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Pretty Little Liars S04E13: "Grave New World"

Who are these girls who buy fresh new hats and just ditch them willy nilly?

It'd be one thing if the toppers were free baseballs caps they got from a career fair or something. But they seemed to be decently made, lady-like accessories and Emily literally just ditched hers in a crypt. Aria, I guess, mindlessly forgot hers after being grabbed by the ankle in the graveyard. Spencer's was blown away in the weird Ravenswood dungeon wind tunnel (where all the city's swan statues go to die). And Hanna just dropped hers on the ground. She heard a squeak, she covered her head, and then let it fall. Right next to the blood/lipstick/"rusty water"-scrawled message of "Help Me" on the wall.

I'm just saying that getting a period costume on the night of the town's masquerade from what must be Ravenwood's only period-costumery shoppe couldn't have been cheap. And they were just tossing their hats aside like they were orphaned boys with hacker skills.


Did you get that feeling about Caleb? That he was tossed aside flippantly? Anyone who's paid attention to Ravenswood news from the beginning knew that there was going to be a time when Caleb would transition to the washed-out colors of Rosewood's sister city. But did you feel like it was going to be so easy?

PLL has spent so much time making Hanna and Caleb work that the show kind of set itself up for failure. Where Toby has been a hoodie, Ezra might be A, and Paige is trying to make everyone forget about all the times she was a jackass to Emily, Caleb gracefully shifted from the brooding cyber-hatchetman for the A team to the brooding but head-over-heels romantic who was willing to serve the highest of maintenances. We understand Hanna and Caleb. These are two people who seem to understand each other. And then she was like, "You should totes hang out here with this girl who looked willing to seduce some corn chips."


PLL's Halloween special this year decided to sacrifice its yearly divulging of secrets to set up the winter season and give us the hard sell for Ravenswood. Sure, we got some more looks at Ezra ramping up his creepiness factor and an actual walking and talking Alison, and those things are certainly important. But we should make no mistake about the point of this special being for PLL to give Ravenswood the best possible lead-in. Shay Mitchell might as well have winked at the camera and said, "Tonight at 9pm. I'll be tuning in."

So while the Liars whisked themselves around a town they'll probably never go to again (outside the occasional cameo appearance—Ravenswood does have a fancy costume store after all), with a storyline centered on finding Alison and creating false stakes, Caleb and Miranda (the orphan girl who was really in the mood for some chips) got to create some exposition for us on the bus where she'd pry hard into Caleb's life and speak flippantly about the death of her parents, but then recoil when someone actually askd her a question about herself. Maybe back-and-forth is something they don't deal with very well in Scranton. I mean, Michael Scott was never really known for being a conversationalist.

But they did start talking and that creepy feeling started to come over you that you were seeing the show attempt to manipulate you. Caleb and Miranda share a bond in being abandoned by their parents (in one form or another), bounced around the system, and, subsequently, growing up to be intolerable loners. Miranda's pretty in a different way than Hanna, but she still has that quality that all women on this show seem to possess: the intoxicating aroma of needing to be saved.


And that's when I felt slightly confused. I know we're going to have to let go of Hanna and Caleb at some point because there's just too much overhead in trying to maintain their relationship across two writers' rooms. We've seen a little bit of that set-up in the closing episodes of PLL's summer season, when that kid with the shaved head tried to sample some of Hanna's jelly but she made sure to let him know that he wasn't ready. Caleb and Miranda hitting it off and connecting only makes us sure that we're eventually heading for a (mutual?) break-up between Hanna and Caleb so these crazy kids can bone down within their respective city limits.

But the kiss and the reason for leaving Caleb in Ravenswood was heartbreakingly shallow, dull, and ham-fisted. Ditching Caleb so that he can help Miranda find her uncle, even if the pretense was that it was only for a night, was a disappointing farewell. Nothing drawn-out, no real intrigue between them, nothing more than a long kiss goodnight, one that was long enough to maintain that this is the end but short enough (and not scored enough) to make you question whether that was actually what they were doing. And then they parted ways and Caleb walked with Miranda into the foggy abyss. And Hanna had to catch a ride with a baby-faced villain.

The Liars accomplished so very little while running underneath the streets of Ravenswood and the Clue mansion other than subjecting themselves to manufactured action beats, the most egregious being that busted window would-be guillotine. Spencer did find the Colonel Doughboy in the Conservatory with the Garden Shears and almost unmasked him (more than she ever did when she thought Toby was dead) just before knocking herself out. And Ezra keeping his hand in his pocket so that he wouldn't reveal a cut seems to be more of that vague pointing to Ezra being A. But, then again, maybe he thought keeping his hand in his pocket was making him a cool dude.


Ezra being a creepster is nothing new to the show, so the big reveal was Alison confirming the thing that we all already knew: the absence of a body means "alive until proven otherwise." Unless PLL decides to dial it back come winter, we actually, honestly saw Alison in the flesh. No fever dreams or smoke inhalation to blame it on—just a girl standing in front some other girls, wearing a red coat. The elaborate hoax of Ali's death, if we can believe everything as we saw it, is basically confirmed as a way to huckster Ezra into believing she's gone. That may be the most surprising part about Alison's string of non-information: It wasn't to just one person in private, there wasn't any condition where what they saw could be questioned, and there doesn't seem to be any way they can backpedal out of this. The girls know Alison is alive. We live in a confirmed Alison universe.

While we can usually expect the Halloween special to provide inalienable answers about the show, no matter how large-scale the reveal is (remember "The First Secret" and laying out the original A Team?), it's hard to deny the importance of Alison finally revealing that she's not buried in the dirt. It's an entire plot point resolved. The search for Alison's killer is over if there's no actual killer. Now we can focus on how she pulled the whole thing off. That being said, PLL did all that in ten minutes. The rest of the episode was about showing off Shay Mitchell and Ashley Benson's cleavage and drilling into our heads that we should stick around for Ravenswood. We can't really say it was a disappointing outing for the Liars because of the ending, but it was almost a cheap trick to salvage a series full of weak events by pulling the Alison trump card.


NOTES

– "What kind of town throws a party in a graveyard?" Every city I've lived in. Does your local village do movies in its historic cemetery, too? We're all Ravenswood.

– Emily and Hanna wore dresses that were basically made possible by fashion tape and a prayer. Aria was a little more modest (actually, pretty quotidian for her—that might've just been something old that she had lying in the back of her closet). But Spencer was straight-up Victorian. Walking around town, people must've asked where these women of the night picked up the teetotaler.


– It's one thing when these girls split up on purpose to investigate creepy stuff and get themselves into trouble individually because they can't stay in a group. But now they're just splitting up because they seem too silly to stay together. Seriously, Hanna. Where are you going? And of course Grunwald would single out Emily. Stop being the weakest link.

– "One of you has been touched by the one Alison fears most." Does Grunwald mean Leah, the bride that grabbed Aria in the graveyard, or the Doughboy who attacked Spencer in the conservatory? Or is that Grunwald's gross (but not inaccurate) way of describing Ezria?

– Aria: "You just happen to be the sporty one.' Yes, Emily would be Sporty Spice. Or maybe Baby Spice, since she's a baby so often. Aria would be Posh. Spencer would have to be Scary. Does that mean Hanna is Ginger? Is Hanna the slutty one? Maybe it's not so easy to pin Spice Girls to the Liars. It's so much easier with Lost characters.

– Hanna apparently has a problem with little people.

– "Remember what I told you at the hospital." Alison reminded Hanna that they had a talk there, but she didn't really say much other than the Liars knowing more collectively about that night than they realize and one really big lie is better than a hard truth. Also that A is annoying. Which is true.


– The Ravenswood stuff. I understand the need for Pretty Little Liars to set up the Ravenwood plot by incorporating the supernatural business the series will focus on, but I'll be glad to see the impossible things that happen on PLL return to being attributed to money and blackmail rather than the paranormal. Grunwald's intuition was a little too much for me. Though, color me intrigued about the people who are supposed to be dead in that town. Like Caleb on that gravestone. Does he not remember taking that picture? Do the pictures age with them? Why doesn't Ravenswood have any lights? Why did the creepy guy on the bus get off so early if they were all actually going to the same place? Is he magic? How much magic will I have to deal with on the new show? Tell me all your secrets, Ravenswood! I demand to know your answers!


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 3/15/2016

Season 6 : Episode 20

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Did no one notice the violin and flute in the mansion? Seemed to me as a vague reference to Jenna and Shauna...
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Did anyone else snicker when Aria questioned a town holding a party in a graveyard and say Mystic Falls! Just the other day!

Ravenwood looked better here than in its own pilot. The central mystery seems kind of dumb.
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This show is so confusing. The paranormal stuff is also confusing since PLL wasn't about that, but I like that for Ravenswood though. It's sad, but inevitable, that Caleb and Hanna will break up and he will probably be with Miranda or something. :P

Ezra wasn't much of a creep before. I dislike that he was the twist because it doesn't make sense with what we know from his past and the ex he had, and the son etc. It seems inconsistent, like they just made it up to have another twist and more questions to give us and makeup an episode with. It will be even more stupid if they end up revealing Aria as part of it all too.

If A is a team, then Ezra could just be part of it, or be used by them, kinda like Toby.

I just don't get the whole plot now. Nothing the girls have done seems bad enough to warrant so much effort to harass them... They're liars, but ironically they lie mostly because A makes them...

I also don't get Alison... Now we know she really is alive, but how did she even survive being buried there? And why and who is she trying to hide from? Why didn't she just contact the girls sooner? Also, how does she manage to disappear so fast? It seems almost supernatural sometimes. Now I am even starting to wonder if they will introduce the supernatural to PLL as well. I also don't like Alison, what a bitch. It'll be hard to feel any sympathy for her now, or even believe anything she says.

Who did Grunwald have in mind when she said one had been touched? Why would Alison fear Ezra? He's always seemed so harmless. It must be someone else.

Emily certainly is the most annoying girl in the group.
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Spencer should have kept hitting him with the tool before trying to unmask "A". If they thought it was a boy, she should have hit him in the nuts lol and left him or her unable to fight back so she can then unmask "A". Did anyone else notice that Ezra did not take his right hand out of his pocket ever since he picked up the girls in the car and when he gave Aria her phone back? Hmmm possibly another way to trick us!
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Aria, Emily, Hanna, Spencer = Liars, somehow the A-team really hates them.
Alison = secretly alive as Red Coat cause someone really wants her dead.
Mona = classic 'A'
Toby = temporary 'A'
? = probably killed Wilden, frame Hanna's mom & knows stuffs about Toby's mom 'A'
Cece = the other Red Coat & occasionally dressed in 'A' to eavesdrop.
Ezra = latest 'A'? targeting Alison & probably some of the liars.

.....and various other masked/unmasked psychopaths. This is my basic understandings of the show so far.

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Am I the only one thinking that Ezra has an evil twin since we saw him twice in like a minute in different outfits and places??! I was like «Aha! That's their quite dull solution to outing Ezra as A»...
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I thought so too at first, but wasn't he just standing in the shadow hence the slightly different appearance?
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Why all the hate for this episode? It was a pretty fun Halloween episode. I was really creeped out, it had some big reveals, and it made me want to tune into Ravenwood (which sucked, but that's not this episode's fault). Pretty Little Liars hardly ever makes sense, you just have to go with it and enjoy the craziness. If you haven't learned that by now, you should stop watching.
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If Alison is alive then who did they bury...twice? And remember she was missing for like 6 months before they found her so, are you saying that this “A” or Alison had the power or know how to falsify records to the point that every agency that was looking for her could be fooled and the body could be misidentified as Alison’s? This whole A organization is starting to more resemble a full fledged Black Ops team than a group of people tormenting 4 teenage girls.

Unlike PLL I’m going into Ravenswood not expecting anything. If Pretty Little Liars has taught me anything it’s never expect answers and the ones you do get will be pulled out of thin air and won’t make any sense. Knowing that from the beginning would have made watching Pretty Little Liars a lot easier.

As usual Pretty Little Liars does not make a lick, not a goddamn lick of sense, but it is deeply frustrating/maddening entertaining to watch. Though it is getting less so with each passing season/new “mystery”.
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Finally the concrete reveal of Alison being alive. That alone wins this episode.
Had myself convinced that I wasn't going to bother watching Ravenswood because to have a supernatural spin-off of a show that was not supernatural seemed ridiculous and desperate to me. However following the interesting placement of some pictures it seems I will indeed be giving Ravenswood a chance. As if I needed more TV shows to watch. Oh well.
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i cant believe most of you didnt like the episode. fom me,it was one of the best episodes. it give us officially that ezra is A and that alison is alive. i couldnt even ask for more
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it doesn't 100% confirm Ezra, there could still be tricks up the sleeve
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after the last episode its 100% for me. it would be totally stupid if they undo it again,like they did with toby
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Terrible episode. Nothing happened bar the last 3 minutes! It was all just they hear a noise then went into another room to investigate which, surprise surprise, led nowhere! Didnt the acting seem worse as well or just me? The end of 4a ended the same way as this episode - Ali is alive and Ezra might be A. Worst episode yet.
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I hated it. I was expecting a normal PLL episode... not the Ravenswood preview we got. I'm not saying that RW sucks or something like that but come on...!!

Now with the liars:
I'm starting to suspect a little on Aria. Yes, I know she's too dumb to know that Ezra is A but... what happens if she does?? Maybe she is just an evil genius playing dumb all this time only to get to kill Ali this time for real. At this point, I don't trust her. Maybe Ezra was a creepy psycho who fell in love with Ali (we know how our girl liked to play) then suspect she didn't lie and begin the "A-game" after Mona did it before. Oh, this liars need Spencer so much. Without her, they were dead.
Hanna was so boring and Ems, I didn't even care about her in this episode.

The Big Liar I'm worry about is our Alison. Yes, if Alison wants to keep running, to hide from some dangerous one... why did she comes back?? With Ezra Fitz around this could be ugly for her. She doesn't need the liars. Why? In Mona's words: "We all know these bitches can't keep a secret".




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i agree that aria may be on the A team
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or maybe ezra is A but then who is this other person? its obvious there's a woman involved .
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I just had a thought. Ezra cant possibly be A because in one episode of this season(cant remember the title) that man that worked at the front desk handed someone a coffee and apologized to who we are lead to believe was someone he was seeing, he called her babe. Unless ezra and cece are working together somehow..
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I have to agree... This episode was really a letdown after the huge buildup and suspense. Ravenswood does seem interesting, and I'll be watching, but Pretty Little Liars wins any day. It doesn't seem like the two shows will even be connected really, but we'll see. Like everyone else has said, the only reveal was that Ali's alive, which had essentially already been confirmed, and some people had been suspecting since the pilot episode years ago. All in all, very disappointing. And now we have to wait several more months for 4B.
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Hi, Nick! *waves*

I'm glad you are keeping your reviews fun, light and positive. I honestly don't know how you do it. I really don't feel like saying much about the Halloween special (since I'm tired of ranting/lol) other than it was a complete and total disaster. At least we know that Alison is alive for real this time!

Yes, the reveal was a huge let down. I don't think that the liars' development and/or storyline should been sacrificed in order for them to push "Ravenswood" on us but hey, that's the network's prerogative. I sincerely hope that their show is a huge flop though. ^

ps. I'm still quite bitter about how the episode was handled but your review did cheer me up!
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This episode was one of the series worst episodes.. I like PLL, I have enjoyed every convoltued plotline and the streches that they make to the story but this episode was just pointless and was more like a long Ravenswood commercial (but it was suppossed to be that... so that's fine? I guess). Nothing happened in Ravenswood and the Oh god, the reason of why Caleb stayed in Ravenswood "You should help a strange girl you just met a few hours ago, it's ok, hon.. doesn't matter that you have weird sexual chemestry with her"

LOL PLL writers just LOL.

But I Liked the last 5 minutes, and the Ali's stuff intrigues the hell out of met, because I need to know how they are going to explain all the stuff that happened in the last 3 and half seasons and if does a little bit of sense, I know it probably won't.
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I actually liked this episode, and all the weird Ravenwood stuff. Eszra is a total bad ass and i cant wait until next episode, Cause War is on Esra vrs. Alison and the gang. They just realized who he is, and he knows Alison was there. GAME ON !
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they dont have any idea that ezra is A. If you read spoilers for upcoming episodes its very obvious they dont have a clue about him.
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Then they are a lot more ignorant that i thought ! I havent seen the spoilers, But still interrested in how the War will play out... I think we are in for a treat !
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"The rest of the episode was about showing off Shay Mitchell and Ali Benson's cleavage and drilling into our heads that we should stick around for Ravenswood."

LOL ^

To be perfectly fair Ashley Benson's bosom looked great. It should be featured more. :)
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Good point of this episode was the mixing of PLL intrigue and the Ravenswood context. They've introduce characters, explained why Caleb is staying in Ravenswood (sniff sniff-I'll miss Hannah and Caleb).
Now Ezra seems sooo creapy and I didn't think him and Aria where back together... what hapenned to the Karate Guy??? this episode brought answers that we already know: Alli is not dead and Ezra is A. Good episode but not as good as previous Halloween specials...
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This was definitely the weakest as far as Halloween specials go but a lot of that was because it operated so much as a way to further introduce Ravenswood.

I'm curious how much Rosewod time will lapse between this episode and the winter season because Marlene has said that Caleb and Hanna's big goodbye is in 4B but we have Ravenswood running right now.....

One thing I didn't notice until I saw someone else point it out: When Ezra calls Aria (which I guess Jake is just out of the picture now?) at the beginning of the episode he's in a regular outfit, but when we end the call and he immediately steps out he's suddenly in costume. I thought that was interesting.

The Ali reveal didn't feel all that important, mainly cause it's what we've all already known for a long time, but having it confirmed does close a lot of doors and change the game completely.
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Shame Emily didn't stayed little bit longer on that window...one can only hope and pray for so long...
Sooo...I thought that this Halloween special will be 2h...is next week also episode of PLL or no?
I thought Grunwald was talking about Ezra. And Aria just happened to be the one,who "let go" Hanna??
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unfortunately no.new episode january 7
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Why was Spencer dressed like the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey? And yet not even half as sassy as Violet. Sigh.
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I agree, there was way to much Ravenswood-exposure. And I don't know why they thought it was a good idea to have some kind of backdoor-pilot before the actual pilot. The PPL story had to dial back so we could meet Miranda and I already don't care about her.
They tried to selvage the episode by giving us Alison on a silver plate but it didn't work for me. I liked that we finally got to see her in the flesh (I knew she was alive!) but that was really all the episode had to offer.
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no you got it all wrong posh spice is spencer, aria is the ginger spices due to her slutty outfits but she's also scary cause she's definitely A because ... come on , emily is the sporty obviously and hanna is the baby only cause she's blond and I can't think of any other spice that suits her better. oh and this episode was kinda of a let down but I really loved the costumes though.
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