Fans Believe Karen Is Alive in 'Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin' (SPOILERS)

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Aug. 18 2022, Published 12:11 p.m. ET

Mallory Bechtel as Karen Beasley in 'Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin.'
Source: HBO Max

Spoiler alert: This article contains major spoilers for Season 1 of Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin.

When we tuned in for Episode 2 of Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, we predicted a jaw-dropping moment would occur at the school dance; however, we didn't expect to witness the death of a major character so soon into the slasher series.

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Enter Karen Beasley (Mallory Bechtel), the queen bee and resident mean girl of Millwood High.

After losing the title of spirit queen to her ex-best friend Imogen Adams (Bailee Madison), Karen and her twin sister Kelly set out to pour red paint on Imogen — à la Carrie — after she is crowned on stage. But before Karen can go through with the plan, she is murdered by an unknown assailant. So, who killed Karen in Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin?

Mallory Bechtel as Karen Beasley in 'Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin.'
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Who killed Karen in 'Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin'?

Toward the end of the second episode, titled "Chapter Two: The Spirit Queen," Imogen heads on stage, where Principal Clanton (Robert Stanton) crowns her as spirit queen. As everyone celebrates, Mouse (Malia Pyles) points out that Karen is hiding in the rafters. Without hesitation, she and the other little liars do everything they can to capture Imogen's attention before it's too late.

Once Imogen looks up, she sees Karen smiling at her alongside the bucket of red paint. But, before Karen can follow through with her evil plan, "A" sneaks up behind her; the two tussle before "A" gains the upper hand and throws Karen over the railing.

Thus, Karen was killed by "A"... or was she?

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Many fans theorize that Kelly was the one who was killed at the dance.

Throughout the entire first season of Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, many viewers theorized that "A" actually killed Kelly at the school dance, not her twin sister Karen. This theory eventually makes its way into the HBO Max original series when gifted ballerina and little liar Faran Bryant (Zaria) convinces herself that Karen is still alive and pretending to be Kelly.

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After much interrogation, Faran accepts that Karen did actually die; however, audiences still weren't convinced. In the show's subreddit, one Redditor theorized that Karen and Kelly's storyline mirrors that of Ali's in the original Pretty Little Liars.

"In the original show, Ali was getting threatening messages from 'A' (Mona) before her disappearance, yet none of the Liars were aware of this. I think there's a good chance that Karen was too," the Redditor wrote. "Karen (unlike Tyler) was an initial target. The group text from 'A' says, "One down, five to go." So it would make sense that 'A' was threatening her too."

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The fan continued, "Hypothetically, if Karen had begun to get them before her Carrie prank on Imogen, she may have gotten scared. To ease her sister's mind, Kelly might have volunteered to go in her place.

"And that's when 'A' pushed her, mistaking Kelly for Karen. It would give 'Karen' a reason to hide behind being Kelly as she would know her life was in danger (Faran even warns 'Kelly' of this)," the Redditor concluded. "So when 'Kelly' tells Imogen it was her fault her sister died, it might not have been a lie."

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Though this is a well-thought out theory, the chase scene in Episode 6 essentually debunks all rumors that Karen is actually Kelly. While stretching on stage, Kelly receives a text from an unknown number before "A" pops out of nowhere and chases Kelly throughout the school. Once cornered, Kelly repeatedly cries out and insists to "A" that she's Kelly.

Now, this should make us believe that Kelly really is Kelly, but we can't be too sure. What do you think? Let us know!

All 10 episodes of Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin are now streaming on HBO Max.

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