Pretty Little Liars' Halloween Special: Answers Like Full-Size Candy Bars

Pretty Little Liars S03E13: "This Is a Dark Ride"

"Everyone is messing with us. You can get a varsity letter in messing with us."

It's becoming clearer and clearer to me that the goal of this show isn't so much to tell the story of girls caught in an elaborate bullying plot as it is to make benign artifacts of youth give you nightmares.

We already have all the creepy dolls (and then burlap sack Dollface costume) but now we listen to Mona humming children's songs while painting a papier-mâché doppelganger in an echo-y room and watch a Harlequin set on choking girls out. I'm just waiting for the episode where they stumble on A's secret, creepy Easy Bake Oven cache.

Last year's Halloween episode, "The First Secret" revealed so much that I wasn't even sure it was canon. We saw all the major members of what we now know is the A-Team and an explicit history of the ever-mysterious Di Laurentis family. After I watched, I said to myself, "Surely they didn't give us all those answers in a single episode. Right?"

They did. And "This is a Dark Ride" dispensed with the secrets, too, albeit in a much more straightforward kind of way. Like Garrett spilling his guts until he—well, spilled his guts. The big mystery of the episode set up in the promos, that SOMEONE WOULD DIE, was pretty much sealed when Garrett word-vomited everything he knew and uttered the line, "I'm going to disappear and I'm never coming back." It was like he'd never watched this show. You don't say you're going to disappear forever. That means you're getting cut.

What we learned, however, was that Garrett didn't kill Allison; he pretended to kill her so the blind girl would think she was dead. We also learned that Allison and Byron talk to each other like peers or adversaries, meaning that Byron needs to stop dabbling with conniving blonde girls (not to assume that Byron and Allison were—ick). Why Allison wanted to fake her death just for Jenna is intriguing and, somehow, that explanation was left out of the word vomit. You'd think Spencer would've been curious, but she was distracted. I mean, without the Dollface mask, his outfit did kind of make him look like an adorable little teddy bear.

Other clues: Paige and the Harlequin showed up in the same place at the same time (to further prove she isn't part of the A-Team), Jason and Lucas are besties (I suppose Lucas has recovered from being all emo), the police need to start profiling costume party guests who dress up in full masks, NAT is slowly (very slowly) dying out, someone is buried in the Di Laurentis backyard (or was that just a ploy to latch onto the zombie craze?), there might actually be a body in Allison's murder case (I'll believe it when I see it). Also, Ashley sees dead people.

That last one is compelling. This isn't a show that dips into the supernatural. Sure, the A-Team seems to be magic, what with their seemingly endless funding and omnipresence, but Ashley seeing the ghost of Allison's presumed-murdered sister from "The First Secret" might have been a little much. Kind of like Ashley's outfit for trick-or-treating children. A little slutacious for the pastor, no?

The other supernatural thing: Ezra showing up. Well, it's supernatural if you don't think he's implicated with the A-Team somehow. Though I lead a staunch campaign against Ezria (it's gross, you guys, for real), I still hold out hope that Ezra is not teamed up with Mona to bring these girls down. A student-teacher relationship is already kind of creepy, but it's way worse if it's intentional and worse still if it exists to carry out someone else's high school vendetta. His ghost-writing interview having to be on Halloween is about as convenient an exit for Ezra as the stray nail and screwdriver for Aria's escape. Please, Ezra. Have a shred of dignity.

"This Is a Dark Ride" was a fine Halloween special with enough clues to tide you over until January 8 when we'll once again probably get a decent premiere and ages of suffering through some A filler hijinks until the next hiatus. This was a good mixture of PLL's patented ham-fisted exposition with precious high-level information and opportunities for Hanna to drop some one-liners. Which is all I can ask for in an episode.



NOTES


– What I never ask for in an episode: musical interludes on a show that's not a musical. It felt like Adam Lambert sang for a quarter of the thing and then had that silly part where he talked with Aria, asking her all kinds of questions and giving her an opportunity to write her name on the window (expert foreshadowing). Like you care if she's sitting by herself. Stay out of it, Adam Lambert.

– Back in the first couple seasons, basically, if you had weiner, you were a suspect. Pretty Little Liars demonstrated the softer sides of the boys this past half-season: Byron was way less creepy, the show built up the Spencer/Toby romance, and Caleb became way less mysterious and more trustworthy. Of course, the writers dashed all of Toby's non-creepy credibility in the last two episodes by making him a member of the A-Team and painting his severe features with evil. Did you see his face during that hug after the opening? That was all malevolence. Although the slide into Spencer's house like Kramer was not nearly as intimidating.

– Clifford Yourdley is a name just dumb enough to be important later, isn't it? "Playing dress up for your man on Halloween is one thing. You do it any other night and you end up on an afternoon talk show." No, baby, costumes are not why you would end up on an afternoon talk show.

– Okay, the costumes. Hanna as Marilyn Monroe: obvious. Daisy Buchanan I also got (though would Ezra want to be Gatsby or Tom in that situation?). Was Spencer's completely uninspired costume supposed to be Lauren Bacall? (She did deliver that famous line.) And I'm just going to say Paige and Emily were dressed up like the man and a moon person from Le Voyage dans la lune. If you know better, tell me all about it in the comments.

– Roswood's City Services department is pretty much the worst. Teachers are sleeping with their students, breaking out of Arkham Asylum is as easier than Ferris Bueller getting a day off, and the cops can be thwarted from stopping an assault just by a dude pushing them back. Under what authority does Jason get to make an officer stand down? "You know what? Let's let this poorly choreographed fight thing play out." Paige appears to be finally accepted into the group. Spencer thanked her. Paige said it was her pleasure. It must seem like so long ago when Paige tried to drown Emily in the pool. Now they're just amazed to be together! Because murder-suicide seems like one of Paige's moves.


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Nov 10, 2012
This episode was dreadfully bad. I'm done with this series. The writing has gone downhill and the relationships have been dragged out for way too long. But most of all, these girls get stupider and stupider by the second. I would have gone to the police by now instead of letting some physco teenagers ruin my life. Idiots.
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Nov 09, 2012
Please Ezra have a little bit of dignity and put an end to your miserable character. I hope you get cut or just be part of the A-team so that something good might come out of your poorly written/acted part.
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Oct 27, 2012
I think Ezra is not on the A-Team. I know he has some strange excuses, but I don't think it's A.

Mainly because it is a little stupid if everyone in the series besides the four girls are related to A... And now that we know that Arias's father may be involved, Ezra also being involved is too much...

Not that would be such a surprise, considering Spencer's family and boyfriend...
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Oct 26, 2012
Okay so I don't know about anyone else but this episode gave me a lot more questions than the answers I was hoping for. In my opinion don't present us with all this stuff and then make us wait three months for a drawn out answer! That being said here are my main questions about the episode

1) Why is Ashley seeing ghosts? Furthermore, why is Alison's sisters ghost (or whoever that girl is) haunting Ashley? Weird concept and a question I'm sure they will leave unanswered



2) Who was it that strangled Spencer/ fought with Paige. My theory is Ezra but there is no way Spencer would have been able to fight him off in that poorly choreographed scene



3) What was Mona's intention at pretending to be Caleb?



4) Lucas....what? Weren't you depressed bordering suicidal last time we saw you? Quick change of pace there bud....



5)Jason, what? Why is he on the train? I'm pretty sure he graduated high school like six years ago. Not that I'm complaining....he is awfully nice to look at ;)



6) Who was pushing Aria off the train (logically I'm sure this one will be answered in next seasons finale gah! to long to wait) and why is she suddenly okay at the end of the episode? Pretty sure if I was locked in a wooden crate with a dead boy and then nearly pushed out of a train, I would be in hysterics and hyperventilating, in need of immediate psychiatric assistance



7) ^^Same goes for you Spence, dear its not normal to recover like that after nearly being strangled by a man in fake nails.....



8) And lastly, at the end, was that Alison in the ground (like a flashback) or was that taking place currently?



And then some poorly done placement (just to get out of my system):

Adam Lambert? Um hi....forced much?

A loose nail and a screwdriver: how convenient!

A replica of Caleb's costume....wow!



And lastly my theory.

We all know there's an A team and we all know two of the members, Mona and Toby.

In my opinion there is four people on the A team, orchestrated by a fifth individual. The four each represent someone close to the girls: Mona (Hanna) , Toby (Spencer), and in my opinion Ezra (Aria). But I am not sure who it would be from Emily's side. They have pretty much cleared (or attempted to) clear Paige but I'm still not a hundred percent on-board (no pun intended) with that idea.

I have no trouble believing it was Ezra who attempted to kill Spencer on the train by strangulation.

What I don't understand is Toby. Is he still in love with Spencer? Was he always fooling her, or did he fall for her by accident? DId he fall for her at all?

I don't believe he has good intentions-even the producer of the show said he didn't-but I do believe he fell for Spencer by accident and he is not going to let anything happen to her... just my theory! What do you guys think and do any of you have answers?!
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Oct 27, 2012
On the Ezra front, your theory is that someone close to each girl, well Arias dad was suggested to be involved last episode wasn't he? hmm, I hope Ezra is innocent, even though he has questionable morals and the whole teacher/student thing is wrong on so many levels the chemistry between the characters(actors mainly) is so likeable and so sweet you wish it was true!
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Oct 27, 2012
On the Ezra front, your theory is that someone close to each girl, well Arias dad was suggested to be involved last episode wasn't he? hmm, I hope Ezra is innocent, even though he has questionable morals and the whole teacher/student thing is wrong on so many levels the chemistry between the characters(actors mainly) is so likeable and so sweet you wish it was true!
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Staff
Oct 26, 2012
Allow me to play Devil's Advocate for some of these:

(1) Ashley is seeing ghosts either because it's convenient for us or because she needs to be in rehab (even though wine is certainly her OTP). There's no reason for Ashley to be haunted unless all the parents are involved in the Di Laurentis crimes/conspiracy/shenanigans (which, with Byron's implication and the Hastings already being proven involved, might not be too far off).

(2) Ezra is a popular guess for the Harlequin (a name I'm inclined to use because I watched a lot of Batman: The Animated Series when I was a kid). They established that s/he was actually a dude (or a big girl) so, unless Cece is running around with manhands, Ezra is a likely candidate. Not to mention Ezra already has shaky morals. But what's statutory compared to straight up attempted murder? And, yes, all the fight scenes in this episode were horribly choreographed. Let's hope that a lesson learned: hire a professional to teach some stagefighting, PLL.

(3) Right now, it seems more like Mona's intention for everything is to be less villainous mastermind and be the keeper of all things creepy. I figured her dressing up like Caleb is two-fold: to demonstrate that Hanna's sneaking around is not a secret and to further establish her emotional connection to Hanna.

(4) It's been a few months since we last saw the ladies of Rosewood so it's possible Lucas has leveled out. Although I miss crazy Lucas a little bit.

(5) Jason pushed his way in. He's a Di Laurentis: he can do anything.

(6) See the survey above to see who everyone thinks tried to push Aria off the train. My question is: why did the A-Team want to push Aria and Spencer off (recall that the Harlequin tried to lift Spencer's legs over the railing, too)?

(7) This has been an ongoing process for the girls. There was a time when they all collectively freaked out about everything A put them through. In the last season or so, they've dispensed with the PTSD and survive in a reality where facing abject artifacts and horror-worthy experiences are just part of the day-to-day. Did you see how no one even flinched at Jenna's tiny hat? Like that.

(8) I'm leaning toward flashback. Like 90/10. Unless we're angling for a Walking Dead crossover. Which would be awesome.

I'm not sure about Paige either but I assume she's either on the A-Team or just straight-up crazy. It can go either way. Personally, I hope she's a rogue agent/red herring. But it's definitely one or the other. That girl is poison.

Toby is a bad guy. Either he's a willing member of the A-Team, a member that can't get out of the A-Team, or someone holding a secret from his girlfriend that he's trying to take the A-Team down from the inside. A wise woman once said, "Secret secrets are no fun. Secret secrets -- hurt someone." It's time we all recognized that nothing Toby is doing right now is on the up and up.
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Oct 25, 2012
And the fact that Mona was the one who was all up on Hannah and grinding with her is just too creepy. When Mona returns to school next season things are going to be super awkward....

Plus, come on ladies! Can no one pull a mask off a murderous creeper!!??? Get it together and unmask the guy trying to kill them.
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Oct 25, 2012
"...Someone is buried in the Di Laurentis backyard (or was that just a ploy to latch onto the zombie craze?), there might actually be a body in Allison's murder case (I'll believe it when I see it)."

That hand reaching out from the dirt was obviously Allison! Her body was buried under the Gazebo that was being built during the time of her murder, and this was all a recap of the night she was murdered. Allison's body was later uncovered when Maya moved into the Di Laurentis house. An autopsy of the body showed that Allison had dirt in her lungs, ergo she was buried alive. That last scene showed Allison's hand trying to escape certain death. Clearly it did not end well for her. I can't wait for the next episode revealing who is in the body bag that was buried in the ice... I hope it's Allison and get that plot over with.
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Oct 28, 2012
It is her body. PLL Exec Producer Oliver Goldstick answered questions about the PLL Halloween Special here: http://tvline.com/2012/10/26/pretty-little-liars-season-3-spoilers-producer-burining-questions-halloween/
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Oct 25, 2012
didn't Aria wore same costume in last halloween episode? or was it Spencer in that costume?
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Oct 25, 2012
I LOVED this episode but I have so many questions now!!
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Oct 25, 2012
Good thing Area didn't FALL on that random nail! ...How'd she not feel the body beside her??..I don't care... Ezra evil you guys!
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Oct 25, 2012
Guys Ezras part of Team A. They JUST said they weren't letting anyone off the train, so Y would let let someone on?

HE WAS ALREADY ON THE TRAIN! That was his missing finger nail.
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Oct 25, 2012
I read "to further prove she isn't part of the A-Team" as she was part of the "A-" team like not as bad as the B team but not quite as good as the A+ team

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Staff
Oct 25, 2012
I think it can go both ways.
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Oct 25, 2012
Delicious fun
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Oct 25, 2012
where did that screwdriver come from?? someone answer me, please!



i think paige is bad
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Oct 26, 2012
I think the screwdriver was from Garrett's dead tummy or something...
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Staff
Oct 26, 2012
Seems like the kind of nonsense they'd pull, that Aria would grab the murder weapon to defend herself.
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Oct 25, 2012
Before that, why were Aria's hands taped in FRONT of her?
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Oct 25, 2012
Aria looked so beautiful tonight, she is annoying and can be a bitch though. Emily shouild have worn a blonde wig for full effect. Think it was Mona and Toby or Noel and Mona who tried to kill Aria. Lucas has no reason to hate Aria, Jenna wasn't there and Mona really hates Aria.



Hope the blonde girl wasn't a ghost, that would just be silly.



Adam Lambert chatting up Aria was odd.
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Oct 25, 2012
I enjoyed this episode, interesting things were happening, which has not often been the case with this season.



- Mona, uh. She's boring and her doings in and out of the asylum are seriously ridiculous.

- Adam Lambert, uh. Wasted so much time.

- Tobi is sexy when he's evil ;) Speaking of which, I think his hand was not injured, so he wasn't trying to push Aria off the train?

- I assume the body in the body bag was Allyson's? Can't wait to find out where it all leads.

- It was good to see Jason back, hope he gets more involved with the story.
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Oct 25, 2012
this episode showed that I should definitely rule out Aria as the one & original A, or has it???

I no longer know if 2 & 2 are 4 maybe it's 3 or 5 after all...

Once again, I loved a PLL episode but I feel duped, which is good & unpleasant at the same time. What should we make of Alison/Byron's relationship? questions, questions everywhere when we'd want answers here & there. Indeed we learnt Garrett lied & he paid the price, since he didn't kill Ali, is she really the corpse? can we really rule her out as A?

unless I have answers in the series finale, I'll only remember PLL as much wondering & expecting, instead of really enjoying. The longer isn't necessarily always the better ^-^
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Oct 30, 2012
I don't know why Aria would be A. The only reason I can see is that in The Lying game (by the same people) one of the main people is bad.



However - if we assume she is then her being looked in a box and sent packing could just be a way for her "team-mates" to say they are getting fed up with her. If she was guilty she still wouldn't give up the others cause she'd be in equal trouble. She probably be more pissed that terrified in the crate though
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Oct 25, 2012
I think Melissa is involved in some way, and i think mona and toby aren't bad.
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Oct 25, 2012
Emily was Barbarella, and paige was a major dose, as per always. I was hoping she would be the one who was killed off.
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Oct 25, 2012
i hate paige
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Staff
Oct 25, 2012
Paige was more interesting when I thought she killed Maya. Now she's only interesting because she's prone to snapping and when/if Emily ever breaks up with her, she's definitely going to war. Maybe she can try to drown Emily again!
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Oct 25, 2012
why is adam lambert pretending to be a heterosexual in this episode. everyone knows hes gay <_<
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Oct 25, 2012
Emily was Barberalla and Paige was Marlene Dietrich.
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Staff
Oct 25, 2012
Noted. Thank you. I think I like Emily better as one of the moonpeople, though.
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Staff
Oct 25, 2012
I wasn't aware I was attempting to push someone off a train.
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Oct 25, 2012
I'm still really surprised that they decided to make Toby one of A's minions. The fact that they turned him into a bad guy is not the surprising part, but the fact that they decided to do it now. I can understand that a character close to the girls turns out to be part of the A-Team, even Toby, but why now after everything that has happened?

He was accused of murder and pretty much the only one who supported him was Spencer. The girls have overall stood by him, and he has helped them during crucial moments. How are the writers possibly going to spin him turning to the dark side?! What could possibly be so bad that he is prepared to turn against them?

I could understand that he is actually infiltrating the A-Team, especially since he left a few episodes ago to find out answers by himself. It would make sense that he actually did find out enough to infiltrate the A-team, but the producers have said in interviews that he actually is a part of the A-team, and he is not playing a double agent. It feels a little like the writers are going down the soap opera path. Every time they come up with a new plot twist, they have to top the last one, which inevitably leads to absurd situations and forgetting a lot of things that have happened before. So far Toby has been nothing but helpful, at what possible point could he have become part of the A-Team? It would be more understandable if he did it early on, but why then have we seen no indication of that, not even strange looks from him. He even broke his arm once because of A. If he was part of the A-team already at that point, breaking his arm would really be taking one for the team, literally. It seems more like the writers made the decision recently, but his sudden turn does go against much of what we have previously learned about Toby. Or is it possible that when he went on his own "fact finding mission" he found some information that suddenly turned him against the girls and made him join A?

Oh well, I guess I'm just a little peeved by the fact that the questions keep accumulating faster than we're given answers.
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Oct 25, 2012
It's not hard to understand Toby's motivation for being on the A Team and going after the girls at all. I mean just think back to Season 1 and then what we learned even before that time. Toby has enough motive to be apart of the A Team.
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Oct 25, 2012
It's true that in the past they did treat him badly. They and Alison were after all responsible for The Jenna Thing which Toby had to take the responsibility for. But hasn't Toby seen that they regret it? Is he still so pissed about it despite all that they've gone through together? Do they still have to pay despite clearly proving they are nothing like Alison and trying to do the right thing?

That's what I meant when I said that I could understand if Toby had been revealed to be part of the A-Team much sooner. I could understand if he had gone over to the dark side before he learned to know the girls for who they really are. But now that he has interacted with them for a long time, and in my mind seen that they are regretful for their actions, why would he flip now? (Assuming that he joined the A-Team just recently.) If on the other hand he has been part of the A-Team from the very beginning, then all I can say is that the writers have hidden it from us very well. I know this is ABC Family, so I shouldn't overthink this stuff, but I can't help that it bugs me.
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Staff
Oct 25, 2012
The way I see it, there are two possibilities for Toby being in cahoots with the A-Team: (1) he's always been there and can't get out or (2) he's infiltrated their group to take them down from the inside. Either way, he's sketchy, either for continuing to show Spencer his nipples even though he's been bullying her for years or by not letting on that he has information that could thwart (or at least dilute) A's effect on the girls. He's a bad man.
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Oct 26, 2012
can't reply to inbar 777 below me atm, so I write here.

think Toby infiltrated A-team, because when they showed us that scene with Toby and Mona in episode 12,after they were done talking,they show us his face and when he goes around corner,it's not a walk,but more of a run. Like he needs to get out of there fast,not because he is part of A-team,but because he managed to get into A-team. Am I making any sense? Do you guys know what I mean? Also in this episode he started acting really creepy,so if he was in A-team before,why sudden change of face attitude? Before he was all like puppy eyes for Spencer and her H-team( as in her last name Hasting or as in Hoe?:P:P....as her last name) and now he has completly different face on.
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Oct 25, 2012
plus toby has disappeared a lot of times from the show on his motorcycle which makes it very convenient for him to be A and let's nor forget that in the first season spencer told toby to meet her in that mirror maze where A locked her, also how creepy it must be to live with jenna in the same house for so long, you are bound to get a little insane. my point is the guy is shady.
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