Pretty Little Liars Postmortem: Marlene King on Who's Really Dead, Ali's Homecoming and More!
Pretty Little Liars
Pretty Little Liars‘ fourth season was dubbed the “Season of Answers,” and we definitely got them.
After four long seasons, some of the major questions surrounding the night of Alison’s disappearance got resolved. More A suspects were crossed off the list, we learned Mrs. DiLaurentis (Andrea Parker) was the one who buried her own daughter (Sasha Pieterse) alive, Noel (Brant Daugherty) was helping Alison stay safe, and stalker Mona (Janel Parish) also knew she was alive the entire time, setting her up so she could become the Queen Bee.
But with answers come more questions. Will we ever find out who got buried after Alison escaped? Was the finale shooter the same person who killed Mrs. D in the final scene? Is that person “uber” A? What did Melissa (Torrey DeVitto) whisper to her dad (Nolan North) and why are they so shady?
We dialed up executive producer Marlene King immediately after the big episode and tried our best to pry some scoop out of King’s pretty little hands.
I got to watch the finale on the big screen at the event and there was a ton of screaming. What was that experience like for you being there as well?
Marlene King: You know, I didn’t get to watch in the theater because they shuffled us into the social media room, but they took video and I can’t wait to watch it. I heard there was a lot of grabbing! It shows me too that if we did PLL: the movie it’s a perfect format for a big screen cinematic experience.
Is Mrs. D definitely dead? And is the person who buried her the same as the shooter?
King: For now she is definitely dead. And I wouldn’t assume that the grave [scene] happened right after [the shooting]. We go to black for a second so that could suggest a timeline ambiguity.
Will we ever find out who was in Alison’s grave after she got out?
King: You will find out in Season 5A.
The suspect pool has been majorly narrowed down. Will it remain a mystery next season and how do you give more clues without giving it away?
King: That’s a great question, but I think we have twists planned ahead that will keep that story very active and alive.
Peter Hastings didn’t flinch at the thought that Alison is alive. Should we read more into that?
King: I loved watching his performance last night; it was so nuanced. You know, for our own security, we save the truth until the very last minute until we really have to tell [the actors] what’s going on. Knowing what I know and seeing what he brought last night I thought it was amazing, when people find out the truth and go back and re-watch the episodes you’ll see the subtleties in those performances.
The Hastings must be the shadiest family on TV.
King: They’re pretty shady and they always talk in the dark — what’s up with that?
It was great to see how much Mona was involved with from the beginning.
King: It was so much fun and Janel Parish is so great. There were things in the moment that just came out when we were shooting it like when Ali was laying down in the bed, I said, “Kiss her!” And then we added at the very last minute when she’s playing with her doll she puts her in the dollhouse and says, “Pretty girl.” She’s just so great and so creepy.
Was it satisfying for you to finally give so many answers?
King: It really was. [The author] Sara Shepard was there last night and I told I was so excited for her to see this episode because the pilot is book 1 of Pretty Little Liars and this feels like a bookend to that pilot. In so many ways, we got so much closure and even talking to the fans standing outside our hotel this morning they’re so happy. It’s the first finale where people are not totally trashing me. There is always one group of people like, “You didn’t give us the answers,” but with this one, it really seems to be universal fulfillment. People are like OK we got answers and we can wait until June. People are satisfied and it’s such a great feeling. And the fans earned it. We’ve been asking questions for four years, so kudos to them for hanging in there and allowing us this time.
Did Ezra redeem himself by taking a bullet for the girls?
King: I said to Ian [Harding] and Lucy [Hale] last night, “If you can’t be redeemed by taking a bullet, I don’t know how you can be redeemed.” I think it’s a great first step back. I don’t know that Aria will fully trust Ezra right away, but he certainly showed his true self last night.
Alison mentioned that Noel has secrets of his own. Do they have to do with why he’s helping Ali or just to say that everyone in Rosewood has secrets?
King: It’s a little bit of both. It’s always fun for people to come back and everybody loves Noel and we’re happy to have him back and we hope we get to play with him a bit more.
At the end of the penultimate scene, we see a New York skyline. Weren’t they in Philly?
King: The girls are definitely in New York. We put a lot of time and care into that reveal. If you go back to when they say, “What are you doing here?” they’re talking to Noel and then he brought them to New York.
Emily and Paige (Lindsey Shaw) were put on hold in the finale. Is there hope for them in Season 5?
King: There is hope. Paige has such a deep love for Emily and Emily has a very deep love for Paige, and that picks up in the next episode very quickly.
Season 5 picks up right away and Alison is finally “out” about being alive. How is her homecoming?
King: It’s really what ties into the complexity of this summer’s season. As we saw last night, she was very genuine or seemingly very genuine, but knowing what we know about Ali, do we trust her? Is it real? Who is this girl? That’s what the reset is all about: Do we trust Ali? Do we get sucked back in? Has she changed?
Finally, what’s the plan for the fall’s annual special episode?
King: It’s a Christmas-themed episode! It’s going to air in December as a standalone.
What did you think of the Pretty Little Liars finale? Weigh in below!