Troian Bellisario Previews Spencer's Downfall
With a more ferocious foe throwing down increasingly dangerous gauntlets at every turn, the Pretty Little Liars have had to modify their "A" game in season three -- becoming wiser, quicker and more daring in their quest to unmask the man/woman/team making their lives a living hell!
Last week, Spencer got her biggest clue to date in the search for Maya's killer when a surveillance tape eliminated two suspects and showed Emily's dearly departed love in her final moments. And to hear star Troian Bellisario tell it, that discovery sends Spencer spiraling in her quest to triumph over their black hooded adversary once and for all!
TheInsider.com: This has been a very major season in terms of character growth. What have you thought about season 3A?
Troian Bellisario: It's been a lot of fun. I think the growth for the girls has been exponential. After "A" was revealed, after we found out what Mona was doing, the stakes were raised to a completely different level. It was no longer about setting up things to pan out in the last two episodes of the season. Really major, major reveals are happening in every episode. We're currently shooting the second half of the third season, and that's especially true right now. It's just really fantastic.
Insider.com: Last week Spencer found video of Maya get yanked out of frame. Where do things go from here?
Troian: I think Spencer's always verging on a complete paranoid schizophrenic meltdown [laughs] – but now that she's seen actual physical evidence of what happened to Maya that night, she goes into hyper-vigilant detective mode to eliminate every suspect. She knows it wasn't Jenna, it wasn't Noel – who else is left? She takes a vigilante standpoint to go after who did this to Maya.
Insider.com: Spencer's real life has suffered a lot in her quest to unmask "A" this season -- is she getting a little too focused on this hunt, you think?
Troian: I think that's always been Spencer's downfall. What I love about her is that she's incredibly smart, has a very high IQ, is very quick, but she also has to be a hard worker to maintain her status in school and status as a Hastings. All of this extra energy she's expending on trying to find out what happened to Maya, who killed Ali, who "A" is -- it's taking a toll on her life. Finding the right amount of obsession has always been a really delicate balance for Spencer. She's trying to keep one hand on the reigns, but only spins further out of control this season. I can't give anything away, but when we come back in January, it's taken to a whole new level of derailment.
Insider.com: Her relationship with Toby has also suffered this season. How much of her quest to unmask "A" is derived from wanting to be with him?
Troian: A lot. The Liars always come up against the fact they want to protect the people they’re in relationships with, but that means lying to them. And even though the show is called Pretty Little Liars, they don't like lying to the ones they love. It makes them uncomfortable. It's this great dichotomy we get to play in that we were trained by Ali to be liars and we can't help but do it, yet none of us are OK with it. It's the constant push and pull with Toby in how much she wants to let him in because she wants to protect him and the last time that "A" got around Toby, he almost died in the scaffolding incident. She doesn't know what's right because she knows Toby won't stand for lying – that's the coolest thing about his character, Toby is one of the few people in Rosewood who always tells the truth. But that's always going to be a problem in their relationship.
Insider.com: All the PLLs are working towards this goal of eradicating this threat from their lives, but given everything they've been through, do you think they can ever lead normal lives again?
Troian: I think they would make a damn good effort! Like anybody who has suffered a trauma, you want so much to live your life, but can not help but be affected by the trauma. I think the girls would go to college, they'd settle down and have real relationships, but I don't think they'd be normal by any means. Not after what's happened to them.
Insider.com: Tonight's episode, titled Single Fright Female, sees Spencer learn something about Paige's past. What can you tease?
Troian: What's very cool about our show is that because Ali was such a controversial character, she does have a story with everybody in Rosewood. Slowly the girls have found some out – they know how Mona was turned into a monster by Ali's teasing, they know what Ali used to do to Lucas. But we don’t know anything about Paige's history with Ali, so when Spencer finds out the story, there's a lot of frightening details that ruffle Spencer's feathers and send up all these red flags for her. Yet, she has to deal with her best friend, Emily, who is in love with this person.
Insider.com: ABC Family launched a Suspect Tracker so fans could vote on who they predict will betray the girls in the summer finale. Paige is leading by a mile. Are we right to suspect her? I mean, I haven't forgotten about that time she tried to drown Emily!
Troian: I know! That's exactly what Spencer brings up – "I get that you're romantic now and that's wonderful, but she tried to drown you!" [laughs] That's actually a line I have in the next episode. I mean, why are they forgetting this?!? The fans have always been smart, and cautious – they are very wise to be suspicious of Paige, but our fans know even when someone is a suspect, it's not the whole story.
Insider.com: After tonight there is only one more episode left, how voracious will fans be for the 2013 episodes given the cliffhanger the show ends on?
Troian: Oh man ... fans are going to be really mad when this season is over. We have really great cliffhangers in the mix and I think the fans are going to be pretty ravenous. It's a beautiful finale [with] a very surprising turn of events that they will not see it coming, at all! The only thing that I can offer to maybe ply our fans a little bit is that the Halloween episode is going to be a showstopper! They won't be disappointed at all!
Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC Family & you can click here to see more from Lauren, Troian's powerful new webseries co-starring Jennifer Beals!