When Pretty Little Liars said that the season 7b premiere "Playtime" would be the show's "endgame," it really meant it. Biggest, baddest villain A.D. is toying with the Liars in a very literal sense: by making them participate in a macabre board game that tasks them with stirring up trouble in Rosewood. The high-tech game was introduced in the season 7b premiere, with Spencer (Troian Bellisario) as the first player. But while Spencer used the game to learn the true identity of her mother, perhaps all this Mary Drake (Andrea Parker) business was merely a distraction from the glaring clue to A.D.'s true identity.
Brendan Robinson's character did not appear in the season 7b premiere, but that didn't stop the show from dropping clues that he could be the mastermind behind this whole thing. The biggest clue? The board game — specifically, its oh-so-2017 nature. This is no ordinary board game: it's connected to an iPhone, which somehow knows exactly what moves the Liars are making within the game. (Frankly, if the game wasn't so evil, I would totally want it.) Why does the high-tech nature of the game scream Lucas? Well, he's an app developer (aka an A.D.!!!!!) who might actually know how to set up something so complicated.
It's also not the only reason why Lucas looks so suspicious after Tuesday's episode. Examine the game board and you'll see that the Liars don't look like how they do in 2017: their game pieces are dolled up to look like how they did when Alison (Sasha Pieterse) ruled Rosewood High School, before she ranaway from home. Aria (Lucy Hale) has a pink stripe in her hair. Emily (Shay Mitchell) is wearing a swim uniform. Spencer is donning a super preppy plaid skirt. Hanna (Ashley Benson) is holding shopping bags, while Alison is wearing that iconic yellow top.
Why is that important? Well, the Liars look how they did when Alison was at the height of her bullying days — when the girls were totally complicit in her cruelty. Lucas was the main target of her meanness... and this could very well be his revenge.
Maybe Pretty Little Liars is distracting us with all of this "who's a Hasting?" business. Maybe the real villain is hiding in plain sight... and pretending he's a friend.