[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the Pretty Little Liars summer finale]
Say it aint so, Ezra!
Tuesday's Pretty Little Liars finale dopped a major bomb: that Aria's lovable teacher-turned-ex-boyfriend is none other than "A." Although PLL loves a good red herring, at the moment all signs point to EzrA. After all, it isn't really too much of a stretch that the teacher who dates his high school student isn't the most standup guy, right?
So is "Z" really "A"? TVGuide.com spoke to Ian Harding about the big reveal and what this means for Ezria.
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Fans are a little skeptical that this is another red herring situation like Toby.
Ian Harding: What is the red herring deterring people away from? I mean, if it's, "Oh, is Ezra "A"?" I don't know yet. He could be. But there's definitely some shady dealings. We're not gonna get back to either the Halloween episode or the first episode back in 4B and ... be me coming into Aria's room saying like, "Hey, I got lost in Ravenswood and found that apartment. What was that?" It's not going to be a one-off sort of thing. So it's going to be a different arc for Ezra this year.
He looked a little surprised at the end. Is it possible he was just following Aria to help her?
Harding: It's totally possible.
When did you learn that Ezra was going to be suspected of being involved with the A Team?
Harding: I found out he was going to take this sudden, very swift character shift in February because there was this other thing that came up. And we had to ask ABC Family, "Oh, can we make it work scheduling wise?" and [showrunnerI. Marlene King] basically came out and said, "Hey, actually the reason we need you here is because there's going to be a big, big change in Ezra's storyline. So she told me then sort of a vague idea of what was going to happen. So I said, "Great. That's amazing. Let's do that."
What was your reaction to the change in character?
Harding: I was super excited because I know a lot of the fans want Aria and Ezra to be together and be happy. But that makes for really boring television as well as boring acting choices. So, I was excited where it could go, because also I really trust and love the writers. They were able to not take it someplace really tacky, and I have faith that they're going to justify it in a way that it's not, "Oh man, he's evil!" or "He's crazy!" Because that sounds like a really stupid idea.
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Are we going to see more of Ezra's dark side going forward?
Harding: I mean, certainly a different side. He's not a sociopath. I don't think we're going to see Ezra covered in blood at any point. I think that we're going to see a side of him that is morally compromised, certainly, but I'm not going to be firing bows and arrows at Emily anytime soon. Of course, I say this now and I'm going to get the script for the next episode and maybe I do that. I don't know. But that's my sort of take on it.
Lucy Hale recently told us that Ezra was Aria's true love. How will this affect their relationship?
Harding: Oh, did she now? I think their relationship is going to be a fun one to watch. Because their whole dynamic for the past couple seasons has been Ezra kind of in the dark about everything that was going on in her life. Now, that's completely switched, because in whatever form their relationship takes from here on out, we are all going to know that Ezra has a secret that Aria is not aware of. So, that's going to be the interesting thing there. I do think they love each other. I do think he is in love with her, but something else is driving him and I'm just as excited as the fans to see what that thing is.
Aria and Ezra kissed! So are they back together?
Harding: I don't know. I think maybe kissing in middle school means you're back together, but in adult life that means only so much. There's obviously still love there. There's still something there, but the situation is strained now. They were apart and Ezra's dealing with — apart from some shady dealings — he's really destroyed by the fact that this child he thought was his son is not. So I don't think he's hot to trot, like, "Oh, yay. Just as it was before."
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Do you think it's surprising how few people suspected Ezra was "A"?
Harding: A little bit. ... Because Ezra has been such a good guy, they didn't really think anything would go awry with him. And now that it has, I think people are pretty shocked. I guess, it would make sense: Things started happening when I got there. But then again, I'm not really shocked by anything on this show. When they told me I was like, "Oh, cool. Yeah. I can see that happening." It'd be weird if we found out that he's actually a shape-shifter or something like that.
Is there anything you can tease about the Halloween special?
Harding: I can definitely say that I'm in it. I'm going to be in the area of Ravenswood. To what extent, I can't really say, and I really don't wanna say because I'm really happy with the Halloween episode. It's going to read more of the thriller, and actually, some parts are downright scary. Some parts are horror film-esque. There are two particular scenes that I saw in the dailies and they looked pretty damn creepy. And Ravenswood is just naturally creepy anyways, so it's gonna be a nutty time.
Pretty Little Liars returns for a Halloween special on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 8/7c on ABC Family. Watch a promo for it below.