Secrets are the main form of currency in Rosewood, which makes Pretty Little Liars creator Marlene King the richest woman in town. But I'm about to let you make like Scrooge McDuck and dive into a treasure trove of teasers she spilled to TheInsider.com!
From Ezria's rocky road to "A's" master plan, Marlene answered all my burning questions about season 3A, which wraps up on August 28 with a finale she calls TK!
TheInsider.com: You had a lot of balls in the air coming in to season three given the Mona reveal and needing to introduce a new "A" -- how did you prioritize the storytelling?
Marlene King: We worked backwards -- I started thinking about what season three would be, and how we would recreate "A" before we gave up Mona as "A." Unless we had a plan in place for that, we couldn't pull it off. We started talking about this new, greater "A" -- and we got so excited. It was guns blazing. I know for a lot of shows, season three is the year to slow down, but for us, this is the season to show everyone what we're made of.
Insider.com: I think you did a great job introducing a new "A" without invalidating the Mona reveal -- how planned out is that portion of your story?
Marlene: There's a masterplan for "A" that would carry us through six seasons -- Mona is the foundation for that plan and each season we will add a layer to that. As exciting as it was for us to reveal Mona as "A," we're even more excited about where this "A" Train is going.
Insider.com: Does the "A" Train function as a team, or are there times when the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing?
Marlene: I can't answer that ... I feel like it might give something away. But I will say, by the end of season three, there will be another fun twist that will be very satisfying to viewers in terms of the "A" storyline.
Insider.com: This year's big mystery has been about "That Night" and what happened to Emily. What's your timetable for revealing that in full?
Marlene: Most of what happened that night will be discovered by the end of the summer season. There are a few pieces from that night you won't find out until we come back in the winter with season 3B.
Insider.com: Is there a time jump between 3A and 3B?
Marlene: Unlike last year, this year's Halloween episode will not be a prequel. This year, the Halloween episode is a connective piece for the two seasons. You could watch it as a fun mini-movie, but we end 3A a few weeks before Halloween and come back with 3B a few weeks after Halloween.
Insider.com: Did that make it exponentially harder to script the special?
Marlene: Yes! [laughs] Last year, I had the luxury of writing it practically before the season began because it was a prequel. This year required a lot of special handling because it had to stay true to the current mythology to the show.
Insider.com: What made Adam Lambert a good fit for the Halloween episode?
Marlene: Everything! His look, who he is, the songs he sings (Cuckoo and Trespassing off his sophomore album) -- it feels like those songs are perfectly written for the Halloween episode of PLL. It was so much fun and great having him involved.
Insider.com: I feel like The PLLs have grown up a lot this season. They're older and wiser -- is that necessary since their foes will keep getting more intelligent as well?
Marlene: Absolutely. As these events have happened to them, it feels logical and realistic that they would become wiser and more mature and make better decisions than they did in season one. A lot of times it was their poor judgement that got them into trouble with "A" -- and this time, "A" has an agenda and is using them as opposed to the PLLs falling into an "A" trap.
Insider.com: Will the answers we get in the finale inform events from seasons one and two (Jason, Club NAT, Garrett, etc...)?
Marlene: Yes, absolutely. Especially talking about the big season finale. Everything comes together in such a beautiful way, it puts a smile on my face. It all comes back to The First Secret, which was last year's Halloween episode.
Insider.com: Which obviously had a lot to do with Mona and Jenna. How much will they play into this year's finale?
Marlene: With Mona in the asylum, it was great to have Jenna in the PLLs face as the current threat. But we will continue to see more and more of Mona throughout the season.
Insider.com: Last week Mona directed Hanna towards a Maya-centric website. What's going on there?
Marlene: The website really is a link for the PLLs to find out more about Maya and the events that happened around her death. It's going to open up the mythology of that night for the Pretty Little Liars.
Insider.com: Could a keen-eyed PLL fan figure out the password?
Marlene: I think some fans have already figured it out -- I've seen correct answers on Twitter.
Insider.com: I would imagine bringing a website into the equation means Caleb becomes integral once again.
Marlene: He does! Spencer enlists Caleb's help unbeknownst to Hanna in this search for the new "A" -- and although they're just friends, those two have amazing chemistry together. Behind the scenes, we were all blown away by it.
Insider.com: Working off what you just said, it's clear you want the audience to think the girls would ever steal one another's boyfriends. How important is that distinction?
Marlene: It's extremely important. The mystery and deliciousness is the icing on the cake, but the cake is the friendships these girls have. In the books, the girls never re-bonded after Ali's death. For us, it was important to reconnect them. At its core, Pretty Little Liars is a coming of age story about these four friends.
Insider.com: Fans were caught off guard by Ezra's sock drawer full of cash last week -- does that play into tonight's episode?
Marlene: It's definitely part of that story. Tonight's episode is going to be a fun episode for Ezria fans because you meet Ezra's mom and there are some surprises and secrets exposed in the episode that really illuminate a lot about his character -- and that rocks the foundation of their relationship as well.
Insider.com: Is there a sense that this is their comeuppance for Ezria since they have gotten off pretty easily in coming out of the couple closet?
Marlene: A bit, yes. There's definitely a lot of soap story they're going to be involved with in the remainder of 3A that's totally not related to "A" -- it's a personal story and really fun for those characters to see them stretch and grow in that relationship on a human level.
Insider.com: Looking at the final stretch of season 3A episodes, how would you tease them?
Marlene: I think they lay the groundwork very nicely for a huge culmination of these threads and mysteries to pull together towards the end of the season -- at the same time, there are shocking revelations along the way. People should always be prepared that no one is safe in Rosewood. No one is safe from "A" or safe from the dark underbelly of this town.
Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC Family.