'Pretty Little Liars' Producer on Spencer's 'A' Alliance and the Identity of the Second Body
Is she working for the other side? "It's our Spencer, so we'd like to believe that it's to help her friends," executive producer Oliver Goldstick tells THR following Tuesday's penultimate season three episode.
[Warning: Major spoilers ahead.]
Is Spencer really working with the enemy?
There were several jaw-dropping moments in Pretty Little Liars' penultimate episode, "I'm Your Puppet," none bigger than Spencer (Troian Bellisario) teaming with Mona (Janel Parrish) and her dangerous "A" team. To show just how serious she is about her new endeavor, it was Spencer who kidnapped Ezra's young son Malcolm (Teo Briones), causing a rift between Aria (Lucy Hale) and Ezra (Ian Harding). A second body also was found, this time the one that Spencer came across in the woods. Is it really Toby (Keegan Allen)?
In the 10th installment of THR's weekly postmortem with Pretty Little Liars' cast and producers, executive producer Oliver Goldstick -- who made his directorial debut with last night's episode -- discussed Spencer's shocking decision to join the "A" team, what the discovery of the second body means and the future of Rosewood's romantic pairings as the finale approaches.
The Hollywood Reporter: One of the big reveals from last night's episode was that Spencer has now joined the "A" team. What should we be thinking or asking in regards to her big move?
Oliver Goldstick: You should be asking what is behind that, and that leads right up to the finale. If in fact this is something she has been contemplating for some time. Is this something she needs to do to reconnect and to find out if there's any chance that Toby could still be alive? If you saw the closer, chances are he's not. She didn't see that, we saw that, that was privileged information. It tells the audience you're ahead of Spencer, she may have to catch up with you.
THR: What does this mean now that she's part of this group that's been wreaking havoc for so long?
Goldstick: It's our Spencer, so we'd like to believe that it's to help her friends. This is the ultimate sacrifice, that she's willing to go undercover and do something dark. That was sort of the idea of kidnapping Malcolm, to prove to Mona that she's serious, that's she's willing to wreak real havoc between Aria and Ezra. I'm hoping that worked.
THR: To know that it was Spencer who was the one responsible for taking Malcolm was more powerful than any other character.
Goldstick: "Yikes!" is all I can say. I don't tweet but people were saying, "Oh no she didn't!" That was repeated over and over.
THR: Mona did bring up the whole fact that had Spencer joined the "A" team when she first asked in the season two finale, all this may not have happened. Has Spencer resigned to the fact that this was where she was supposed to end up?
Goldstick: I don't want to give away too much. You're going to find out more next week, but Mona came in the last episode and said you could have avoided a lot of pain and Toby might still be with us had you joined when you could have. I think Spencer's feeling is, you know what, there's little left to lose. I will freakin' go to the dark side and figure out what is going on here.
THR: Emily (Shay Mitchell) has been the only one defending Toby all this time. How does the discovery of the second body affect her?
Goldstick: Her relationship with him was a deep friendship. She was the first one to befriend him out of the girls and I feel like she is in denial. Last night's episode was really about her having to wrap her mind around him being gone. Emily, in her own mind, would probably believe he was killed because he would only go so far. He wouldn't go so far as to really, really harm these girls and maybe he paid the price for that.
THR: Will we see a face to the second body in the finale?
Goldstick: Yes, you'll see a face.
THR: What is the state of the Hanna (Ashley Benson) and Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) pairing, now that we've learned Jamie was actually framed?
Goldstick: That's a hard one to repair right away. Knowing what this relationship was to bring them two together. We spent half a season trying to get Caleb to wrap his head around [his father] and "A" doing this is pretty damaging. We won't deal with that until next season. The question becomes how does he explain "A" to his father? Can you explain "A"?
THR: Will more people find out about "A" by the end of the season?
Goldstick: Maybe. There are plenty of folks who do know.
THR: What is the state of Aria and Ezra following last night's episode?
Goldstick: They're struggling. Last night's episode was supposed to be if "A" had the gumption and the cruelty to do something to his child, I think she recognizes the collateral damage would be too strong, so it'd be her having to leave him [as a result] without telling him why of course.
THR: In the preview for the finale, the girls are aware that Spencer has joined the "A" team. How do they react to this new development? (Watch the promo below.)
Goldstick: It's the same disbelief and credulity they dealt with Toby. We want proof, they want something solid and concrete to believe that Spencer could betray them like this.
THR: Last night's episode also marked your directorial debut. What was the most challenging scene to direct?
Goldstick: The Spencer vision at Radley of Alison was delicate. The idea is this is a manifestation of her [delirium]. She hasn't slept in three days, she even says at one point, "I haven't slept." We're trying to keep this show fresh in a way that you don't feel like you've seen this flashback before. And the other flashback in the show seeing Alison incredibly vulnerable. Sasha [Pieterse] delivered. The actors, knowing it was me sitting in that director's chair, were incredibly prepared and game and collaborative. At one point, I turned to my DP and said, "I feel like I'm not directing much." And she said, "It's because they're all at the top of their game, they all want to want to play. They're here to perform for you." That was a delicate scene because it could go the wrong way because it could be silly. It had to be haunting and disturbing and frightening when all of a sudden [Alison]'s not there and all of a sudden Wren (Julian Morris) is staring at Spencer.
THR: That scene certainly had that effect. Were there others that jump out?
Goldstick: I loved the flashback Alison did with Spencer's mom because we seldom get to see Alison in such a vulnerable place. We often see the Alison who's punishing other people. To think that, oh my god, there's something going on here, it's very close to home.
THR: What's your favorite moment from last night?
Goldstick: I love "A's" black glove dipping into Malcolm's popcorn. That's one of my favorite visuals we've done on this show. I also loved the morgue scenes with Hanna and Emily, and the red coat in the elevator.
THR: When there's an elevator involved, seems like nothing good can come of it.
Goldstick: [Laughs] Elevators are scary. The last one I wrote, the elevator dropped. In case you didn't know, I've got a fear of elevators. My next series is called Take the Stairs. [Laughs]
THR: What can you tease about the finale?
Goldstick: There's a shocking revelation and an appearance from someone you haven't seen for a while. It's got some nice twists and turns.
THR: And we'll find out who the red coat is?
Goldstick: You'll have a better idea after the finale. You'll think you know, yes.
Pretty Little Liars season three finale airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday on ABC Family, followed by a preview of new drama Twisted.