A Pretty Little Plot Twist If It Were Up To Me (What I would add to PLL based on Melissa's behavior in Episode 4x03)
Melissa Hastings returns to Rosewood in this episode of PLL, and she brings a lot of new questions back to town with her. Her behavior towards Spencer in this episode indicates that there might be a lot more to Melissa's character than we realize. Melissa even points this out to Spencer herself.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Melissa is finding that she and Spencer have a lot in common, and she thinks that if they know what's good for them, they should both leave town. It's easy to chalk this up to typical Melissa Hastings weirdness, but I have a better idea.
Perhaps Melissa is making an intelligent point here; maybe she and Spencer ARE more alike than we know. Melissa even takes the idea a step further by suggesting that she and Spencer are TOO alike, and these similarities could be the reason that they have such a difficult time getting along.
If an evil person like "A" learned that two sisters have enough similar character traits to make it impossible for them to get along with one another, that would make both girls easy targets. It would make their reactions to threats, lies, and harassment predictable to a common enemy. It could reach a point where the two girls don't even realize that they share a common enemy.
Knowing that these girls have so much in common that they are unable to maintain a healthy sibling relationship creates opportunities for "A" to pin the girls against each other even more. We know that Spencer doesn't trust Melissa; she and her friends constantly suspect Melissa and blame her for bad things that happen to them. If Melissa and Spencer are so alike, couldn't "A" use the same methodology to make Spencer appear guilty in Melissa's eyes?
Melissa brings up a question that Spencer asked her in the past -- Spencer wanted to know what Melissa would do if she was forced to choose between Ian, the man that Melissa loved, and Spencer. Melissa was reluctant to answer the question back then. However, in this episode, Melissa wants to know what Spencer would do if presented with the same situation. Why does she suddenly care what Spencer would do in that scenario? Well, let's think about why Spencer wanted to know this information about Melissa.
"A" had led Spencer to believe that Ian was Alison's killer. "A" gave the girls a myriad of "clues" that made the girls certain that Ian was the killer. Whenever Spencer tried to discuss this idea with Melissa, Melissa immediately rejected her. Melissa would not believe Spencer over Ian. She didn't even believe it when Spencer insisted that Ian tried to kill her. "A" had orchestrated this perfectly. "A" convinced Spencer of Ian's guilt knowing full well that these allegations would tear the girls even further apart.
Is "A" doing the same thing to Melissa now? Has "A" convinced Melissa that somebody who Spencer loves has done something terrible? We know that Spencer loves Toby, and we know that his main plot line is figuring out the truth about his mother. "A" is responsible for this entire plot line. Maybe "A" has given Melissa a different version of the "facts." Perhaps "A" has convinced Melissa that TOBY is the person who killed his mother. "A" might have even given Melissa some pretty damning evidence against Toby, just like what happened with Spencer and Ian. And maybe Melissa had to do some horrible things in exchange for learning the truth. Sort of like what Toby did when he gave the RV to "A." And maybe Melissa is asking Spencer this question now because she knows that if she approached Spencer with accusations like that against Toby, Spencer would NEVER believe her over Toby.
Who would want to frame Toby this way? Who really doesn't like Toby? Who could have also had incentive to frame Ian? And who was "helping" Melissa when Melissa believed that Ian was still alive and in need of pain killers? And even after this person helped Melissa, he ALSO wound up helping Spencer find Ian. He played both sides with the girls back then, and a lot of his ability to do this came from his medical expertise. "Dr". Wren Kingston did this back then. We watched it happen.
Is it really a coincidence that Toby's (and now Spencer's too) investigation of Mrs. Cavanaugh's death stemmed from "A" providing Toby with Mrs. Cavanaugh's medical records from Radley, where Wren just happens to be employed? And it's also incredibly convenient that Spencer had all the necessary information to get into Radley without being detected. Spencer got that information when she was a patient at Radley. Mona gave Spencer everything she needed to get in and out of Radley, but only after Spencer joined the "A" team and agreed to do horrible things like kidnapping a 7 year old child. And we know that Radley's security issues (presumably the issues that allowed Mona to learn this information in the first place) were traced back to one of Radley's employees.
Wren was working at Radley both, when Mona was a patient there AND when Spencer was a patient there. We have already seen him play both sides with the Hastings sisters before. And if someone, going by the name "A" tipped Melissa off that Spencer was out betraying her friends and kidnapping children, I could understand why Melissa might be reluctant to trust Spencer... Especially if she followed up and found out that the claims "A" made about Spencer were true. AND, we already know that Wren isn't really a fan of our favorite carpenter, Toby Cavanaugh. He has also openly admitted to Spencer that he has spoken to Melissa about patients in Radley, AND that he has breached Radley's security in the past by letting CeCe secretly visit Mona when Mona wasn't allowed to have visitors.
Jenna once talked to Toby about Wren and remarked that "even a lie would sound good in that accent." I'm sure he could come up with some pretty crafty text messages, too. And Wren has been around since the first episode of Pretty Little Liars, so his involvement would make sense and be consistent with his behavior in the show.
Melissa might genuinely want Spencer to tell her if she'd trust her over Toby. Perhaps Spencer shouldn't be so quick to shrug off their conversation. And if "A" has convinced Melissa that Toby is dangerous, maybe Melissa really thinks that Spencer should leave Rosewood instead of galavanting around a mental institution with Toby.
EDIT TO ADD:
Based on episode 4x04 of PLL, "Face Time," I remembered more about Melissa. When she claimed to Spencer that she had been helping her/protecting her the entire time, I realized that it would make sense for that to be true, at least after Ian's death.
Just as we saw that Spencer convinced Wren to help her with the Ian situation behind Ian's back, it's possible that Melissa realized that Wren was involved in some of the terrible things that were happening to her sister and her friends. It would make sense, considering that when Melissa found out that Mona had been the person on the Halloween Train wearing the Ali mask, her reaction implied that she has been trying to figure out what Mona was up to for awhile. It makes sense to me for a few reasons. In one of the episodes towards the end of season 3 of PLL, right before Spencer went to Radley, Melissa warned Spencer against spending time with Wren. It was easy to assume that this was because Melissa was pissed off/jealous that Spencer was hanging out with her ex-fiance, but there's another possible explanation. If Melissa had been secretly trying to protect Spencer and she knew that Wren was dangerous, a perfect way to try to get Spencer to stop seeing Wren without tipping her off that she's secretly protecting her would be to say, "It's none of my business, but no company is better than BAD COMPANY," which is exactly what Melissa said to Spencer about Wren.
Also, Garrett claimed to Spencer that HE had been trying to protect her too. It's possible that Melissa and Garrett were in on this together. When we saw Melissa and Garrett together, it ALSO was very easy to assume that it meant they were up to no good, ESPECIALLY when Melissa assured Garrett that Spencer would never turn in the videos because she had been "scaring Spencer for her entire life." BUT, Melissa also told Spencer, upon Spencer confronting her about the videos, that she has seen some videos that would make Spencer and her friends look pretty bad. Perhaps Melissa and Garrett have another reason for not wanting those videos out, one that would PROTECT Spencer and her friends. They could have been working together to SECRETLY protect Spencer and her friends; maybe it had to be a secret so that whoever is the master-mind behind torturing the girls didn't figure out that Melissa and Garrett intended to protect the PLLs.
Also, in the video that we saw of Wilden yelling at Melissa (in their Queen of Hearts costumes) it didn't exactly appear that the two of them were getting along. Wilden had discovered that Garrett was going to tell them everything. Melissa, if she telling the truth, knew that somebody was still after the girls at this time, and even suspected that Mona was on the Halloween train. She knew that if Garrett told the girls everything and was overheard by the wrong person, he was dead. I don't think Melissa was involved in Garrett's death, but I think she was too late to prevent it from happening.
4 people, that we know of so far, went on that train in disguise because they didn't want to be seen: Melissa, Wilden, Mona and Garrett. Melissa says that Wilden isn't smart enough to work on his own and that he was taking orders from someone. Mona supposedly had also been taking orders from Red Coat. Red Coat could have sent Wilden and Mona on the train, and Melissa and Garrett could have followed them.
One more reason: Wren claims that CeCe visited Mona after MELISSA called her. He said that he did this because Melissa genuinely thought that CeCe could be of help to Mona, but if Melissa was telling the truth in the most recent episode of PLL, she would have no reason to want to help Mona. Maybe she had an ulterior motive for sending CeCe there; maybe Melissa did this to spy on Mona and figure out what she still had planned and who else was visiting her.
Melissa has been made to look incredibly suspicious, to the point that I want her to be telling the truth at this point.
One more thing:
As I stated above, it's possible that Melissa and Garrett were both on the team that was secretly trying to protect the girls. I found a few more scenes that could support this viewpoint. If Melissa's story was true, then if she's on a team, it's not the same one Mona was on, and we know that Mona was on the A-team. Now this gets a little farfetched (in typical PLL fashion) but stay with me for a bit. We can't forget about this show's constant mention of "the game" especially now, when it definitely seems like there are at LEAST two teams out there.
Maybe the game started off as the A-team trying to get people on Garrett/Melissa's team to kill/hurt the girls, and Garrett/Melissa's team sought to protect the girls without getting Big A's attention. This could have started when Ali was still alive. Maybe somebody on the A-Team texted Garrett to kill Ali, or suffer the consequences of the A-team. Perhaps Ali figured out this plan by spying on the A-team as Mona indicated that she had done in the past. Maybe Ali figured out what the plan was and assumed/guessed that the person who wanted Garrett to kill her was JENNA (even if she was incorrect about that part). It would explain why Ali wanted Garrett to pretend that he had killed her; there has to be a reason that Ali wanted Jenna to believe that she was dead. It would also explain why Garrett protected her, ESPECIALLY if Ali convinced him that Jenna was the one who sent the text.
If Garrett/Melissa and the rest of their team wanted to keep the fact that they were protecting the girls a secret from the mysterious big A, Garrett had the perfect opportunity to do that with Jenna. "Bitch can see" now, but bitch couldn't see on the night of Ali's disappearance. Perhaps when Garrett pretended to kill Ali, he also thought he was duping the A-team into thinking that he had abided by their request.
This would also support the possibility that GARRETT is the one who pushed Ian off of the bell tower. I mentioned that Garrett told Spencer that she was the one he was trying to protect. Maybe she was the next girl that the A-team wanted him to hurt, so he set up a scenario where Spencer could live but he wouldn't be the person that Big-A blamed for it. When Spencer and Ian were at the bell tower, the other girls were expecting Ian to meet up with them and bring them a wad of cash because of their blackmail. Garrett made it seem like he was expecting the same thing, but we later learned that he KNEW that Ian wasn't coming and he was aware of/ helped orchestrate Logan Reed showing up as "the messenger" in Ian's place. If Garrett knew that Ian wasn't coming to meet him and the girls that night, who's to say that he didn't know Ian's REAL whereabouts that night and exactly what he planned to do to Spencer?
Also, in episode 4x01, Mona said, "I didn't push Ian off of the bell tower; I wish I know who did." The easy assumption is that Mona said that she wishes she knew who did that because then the girls would know who saved Spencer's life, but maybe that's not it at all. Maybe Mona wishes she knew who pushed Ian, because whoever it was royally screwed up Big A's plans.
I know that this will probably never happen, but I'd enjoy it if it did.
EDIT based on 4x09
Episode 4x09 ended with "A" playing a song called "Anytime" on the piano, then putting the music to that song in an envelope that said "Toby Cavanaugh" on the front in big letters. It almost seemed to me as if "A" was responding to Toby thanking him/her... or implying that he/she had just done Toby a favor.
This led to me thinking that perhaps Mona took the blame for Wilden's murder because she knew that she would be sent to Radley (rather than prison) AND because she wants to find the information that "A" has about Toby's mom. This would put her at an equal level of power to the current "A" that is in charge.
Also, I read in an interview somewhere (I don't tend to rely on these, but I found it intereseting) that Janel Parrish said that Mona is "on her own team." If she takes the information from Radley, she can send SOME of it to Toby-- enough to make it look as if she's on his side/helping him-- but keep him wanting more --enough to keep him willing to betray Spencer and the others in exchange for information about what happened to his mom. If this is what's happening, someone in Radley would have to be helping Mona obtain this information. Now why would somebody risk their job to help Mona? That person would need their own agenda. Mona is intelligent; it is highly likely that at this point she has figured out why Toby gave the RV to "A"; it's likely she knows what he wanted from "A."
I discussed Toby's behavior with the RV in my TV & broken laws blog in my entry on PLL episode 4x02.
We know that Eddie Lamb from Radley said that he never trusted Wren's intentions and he knew that Wren was there for the wrong reasons. Mona could have convinced Wren that if she got that information, she would use it to cause a fight between Toby and Spencer.
This would especially make sense, because according to this pretty little liars fanpage, "A-Trouble-Maker," the aforementioned song playing at the end of episode 4x09 was also playing in the episode where Toby was revealed to be on the A-Team-- during the scene where Mona was in Toby's apartment eating the anniversary dinner that Spencer had prepared for Toby. This suggests a common theme of a plan to break Toby and Spencer up. It could indicate that Mona is actively trying to break them up in exchange for information from someone. And the only person who would really want to break Spencer and Toby up is WREN, who happens to work at Radley, and who happens to be returning to the show in the next episode. Let's see what happens!