'Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin': 5 Biggest Premiere Reveals

From a death to many family surprises, 'Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin' is already bringing the drama.
by Amber Dowling — 

'Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin'


Warning: This story contains spoilers for the premiere of Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, . Read at your own risk!

Heading into HBO Max's Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin debut, co-showrunners Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Lindsay Calhoon Bring promised this series would be a more horror-filled take than the original Pretty Little Liars. They weren't kidding.  

In the first episode alone, "Spirit Week," the body count mounted right away, with a Carrie-influenced flashback scene, a gruesome bathtub "suicide," a random hanging and a caretaker slasher scene. And that's just the beginning.  

"I don't think I've ever worked on a show where we haven't done a million homages to Carrie," Aguirre-Sacasa tells Metacritic. "It's such an iconic movie and really that was one of the first horror movies that really centered on teenage girls in high school."

"But that was also about female friendships — female mean girls — and one of the first horror movies that zeroed in on that. We love that our PLL was almost all directed by female directors, and we've shifted the male gaze of horror and centered it on females," he continues.

The producimg duo reveal they had a checklist of all their favorite horror tropes they needed to make happen, including a cold-open set in the past, a character that lives in a shack and knows secrets, monologues where a character explains the killer's motivations, and an iconic killer, of course. 

"A is pretty powerful, pretty strong, pretty terrifying," says Calhoon Bring. "And like [in] all good slashers, he's got his weapon of choice. I think he's a pretty iconic character. The design of A's mask by Lisa Soper, who directed the pilot, feels very Leatherface to us. In a way we were doing homages and giving love and nods for all slashers." 

Slasher "goodness" aside, there were several other big reveals in that initial episode. Read on to see what the actors had to say about them, below.

Imogen's family crisis 

The biggest murder in the pilot (other than the flashback scene) is the brutal farewell to Davie (Carly Pope, in a very brief role). Davie was the only person there for her daughter Imogen (Bailee Madison) — especially following her teen pregnancy reveal. Without her, things are only going to get more brutal for Imogen as she contemplates bringing a baby into the world. It was a heavy lift, according to Madison, who watched clips from Rosemary's Baby in preparation. 

"The main questions for me in the beginning was what is Imogen's attachment to the baby?" she tells Metacritic. "Emotions are at a high and the hormones are at the next level. Those things were always in the back of my head. Then the added layer of it is, as the story unfolds, you learn more about Imogen and how does that affect being pregnant?" 

Faran's absent mother 

When Faran (Zaria) isn't being accused of stuffing razors into her ballet co-stars' dance shoes, she's all about competing. That much was clear from the debut episode, in which she landed the coveted lead in Swan Lake. However Faran also has a dark past and may be more into dancing in order to capture the attention of her mother, who as viewers saw, avoids anything and everything to do with Millwood at all costs.  

"A big reason Faran wants to be the best dancer is because she really wants her mom's approval," Zaria says. "But she doesn't think she's trying to prove something because it's a subconscious need for her. Her mom doesn't spend that much time in the house. Faran feels a lot like the most mature person in the house." 

Noa's troubled background 

When Noa (Maia Reficco) debuts on the series, audiences quickly learn she has a troubled past involving the law and community service. Now, she'll do anything to keep a clean record, even though A may have something to say about it. According to Reficco though, there may be more than meets the eye in terms of Noa's past.  

"The more you get to know her you'll understand the why or the reasons behind why she does what she does," she explains. "There is quite a facade she puts up and you'll get to understand her a little bit more as the season progresses." 

Tabby's older boss 

When audiences meet Tabby (Chandler Kinney) it's hard to get a read on her friendship with Imogen, but that could be because Tabby is mainly interested in anything and everything film — to the point where she clocks long hours at the cinema where she works and may even be susceptible to her much older boss Wes (Derek Klena), who appears to be trying to take advantage of her in the first episode. 

"Tabby and Wes' relationship is a confusing and complicated one at times and Tabby definitely struggles trying to figure out how to navigate that situation," Kinney says. "I don't want to spoil too much but it really becomes was a moment for her to dig deep inside of herself and figure out how to find her voice and use it in situations that can sometimes go in a few different directions. That's definitely an interesting journey for her." 

Karen's tough home life 

It's unclear whether twins were on Calhoon Bring and Aguirre-Sacasa's horror checklist, but Mallory Bechtel is bringing it in a double role. Although her twin, Kelly, isn't explained much in the first episode, Karen's need to bully and bulldoze her way through in any given situation is certainly explained at the dinner scene with her father (Eric Johnson). 

"Both Karen and Kelly think they're very clever," Bechtel says. "We're going to see that Karen has a pretty rocky home life. She doesn't have warm parents who love her unconditionally. She feels like she has to prove herself constantly. That can definitely be a redeeming quality." 

Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin streams two new episodes Aug. 4 and on Aug. 11, with the final three episodes debuting Aug. 18, all on HBO Max.