[Warning: The following contains spoilers from Tuesday's episode of Pretty Little Liars]
Longtime fans of Pretty Little Liars have been hoping that Caleb's (Tyler Blackburn) romance with Spencer (Troian Bellisario) over the past season was just a temporary distraction before he reunites with his first love, Hanna (Ashley Benson).
To be honest, we thought it was heading that direction at the beginning of Season 7 too, but for two weeks in a row now Spencer and Caleb's scenes together have delivered the most powerful and emotional moments of the episode.
Last week, the two had to confront what Caleb's kiss with Hanna in last season's finale really meant. Was it a trip down memory lane or had Caleb never really gotten over his ex? Spencer's heartfelt confusion and pain over the fact that she was in love with Caleb while he seemed so confused was a sobering moment for the couple. It also seemed like the writing was on the wall for the two lovebirds and the show would continue hurtling down the path to reuniting all of its original 'ships.
Several times the show has seemed to dissuading fans from ever getting behind Spencer and Caleb as a legitimate couple. In the Season 6 finale, PLL played up the sexual chemistry between Spencer and Caleb, then juxtaposed that against the emotional connection seen in Hanna and Caleb's breakup years before. By the time Hanna and Caleb kissed in the cabin, the show had diluted Caleb and Spencer's relationship to be about mere physical sparks instead of a devoted partnership.
This week, the show subverted that theory with Caleb's ardent plea for Spencer to give him another chance. There was no flashback to the night Caleb first realized he had feelings for Spencer, but his earnest recounting of the evening they spent together while Spencer tearfully listened on the other side of the door was straight-up Emmy material. They hadn't kissed or held hands, but the fact that Spencer and Caleb had developed something very real was undeniable. Even Hanna could hear it.
While Caleb and Hanna, nicknamed by the internet "Haleb," were arguably the strongest couple of the original PLL 'ships, it's unfair to suggest that Spencer and Caleb's love isn't genuine. Creator I. Marlene King has said that Season 7 is the homecoming season and the show's most romantic arc. Hopefully, Pretty Little Liars won't make the same mistake as Caleb did in the cabin with Hanna and choose nostalgia over heart.
Spencer and Caleb have earned their chance to really make it work — and we think they can make it.
Pretty Little Liars continues Tuesdays at 8/7c on Freeform.