In these times of tension and existential dread, it's almost quaint to go back to the non-stop anxiety-fest that is Rosewood, Pa. It's almost as if they've been metaphorically living in 2017 their entire lives. And they might have been. Time works differently on Pretty Little Liars. When the curtain drops on Season 7B, we might find out they've been living in the distant future all this time. Or they're in Purgatory. Or that this really all took place in the span of a day. It's really hard to tell.
I've already jumped into roasting PLL but troubled times do not need extra negativity so with my bold predictions for this season, I'm going to do my best to keep my pixelated shades off. There may be some hot takes, some obvious takes, and some downright weird takes but know that I do this out of a place of love. Over the past century or so that I've been watching Pretty Little Liars (no one really knows), I've developed a fondness for the Liars and their vigilante accusers that may sometimes get missed. Sure, sometimes I feel like I'm sucked into the gravitational pull of this weird cosmic whirlpool and trapped against my will in the greater Rosewood-Ravenswood metro area but, like Spencer says, the "evidence doesn't support the premise."
So below are some bold (some extra thick bold) predictions for what's coming in Season 7B. Some are silly. Some are thought-provoking (okay, few are thought-provoking). But PLL is nothing if not a world of possibilities. Honestly, anything can happen. Did you see Veronica (Lesley Fera) take that baby like she was a plot point in The Maltese Falcon? How old are the Hastings? Are they undying vampires? See, there I go again.
1. Nicole Is Going to Get Hurt
Poor Nicole (Rebecca Breeds). Kidnapped by guerrillas in South America only to have her fiancé resort to his old ethically dubious principles of the heart. When it comes to Aria (Lucy Hale), Ezra (Ian Harding) has no boundaries, no sense of reason, no concept of grown-up-ness. Watching Aria explain her engagement to Holden (Shane Coffey) was a real collar-pulling moment of discomfort and you can't help but feel for the woman that was held hostage while suffering through broken bones and dreaming that one day, hopefully, she'd escape her captors and her other half would be waiting dutifully for her.
No matter what Ezra ultimately does, she's doomed. Either he stays with Aria and Nicole loses or Ezra ditches Aria (for now) and stays with Nicole only for him to have inevitable dalliances with his former student forever since they're intrinsically linked by magical Ezria power. And Nicole continues to lose. Ezra waiting for her when she emerged from the jungle might be the worst thing that ever happened to her.
2. The Mystery Location on the Liars Lament Board Will Be Yet Another Abandoned Warehouse In Rosewood
The Liars Lament game might be my favorite plot device of the series. It's a set of rails for the story (which is good for us in terms of the usual slog we go through during the middle episodes of the season) and it's probably A/A.D.'s most impossible creation yet. The amount of R&D that went into creating this thing, the GPS/NFC/Bluetooth modules that'd be needed for the triggers to work, the incisively intelligent algorithm that can choose the right evidence to produce as rewards. It's all so dramatic. I couldn't help but notice the Mystery Location on the map.
What could it be? A safe house where Mary Drake (Andrea Parker) lives? The newest, biggest, and baddest A Lair to date? More than likely, whatever its actual purpose is, it's yet another sad tale of manufacturing jobs leaving the Rust Belt. Rosewood has more abandoned warehouses and manufacturing facilities than all the CW DC shows combined (and Arrow goes through a lot). Is this what happens when a recession hits an area so hard that the only jobs that are left are teaching at your former high school and whatever it is that the other Liars are doing for money now? Does the town sink into a madness that creates a cosmic vortex of misery? Anyway, the Mystery Location is intriguing.
3. Emison, to Some Degree, Will Happen
I'm pretty sure this has been confirmed or at least bandied about in other places but 7B is planting these seeds early. I've talked about before how I think Emison is a bad idea mostly because Alison (Sasha Pieterse) wavers in her quest for redemption and is pretty toxic for Emily (Shay Mitchell). But, then again, Alison's brokenness is like the Holy Grail for Emily, former director of the informal Fields House for Wayward Girls. By planting the seeds, I mean they split them up so hard that it's almost like the show itself doth protest too much.
Alison's back in manipulative form and Emily, when chosen to defend an outwardly indefensible ever-victim or Paige (Lindsey Shaw), the proven victim of bullying, she goes with Paige. And maybe that'll be good for Paily shippers. The true endgame for all these girls is the hope that they escape the thrall of Rosewood and, for Emily, you kind of hope it's with Paige since Alison is unstable (well, more unstable right now than Paige). But maybe Alison pulls it together. Maybe impending motherhood changes her. Or maybe not. But even if Emison doesn't end up being the romantically charged explosion of fan service that the shippers hope for (and, honestly, the fans deserve a season of service for their support), there'll be some degree of reconciliation. And that would be enough.
4. We'll Learn that Jenna Is Actually Performing in a One-Woman Show
So I'm used to Moments of A being a little surreal in their presentation. Do I think A was always wearing leather gloves and a hoodie during every interaction she had while setting up all her traps and gotchas? No, that'd be ridiculous. A is a supervillain but not, like, a Batman supervillain. She's not The Joker in a preposterous costume every day. But Jenna (Tammin Sursok) sitting in a dark room while being given the entire endgame binder filled with pages written in Braille is like a fever dream. I was expecting her to say the words "endgame" and then for the house lights to come up to reveal an audience like Emma Stone saw in La La Land. This season is not going to be afraid to pour it on thick. And I'm kind of into it.
5. Spencer Will Either Be a Liability or the Liars' Only Hope
Let's talk about the endgame. I'm not going to speculate too much on who's behind it or what it'll be because it's not my job to accidentally spoil people (I don't have any more information than you do). But it's safe to say that it's going to be a journey and it'll probably be less like Candyland and more like The Revenant. By the time the Liars reach the end, they're going to look like they've been attacked by seven bears.
Spencer (Troian Bellisario) so far has been the driving force with Hanna (Ashley Benson) picking up the reins when Spencer needs a break. But now the self-admitted bastard has new drive to push her and her friends deeper into the rabbit hole. Spencer's always wanted to play this board game with A but was playing expert-level checkers against someone playing chess. She's tried learning the rules, ignoring the game, and flipping the board but this is the first time that Spencer is being given a real roadmap. Does this mean that Spencer is going to continually drive them into those seven bears? Or is Spencer playing the game going to be their only salvation. I suspect a little of Column A, a little of Column B.
I also suspect that endgame is supposed to put these girls through one last ringer. Every serial killer wants to eventually get caught so they can have the renown and A.D. is no different from those sociopaths. But that doesn't mean she's going to make it easy. This is more about the journey than the destination and I'm curious if it'll be more like Mona's (Janel Parrish) tact (trying to continually teach the Liars a lesson) or Cece's (Vanessa Ray) trajectory (punishing the Liars for existing). In any case, the endgame is going to have a lot on it. Pretty Little Liars has a Lost problem right now. The expectations are high and if this doesn't tie into a nice bow by the end, the disappointment is going to break the internet. It's going to be a great story.
And now, a lightning round of bold predictions.
6. Aria Will Spend One Evening Alone: She watches a movie in the public domain, maybe has a glass of wine, and just for one evening isn't defined by who she is or is not dating.
7. Papa Hastings Will Have One More Affair: I mean statistically he's probably already knocked up a diner waitress in rural Pennsylvania that looks vaguely similar to Jessica DiLaurentis. "They got me again, Veronica! They got me again!"
8. A.D., Before She Gets Got, Will Sell Her Toy-Making Secrets for Billions: Again, that board game is out of control and someone needs to apprentice that toy-making ability. Though it might be hard to have an intern working for a ruthless and pettily obsessed psychopath only focus on the board game department who isn't implicated in the murdering, girl-torturing department. So selling the secrets might be the best way to go.
9. Mona Will Never Catch a Break: And that's probably about right. I mean, Mona did kind of start this whole thing. And even though Mona will endlessly try to make it up to Hanna, no one will ever really be able to trust her. Hanna and Mona will be in the same nursing home and Hanna is going to accuse Mona of gaslighting her so she can steal her pills. And there's a 25 percent chance that she is stealing her pills just out of habit.
10. Haleb Will Burn Bright: As the only couple not (yet) tainted by the mark of A (or being a super creeper), Haleb getting back together was a joy. But now it makes me concerned that Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) is going to turn on them. Oh, dang it, Caleb. Please don't do this to me.
And finally, this isn't a bold prediction but probably just a fact:
11. Mrs. Horowitz is A.D.: Is there any other reason why she would be brought back for the final season other than to make the final reveal that she wanted to get back at these sniveling brats? Always ditching class, leaving teeth in their lockers, mocking the blind. Horowitz (Cathy Ladman) is the endgame. I made that prediction back when they were still in high school and I stand by it. It's definitely not silly.
Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on Freeform.