20 Best Pretty Little Liars Moments

Throughout its seven seasons and 160 44-minute episodes, Pretty Little Liars offered fans a wealth of incredible moments.

In selecting the twenty best moments from the entirety of the show, there’s no denying that some seasons were better than others, the time jump absolutely worked, and the show knew how to do a season finale. What’s a little more challenging to narrow down is what we mean when we say “best.”

The show undoubtedly had its fair share of moments that left viewers with their jaws on the floor in the best way, many of which will appear below.

But it’s not all jaw-dropping and horrifying twists and turns, as some of the best moments in the show are its romantic and smaller-scale friendship beats. Here I’ve selected twenty moments highlighting the show’s most significant highs of romance, horror, and ridiculousness.

No Romance Here

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Lists like this are inherently subjective, so you will not see any moments centered on Aria and Ezra, Toby and Spencer, or Emily and any of her romantic partners over the series’ run. So that leaves us with one couple, the couple that I’d argue is the indisputable best, in part because of the beautiful moments below that they gave viewers.

Also, an acknowledgment that three of the entries on this twenty-entry list come from the same episode. It’s undeniably one of the best episodes in the series and arguably one of the best episodes of television we’ve seen in the 21st century.

These moments aren’t ranked and are in chronological order if any current viewers want to read some entries without encountering spoilers. That said, spoiler warning, of course, as many of these moments are significant reveals, and I’m considering the entirety of the series.

Hanna and Caleb in the Shower (S1, E18)

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Starting strong with the only romance that will get any attention on this list: Hanna and Caleb. The two are perfect together, and the chemistry between Ashley Benson and Tyler Blackburn is palpable from the moment they meet. But their first great moment together is late in season one, when Caleb secretly stays at Hanna’s house without her mom, Ashley (Laura Leighton), knowing.

My Eyes Are up Here, Miss

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Caleb is in the shower, and Hanna enters the bathroom looking for her mascara. They have a little back and forth before Hanna realizes that her mom (who should be at work by now) is home and about to enter the bathroom.

Hanna jumps into the shower with the naked Caleb and places a firm hand over his mouth, so he doesn’t make a sound. She then has to talk a bit with her mom, whose phone is charging at the sink, but breathes a deep sigh of relief and lets Caleb go once her mom has left the room.

It’s only then that the scene achieves its highest height as Caleb turns around, and Hanna can’t help but look down and take a peek. She even lets a smile appear on her face as she looks.

But she’s quickly caught when Caleb turns around and asks if she wants to share a towel before biting his lip a bit. It’s a scene that skyrocketed the pairing to fan-favorite status (especially for this fan).

Spencer and Ian in the Bell Tower (S1, E22)

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Far from romantic is this scene with Spencer (Troian Bellisario) and her sister’s fiancé Ian (Ryan Merriman) in the season one finale. The Liars believe that Ian killed Alison (Sasha Pieterse) and Spencer confronts him at the local Church. But Ian plans to kill her and make her death look like a suicide.

The sequence is horrifying and thrilling as Spencer runs up the Church’s bell tower while calling the other Liars in the hopes of escaping Ian and bringing in help, but he’s able to catch her and tells her his plan to get rid of her and that he’s already written a suicide letter on her computer.

A Near Miss

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He attempts to throw her from the heights of the bell tower to the floor below, but she catches his jacket leaving them in a stalemate as he tries to get free and force her to fall. But as they struggle, A appears and knocks Ian off the platform to his apparent death, hung by the ropes used for ringing the bell.

Mike Punches Ezra (S2, E 14)

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It’s unclear whether this moment is meant to be funny or taken seriously, but either way, it’s one of the best moments in the series. After Aria (Lucy Hale) and Ezra (Ian Harding) come clean about their relationship with her parents, Mike walks into the room and takes matters into his own hands, literally.


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As Aria’s father, Byron (Chad Lowe, brother of Rob Lowe), raises his voice with Ezra and tells him that he needs to leave their home, Mike steps in and punches Ezra square in the jaw.

Ezra takes a step back, both from the impact and, as we can see from his face, pure shock, before turning and looking to Aria for what he should do next with a look of pure disbelief. It’s one of the few scenes of violence in the series that may not have been intended to be but is hilarious.

Entering the Masquerade Ball (S2, E25)

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The shortest “moment” on this list is just three shots, but those shots make an impact. The season two finale takes place significantly at the school’s masquerade ball, a dance that sees a variety of characters in gorgeous costumes and fun masks, but the best part of all the masquerade ball scenes is the Liars’ entrance.

The first shot at the masquerade begins high above the dance on a beautiful chandelier and swoops down to show the four Liars entering the dance. There’s then a quick shot from behind them, allowing us to see what they see, a swarm of people in beautiful clothes and identity-concealing masks. And then we finally get the shot of the four standing above the fray looking down.

Just Dance

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It’s an excellent shot for two reasons. Firstly, it’s one of the best “team” images of the four Liars together in the entire show as they survey the dancefloor. And secondly: the costumes! The shot lets us see all of their stunning gown and mask combinations, each of which is distinct and fits their characters wonderfully (especially Aria’s flamboyant red and black collage-style dress).

Psycho Shower Scene Recreation (S2, E25)

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It’s widely known that Pretty Little Liars creator and showrunner I. Marlene King has a love for Hitchcock and the show makes a lot of Hitchcock references over the course of its seven seasons. But none are better than the recreation of scenes, and even specific shots, from Psycho in the season two finale (as I said, it’s one of the best TV episodes of the 21st century).

These shots begin when the Liars arrive at the Lost Woods Resort, a small motel in the woods operated by Harold (Travis Richey). Harold looks and moves almost exactly like Norman Bates.

What’s more, Harold seems to have a passion for taxidermizing birds, a hobby he shares with Bates, and when the girls check into the motel, several shots mimic those in Psycho, showing us Harold from a low angle with his stuffed birds behind him.

Oh, Harold

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The real highlight of this Psycho homage comes later, though, when Hanna is in the shower. Again, the show recreates scenes from the iconic film up to an ominous and threatening shadow behind the shower curtain. It’s thrilling because we know how this plays out in the movie. But just as we fear the worst, Hanna’s phone rings, and she steps out of the shower to an empty room with an open door.

Mona Is “A” (S2, E25)

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While the show continued to deliver shocking twists and turns through its next five seasons, the final reveal of season two set the tone for all the shocking moments to come. The reveal that Mona (Janel Parrish) was the one torturing the Liars for the last two seasons is truly a jaw-dropping moment.

“A” Rules All

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It’s a moment that’s not only surprising because Mona gets texts from A, or at least tells Hanna that she does, but also because Mona seems to love Hanna as her closest friend. So to learn that Mona has been putting Hanna through extreme duress, especially regarding Ashley’s “unofficial loan” (read: theft) from the bank where she works.

It’s a genuinely unexpected moment in the show, and Parrish is entirely up to the task of switching catty but sweet Mona into a much more menacing performance.

“B**** can see” (s3, e2)

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Jenna Marshall (Tammin Sursok) is often suspected of being A, having murdered Ali, or both during the show’s first six seasons. And one of the best moments that feeds that suspicion comes early in season three when the Liars set a trap for Jenna, who would have everyone think she’s blind.

The Liars leave an earring that was in Alison’s coffin on the mirror sill in the bathroom and hide in the stalls as Jenna refills her water bottle, waiting to see if she will notice the silent but visible piece of jewelry. And she does; she picks it up, pulls down her glasses, and inspects it before quickly putting it down and leaving the bathroom.

Is It Her

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It’s a thrilling moment, but what’s even better is the Liars’ reactions, especially Aria’s. Hanna (who in a previous episode slapped Jenna) says she’s ready to slap her again, but it’s Aria’s line that’s become iconic within the fandom. She says: “I’m ready to hang a sign: bitch can see,” and while the line itself is fun on paper, it’s Lucy Hale’s delivery that’s made it the stuff of PLL legend.

Adam Lambert on the Train (S3, E13)

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While it may not be as exciting for parents watching with their kids as Sonic Youth performing on Gossip Girl or lend the show the same level of indie scene credibility as Death Cab for Cutie appearing on The OC in the mid-2000s, Adam Lambert’s performance on a Halloween train in Pretty Little Liars is one of the best moments the show offered viewers.

The songs are great, and Adam and his band put on a great show, especially with their costumes and Adam’s vampire fangs (he’s already hot, but oh my, do the fangs really add something).

Dance Time

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What makes the scenes of Lambert and his band’s show on the train even better than the Halloween aesthetic and the unique train car setting, though, is just how horribly the Liars and their peers dance. It’s almost painful to watch them attempt to dance as if they’re having a great time when all we can see is a group of teens doing their best not to look silly.

Sadly for them and wonderfully for us, they look ridiculous. Which only adds more joy to the already joyous scene.

Ashley Attacks Wilden With Her Car (S3, E20)

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Ashley Marin and Detective Darren Wilden (Bryce Johnson) have a storied history by the end of season three. In the series pilot, Ashley slept with Wilden to keep him from getting Hanna into even more trouble after arresting her for shoplifting.

As Wilden investigates Ali’s murder, he often harasses the Liars, at school and around town, with particular attention directed at Hanna. At one point, he helps a somewhat drunk Ashley get home safely, but that good deed is immediately followed up by him offering more “assistance” in a threatening and creepy way.

But the best and most shocking moment between the two comes late in season three. After having struck a deal to keep quiet about their past behavior, Wilden pulls Ashley over to have a conversation about Hanna. He wants to ensure that Ashley can keep her daughter quiet too, but when he becomes aggressive, Ashley says he can talk to her lawyer, which only makes him angrier.

A Close Call

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As she tries to return to her car, he grabs her and threatens her and Hanna, but she yanks her arm free and gets into the driver’s seat of her car.

He stands in front of her and yells, “I can’t let you go!” while she honks on the horn and tells him to get out of the way, but then he goes too far and says, “either you shut Hanna up or I will!” as he reaches for his gun. And that’s when she panics and floors it, striking him with her car and launching him over the hood. It’s an incredibly satisfying moment for the two.

Alison’s Alive (S4, E13)

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In another episode that’s great for its costumes alone, it’s the final moment of “Grave New World” that lands on this list. After multiple episodes of learning that Alison may be alive and in hiding, the Liars track her down to the nearby Ravenswood.

There they have numerous sightings of a character they refer to as “Red Coat” for the bright red coat they wear (a fun nod to Don’t Look Now), but they’re never able to see their face or get them in conversation.

After a failed expedition to Ravenswood, the Liars get a ride home from Ezra.


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But right after Aria says goodbye to her (age-inappropriate) beau, they hear a noise and see Red Coat at the edge of some woods. They chase her and catch up with the figure in the red coat standing in the middle of Ali’s old backyard. “Alison?” Aria says as the music swells; the figure removes their hood, revealing long blonde hair, and turns.

It’s Alison, she’s been alive this whole time, and after allowing a moment for the shock to dissipate, she asks: “Did you miss me?”

Ghost of Christmas Mona (S5, E13)

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By the mid-point of season five, Mona is dead and Ali is the lead suspect in the case. Ali’s also at odds with the other Liars, who now believe she is A. And she’s certainly not giving them any signs that she’s their friend as she’s returned to manipulating people the way she used to.

But one night, she has a dream, a dream of Christmases past and future, and her guide: Mona’s ghost. It’s a bit odd that one of Mona’s best sequences in the entirety of the show comes from a scene where she’s being imagined (or is she?) by another character.

Ghost Mona

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But ghost Mona has all of the sassy charm of living Mona dialed up to 11 in the absolute best way. While showing Ali her past as a child taught to lie by her mother and a future in which no one attends her funeral, Mona still finds time to roll her eyes and snarl some of her lines. Of course, it also helps that Mona looks fantastic in her Corpse Bride-esque ghost makeup and dress.

Hanna and Emily Dancing for Pageant (S5, E20)

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Towards the end of season five, Hanna decides she will join a pageant in the hopes of winning the prize money to help pay for college. She asks Emily (Shay Mitchell) for help coming up with and learning a dance to “Bang Bang” by Jessie J and Ariana Grande for her talent, and over time they come up with something.

But it’s hard for Hanna to hold onto those strict movements after learning that her step-sister Kate (Natalie Hall) is also participating in the pageant. And when Hanna’s pageant coach shows up to check in on her during the rehearsal right after she learns about Kate’s participation in the pageant, things don’t go as she hoped.

That's Not the Plan

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During the dance, Hanna abandons the choreography that she and Emily created together and allows her feelings to take over. Her moves become more aggressive and less controlled as she simply moves to the music and lets her emotions lead her body. It’s an equally hilarious and sad scene as Emily initially looks confused, but as Hanna’s movements become more erratic stops dancing and steps away.

What makes the scene even better is that once the song ends, Hanna is pleased with her performance and thinks she’s nailed it. But that’s then immediately ripped away by her pageant coach telling her that she’s not pageant material.

Liars Wake Up in the Dollhouse (S5, E25)

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The “Dollhouse” is one of the most unbelievable aspects of Pretty Little Liars. If you told someone unfamiliar with the show that the four leads are trapped and tortured in an underground bunker at one point, they probably wouldn’t believe you. But it’s precisely that pushing of the boundary that makes the Dollhouse one of the best things about Pretty Little Liars.

While there are specific tortures that I think are best, the best moment from the Dollhouse is the first. After the Liars have been arrested, the van transporting them to a new facility is attacked. A dark figure breaks open the truck’s doors and launches a sleeping gas bomb at the Liars. It’s a great sequence, but what comes next is even better.

A Familiar Scene

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Spencer, who we know is missing and her family is searching for her, seems to wake up in her room; in a bed that’s just like hers. But then she looks down at her body and sees that she’s still in her orange jumpsuit, and as she looks up, we see a whiteboard with “Welcome Home” written on it.

Then Hanna tries desperately to open the door to her recreated room. In a version of her room from home, Emily notices a camera in the corner of her room. At the same time, Aria realizes that the books in her room are prop book spines before opening her door to a wall of sheer concrete. It’s a genuinely incredible sequence that’s horrifying and makes viewers scared for what might come next.

Moms and Wine (S6, E9)

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At mid-season six, things are reaching a high point with A, and after a stunt in which A switched out Aria’s photos for pictures of the Liars looking dead on concrete slabs in the Dollhouse, the group has been uninvited from their senior prom. But the Hastings have offered to host a gathering in their barn for the girls so they can still get dressed up and dance.

Wine Time

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But the best part of the episode isn’t about the Liars and their non-prom; it’s the time we spend with their moms. They drink wine and talk about their husbands’ infidelities and all of the drama surrounding their children and them.

They also theorize about who might have done what in the many mysteries that still are unanswered. Spencer’s mom Veronica (Lesley Fera), has more wine than the others, and when Emily’s mom Pam (Nia Peeples), theorizes that Alison’s dad Kenneth (Jim Abele), may have killed his wife, Veronica decides to visit him.

They arrive at the home, but Kenneth isn’t home, so they start snooping. It’s a great scene that leads them on an adventure like the ones their daughters embark on regularly, full of new revelations, fake scares, and getting locked in a basement. It’s a delight to watch and makes a great case for a moms-centered spinoff.

Time Jump (S6, E10)

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After A has been unmasked and thoroughly villain-monologued, we jump to Labor Day weekend and see the Liars say goodbye to each other. It’s a beautiful and emotional moment that brings tears to their eyes (and to mine). But the show isn’t over yet.

As the four original Liars leave to their cars, and Alison is left standing in front of her home, the screen cuts to a black background with white text stating: “Five Years Later.” It’s a shocking moment. One made even more shocking given that the show doesn’t even fade to black before introducing the time jump; it’s just a bittersweet goodbye moment as the Liars go off to their individual adventures, and then a hard cut to a time jump text.

5 Years Later

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And then we see a few seconds of what’s happening five years later, and it’s a hell of a hook. Ali is writing “Mrs. Rollins” on a chalkboard at what looks like Rosewood High.

The other Liars run into the room and tell her, “He’s coming for you,” “We have to go,” and “It’s too late, he’s already here” as the episode ends. It’s a ridiculous move for a show to make, yet, somehow, Pretty Little Liars made it work.

Noel Kahn Decapitation (S7, E10)

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In the mess of shifting alliances and ever higher stakes over the many episodes of Pretty Little Liars, Noel Kahn (Brant Daugherty) and Jenna Marshall find themselves looking to kill and rid themselves and Rosewood of the Liars after the time jump. But in what would be their final moment of permanent revenge, things go very wrong for Noel.

Having lured the Liars to an abandoned school for the blind, Noel appears and tells them they won’t be able to leave because they know too much.

No More Noel

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There’s a short suspense hiding and chase sequence, during which the Liars split up, and Noel picks up a dual-sided ax. But when Hanna and Emily surprise him, he drops the ax, which embeds itself in the floor, and, with a swift punch from Emily, falls. Falls in the perfect way for his neck to connect with the upward-facing blade of the ax.

We don’t see the decapitation. We just hear the crunching sounds and see Emily and Hanna’s reactions before the rest of the Liars appear and shine a light on Noel’s loose head. It’s another moment like Mike punching Ezra that’s so ridiculous you can’t help but laugh.

Liar’s Lament Introduction (S7, E11)

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Just because the Liars freed themselves from Noel’s attempts at revenge doesn’t mean they’re free of the psychological torments of the new A (this time called “A.D.”). After the death of Noel in the last episode, the Liars think that things will calm down finally, but A.D. delivers a giant box with a gift bow to Spencer’s barn with a card stating, “It’s Playtime!”

The Liars gather at Spencer’s and open the box to reveal a massive, electronic board game that recreates key locations in Rosewood and includes figurines of each of the Liars.

A Lament

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The board has a title at the top, telling us that this new game is called “Liar’s Lament.” But that’s not all, there’s a smartphone embedded in the side of the board, and as the Liars take a look, it offers the message: “Endgame…B******.”

Caleb Proposes to Hanna in Front of Ashley (S7, E17)

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It’s almost impossible to pick between the two most romantic scenes in season seven, both of which come in the same episode and center on Caleb and Hanna, but perhaps somewhat strangely, I’m going with the one where Ashley is there too.

I’ve already addressed how Ashley (accidentally) pushed her daughter and Caleb closer together in season one by making Hanna hop in the shower with a nude Caleb. But throughout the show’s many seasons, Ashley and Caleb develop a genuinely wonderful connection over their love for Hanna.

From Skeptic To Supportive

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And we get to see Ashley and Hanna talk about Caleb on several occasions and see Ashley go from skeptical to extremely supportive of their relationship.

So in season seven, when Caleb has invited Ashley to visit him and Hanna, and she has some reasonable questions about his intentions, he tells her, while staring right into Hanna’s eyes: “I want to marry your daughter Mrs. Marin, no bells and whistles, just the two of us exchanging vows, and finally make this official.” It’s a beautiful moment, not just because Hanna and Caleb belong together, but also because Ashley has been a strong supporter of their love for years.

Of course, the later scene where Hanna and Caleb marry one another with makeshift rings in a camping tent (the first place they slept together) is also magical, but Ashley’s presence in the earlier scene makes it just a smidge better and more iconic for fans (like me).

Wren Meets Alex Drake (S7, E20)

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The reveal that Spencer has an evil English twin is a legendary move by the show’s writers. Spencer’s “I don’t even know what question to ask first” sums up how most of us felt watching. But it’s the beginning of the flashback explaining how Alex came to Rosewood that lands on this list.

In England, Wren (Julian Morris), an old (age-inappropriate) flame of Spencer’s, walks into a bar and sees a girl tending bar who looks just like Spencer. So he assumes it’s her and asks, “Spencer? What’re you doing here?” Alex responds that he’s confusing her with someone else, but he says, “it hasn’t been so long that you can pretend like you don’t know who I am.”

A Welcome Meeting

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It’s then that we get two of the most delightful lines from Troian in her best working-class English accent: “I’d remember if we met love, I promise you that.” And “if you’re tryna have a crack at me, I must admit this is a new one. Now, what’ll be? A pint?” It’s not just the joy of hearing Troian put on an accent, but the use of “love” and “crack” that make this scene a transcendent moment in Pretty Little Liars’ history.

Sydney Sweeney and a New Generation (S7, E20)

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Throughout season seven, Emily and Alison (now both faculty at Rosewood High) have a series of run-ins with a calculating and manipulative teenager named Addison (Ava Allan). They talk about how she’s an even worse version of Alison, given her comfort in being cruel to her fellow students and threatening her teachers with blackmail. But the final best moment from the show isn’t one that involves Addison; it’s just about her.

We see a group of Addison’s friends wake up from sleeping in a backyard shed/guest room, and one asks, “Where’s Addison and Willa?” They slowly get up, and Willa (a teenaged Sydney Sweeney) returns and informs them, “She’s gone… I’ve looked everywhere for her. I think I heard her scream.”

New Times Ahead

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It perfectly mirrors the pilot’s opening in which Spencer returned to the sleepover in her parents’ barn to inform the girls that Ali was missing.

It’s a perfect bookend to the series, but what makes it even better is that it’s delivered by one of our greatest starlets. Of course, this wouldn’t have meant much at the time the series finale aired, but now it just makes that final moment much better.

More From Wealth of Geeks

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Kyle Logan studied philosophy and now constantly overthinks music and movies.

He’s a film and television critic and general pop culture writer who has written for Cultured Vultures, Chicago Film Scene, Castle of Chills, and Filmotomy. Kyle has covered virtual film festivals including the inaugural Nightstream festival in 2020 and the 2021 Fantasia Film Festival. Kyle is interested in horror films, animation, Star Wars, and Adventure Time, as well as older genre films written and directed by queer people and women, particularly those from the 1970s and 80s. Along with writing, Kyle organizes a Queer Film Challenge on Letterboxd.