Spencer’s twin identity has been one of the biggest mysteries on the hit TV show Pretty Little Liars. Fans have speculated about who Spencer’s twin could be ever since it was revealed that Mary Drake gave birth to twins, one named Spencer and the other given up for adoption. Let’s analyze the clues and evidence to determine who Spencer’s twin really is.
The Backstory Behind Spencer’s Twin
To understand the mystery of Spencer’s twin, we first need to go back to the history of the Hastings and Drake families. Spencer’s parents are Veronica and Peter Hastings, and she grew up as their biological daughter. However, late in the series we learn that Mary Drake, the twin sister of Spencer’s biological mother Jessica DiLaurentis, gave birth to two children – Spencer and her twin sister.
Jessica and her husband decided to adopt Spencer, while Mary’s other daughter was given up for adoption. The existence of the twin was kept secret all these years, even from Spencer herself. So Spencer grew up not knowing she even had an identical twin sister.
Discovery of Mary Drake
The first clue to the twin’s existence came when the liars discovered Mary Drake living at Radley Sanitarium under the name Marion Cavanaugh. Mary had been secretly visiting Charlotte DiLaurentis at Radley for years under this alias. The girls realized that Mary was completely real, and they had been wrong about her being simply a figment of Elliott Rollins’ imagination. Mary claimed to have had a child at Radley that was taken from her.
The File on Spencer’s Birth Mother
An old hospital file revealed that Mary Drake gave birth to two babies – one was adopted by the Hastings family and the other, unnamed baby was put up for adoption and left at a church. The details matched a story that Jessica had told Spencer about a twin sister. This confirmed that Spencer had a real identical twin sister out there somewhere.
Top Suspects for Spencer’s Twin Identity
Once the existence of the twin was established, Pretty Little Liars fans began speculating about which character could secretly be Spencer’s twin in disguise. The main suspects are:
Some fans think Aria could be Mary Drake’s daughter and Spencer’s twin. There are a few reasons for this suspicion:
- Aria spent some time in Iceland, outside of Rosewood. Perhaps this was a cover while she secretly discovered she was adopted and met her birth mother Mary.
- Aria acted shady at times, like she was keeping secrets from the girls.
- There were bizarre similarities between Aria and Mary’s character.
However, Lucy Hale being cast as Aria makes it seem unlikely she is Spencer’s twin – the network would probably want two separate actresses playing the twins.
Other fans speculated that Alison could have been the secret Spencer twin, based on some coincidental evidence:
- Alison went missing and turned up again mysteriously, reigniting theories around her suspicious behavior.
- She disappeared right after Ian Thomas attacked Spencer, creating theories that the real Spencer died.
- Alison often wore yellow tops, while Spencer preferred preppy colorful tops in her early years.
In the end though, too much of Alison’s backstory had already been established on the show to make her Spencer’s secret twin.
By far the most popular fan theory was that Spencer had a twin named Alex Drake. This theory turned out to be correct.
Here is the evidence that Alex Drake was Spencer’s twin:
- British actress Troian Bellisario was cast to play twins.
- Spencer began acting strangely in later seasons, showing a darker and more sinister side.
- There were clues referencing Spencer not remembering parts of her past.
- Spencer had vague memories of prior close relationships with Mary Drake and Wren Kingston.
All the clues pointed to Spencer having an evil twin, and that turned out to be Alex Drake.
The Full Reveal of Alex Drake
In the series finale, we finally learned the whole story behind Spencer’s identical twin sister Alex Drake:
- Alex was adopted by a wealthy British family at birth, but had a rough upbringing.
- She eventually tracked down her birth mother Mary Drake and learned about Spencer.
- Alex became obsessed with Spencer and wanted to take over her perfect life.
- Alex dated Wren Kingston and cemented her connection to the Hastings family.
- Alex came to Rosewood and kidnapped Spencer, locked her up in an underground cell, and impersonated her.
So for a good portion of the time we thought we were seeing Spencer, it was actually Alex Drake impersonating her twin sister. Alex pulled this off by dressing identical to Spencer and perfectly mimicking her speech and mannerisms.
Let’s look at some key scenes where Alex was pretending to be Spencer:
The Airport Scene
When the liars returned from their trip to the dollhouse, there is a strange scene where Spencer is acting very weird at the airport. She questions the girls in an aggressive manner and almost seems to be threatening them. At the time it seemed out of character for Spencer, but makes perfect sense knowing now that was Alex Drake in disguise.
Hanna had a bizarre dream where Spencer took on the personality of murderer Hector Lime. At the end she tells Hanna “It’s still me Hanna, it’s Spencer.” This was one of the biggest clues that something was off with Spencer, hinting she may have an evil twin personality.
Aria’s File Mix-up
When Aria went to give Ezra back a file on Nicole at The Radley, she slipped up and mentioned Spencer gave it to her. Ezra said he gave that file to Aria, not Spencer. This revealed that sometimes Alex was pretending to be Spencer even around the other girls.
Overall Alex’s portrayal of Spencer was seamless, and the other characters had no idea Spencer had been kidnapped and an imposter was living in her place. The reveal explained much of the suspicious behavior coming from “Spencer” in the later seasons.
How Did the Twin Story End?
Alex Drake went to great lengths to try to permanently take over Spencer’s identity. However, in the end the liars saw through her lies and Spencer was freed from captivity. The showdown with Alex revealed all the secrets and motives behind the twin switch.
Confrontation at the Lost Woods
The final confrontation with Alex took place at the Lost Woods resort. Alex held Spencer and Ezra hostage there, as the liars raced to rescue them and expose the twin’s true identity. Once they found the underground cell, Spencer and Alex came face to face for a tense reunion.
Alex revealed her troubled past and desperate desire to be more like Spencer. She was jealous of Spencer’s friends and family. By locking Spencer up and impersonating her, Alex hoped to take over the perfect, happy life she felt she deserved.
Defeat and Capture
Ultimately Alex’s evil plans failed. Mona outsmarted her and the liars freed Spencer. Alex Drake was defeated and taken to Paris, where Mona kept her locked in her own personal underground dollhouse. It was a fitting end to the saga of Spencer’s dangerous twin.
In the end, the liars emerged stronger after finally putting an end to the Alex Drake/A.D. mystery. And Spencer could breathe a sigh of relief knowing her twisted twin sister was finally locked away for good.
Lasting Impact of the Twin Reveal
The revelation that Spencer had an identical twin sister named Alex Drake was one of the biggest twists in Pretty Little Liars history. Let’s look at some of the key impacts:
Troian Bellisario’s Acting
Playing dual roles as Spencer and Alex gave Troian Bellisario a chance to showcase her incredible acting skills. Seamlessly swapping between the two characters certainly wasn’t easy, but Troian nailed portraying two very different personalities.
Explaining Strange Behavior
In hindsight, the existence of Alex Drake explained away much of Spencer’s atypical behavior in the later seasons. All the bizarre personality shifts and shady actions weren’t really Spencer, but Alex impersonating her!
Satisfying Fan Theories
Many fans predicted the outcome of Spencer having a twin, and felt satisfied to see their theories proven right in the end. It was clever how the show creators dropped hints about Alex Drake all along.
Revealing that Spencer had an evil twin added dramatic stakes to the series finale. It made for an intense, satisfying conclusion to have the liars finally expose Alex’s true identity and motives.
Overall the secret Spencer twin twist went down as one of the most gasp-worthy moments in Pretty Little Liars history. It was a shocking yet fitting way to explain Spencer’s questionable behavior and give the series a memorable dramatic finale.
Other Interesting Twin Storylines
While the Spencer twin reveal was a standout way to incorporate an evil twin plot, there are many other examples of intriguing twin stories on TV:
The Vampire Diaries – Elena and Katherine
On the CW drama The Vampire Diaries, Nina Dobrev played the roles of both Elena Gilbert and her vampire doppelganger Katherine Pierce. Katherine stirred up trouble by impersonating Elena on more than one occasion!
Friends – Phoebe’s Evil Twin Ursula
Phoebe’s identical twin sister Ursula appeared in a few episodes of Friends. She was portrayed as a conniving waitress at Riff’s who didn’t get along with Phoebe.
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody – Zack and Cody
The Disney Channel show featured identical twins Dylan and Cole Sprouse playing troublemaker Zack and smart student Cody. The premise revolved around hijinks at the hotel where the twins lived with their mom.
Sister, Sister – Tia and Tamera
Real-life twins Tia and Tamera Mowry played the lead roles of Tia Landry and Tamera Campbell on the 90s sitcom. The show followed the exploits of twin sisters separated at birth who then reunited their families.
Patty Duke – Patty and Cathy
Classic 60s TV show The Patty Duke featured the actress playing dual roles of identical cousins Patty Duke and Cathy Lane. Somehow nobody ever seemed to notice that the two looked exactly the same!
These are just a few of the many memorable TV twin characters. The evil or secret twin makes for great drama and keeps viewers guessing about which twin is which!
After years of fan theories and suspense, Pretty Little Liars finally revealed Spencer Hastings’ identical twin sister to be Alex Drake. Troian Bellisario brilliantly portrayed the two very different Hastings sisters. Alex’s sinister motivations explained away Spencer’s shady behavior in the later seasons. The twin twist added dramatic stakes to the series finale as Alex’s secrets were exposed. While Spencer and Alex stand out as an especially juicy twin storyline, the evil twin plot device has been used to great effect across many TV shows. In the end, the mystery of Spencer’s twin was perfectly resolved by exposing Alex Drake’s true identity and locking her away for good.