One of the biggest shocks in Pretty Little Liars history was the reveal that Toby Cavanaugh (Keegan Allen) is part of the "A" team, and everyone wants to know how that will play out in the Season 3 winter season.
Recently, Wetpaint Entertainment had a chance to chat with Keegan Allen, and he dished on Toby's motivations, how Spencer finds out about her boyfriend's secret, what we can expect from the finale, and more.
Read spoilers at your own risk! For more on Wetpaint Entertainment's philosophy on spoilers, click here.
Wetpaint Entertainment: In the premiere, it seems you get to perfect your evil stare!
Keegan Allen: Yeah, the evil stare! I've been working on that.
Where do we pick up this spring, from where we left off at Halloween?
Life in Rosewood, for the girls and for everybody, is just going to change a lot after all of the tragedy and all of the events that happened recently. Emily [Shay Mitchell] is dealing with killing Nate. Aria [Lucy Hale] and Ezra [Ian Harding], they’re going to have a whole bunch of drama, and Caleb [Tyler Blackburn] is going to be dealing with a lot of family issues. One of the girls feels the change more than others — and I won't say who that is — but it gets very apparent towards the end of the season.
Mona [Janel Parrish] is cleared from Radley, and she returns to Rosewood High. The big question would be, is she cured, or is she just playing even more intensely? And in the next 11 episodes it really gets intense with the "A" team. They fight dirty. You get to see a lot of Toby and Mona together, and the "A" team pushing all the girls to their breaking points. The collective "A" messes with Spencer [Troian Bellisario] so bad and pushes her so far. Troian is such a talented actress. Actually all of the girls are so wonderfully talented, but I get to work with Troian the most, so I'm able to see the process of what she goes through, and this season, towards the end, her character goes through so much.
Marlene King has said that Spencer finds out that Toby's "A", and it is such a betrayal on top of a betrayal, and it twists the knife. It's so sad the way that she finds out. It's so sad that if I was involved in this — like, if it was Keegan and Spencer and Toby, I would beat the sh*t out of Toby. I would lose my mind because it's so wrong. It's so terrible and just mean, and we find out why. We find out so many answers, and there's closure to a lot of questions that have been asked since season one.
We know what he is, but we don't know exactly why Toby is evil. Are you saying we're going to find out why he's been terrorizing his girlfriend?
You're going to find out why he's been terrorizing everybody. When I found out about Toby being "A", I was very troubled for a long time. He's such a moral compass for this show. Marlene has made him into this perfect boyfriend, this truth-sayer, and you're literally going to dismantle that?
I think it's brilliant. I think it's so smart because it flips everybody on their side, which is the show's main purpose — to make everybody watch and completely lose their minds and want more of it. But it troubled me in the way of ‘what is my motivation?’ and I didn't really know right away. They wouldn't tell me because it hadn’t been written yet, but also because we hadn't really discussed where the character was going. When I found out what the motivation was, I was like, ‘Whoa, okay. That's insane. That's a lot of baggage to be carrying around.’ And we find out what it is, why Toby decided to do what he's doing. It goes back. It's not just a quick thing that happened. There are reasons and motives and ambition that was driven into him. It's really interesting.
We're starting to feel like the mystery is a lot bigger than this one bitchy blonde?
That's something I can neither confirm or deny. But in the writing they explore that. They explore a little bit more of what happened in flashbacks. There's just so much fun stuff to watch because you get so many clues from the flashbacks. Another thing that's so wonderful about this show and the way that it's written is that there are clues. You can watch from Season 1 all the way up to the end of Season 3, this coming January, and you'll see clues that are referred to in later episodes. It's absurd, and they carefully did that from Season 1. There are super fans that have come to me with things that haven't been released yet. And I'm like, ‘Shit, they know.’ It's possible to figure out secrets from watching from the very beginning.
When it comes to Jenna, are we going into how much she knows? She's kind of evil too. Are they evil together, or are they on separate evil trajectories?
I believe they are on different evil trajectories. In my mind, it would be really interesting if they were on different evil planes and collided and were like, ‘What are you doing here?’
Are there scenes from the past that you now re-watch? Is there a specific one that you can remember from the first two seasons where you're like, ‘Oh, that's what that means?’
Yes. I believe it's Season 2, in Episode 11, Toby goes to meet Spencer at the carnival, and he texts her from a blocked number. And he goes, ‘I'm sorry. I lost my phone. This is Toby, where are you?’ And it goes over a lot of people's heads, but if you re-watch it, you're like, ‘That's random — why they would put that in there?’ But everything is very pointed. He's texting her from a blocked number. He loses his phone, and he's got "A"'s phone.
We're amazed that Toby being "A" stayed a secret. In this day and age with Twitter and Facebook and all the spoilers — we're amazed.
Right? We're all really pleased with that. In fact, we gave ourselves a big pat on the back the second it broke because we were waiting. Everybody from the social media department of our show was scanning the internet every day since we filmed that. We even filmed three alternate endings: one with Tyler Blackburn, and another one with Lindsey Shaw [Paige McCullers] being in the hoodie, and then we all turn around. So I didn't even really know if they were going to use me as "A" at that point. There was no way to tell, which was really smart of them. We really did such a solid job of keeping it secret, and I'm glad that it worked out that way because it added to the shock value.
Do you think we'll understand, even maybe sympathize with Toby's motivations?
I don't know because I looked at the reasons, but I can't tell. There's a part of me that does sympathize, and then there's a part of me that's like, ‘You idiot. How could you do this? Think about what you’ve done.’ But there are reasons. Everybody has objectives and motives. Is it the smartest move that he has made? Probably not. But everything comes with a price, and he paid the price. And a lot of people pay the price for this decision that he's made.
Can you tease the finale in broad strokes?
There's a lot of betrayal. There's a lot of, ‘I can't believe what I just saw.’ Literally, I feel like the whole thing will end, and you're going to be like, ‘I don't believe what I just saw.’ There's a part of me that does not believe what I saw. It's going to pump a lot of people's brakes. They're going to freak out. The second half of season three is going to be incredible and very fun to watch.
Find more Pretty Little Liars spoilers here.
Catch the return of PLL Season 3 on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.
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