Warning: This interview spoils Episode 2 of the new Pretty Little Liars, now streaming on HBO Max.
History repeats itself in the second hour of Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, as another Millwood High School student falls to her untimely death. This time, however, we already know the backstory.
Allow me to set the scene: Upon removing herself from the running for Spirit Queen, Karen intends to pull a classic Carrie by dropping a bucket of “pig’s blood” on Imogen during her crowning moment. Only Karen never gets to see her plan come to fruition, because “A” chokes her out in the rafters and drops her corpse onto the dance floor below. Talk about a school spirit, eh? … What, too soon?
It’s a gruesome sight, one made all the more horrific when Karen’s twin Kelly comes upon the body. It’s also a moment that feels destined to become iconic for fans of this new series, all of which was apparent to actress Mallory Bechtel, who plays both the victim and her far-kinder sister.
“It was the first thing that we did, and it was the second day on set,” Bechtel tells TVLine of filming her character’s big death scene. “I was terrified, because I knew I had to run up as Kelly. That’s what I was really nervous for. It was so early in the process. The characters hadn’t been lived in. But honestly, I was glad. It was like ripping the Band-Aid off with this crazy, chaotic moment. Everything else after that felt like a breeze.”
While Bechtel filmed as Kelly, “they had a background person and they put her in a wig, and I’m just holding the body of this girl,” she recalls. “I wanted to be nice and talk to her, but I also needed to really stay in the moment. So it was totally bizarre, so weird. But once it was my turn to lay on the floor [as Karen], covered in blood and just holding my eyes open, that was quite fun. Everybody was there watching. You feel very special when you’re the one on the floor.”
Now, let’s quickly recap what brings Karen to this gruesome conclusion: For starters, we learn that Kelly is responsible for relaying the misinformation about Imogen and Greg’s kiss to her sister. So… thanks a lot, Kelly. We also learn that some dude took an unflattering video of Karen during that very same party, and that Imogen has been in possession of the guy’s phone ever since. To get back at Karen for allegedly mocking them after landing them in detention, the Liars screen the embarrassing footage in front of a decent chunk of the student body. Now Karen’s reputation is stained, Tabby’s hot boss is furious and everyone knows Greg has a tiny penis.
A guilty Imogen tries to patch things up with Karen during a late-night meeting in the cemetery (totally normal!), but it doesn’t go as planned. Imogen then tries to apologize when she sees Karen at the dance… but we all know how that goes.
But if you’re a true Pretty Little Liars fan, or if you just happened to pay close attention to this episode, there’s a good chance you’re wondering which twin really fell from those rafters. After all, Kelly posed as Karen during her meeting with the principal, so who’s to say they didn’t pull another switcheroo at the dance? It’s a lot to consider, but given this franchise’s obsession with twins, it’s worth doing so.
If you feel like sleuthing, Bechtel says there are a few ways you can tell Karen and Kelly apart: “There are so many things people may notice or not. The little things add up to make them feel like two separate distinguished people. Karen always wears a heel, and she shows more skin than Kelly, who dresses more conservatively, which affects the way I stand. Their voices are are also just a little different. It’s those tiny things that remind me who I am in each scene.”
Your thoughts on this series of unfortunate events? Drop a comment with your thoughts on Episode 2 below.