Pretty Little Liars' Summer Finale: Chekhov's Gun Goes Off

Pretty Little Liars S03E12: "The Lady Killer"

Wow, okay. I trust we’ve all had time to decompress?

As promised, Pretty Little Liars’ midseason finale did not hold back: a character death, a character’s life in jeopardy, the reveal of Maya’s killer, and the unmasking of the second “A.”

Well, maybe. I’m not so certain about those last two.

Nate makes sense as Maya’s killer, but do we think he actually did it? As I've said before, his motive is clear—and now we know he was definitely a homicidal psychopath—but that doesn’t link Maya to Alison at all. Her death couldn’t have just been about Nate’s insane jealousy: In the video Nate showed Emily, Maya talked about the mess she’d gotten herself into, and only then mentioned separately that her stalker had found her again.

Of course, it’s possible that “A” just got lucky, and Nate taking Maya out of the picture was serendipitous—just like Nate inadvertently got Garrett out of prison by taking the blame for Maya’s murder.

When it comes to Nate, PLL's writers might have dropped too many hints, because I don’t think any of us were that surprised by his reveal as the stalker. If anything, I was annoyed that Emily was so dense as to believe him—didn’t his creepy behavior in last week’s episode merit keeping some distance? It also felt a little absurd that she agreed to go away with him without ever having met the rest of his family. You know better than that, Em.

But enough about Nate. Let’s talk about Toby. That last scene between Mona and Toby was pretty killer; I’m sure I wasn’t alone in thinking we wouldn’t get a peek under that hood. The reveal of Toby was the first major gasp moment Pretty Little Liars has offered in a while. But do we really believe he’s bad?

Here’s the thing: It totally makes sense that Toby would try to infiltrate the “A” gang in order to protect Spencer and her friends. So, yes, Toby could just be undercover, faking it. I don’t know, though—does the timeline really make sense? If Toby is only pretending to be the second “A,” how long has he been doing it? I don’t think Mona would really buy the idea unless he’s been in it for a long while. Honestly, I can see it going either way, and given how much PLL fans love Toby (and Spencer/Toby), I would not be surprised if this is all just a trick. I’m just saying, I’m not convinced.

If Toby isn’t playing both sides, though, who called Emily to warn her about Nate? The mind, it boggles.

All speculation aside, the midseason finale was a fun and stressful episode. The scenes of Emily and Nate in the lighthouse were some of the scariest Pretty Little Liars has ever done, and the in media res opening was definitely effective. (I really thought Caleb was going to die. Now I’m 99 percent sure he’ll pull through.) I’m glad that the next episode we’re getting is a Halloween special, because I really just want Pretty Little Liars to up the creep factor. The relationship stuff is great and all, but I like getting spooked.

Normally this show's midseason finales leave me wanting more, and I’m always frustrated that I have to wait several months (only two in this case) for the next episode. But there was something satisfying about this. I’m content to wait it out for a while, even if it means endless speculation about Toby’s true loyalty. Let’s sit back, catch our breath, and wait for Pretty Little Liars to help us celebrate Halloween.


– Okay, have at it: Is Toby really the second “A,” or is he playing Mona?

– Did Nate actually kill Maya?

– Caleb’s going to be okay, right?

Pretty Little Liars "The Lady Killer" Photos

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