'Pretty Little Liars': Keegan Allen on a 'Shadier' Toby, His 'A' Slip-Up and One 'Crazy' Finale
"He really is on this fine line of being a very dangerous villain on the show and also keep his anonymity with his peers with Spencer and girls," the actor told THR following the winter premiere.
[Warning: Some spoilers ahead.]
When will Toby's "A" secret come out?
As Pretty Little Liars' Keegan Allen tells it, his connection to the "A" team (revealed in the summer finale), the game-changing secret won't be one for long. "He will be found out," Allen told The Hollywood Reporter.
The consequences of that reveal will change the face of his relationships with Spencer and the girls dramatically. "There are so many layers to this relationship between the two of them that it busts open in the most extraordinary way," he hinted.
While Allen was mum on specifics for coming episodes, he touted the second half of season three as "action-packed, really, really dangerous and really fun to watch."
In the first installment of THR's weekly postmortem with Pretty Little Liars cast and producers, Allen hints at Toby's "slip-up," revealing a much "shadier" side now that the audience is in on his "A" activities and a pivotal episode to keep an eye out for.
The Hollywood Reporter: How long before the summer finale reveal were you informed that that was where your character was going?
Keegan Allen: I found out pretty early on in the season that they were going to change this character from being the moral compass, the good boyfriend, to a betrayer. If you remember in the first season, he was an outcast. Everyone thought he had murdered Alison, he didn't have that great of a following in the school. He turned it all around, started to date Spencer and started to have this wonderful relationship. The writers thought it would be an amazing idea, and I thought it was a great idea to not only betray the people in the realm of Rosewood but to betray the audience as well. I'm pleased the way it came out.
THR: Now that viewers are in on Toby's "A" connection, his scenes with Spencer and the rest of the girls have an added tension to them. Should we expect him to commit even darker crimes or "A" acts in coming episodes?
Allen: That is why I love playing this character so much is because you never really know what he's capable of. In order to fully understand where he would go, I like to step into his shoes and say, well, what is the worst thing a person could do? He really is on this fine line of being a very dangerous villain on the show and also keep his anonymity with his peers with Spencer and girls. At this point, no one knows [outside of Mona]. He will be found out; it's in a really painful way. When I say painful, it's emotional. He is responsible for a lot of issues that happen later on in the season. It's one of those things you have to watch and find out. He is very active in taking part in the destruction later on.
THR: In last night's episode, Toby was far more outspoken about his annoyance over Spencer's obsession with Mona and Jason. Is that a sign of things to come?
Allen: Toby is very meticulous. He is on par with Spencer intellectually in that kind of way where he was sick of her keeping so much from him when he knew what was going on the whole time. There are so many layers to this relationship between the two of them that it busts open in the most extraordinary way. I like where it goes, but there will be a lot more of this push and pull between them. There is a lot of disagreeing that happens as well.
THR: What can you reveal about the Toby vs. the girls battle?
Allen: It's headed in a really dark direction. There are a lot of twists and turns along the way, which is what the show is known for, flipping everyone on their butts. There is a lot of interaction between Toby and the girls, not only in a malicious way but in a mind-bending kind of way. He really pushes the girls to their breaking point. We got a sense of it in the last episode, with someone watching he and Spencer in the hot tub. The audience knows that Toby is "A," Mona knows that Toby is "A" but none of the girls know. When you're watching the episodes -- especially last night's -- when he appears, he has excuses, alibis as to where he is all the time. He keeps himself very placed within reason for the girls to [not doubt him]. You'll see in the season how that plays its part, keeping himself out of the spotlight so to speak.
THR: You alluded to this earlier, that someone will find out about Toby's "A" team connection. Do one of the PLLs start to get suspicious?
Allen: I almost want to tease that there is a slip-up and that's why he gets spotted, a miniscule slip-up. It's so interesting how that happens too: It's so, so minimal, it's pretty amazing. [That] blows [everything] open. He is still very secure in his position of being this phantom ["A"]; he's been able to keep this secret for so long. If it wasn't revealed that he was part of the team, I don't think the audience would know at this point. He's definitely shadier now. Since the audience knows, there is more insight. We keep the camera on him to see how he reacts and knowing that he is who he is, it adds to that shock factor.
THR: The hot tub scene was definitely one of the more unsettling and uncomfortable moments.
Allen: Oh man, shooting that scene ... He was trying to distract her from something obviously. It's a pretty intense situation now.
THR: What's Toby's next move?
Allen: In the next episode, "Mona-Mania," Mona is out of Radley, and she's being tormented in high school. There is a teaming up between Mona and Toby that's really, really evil. There is a lot of conspiring over the next few episodes, which will be interesting for audiences to see what goes on behind the scenes there.
THR: What's a pivotal Toby episode that we should circle on our calendars?
Allen: Episode 16, which Marlene King directed and wrote. From beginning to end, it's an intensely good episode. The stakes are high.
THR: What can you say about the season finale?
Allen: I know that the finale is crazy, but I don't know what they chose to do. When they did the "A" team reveal, they shot Lindsay Shaw (Paige), Tyler Blackburn (Caleb) in hoodies. The crew had no idea who was going to be "A." It's very elaborate.
Pretty Little Liars airs 8 p.m. Tuesdays on ABC Family.