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This article centers around The Jenna Thing, a situation. For another version check out The Jenna Thing, the episode or The Jenna Thing (book situation), the book version.


Aria: I heard the cops took Hanna to the police station...
Spencer: You don't think she'd tell them about...
Hanna: The Jenna Thing? We made a promise.
Aria, Spencer and Hanna


PPL102-00534

The girls look back upon hearing the explosion

The Jenna Thing is the accident during which Alison, Spencer, Emily, Aria and Hanna blinded Jenna Marshall.

The TV Show Version

Night of July 4, 2009

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It all starts when Alison and the girls are getting dressed in Emily's room. Alison is looking at herself in the mirror, when all of a sudden she claims she spotted Toby peeping through the bedroom window while the girls were getting dressed. This was later proven to be a lie, but the reason why Alison lied about seeing Toby peeping is still unknown.

Alison says that Toby is a pervert and that he probably saw them naked. When Aria asks if they should tell someone what just happened, Alison says that she has a better idea.

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Alison's plan is to go to Toby's house to set off what she claims is a stink bomb in the garage (which was Toby's hangout at the time). Aria, Hanna, Emily and Spencer don't think it's a good idea. Emily wants to go back and Aria suggests to tell everything to the cops, but Alison isn't willing to change her mind. When asked by Spencer if she's sure that Toby was the one spying on them, Alison says that she's completely sure.

The Liars don't have the courage to stand up to Alison, who eventually manages to persuade them.

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Alison tells them that it was a harmless prank to teach Toby a lesson and assures them that no one is inside. She gets a lighter from Spencer and lights the stink bomb. After opening the garage back door, Alison looks quickly inside and then she throws the stink bomb into the garage. She immediately closes the door and she tells the girls to run, without saying what she has just seen inside. The girls are running while the stink bomb, which is actually a firecracker, causes an explosion and the garage catches fire. As the Liars stop and turn around to see the fire, they hear a scream coming from inside the garage: it's Jenna, who will end up blind due to the explosion. The Liars then, afraid, run away.

Hanna insists that they go to the cops and fess up, only to be yelled at and mocked by Alison. Aria stands up to her and defends Hanna.

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Toby lies to the police about the incident, saying it was he who set the garage on fire after Alison blackmails him with information about his and Jenna's physical relationship, thus making "The Jenna Thing" a huge secret for Aria, Hanna, Emily and Spencer, who were accomplices to Alison's prank and all lied to the police about it.

Jenna also keeps quiet about the truth, lying in order to protect her own secret (coercing her stepbrother to be intimate with her), after Alison blackmails her at the hospital the day she disappeared. Even when Alison dies, however, Jenna continues to keep the truth behind this incident a secret.

The Aftermath

Before she disappears, Alison tells her older brother, Jason, the story, reversing hers and Spencer's roles in the story. She makes it seem as though it was Spencer's idea, Spencer's execution, and Spencer who pressures the others. Jason seems to believe the story and reveals to Spencer that he knows Alison's version of events when he goes back to Rosewood to plan Alison's memorial. Spencer seems to contradict him but it is unclear whether Spencer gave him the real version of events and whether his opinion is subsequently changed.

Spencer blackmails Alison before she dies. When Alison threatens to expose Spencer's past relationship with Ian to Melissa, Spencer retorts that she would expose Alison's role in "The Jenna Thing." Probably trying to avoid exposure, Alison tells her brother a different version so that, if Spencer ever comes out with her version, Jason will believe Alison as she voluntarily revealed her story.

Toby is sent to a reform school for a year after the incident.

Jenna alludes to the incident in an essay for Mr. Fitz's English class in "A Person of Interest," letting her readers know that she believes the accident to have been anything but.

Book-Series Comparison

The Jenna Thing is slightly different in the books. Read The Jenna Thing (book situation) to learn more.

In the books, the characters of Toby and Jenna are different from their TV characters. Jenna is unpopular, quiet, sweet, and is friends with dorky Mona Vanderwaal whereas in the TV show she is portrayed as Ali's vindictive rival.

In the books, Toby is the one who forces the sexual relationship between the two of them.

In the books, Jenna finds out about "Courtney" DiLaurentis and bonds with "Ali" over sibling problems. They plot The Jenna Thing together but things go awry. In the show, The Jenna Thing is a pointed attack at Jenna by Ali.

In the books, all five girls see Toby outside the window and Ali seizes the opportunity to prank Toby. In the show, Ali lies to the others about seeing Toby peering into the window.

In Unbelievable, when Jenna reveals to Aria her and Ali's plot to get back at Toby, she says that despite her loss of vision, she has no regrets. In the TV show, Jenna knows that Ali and her crew are responsible for her blindness but keeps her mouth shut to hide the secret about her relationship with Toby.

In Flawless, in which the story of The Jenna Thing is told, Ali is the one who lights the fireworks and the others have no direct part in it. In fact, Emily, Hanna, and Aria never even leave Ali's House. In the show, they are all present when Ali lights the firework though the girls are hesitant to participate just like they are in the books.

In the books, Mona witnesses the event and hence became 'A'.

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