There Are 160 Episodes of Pretty Little Liars but — It's Not a Secret — These Are the Best 8
If you are a hard-core fan of Pretty Little Liars, you've probably rewatched the series once or twice from beginning to end, but with seven seasons and 160 episodes, perhaps you don't always have the time for a full binge. So if what you're looking for is a quick run through the series' best episodes — you know, because you have other things to do sometimes — we've got you covered.
The Freeform series, which follows four best friends — Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario), Hanna Marin (Ashley Benson), Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale), and Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell) — as they try to uncover the truth behind the disappearance of their group leader Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse) as they're being blackmailed with their deepest, darkest secrets by an unknown individual, who goes by A, was a roller coaster. Over the course of seven seasons, we're hit with life-threatening situations, romances, and twists and turns so wild, that A probably didn't even see them coming.
From the first episode of PLL, aired in 2010, to the final one aired in 2017, prepare to reach way back in your memory bank as we go over the best episodes in the entire series, in chronological order.
Season 1, Episode 1: "Pilot"
We can't talk about the top PLL episodes without including the very first one. What happens in that introduction sets up the next 159 episodes, and there are key pieces of information that play a role through the whole series. Right away, we find out that Spencer was in the arms of her sister's fiancé, Hanna has a shoplifting habit, Aria made out with her high school teacher Ezra Fitz (Ian Harding), and Emily is drawn to another girl and figuring out her sexuality. Sounds like the kind of things you would want kept on the DL, right? Well, A, in all of his or her creepy magic, knows all of this and uses it against them. And when you have a secret like that, you'll do just about anything to keep it that way.
The first text message sent after Alison's funeral services sparks what we can confidentially say is a whirlwind of a series: "I'm still here, bitches. And I know everything. –A"
Season 2, Episode 25: "unmAsked"
The four girls discover that Alison had checked into a motel off the beaten path before she disappeared. Spencer and Mona Vanderwaal (Janel Parrish) make their way out to the motel where they find A's lair. Meanwhile, the others are at a school masquerade dance.
Spencer begins looking through the motel room, which is filled with photos of the girls and other items. In true smart Spencer form, she figures out that Mona is the person who has been stalking, blackmailing, and hurting the girls just in time to turn around and see her in a black hoodie. Spencer gets knocked out, and Mona sends a video message to Hanna, Aria, and Emily to get them to leave the dance. Mona (or A) falls off of a cliff, but lives through it.
And just when you think now that we know who A is, the show is over, Mona gets sent to the Radley Sanitarium and it appears that she wasn't working alone.
Season 3, Episode 13: "This Is a Dark Ride"
How could you forget this episode? It takes place on a Halloween train ride and Adam Lambert performs, but that's just the beginning of the craziness. Officer Garrett Reynolds (Yani Gellman), who was dating Jenna Marshall (Tammin Sursok), is discovered dead. Worse yet, it's Aria who finds his corpse . . . while she's trapped in a box with him. As one of the most iconic Halloween episodes of this eerie series, you won't be let down!
Season 4, Episode 14: "Grave New World"
The event that started this entire show is Alison's disappearance and assumed death. The pilot features a funeral for her, after all. However, in season 4, the Liars get insight that she might not be gone, and she might actually be back in town. They dress in period attire to crash a party in Ravenswood and chase after a blond-haired girl in a red coat who seems to disappear into thin air. Toward the end, they finally corner the red-coated figure and discover Alison is alive. The series starts a whole new life with her back in the official picture.
Season 5, Episode 25: "Welcome to the Dollhouse"
One second, the four girls are in handcuffs and chains, arrested as accessories to Mona's murder, which the police believe Alison carried out; the next, they're waking up in replicas of their own bedrooms. They go out into the dark hallways where they wander to another room and find Mona. For the past five months, everyone thought she was dead, but it turns out that she's been forced to "play" Alison in an underground dollhouse, blond wig and all. She's being watched on-camera and must follow the rules or be starved, as well as forced to listen to an ear-shattering siren and audio of her friends and family crying at her funeral.
Although the person watching Mona thinks that they've broken her, she reveals to the four girls during the three-minute generator reboot that she plays along to survive but hasn't lost herself. Mona knows the exit to escape but can't figure out how to do it in those three minutes before the doors lock.
Later on, Hastings figures out that random block letters in "her room" spell out Charles and believes that's the person behind all of this.
It's prom night at the dollhouse, and Charles chooses the same theme from Spencer's sister's prom. The five girls come up with and execute a plan to shut off the electricity and manage to get out of the dungeon dollhouse, but not before Spencer comes in contact with a masked Charles and senses eerie familiarity.
Season 6, Episode 1: "Game On, Charles"
It was a bad idea to go against Charles. After they escape the dungeon, he leaves the girls outside in the rain overnight with nothing but an electrical fence to keep them put. They're finally let back in, and Charles grabs Mona while the other four pass out from some sort of gas. Spencer, Hanna, Aria, and Emily wake up in a morgue-like room draped in white cloths with no clothes. Mona, still playing Alison, brings them medicine and juice, and then it's time for each Liar to go back in their rooms.
We don't learn right away what happens in those rooms, but the girls are clearly scarred from the experience once they're released. We find out during flashbacks that the torture includes forcing them to choose which of their friends to shock and deciding who gets food or water that day.
As the girls are looking through the real Alison's things that were brought to the dollhouse, in anticipation for her arrival, aka kidnapping, Spencer sees "CD" carved into some of her toys. She puts it all together that Charles is a DiLaurentis. While this is going on, Mona is being kept in a deep, dark hole with nothing but the clothes on her back.
Meanwhile, the girls' significant others have been working with the police to prove their innocence in Mona's disappearance, and the officers are hot on their trail. Spencer realizes there must be a secret door somewhere, which would explain how Charles moves throughout the dollhouse quickly. They work together, and Emily finds the path. Just as the dollhouse is going up in flames, the girls rescue Mona from the hole, escape to the outdoors, and find their loved ones with police. They're safe . . . for now.
Season 7, Episode 14: "Power Play"
A has done some pretty horrible things over the years, but they're all outdone here. Emily went through IVF to donate her eggs to earn money. Alison is pregnant, and discovers something extremely troubling — she's carrying Emily's baby, after being drugged and nonconsensually inseminated with Emily' eggs while at Welby State Psychiatric, a mental health facility.
Besides this huge realization, we find out something about Pastor Ted Wilson (Edward Kerr), who is dating Hanna's mother, Ashley (Laura Leighton). Pastor Ted is Charlotte's father (alias CeCe Drake and born Charles). Charlotte is the biological cousin of Alison and her brother Jason (Drew Van Acker). Alison's mom, Jessica DiLaurentis (Andrea Parker), told her twin sister Mary Drake (also played by Parker) that Drake's daughter Charlotte was dead, even though she wasn't. As a result, Drake seeks revenge on Alison.
Season 7, Episode 20: "Till DeAth Do Us PArt"
This one doesn't land on the list because of the huge A.D. reveal — we know how some viewers felt about it — but because it's the end of an era! Luckily, we are satisfied knowing what the future holds for the Liars.
Spencer's love life is still up in the air with Toby Cavanaugh (Keegan Allen), Hanna and Caleb Rivers (Tyler Blackburn) are married and expecting a baby, Aria marries her old teacher Mr. Fitz, and Emily and Alison are still in love with twins.
It's been a wild ride, to say the very least, and if there's one thing we know for sure, it's that there will never be a show like Pretty Little Liars.