Pretty Little Liars, Season 5 Episode 25 “Welcome to the Dollhouse” (Big A Reveal) [Recap]

It’s safe to say this episode has been the one that’s left me (as well as the world) the most confused and that’s a fairly big statement considering there are 119 other Pretty Little Liars episodes in the series. This was an episode that was hyped up by every cast member, director, producer and fanatics everywhere but after an intense 40 minutes you’re left with more questions and very little information on A. Unfortunately for all the struggling fans out there we have to wait until June before the series starts back up, with an enticing episode titled “Game on, Charles” which will hopefully answer a couple of the queries that have been circling our minds.

But, enough of that its time to button up your orange jumpsuit and strap yourself into the back of a police wagon because it’s time to get yourself acquainted with the game these liars are stuck in and it’s a lengthy one.

A’s Perfect Dolls
We all knew that A is an incredibly twisted puppet master but he’s reached a new level this time around, he’s handpicked the perfect dolls for his brand new, state of the art dollhouse and he’ll stop at nothing to get exactly what he wants. As the liars thought there future was destined to be locked in a cell behind metal bars, A reminded them that their lives belong to him and change up the route. Instead of pulling up to the prison the girls are drugged after A managed to hijack the van and they awake in a new version of hell, A’s dollhouse.

The dollhouse is also home too, wait for it… Mona! Or is it Alison? I can’t tell…
The question we’ve been asking for too many weeks now is finally answered, Mona is actually alive, it was another one of A’s schemes to fake her death. Although she’s a little different than we last remember, she’s got herself a new blonde do and even a shiny, fake personality to match. The liars are of course in shock to discover Mona playing the piano while wearing an Alison mask and after a quick chat to her it’s clear that she’s been brainwashed because she’s certain she’s actually Alison. New Mona talks like Ali and even acts like Ali!
But! It’s all an elaborate act as A has got the entire place decked out with state of the art security cameras with microphones so A can truly control their every move. That is, until the power cuts out which it seems to do for 3 minutes every night, it is then that Mona reveals to the liars that the Ali stuff was just an act to try and outsmart A.

A’s dolls aren’t so perfect after all; they’ve got their eye on escape.

The Secret’s Out
The time has come where finally the boys decide to tell someone else about A! Although against Toby’s wishes he ends up getting Spencer’s parents involved in the A hunt after they get too worried and suspicious. The Hastings’ team up with Rosewoods own boyfriend dream team (Caleb, Toby and Ezra) as Caleb hacks the systems to try and figure out where the police van and the girls ended up. One very creepy part is that the Hastings’ choose to call Melissa as they begin a new pact not to keep secrets and it’s shown that Andrew is listening in to the call. (The producers are doing a very good job of making him look suspicious which will probably lead to an unsatisfying answer). But, back to the story it’s a shame Detective Tanner doesn’t appreciate Caleb’s clever hacking skills (at first) because he lands himself in trouble with the law, and ends up needing rescuing from Mr and Mrs Hastings. Somehow he manages to get the police department on his side as they allow him to use their systems to track the truck, and him being the computer whiz he is finds it. This begins the true hunt for A!

Caleb’s searching leads them to the old abandoned “Campbell” farm (relation to Andrew perhaps?) which is where they discover A’s control station, they see all the cameras and controls. Tanner even stumbles across a recording of all the girl’s and is finally convinced that all the stories she’s pushed aside to be true.

Another secret that’s been under wraps for many seasons that we finally figure out is the identity of A! (Well, sort of). There have been hints and clues scattered throughout the series but in the past few episodes they’ve been a bit more obvious. It all started with the note founded in Mona’s bedroom, behind the handheld mirror with three seemingly unrelated phrases. When unscrambled those three phrases spell out “Charles DiLaurentis” of course the liars had no idea what they meant, but they had their own way of figuring out the name. When they first entered the doll house Spencer spied 7 children’s block, each with their own letter which to most people would be mean nothing, but we all know Spencer isn’t most people. Somehow it comes to her in a weird dream, the blocks moving and changing to form the word ‘Charles’ and they just rolled with it.

The Prom from Hell
While everyone in the real world is attempting to figure out where the liars ended up the girls are stuck in the mind of A and succumbing to his every wish. They started playing games, but now they’re planning prom! The catch? Everything is out-dated, the songs are from 7 years ago and theme, ‘Night at the Opera’ has already been done. For whatever reason it seems that A has them recreating a prom that’s already happened, the last prom that Melissa took Ian too. Throughout the entire prom planning the girls manage to manipulate their captor into thinking the need certain items in order to make a great entrance, but they actually use them as a means to disarm the dollhouse and shut down the power. They manage to pull it all off with their clever acting and distractions and they’ve got themselves all set for a night they’ll never forget.

As always A delivers the goods and the girls finally ditch their orange jumpsuits for fancy prom dresses. He’s even decorated the room with dressed up and masked mannequins to fill the ambience of the room, there’s nothing worse than an empty prom. The room is full of nervous energy as Prom Queen, Alison DiLaurentis descends from the stairs, but that isn’t the only royalty of the night they also crown ‘Charles’ as King and kindly ask him to step forward. For whatever reason, he obliges and comes forth the collect his crown; this is where the escape plan begins! Aria sets off a flash from a handmade camera that manages to temporarily shut down the doll house and they set off in hopes of freedom.
In their haste Spencer stumbles upon the true lair of A, where he hides his most prized possessions; it’s filled with family pictures and even an old home movie. The movie plays to reveal Jessica DiLaurentis carrying a newborn baby girl while two seemingly identical little boys play. This is when A/Charles decides to make an appearance only to disappear once Mona shows up. They leave the creepy room alone and continue on their escape. They find their way down a long hallway and out a door to the outside world. Free! At last!
Just kidding! This little area might be outdoors but its fenced off with an electric fence, theyre still trapped by the clutches of A…
The camera then slowly pans out to reveal to the audience that where they ‘escaped’ too is actually in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees, no one is going to discover them there. We’ll have to wait til Season 6 to see what happens next!

Who exactly is Charles DiLaurentis? I Wish I knew!
What does he want? | Why did he do this? | What is his relation to Alison? | Is he related to Spencer? | What does Andrew have to do with this? | Is it Jason’s secret twin plotting revenge for the life he didn’t get to live