The mid-season finale ends with a bang, as the girls try to mend things with Emily by having an intervention by convincing her to see the truth about Paige, however Emily doesn't want to listen to them and believes they are wrong in their assumptions, and decides to ignore them by going away from town with Nate. The girls receive a text message from "A" demanding them to meet at the cemetery with Maya's bag. Thinking that Paige and Mona are setting something up, Spencer, Aria, Hanna and Caleb devise a plan to face off with "A" once and for all. At the cabin with Nate, Emily gets a strange phone call telling her to "get out", when she discovers that Nate has been lying to her, and is actually the one who killed Maya. She tries to call for help, but he has her cornered, and has kidnapped Paige in order to kill her. Emily saves Paige by escaping and leading him away from her, where they get into a physical confrontation. Emily kills him in self defense.
Because of this, Garrett has been released of all charges and is now a free man. The girls, now all reconciled with each other, now get a voicemail from "A", where the scrambled voice says, "I owe you one, Emily." The episode ends with Mona walking back into the mental hospital talking to the mysterious black hoodie person she was seen talking with earlier in the episode.
The person in the black hoodie is Toby.
The BetrAyer: My Thoughts On What This Reveal Means
The whole Nate reveal wasn't surprising, it was more about how the outcome of Emily finding out and the confrontation that would take place would turn out. I am pretty satisfied with how it all ended.
I want to focus on the reveal of who is on the "A" team.
It is quite shocking considering so many of us love Toby and his relationship with Spencer, that somehow we can't wrap out minds around the fact that he is part of it. But I think that's kind of the point. To me, this is a classic horror movie plot twist of someone who you thought you knew and trusted and loved having been involved with the horrible thing all along, or at least as it presents itself in such a way. It makes you ask questions like, when did he become part of the "A" team? Was he always a part of it? If so what were the clues to suggest it? And looking back, there definitely are subtle clues to suggest that he might as well been involved, and when you piece it all together it makes sense in some twisted way. Even though we don't want to admit to ourselves, sometimes those clues are important. Remember when Mona was revealed to have been part of "A"? For those who hadn't read the books it was quite a surprise, but looking back at the previous episodes you could see where some of the possible clues here and there.
Now, could it be that Toby might be planning something and pretending to be part of the "A" team in order to get information from the inside? It is highly possible, yes. After all, this show is all about the red-herrings and misleads and keeping the mystery until the ultimate reveal. Perhaps we're meant to believe he is the betrayer, but betrayer of whom? Of Spencer and the girls, or whoever is running the "A" show?
It really is a shocking reveal to have been made, but in my opinion it was fantastically done. Nobody suspected it, it hits close to home for many of us, and it gave the mid-season finale that excellent bang it needed. Very well done, show.
Things I liked about this episode:
++ The constant high suspense. This episode was, I believe, specifically done in a way of what a mid-season finale should be along with using what one would find in a horror movie. From the shots to the scenes, they didn't even use the theme song in this episode to indicate what this mid-season finale was supposed to be. It wasn't going to be like the previous episodes, and that they meant serious business with what they were planning on doing. This is what I love about this show, this is what makes me keep watching. Even if this show does stray a bit and kind of go into pointless and annoying storylines every now and again, they always go back to the mystery thriller aspect of the show and the girls being there for each other.
++ Emily vs Nate fight scene. That confrontation was perhaps the best fight on the show.
++ NATE (or whoever the fuck he was, that stalker dude) IS FINALLY DEAD AND GONE, HURRAY! MOTHERFUCKER GONE BYE BYE. Now all we need to do is get rid of Wren.....
++ Caleb being there for the girls, especially coming to Emily's aid after she stabbed Nate and comforting her. Even though it got him shot in the process, he has always been there not just for Hanna but for her friends and I have always loved that about him. He cares about them.
++ "A" COMMUNICATING VIA VOICEMAIL NOW. IDK WHAT IS SCARIER THOUGH: RECEIVING AN ANONYMOUS TEXT OF SOMEONE WHO KNOWS MY DEEPEST, DARKEST SECRETS, OR RECEIVING INCOMING CALLS FROM THAT ANONYMOUS PERSON WITH A DISTORTED VOICE. :O :O :O
++ Mona wearing the nursing staff outfit. Although how could she have wandered in and out of the mental hospital like that without anyone noticing and realizing, "oh hey, that's one of our patients" is beyond me. Then again, such a device is used on television to make certain situations more explainable. I particularly enjoyed her going from that outfit to the black hoodie again, and being in the creepy "A" room once again, which has been relocated (and I'm guessing, based on the reveal, that it's actually Toby's loft is where all of that is located.)
Things I didn't like:
++ Everything involving Ezra and Maggie and Ezra's family. I mean, it should be interesting but the show has made it completely uninteresting. I don't like how entitled Aria acts when confronting Maggie, even though she thinks she's doing this for Ezra's sake she is really making things much worse. None of this is her goddamn business. Just, ugh. -__-
Overall: The first half of the season kind of suffered from having lackluster storylines that really didn't need to happen or be focused on all that much, and quite frankly some of them were annoying as fuck, but thankfully the mid-season finale finally picked up on the action and suspense and thriller aspect of the show that I enjoy so much. It concluded one particular storyline that I predicted would end by mid-season, and also gave us something intriguing, and somewhat distressing, to mull over for the next two months before we get the Halloween episode. I'm just hoping that the second half of the season they really up their game, particularly with who else is on the "A" team.
Well played, Show. You did yourselves good. Kudos.
Now we have the webseries, Pretty Dirty Secrets, to keep us preoccupied until the Halloween episode in October.