TVLine spoke with Pretty Little Liars‘ executive producer Oliver Goldstick about all of this and more (Lucas’ dark side, Paige’s return, etc.), and discovered — per usual on the ABC Family soap — the mysteries, both new and old, are just going to keep coming.
TVLINE | I’ve got a theory that we didn’t really meet ‘A’ last night, but rather Mona is just ‘A’s messenger. Care to confirm?
I can’t really completely answer that, but I think you’re on to something. We did promise we would deliver who’d been torturing the girls, the cyberbully who’s been making these girls squirm for two seasons, but I think we know the mystery is deeper. It’s like an onion for us; we are keeping a lot of things spinning here, and it’s deeper than what it seems. We continue to say that since the night Alison died, this is a wild ride with a lot more surprises.
TVLINE | Was it always your plan to follow books and have Mona as ‘A’?
You know, it was never set in stone. If you look back — and this is for those diehard fans — there are a couple incidents where it would have been very difficult for Mona to pull off — specifically Emily’s massage last season, when Mona was at a stable swatting flies with Hanna. Granted, we’ve always said Mona is a mastermind; we know she’s very bright and dropped a lot of clues about that, but clearly some of the things ‘A’ has pulled off would demand more than just Mona. But we also know ‘A’ has some cash — and we set that up last year with the money from the lasagna box. ‘A’ is flesh with money and can pull things off that maybe other teenagers cannot. To answer your question, we did believe that Mona had a strong motivation from the time we started [the show], and we set that up in the early episodes, certainly in the flashback to the pilot when she was dumped on by Alison and Aria. We set her up as an outsider clawing her way back in. We felt this was a satisfying and titillating way to end the season so you’re left with the question of how she pulled it off and the desire to look back at all of these stunts she perpetrated and assess whether it could just be her. And this is where the girls are [next season] as well.
TVLINE | You guys announced earlier this season that you’d reveal the identity of ‘A’ in the finale. Are there plans to unveil another member of Team ‘A’ any time soon? Or will this now be the ongoing mystery?
Yes, the former. There will be links and connections to other people as we go on.
TVLINE | Janel Parrish tells us there will be a six-month time jump at the start of Season 3. Where does that find the ladies of Rosewood?
Mona has to be treated. She’s got serious issues, but we’re not going to a criminal place with her. We certainly do have that with an upcoming trial with Garrett being arrested for Alison’s murder. So, Mona is being treated in a facility and she may be returning to Rosewood High, believe it or not — weirder things have happened. Some of the things she has perpetrated would be criminal activities, i.e. attempted murder, so the girls may not be revealing everything ‘A’s done to them simply because they need answers.
TVLINE | Is it possible that Garrett did not kill Ali? Is her murder still a mystery in the coming season?
Yes, definitely. Definitely.
TVLINE | Can fans look forward to any confrontations between former friends Hanna and Mona?
Oh, yes. There’s a lot of scorched Earth to step in, and Hanna will be stepping into it.
TVLINE | OK, but what the heck was Lucas doing with Jenna at the masquerade ball?!
That’s one of the mysteries of Season 3. Poor Lucas, he may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time a long time ago, but in the Halloween episode we hinted that he and Mona had this common alliance against Alison. There’s a dark side to him. He’s adorable, but this nerd-nick has some dark ink running through his veins. He is back in Season 3.
TVLINE | And it’s safe to assume the same goes for the now-visually unimpaired Jenna?
Oh yeah, that’s going to be juicy. The question becomes how is she going to use her eyesight, and how are the PLLs going to discover this… It’s pretty interesting.
TVLINE | Talk a little about the girl in the Black Swan costume at the ball. Is that a new character? A member of Team ‘A’? Or just a red herring?
It may be premature for me to tell you this right now, but let’s put it this way: You’ll get a satisfying answer, and it’s a bit shocking.
TVLINE | Fair enough. Will we see the maybe-evil Melissa back next season, given Torrey DeVitto’s current Vampire Diaries gig?
She’s a Hastings, so we don’t say goodbye. We don’t really say goodbye to anyone unless they meet their end. We don’t close doors, especially because she’s a sibling of a main character.
TVLINE | Was Maya’s death purposely left up in the air?
Yes, we’re not confirming that it was her yet.
TVLINE | People are already theorizing that Paige had something to do with it.
That Paige, let’s not forget how we met her. [Laughs] She’s got a temper, that poor girl. But Paige will return next season.
TVLINE | Is it possible that Maya’s “murder” and the ‘A’ mystery are unrelated?
They look like they’re linked right now. Maya knew too much — if the body is indeed Maya’s. We played around with the idea that there was the bag of things of Alison’s that Maya needed to return to Jason, and that bag may have contained things that could be very, very explosive.
TVLINE | Time for some couples talk: What’s next for the now-outed Aria and Ezra?
There will be a whole new set of challenges for them. Ezra is unemployed — and good luck getting a job! [Laughs] He’s going to have some problems. The situation with her parents is not copacetic. Ella and Byron are on very different pages when it comes to this, so Aria’s home situation may be rockier than you think in Season 3.
TVLINE | How are things for Toby and Spencer?
They’re back on track — how could you not forgive this guy for everything he did now that you know it was all a ruse?
TVLINE | And what’s coming up for Caleb and Hanna?
They’ll face their own set of challenges next season… but she’s not going to give up on Caleb.