Raise your hand if you audibly gasped when Pretty Little Liars revealed Alison was having Emily's baby. Well, while the whole situation may have raised fans' eyebrows, actor Sasha Pieterse's explanation of Emison's love story may change your perception of this particular incident — at least a little bit. Though she doesn't excuse A.D.'s appalling and terrible behavior, she emphasizes the fact that Alison and Emily chose to raise their kids together. Pieterse tells Bustle, "I think [the pregnancy] forced [Ali] to face her feelings, which is basically something she's never done before... And I think that was the start of her deciding her future, instead of hiding from it."
The Emison pregnancy twist was even more shocking because A.D. had Ali impregnated against her will using Emily's eggs (which were previously stolen from a fertility bank). It sounds like a plot from a horror movie, but, despite that major invasion of privacy, ultimately Alison and Emily decide to start a family on PLL and raise their children together. (Spoiler alert, they have twin girls.) And as much agency as Ali may have lost over her body, this part became her decision.
"The pregnancy really did force her into making those decisions," Pieterse continues, "but at the same time, she did have the choice whether or not to have the baby, if it was gonna be with Emily, or if it wasn't gonna be with Emily, so she really did choose Emily in so many ways... They really did choose to make a family together. So even though that decision was forced upon them, they really did choose each other."
Considering the DiLaurentis' history of family drama, Ali's been through a lot, but this seems to be the first time she finds a sense of home — in her new life with Emily. But Emison's romance hasn't been without roadblocks. After all, it took quite some time before Ali reciprocated Emily's affections. And, as a fan, it was sometimes frustrating to watch just how much she teased her future fiancée.
"I think Ali was confused," Pieterse says of her character's previous behavior. "It's a little bit like a boy in the schoolyard, you know, picking on the girl that he likes. I think that's the best way I can kind of describe it." In general, Alison had a tendency to mistreat those around her, simply because she liked being in control and wasn't the best at handling affection — or any emotions, really.
"But I think the reason she picked on Emily in that way was because she knew how much Emily loved her in that different way, and Alison was kind of afraid of loving Emily in the same way," she explains. "So I think it was more of a defense mechanism rather than it being so mean, because Alison only knew how to be mean." As such, Pieterse believes Ali had trouble wrapping her head around the situation and teased Emily as a result of her own uncertainty. "There are so many layers behind it," she adds.
To say that Emison's romance had layers would be an understatement. But there's no denying that Alison grew up over the course of the show. Season 1 Ali would never be caught dead proposing to someone in a pug sweater, yet, in Season 7, she couldn't care less what others think.
While Alison's previous behavior may have been tough to watch, Pieterse's explanation certainly adds insight. If Ali was just as confused as Emily, she needed that time to figure things out — even if she didn't choose the best method to do so. And just as Ali acknowledged in her proposal, Emily helped make her a better person: "When I was at my most lonely and unhappy and angry place, you loved me. When I was an ugly human being, you saw a beautiful soul."
Just because it wasn't the happiest journey to get to this point doesn't mean Emison doesn't deserve their happy ending moving forward.