“Pretty Little Liars” may have an endless series of mysteries ready to reveal each season, as the long-anonymous character known simply as A pursues the four titular Liars with blackmail threats, but one big one has finally been resolved: former mean girl Alison DeLaurentis, the disappeared girl whose apparent murder kicks off the action in the first season, has been alive the whole time.
Now that she’s back in the open, things are likely to change for everyone, since Alison was no stranger to creating enemies. We talked to Sasha Pieterse, the actress behind the show’s resident Regina George, about existing in the present tense and who this mysteriously-named A is.
Have you always known that Ali would rejoin the other girls?
I always anticipated it. In the books, Alison had a twin and that’s who was alive and when I found that they weren’t going to do the twin theory with Alison, I figured, OK, something cool’s going to happen. And [show creator] Marlene King totally blew away my expectations. I just think that the fans are going to love this season. It’s so different from anything that we’ve ever done mainly because Alison hasn’t been alive.
Is she the fifth Liar now, or is she still a little bit outside the main group?
Well, you know, it’s complicated. [Laughs] It’s very complicated. I mean, I think she is. She’s very much there, but everyone is so untrustworthy with each other, like the girls don’t know if they can trust her, she doesn’t know if she can trust the girls, so it’s this really weird group of friends that are trying to figure themselves out again.
We’ve seen her be pretty manipulative with her friends in the past. Has she changed during her time away?
Everything is so surreal for her coming back to this place where she was, and I think she’s still trying to make sure that people know that she’s not the person that she was and that’s a very difficult thing. I do think she has changed, but at the same time, certain things in a person still stay the same and it just depends if those are the good things or not, and we’re just waiting to find out.
Do you think the other Liars should trust her?
Yes and no. I think she ultimately does have their best interests at heart, but definitely including herself. I think she’s very conflicted right now and she feels like everyone’s trying to get her, which, well, she might be right.
Are you excited to not be only in flashback?
I’m so excited! It’s been so much fun filming, for many reasons. I mean, flashbacks are great and there are tons of cool little things that were involved in doing the flashbacks. But I get to wear current clothes and there’s characters like Caleb [Tyler Blackburn] who I’ve never had a scene with, and now I have, and those were fun things mainly because I’m really reunited with everyone and it’s a lot of fun.
What’s in store for her this season?
There’s a lot of characters who you haven’t seen, and if you have seen them, you haven’t seen them with Alison, and now you do. Alison comes back into Rosewood and causes a tornado to rip through this town and basically drives everyone mad. I think it’s really what happens with Alison that no matter how much she’s changed, she goes back into town and … she’s basically wrecked people’s lives, people are still going to remember that. I think a lot of people were happy that she was gone, and hoped that she’d stay gone, and now it’s bringing up all kinds of baggage and turmoil.
Do you ever get weird reactions from fans because of the character you play on the show?
When I started the show and I started to see how big it was getting, I totally thought I was going to get hate mail and super weird reactions because Alison was such a mean character, but I didn’t. It was actually completely the opposite and I thought that was so hilarious. Usually what I get now is, “She’s alive!”
Alison’s brother Jason is A, right? Can you please confirm?
I think I would get fired.
Follow Lisa Weidenfeld on Twitter at @LisaWeidenfeld.