Let's get this out of the way: I'm Team Ezria. Always have been Team Ezria. Always will be Team Ezria. But I also agree with Lucy Hale who told me, "I think she needs to live a little. Aria's too young to be tied down."
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So, in the Pretty Little Liars season premiere, Aria and Ezra gave one another permission to see other people, and Rosewood's most daring dresser wastes no time cozying up to her martial arts instructor Jake, played by Ryan Guzman, as you can see in the sneak peek clip above.
"There was something we were missing in their story," PLL executive producer Marlene King told me about the decision to split up Rosewood's cutest couple at the end of season three. "We loved the original Ezria storyline with these two characters who couldn't be together pining over the heads of other students. This breakup is all about finding that again; we're taking them full circle so we can explore and rediscover those feelings."
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Hence, Jake. "Of all the PLL's, Aria is the one who suffers the most anxiety from A," King explains of the character's desire to take self-defense classes. "And she's tiny! Aria is pint-sized, so she needs to learn how to defend herself -- in comes the character of Jake."
And King has soothing words for anyone worried this split will result in diminished screentime for Ian Harding this season. "Ezra's got a great storyline this season! He's back at the school, trying to help all the girls get into college and out of Rosewood, so he's got great scenes with every individual liar this year."
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Speaking of graduation, could we ever see Pretty Little College Liars? "The last season of PLL, whenever that is, will be the summer after high school graduation," King tells me. "So you'll see them graduate and then you'll see them over the summer and then that's it."
In addition to learning what their college plans are, King says those last episodes will also hold the key to PLL. "You will learn about her minions all along the way, but you won't found out who 'Uber-A' is until the series finale. That will stay a mystery until the end of this show."
Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC Family.