With only two episodes left until the Pretty Little Liars series finale, theories about A.D.'s identity abound. Because this is Rosewood (aka the town that surely contains more sketchy individuals than every other TV series combined), everyone is a suspect. If I. Marlene King really wants to bring the show full circle, unmasking Mona as A.D. on Pretty Little Liars would certainly do the trick. And, based on the ending of last week's episode, it appears the plot is headed in that direction — she was last shown chilling in her apartment's creepy lair as she fiddled with that board game from hell. But, I think we need to take a closer look at theories about Mona being A.D. before declaring her the final big bad.
First things first — if you're anything like me, you're probably thinking that the lair scene was a major red herring. After all, it seems highly unlikely that the writers would show their hand two whole weeks before the finale. But, I don't think this means we should rule Mona out entirely — after all, A.D. has an entire team working for him or her. And, prior to the Season 7B premiere, Janel Parrish told Bustle that Mona would be tempted by the dark side: "She goes through a bit of a journey, a little bit of a self-turmoil type of situation where she gets tempted by the dark side and kind of has to decide which she's on."
Viewers haven't seen this temptation yet, so it seems likely that Parrish was referencing the final several episodes. In the teaser for the June 20 episode she declares that "someone is always stealing the game from me." This definitely indicates that she's still struggling to quit the game — but it sounds more like she's been recruited to work for A.D. and she's not actually pulling the strings herself.
Then there's the matter of those intriguing photos that E! posted over the weekend. One photo depicts Spencer confronting Mona, another shows her wearing glasses (#throwback to the days when Ali's bullying pushed her to the breaking point), and the most suspicious picture of all is a still of Mona standing in the belltower where Charlotte was killed (holding flowers, even). Again, this all looks super suspicious — which means that, by Pretty Little Liars logic, the evidence points away from Mona being A.D.
But it definitely doesn't mean she's totally innocent — Mona has always been a top suspect in Charlotte's murder, and I wouldn't be surprised if she's the killer. Fellow Bustle writer S. Atkinson recently drew attention to an extremely plausible theory that was posted by the Pretty Little Puppet Masters Facebook group:
I'm totally here for this theory — after all, the final episodes wouldn't be complete without the Liars thinking they're finally free from A until (psyche!) the villain emerges to torment them once again. It's basically the cornerstone of the show.
Then, of course, there's the possibility that Mona isn't involved in the A game at all. For years she's struggled to be welcomed into the Liars' inner circle, but to no avail. It's possible that her desperation to be accepted by them once and for all has lead Mona to put herself in danger. When you look at it that way, it's really not strange at all that she's got a lair set up and she's messing with the board game — after all, Mona was the original A so she may be convinced that she can unmask A.D., save the Liars, and finally become one of them.
If the show goes in this direction, I'm seriously concerned for Mona's safety. It seems highly likely that there will be a major character death in the series finale (this is Pretty Little Liars, after all). If Mona decides to make one last valiant attempt to prove her loyalty, that makes her the most likely candidate to be "taken to the grave" in the show's final episode.
Really, anything's possible when Mona's involved — and the wide variety of theories about her character prove once and for all that she's totally the most interesting character on Pretty Little Liars.