Pretty Little Liars Season 3 Summer Finale Recap: Toby Is “A”!
We’re still stunned! (Translation: “Why, Toby? Whyyyyyy?”) In this week’s jaw-dropping — and all-around amazing! —Pretty Little Liarssummer finale (Season 3, Episode 12: “The Lady Killer”), Nate probably should have purchased a new pair of (paint-free) shoes; Emily brings a knife to a gunfight; Paige comes out of the (literal) closet; and Spencer takes the expression “sleeping with the enemy” to a new level.
Wherein Emily Takes a Stab at Solving the Situation
So this week we learned that not one but two of the people whom Emily has had a thing for are not to be trusted. (Not a great track record.) Those two people are Nate — who was not actually Maya’s cousin but her stalker by the name of Lyndon (or London?) James — and Toby, who is apparently working with the “A” team. And you thought you had bad luck when it comes to dating.
We’d gotten tired of seeing Emily get pushed around over the years, so it was nice to see her defend herself against Nate, once she spotted his yellow-stained shoes. (Nate was probably thinking to himself, “If only I’d had time to swing by a Foot Locker!”) Then again, we’re hoping that Em isn’t too traumatized by the fact that she had to — yikes! — kill someone. We suppose it’s all in a day’s work for our Liars.
Yes, we still miss Maya and Emily together (who doesn’t?), so it was tough to see that video of Maya wanting to patch things up with Em. Sob! However, it looks like Paige — now duct tape-free — and Emily may actually be a cute couple, despite Paige’s thorny history with Alison and the fact that the Liars found that earring in Paige’s bag. Some advice to Paige: Buying Emily jewelry? A good idea. Carrying around jewelry from Alison’s grave? A not-so-good idea.
Wherein Hanna Was Right to Discourage Caleb From Carrying Firearms
We were hoping that the only thing Caleb would be attacked with this week would be a pink furry lamp. How wrong we were. Just as he was proving to be the most stable significant other on the show, Caleb had to go and take a bullet to the abdomen— and by his own gun to boot. So many mysteries remain, such as: Will Caleb survive? Did Nate fire the shot? And how did Caleb’s hair remain so perfect, even while he was on a stretcher? His hair is truly a miracle.
Hanna didn’t visit Mona this week, but it seems that Mona can now visit Hanna whenever her (ice-cold) heart desires, as we see Mona striding out of Radley in a nurse’s outfit with keys in tow. So how did Mona even get that key? We hate to point the finger at Wren, but it’s hard not to suspect that Rosewood’s most meddling doctor might be involved in helping Mona to make her Houdini-esque escape from Radley.
Wherein Spencer Needs to Tell Toby, “We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together”
It’s true that the first person you sleep with does not always turn out to be Mr. Perfect. However, in Spencer’s case, that is the understatement of the century. We can’t believe that Spencer finally decides to sleep with Toby in the same episode that reveals that he’s one of the Evil Hoodie-Wearers!
And what’s even more shocking to us is that Spencer is probably the most perceptive Liar, so it’s crazy to think that she’s been clueless about Toby’s connection to “A” — and instead was convinced this week that Paige was “A.” Spence really fell for that “job in Bucks County” line, along with Toby’s comment about him being exactly where he needs to be, didn’t she?
Also, part of what makes this week’s episode so thrilling is that — unlike with Mona’s reveal in the Season 2 finale — the other characters don’t yet know that Toby is involved. We’re not sure what Spencer will do to Toby when she finds out that he’s with the “A”-team, but we’re thinking that Toby will be in for some pain. (A word of advice to Toby: You might want to start wearing a cup from now on.)
Wherein Aria Learns That It Takes a Village to Lie About Raising a Child
In the past few weeks, we’d been shocked to learn about Malcolm (a.k.a. Ezra 2.0). However, now we might be kind of over it. When compared to all of the much crazier storylines and twists this week, the baby-mama drama was kind of blah. Let’s just say that the news that Ezra has yet another somewhat-insane ex-girlfriend is not exactly going to make the morning papers.
But we’d be lying (as everyone on this show loves to do!) if we said we weren’t curious about what Maggie meant by Aria not knowing the full story about their little tyke. So is Ezria heading for Splitsville, as it seems? We think Aria and Ezra can get through this, because if Knocked Up taught us anything (and it clearly did), it’s that a mismatched couple that is woefully prepared to raise a child will only get stronger with the added responsibility of childcare. (Good message, right?)
- Let’s just get this out of the way: This has to be the Greatest PLL Episode Ever. It was awesome with a capital “A” (so to speak). So now we’re faced with figuring out just what it means for Toby to be “A” or be working with “A.” And Toby, if you’re reading this: You are officially not our friend. Even if you offer to make us a cool chair.
- Does this mean that both Toby and Jenna have only pretended to dislike each other and have been working together all this time on the “A” team? Or is Jenna not on the “A” team at all, and perhaps Toby is the person whom Jenna was protecting herself from by faking her blindness? Talk about a dysfunctional family.
- There’s a scene early in the episode in A’s lair where we don’t see Toby’s face (because he’s wearing a hood) but he’s sitting in a rocking chair. Among the creepy knickknacks in the lair is a student-body election pin of Spencer’s, which might confirm that Toby is indeed working with “A.” And we didn’t know that the person in the rocking chair was Toby at the time, but it makes sense, since the man loves wooden furniture almost as much as he apparently loves stalking people and ruining their lives.
- The far-less-shocking reveal this week was that Nate was not in fact Maya’s cousin. Actually, Nate wasn’t even Nate! His real name is (or rather, was) Lyndon James — hence, the “LJ” on the knife — and he was Maya’s stalker at sober camp who killed Maya because he couldn’t have her. Later, he also tried to kill Emily. So his routine is to kill the people who dump him? Uh, has he never heard of binging on Ben & Jerry’s like normal people do when they get dumped?
- It was interesting that Emily got a call from “A” warning her that she has a minute to leave the cabin, and then Nate returned a minute later. So was “A” actually trying to save Emily? Or maybe Toby is only pretending to be “A” in order to get info about the “A” team, and this was his effort to save Em? We can dream!
- We kept thinking that Paige would turn out to be evil, so it was crazy to instead see Nate about to kill her. Is it now safe to assume that Paige — despite her flap with Ali and the fact that she Em on “that night” — is not actually on the “A” team? And did “A” plant that earring in her bag?
- Who actually shot Caleb? We weren’t shown what happened when that gunshot went off, so we don’t know for sure if Nate fired Caleb’s gun. Nate was on death’s door, so it’s possible that “A” was lurking in the shadows and was the real shooter. Let’s face it: We wouldn’t rule out, say, Mona having fired that shot, since we all know there has been no love lost between Caleb and Mona over the years.
- Why exactly did Mona want to leave Radley for the day? We hear her say that she wouldn’t have escaped if she knew that Garrett would get released from jail, so was she trying to bust him out? (Maybe she was going to spend the next 10 years chiseling away at the wall with a tiny hammer, a la Shawshank Redemption?) And does this mean that Garrett is on the “A” team — and perhaps Melissa is as well?
- Presumably, Mona had something to do with the girls being told to meet at Ali’s grave — that is, until Mona mentions a “change of plans.” And instead of Paige also meeting at the cemetery at 10 p.m., she was snatched up by Nate. When you’re living in Rosewood, you never know who is going to abduct you — all you know is that you’ll be abducted by somebody.
- The fact that Toby was in the “A” hoodie is utterly shocking, but we must now admit that there were clues that we could have picked up on. For starters, when we first learned about Toby back in the early days of Season 1, we knew that Ali claimed to have thrown that firecracker into the barn — which ended up blinding Jenna — because Toby had been spying on them. So whaddya know — maybe Ali was telling the truth all along!
- Also in Season 1, we learn that Ali blackmailed Toby into taking the blame for his sordid (and by “sordid” we mean “super-duper gross”) relationship with Jenna. So there are definitely reasons for Toby to hate Alison — although who in Rosewood doesn’t have reasons to hate Ali? Ali wasn’t exactly the Tom Hanks of Rosewood.
- We had previously gotten hints that Mona and Toby might in fact be friendly. At the fashion show in Season 2, we hear Toby defending Mona in front of the Liars. And then last season, Mona texts Toby that she wants to buy his truck for her cousin. And speaking of Season 2, we’re now wondering if Toby planted that hockey stick that he found at Spencer’s place.
- Then, in the Season 2 finale, Toby shows up at the end out of nowhere, and Dr. Sullivan informs the Liars that Toby was the one who helped her get back to Rosewood. So perhaps Toby was able to get in touch with Dr. Sullivan because he was involved in kidnapping her in the first place? (And come to think of it, where the heck has Dr. Sullivan been lately? Weren’t we supposed to find out who her son is?)
- The one modicum of hope that we refuse to let go of (don’t make us let go of it!) is that Toby is only pretending to be on A’s side in order to bring down the “A” team. This could be a safe assumption because the last time we saw Toby, in Season 3, Episode 8: “Stolen Kisses,” he tells Spencer that he is going to go out and get answers for himself. Maybe going undercover as an “A” team member was the only way to do that?
- And let’s not forget that, in Season 2, Toby broke his arm by falling off the scaffolding that “A” had loosened, so it’s hard to believe that Toby would purposely break his own arm. Typically, the only people who intentionally hurt themselves are on Jackass.
Other Things That Need To Be Discussed:
- Every single person on the show this week had unbelievable challenges in front of them and were faced with the biggest decisions of their lives. Well... everyone, that is, except for Ezra. Ezra was in his own blissful little paradise this week, where his only concern seemed to be, “Should I serve this bundt cake with ice cream or fruit?”
- We get that there was a lot to cram into this episode, but a PLL finale without Alison in it just doesn’t feel quite right, does it?
- We can’t believe that we now have to wait two months for the Halloween special to arrive, but at least that will give us time to rewatch this fabulous episode over and over and over. And when the Halloween episode does get here, we have a feeling that it will be amazing, since that “ghost train” party seems pretty darn freaky. Bring it on!
Catch the PLL Halloween special on Tuesday, October 23 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.