When we last saw the “Pretty Little Liars,” Hanna had just been hit by a car, Toby had just been arrested, and everyone was dying to know A’s identity. Monday, January 3, the hit teen drama returns on ABC Family. In the second half of the season, there will be even more drama, mystery, romance and bitchery. In exclusive interviews, the show’s Executive Producers, Oliver Goldstick and Marlene King, gave us the scoop on all of the major characters.
A Tries To Tear The Girls Apart
King ominously warns, “A is always there in a threatening manner, always looming overhead, that sort of cloud of darkness.” Goldstick adds, “There’s a line in the second episode of the season, where Aria looks at Spencer and says, ‘I don’t even know what A wants anymore. You know what happens when you put four lobsters in a tank and you take away their food? They start to eat each other.’ It’s very much what A is after this season because last season A threw some things into motion trying to destroy these friendships that were being rekindled and on the contrary, ironically, it ended up bringing them together. But this season, A is really trying to cut off all support networks these girls have except for each other, and then A can turn them on each other.”
Aria Learns Who A Is — And Faces Competition for Mr. Fitz
Artsy Aria (Lucy Hale) will be the first to learn who A is. According to Goldstick, “The identity of A is revealed in these early episodes. It’s kind of a shocker. Of course we want a surprise, so we can’t tell you. But it impacts Aria’s life in a big way. Let’s just put it this way: it’s the last person she would have expected to be tormenting her and her friends.” Aria’s secret romance with Ezra continues to be rocky. Says Goldstick, “Simone is Aria’s old babysitter, her former babysitter, now living in New York and proves to be a bit of a threat to her relationship with her teacher slash boyfriend.”
Emily Meets A New Girl
At the end of the last season, Emily’s (Shay Mitchell) soldier father returned home, ratcheting up the pressure on the so far closeted teen. “This cycle of episodes Emily has a really amazing and intense storyline of coming to terms with her sexuality and dealing with her parents in that regard and a lot of growth as a character… We feel a huge responsibility to stay true to that character, to stay true to the choices that character has made, and not have her flip flop back and forth between I’m gay/I’m not,” shares King. “Her mother Pam, does find out that Emily is, as she says, ‘experimenting’ with her sexuality and has a very difficult time with it. I think it’s very truthful and very honest and hopefully very relatable for people who may find themselves in that position.” According to Goldstick, Emily is dealing with romantic, as well as family, angst. “Poor Emily is also going to be on a bumpy road with romance because her relationship with Maya is thrown into real peril early on in the season. Emily throws herself back into swimming with full force and ends up developing an odd relationship with [Paige], one of her rivals on the swim team. She’s… dealing with some issues of her own. Her rivalry with Emily also takes some interesting turns. Paige is [played by] Lindsay Shaw. She and Emily are neck and neck – no pun intended- in the water, vying for captain of the team.”
Watch The PLL’s Discuss Their Holiday Traditions:
Hanna Bonds With A Bad Boy
Hanna (Ashley Benson) ended last season unconscious. A leaked photo from the PLL set showed Alison, dressed like a candy striper, standing next to a hospitalized Hanna. Goldstick offered a little context. “Hanna’s taken a lot of pain pills. That’s all I can tell you. Just remember she was just hit by a car. She has a lot of medication in her body. That can contribute to visions, as you know.” Hanna will evidently recover and meet a hot new guy. Goldstick reveals, “Caleb is sort of a sketchy character who no one really knows. He’s marginal. He’s sort of a bad boy, sort of a Christian Slater [in] ‘Heathers’ kind of guy who Hanna ends up bonding with in a very interesting way. It’s sort of an adversarial relationship at the beginning because everything she dislikes in herself she sees in him but ultimately he’s a very, very attractive kid. He’s [played by] Tyler Blackburn. I hate to bring up other people, but he has kind of a Johnny Depp quality to him and I think he’s going to pop big time. He really becomes very involved, very entwined in Hanna’s life. Without giving away too much, this is a potential love interest for her this season.”
Spencer Forges an Unlikely Alliance With Toby
Says King, “There’s a lot of personal drama in the house of Hastings this next group of episodes. There’s so much going on both personally and mystery wise.” Goldstick reveals that Spencer (Troian Bellasario) will bond with a former enemy. “Spencer makes the most interesting alliance probably of them all this year because the person who she vilified, Toby Cavanaugh, she gets to know him under very strange circumstances… and that relationship really turns her life inside out. Toby Cavanaugh, as you know, was arrested at the end of the season, and they found blood on his sweater, Alison’s blood, and he also saw her the night of her disappearance/death. So he is a prime suspect. He is arrested. He is being charged and Spencer Hastings, who was the first to want to chase him out of town with a torch, actually gets to know him.”
Ashley’s Decision to Steal Comes Back To Haunt Her
No mother on television will go farther to protect her child than Ashley (Laura Leighton). Last season, she slept with a cop to keep Hanna from being charged with shoplifting, then stole money from the bank where she works when she had trouble paying her bills. King previews, “Will she get found out, or will she not, is the big question of this back twelve.” Says Goldstick, “It was a move of desperation on her mother’s part that came from a place of wanting to protect her child but it’s ultimately going to put her child in grave peril because, let’s just put it this way, other people would know about that stolen money and that loot. Hanna’s going to rue the day her mother made that valiant effort to save them.”
Tell us: Are you excited to discover A’s true identity?