Watching Pretty Little Liars is enough to give you a heart condition, considering all the paranoia, twists and turns - and that's before we even get to those dastardly finales.
Tonight wraps up the first half of the third season for the PLLs and creator I. Marlene King, as her writers have built up the tension to a fever pitch. Prepare for some A-centric identities, for Mona to escape from the loony bin and, yes, for someone to die.
TV Fanatic: Your show stresses me out so much!
I. Marlene King: Good! I’m glad to hear that! [Tonight’s] episode will definitely drive people crazy, I’m sure of it.
TVF: Let’s jump into questions. It seems like all fingers are pointed at Paige to be on the A-team, which makes me think she’s not as involved as we may think. What will we find out in the finale about Paige?
IMK: On Twitter, I see these people have a theory that it definitely can’t be Paige because we wouldn’t make it that easy - but you never know, we might just change things up, too. On last week’s episode, we launched full-throttle to the girls thinking that Paige is ‘A’ and the finale starts with an intervention of the PLL’s trying to convince Emily that Paige is dangerous. Emily is divided from them for the rest of the episode for that reason. She even has a line in the episode where she says ‘Three against one, A wins.'
TVF: In last week’s episode, Paige even tells Emily not to trust her friends. Is there some truth to that? We always trust the PLLs but maybe we shouldn’t.
IMK: They’re on the suspect board, so you never know!
TVF: Emily kissed Nate recently but is that truly just about Maya or is there some sexuality question there?
IMK: That was truly about Maya. That was just a real, emotional moment for those two characters. I feel like Emily just showed some vulnerability in that moment and probably felt closer to Maya because of it.
TVF: Nate seems to get angry when girls push him aside. He showed some anger towards Jenna as well as towards Emily. Does something develop there?
IMK: It’s safe to say that every person in Rosewood has a secret and eventually we will exploit and explore on this show.
TVF: Jenna almost seemed helpful when she stepped up last week and warned Emily. Do we find out more about what she’s warning her about and whether it’s about Paige or someone else?
IMK: You will definitely find out a little more about that.
TVF: Do we see more sides of Jenna in the episode in the finale?
IMK: Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t want to give anything away. I wish I could be more honest but I’ll have to say maybe, maybe not.
TVF: Caleb isn’t really out of the picture but Hanna is really drawn to Wren and I think it’s more than just the accent…
IMK: I think it’s more that Julian is so charming. We just love him here. Wren is still around.
TVF: Is Wren being around have something to do with Mona?
IMK: I’m just going to wait and let you watch and find out.
TVF: You’re so good! Talk to me about Spoby. They’ve been off the canvas for awhile. Are we going to see Toby reappear?
IMK: They’re going to have a beautiful reunion in [the finale]. It’s really like one of those sweeping Hallmark cards with 360 degree shots. It’s a real magic moment for that couple.
TVF: It’s always so noticeable when someone isn’t around for a few episodes, even though there are so many characters. Do you feel that in the writers' room?
IMK: Yeah, we do. We have a huge cast and to give everybody their fair share of story it’s always like having a lot of balls in the air juggling but we were all thrilled to see Toby march back into Rosewood with that backpack slung over his shoulder. He’s so special to us.
TVF: I’m assuming the Maggie story isn’t going away anytime soon, but I noticed that the Ezria story isn’t as tied into the A story. Is that a challenge for the writers when it’s not a part of that thread?
IMK: So far, we just really wanted to give Ezria some more story and more about Ezra and his character. He has gotten off easy so far and once they were out of the closet, Ezria didn’t really have a secret to hide from and A can only torture you once you have a secret so we will definitely find out more of that storyline and she might start taking advantage of it, too.
TVF: We know from the previews for the finale that Mona is walking out of the loony bin…
IMK: I love it! The Radley Santiarium for the Criminally Insane!
TVF: What is her mission? I’m guessing all her time in there has been good for her plotting and planning.
IMK: I think there’s a picture floating around out there with her in that black hoodie so we realize she’s gotten back into her black hoodie closet very quickly. And from the closer of last week’s episode, we established there are two black hoodies and tomorrow night you’re going to find out who those people are.
TVF: We’re definitely finding out who they are, right? It’s not just a tease?
IMK: It’s not a tease. I think for people who were hoping that the Mona reveal might be more shocking, they’re getting their shock [in the finale].
TVF: It also looks like from the clips that someone dies and Emily is involved and it’s someone close to Hanna. When in the episode does that scene take place?
IMK: It takes place at the beginning and the end. The episode is one of those that the ending is the very first scene and then we go back in time and then ramp back up to where we started the beginning.
TVF: The web series is launching after the finale, too. Is it CeCe (Vanessa Ray) based or does it also includes our regulars?
IMK: The Pretty Little Liars are not in the web series but the people that are in it are very important to the story. We get to see these people that we don’t normally get to explore as we’d like to on the show but their involvement in the web series definitely plays a part in what we’ve already seen and what we’ll see in [season] 3B of Pretty Little Liars.
TVF: We have another Halloween episode coming. Will this be a flashback or stand-alone episode?
IMK: It’s very much a stand-alone and takes a place a couple weeks after the finale. It’s a thrilling, thrilling episode and Joe Dougherty wrote it and it’s an homage to every scary movie you can imagine. It’s so much fun and we all had such a great time making it that we can’t wait to share it with everyone.
The Pretty Dirty Secrets web series starts tomorrow on the ABC Family website. Pretty Little Liars’ Halloween episode – with guest star Adam Lambert – is set to air October 23rd on ABC Family. The second half of the third season kicks off in January 2013.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.