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[Warning: Minor spoilers ahead.]
Who is Melissa Hastings?
It may be a simple question to ask, but after nearly three seasons of Pretty Little Liars, the answer isn’t as easy to give — even for actress Torrey DeVitto. As Spencer (Troian Bellisario) continued to go down the rabbit hole in Tuesday’s episode, it brought Melissa back into the fray, this time playing the role of worried sister.
“At some points, you think she isn’t coming from a loving, sisterly place. From what you saw last night, she is coming from that place, which shocks you because you see a softer side,” DeVitto tells The Hollywood Reporter. “But is she looking after Spencer or is she covering up her own ass?”
Last night won’t be the last you’ll see of the elder Hastings: As the season winds down, expect DeVitto to return before it officially wraps up March 19. In the ninth installment of THR‘s weekly postmortem with Pretty Little Liars‘ cast and producers, DeVitto weighs in on Melissa’s true motives.
The Hollywood Reporter: Spencer has been going down this rabbit hole for quite a while now. What’s Melissa’s perspective on how she’s handling her situation?
Torrey DeVitto: It’s interesting. Melissa’s perspective, from what the audience can see, changes so much that it leaves everybody kind of confused. At some points, you think she isn’t coming from a loving, sisterly place. From what you saw last night, she is coming from that place, which shocks you because you see a softer side. But is she looking after Spencer or is she covering up her own ass? Melissa’s perspective is a little bit of a mystery. You don’t know exactly, and I’m hoping you find out soon, but she has a lot of secrets. She’s definitely a mystery.
THR: What can we expect for Melissa? She certainly pops back into the story when the timing is appropriate for her.
DeVitto: There is a lot to uncover about Melissa. How much she has a hand in things is left open to audience interpretation at this point. I’m hoping that as the episodes go on and as the seasons go on, you have more of a resolve of what exactly she’s been up to and what exactly she’s been doing and where is she coming from. Is she part of something bad? Is she part of something good? It is funny, she does pop up at the most convenient times, which makes you wonder: Is it contrived or is it just a coincidence?
THR: It would be entertaining if at the end of the day, Melissa was the mastermind behind everything.
DeVitto: I know, can you imagine? [Laughs] It would be pretty cool. She’s been keeping secrets, and she’s got one of those faces. She’s totally unreadable most of the time. You don’t know if she’s telling the truth, so you never know.
THR: What is it like having to play that poker face all the time?
DeVitto: It’s been very interesting. Every time I go back on set I feel like, oh yeah, I finally have a grasp on Melissa and I get it, and then they throw something at me and I’m like, oh my god! This character I’ve been playing for three years, I still have no idea who she is some of the time. I’ve obviously made choices as an actor, and then I’ll read scripts and realize that what I had decided totally needs to change now. I get to play different versions of Melissa every time.
THR: What has surprised you the most about her?
DeVitto: The whole Melissa pregnancy surprised me a lot. Her quick marriage to Ian surprised me a lot. What surprises me the most is when the writing gives me true moments of emotion with Melissa. She comes off like stone and is so cold. She has these moments where she breaks down and cries. She’s either the best actress in the world or she really does feel something. The scene where Spencer confronts Melissa about finding the feathers from the costume and Melissa breaks down and cries, I was pleasantly surprised by that.
THR: Is there anything you want to explore further in season four?
DeVitto: I want to get a better grasp on Melissa. I want to know how much of a hand she has in things and how good she really is. There are so many avenues to take her, and I love having moments with Troian; I want to explore that sisterly relationship further.
THR: Is Melissa a bad omen? If you know or hang around her, you may be in danger?
DeVitto: She’s a bad omen, isn’t she? [Laughs] That’s the thing to explore. Does she have the worst luck ever or does she have such a hand in things that things keep just falling apart, and she’s got the upper hand in playing ringmaster. I have no idea. It could go either way.
Pretty Little Liars airs at 8 p.m. Tuesdays on ABC Family.
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