With season 3B in full swing, Pretty Little Liars fans have a million questions banging around their brains, so in an attempt to get some A's for those Q's, I caught up with executive producer Marlene King at The 2013 Television Critics Association Press Tour!
But before I reveal King's 'A'nswers, I wanted to share a super cute clip from tomorrow's all-new episode, titled Misery Loves Company, featuring Shay Mitchell and Troian Bellisario offering behind-the-scenes commentary about the scene! So check that out and then read on to see what Marlene King has to say about baddie Byron, tricky Toby, spiraling Spencer and the rest of Rosewood's mysterious men and wicked women!
ETonline: For the first time ever, you guys are really painting a parent as a potential bad guy. What can you say about the roles Byron and Meredith played in Alison's murder?
Marlene King: We have been wanting to shine a spotlight on one of the parents since the beginning. It's really fun for us to go down that road. In the books, they played with some darker sides to the parents, so we're happy to do that. Meredith plays a significant role in that and is a big part in tonight's episode. She gets to be a bad girl.
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ETonline: The whole show seems to be taking a darker turn, is that an inevitability given how much death the girls have faced?
King: Absolutely. They have to be affected by what they've seen and what they've been through. Emily killed a man, albeit in self defense, but that has to stay with her as she goes on the rest of her journey. As these girls see a darker side of humanity, it's going to affect them, and the tone of our show.
ETonline: Spencer is obviously headed for a big shock, what can you say about her storyline this season?
King: It's very layered and very deep. For Troian, as an actress, she got to go to places that really surprised her. It's a remarkable journey she takes this year that's both gut-wrenching and heartfelt. It's shocking and it's surprising.
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ETonline: The Ezria baby storyline has been a bit divisive with fans. When were you attempting to say with that arc?
King: Bringing Malcolm and Maggie into the story complicates Ezria's relationship on several levels. It makes them both look into the mirror and say, "Is this relationship what we thought it was?" They ask themselves and each other a lot of big questions about the viability of their relationship this season, all of which brings a lot of great drama into their lives. I love the Ezria story in 3B, and I will say that a storm is brewing on the horizon, but fans will appreciate the drama.
ETonline: Paige voiced a lot of sound complaints last week, how involved in the action will she be this season?
King: That's the one storyline I feel really proud of because fans, especially the Emayans, really hated Paige at first. I mean, she was despised. So I get goosebumps when people Tweet me how much they love her now. And this season, they'll have a lot to do with the mystery, but I want fans to feel safe in their support of that relationship, and I can fully say they are safe.
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ETonline: Jason will clearly play a large role in 3B as the premiere hinted that he might have been the one Aria stabbed. What excites you about that storyline?
King: I think we've done a really fun job of making this questionable character someone Spencer, and therefore the audience, does trust. But this season we put a big umbrella over his head and let fans decide if he's been converted by Mona -- or if he converted Mona. Deciding if he's a nice guy is a big ride in 3B.
ETonline: Lastly, is there any storyline you can say will be wrapped up by the season finale?
King: I think the Toby/Spencer of it all will be resolved by the end of season 3B. But, I have to say that while we answer some big questions this year, as always, in the season finale, we ask a huge question which launches us into season four. I'm excited about the journey and where the season ends. It's a mind-blowing finale.
Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC Family.