After two years of texting, extortion, bitch-calling and both amazing and heinous high school fashion, ABC Family's "Pretty Little Liars" has revealed the identity of its gloved villain "A."
On Monday's Season 2 finale, nerd-turned-queen-bee Mona (Janel Parrish) donned A's signature black hoodie, stood in the doorway of A's horrifying lair and explained that she and "The A Team," her unknown number of fellow creepers, have been behind all of the torture and blackmail.
So how long has Parrish known her character's fate, how did the "Pretty Little Liars" cast react to the news, who's the Black Swan (Hint: not Mila Kunis) and what was with the multiple mentions of toffee?
How long have you known you were A?
Officially, I knew a week before we filmed the finale, which was very exciting. But obviously, I read the books and I knew that Mona was A in the books so I tried to squeeze out answers from the producers. But, you know, they kept everything very close to the vest and would give me answers like, "Could be?" or "As of now, yes, you are A, but things could change."
Was that the same time the rest of the cast found out?
Yes, we all found out at the table read. Everyone was very shocked and very excited.
Were there gasps?
Oh, yes. Lots of gasps. [Laughs.]
It was widely believed amongst a lot of "Pretty Little Liars" fans that the identity of A on the show would be different from A's identity in the book series. Did the cast believe the same thing?
Sure. But it was different, the way that they revealed it and the way that it ended. In the books, Mona dies that same night and obviously, I'm not done with the show yet and will be back with Season 3 for more explaining about everything. But, it was such a big thing in the books to change. We want to keep the books' fans happy, but we want to keep them on their toes as well. So I think that's what the writers have been accomplishing so far which is exciting. But there are definitely answers to come in Season 3.
Having read the books before and knowing that Mona dies, did that affect how you played the part? Did you have to do any pleading to keep your character on?
[Laughs.] I was terrified that they were going to kill me when I read the script and I saw that I fell off a cliff! And I was like, "Oh good ... this is my last episode!" But I kept reading and I saw that they saved me and that I'm alive and crazy. And that was nice. I was glad that they didn't kill me. But it's funny because I did speak to Marlene [King, the executive producer] in the pilot after I read the book where I died and I was like, "Marlene, are you going to kill me by pushing me off a cliff? Because if I die, I want to go out really well. Can it be like a gun fight or something? You know, something really cool, like she goes out in a blaze, because falling off a cliff and dying is kind of lame. I don't want that to be my death."
And in a black hoodie. That would just be tragic.
Yeah. It would be really sad for her to die that way. [Laughs.] But yeah. I'm glad they didn't kill me.
Do you know who the Black Swan is?
Yes. I do know who the Black Swan is.
Do you know how far into Season 3 the audience will find out?
Umm .... [long pause] I'm not sure. They have started writing Season 3, but I haven't read anything. I don't really know, I just know that Season 3 will be piecing together people's connections. So you'll find out more about how everything is connected.
And I noticed that there were two mentions of "toffee" in the finale: the ice cream Melissa took from Aria and the lipgloss that Mona wears. Does that have any significance?
I actually don't know. But I love that line ["I like this lipstick. What's it called? Toffee Tango?" as she sits in the interrogation room] because it shows how unhinged Mona is that she genuinely thinks she looks hot after everything. [Laughs.] She got pushed off a cliff and her hair is crazy and she's got bruises and dirt everywhere, but she genuinely thinks she still looks hot. There definitely could be a connection, but if there is, I don't 100 percent know.
Which do you like playing better: Queen Bee Mona, Nerdy Mona or Crazy Mona?
I'm going to miss playing Queen Bee Mona. I hope there are flashbacks in which I can do all of the above, especially the Dorky Mona scenes. I love them so much. They're so much fun and insightful. It just shows everyone's backstory and why they are the way that they are and everything. So I'm hoping for more flashbacks. I think they're important to the show. But I am looking forward to playing Crazy Mona. It's a new type of part for me. So it was a challenge and it was very, very fun.
It was really great when you re-enter A's lair and you could just see the crazy in Mona's eyes.
[Laughs.] Thank you so much. That's what I was going for.
So there were more surprises in the finale. Were you surprised to see Dr. Sullivan come back in the end?
No, I was hoping she'd come back. I love [Annabeth Gish] so much as an actress and I think she is so great on the show. So I was really, really pleased to see she was coming back.
And yesterday, when Lucy, Troian and Shay were on "Good Morning America," they said that there is one liar that A admires more than anyone else, and one liar that A hates more than anyone else.
She definitely admires Spencer. She wants her to join her team. And obviously, when Mona doesn't get her way, she just flips out and is like an enraged animal. And as far as the person she hates the most, you probably find out more about that in Season 3.
I'm thinking Hanna. When do you guys start shooting Season 3?
We start up again the first week of April. I'm really excited. You know, we've become like a family working together everyday for two years, and when you don't see each other for a few months, you get withdrawal.
Fans: Were you surprised about A's identity? What other reveals are you looking forward to in Season 3?