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In my ever-humble opinion, the first two episodes of Pretty Little Liars season 4 have, per their usual, prompted far more questions than they’ve answered. For the PLL conspirAcy theorists among us, it’s more likely that the episodes have merely confirmed that which we already surmised from three seasons of obsession…I mean, careful scrutiny.

With mere moments until tonight’s third episode (“Cat’s Cradle”), I’d like to propose A (to-the-best-of-my-knowledge-)new theory. (And I welcome and hope for polite and respectful debate in the comments below.)

In the concluding scene of “A Is for A-l-i-v-e” (#4.1), we were treated to a glimpse of a new kind of Alison mask: one with a burned left-cheek.

pretty little liars
© 2013 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Such a mAsk is likely connected to one of two Pretty Little Liars fires: (1) season 1’s accidental garage fire, a.k.a. “the Jenna thing”; or (2) the blaze that destroyed the Hastings’ lodge in the final episode of season 3. I’m inclined to see it as a reference to the one that started it all, season 1’s garage fire. Why? Three pieces of evidence—all involving Toby—suggest this conclusion.

Exhibit A: To the best of my knowledge, there is no indication that Alison was haunted by A before “the Jenna thing”—that is, before Alison accidentally-but-recklessly set the garage fire and blackmailed Toby into taking the blAme.

Exhibit B: From the beginning, it seems that A has Always wanted Toby as a friend, rather than a foe. Every time we think she’s harmed him, he turns up Alive and well.

Exhibit C: A’s recent (and seemingly benevolent) adoption of the “sharing is caring” principle, trAding Toby’s mom’s medical records for the traveling lair.

So, as it seems that ‘death’ is so rArely final in PLL, I wonder: Is it possible that Toby’s mom is not really dead? Could she play a role in the conspirAcy?

Of all the people we know so far with fire-related desires for pAyback—Toby himself, Jenna, Shana—Toby’s mom certainly has solid motive to target Alison, as well as the Liars who aided and abetted both the arson and blackmail. Toby’s mom also has means and opportunity…because everyone thinks she’s dead.

The color of the Alison mask probably rules out Shana, as it is mostly transparent and appears to suggest that the wearer is likely Caucasian. And the picture below, of Jenna exiting Wilden’s funeral not dressed as the Black Widow, rules her out too.

pretty little liars
© 2013 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

And so it would seem that we are once Again left with only possibilities and questions. Was Toby the Black Widow? Why is A suddenly so interested in making Toby’s mom the center of attention? What’s with Mrs. DiLaurentis’ unexpected return to Rosewood and obsessive need to discuss Ali? And, it is possible that ABC Family will follow the plot-path taken by the Pretty Little Liars books? (Although it would add to the discussion above, I won’t spoil it here. If you want to know, you can find the answer in the first place you’re likely to look.)

A … I mean, S

Featured Image: © 2013 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

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The Author

Sarah Katz

Sarah Katz

Born-and-bred New Yorker. Lifelong film & TV lover—from chick flicks, rom-coms, rom-droms, rom-drams, and tweentertainment, to Shakespeare, period pieces, James Bond, fairy tales, and mafia movies.