[WARNING: The following story contains spoilers from Tuesday's Pretty Little Liars finale. Read at your own risk.]
Pretty Little Liars star Janel Parrish has had to play a lot of versions of Mona Vanderwaal: Nerd, Queen Bee, mental patient and much more. But on Tuesday, fans were shocked — and downright sad — when played her latest role: A's newest victim.
After Hanna (Ashley Benson), Spencer (Troian Bellisario), Emily (Shay Mitchell) and Aria (Lucy Hale) finally realized Alison (Sasha Pieterse) was the same manipulative schemer she'd always been, it was Mona who ultimately put the final piece together, uncovering proof that Alison was "A." But after five seasons, Mona's smarts and quick-thinking skills did her no good as a faceless blonde — presumably Alison — shut her up for good.
But don't start crying for Parrish just yet! The actress says she's most certainly still on the show, just in a new way. Find out when you'll see Mona next and who Parrish believes killed her.
Mona is dead! What's the response been overnight?
Janel Parrish: I hate to say this but I'm pleased everyone is so sad I died. I was like, "Aw, they love me." In the last few episodes people were not liking Mona and I got tweets like, "You bi---, stop being so mean to Alison," but in this last episode she redeemed herself. There was a bit of a twist and people started realizing Alison might not be who she appeared to be and Mona might be one of the good guys. The girls decided to trust her, and, in that, the fans started to trust her. She comes through and then she dies and it's so sad. I'm glad people are shocked and sad about it.
How are you feeling about Mona dying?
Parrish: I'm sad, but it's not over for me. I'm still going to be on the show, just in a different way with flashbacks. I think fans will get a lot of answers and a lot more of her back story. I'm hoping the flashbacks will take people on a journey into Mona world and that you'll see all the things she's been doing. It's going to be insightful. I've [already shot] a few episodes where I'm back. In the Christmas episode I'm the Ghost off Christmas Past, Present and Future.
When did you find out?
Parrish: [Marlene King] called me before we had the table read to tell me it was in the script, but to not worry. I was still part of the PLL family and I still had a job. I said, "OK I trust you, do what you want with my character. I'm just happy to still be here."
Despite the blonde hair, we didn't see the killer's face. Do you know who killed Mona?
Parrish: I am just as in the dark as the viewers are. They were talking about my death for a year, but I didn't hear about it until the day before the table read! So, the writers are good at keeping it close to the vest. But as far as what I think, I think it's Alison. It makes sense, she had blonde hair and it'll make for a really good story.
Looking back, if you could change one move Mona made, what would it be?
Parrish: Maybe building an army when Alison came back was a bit of a mess-up because that was very publicly in opposition against Alison. Had she played her cards closer to the chest and silently did recon on her own and then find a way to use it against Alison, she might not be dead right now.
What's your favorite Mona moment?
Parrish: The first time you see Mona in the hoodie. It was a challenge because it was a big moment for me and it's the first time you see A with a face — it held so much weight to it. It was a fun scene to film. Troian and I were exhausted, but we knew it was a big scene. Also, all the [scenes] where Mona was in Radley because it was creepy and so much fun.
Are you happy Mona at least figured everything out before she died?
Parrish: It was how I'd want Mona to go out. It was a crazy fight to the death, and I'm proud of Mona. She put up a really good fight.
What did you think of the Pretty Little Liars finale?