Pretty Little Liars’ Big Finale Reveal Speaks: “I Honestly Thought I Was Dead!”

Pretty Little Liars, How the 'A' Stole Christmas

ABC Family/Eric McCandless

Warning, do not continue reading if you’ve yet to watch Pretty Little Liars’ season five finale. This post contains the most major of major spoilers!

She’s ba-aaack!

Anyone else calling a repairman in the morning to fix the dent on their floor left by their jaw hitting it so hard during Pretty Little Liars‘ season five finale, “Welcome to the Dollhouse,” which finally revealed “A”‘s identity?! And oh yeah, brought Mona (Janel Parrish) back from the dead!

That’s right, Mona has been alive this whole time, with “A” (or should we say Charles now?!) faking her death and holding her hostage in a dollhouse, forcing her to be his personal Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse). So chilling. So good. And so secretive even Janel Parrish had no idea Mona was still alive when she was killed off in the season five winter finale. 

“I lied to Janel and I lied to everyone but one person at the network,” executive producer Marlene King tells E! News. “So they were very surprised when they found out that I, too, was a pretty little liar. But it was the only way to keep the secret because we have been hacked before.”

Fortunately, the secrets and lies paid off. After making sure our phones weren’t tapped, we chatted with Janel Parrish a few days before the finale aired about keeping one of TV’s biggest resurrections a secret and Pretty Little Liars‘ completely game-changing “A” reveal:

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Janel Parrish, Pretty Little LiarsABC FAMILY/ERIC MCCANDLESS

E! Online: So I am freaking out right now because I feel like I’m one of the only people who know you’re alive and I’m afraid to talk to anyone.
Janel Parrish: [Laughs.] You are! You have the inside track.

I can’t even imagine what it’s been like for you then!
Well, I didn’t have to keep the secret for that long. Honestly, when Marlene told me I was going to die, I thought I was dead. And then a couple of weeks before we filmed the finale, she called me and was like, “OK, you’re actually alive.” So I was like, “Yeah, I’m alive!” But honestly, I wasn’t that surprised just because people who die in Rosewood don’t ever really stay dead.

So your immediate reaction wasn’t total shock then?
I honestly thought I was dead, but I was just kind of not surprised because this show is so crazy and people that die are always back. So I was just like, “OK, this makes sense. This is very Pretty Little Liars.” But I’m very happy about that!

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Janel Parrish, Pretty Little Liars, How the 'A' Stole ChristmasABC Family/Eric McCandless

How did the cast find out? Was it a surprise at the finale table read?
It was! I remember I was actually doing Dancing With the Stars at the time, so I walked in late and I missed the reaction! I’m sure people were shocked because they were telling me later, like, “Oh my god, you’re alive!'” [Laughs.]

Oh man, you missed the big reveal?!
I think for the most part people were very happy, but some of the cast members suspected it! They probably suspected more than I did that I might still be alive!

Were you glad Marlene didn’t give you the heads up after Mona’s death that you would be coming back? It probably made it easier when people approached you or when you were doing interviews.
Definitely. I mean, I had a lot of people asking me if I was really dead and the answer was yes, because that’s what I thought. We filmed the finale maybe two months ago, so I’ve been sitting on the secret that I’m actually alive for two months, so that’s been hard.

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Pretty Little Liars, Janel Parrish, Troian BellisarioABC FAMILY/Ron Tom

Well, I was totally thrown off by it after seeing Mona dead in the trunk on the show last season.
I believe Mona was drugged by “A” and so that’s why she looked like she was dead. She was drugged.

I did love the way it was revealed that Mona was alive, with her sitting at the piano, with the mask on, looking like Alison. So good and so creepy!
It’s really creepy! Let’s talk about the fact that I look terrible as a blonde. I will never be blonde ever again! I’m dreading myself seeing myself in that wig, in that scene being creepy and strange!

Did Sasha Pieterse give you any quick tips on playing Alison and has she told you what she thought of your Ali impression?
I haven’t really seen her that much, but I did really just pick up what I’ve known from her playing Alison over the years and it was fun! She has a kind of sly way of speaking, a little soft. Everything she does, she speaks like it’s a riddle and I love that about her acting.

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Pretty Little Liars, Mona, Janel ParrishABC Family/Eric McCandless

Aside from Mona being alive, we also finally get the reveal of who Big “A” is: Charles DiLaurentis! What was your reaction when you read the script and finally got the answer?
I just think it’s funny [that] in true PLL fashion, the finale ends with a big reveal and five more questions, because you have to keep people wanting to come back. But I also want to know the answer to these questions. I don’t know any of the answers to these questions. And my first reaction was like, “Wait, wait! Who’s Charles?! Who is this person? I want to know everything!” And Marlene is like, “Season six!” I’m like, “Damn it, you won’t even tell me?”

Do you have any theories about who Charles is and why he’s going after these girls?
I have theories, but I’m not sure how close to home they are, so I’m scared to say it. But I do think Charles, when we find out who it is, is probably mentally unstable. And by probably, I mean absolutely. I think it’s somebody a lot closer to home than we think.

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Pretty Little LiarsABC FAMILY/Eric McCandless

Have you been thinking about what you’re going to tweet when it’s finally revealed that Mona is alive? What do you think the fan response will be?
I have no idea. I hope that people aren’t mad. Or like, “Wait, you tricked us! We thought you were dead!’ I really thought I was dead, too, but it’s Rosewood, you guys! I hope they like it. I hope they’re happy that I’m back. I’m certainly happy to be alive. Flashbacks are all fun and good, but it’s nice to be back and have more than one scene every few episodes. I love doing what I do and I love being on set and being with the cast and playing Mona. I really prefer Mona alive, so I’m very happy.

You haven’t had the table-read for the season six premiere yet [Editor’s note: the table-read was held on Monday, March 24], so I’m sure you don’t really know anything, but have you heard any whispers about what’s coming up?
All I know is that we start back right where we left off. All the Liars are together. It’s going to be crazy. I have no idea what to expect, but I’m really excited about it. All I’ve heard about it is that it’s going to be a crazy season. 

How shocked were you to see Mona was really alive? Any theories on who Charles really is? Sound off in the comments!

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