|“||The truth won't set you free, bitches. I'm going to bury you with it.||”|
Season 4 begins exactly where Season 3 left off. The Liars and Mona stand around Wilden's car which has been removed from the lake and left in the middle of the street. When they open the trunk, they are shocked to find a dead pig inside. Believing the situation to some sort of set up, the girls begin to flee, believing Mona has already done so, but Hanna decides to check around the front of the car first. There she finds Mona who is removing the hard drive from the car's computer containing the video of Ashley hitting Wilden and Jenna and Shana rescuing him from the road. Hanna does her best to hurry Mona, who is able to get the hard drive and flee with the rest of the girls before the passersby notice them.
Back at Spencer's house, the girls confront Mona about her actions. They ask how she got Wilden's car out of the lake. Mona says she didn't. She reveals to them which crimes she did commit and which she didn't, including that Lucas gave Emily the massage and that she did not push Ian off the bell tower, but wishes she knew who did. She says that Jenna knew Shana before she came to town and that she thinks Shana is in love with Jenna. Mona states that the two of them are afraid of Melissa Hastings. When CeCe went to visit Mona at Radley, Mona believed she was Ali because she was being given the wrong medications. She recruited Toby to the "A-Team" when he got the job in Bucks County.
The next morning, the girls wake up and realize Mona is gone. They think she drugged them because they don't remember falling asleep the night before. Then Mona appears, bringing coffee and breakfast for the girls. She, of course, knows what drink each girl likes, and mentions to Emily she has her own set of keys to Emily's car. Mona is determined to find out who Red Coat is and she’s expecting help from them.
Mona agrees to take the girls to the lair to prove she has nothing to hide. On the way, the girls hit a road block in town. They don't understand why the area is crawling with cops and onlookers until they see a body covered by a sheet next to the car they saw last night. Darren Wilden is dead and the girls are sure to become the prime suspects.
Meanwhile, Toby lurks outside the burned-down lodge, watching a firefighter sift through the rubble. The firefighter picks up a red coat then drops it back onto the heap.
When the girls reach the lair, currently existing inside an RV in a trailer park, Mona shows them footage from the night of the Halloween train party to prove she wasn't the one who drugged Aria and put her in a box. Wilden is revealed to be the Queen of Hearts and was talking to a second Queen of Hearts whom Mona claims is Spencer’s sister, Melissa, but before we are able to see her face, the footage cuts off and the files on the computer start disappearing. Someone is hacking Mona's computer and Mona tries to stop it, but fails. The girls hear their names being spoken outsidek so they go to investigate and find a group of little girls playing. They each have a doll named after each of the Liars and Mona, featuring Hefty Hanna and Aria in her pink streak days. When questioned, the girls tell Mona her friend Alison gave them the dolls shortly after Mona moved in to the trailer park.
In Emily's room, Hanna tells Emily she plans to keep Mona close, as the old saying goes, "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." Pam comes in and mentions that Alison’s mother moving back to her old house, even though Jason had said she hated that place. To Hanna, this is even more proof that Alison is still alive and it really was she who dragged them out of the fire at the lodge, but Emily still doesn't believe that is possible.
Spencer and Toby search among the ashes of the burned lodge for the red coat Toby saw earlier, but it is gone. She wanders into the structure even though it is unsafe in search of clues, and Toby follows her. Spencer tries to get Toby to admit it is possible Allison is alive and rescued her and her friends last night. He reminds Spencer that Alison died two years ago. Spencer hears a noise then sees a shadow and the pair chase after it, but never find out who or what it was.
Emily takes Pam's gift basket to Jessica DiLaurentis to welcome her back to the neighborhood. Jessica finds it refreshing to hear Emily say Ali's name since most people tend to avoid it in her presence. She asks Emily to help her bring some boxes containing some of Alison's belongings into Alison's old bedroom. Emily finds it odd that Jessica is setting up the bedroom as if Alison is alive, and afterwards, calls to tell Hanna about the creepy shrine. The call is short-lived since Hanna is in the middle of helping Mona lock up the lair in a secret location. Mona starts to believe they could really be friends again. Aria is reading at the Brew when Ezra comes in for a late-night snack. Aria tries to slip out unnoticed, but Ezra insists on saying hi. He tells her he was offered a permanent position at Rosewood High and that it is alright if she wants to see other people. Aria says she is not ready for that.
The next day, Spencer reads the newspaper article about Wilden's murder and learns the coroner places his death between 10 pm and midnight. Unfortunately, the girls were at the Lodge at that time and could not use it as an alibi if questioned. Toby tries to take her mind off it by cooking her breakfast. Spencer is happy to be able to call him her boyfriend again. Suddenly, Toby receives a text message from “A,” which he keeps from Spencer. If Toby wants to find out how his mother really died, he has to deliver the lair to "A."
Emily and Aria have lunch in the courtyard at school. Aria watches Fitz interacting with some students across the way and tells Emily she's not ready to move on and start dating other people yet. When she realizes Vice Principal Hackett is watching her and eavesdropping, she pretends to explain a passage from The Grapes of Wrath to Emily.
Hanna and Mona talk by Hanna's locker. An unknown student comes up to Mona and she waves him away with a short utterance in French. Hanna says she misses the Mona who dragged her to every sale at the mall after her father moved out and the two decide to go shopping at Macy's later that day.
Aria is called to the Vice Principal's office over the loudspeaker. She sits on the bench outside tapping her feet, wringing her wrists and watching the clock, nervous about what he might want to talk to her about. Inside his office, Mr. Hackett accuses her of lying to him about her relationship with Ezra Fitz. He says he had believed her story until a concerned anonymous student sent him photos of Aria and Ezra during some intimate moments. Aria is horrified by the photos and doubly horrified when she hears that Ezra is being arrested at that very moment. She races into the hallway, in tears, to find the cops leading him away in handcuffs. She is then brought back to reality by Mr. Hackett emerging from his office. She is still sitting on the bench, apparently having a daydream, or waking-nightmare. It turns out Hacket just needs her mom's signature on some papers and Aria to deliver them since Ella is out sick. Aria wastes no time in sending Ezra a message confirming that she wants to see other people.
At Emily's house, Paige tells Emily that she has been accepted to Stanford University on a full-ride scholarship. She asks Emily to go to California with her, and leave all the craziness of Rosewood behind. At first Emily says she planned to go to Danby, but Paige convinces her that they could start over in California and have a great life together there. Emily happily changes her mind and decides to apply to Stanford with Paige.
Hanna and Mona return from their shopping trip and talk about clothes and boys like old times, but there is a slight awkwardness between them. Hanna claims she had a good time, but Mona makes it known that she is aware Hanna is only pretending to be her friend again. In order to win Hanna’s trust, she hands over the only copy of the video from Wilden's car and suggests Hanna destroy it.
After Emily bids Paige goodbye in her car, Jenna shows up outside Emily's house. The camera shows that Jenna's point of view is blurry, reminding viewers what she told Shana last season - that she is likely going blind again. Jenna tells Emily that Wilden was a friend of hers ever since she moved to Rosewood. Emily notices Jenna's hand has a bad burn on it, but Jenna offers up no information about this. She asks Emily to pass on a message to Toby if something were to happen to her. Since Ian, Garrett, and Wilden are all dead, and all three saw Alison on the night she died, Jenna thinks she may be next. The message is that she never meant to hurt Toby.
Spencer looks out her bedroom window and sees Jessica DiLaurentis wearing a red blouse staring out Alison's bedorom window. Ali's mom walks away and Spencer gets an "A" message - a torn piece of Wilden's obituary and note about incriminating evidence in his casket.
The next day, the girls attend Wilden's funeral. They see the casket being brought into the church and decide to try and get to it before the viewing starts and whatever evidence is inside is discovered by all the cops in attendance. The girls spot a mysterious woman wearing a face-obscuring black veil enter the church. On the way in, Aria sees Ezra chatting with Arthur Hackett and Maggie and decides not to stop and say hi.
Spencer sneaks into the room where the casket is being stored and Mona shows up seconds later, stating that they both must have received the same "A" text. A phone rings from inside the casket, so the girls open it and reach in to find it. Under Missed Calls are two blocked numbers, and one number labeled Kisses. Spencer calls the number and is surprised when Hanna answers, asking why Spencer is calling her from her mother's phone. If Spencer and Mona hadn't retrieved that phone when they did, Ashley would likely have been implicated in Wilden's murder.
Jessica DiLaurentis tells the girls they all look very pretty and invites them to sit next to her up front. There is no room left for Mona so she sits elsewhere. Jenna walks in on the arm of an unknown man and the woman in the black veil sits behind them before the service begins.
Toby drives the lair to an unknown destination and flashes back to a time when Alison was over his house. They were about to kiss when Toby's mother walks in, seemingly confused about what time of day it was. Young Toby is clearly concerned about his mom and when he tells Alison he is worried, Ali says his mom is just lazy. Hurt by the comment, Toby asks Ali to leave, which she does, but not before remarking that Toby is a loser. With tears in his eyes at the memory, Toby leaves the lair by the side of the road and begins to walk home.
After the service, the girls watch veiled woman get into a towncar, still wondering who she is. A man approaches them and introduces himself as Detective Holbrook, a detective with the State Police brought in to investigate the murders of Garrett Reynolds and Darren Wilden. The girls mention that Wilden liked to harass them, which Det. Holbrook already knew and questions why they would attend the funeral of man who acted so inappropriately toward them. Emily lies that they are supporting their local police department. Holbrook doesn't seem to buy it, and mentions he's one of the good guys before departing.
The girls then receive an "A" message containing a video of them touching Wilden's car the night before his body was discovered. Mona received the same message. They realize this was "A's" plan all along - to make them look guilty and responsible for WIlden's murder.
In A's Lair, a new member of the "A-Team" is introduced: The Black Widow, who is seen adding a Mona doll to the dollhouse alongside the other Liars. The woman lifts the veil revealing an Alison mask which is burned on the left side.
- The outline and development for the episode began in late January. Writing was complete on February 27.
- The read-through was on March 12.
- Filming began on March 14, 2013 and ended on March 22, 2013.
- When Hanna says, "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer," it may be a reference to the Season 1 episode entitled "Keep Your Friends Close."
- I. Marlene King directed and wrote this episode.
- This episode bears a lot of similarities to the "Pilot:"
- Aria and Ezra's final break up scene on the stairs was very similar to the scene during the funeral in the "Pilot."
- The Liars attend Wilden's funeral like they attended Alison's funeral in the "Pilot."
- Jenna arrives at Wilden's funeral in much the same manner she arrived at Ali's funeral - wearing sunglasses and being escorted by a young man.
- A new cop greets the Liars outside Wilden's funeral much like Wilden greeted the Liars outside Ali's funeral.
- At the end of the episode, they all receive a text from "A" simultaneously. Both texts refer to the girls as "bitches."
- Jessica was watching Spencer through Alison's bedroom window, and Spencer notices her. This is just like when Alison(or CeCe) was watching Spencer in the Pilot and hurried off when Spencer noticed her.
- The dead pig found in the trunk foreshadows Wilden's death since 'pig' is a derogatory term for 'cop.'
- Mona reveals the answers to many long unanswered questions in this episode.
- She did not get Wilden's car out of the lake
- Shana knew Jenna before she came to Rosewood and both girls are afraid of Melissa
- Lucas gave Emily the massage in "Touched by an 'A'-ngel"
- She recruited Toby to the "A-Team" in Season 2 when he got the job in Bucks County
- Mona believed Ali was visiting her in Radley before her meds were changed and she realized it was CeCe
- She did not push Ian off the bell tower and does not know who did
- There were two Queens of Hearts on the Halloween Train in "This Is A Dark Ride." One was Wilden and Mona claims the other was Melissa, but couldn't prove it because of her files being deleted off of her hard-drive.
- A new "A" is introduced in this episode, nicknamed The Black Widow due to her costume. Since she is wearing the Alison mask under her veil, it is implied that she may have been Red Coat and the one to drag the girls from the fire. If that is the case, the girls only thought she was Alison because she was wearing an Ali mask.
- A Mona doll in an "A" hoodie is added to the dolls of the four Liars in A's lair, hinting that Mona has become a victim like the four other girls.
- It was hinted that Toby had a crush on Alison and she may have liked him too because they almost kiss in a flashback.
- The scene between Toby and Alison is the earliest flashback to date, taking place at least a year prior to Halloween 2008.
- The girls' faces are still dirty in the morning from having been in a fire and dragged through the dirt the night before, but they are miraculously clean when Mona takes them to the lair.
- Toby is wearing a black hoodie while he spies on the firefighter digging through the rubble. Later, he is wearing a blue jacket. He complains that the red coat isn't in the same place he saw it earlier. It seems as though "A" (or someone) had the opportunity to steal the coat when Toby left to change his clothes.
"'A' is for A-L-I-V-E" may be referring to the fact that the girls are beginning to believe Alison may be alive. Originally, they thought "A" stood for Alison. The first three letters of 'alive' spell Ali.
- Troian Bellisario as Spencer Hastings
- Ashley Benson as Hanna Marin
- Shay Mitchell as Emily Fields
- Lucy Hale as Aria Montgomery
- Sasha Pieterse as Alison DiLaurentis
- Janel Parrish as Mona Vanderwaal
- Ian Harding as Ezra Fitz
- Tammin Sursok as Jenna Marshall
- Keegan Allen as Toby Cavanaugh
- Lindsey Shaw as Paige McCullers
- Sean Faris as Gabriel Holbrook
- Bryce Johnson as Darren Wilden
- Larisa Oleynik as Maggie Cutler
- Andrea Parker as Jessica DiLaurentis
- Nia Peeples as Pam Fields
- Karla Droege as Marion Cavanaugh
- Wyatt Nash as Nigel Wright
- Mercy Malik as a Newscaster
'A' is for A-l-i-v-e has a photo gallery.
Ali [to Toby]: I know you want to kiss me.
Jessica: Ali would be so proud of you, Hanna. You’ve really kept the weight off.
Mona [to Hanna]: To think we were this close to our first kiss.
Spencer: A cat plays with a mouse for hours before she eats it. Once it’s dead the fun’s over.
Aria [to Spencer]: Are you really so sure about everything you're so sure about?
Spencer: I love the way that sounds. You calling yourself my boyfriend.
Spencer: You like playing games, Mona? Let's play one called the third degree.
Emily [to Paige]: I really love you.
Paige [to Emily]: Don't you wanna live in a place where you're not afraid of the dark?
Mona [to Hanna]: There was a time when I really loved you Hanna, and you were my friend.
Emily: You want to know what I think? I think you're lucky that we're not beating the crap out of you.
Mona: And I believe you could Emily. You really were the weakest link. But, look how strong I made you. You should be thanking me.
- "Kill Of The Night" by Gin Wigmore (Toby watches the firefighter)
- "Whispers" by Dave Baxter (Aria and Ezra talk at the Brew)
- "If I Lose Myself" by One Republic (Paige and Emily talk in Emily's room)
- "Hurricane" by Ms Mr (Wilden's funeral)
- "The Devil Within" by Digital Daggers (girls are confronted by Holbrook/Ending scene featuring The Black Widow