Alison DiLaurentis: Malicious or Just Misunderstood

In life, there is always a mean girl. She’s the girl whom everyone hates to love. There’s just something about her that makes you want to be her best friend, even though you know she’s one of the cruelest and most manipulative people around. She’s a bully and she doesn’t seem to be happy unless someone is whimpering for mercy at her feet. Deep down though, you know there’s a loving and caring person hidden inside that cold, black heart of hers. That sweet and innocent person doesn’t want to come out though, because she’s been hurt and tormented by someone else, someone who made her believe that having a vulnerable and sensitive side makes you weak. In Rosewood, Pennsylvania, that girl is Alison DiLaurentis.

Alison DiLaurentis is a beautiful girl with a rich daddy and a quick wit that can get her just about anything that money can’t. She used to be the ring leader at Rosewood High School, where all the guys wanted to date her and all the girls wanted to be her best friend. Just before her sophomore year though, she disappeared and didn’t comeback for over two years. Now that she is back, almost everyone hates her and her previously known as best friends think she is “A,” a psychotic murderer who has been stalking and tormenting them since the beginning of their junior year of high school. if you look at the evidence though, it just doesn’t make sense that Alison is “A.” Sure, there’s a possibility that she might have worked with “A” at some point, but she is not “A.”

In the first few episodes of season 5, all Ali can seem to think about is staying safe and possibly getting Aria and Ezra back together. Not only does her fear of being found by “A” seem genuine, but her concern for Aria and Ezra does also.

In 5×03,  Peter Hastings finds Alison walking the Rosewood streets alone at night. When she recognizes him, Alison seems afraid and on edge. It seems to me, that if either of these two are “A,” then it would be Peter and not Alison. (More on my Peter suspicions in a later post)

In 5×05, on her first day back to school, the background song is “Begin Again” by Rachel Platten. The lyrics to this song talk about wiping away the past, erasing your mistakes, and cleaning up all the messes you’ve made. It’s sung from an almost timid and shy point of view. I think it’s important to pay attention to the theme of this song when judging Alison, because if you do, her actions leading to this moment and following really seem to line up with the song.

     In 5×04, she looks at her social media profile and finds hateful comments after hateful comment. While she is looking at the page she seems genuinely sad and hurt over the comments, as if she truly regrets her actions toward everyone before she left. Then, before meeting up with her friends in front of the school, she apologizes to two of the girls she used to bully. Later, in 5×05, she apologizes to Paige and Emily for the way she treated them as well.

Also in 5×05, when Mona confronts Alison at the church, Ali seems to try to start off by being nice to Mona, but Mona doesn’t have it. She antagonizes Ali until she puts up her wall once more and starts talking smack back to Mona. Then, after she slaps Ali, she slaps her back. As if realizing that she is slipping into her old mold and giving Mona what she wants in the process, Ali walks away. The next day at school, Mona shows everyone the secret video she took of her confrontation with Alison the night before. It’s edited though. It neither shows Mona’s initial antagonistic comments, nor that she slapped Alison before Alison slapped her. The few people who were rooting for Alison to be a different and kinder person turn on her at this moment.

The last scene in 5×05 shows the girls and their boyfriends sitting in Emily’s living room watching a news report about the body found in Alison’s grave. When the name “Bethany Young” is announced, you can see a glimmer of recognition in Alison’s eyes. Stronger than recognition though is a look of mixture, shock, and fear. Skipping ahead to 5×13, we see that Alison did in fact know who Bethany was, that she might be afraid of her (based on the way she asked about her to Mona), and that she allegedly invited Bethany to Rosewood the very weekend she was murdered (I say “allegedly,” because in Rosewood, you never take “evidence” at face value). Finally, when she is talking to Mrs. Fields in 5×07, she repeatedly says, “I was ashamed.” I don’t think she said this for show. I think she really meant it. I think one of the reasons she was gone so long was because she was ashamed of the girl she was–the girl everyone in Rosewood knew to be malicious and manipulative– the girl who let everyone believe was dead.

Several episodes later, after the girls have shown that they don’t trust Alison, Ali puts up another wall and acts as if she neither wants, nor needs the girls to help her make it through “A’s” torment. She even enters the Ice Ball to another song by Rachel Platten called “Fight Song.” The lyrics to this song are similar to those of “Begin Again” but are sung in a more upbeat and empowered manner. The lyrics also speak of how she’s going to prove to everyone that she’s okay, she can take care of herself, and she doesn’t need anyone else to believe in her. However, while the girls and their significant others eat Christmas dinner together at Spencer’s house, Alison peeks inside the window to see them having fun without her. The look on her face when she turns away from the window is absolutely heartbreaking. It seems that in that moment, she realizes that she has completely blown her chances of making amends with them, at least while “A” is still out there tormenting them.

    I do not believe Alison is, was, or ever will be “A.” I think she is simply a girl who was raised in a household of deceit that made her put up walls to protect her from being hurt by other people. I believe that in season 7, after “A” is revealed in season 6 (according to Marlene King), that Alison will be able to reconcile with the other girls and that, among other things, the whole season will show the Liars trying to make things right with everyone, particularly Alison, and that Alison will spend the season genuinely trying to gain back everyone’s trust.