'Pretty Little Liars' post-mortem: Marlene King on Ezra's fate, Mr. DiLaurentis, who's in the box, and all things season 5

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Image Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC Family

Tuesday night’s Pretty Little Liars finale left fans speechless. With two lives hanging in the balance after a brutal attack by “A” — and maybe someone else? — there are more questions than ever before. But the good news is that Ali is back in the game. So where do we go from here?

We caught up with PLL showrunner Marlene King to talk about that gunshot, our suspect list, and everything else we could think of about season 5:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We have to start with Ezra! What can you tell me about his fate?
MARLENE KING: Well in about a week we’re returning to work, and I hope fans will breathe a sigh of relief when they see that a certain somebody is back shooting with us.

Last night, I was really analyzing the hooded figure attacking the girls. How much can viewers read into the physical appearance of that person?
That’s a really good question. I would try to not read that much into it, but I think Hanna pointed it out that there was some athletic ability to that person, and when she said, “That’s definitely not your mom,” I think we can read at least that into it. That wasn’t Mrs. D jumping from one roof top to another. As much as Andrea Parker probably could do that — she is a pretty little hottie! [Laughs]

Was the person who hit Ali over the head in the flashback the same person that was dragging Mrs. D at the end of the episode?
Well, time will tell. That’s the new question. What I loved about last night’s episode is we did get so many answers and it shifts things to new questions, and now that is the question that everybody’s asking this morning, and that’s the question we’ll explore when we go back.

Is that person definitely “A”?
It’s not necessarily, because that’s the last scene, and it feels like we just saw “A” jump off the rooftop and then boom, this happens. Timeline-wise, we went to black for a split second so we could suggest that maybe it’s simultaneous, [or] maybe it happens later in the night that Mrs. D is dragged to that grave. All new questions for us to ask.

So are we then working under the theory that “A” is one person or is there still the possibility that there’s a team?
I’ll use Ali’s words: “Wait for it. Wait for it.” She’s so mean to Spencer. Spencer’s like, “Did I kill you?” And she’s like, “Wait for it. Wait for it.” [Laughs] There’s still a little bit of old Ali.

I know! Ali said, “I know I treated people badly,” and I was like, “You’re doing it right now!”
Totally. But she’s better at it now, even better, which is so scary.

What can you say about Mrs. D being dead? Is it a sure thing?
Again I gotta say, “Wait for it. Wait for it.” Last night when I saw Ryan Merriman who plays Ian, he was like, “I can’t believe I’m here. I died in season 2 and I’m here in New York with you guys.” And I’m like, “See nobody ever really dies on this show.”

Speaking of Ian being alive, is there potential for us to see him in season 5?
You never know. He hopes so.

The big question that Ali is asking herself and fans are now asking is, “How could Mrs. D bury her own daughter?” What can you say about what must have been going through her mind in order to do that?
I think if you go back and you watch that scene, she was just tortured to do it. You watch her and there was just absolute misery on her face, so there’s definitely a lot more to that story that we’re going to dive into.

Help me wrap my head around this “A” timeline. In our world, Mona was “A” in season 1, so was Mona the person Ali was running from in this flashback?
It seems that way, right? The arrow is pointed to Mona as Original “A.”

So is everyone Ali crossed off the suspect list in the flashback still a suspect now that it’s a new A?
Well, I think for the girls though, I think Mona always stays a suspect. As Original “A,” as that person who tortured Alison and the girls and hit Hanna with a car. I think she always stays a suspect.

Melissa seems to have some pivotal knowledge about “A,” but CeCe claimed to know the same thing. When are we going to get the N.A.T. Club side of this evening?
I think it’s going to come out over the course of the series. It’s definitely a very important part of what happened the night Ali went missing. All those people have been brought together for a reason. There are things on those videos that have not come out yet.

Can you say if Melissa and CeCe are correct in whomever they’re thinking of?
One of them is correct, the other one might be a little shady. One of them might have been lying, and one of them might have been telling the truth.

Was the Spencer memory we got a few episodes back where she remembered hitting someone with the shovel – was that a false memory induced by drugs?
Yes, she was projecting what her greatest fears were. And she came close, she really came close. You saw the scene last night. Ali sort of confirmed half of what Spencer had thought in her mind. They had a confrontation, she had the shovel, but she didn’t hit her. But she did walk away with that shovel last night. I watched that scene with Troian, she was like, “Damn you made me drag that shovel.” I’m like, “It’s for a reason!”

Getting back to Melissa’s return, was bringing Melissa home the sole purpose of Toby’s trip to London?
That’s definitely going to come out – where Toby went and what he did and what his involvement with her and possibly somebody else in London will come out in season 5A. That’s a little bit of a mystery that we’re going to have some fun with.

Have we seen the last of the Toby’s mom’s story?
No.

In all of my theories that I managed to come up with last night, they all tied into that.
Yeah, there’s definitely another layer to that story that we’re going to explore.

I’ve seen a lot of people talking about Mr. D. Do we know anything about Ali’s father?
We met him once. There was an episode where Hanna remembered, it was the Ouija board episode where Hanna had thought she saw Ali – and in hindsight, she probably did, now that we know Ali was sort of stalking the girls and dipping in and out of Rosewood – and she called Mrs. D and she said, “I think Ali’s alive.” In that episode, we meet her father, who’s with Jason, and he just berates her for giving the mother that false hope. That’s the only time we met him, but we’re going to see a lot more of him in season 5A.

Paige was missing last night, but we got the Paily breakup last week. Now that Ali’s back, what can you tell us about Emily’s romantic future?
Well, it’s definitely going to be a storyline that we explore. It really has always been Paige’s biggest fear, competing with Alison, and now Alison’s alive and Alison’s back, and we left these two already in such a vulnerable place. I love that storyline moving forward. I think fans are going to embrace it. It’s a beautiful storyline.

We found Noel last night and he’s apparently a friend of Ali. Are we going to get more on why he cares so much?
Yes, eventually.

What about Wren? Is he popping up in season 5?
Not yet. That actor, we love him so much, and we keep him alive in the story, but he’s been unavailable to us because he’s such a busy guy working on so many great things. When we can grab him, we pull him back, and we constantly keep that character alive with dialogue because we love him so much.

Will Melissa be sticking around?
Yes! Right now she’s available to us, so yes. We love her, too! Everybody loves to see Melissa.

Last time we spoke, we talked a little bit about Caleb coming back and causing trouble for Travis and Hanna, but in general, what’s in store for Caleb now that he’s returned?
Well, he’s definitely coming back a changed person. He’s been living this sort of life and death, these extremes in Ravenswood, having these encounters with Miranda who he thought he could save. Caleb’s a fixer; he’s a saver, and he couldn’t save the person he promised Hanna he would save, so he comes back a little damaged. And we might find out that Hanna’s a little damaged when Ali returns, so they’re both in a very vulnerable position together.

So is Ali more or less back for good now?
For now she is, yes she is.

Will she be in school, or is she still in hiding?
The premiere will answer that question. It will be a two-parter.

Will we be seeing some of Jenna?
Yes, we will! She was Ali’s first nemesis, so now that Ali’s back, you have to see a little Jenna.

And last time we talked, you mentioned getting more on who killed Wilden next season?
We definitely address it.

If season 4 was the season of answers, what’s your label for season 5?
I think it’s the season of intrigue. It’s the word that pops into my mind. We already have three scripts, and we haven’t shot any of them yet, and it really is about this Ali dynamic. And I’m so intrigued to see how it plays out. It was so much fun to film that finale and just to see the girls in that room with Alison. We hadn’t had that since the pilot. They had not all been together since the pilot in a real way that wasn’t a flashback or a dream sequence. It was magical; we all were just so excited by the chemistry they had. So I think we’re excited and really intrigued to see this new PLL. She is a new PLL.

What I loved about last night was that I felt, both on the “A” side and on the Liars side, people were taking action. Hanna picked up the gun, shots were fired, they were screaming at “A” to take off the mask – all things they wouldn’t have done a few seasons ago.
Absolutely.

Have they reached the ends of their ropes? Are they going to continue to fight back?
I think they have earned the right to fight back. They don’t want to be bullied by “A.” They have become empowered, these girls, over the years. They take turns spiraling, and then they pick themselves up and they get even stronger. I think of Emily and how, in the beginning, she was a follower and now she’s such a leader. Watching these girls grow, I think, is really the spine of what this show is.

Will we figure out who’s in Ali’s grave in season 5?
Yes, you will find out this summer who is in the box.

There are still all these different versions of a twin theory going around. What do you want to say to those fans?
Well, we stoke that fire all the time. I’m the person who put two little people into red coats with matching blond hair and put a twin poster in Ali’s bedroom. It’s such an important part of the book mythology, and we like to keep that storyline alive. We’ll see if it ever comes to be.

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