PLL "Hurt the Ones You Love" A-Team Theory (after seeing 3.13 "This is a Dark Ride"
It's called the "Hurt the Ones You Love" theory, and as always, it's pretty long but totally worth it. Here we go:
A Team "Hurt The Ones You Love" theory (DRAFT). Warning: LONG, LONG post ahead.
Under this theory, the A-Team first of all did not start off as a team. Second of all, not all of the members of the team are on the team YET.
I was thinking that it would be interesting if the way the members of the A-Team are "recruited" is that they are actually forced to join the team in order to save the life of someone they love. Usually, to save the person they love, they have to do so at a BIG price (ie killing someone else/letting someone else die), something bad enough that they're stuck on the team.
I also think that the A team might try to recruit more than one person at once, and the stronger one winds up on the team and the weaker one dies.
So one possible example would be: Mona as A recruiting Toby onto the team. Maybe Toby got a text from "A" that led him to the church on the night Ian tried to kill Spencer. Maybe Ian also got an "A" text leading him to the church. Spencer and Melissa were both in bad shape that night. Maybe Mona/A texted Toby saying that if he didn't kill Ian, then Spencer would die. And maybe Ian got a text that if he didn't kill Spencer, then Melissa would die. ("I was waiting for you to leave the hospital. I have to take care of this... Your sister would want me to take care of this.")
Melissa & Spencer don't get along, but I can't think of many reasons that Melissa would have wanted Ian to KILL Spencer.. But if I had to dream one up, killing Spencer to save Melissa and the baby's lives would make sense.
So if that hooded figure at the church was Toby, Toby succeeded on his mission to save Spencer and he killed Ian. He saved Spencer's life at the price of killing Ian AND joining a team which would force him to torture Spencer and her friends ("hurt the ones you love").
Next possible example... I think that Toby forced Ezra onto the A team in the Halloween episode. Now I know that if someone I love was at a party and I was told that someone at that party was hurt, I'd be worried... But Ezra looked MORE than worried.. He looked stricken and SURE that the person that was hurt was Aria. I think that he got an A text that he had to do something drastic on that train, otherwise Aria was going to die. I'm not entirely sure what that drastic thing was. Maybe he was forced to kill Garrett. Maybe he had to drug Aria and beat up Spencer to create the diversion that A needed. OR maybe A told him that he had to help push a dead body off of the train, and Ezra had to react QUICKLY once he realized that Aria was in that box also. ("You lied to me...") One way or the other, Ezra did something BAD in this episode, and I think it was to save Aria... but now he has to be on the A Team and torture her.
Maybe Toby was trying to get Garrett and Ezra at the same time, but Ezra wound up being the stronger one and Garrett ended up dying. Maybe Garrett was supposed to do something terrible on that train too, but he couldn't do it. ("I'm sorry. I liked you. You were the one who I really wanted to keep safe but I was too weak..." "I'm going to tell you everything that happened that night, then I'm gone. Don't try to find me, I'm not coming back... That's the deal.") -- Maybe Garrett knew that he couldn't do what A wanted and he was going to be killed, and this was his last chance to tell Spencer the truth. If this is accurate, I think that Garrett already had gotten a text from A when he was at Spencer's house and was suddenly afraid of Toby. It's interesting that he told Spencer not to wait too long.
Now I'm thinking about the flashback with Garrett/Ali/Jenna. First of all, I 100% believe Garrett's story. I'm wondering though if Big A or a member of the A team we don't know about yet sent person X (maybe Garrett? Mona? not sure about this) a message which would make them save person Y at Ali's expense. Garrett pretended to kill Ali but he really saved her life. But Ali wanted Jenna (and who else?!?!) to think that she was dead. Maybe Ali figured out what A was trying to do, and wanted A to think that she died to: save person Y's life would be spared and person X would join the A team and protect Ali (make everyone on the A team think that Ali was dead).
Even if you think about Mona... Hanna was hit by a car, but she didn't die. Maybe Mona knew that somebody else had worse plans for Hanna (maybe she got a text), and she hit her with a car knowing that it would injure but not kill her, and that if she didn't do something, somebody else WOULD kill Hanna. She seems pretty adamant when she insists that her friendship with Hanna was real. Maybe she had to save her and then join a team that tortured her...
I keep thinking back to the "thanks for getting Toby out of my way" A text... Maybe Mona knew at that point that she was going to try to get Toby onto the team eventually.. So first she had them believing he was a murderer and that he was A... Then when they realized they were wrong, they felt guilty and wound up trusting him a LOT... So by the time he actually became a member of the A team, it would hit the girls really hard.
Some people might argue that this can't be correct because Toby was not evil at the beginning of the show. A friend of mine, the admin of the "A Trouble Maker" page on FB which can be found by clicking here , pointed out a solution to this : "maybe they turned evil because the girls didn't trust them enough (initially) to tell them anything about it. They failed the trust test, so the people fully turned on them."
**Now I'm going to add on to that. Mona is a very good example of this. When we were first introduced to her at the very beginning of the show, she seemed like a sweet girl with a bad shoplifting habit. I think that we were shown that scene so that we could get the gist of how Hanna and Mona's friendship was before Hanna rekindled her friendship with the other girls. BUT, Mona knew that Hanna didn't trust her with all of her secrets. We know that Mona knew about "the Jenna thing," but Hanna never told her about it. She probably didn't tell Mona a LOT of her secrets. Then Hanna didn't tell Mona about getting caught shoplifting, but Mona knew about it anyway. Although that may not seem to be a big deal, it could've been non-evil Mona's breaking point. Hanna failed the "trust test" and unknowingly created a monster.
**The Toby situation pretty much speaks for itself; NOBODY in Rosewood trusted him at all, and Spencer only started speaking to him when SHE was being framed for murder and wanted help finding out who was framing her. The very first time Toby helps her (in room 214 at the hotel), Spencer immediately lies to him. It's more of a lie by omission, but still. When Toby found the ice and the note from "A," he asked her who "A" was and she said "I have no idea" and never clued him in on what was really going on. She didn't tell Toby about Wren (except at the very end when she felt forced to, and even then she had Emily do it). Toby wound up getting so pissed off about Spencer refusing to trust him that he left town. It also would have been a nice gesture if she told Toby what really made him fall off of that scaffolding. She may get straight A's in school, but she failed the "trust test" and is now dating an evil A.
**If I'm right and Ezra is next: When Aria got mad at him about not telling her about Maggie sooner, the only retort Ezra had was that Aria took a long time to tell him about the Jenna thing and about A. His argument didn't make much sense; his lies were clearly worse. Aria was still passing the "trust test," and as MANY people noticed, A barely did ANYTHING to Aria compared to what happened to the other girls... up until the Halloween episode. Now what has changed between the end of season 3A and the Halloween episode? OH RIGHT, Aria failed the "trust test" in arguably the worst manner out of all of the girls. She went to meet Maggie behind Ezra's back, found out that EZRA HAS A SON, and has yet to tell Ezra about any of this. It was pretty easy for Aria to find out about Ezra's son, so I'm going to go ahead and say that the A-Team knows about him as well. If Ezra found out about this from somebody other than Aria, he is probably furious. Coincidentally, instead of receiving mere menacing notes from "A," she is drugged and stuffed into a wooden box!!!! That is a DRASTIC change from anything that A has ever done to Aria, and it came after her first major lie to Ezra.
This wouldn't necessarily mean that Toby and Ezra don't love Spencer and Aria. Evil people are capable of love in the same way that "dying doesn't make you a saint."
So everyone on the A team under this theory joined to save the life of someone that they love... But now that they're on the A team, they do terrible and evil things. So both true love & evil would prevail.