One of the most shocking moments in Pretty Little Liars Season 3 was Toby’s betrAyal. Spoby fans agonized over Toby’s decision to join the “A” team. After all, how could he do that to Spencer? However, during Tuesday night’s Season 3 finale, Toby’s true motivations were revealed: He donned the black hoodie to protect Spencer!
But how long has he been in the “A” game? And how will this affect Spencer and Toby’s relationship in Season 4?
Wetpaint Entertainment chatted with Keegan Allen after the finale, and here’s what he had to say about Toby’s redemption, Spoby and Season 4. (Hint: Something “really, really grotesque” is in Wilden’s trunk.)
Did you always know what Toby's plan was as far as the A team?
I wasn't completely sure. You know, when they write for these characters, all of them including the girls, they write for a small bubble in time where they give you a truth for the moment because the show is written in a way that anything unexpected could happen and that's kind of the key to our addiction to it. People get addicted to it because you never know what's going to happen or how it's going to be. But it all links in. The writers know, but I had no idea. They literally were like, “Okay. So Toby's dead,” and I'm like, “Aw, man. I thought I was like doing so well.” And then they're like, “Okay. Toby's not dead. He's alive.” And I’m like, “Okay, cool.”
So how long did you, Keegan, really think he was dead?
A couple of episodes. In fact, I really didn't know what was going on with that story, but it made sense when I read the finale script. I was like, ”Oh, pretty eyes.” Now I can really like understand Toby was doing this for a long time, and he was sleuthing. And he's no stranger to this kind of living, but he did that to protect Spencer. It's a good thing, and I enjoy always shocking fans. Whether it be my storyline or watching another storyline, it's always so fun to see people's reactions.
When they wrote Toby as being part of the “A” team, what were the motivations that they gave you? Because earlier you were questioning why he would want to hurt these girls?
Oliver Goldstick said it best, that he has an ax to grind. And Alison made him miserable for his adolescence, and Toby had a really hard upbringing with a lot of shame. Not just with his family life, but with these girls just ripping him to shreds all the time, and there was a lot of justification in a way of him doing this. So that was they gave me. They told me these girls made you crazy, and so it's you getting back at them.
Did you buy it?
Yeah, I bought it. I used that, and then when I found out that he was doing this to protect Spencer, that made sense.
What were your thoughts about finding out that yes, you are the moral compass?
I wouldn't go so far as to say that he's the moral compass because you still really don't know. I mean, even coming into Season 4, I'm a bit – I don't really know where the show is going yet still. I'm still in the process of understanding what Season 4 is, but I can tell you that there's a lot of sub stories going on that further layer this character, and all of the characters for that matter, whether it's Caleb or Mona or even the four girls. There are so many layers in all these characters. Our show might have started out as a mystery, but it really has these deep layered relationships within these characters. And going into Season 4, you don't know what's happening, but it's so exciting because all of these questions of where we left off get answered like right off the bat, and it just turned into a roller coaster ride once again.
Were you surprised that Spencer forgave him so quickly and that they reunited to fast?
I don't know that she forgave him so quickly. In the hotel room, she’s like, do you have any idea how hard this has been for me? And then she sees that he is so affected by this. That he's probably tortured being away from her. When you really love someone that genuinely and authentically and you want to protect them to the point of where you fake your own death and leave town and not see them. That's tortuous. He says it without saying it in a way. He's so affected by his decisions, but I think that she forgives him because this is what we're going to do. We're going to figure out who Red Coat is. We need to see who it is. That's the plan. Nothing else matters. We need to get a good look at who it is, and then go looking for her. And they see someone that apparently looks like Alison, or is Alison, or might not be Alison at all. Just because the girls want so badly to believe that Alison has been in all of their little nightmares, that they project Alison onto this bright red coated figure.
Now that we have months and months and months to go, but you are back at work, anything you can tease about the beginning of the season?
Yes, I can tell you that they're going to find out who or what is in the trunk. There's something in there that's really, really grotesque. It's just intense, and you get to see what happens with their decisions of what to do with the vehicle. We get to explore more about the moments after the fire. There's a lot of smoke in the premiere of Season 4. It's written and directed by Marlene King who is the mother developer of our show along with Oliver, but she has a way of writing these finales and these premiere episodes that really take off. You go from naught to 60 in a second, right from the start, and even reading it, it feels like an accelerator jammed underneath – you're on a runaway train. So tons of suspense, tons of understanding, you get to really explore who hit Toby. What did he find? All of these questions are answered, and then we really dive into understanding these characters. So you can look back to Season 1 and go, “Oh my God. That's why that happened.” And I think that is my favorite part of the show is that we learn more about our characters more and more each episode, and then the audience can feel the same way, that reward that we get.
Are we going to miss the evil stare, or are you going to try to bake it in whenever it's appropriate?
The evil stare looking back, had a lot more to do with his confliction with having to do something that he really didn't want to do, and there's more confliction that happens on a deeper, deeper level, on just a really tortured level that we get to experience Season 4 with Toby and with Spencer as well.
From an acting standpoint, would you have wanted to know the endgame? Those evil stare scenes with Spencer, when we were just finding out that Toby was evil – supposedly – would it have helped you if you'd known what the finale was?
I don't know. At that point, I didn't really know anything. I don't know if it would have changed any of my choices, but it's always great to play in the moment, and as an actor, it was quite a gift to be given that, and be like, “You're evil.” Just be evil and screw it. And then walk around in that world, and be like, “Yep. I have an ax to grind with these girls. My justification has been made, and I'm going to fly with it.” And I think if I would have known, it would have maybe diminished some of the fury and I'm glad that it didn't because that forever will be that, and it will forever affect the audience the way that we all wanted that to happen.
Season 4 of Pretty Little Liars premieres June 11, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC Family.