This is not a drill — the final season of Pretty Little Liars is underway and, as Jenna declared, it's time for the "end game" to commence. Initially her statement sounded like a hashtag come to life on the small screen, so I didn't read into it. But she may have provided a major clue — Reddit user heftyhannabanana theorizes that A.D. is using characters as board game pawns on Pretty Little Liars. As fans know, nothing is ever too far-fetched on this show, and it would definitely explain why a board game is key to Season 7B. I'm totally on board with this theory, and so are the hosts of Bustle's Pretty Little Liars podcast Taking This One to the Grave.
The brilliant Reddit user who came up with this theory suggests that the entire series has been a board game. Mona, Charlotte, Noel, Jenna, and Sara have been playing the game with A.D. and carrying out his or her wishes. This would actually make a whole lot of sense — remember when the Charlotte reveal left many viewers (*raises hand*) feeling completely underwhelmed and dissatisfied? If the game theory proves to be correct, her "big reveal" moment was merely one small part within the game.
PLL devotees have joined the Reddit thread to suggest other plot devices that may have been part of the board game — such as Noel bringing fake blood to the Dollhouse and Sara luring the Liars into the room for Charlotte's "A" reveal. As of right now, all these characters are considered part of the A team — but what if they're all pawns who have carried out A.D.'s dares? This could explain why Jenna looked so happy when she said "end game." If the theory is correct, she'll finally be free from A.D.'s control when the game is over. I'm not typically in the business of defending Jenna, but it would be a great twist if she's not the true villain on Pretty Little Liars.
Another user with a stellar memory brings up an excellent point — alibabean recalls that in an earlier season, Mona and Charlotte were shown playing a board game that involved hints about how to get in and out of Radley. Furthermore, it seems like nearly everyone in Rosewood has played a role in the A game at some point. Melissa, Jason, Wilden, Garrett, the entire N.A.T. Club... even in the world of Pretty Little Liars, it's pretty hard to believe that so many people eagerly tortured the Liars.
Sure, the very young versions of Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer can be viewed as Ali's enablers — but, overall, they're good people who certainly don't deserve to relentlessly be tortured for years simply because they failed to stand up to the queen bee when they were 14. (We've all been through high school — this struggle is sadly relatable.)
Another reason the board game theory would be perfect? It would provide I. Marlene King with an instant answer to all those loose ends that it appears will never be resolved. (Seriously, who is Beach Hottie??) Pretty much every unresolved plot point could be described as simply "part of the game." Plus, in a series that places such a strong focus on the endless interconnections between the characters, a board game is the ultimate way to interconnect everyone as much as possible.
We'll have to wait until the series finale to learn A.D.'s true identity and how exactly the board game fits in — but, as of right now, I think this is the most compelling theory out there.