Executive Produccer Joseph Dougherty answers HollywoodLife.com’s burning questions about Alison, Ezra and the rest of the Rosewood gang,
Now that you’ve had almost a full day to recover from the final-moment shocker of the Pretty Little Liars Halloween special, it’s time to look ahead to the second half of season four, which kicks off Jan. 7 on ABC Family. HollywoodLife.com chatted with executive producer Joseph Dougherty for the scoop on what 2014 has in store for the girls — including the meaning behind the cryptic warning Hanna (Ashley Benson) received from the now-unmasked Red Coat.
Ready… set… spoiler time!
Read On For My Full Q&A With Joseph Dougherty
>> Now that the girls know Alison is alive, how will that change their course of action?
The question is: OK, she’s alive, but what the hell does that mean, and why the hell didn’t she tell us? What was she so afraid of that she had to disappear like this, and why has it taken her this long — other than the few cryptic visits she made — to identify herself as being alive? So she’ll start confirming what was real and what wasn’t in those visitations. She’s still using this in some way; the relationship to Ali has been changing ever since her disappearance, but now it’s changing even more. It’s shaken things up for us, as writers, too.
>> Ali told Hanna to remember what she told her in the hospital, so of course I went back and watched that scene. Ali said the girls remember more than they think about ‘that night,’ then she said something about algebra. Are either of those important?
[Laughs] I would think it’s more the first than the second, but algebra and geometry probably factor into it. Their memories of that night are fragmented, and I don’t think they’ve had a chance to fit all the pieces together. I don’t think they trust their own memories; it was a very shaky night.
>> Shaky is right. Weren’t they drinking?
Well… We refer to it as ‘red cup intoxication.’ Look out for those red cups.
>> Look out for red cups, look out for red coats… I’m seeing a pattern here.
Yes! That’s right. Stay away from the red.
>> Moving on to Ezra, should fans have any doubt that he’s ‘A’?
On our show, I’d doubt local time. I think it’s certainly not looking good for him right now, based on his behavior and what we’ve seen. Right now, the audience is a little ahead of the girls in terms of that. Now is the time to look back at Ezra’s behavior over the past three years and see if everything tracks. Trails are inevitably going to lead back to him. They just have to!
>> The man with the gas mask got his hand cut on the Halloween special. Should we be looking for someone with an injury?
I don’t think that’s a bad idea. [Laughs] Always keep your eyes open!
>> What about Aria’s relationship with Ezra? What’ll that be like? And is Jake still in the picture?
Yes, Jake is still in the picture. That’s all I remember right now. I was listening to Lucy Hale being interviewed on Facebook earlier this week, and she commented that Aria’s much more of a romantic than she — Lucy — is. I think she identified one of poor Aria’s problems. She’s tremendously romantic. She’s still looking for romantic perfection, and it makes her so vulnerable.
>> Does she go back and forth between the two, or does she actually make a choice?
My memory is that she makes up her mind fairly definitely early in the second half of the season.
>> We didn’t see Toby last night, and I don’t think we see him in the 4B trailer. What’s he up to?
He’s back with Spencer and they’re working together at the opening of the season. He’s on his track, but he’s definitely back in Rosewood. … You will see lots of Toby in season 4B.
>> We also know that Noel Kahn will be back for the finale. Any word on what he’ll have going on?
Well, perhaps he’ll be dancing! [Laughs] Actually, I’m going to keep that under wraps, because I think Noel is kind of under wraps right now. He’s playing a role, but if I talk about it too much, it’s just going to cause more problems. … People are connected in the strangest ways in this town. We’ll reinforce that in the second half of the season.
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— Andy Swift