‘Pretty Little Liars’ EP Explains How Spencer and Caleb Ended up Together, Teases What’s Down Sara’s Ladder

“Down there are more secrets, more explanations, more information about Charlotte, and more information about the really twisted, convoluted history of Radley,” EP Joseph Dougherty tells TheWrap

Last week’s episode of “Pretty Little Liars” ended on a huge cliffhanger, with Aria and Spencer discovering a mysterious ladder leading to the depths of Radley in Sara Harvey’s hotel room.

“Down there are more secrets, more explanations, more information about Charlotte, and more information about the really twisted, convoluted history of Radley,” executive producer Joseph Dougherty said in an interview with TheWrap.

And just because the former sanitarium has undergone renovations, that doesn’t mean there aren’t “dark and dangerous things” left to be discovered.

Dougherty also acknowledged the uproar surrounding Spencer and Caleb’s new romance, explaining that testing the show’s longstanding relationships can be a good source of drama.

“We like the people who watch the show, and it’s not our intention to make them really unhappy,” he said. “You’ve trusted us this far, and if you trust us a little longer, we’ll lead you to a satisfying place and tell you a story you’ll be happy we told you.

Read the full interview below:

TheWrap: Like most people, the girls have grown apart a bit since high school, so why don’t they just throw their hands up and say it’s not worth protecting each other?
Dougherty: Part of it is that they never really finished their relationships in high school. They’re still kind of attached to each other. They were forged in a really dangerous place. It’s almost like they’ve been through a war together and they bonded on that level.

TheWrap: Does that have a limit, or will they stick together until the bitter end?
Dougherty: Well, everything has limits. That’s one of the sources of drama on the show, pushing people past their limits. But from a practical standpoint, this has always been a show about a level of friendship that might look stronger than you’d normally run into in real life … I do not know what could break these friends apart. Maybe what we’re trying to do here is test it as much as we can.

TheWrap: Hanna seems to be the one who’s grown the most, the one most weary of falling back into old habits. Was that always the plan?
Dougherty: Hanna was always the one who had the clearest image. The clearest set of dreams and aspirations. And she was just going to own it and have it. She’s gotten a lot of what she said she wanted, and I think now she’s going to go through the process of figuring out whether or not these are the things she actually wants. We wanted all of them to achieve at least some of what they set out to achieve. And if Hanna got the most of it, then I think Emily got the least of it over the last five years.

TheWrap: But Aria also seems to be the one who’s most reverted back to her old ways.
Dougherty: I think they were all more grown up before they came back to Rosewood. There’s something that happens to you when you come back to your hometown. It’s easier to fall back into old behaviors when you come back to a place where you were a shorter person. Not to comment on Aria’s height in any way, shape or form. I think habits and behaviors are very hard to change. And they’re even harder when you’re back home.

TheWrap: I think a lot of people were surprised to see Spencer and Caleb end up together. How did you come to that decision?
Dougherty: For a very long time, we considered all the relationships very sacrosanct, and we did not want to frighten anyone by breaking up longstanding couples. But we realized that one of the results of that was that we were limiting the potential for drama, for conflict. It was necessary, and now was the time with this gap, to take a look at what happens when those relationships became tested, and what happens when other attractions became visible. We wanted to see what would happen if we gave them those choices and if they acted on them. If you look at some of the fan response, they have been seriously concerned to see these relationships tested, but I think you have to test a relationship to see how real it is. We like the people who watch the show, and it’s not our intention to make them really unhappy. You’ve trusted us this far, and if you trust us a little longer, we’ll lead you to a satisfying place and tell you a story you’ll be happy we told you.

TheWrap: What can you tease about what’s down the ladder?
Dougherty: There is a Radley inside the Radley. That hotel is like an onion, it’s got layers inside of layers. Down there are more secrets, more explanations, more information about Charlotte, and more information about the really twisted, convoluted history of Radley. All roads seemed to lead to Radley, and they still do. There’s still an awful lot of dark and dangerous things inside of that hotel.

“Pretty Little Liars” airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on Freeform.

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