'Pretty Little Liars' TV Review: Toby And Caleb Make Hot Detectives; Emily Gets In Trouble With 'A'
Tuesday’s newest installment of Pretty Little Liars, ‘Crash and Burn, Girl!’ brought a whole bunch of awesomeness in the form of dream team Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) and Toby (Keegan Allen). Even if the entire episode had been horrible and unwatchable (which it wasn’t – PLL could never be unwatchable), it would have been redeemed by the Caleb-Toby bromance/detective scenes. I’ve always wondered why (and how) Hanna (Ashley Benson) and Spencer (Troian Bellisario) kept their own ‘A’ investigations separate from their relationships, at least to the extent that the girls still go out on their own to chase a lead, and I was happy to see the guys finally go out and do something on their own.
Of course, Caleb and Toby are no strangers when it comes to playing detective, especially where ‘A’/Red Coat is involved. I mean, Toby even WAS ‘A’ for a while last season! But, we’ve never gotten to see them actually join forces separate from the girls before, and, man, was it worth the wait. Toby and Caleb were funny together, and, needless to say, insanely hot. Caleb was totally awesome and smart, as always, but Toby definitely fumbled during their little secret mission. For such a talented liar, Toby was kind of useless when they went after the guy at the airport, and he was way too obvious when he lied to Caleb about the file on his mother. Note to Toby: you had an affair with ‘A’ on the side while you were in a serious relationship with Spencer, and she never had a clue – where did that knack for deceit go?
Furthermore, as much as I enjoy any storyline that puts two handsome men on my screen, the writing of this plotline was a bit lazy. Don't get me wrong, I love both Toby and Caleb, but it was almost as if the writers forgot who the characters really were. As I mentioned before, the fact that Toby is a seasoned liar was completely forgotten about, and they also portrayed Caleb as less capable than he's already proven to be (at least when they were trying to find out who the plane was registered to). Caleb is the computer wiz, and yet he can't find any hits off the plate numbers they have? Then Toby sits down for two seconds and finds it right away? Psh, yeah right. I understand that for the scenes to work, Toby and Caleb actually have to rely on one another and work together, but it definitely could have been better executed. Regardless, it was really fun to see them try to fool the guy at the airport together (and then confront him). Though I was a tad disappointed that they didn’t pretend to be a couple. (Maybe next time?)
The only other thing I didn’t totally love about the episode was the car that ran into Emily (Shay Mitchell)’s living room. As crazy and dramatic as it was, it was just too much for me – yes, even for Pretty Little Liars. In a weird way, I’d rather have watched ‘A’ try to stab Emily’s mom, Pam (Nia Peeples) – you know, something simple. The car just brought up too many questions that I know will never be answered. Who was driving the car? Who does it belong to? Was it really an attempt on Pam’s life or just a warning? If there was no driver, how did ‘A’ rig the car to run straight into Emily’s house? And, why didn’t Emily and her mother look to see if there was anyone behind the wheel after the destruction had ended? Also, the scale of this ‘A’ threat seems a bit out of character. ‘A’ is always too smart to get caught, and his/her attempts at harming the girls and their loved ones are (more often than not) subtle. (Think loosening one of the screws on the scaffolding Toby was using to work construction.) Sending a car through someone’s house not only feels extremely personal, it looks extremely personal, and the police have got to find it shady enough to investigate, right? I don’t know, it just seems like too big of a risk for ‘A,’ but maybe that’s just because I’m too invested in Ashley (Laura Leighton) and Hanna to care all that much about Emily and Pam. (I'm open to other theories, if you care to share.)
Speaking of Hanna and Ashley, Hanna absolutely broke my heart (in a good way) when she begged her mom to plead guilty to manslaughter in the hopes that she wouldn’t be sentence to life in prison, or worse. I love Ashley Benson, and I truly believe she has done some great work these past three seasons on Pretty Little Liars, but last night she really nailed it. Her performance in that scene was beautifully tragic (if you didn’t feel like crying, then I fully believe you are a robot incapable of feeling human emotion). And, of course, leave it to Ashley to make the scene even more awesome with her declaration that she wouldn’t let Wilden make her a criminal with his death. Ashley is probably the best (and most badass) adult character on the show, and it’s wonderful to see PLL really take advantage of Laura Leighton this season. (Side note: Instead of Ravenswood can they just do a spinoff about the adventures of Ashley and Hanna? Based on their scenes in the season so far, I think that it would be pretty amazing.)
I also loved the Aria storyline this episode, mostly because we finally got to see some kind of Ezria scene and (bonus) Ezra (Ian Harding) and papa Montgomery (Chad Lowe) came face to face, which made for some solid awkward moments (is it wrong that I enjoy watching Ezra squirm?). Ezra finally became useful again (yay!) and saved Aria’s brother, Mike (Cody Christian), from being expelled for a crime he says he didn’t commit. But before we all swoon over Ezra’s moment as Aria’s knight in shinning armor, does anybody else suspect that it was him who vandalized that punk Connor’s car? As unlikely as it seems, it would definitely make sense. Ezra was (for reasons unknown) completely incapable of taking action against Connor at school, even though he was clearly furious at Connor for degrading Aria and their relationship. And, he was present at the coffee house that night (staring longingly at Aria through a window). Add in the fact that he 100% believed in Mike’s innocence (almost more than Aria did), and it looks like we might have a new suspect in this vandalism incident… Either way, as long as Ezra’s back having scenes with Aria, I’m happy.
Take a look at the promo for next week’s new episode, ‘The Guilty Girl’s Handbook,’ airing Tuesday at 8 P.M. on ABC Family.
If you missed 'Crash and Burn, Girl!', read our recap to catch up!
'Pretty Little Liars' Recap: Toby And Caleb Team Up; Emily Breaks Into Wilden's Apartment, Ends Up With A Car In Her Living Room
– Olivia Truffaut-Wong
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