thinking big: feminism, media, and pop culture

Pretty Little Liars Halloween Recap, “This Is a Dark Ride”

In ABC Soaps, Pretty Little Liars on October 26, 2012 at 8:47 am

All aboard the ghost train: Pretty Little Liars is back, Halloween style, in one of the craziest episodes yet.  Flashbacks reveal that Ali was murdered at least three different times on the same night. Aria gets drugged and trapped in a crate alongside Garrett’s fresh corpse (!!), and she’s about to be pushed off board a moving train when a combination of her killer screwdriver aim and her fellow Liars’ good timing saves her life. Meanwhile, Hanna’s mom and Pastor Ted encounter what appears to be an actual ghost — one of the twins from last year’s Halloween special. And in the TWISTIEST TWIST since we saw Toby in A’s trademark hoodie, Ezra. Fitz. Has. A. Bandage. On. His. Hand. Read on for more of the spooky twists and turns of this year’s Halloween special.

The Liars’ Halloween costumes were, as usual, flawless. Hanna was Marilyn Monroe in her iconic white dress, Aria was Daisy from The Great Gatsby (“the book,” she clarifies, although really what difference it makes with respect to her costume is unclear), Spencer was Lauren Bacall circa To Have and Have Not, and Emily was Barbarella. Which was your favorite look? And any other notable costumes from the rest of the cast?

Sarah T: Hmm I can’t choose a favorite, they all looked great — and of course the choices were perfectly tailored to their personalities. (As Spencer tells Hanna, “How could you have been worried that we’d pick the same costume?”) But in terms of other noteworthy costumes: Jenna showed some dry wit with her pirate eye-patch costume and admirable commitment with her dreadlock-and-curls hairstyle. I couldn’t tell what Noel was supposed to be. (A prince?) It’s fun that Mona wore a costume under her costume. You KNOW our girl was probably wearing a costume under the paper mache mask too. She’s turtles all the way down.

Phoebe B: Aaah Mona, what a wonderful evil genius. Her costume was SO scary! But I think Aria’s Daisy was actually my favorite since it seemed an homage to the one book we can be certain the PLLs read and Ezra’s former career as a high school teacher. Remember when they read The Great Gatsby forever?! After that, I thought Emily was rocking her Barberella costume too! Also, I kind of missed Spencer’s ridiculous queen costume from last year’s Halloween flashback.

If Garrett’s version of events is true, the night Ali died he saw her arguing with Byron. Then he threatened her with a hockey stick, making the then-blind Jenna believe he had killed her when in fact he was hacking away at a poor old tree. Do you buy Garrett’s story? And if so, what might Ali and Byron have been fighting about?

Sarah T: I think I do believe Garrett. For one thing, he’s dead now, and I feel like on PLL people usually get axed right after they tell the truth about something. Also because we saw a flashback, and thus far none of the flashbacks have been disproven, which makes me think they’re a truthiness-indicator. I think Ali may have been blackmailing Byron about his dalliances with Meredith the College Student, which makes him a new member in the ever-growing lineup of people who had motive to want Ali dead. I am thrilled about this development, because Byron has always seemed like a creeper and this seals the deal.

Phoebe B: Good questions! And I agree. That was a crazy revelation and I am inclined to believe Garrett now that he is very dead. I have always suspected Byron of something as he just seems so creepy and suspicious all the time. I agree about Ali blackmailing Byron but I also thought perhaps Byron made the grave mistake of sleeping with Ali. I realize that’s extra creepy, but there seemed to be something more afoot than blackmail. But the story too about Garrett fake killing Ali was so weird! What were her and Jenna fighting about? Why were they going after each other? I thought Jenna and Ali reconciled when Jenna was in the hospital. I’m so confused.

A came after Aria with a vengeance this episode. Why do you think she was the target (along with Garrett), and who do you think were the most likely A-team suspects on board the train? AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: Ezra has a bandage on his hand when he makes his sudden reappearance after Garrett’s body is found and just before Ali’s corpse is discovered. Was he the A-team member that Aria stabbed with a screwdriver?

Sarah T: I thought it was very unusual that Aria was in this life-or-death scenario! A’s never come after her this hard, whereas all the other girls have dealt with murder attempts (sometimes multiple). I can’t help but think that the Aria-targeting has something to do with whichever specific members of the A team were in on this plot. Which brings me to: we know Mona was on board the train wearing the same phantom costume as Caleb, and I’m willing to bet that she was the female voice we heard from Aria’s perspective (the one who was arguing that they had to push the box off). But clearly she had at least one other accomplice on board, and maybe more — the person who was wearing the joker costume, most likely a guy given the oversized fake nail clue plus the male voice arguing with Mona. I know Toby is on the A team now (perhaps as a double agent), but I don’t think he was the one in the joker costume — partly because I don’t think he would beat up Spencer like that, even if he is evil (wishful thinking?) and partly because on a practical level I think that he was in some of the scenes where we simultaneously see the joker, though I’d have to go back and check. I don’t really think the joker was Lucas or Noel because I guess I don’t actually think they’re A-team.

Phoebe B: I agree! I was so surprised to see A go after Aria! The attack though also made me think that the Byron clue was real and that Ezra is now a seriously suspicious character (more than before when he was just a creepy teacher sleeping with his student). The bandage! I didn’t even notice that the first time I watched him though I was super surprised at his prompt arrival aboard the Ghost Train (Also, did you notice how the party was a “Rear Window” party? Yay for PLLs love of Hitchcock!). I don’t think the joker is Noel since he seemed legitimately surprised by the discovery of Ali’s corpse but also I felt like Toby knew that her body was in there and picked a fight in order to reveal it or something. And then Lucas. His camera was down in one scene and he was nowhere to be found, which made me suspicious but he also was extra nice to Hanna at the beginning of the episode, which was surprising.

Sarah T: If the person in the joker costume, the one who drugged Aria and beat up Spencer and was defeated by Paige, is the same person as the owner of the male voice who did not want to push the box off the train — telling his accomplice “You lied to me,” “I can’t” — then the person in the joker costume is also the one who Aria stabbed with her screwdriver through the box. So they’d have a wound. And do you know who has a fresh bandage on his hand when he sweeps in unexpectedly to comfort Aria, just as Ali’s corpse is revealed chilling in a cooler full of refreshing soft drinks? EZRA FITZ. J’ACCUSE!

Phoebe B: Aaaah I don’t know! SO many suspects and terrible scary people in Rosewood!

What was going on with the creepy ghost in Hanna’s house? Is the twin from last year’s special also a young Ali? Or is Pastor Ted secretly messing with Ashley?

Sarah T: Good question! I think the ghost is real because we’ve already crossed the border into supernatural with those living dolls from last season. And I do think it would make sense if the ghost is also the ghost of young Ali. Questions: does this mean that Ashley is going to have more conversations with dead people? Can anyone else see the ghost or just her? And can ghosts make phone calls?

Phoebe B: Aaah SO creepy! It totally seems like Ali’s ghost … Or her sister’s ghost?! But also because I trust nobody and also think Pastor Ted is creepy, I feel like maybe he is involved in the A-team or being creepy in general. But also PLL doesn’t usually do supernatural things, thus I’m inclined to believe the ghost is real and like part of some creepy A-related plan.

What was your favorite (scariest) moment of the show?

Sarah T: Definitely the scariest moment for me was when Aria finds out she’s trapped in a box with Garrett’s corpse. Aaaaa that freaks me out just thinking about it. But my favorite moment was when Mona sings a creepy  song while painting her paper mache mask and delivering her monologue. This show knows how to give the people what they want! (All Mona all the time.)

Phoebe B: When Spencer said to Toby,”you make it so hard to be a modern post-feminist when you get all alpha-male!” And then Toby said, “you want me to stop” and then Spencer said, “no.” And then they made out. Ugh. Terrifying. But also, yes for Mona singing! She is so amazingly villainous and wonderful. I also loved when Spencer heard a girl humming on the train (right before Garrett takes her aside) and I presumed it was Mona.

Who do you think was buried alive at the shot at the end of the episode?

Sarah T: Ali! I think it’s Ali having been murdered a second time (post-fake-murder-by-hockey-stick, post-buried alive) and then she gets out and then she gets murdered again. She was having the worst night.

Phoebe B: I too think the hand coming out of the ground (which looked like it was in the flashback, right?) was Ali’s. But I am so confused! She clearly was having a bad night. But also, maybe it means Ali didn’t die that night? But that she killed someone else? And has remained to haunt and destroy people’s lives? Or maybe something else entirely? Aaaah I don’t want to wait until January to find out more!

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  1. where is the bandage on his hand the only person i saw with a bandage was aria not ezra, if u did tell me at what time exactly __:__

  2. Ahhhhh, I’m finally catching up on the show and it is so traumatic to go through all this alone. I am reading these now, and Sarah, it makes me so delighted that you think Tobey is a double-agent.

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