Marlene King on Toby as “A”: “It Had to Be Done” But It Was the Hardest Scene to Write
We are not ashamed to confess our love for Pretty Little Liars writer-producers Oliver Goldstick and Marlene King. They are the people behind all of our favorite tender moments, all the biggest shocks and even the occasional heartbreaking death (or worse … reveal).
However, no matter how hard you think a scene might be to watch, it’s that much harder for them to write it. But what scene in particular has been the hardest for them to create?
Oliver and Marlene revealed just that to The Hollywood Reporter in a fascinating feature about the power of showrunners:
King: “The reveal that Toby (Keegan Allen) was on ‘A’s’ team. He is my most favorite character on the show and I’ve said from the beginning that he is the moral compass. To then write that scene, where the black hoodie turns around and it’s Toby, it was like, "Oh my god!" It was one of those things where you knew it had to be done, it was the right thing to do, but I knew with the way people reacted when Maya died that Toby fans were going to be devastated. A viewer’s mom called the show the day after the episode aired and said, "I need to speak to the head of television."
Goldstick: “When Aria’s brother hits his mother. It was a, no pun intended, a tender scene. It was a story that someone had told his friend and it was a question of how far I could take it. The network was concerned too; they did not want to damage his character and make him unredeemable and unforgivable. We had a whole arc of his depression; with teenagers, it’s very real but something we have to treat with some reverence. That to me was treacherous, it was potentially a minefield to walk through because you don’t want to trivialize something that is quite real and profound.”
Were those scenes some of the hardest for you to watch? Are you surprised at their choices?
After knowing what we know now, we think the hardest scene to watch might be Toby and Spencer’s (Troian Bellisario) adorable reunion in the very episode that will later reveal that he is a member of the “A” team (Season 3, Episode 12: “The Lady Killer”). You know the one we’re talking about … in the street, “Please don’t let me go,” etc. Our hearts are breaking just thinking about it (and maybe watching it on repeat on YouTube).
What scene is most difficult for you to watch? Tell us which one and why in the comments below!