Bad News, 'PLL' Fans

by Christine DiStasio

You can take the boy out of Rosewood, but he'll always come back. Pretty Little Liars Season 5 will premiere on June 10, but we're almost more excited for Tyler Blackburn's return to the series and the impending Hanna and Caleb reunion — even if it doesn't go smoothly. All PLL fans have been wondering about the future of Haleb now that Blackburn's coming back to town and, the good news is that they might have a shot. But, the bad news is that Blackburn's PLL Season 5 spoilers don't make it sound like it'll be a sweet reunion. A lot of things have happened since Caleb left Rosewood, after all — like Travis, for instance.

Sorry to burst your bubble, Haleb 'shippers, but they're not going to run into each other's arms and magically become the same people they were before Caleb left. I mean, they broke up and it broke Hanna's heart (let's not forget her "Men Suck" speech). That doesn't just go away. And, well, they're different people now — Caleb just went through some crazy, life-changing supernatural crap in Ravenswood and Hanna just found out that Alison is alive and watched "A" shoot her English teacher. Try explaining all that to your ex and see if your relationship is on the fast-track to a happily ever after.

In May, PLL executive producer Joseph Dougherty spoke to E!'s TV Scoop team about where he saw Hanna and Caleb going in Season 5. And his biggest point was that Hanna is changing a lot this season — from her look to her attitude. Who could blame her, really? Dougherty also explained that neither Hanna nor Caleb are really at liberty to discuss what's gone down while they've been apart. The show exec said of the couple, "they're both personally under a lot of stress inside. So I think both of them are kind of looking to the other to kind of say, ‘Take me back to that safe place where I once was before.'" The couple who cries together, stays together, right?

Blackburn echoed Dougherty's spoilers that Haleb isn't set for a sweet reunion. The actor told TVLine, "He's left in a bit of a shock. He doesn't understand what he just experienced and he comes back to Rosewood hoping and thinking things will just go back to the way they were and they aren't." Blackburn also asserted that he's changed — and not just by getting a new haircut. The experience of being in Ravenswood changed Caleb as much as Hanna's time without him in Rosewood changed her. Thus, Haleb fans should absolutely be a little nervous about whether or not the couple will be back on by the end of Season 5, the actor said. Because, well, there really is a lot for them to sort out and, for once, the Hanna and Caleb will actually have to open up to one another without using the excuse that they're trying to "protect" each other.

So how can they end up back together and give all of us Haleb 'shippers something to talk about? Well, first, they're going to have to talk. Like, really talk — about their experiences, about Hanna's brief flirtation with Travis, and about that painful break-up. And when they're finally done with that lengthy, cathartic process, they'll have to rebuild. Because the first mistake that Caleb is making is thinking that he can just show up and Hanna will fall right back into his arms. She loves him, yes, but it's just not that easy with Hanna. Ever. And Caleb should absolutely know that by now.

Hanna's become increasingly logical over the course of the series (probably because her mom almost went to jail for murder) and she's guarded. She's guarded because of her relationship with Alison, because of her relationship with her father, and because she's been tormented by "A." So, she's going to have to learn how to trust Caleb again as well, considering he broke things off with her using the couple's classic excuse "to protect her" and caused one of the many PLL Season 5 breakdowns. It's going to a lot of trust exercises to get Haleb back to where they were before.

But on the same note, Hanna needs to take her own advice and not make Caleb run the gamut to get back to her. Yes, he broke up with her and left her behind, painfully bringing back memories of her father, but he had to. Just like Hanna's done what she's needed to do when it comes to "A" and her friends, Caleb did what he needed to do. When they were on, they were a great team — so they obviously both know about the sacrifices you make for the ones you love. So, at the same time as they need to work and rebuild, Hanna really needs to decide whether or not she can forgive and forget and move on early on in the process. (I mean, she'll obviously decide she can, but dragging it out will ruin the relationship.)

So, in true Pretty Little Liars fashion, Haleb fans, prepare to be frustrated. Because no romance on this show is perfect — except for the ones the girls have with Alison's memory, apparently.

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