Emily Fields has been "Pretty Little Liars'" biggest target on the hit ABC Family drama. But after defending herself to the point of killing someone else when the first half of Season 3 ended, it looks like we'll see a whole new Emily when "Pretty Little Liars" returns (Tuesday, January 8 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC Family).
Shay Mitchell, the actress who plays Emily, spoke with HuffPost TV via phone to chat about the rest of Season 3. She opened up about Mona's return to Rosewood, the future of Emily and Paige, her reaction to Toby being a member of the "A" Team and an "epic" "Pretty Little Liars" Season 3 finale.
"The second half of Season 3 really does kick things up a notch and that's crazy for me to say because every season has been mad ... People will definitely not be disappointed ... If anything, it only gets crazier and more intense," Mitchell told HuffPost TV. "The stakes are higher for each of the girls because they're kind of reaching their breaking points and maybe one of them does."
Read on for more with Mitchell about all things Emily and "Pretty Little Liars" below.
Mona [Janel Parrish] is out of Radley now and back at Rosewood. What effect is that going to have on the girls?
It's kind of an interesting thing because, of course, they didn't expect to see her back so soon. But when Mona comes back to Rosewood it's kind of like Mona 2.0. She's completely different than the old Mona the girls are used to, but they're kind of like, "Can we trust her now? Can we not? Is she cured? Is she OK? Is this another part of the plan?" So basically, the girls are just kind of wondering if she's for real and what she has up her sleeve.
How is Emily coping with having shot Nate [Lyndon James]?
All of the girls in the second half of Season 3 are dealing with their own issues. Of course, for Emily, it has to do with the aftermath of the whole Nate situation. I think at the beginning, people seem to think that she's OK, but towards the end, you see Emily dealing with it in her own way, which might be different than how the average person would. I think the girls have dealt with so much, especially with everything "A" has thrown at them -- so as much as I can say that she's had a little bit more experience with death, this is still just as hard because it really had to do with her and Nate and her trusting him. She's going to be dealing with it in a different kind of way than we've seen.
Nate was a big factor in Emily's relationship with Paige [Lindsey Shaw] so how are things between them now that he's gone?
I love Emily and Paige's relationship. I know that there are still a lot of Emaya founds out there that are hoping that she comes back from the dead. [Laughs.] But I really do like their relationship and I feel like Paige has genuinely always been there for Emily and is kind of that good support outside of Emily's friends ... She swoops in to help Emily after the whole situation with Nate so it'll be interesting to see what happens with them relationship-wise.
So you want it to last?
I do! Maybe I'm just being selfish because I love working with Lindsey Shaw, but I do love their relationship and I think it's very special. They understand each other on a different level.
With Paige coming to the rescue in the Halloween episode, it kind of squashed viewers' suspicions that she was part of the "A" Team and maybe the rest of the liars' suspicions too. Will we see her getting along better with Hanna [Ashley Benson], Aria [Lucy Hale] and Spencer [Troian Bellisario] in the rest of Season 3?
I think so. I think Paige has always been an interesting character in terms of her relationship with the girls. It's sort of been a roller coaster ride. At some points, they think she's good and at others, they think that she's bad. I don't know if they will ever completely trust her because it's hard to trust anybody in Rosewood. But I think that they'll slowly learn that Paige is good for Emily and has her best interest at heart.
So hopefully it's not Paige, but will we learn the identities of the other members of the "A" Team in the second half of Season 3?
I think we will learn that there are some other people involved, as we had suspected. I also think that a couple characters that we had been slowly getting to know a little bit more, may be leaving Rosewood sooner rather than later. We could be getting close to learning a little bit more about one character, but not too much before they disappear.
Is there anyone you want to be on the "A" Team. I know Ashley Benson has her hopes on Hanna.
Yeah, of course. I think all of us girls are being selfish and we're like, "We wanna be 'A'!" Because how much fun would that be? But I personally do think that if it was going to be one of the girls, it should be Emily because she's the sweetest of the bunch and I don't think anybody would suspect it! So I'm voting for my character. [Laughs.]
Especially because she's always been the target.
Exactly! Maybe she could really be a great actress and be putting this all on herself, only to reveal in the end that she's actually "A." [Laughs.]
You guys and Marlene have been teasing a big scene in the woods. What can you tell us about that?
We shoot so much in the woods. The woods are like, the girls' second home. They love going out in the woods, especially at night! [Laughs.]
The big scene is in the finale and people have been asking me how to describe it and I hate this word, but I can only say "epic." It is absolutely amazing. The second half really does kick things up a notch and that's crazy for me to say because every season has been mad. People will definitely not be disappointed in the second half of Season 3. If anything, it only gets crazier and more intense. The stakes are higher for each of the girls because they're kind of reaching their breaking points and maybe one of them does. It'll be a very interesting season to watch the girls unravel from everything and to see them at their lowest points.
When it all comes out that Toby is a member of the "A" Team what will Emily's reaction be considering they once had a close friendship?
I think it'll be really difficult. Emily and Toby's relationship was a really special one because they were confiding in each other in the beginning -- they both weren't welcome by other people and they both had their secrets. So for her to have somebody that she feels is her close friend and to share information that no one else knew and then to find out [he's been betraying her], of course she's going to be hurt, but I think she might deal with it differently than the other girls.
We also know Dr. Sullivan [Annabeth Gish] will return. What can you tell us about her return?
I think she's there to help some of the girls -- maybe a couple more so than the others -- just deal with everything and she has her own explaining to do as to why she's been away for a little bit. I always love when she comes because I do actually feel like [Gish] is a psychiatrist. I love talking to her. [Laughs.] I'm like, "Oh right. That's the character." But Emily has some great scenes with Dr. Sullivan.
What's your favorite episode in the second half of Season 3 and what can you tease about it?
I can't remember the exact episode, but there are a couple scenes with Dr. Sullivan and also, there's a bathroom scene with Troian that is probably my favorite. I love the relationship that Emily has with Spencer and I love shooting with Troian because she is unreal as an actress. When we have these intense scenes, I just love it. They'll be certain times when we're shooting a scene and I just get so into what Troian's saying, I start tearing up no matter what my character is supposed to be feeling. I'm like, "Troian, you do this to me every time." I can't even come up with a word that describes how good she is.
You guys have a Kickstarter campaign going on together, right?
Mmm-hmm! Kyle [Hasday] and Matt [Stewart] are two PAs on our set and we've been such good friends with them since we started the show. They have directed before and they're great writers and Troian and I would always joke around with them and say, "When are you guys going to write something for us?" So they did and it's a really interesting concept. We put it up on Kickstarter and we're going to shoot it before we go back to filming "Pretty Little Liars."
The characters are completely different from what we've played [on "Pretty Little Liars"] and it's cool to do something aside from that.
What was it like shooting with Missy Franklin?
It was amazing! Honestly, she's one of the most genuine, happy people I've ever met in this industry. She was such a professional. She knew her lines, never messed up once, knew exactly where to stand -- she was better than the actors on the show! [Laughs.] We were all joking with her about how good she was. Her smile brought such great energy to the set. Everybody loved having her around and we told her to come back whenever she wanted. It's cool when you have someone come on who's genuinely a fan of the show.
She was telling us some of her friends were even more excited she was coming on the show than they were about her being in the Olympics! [Laughs.] I was like, "That's hilarious." She showed us her medals so were holding them and taking photos. It's so much fun!
Anything else you want to tell us about Season 3?
Fasten your seat belts 'cause you're going to go on another crazy ride.
The midseason premiere of "Pretty Little Liars" Season 3 airs on Tuesday, January 8 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC Family.