On this week's Pretty Little Liars Round Table, those seated discuss "A dAngerous gAme," where we learned (we think) the face under the red hood, whether Toby was alive or dead and if Spencer had truly joined the A-Team.
Join yours truly and staff writers Leigh Raines, Teresa Lopez and Nick McHatton as we try to make sense out what appeared to be a confusing conclusion to Pretty Little Liars Season 3.
Toby is alive. What were the strengths and weaknesses of his story of joining Mona to protect Spencer?
Leigh: I knew Toby wasn't dead. I never believed it. Truth be told, I'm not sure I can trust Toby. Marlene King said he was a bad guy and on the A-Team, no hidden agenda, but I'm not really sure I know what to believe at this point. I think he loves Spencer.
Teresa: This wasn't much a surprise, but I guess it does help keep one of the show's favorite couples together. So that's something, I guess. But it just doesn't make sense for Toby to have been working with Mona to keep Spencer safe. Even way back in season one when they weren't even together? The whole thing is confusing, and it was such a shame to watch Spencer quickly accept his explanation and jump back into bed with him.
Nick: It feels within character for Toby, and it goes with the greater picture of redemption for him. Ever since we found out he was part of the A-Team, PLL has continually shown us all the ways he disliked the liars, but that just never coincided with the same character we met and learned about in seasons past because he's always been this protector. He did so with Emily, and now with Toby.
Carissa: They've been working together longer than he was with Spencer, so that's the biggest hole to his explanation. Additionally, Marlene King isn't a Pretty Little Liar herself, so suggesting he won't come back from the dark side should mean just that. I think he wanted to know who was under that hood as much as everyone else, and was willing to use anyone to find out who it was. Everybody knows Spencer has the brain in town, so why not use it?
Should Spencer trust Toby?
Leigh: I don't think you can trust anyone on this show. However, I do believe that Toby loves Spencer. Call me stupid, call me romantic, but that's what I believe.
Teresa: According to Marlene King, no. In my opinion, I really don't think she should. The A-team has done some pretty awful things, and you can't trust somebody that would attack your friends...even if he says he's doing it for you.
Nick: Toby's certainly earned it at this point, hasn't he? Infiltrating the team that is causing Spencer the greatest amount of harm isn't something done lightly. Long live Spoby, bitches.
Carissa: No. She only trusted him because she slept with him. Every girl wants to believe the men she gives herself to would never betray her. Spence has never been so overcome with emotion like she was with Toby. She's in a completely different space when she's with him and her brain comes in second to her heart. But I have a feeling they're going to redeem him and go back on their word that he's a bad guy, so I'm probably wrong.
What did you think of the trap the girls set for Spencer?
Leigh: Pretty smart. The girls know each other damn well at this point. They know what would have grabbed Spencer's attention. The girls did good.
Teresa: That trap was the first time the girls actually did something smart. It makes it that much more frustrating when they do something stupid. Now, I know they actually have brains!
Nick: Usually Spencer is the one with a brain, so I rather enjoyed seeing the other ladies step up their game. Hopefully it will continue.
Carissa: It was a good one, and I loved that it probably came from Hanna, who everybody thinks is ditzy. She saw that photo and started putting everything together. I'm so proud of how far her character has grown. She has the best boyfriend and now she's growing a bigger brain!
Red coat is either Ali or Courtney (currently unknown to us). Thoughts?
Leigh: The writers could definitely be exploring the A from the books. Who else could've saved Ali? We never got any resolution with Cece Drake. I don't know that Cece could be important enough. I think that Red Coat could be someone completely unexplored.
Teresa: Who? What? I don't even know anymore.
Nick: I'm glad we're beginning to see the gaps fill in for the people/person responsible for giving the liars so much grief. Whether it's Ali or Courtney, I really don't mind.
Carissa: I am really hoping they're going to dig into the whole twin thing this summer. Everybody has seen Ali's dead body all over town. Someone who looks just like her is DEAD. That's a given. It would allow Ali (or Courtney) to be on the show as a FT Liar, really spice things up, stop just rehashing the same mystery over and over and rock the Rosewood world!
What was your biggest surprise and biggest letdown of the finale?
Leigh: My surprise was the whole Spencer and Toby interaction. Even though I figured he was alive and we found out he was "pretty eyes" it was still a wow. Troian Bellasario brought her A game this season, no pun intended. She's been amazing. Biggest letdown was that nobody has seen Red Coat. She's this omnipresent figure and on a far fetched show, her presence has been an even further stretch.
Teresa: Actually, I wasn't really surprised by anything, except maybe how easily Aria forgave Spencer for kidnapping Malcolm and basically ruining her relationship. The biggest letdown was...everything else. The episode was just confusing and over-the-top.
Nick: How little Mona actually knows. It certainly brought her down a peg, and I really like the idea of her needing to fight with the liars, rather than against them, because it opens up so many new doors for information. Plus, I really love Mona, she's a riot to watch.
Carissa: I hadn't thought about it until Nick's comment, but just how little Mona knew was a bit of a letdown. I mean, why were she and Toby lighting candles in front of a zillion pictures of Ali if they didn't even know it was her? Didn't that find that odd? After her little speech to Spencer at Radley about knowing things Spencer doesn't even know to ask, I would have expected more than just a screech that she wanted to see who was in the red coat. The finale was a bit of a mess, really. It seemed like they were pulling drawers open and grabbing at pages and just putting them together to make a script. Where is Ali-whoever getting money to be flying small planes? Here's hoping summer brings some more answers!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.