The titular Liars of Pretty Little Liars have been through six-and-a-half seasons of trauma, stalking, and assault, so it’s no surprise they’re a little worse for wear. Yet, I’m pretty sure life is about to get even darker (somehow) for Ali (Sasha Pieterse), Aria (Lucy Hale), Emily (Shay Mitchell), Hanna (Ashley Benson), and Spencer (Troian Bellisario). Of course this looming sense of doom comes straight from season 7B puppet master A.D. After three episodes of PLL’s final lap, the shadowy villain’s aims are becoming clearer, and it seems A.D. is hoping to make each Liar just as dark as he or she is.
That’s why I’m worried about Emily and Aria, who are cracking under the pressure of the insane Liar’s Lament game before everyone else.
Aria shows she may be starting to turn as dark as her mysterious tormenter in "Hold Your Piece," during hers and Emily prolonged stalking of Sydney (Chloe Bridges), who’s caught up in A.D.’s game. First of all, Aria is eavesdropping on all of Sydney’s conversations with some intense gadgetry, reading her text messages, and memorizing her calendar. How very A.D. of her.
Things go from creepy to criminal when Aria and Emily confront Sydney after she drops off a surgery deposit for Jenna at a vision institute. Sydney understandably doesn’t want to go anywhere with the Liars since they freely admitted to stalking her and memorizing her private schedule. Aria reacts by twisting Sydney’s arm behind her back and smashing her face into a wall. It’s frighteningly violent. When Sydney says she’ll talk if Aria "keeps her paws to herself," the Liar’s response is, "Do I have to twist your arm again?" There’s not even a flicker of remorse in Aria’s eyes for attacking someone. And what if that’s exactly what A.D. wants?
It’s worth noting that Aria is accompanied by none other than Emily in this situation, who had her brush with darkness last week, and basically allows it to continue into "Your Piece." In "These Boots Were Made For Stalking," A.D. pushes Rosewood High coach Emily into yelling at a student in a locker room. Yes, Emily was right to be peeved over Addison’s bullying behavior, but she handled it in the worst way possible. That’s what A.D. was hoping for, since they rewarded Emily with a puzzle piece and a note reading, "Embrace your darkness, Em. I’ve had to. That’s how you win the game."
Just one episode later, Emily is threatening to continue stalking Sydney unless she does what the Liars want. Emily and Aria are well on their way towards falling into A.D.’s trap.
While we would love for all of this darkness to stop infecting our heroines, it seems Hanna may be up next. The designer was gifted the World’s Creepiest Doll, which had something that’s supposed to look like her face sewn onto it. Hanna was forced to cut open the doll’s appendix, which was insanely gruesome and bloody. That kind of changes a person for good. Ali is also in for some personality-altering distress in next episode "Power Play," as the summary says, "Ali's turn at the game forces her to face a personal decision, as A.D. triggers Ali to remember a forgotten trauma."
Only time will tell if Spencer’s next time playing Liar’s Lament turns out to be a darker demand than visiting Toby in the hospital.