Pretty Little Liars mastermind Marlene King tells TVLine that Tuesday’s episode (8/7c, ABC Family) is the “biggest” and “most secretive” season finale in the show’s history — and she’s not exaggerating.
Among other things, Tuesday’s finale will finally reveal who buried Alison’s body and what really went on between Ali and Ezra; but the finale isn’t the only thing on King’s mind.
Keep scrolling for her thoughts on Caleb’s return to Rosewood, the show’s next possible death and how/when she’ll decide to “pull the plug” on Pretty Little Liars altogether.
TVLINE | Let’s start with that scene where Hanna’s holding the gun. Is that how the episode ends?
I can’t tell you if that’s the last scene, because that might be too big a spoiler, but I love that scene. It took us a whole day to shoot it, and we were like, “This is PLL: the action movie.” … We loved seeing Hanna with a gun in her hand because, of course, Ashley [Benson] did a lot of gun wielding in Spring Breakers. So we were like, “Let’s give Hanna the gun.” And when Spencer screams, “Take off your mask!” and they all scream, “Now!” I was like, “OK, you guys are so badass.” I love it.
TVLINE | One of the bigger mysteries is who tried to kill Ali. Will we find that out in the finale?
We definitely explore that in the finale, and part of it may be a question we’ll still need to answer. But what you do find out in the finale is who buried Ali.
TVLINE | What about crazy Mrs. D? What role will she play in the finale?
We find out pretty early on that word is spreading in Rosewood that Alison DiLaurentis is alive. The police know that and Mrs. D will soon find that out. You’ll find out a lot. She’s a part of what happened the night Ali went missing as well as the the present-day story.
TVLINE | Judging by Alison’s clothes in the promo shots with Ezra, it looks like their scenes will take place the night she disappeared. True?
Yes, that’s always a giveaway. Thank God for that yellow top! We’ve made, like, 20 of those tops because you can’t buy them anymore. I think we have 20 of them now, but we’ve gone through several dozen, I’m sure.
TVLINE | And will we learn anything new about Ali and Ezra’s relationship?
Oh yes. The girls have really only been speculating on what that relationship was from the manuscript and the clues Alison left behind. The finale will reveal how and where they met, and what their relationship really was. … There’s something that happens when they meet that makes it very interesting. You may be surprised by who the hunter was and who the hunted was.
TVLINE | Another relationship, Emily and Paige’s, was left hanging. Will there be any resolution?
The last we saw the girls, they were on their way to Philadelphia to see Ali, and they don’t make it back to Rosewood in the finale. So those emotional stories involving the girls’ boyfriends and girlfriends are put on hold for a bit.
TVLINE | Does that mean the girls will see Noel in Philly as well?
Well, even though the girls are in Philadelphia, Alison does recount a lot about what happened the night she went missing and that story is told in Rosewood. So he could be in either place.
TVLINE | I understand Melissa appears in the finale. Will that be in a flashback or present day?
Both! Melissa comes home from London [and she's in flashbacks.]
TVLINE | Speaking of people coming home, it was recently confirmed that Caleb will be back in Season 5. Was that a no-brainer for you?
Yes, we’re so happy to welcome him home. We were very sad about the loss of Ravenswood, but we always knew we wanted him back in our world if that show went away.
TVLINE | Any chance you’ll use PLL to answer some of the lingering questions from the Ravenswood finale?
We’re talking about that, yes. We haven’t gotten that far yet, but we’re certainly talking about taking advantage of that opportunity.
TVLINE | I imagine Caleb can’t just come back and say, ‘Hey guys, nothing happened in Ravenswood.’
Yeah, he comes back a very changed person. He lived 10 episodes of life-and-death stakes in Ravenswood, and he made some great friends there, too.
TVLINE | How might his return affect Hanna’s relationships with other guys like, say, Travis?
Well, I love Hanna and Caleb together, and I think their last moment in Ravenswood really summed up where they were at the time. It was so bittersweet, that lovely kiss. They knew they couldn’t be together then, but that was then.
TVLINE | The finale is episode 95. Has it sunk in that you’re about to hit 100?
Well, we’re breaking episode 100 right now. I’m going to write that one. We’re having a lot of fun with it, deciding which stories to hit and what to tell. It’s not a premiere or a finale, but we still want it to feel like a very special episode.
TVLINE | Can you say whether the Season 5 premiere picks up right where the finale ends?
Actually, I can. It’s very much a two-parter. The summer premiere feels like part of the finale. Both episodes are big and bold, and while our premieres usually are, they feel like the beginning of something, but the Season 5 premiere feels like a finale, we’re having so much fun with it.
TVLINE | Will any lives be hanging in the balance between episodes? Any possible deaths?
Yes… I think. You really don’t want to live in Rosewood. You’re not going to stick around for too long.
TVLINE | Speaking of sticking around, no ABC Family show has gone beyond five seasons. Do you have an idea in mind for how/when Pretty Little Liars might end?
We know the ending of the show, and it’s not in Season 5. I know the show does not end in Season 5, even though we don’t have a Season 6 pickup. The end of Season 5 definitely launches us into a Season 6. I think, as soon as they tell us [the end date], we will write to that. We know the ending and we’re prepared to get there, but we need a 12-episode notice to get there.
TVLINE | I’m sure they’d give you, like, six more seasons if you asked for them.
Well, we want to go out with the show maintaining its integrity and staying smart, and so far, we feel we’re still accomplishing that goal. When it feels like we’re not doing that anymore, that’s when I think it’ll be time to pull the plug.
Pretty Little Liars fans, let’s talk: Who do you think buried Ali’s body? Are you excited about Caleb’s return? Drop a comment with your thoughts on Marlene King’s latest teases below.Follow @AndySwift