If there’s anything I’ve learned from binge-watching Top Chef (stay with me here) its that the people/characters who receive more screen time are the ones most likely to get the axe. Its pretty intelligent if you think about it. Producers want the viewers to relate to the character so that they’ll be emotionally invested in their departure. If the person/character gets little screen time it most likely means that they’ll be sticking around until the producers deem it fit to reveal their backstory and connect them with the audience.
To be fair, Mona has always played a big role on Pretty Little Liars. Heck, she was the original “A”. But it’s also fair to say that she’s been on-and-off again on the series, important but not so important to be featured in every episode.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from television (specifically reality tv) its that producers love to give more screen time to those who are about to get the axe. It’s understandable. They need to get viewers to relate to the character or person enough that their departure is in someway sad or distressing. And those that don’t get ample screen time stick around- with the knowledge that their character will be further revealed as the series or competition progresses.
While Mona played a central role on Pretty Little Liars, it was obvious from the start of the episode that she would be the Liar biting the bullet. Not only did they give her double her usual screen time, but they introduced her mother at an extremely random and convenient time. So when 90% of the summer finale focused on Mona, I knew she was the one who was going to die. Although I do have to admit the promo of Hanna crying over the unspecified murder did plant this notion into my head. But come on- they introduced her mother for crying out loud! They pulled a Top Chef– they made us empathize with the character, gave her more screen time than the others and then axed her to stir up emotions.
Pretty Little Liars is in its 5th season. Viewers and critics alike love to comment on how little the show has actually revealed and how its managed to sustain itself without really giving the viewers any solid answers. Its fortunate for PLL, however, that viewers are willing to spend an eternity to find out who “A” is and that the show’s premise is stable enough to warrant a 6th and 7th season which have been ordered ( I can’t say the same about the sinking ship that is Revenge)
The show has come up with a rather brilliant way of holding its viewers captive: explosive finales. Every season finale has resulted in Twitter meltdowns with viewers chiming in at the insane plot reveals and plot holes. In fact, these finales are so well constructed that they make watching the whole season worth it. So with this finale, it became clear that the producers needed to do something outrageous. And what’s more outrageous than killing off an important character.
Mona was killed off because she was likable but not so likable that fans would riot if she died. To be blunt, she was no Ezra or Caleb. I mean I’m sure people are wishing Paige or Melissa had taken her place, but no one is too upset that she was the one to go. Mona was also killed off because she was becoming a problem for the producers. The show already has one brain (Spencer) so keeping two around would speed up the timeline of the show immensely. Viewers would expect two people as brilliant as Spencer and Mona to be able to figure out the “A” mystery. And Mona knew too much for her own good- she had to die so the show could survive.
Seeing Mona’s dead body in the car, I was both relieved and disappointed. I was relieved that the her death was concrete enough that she wouldn’t have some Ali type return but I was disappointed to know that this is truly the end of the road for our brilliant mastermind. She may have been annoying and dressed way too professionally for high school, but she was smart, sassy and pretty which are all things I value immensely.
So here’s to you Mona. RIP bitch.