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Pretty Little Liars

Pretty Little Liars star Janel Parrish talks Mona's return, Charles' 'brutal' punishments

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Mona Vanderwaal has been many things on Pretty Little Liars: First, she was Hanna’s nerdy best friend. Then, she was Original “A.” And most recently, she was dead. That is, until she reappeared in the season 5 finale, only to reveal that she wasn’t murdered. Instead, she was kidnapped and put in Charles’ dollhouse. 

We talked to Janel Parrish about her return to the show and what’s next for Mona:

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Pretty Little Liars boss dishes on season 5's finale and Charles (if that's his name)

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On last night’s season 5 finale of Pretty Little Liars, the identity of Big “A” was revealed to be someone named Charles. According to some old home videos that Spencer found, it certainly seems that Charles is yet another son of Mrs. DiLaurentis, and therefore a brother to Ali and Jason—not to mention a potential half brother to Spencer. Also revealed in the hour: Mona is alive and well. That is, if you consider being trapped in a real-life dollhouse to be “well.” 

Following the finale, we took our burning questions to executive producer Oliver Goldstick, who told us a little about Charles’ personality—and what comes after “A.”

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'Welcome To The Dollhouse'

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Only Pretty Little Liars—master of both scream-inducing shocks and sigh-inducing letdowns—could have a “big reveal” episode where “A” is metaphorically “unmasked,” while literally keeping his mask on. Though “A’s” identity, some guy named “Charles,” was a bit of a letdown (Seriously, isn’t it kind of a cop-out to introduce a brand new character as the girls’ master tormentor?), at least we were given a really satisfying surprise: Mona’s alive. For real this time.

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'Pretty Little Liars' boss talks Big 'A' -- and whether there's an Uber 'A'

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In Rosewood, there’s very little that we know to be fact. However, at this point, it feels like we can safely say that Mona was Original “A.” Season 1 was her doing. But for the past three seasons of Pretty Little Liars, fans have been left with the mystery of Big “A”—the person who took the game from Mona when she went to Radley. And in tonight’s season 5 finale, Big “A” will be revealed. 

Yet, as fans of the show know, every answer comes paired with more questions. So will the reveal of Big “A” be any different? We talked to showrunner Marlene King all about the hour. Here are the takeaways:

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'I'm A Good Girl, I Am'

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The situation in Rosewood has become an interesting Frankenstein’s monster of other shows for the past couple weeks: It’s Law & Order in the courtroom for Mona’s murder trial and Orange Is The New Black in prison.

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'The Melody Lingers On'

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I’m sure Rosewood has won some sort of award for most picturesque suburb. Or maybe the richest (seriously, have you seen the collection of cars that the Liars circle through?). But for all of the charming cafés and reading nooks there is something seriously twisted in that town—the criminal justice system. You thought Rosewood PD was bad? They’ve got nothing on the judicial system and nothing on the prisons. What is the local paper’s number? Because I have a hell of a pitch to the Rosewood Gazette.

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'To Plea or Not to Plea'

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How do you do homework in prison? How do you excuse a week’s worth of absences to flit off to London? How do you keep your grades up when you’re stalking lawyers with your ex-boyfriend? When do you find time to go to class between working at a coffee shop and digging through the trash of mystery men? Most importantly—can’t we just drop the whole “high school” story line with the Liars?

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'Bloody Hell'

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There is no doubt that “A” is smart. An evil genius, perhaps. From the jump, it’s been clear that the Liars’ torturer is a tech guru, has the stealth of a top FBI operative, and is blessed with unlimited funds. But after this episode of Pretty Little Liars there is only one logical conclusion that can be drawn: “A” is perhaps the greatest criminal mastermind that we’ve ever seen on screen. Forget The Dark Knight. The Joker has nothing on this shit.

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'Pretty Isn't the Point'

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Seven episodes into the season we finally got our OMG moment. Sure, there have been the occasional “oh em gee!”s, and tons of “omG”s along the way. And that’s what this season of Pretty Little Liars has coasted on—complicated sidenotes of corrupt cops, storage rooms full of murder evidence, and a crazy, Italian-speaking artist/inventor. You know, standard PLL fair. But Mike’s big reveal left Mona’s death and our mouths hanging wide open. O-M-effin’-G.

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'Out, Damned Spot'

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Family dynamics aren’t easy to navigate for most of us, but the Liars & Co. have situations that make your awkward Thanksgiving dinners look like a laugh riot. Think about it: Spencer spent the better part of three seasons believing that her sister was out to frame her; Toby’s affair with his wicked stepsister sent him down a spiral of crazy; Caleb is, for all intents and purposes, an orphan. And now Aria and Hanna are going through their own familial betrayals. In Rosewood, blood is about as thick as… water.

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