Mona and Alison: Could Two Enemies Have Started the A-Team on PLL?
Thinking back to the season 2 finale of PLL, "Unmasked," Mona tells Spencer a story about seeing Ali in Brookhaven. Once Spencer finds out that Mona is "A," she assumes that Mona made that story up. I'm not so sure that I agree with Spencer, and keep in mind that Mona never admitted to making the story up.
Why don't I think Mona was lying about that story? First of all, Mona's story makes sense considering how life changed for her and the PLLs after Alison's disappearance. Additionally, the remainder of Spencer's conversation with Mona after the flashback supports the idea of a Mona/Alison alliance. Mona tells Spencer in the car -- explaining why we found out that there even is an A-team -- "You have to earn it, the right to be a part of it." Then Mona continues on to tell Spencer that she gets to choose how the night ends; she can join the "A" team or she can "go away."
Let's think about this. Spencer accusingly declares to Mona, "you didn't run into Alison that night; you just made that story up!" Mona, as mentioned above, does NOT admit to this, but that's not even the most interesting part about her response. Right after Spencer questions Mona's run-in with Alison, Mona eerily replies, "We're in this together now." Who's WE? Spencer has not agreed to join the A-team, so the only other plausible answer to this in the context of this conversation would be Mona and Alison. Spencer asked a question about the two of them, and Mona replied that "they" were in this together now. It's easy for fans to assume that Mona meant that she and SPENCER were in this together now, saying it as some sort of threat, but that doesn't really make sense, does it? Spencer clearly is not in ANYTHING together with Mona except for a car which she wants to jump out of the first chance that she gets. Therefore, Mona's comment could have been a response to Spencer's question about Ali. Another interesting part about this conversation is that Mona never referred to Alison as DEAD. She taunted Spencer by saying that the girls stopped being close friends when Alison "DISAPPEARED," then she said "it'll be the same if you [(Spencer)] "GO AWAY." Not "the girls stopped being close when Ali DIED," and not "it'll be the same if Spencer DIES." Perhaps Mona's word choice has more significance than fans noticed at the time. Other instances suggest that Mona knew Alison was alive, such as the Ouija board game that she played with Hanna, during which she practically forced Hanna to ask what happened to Ali (Hanna wanted to ask some question about Sean) and the answer to the question was "ALIVE."
Next, let's explore Mona's comment about needing to earn the right to be a part of the A-Team. One would think Mona knows that you have to earn the right to be a part of the A-team because somebody once made HER earn it. When Mona ran into Ali at that store in Brookhaven, Ali asked her to keep a secret for her, to which Mona responded: "The Ali D needs something from Mona Vanderwaal? What's it worth to you?" When Alison asks Mona what she wants from her, Mona says that she wants to be popular. Then, as Mona put it in "Unmasked," Ali went all MIA (which interestingly enough can be pronounced Am I A?) on them... and then what do you know? Once Ali disappeared, Mona did become popular.
I don't believe that this is a coincidence. Mona and Ali could have made some sort of a deal. Alison wanted "A" to stop tormenting her, and we now know that Alison was terrified of somebody to the point of faking her own death. Meanwhile, Mona desperately wanted friends. During this flashback, Alison said she was telling Mona a secret (that she was watching someone), that it wasn't a game, and that she needed Mona to leave. Ali wrote down a phone number on the same piece of the postcard for the Lost Woods Resort that the girls were missing.
As soon as Alison left, Mona suddenly became "Queen Bee," AND the PLLs became less close with one another. Perhaps Alison figured out that Mona had been the "A" who was harassing HER, and maybe she was impressed by this. Alison is the type of girl who would be impressed by something twisted like that, and she also seemed impressed when Mona was brave enough to ask her for something in return before just complying with Alison's requests. Maybe Alison realized that "Loser Mona" was the perfect partner in crime for her, and she was willing to drop the "loser" part in exchange for her help.
I believe that Alison was in awe of Mona's behavior, and made her agree to stop targeting HER as "A" and start targeting the other PLLs instead. Why? Alison had a complex about needing to know that the girls would not be friends and would not have their social status without her. We even saw a flashback from the night Ali disappeared with her fighting with Spencer and asking if she was "trying to get [Ali] voted off the island." Spencer then asked "what's a leader without any followers?" Perhaps a leader without any followers is a person who needs to turn to a highly unlikely partner, and have that partner replace her and torture those followers until they realized how much they needed Ali. Alison needed to leave town and could have seen making this deal with Mona as an opportunity to prove herself right about the other PLLs needing her.
** Some examples of Alison displaying her need to showcase her power: in "The First Secret," she rubbed it in Spencer's face that she only won the election because Alison had it rigged. She also forced Aria to attend Noel's party and reminded her that Noel didn't even know Aria's name before Alison got involved. She also insinuated that if Aria didn't go to the party, she might tell someone about Byron's affair with Meredith. Alison also was the only person who knew that Emily was attracted to girls. **
Additionally, Mona repeatedly, in many episodes of PLL, insists that she's over what Alison did to her and that she stopped thinking about Alison's torture years ago. Yet she chose the day of the (clearly planned) reveal to MENTION ALISON to Spencer and tell that story. If Alison isn't somehow involved in the "A" team shenanigans, why did Mona even need to bring her up in that episode?
Let's not forget that "A" achieved lots of goals that Alison was unable to accomplish with her friends. Alison knew their secrets, and she also made it clear to the girls what she wanted them to do about their secrets. The girls didn't listen to Alison's advice, but they were forced to comply when "A" was calling the shots. This would also make perfect sense as to why when Mona was caught as "A" and sent to Radley, she told a mystery person who I believe to be Alison, "I did everything you asked me to." Allow me to explain with a few examples.
**--Alison wanted Emily to break up with Ben. Mona as "A" exposed the secret that Alison knew about her: Emily's attraction to girls. Mona stole the pictures of Emily and Maya kissing and practically forced Emily out of the closet... Score for Alison; Emily and Ben are broken up.
--Alison wanted Aria to tell Ella about Byron's affair with Meredith. Aria didn't do it, but once again, "A" did it and therefore Alison got what she wanted.
--Alison wanted Spencer to come clean to Melissa about hooking up with Ian. In one way or another, Mona was behind Melissa finding out about this. She was the cause of Spencer becoming a prime suspect in Alison's "murder," and that investigation led to Spencer's relationship with Ian getting exposed. This one is just a fun theory, but it's also possible that Mona orchestrated the kiss between Spencer and Wren. She sent Spencer taunting messages as "A" about her always wanting Melissa's boyfriends. She threatened, "if you kiss, I tell." This sounds exactly like what Alison said to Spencer when she threatened to tell Melissa about Spencer and Ian's kiss. Perhaps Mona caused the Wren situation because at the time, Ian wasn't back in the show yet, and Wren was the person Melissa was seeing at the time. Alison hates Melissa, so it would make sense, and sounds exactly like something she would do.**
However, something that Mona did caused the "game to change" and that's when one of the Red Coats -- under this theory, Alison -- stole the girls from Mona. Perhaps some of Mona's stunts as "A" defied Alison's instructions/ caused more harm than Ali intended, etc, and Alison needed to be in charge again. This could be for various reasons; Mona could have, in Alison's opinion, started getting sloppy, and Alison could have been worried that people would figure out that she was still alive. Perhaps Mona hitting Hanna with a car didn't sit well with Alison. Hanna was Mona's ticket to becoming popular, and Alison probably helped Mona become friends with Hanna. Also, when Ali visited Hanna in the hospital, she said "I really should do something about 'A.' That bitch is genuinely getting on my nerves."
Alison wanted her friends to NEED her; this does not mean that she wanted them to get hurt or killed. Ali even told Hanna that when she found out that Hanna might die, she had to come back no matter how dangerous it was for her. Even partners in crime have disagreements, and Mona hitting Hanna with the car could have been one of them, hence the "bitch getting on Ali's nerves." What Mona did was reckless, and sloppy in that it turned out Hanna didn't even know who "A" was, which was the reasoning behind her getting hit by a car. Alison could have felt guilty because she created this monster.
Also, it was strongly implied that the Toby reveal happened BEFORE the person in charge wanted it to. Toby argued in the episode that it was too soon, but Mona claimed that she wasn't the one calling the shots. However, Mona seemed too thrilled at the end of that episode to have simply accomplished somebody ELSE'S goal. She was happily enjoying the anniversary meal that Spencer prepared for Toby and had a creepy smirk on her face while listening to Spencer wail through the door. It seemed like Mona planned this one by herself and lied to Toby about it being the boss's idea. I believe it was stunts like these that caused "the game to change" and Alison to "steal the girls" from Mona. Mona said that she made a deal with the devil, and Alison always behaved in a devilish manner.
Even though Mona was going against Alison's wishes, it would've been a poor decision for her to kill Mona, because then she wouldn't have anybody to help her. Ali still needed her, but she had to remind Mona that she was in charge. Enter Red Coat. Many people believe that on "that night" (when Alison's body was dug up), the Red Coat that was present was CeCe, because Mona said that she was wearing a mask of Alison's face. Mona also said this about Red Coat's first visit to Radley. I think Alison was the Red Coat on both occasions. Obviously I think Ali visited Mona after she "did everything she asked her to," because of everything stated in this theory. It also makes sense for Ali to be present the night her body was to be dug up; she needed to make sure that nobody found out she was alive.
Mona claimed that she didn't know who the Red Coat at Ali's grave that night was, because she was wearing a mask and looked exactly like Alison. On the surface, this seems like a major lie, but if I were playing dead for some crazy reason, what better way to hide than to wear a MASK of my face? Then I'd look like someone else pretending to be me. That could be exactly what Ali was doing. Anyone who saw somebody walking around in a mask of Ali's face would be likely to think it was some psycho posing as Ali, as opposed to thinking that Alison, who everyone thinks is dead, is walking around in a mask of her own face. It's brilliant. She needs a mask of her own face because she is still hiding.
Lastly, when Mona got caught as "A," it was very obvious that she got caught on purpose. She even said at the end, "Don't they know that's what we want?" Why would someone want to deliberately get caught? I can think of a reason. If Alison, who is pretending to be dead, is behind what "A" has done, eventually it makes sense that she would need somebody to get caught as "A" so that people would not start to suspect that ALISON is alive and that she is "A." Mona getting caught accomplished exactly that.