer: Alcohol. So far, the Liars haven't quite established themselves as the partying types — I suppose they're too busy being teen detectives to play some underaged beer pong at a house party — so watching Aria chug a fifth of vodka alone in her room would be a shocking and heavy contrast to her usual innocent ways.

Image: ABC