“Pretty Little Liars” is about to unveil its biggest mystery — well, kinda.
Tonight (March 24) marks the end of another season of the ABC Family series, but this time, the “PLL” Powers That Be aren’t just giving us another red herring. Nope. Not going to happen. The season five finale (“Welcome to the Dollhouse”) will deliver on its promise of a big A reveal. And while we might not get the definitive answer to A’s identity that we’ve been hoping for, we’ll come closer than ever before. In fact, we’re just 11 episodes away from unraveling the A game in its entirety.
“Pretty Little Liars” executive producer Marlene King chatted with MTV News ahead of tonight’s big show about what fans should expect.
“If there was one piece of advice I could give [fans] as the show ends it’s that I am really sorry that you have to wait until June for more episodes because this finale brings so much more momentum to the show,” she said. “We’re really shooting off a starter pistol that takes us to the next 10 episodes, and we are delivering all of the answers that these patient, and impatient, fans have earned.”
Wow. Does this mean that we will 100 percent know who A is by the end of the summer season?! You’ll just have to read our interview with King to find out.
MTV News: This season has certainly been the darkest season the series has produced thus far. I know you’re starting production on season six, so does it only get darker from here?
Marlene King: As our characters get older and A’s actions become more aggressive, it just seems like a natural place for us to go to a darker place. I think with this finale and our June premiere, we are definitely honoring that choice that we made.
MTV: The theme of this season was A punishing the Liars. Have you come up with the theme of season six yet? Where does the story go from here?
King: This finale is the beginning of the end of this story we started to tell when we found out A was originally Mona. So this finale and the next 10 episodes, our summer season, are really closing this chapter in our series. Everything is very condensed [in season six]. These next 11 episodes take place over a very short period of time, and by the end of our summer season, almost every question people have been asking for the last three years — some questions since season one — will be answered. It’s really the end of this story that we started to tell.
MTV: Was it always your plan to put the Liars in jail? It’s sort of similar to the end of Sara Shepard’s novels…
King: No! Don’t tell me. I haven’t read it yet, and I don’t want to read it until we wrap our series. I don’t want to be spoiled. Sara [Shepard] and I both thought it would be a really fun idea to just do our own thing with these two stories and how funny would it be if it paralleled hers? I have no idea how the books end.
MTV: This finale finds the Liars trapped inside A’s IRL dollhouse. It looks like a straight-up horror film. What were some of your inspirations for the finale?
King: I have A’s dollhouse in my office because it’s actually my own dollhouse. I offered it up as this prop and I thought, “How fun would it be if “A” really played with A’s dolls in A’ s lair?’ I look at this dollhouse all the time, and I’ve become obsessed with it. This finale is a little “Twilight Zone”-y in terms of its tone, and it is very scary and demented and disturbing — but in a “Pretty Little Liars” way, still.
MTV: I just want to know how A has all of this money.
King: A is very smart, very clever and A has A’s ways.
MTV: It also appears that we’re getting closer to a possible twin reveal. Will that happen in the finale, or will we have to wait until season six?
King: I will say that there is a very big A reveal that is the biggest we’ve shown so far, and that will shed light, maybe, on whether we’re doing that in this story or not. But there is a maybe there!
MTV: We’ve seen Hanna’s mom become privy to some of A’s games, and it looks like the Hastings might find out about A next in the finale. Can we expect more people to know about A moving forward?
King: As we move forward to these summer episodes — we only have 10 episodes this summer and it’s a very condensed period of time — you will understand after this finale that the girls are no longer in this alone.
MTV: We also know that most of the main cast knows who A is. How did that happen?
King: They strong-armed me! Lucy does not know who A is. She was in my office the other day, and I was like, “Lucy, I will tell you.” But she was like, “No! Don’t tell me. It’s too much pressure.”
But at two in the morning, when you’re trying to stay awake on the Warner Bros. backlot, and Troian Bellisario goes, “Please tell me the story of who A is,” I couldn’t say no. And halfway through, Keegan [Allen] comes up, and we have to start again. Telling the story takes about an hour, to really tell it from start to finish. That’s how complex and well thought-out this reveal and this character and this character’s motivation is. They just sucked me in, and we had story time one night. And then when Ashley [Benson] and Shay [Mitchell] found out, they came over to my house and we had story time again.
MTV: Speaking of A, will his/her motivations become clear in the finale? And was it also the plan to create a villain we can empathize with?
King: Yes, you will figure out some of A’s motivations by the end of the episode. All of my favorite villains are not just villains for no reason. There’s always something. And it’s always more interesting to have a reason. For example, when we found out Mona was original A, we understood why. Mona was a villain, but she became a very likable character — before her demise. And we redeemed Paige. We were introduced to Paige in a villainous way. She certainly wasn’t good to Emily. And then she became such a beloved character on our show. So it’s really important for us to show that you’re never really defined by one action, or one motivation. We’re not all a sum of one mistake.
MTV: That being said, can we expect Paige to return in season six? I know the writers are currently plotting everything now…
King: I hope we do. She’s not part of this finale storyline, but we love Lindsey [Shaw]. Everybody here loves Lindsey. We would certainly love to see her again on the show.
“Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Fifth Season” will be available on DVD on June 2.