Warning: Spoilers ahead if you’re not caught up on Pretty Little Liars.
After seven grueling seasons of exploding cell phones, hooded sweatshirts, and unrealistically coiffed hair, Pretty Little Liars came to an end last night. (Read our recap here.) The hyped-up series finale was a lot of things—mostly, it was long (two effing hours)—but it was also thrilling, heartwarming, terrifying, and very sad. Oh, and dumb. So dumb. Like, mind-numbingly dumb. Both in fun and problematic ways!
But let’s start with the fun. Biggest of all was the A.D. reveal. Spoiler alert: It’s Spencer’s evil twin, Alex Drake. And she has the most, erm, distinguished British accent in pop-culture history. Other honorable mentions: Spencer’s random horse, Ashley Marin’s monologue about eating pizza with a knife and fork, and Melissa’s two-second cameo.
And then there are the problematic moments, like Ezra’s reaction to Aria’s fertility struggles (more on that later) and the questionable portrayal of adopted people. I know, I know: This is Pretty Little Liars. No one is expecting particularly sensitive or informed storytelling, but that didn’t stop me from cringing exactly 11 times during last night’s finale.
1. Alex Drake’s British accent. It was essentially 47 minutes of “’Ello, gov-nah.”
2. When the GD horse and Jenna (who is blind) could tell the difference between Alex and Spencer…but Toby couldn’t. Toby is nothing without his beard.
3. Hanna’s mother, Ashley, talking incessantly about her pizza-eating style. Girl, no one cares. Just tell us how you and the other moms got out of that basement! A waste of dialogue!
4. Melissa was there (but also wasn’t there). She had…maybe four lines total? I was secretly praying she was A.D. so we’d get a little Nanny Carrie from One Tree Hill action.
5. Addison’s resurgence. Did anyone want this character to come back? She’s terrifying!
6. That lame Mean Girls–esque ending. Remember when Damian and Cady spot Junior Plastics at the end of Mean Girls? I. Marlene King gave us a preview of the “Junior Liars,” a group of teen girls whose lives parallel Aria, Spencer, Hanna, Emily, and Alison circa season one. And Addison is the Alison in this world! No, ma’am.
7. When Caleb berated Hanna for being a good person to Mona. Hanna deserved better in Pretty Little Liars. Caleb and her friends routinely treated her like she was some dumb, naive child, but she’s actually intuitive, resilient, and intelligent. Exhibit A: Mona was on their side the whole time, and Hanna was the only one who knew it!
8. The Aria-Ezra fertility storyline. Of course, Aria’s emotions in this situation are 100 percent valid. She has every right to feel sad and afraid because she can’t naturally have children. The problem here is Ezra’s reaction and influence: When Aria tells him this news, he immediately makes it about him. He asks why she waited so long to tell him and outright accuses her of not trusting him. Um, sit down, sir. How and when Aria chose to tell Ezra this news was totally up to her. And just for the record: Infertility isn’t a character flaw.
9. How the finale depicted children of adoption. The first “A” was Charlotte (formerly known as Charles), a trans woman so distraught about her gender identity that she went on a vengeful rampage against the liars—tricking them, deceiving them, and turning them into her personal dolls. Not exactly the best trans representation. And now we have Alex Drake, an adopted girl whose upbringing ruined her so much that she went berserk too. Pop-culture frequently paints adopted children as miserable and “damaged,” when in fact most are happy and well-adjusted. Get with it, I.M.K.!
10. Oh, can we talk about the hospital Alex and Spencer were born in for a sec? It looked like Jesus was also born there.
11. And last but not least: I.M.K.’s majorly awkward cameo. Goodbye.