***Spoiler Alert if you aren’t up to Season 6 of the series.***
After watching all the goodbyes on Snapchat, the realisation that Pretty Little Liars is ending is sinking in. For anyone who hasn’t seen the show I always find it hard to explain what it’s about, if I keep it to the bare basics it’s about four friends coming together and trying to discover who their anonymous tormentor is and why he/she is trying to ruin their lives. But like any PLL fan will tell you, there is so much more to it.
I began watching the show at the start of 2013; it hadn’t been on free to air TV in Australia, so I was lucky enough to binge-watch the seasons without having to wait for cliff hanger breaks. During autumn that same year I was in a car accident and I was lucky enough to walk away but not completely injury-free. Unluckily for me, a guy pulled out of a side street without looking and slammed into the side of my car, sending me spinning a few hundred meters down the road. It was definitely one of those moments I can look back on and feel very grateful. Had even the slightest factor been different, if he had hit me at a different angle, I could have been thrown directly into the path of the oncoming truck. Had the traffic lights not turned orange just as I left the intersection before coming up to his corner, a car could have been travelling behind me and hit my spinning car, I could have easily been seriously injured or killed. I now take safe driving very seriously and have no tolerance for inattentive drivers. My car was out of action for a few months while it was being repaired and once they fixed it, I was still reluctant to drive. It took close to two years for a majority of the physical and psychological damage to be repaired. Most of the time I thought, ‘is the event I’m going to be worth the stress I feel when I’m driving there?’ More often than not, the answer was “no” and that, my friends, is how PLL became my escape, my saviour as I avoided leaving the house.
After watching the show and following the cast and crew on social media, it became clear quickly that there were more layers to this show. There were references to Alfred Hitchcock movies, English history and classic books, just to name a few. The writers used these to hint at where the story was going. It was easy to become engrossed in the mystery, Googling, watching old movies and reading books to attempt to figure out who “A” is and why he/she was tormenting the girls. I was so close to going out and buying whiteboards to piece together all the clues, but my friend Sarah (who is great at delivering honesty with a sense of humour) told me whiteboards = intervention. So I did the next best thing and joined the conversations online. I began following an account called ‘the_pll_sherlock’ and began discussing theories with like-minded people. From all around the world we had a show that connected us; it’s nice when the internet is used for good.
But the show didn’t stop for me there. After the death of a character in season five, I felt like my best friend had died and walked around with a feeling of loss and emptiness for a few days. This character had been the tormentor for so long, but the writers had turned my feelings around. In my mind she was no longer the enemy; this is where I need to thank I. Marlene King, the show’s writer and creator, for doing such an amazing job. Through the writing, she and her team made me feel empathy and sadness for someone I had seen as the villain. It reminded me of the power words can have, that if you pour your heart and soul into your writing, you can help people feel the power of that moment. That is the beauty of PLL. Everyone involved has given their all to bring us episodes each week, and that’s why they have such a passionate fan base.
So as I prepare to say my goodbyes to a show that has given me so much, to the people that inspired me during a time in my life I needed it most, I will look forward to the answers, I will appreciate the final words, I will search for more mysteries that will challenge my investigation skills and I will miss the collaboration of an amazing team and the characters I have grown to love.
Thank you to all the cast and crew for seven seasons of entertainment and to my fellow fans who helped keep the show alive.
Here’s to a happy ending