The Pretty Little Liars may not have a clue as to who "A" really is, but series executive-producer Marlene King knows all. So while we wait for Ezra and Aria to embark on their first real date tonight (8/7c, ABC Family), we're gonna wrap up our chat with King about what's coming up and who might not make it to the season finale.
"Poor Toby," No More?
Time to cheer, Toby fans! "I love writing for the character of Toby," says King, pointing out that "as of right now, he is the only character who's never lied to anyone. He has been 100% truthful up to this point. I just love that, in the world of Pretty Little Liars, we have one character who so far has only spoken the truth." And paid dearly for it. But in the upcoming episodes, Keegan Allen's wrongfully arrested, widely ostracized broody alter ego will finally get a break. "We bring him some joy. And it was really fun to get to watch his character finally find some happiness."
The Finale Went Off With a Hitch
"I will tell you that we've never done anything like this before on the show," teases King of the just-wrapped first-season closer. "It's really fun. It sort of pays homage to a very famous Hitchcock film. We were talking in the writers' room that we should try to do that for every finale, so we'll see if we can pull that off." Without ruining anything, we can tell you that the finale features what King considers "a full-circle moment" that ties back to Alison's funeral in the pilot. "As this season comes to a close, 'A' — whether it was intentional or not — has brought the four Pretty Little Liars closer than they've ever been. They really end up united in a way that they've never been before. They leave this season as four very strongly connected friends." Hmm. Hitchcock and bestie bonding? Start your guessing now, film buffs (we're already ruling out Psycho).
Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Start Reading Sara Shepard's Books...
While King assures us that the show is now at "a place where we have departed from the books," there are a few tidbits you might not want to hear about in the next few sentences. So SPOILER ALERT! "In the books, the girls really didn't reconnect — they had grown so different over the course of the year Alison went missing — that they never really bonded again as a group in the way that we're doing it on the show. That was just a conscious decision we made," says King, who's still debating how to handle the PLL novels' biggest shocker: the existence of two "A"s. "I think Sara did an amazing job of creating the second 'A.' And we've always felt like we want our 'A' to stay our 'A' for as long as humanly possible. And if the fans get to the point where they're like, "give up 'A' already!" then we can hopefully follow what Sara did, which was bring in a second very believable 'A.' But we love this 'A.' We love what this 'A' is doing. We want to stick with their face as long as possible." [Note that no gender was assigned to "A," either. Interesting.]
Hi, My Name is "A". NOT!
King warns us not to expect the main reveal by the finale. "I think we'll answer a big mystery question at the end of the first season, but it's not gonna be 'Who is A?'" However, she does promise a new head-scratcher that sounds just as juicy to hold us over until the second season. "By the time the finale rolls around, yes, there will be something that will sort of become the new 'Jenna thing' for us."
Living Dead Girl Walking?
"I love that idea!" laughs King of the theory that Alison isn't six-feet-under after all. So will the girls start to suspect that their frenemy is still with us? "It's not gonna be in this season, but I love the idea of playing with that and starting to sort of lay that in there next season."
And Finally, Does Everyone Make it Out of Season 1 Alive?
Don't count on it, kids. "We kind of have in our minds one death per season is allowed," explains King. "And since there hasn't been a death yet in this season, you may expect one."
So who do you think it might be? And what do you say about Toby finally finding some happiness? Think Alison is really alive? Share your thoughts below, you pretty little readers!
Subscribe to TV Guide Magazine now!