What You Need To Know About Noel, Pretty Little Liars‘ Latest Villain

Photo: Courtesy of Freeform.
In this week's episode of Pretty Little Liars, we learned that Noel Kahn (Brant Daugherty) is not just a misunderstood character, as the writers have led us to believe, or simply an embodiment of some "bad boy" trope. Rather, he's turning out to be an actual villain on the show. Spencer (Troian Bellisario) and Emily (Shay Mitchell) found a flash drive full of video footage of Noel tormenting them when they were locked in the Doll House.
I will admit, I was actually shocked to realize he could be that evil. I always thought he was part of the "A" team — but somewhere on the periphery. He knew who the leader was, but only chose to take part in the more low-key harassment. But tormenting people who are unconscious after they were kidnapped, locked in an isolated house, and abused through shock treatment and other psychological methods? That's truly beyond what I thought him capable of.
But should we really be surprised? No. And the girls really shouldn't be, either, considering their past with him. Pretty Little Liars' fans, let's take a stroll down memory lane, and remember the very complicated past the Liars and Noel have together.
Season 1
We first met Noel in season 1; he was introduced as a stereotypical high school bad boy of the sort who only exists on TV — rich, popular, hangs out with older kids, throws parties with alcohol, makes out with the hottest girls. He was an elusive, mysterious jock. We also learned that Ali (Sasha Pieterse) caused his girlfriend to break up with him the summer she went missing — essentially for fun, but also because Aria (Lucy Hale) had a crush on him. He was angry, naturally.
A year later, he changed his tune and tried to date Aria, but she was dating their high school teacher, Mr. Fitz (Ian Harding). Noel spent the next few episodes harassing Aria and Fitz by leaving them threatening messages and trying to blackmail Mr. Fitz into a higher grade. He was also around right after the two most terrifying incidents of the season — when Hanna (Ashley Benson) was hit by a car and when Ian (Ryan Merriman) was killed. All the Liars, but particularly Hanna, were convinced he was "A." He was eventually suspended for cheating on exams because of "A's" games, so everyone's suspicions that Noel is "A" pretty much went away.
Photo: Courtesy of Freeform.
Season 1 Verdict: He does seem to know about Ian's murder, which is concerning, but mainly he is trying to get a better GPA and impress a girl. Nothing too alarming yet.
Season 2
In season 2, we learned how close Noel and Ali were, and that together they had planned a prank to scare the girls on Halloween, just before she went missing. However, Noel failed to show up, and "A" ended up being the one to scare the girls instead. At this point, it should have been clear. Noel just conveniently doesn't show up, and "A" takes his place? Nope. That was planned. But we are still seasons away from a definitive answer. Instead, he started dating Mona (Janel Parrish), who was later revealed to the be original "A." Then he broke her heart to date Jenna (Tammin Sursok), who we know helped Charlotte (Vanessa Ray) once she stole the "A" game. Convenient choice of romantic partners, huh?
Season 2 Verdict: While he becomes a bit more of a background character, his romantic relationships with Mona and Jenna are red flags.
Season 3
This season begins with one focus — who killed Maya (Bianca Lawson)? Noel stood out as a main suspect because the girls learned that he was texting with her up until her death, that Maya went to secret parties at his house, and that she was at Noel's house the night she died. They spent a large amount of time tracking down all of the Rosewood residents who had the ominous stamps that gain you admission to a Kahn party, and the guest list was full of "A" suspects: CeCe, Jenna, Mona, Mike, Melissa (Torrey DeVitto), and Holden (Shane Coffey). Eventually Nate/Lyndon (Sterling Sulieman) was discovered to be Maya's killer, and the girls once again slowed down their sleuthing around Noel.
Season 3 Verdict: I will never understand why they accepted the Nate/Lyndon story so easily when they know how easy it is for "A" to set people up for murder and get rid of them (see: Garrett (Yani Gellman) this season and Spencer (Troian Bellisario) in almost every episode). It's looking like if he's not "A," he is at least capable of murder.
Season 4
The series' fourth season is rather Noel-free. His one appearance is a big one, though. For reasons we may never know, Ali reached out to Noel and trusted him over her friends to rescue her. He was the one who helped the Liars reunite with Ali and finally learn some of the truth from the night she went missing. For a moment it looked like Noel was always misunderstood and was actually on the same side as the Liars, but that was short-lived...
Photo: Courtesy of Freeform.
Season 4 Verdict: Maybe he hasn't been involved with "A," but was actually helping Ali the whole time. Is this possible?
Season 5
The fifth season picks up right where season 4 left off, and we were told that Noel helped CeCe escape persecution for killing Wilden (Bryce Johnson) as a favor to Ali. However, in hindsight, it seems more likely that he was actually saving CeCe from jail so she could continue tormenting the girls, and alerting Shana (Aeriél Miranda) of Ali's location so Shana could try and murder her. Shana's attempt failed, and she died instead of Ali. Looks like Noel was thwarted once again. He spent his last appearances of the season making sure he had information to blackmail Ali in case she turned on him.
Season 5 Verdict: At best, he is a double agent. He seems to be pretty squarely against the Liars and Ali, but they still don't suspect him of actually being "A" because of Ali's (misguided) trust.
Season 6
Like season 4, season 6 is essentially Noel-free. That makes sense, considering the whole season led up to CeCe's "answers" that have already proven to be mainly lies. It's pretty crazy to realize how everything CeCe told the girls was only a half-truth, all the way down to her biological mother. We did learn Noel went to prom with Bridget Wu. At least he got to have that normal high school experience, unlike the Liars...
Season 6 Verdict: Why did we even watch this season? It was pointless.
Season 7
That brings us to the present day and season 7. Noel returned five years later and instantly reunited with his ex-girlfriend — and prime "A" suspect — Jenna. In this week's episode, he was caught throwing away Sara Harvey's (Dre Davis) phone, making him the main suspect for Sara's murder. They also found a flash drive with evidence of him tormenting them, showing he was involved with "A" all along. He was clearly friends with CeCe, and to really bring it back to the beginning of this twisted story line, his dad was the judge who presided over the adoption of CeCe's secret sibling. So is Noel the secret sibling? Or is he just aware of and helping that sibling because of his dad's occupation? Hanna has attacked and kidnapped Noel, but the preview shows that plan going awry, real fast. The preview shows that he ends up attacking the Liars, and someone dies. Let's just hope we get answers before the fatality.
Season 7 Verdict: There is no way Noel is innocent. He might not be the mastermind, but he is a very loyal and dangerous ally for "A." Looks like the girls should have all listened to Hanna in season 1 when she was ready to turn Noel into the cops. New plan: ALWAYS listen to Hanna.

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