[WARNING: The following article contains spoilers from Tuesday's Pretty Little Liars. Read at your own risk!]
The majority of Pretty Little Liars' noir episode may have been in a dream-like state, but it still led Spencer to a major hint — Ezra Fitz is on to her.
As a result of some heavy pill-popping from Spencer (Troian Bellisario), she, Aria (Lucy Hale), Emily (Shay Mitchell) and Hanna (Ashley Benson) were transformed into a black-and-white noir film. In the film, like present day, they're trying to figure who Alison (Sasha Pieterse) is deathly afraid of and if that's the same A that's tormenting them. With the help of Toby (Keegan Allen), Spencer wakes up to realize that the journal she and her friends found has been altered, likely by Ezra (Ian Harding), to steer them in another direction.
Deconstructing Pretty Little Liars' dark noir episode with director Joseph Dougherty
But although Spencer, Hanna and Emily realize that Ezra is proving to be more and more guilty, they still have one major obstacle: They have yet to tell Aria of their discovery. Even worse? In the final moments of the hour, the trio saw a rekindling between the former pair.
So where do the girls go from here? Will they ever break the news to Aria? And when will Alison resurface? Executive producer Joseph Dougherty, who also wrote and directed the episode, answers some burning questions.
Spencer has a major pill problem. Will that come to a head?
Joseph Dougherty: It's [at] the core of Spencer's story as we approach the finale. It affects her ability to function and, more dangerously, it affects her credibility with the other girls.
Toby had been pretty absent prior to this episode? Are he and Spencer still going strong?
Dougherty: They're still a very solid couple, but what you see in the black-and-white episode is Spencer being concerned that they're still keeping secrets from each other and that this is something they still need to process. They're both not asking the other certain questions and that usually doesn't work in relationships. It usually comes to a head when one says, "There's something you're not telling me." They love each other, but I don't know that they think each one is telling the truth.
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Emily and Paige (Lindsey Shaw) were back in the closet. Is that the reason you gave them the sexiest scene in the episode and perhaps of the season?
Dougherty: It really was [because] these two people would not have had the opportunities or the ability to be as open with each other as they are now. Not that it's easy to be out or different in any way shape or form [today], but [we wanted] to show people watching that it really used to be a lot different and it was harder. And it was just wicked pleasure to take romantic conventions for two characters that were never used like that and give it to Emily and Paige. Their scene is very sexy, it's also incredibly romantic, but it was a great discussion of how much the curtain should blow. There's also a quite a bit of fan feelings that sometimes we don't get to see Paige and Emily as physical as some of the other couples [so] I was really proud of that scene.
So what happens now that the girls have this clue and will they ever tell Aria?
Dougherty: What happens on the other side of the black-and-white episode is an increasing tempo from episode to episode as these revelations break over the girls. Certainly there is no way this is going to be kept from Aria. It's just a question of how she's going to find out, what she's going to find out and how she's going to react. We didn't say it frivolously when we said it was the season of answers so you'll come away from the end with a tremendous amount of information. But each answer can raise two more questions so we still have a lot of story to tell and mystery to solve. In general, you need to be cautious when you think you've figured out someone's motive for doing anything.
Pretty Little Liars airs on Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC Family. What did you think of the noir episode?