If you’re anything like us, then you’re probably still not over Mona Vanderwaal’s untimely death on Pretty Little Liars. The original “A” was killed during the Season 5 summer finale, and while we’re not quite sure who killed her — Janel Parrish hints that will be the central mystery of Season 5B — we do know one thing: we’re going to miss Mona.
Wetpaint Entertainment chatted with Janel Parrish about her character’s heartbreaking death, Mona’s redemption, and just like we thought, how Mona was one step ahead of “A” — even after her death. Plus, will Mona’s clues be able to help Spencer, who’s currently being accused of Bethany Young’s murder? Read on to find out!
Wetpaint Entertainment: We’re still grieving over Mona’s death! She was truly one of the best characters on Pretty Little Liars.
Janel Parrish: Don’t worry! You’ll still have her. She’s just going to be in flashbacks now. But I’m still a regular. I’ll still be on the show.
OK, that makes it a tiny bit better. Now, one thing about Mona that made her so compelling is that she was always one step ahead of the Liars, and even one step ahead of “A.” She was way too clever! So what do you think was Mona’s fatal flaw this season? How did she end up dead?
I think her biggest mistake was creating that army because in doing so, she took a very public stand against Alison. And that is what’s dangerous. If she had stayed the way she was before, doing her hacking in private and never talking about her feelings with anyone else, she would have uncovered the same thing. She would have had the one-up on Alison. I think she just got so consumed with her fear and her anger toward Alison that she got a little sloppy. But, I will say, she still won at the very end — and she got killed because of it. She was validated in the end; she figured it out.
Marlene King has said that she’s been plotting Mona’s death for well over a year now in the writers’ room. When were you told Mona was going to die?
I love it. She kept that secret from me so well! I actually found out the day before the table read. She called me and told me what was going to happen. At first I was really nervous because I thought I didn’t have a job anymore, but then the next sentence out of her mouth was, ‘Don’t worry, you still have a job. You’re just going to be in flashbacks now.’ So I was like, ‘OK, I trust you completely.’ As long as I’m still apart of the PLL family, then I’m happy.
Was it fun for you to see everyone’s reaction to her death at the table read?
Yeah, everyone was sad! But things calmed down once Marlene said, ‘Don’t worry, she’s not going anywhere.’ But the fan reactions have been crazy, too. Apparently, #RIPMona is still trending on Twitter since last night. That’s amazing. And it makes me kind of happy that the fans say they’re going to miss her so much. Mona’s finally won over the fans, and then she dies [laughs]. It’s really sad, but it makes for a great story.
She really did win over the fans! This past season was all about redeeming Mona.
Yeah, and I think that’s what makes her death so sad. She was finally in a really good place. She wasn’t afraid anymore, and she was helping the girls. So of course, she had to die!
The fans are also really desperate to see Mona return. They’re coming up with some awesome theories. A popular one is that Mona has a twin.
Oh really? I’m so flattered. I feel like everyone has a twin, so I’m happy Mona finally gets one.
And that the twin is who killed Mona — or Mona actually killed her twin.
That’s an interesting theory! I’ve actually never heard that one before.
I think they just want Mona to come back.
She will be back. She’ll just be on the show in a different way. The next time you see her, she’ll be in Rosewood flashback lighting [laughs].
Obviously, the Liars are going to need time to process Mona’s death. Can you tell us anything about these flashbacks? Will they be with the Liars, or possibly Ali?
I think they’re all going to be different, and it will be interesting to see Mona through the eyes of the girls. She had all these different things that she was doing, she had all these different personalities, so you’re going to see all of that, which is great. I think it’s going to help us understand Mona better and maybe some mysteries will be solved in going back into those flashbacks, which I’m really excited about. It’s the same way we found out a lot about what happened to Ali in her flashback, so I think Mona’s flashbacks are going to be important.
Also, poor Mike Montgomery!
Oh, I know! He’s going to be very sad. You’ll see a very heartbreaking scene with him soon.
Because Mona, at the end of the episode, had really figured everything out, so the question is, what did Mona know? Is that going to be the central question of the season?
Well, Mona is very smart. In the episodes to come, you’ll see that she started leaving clues for the girls to figure out what happened. Mona planned it out, even right before she died. There was always a chance something could happen, so she prepared for the worst. One of the biggest mysteries of the second half of the season will be what happened to Mona? And the girls will have to piece together the clues and figure out what Mona had already figured out. Did Alison kill Mona? Did Alison kill Bethany? Those are also very important questions. There are all these mysteries that surround Alison, and the girls have to figure it out.
Did Mona leave anything behind that could help Spencer?
Yes. There will be clues left in Spencer’s honor.
Let’s talk about that final shot of Mona in the trunk. That was such a haunting scene.
Yeah, I thought they edited that beautifully. Thankfully, my eyes didn’t blink. That was the hardest thing for me! Trying not to blink was really hard. But the end result was so haunting.
Do you know anything about who killed Mona?
I do not know who exactly killed Mona, only because the writers are so good about keeping those things secret. But I do have my suspicions, and I do think that it was Alison. Ali looked a little smug at the end. So I definitely have my suspicions.
So it sounds like Marlene King does not tell you who “A” is when you get killed off Pretty Little Liars.
[Laughs] No! And also because I’m still on the show, so she’s smart. So I’m still figuring things out on my own, like everyone else.
Are you happy that Mona will be back next season? What do you think she was hiding? Sound off in the comments!
Catch the Season 5 winter premiere of Pretty Little Liars in January on ABC Family.