Against the Grunwald's wishes, the Liars dress up for a cemetery party in Ravenswood. Oh, what's a cemetery party? It's just like a regular party, but it's in a cemetery. Kind of like how a Halloween Train is Halloween that takes place on a train, only a little more awesome.
Sadly, we only stick around the party long enough to meet two nameless cast-members from the spin-off, if by "meet" you understand me to mean merely "see their fair faces and that's about it." Soon, the girls are led by Redcoat into a horrific/gorgeous underground necropolis of mazes, statues that bleed from the eyes, statues of ladies getting raped by waterfowl, gas lamps and false walls and passages, strange indoor windstorms, people turning into statues, bloody messages on the walls, disappearing hats, strange noises and Rat Kings.
This preponderance of razzmatazz quickly separates the ladies, and before you know it, Spencer's in a locked greenhouse battle with a guy in a WWI gasmask who is probably Ezra (needless to say, he gets away at the last second); Emily and Aria are nearly murdered by the jagged hungry window of a haunted mansion; and Hanna gets locked in an old-timey phone booth and made to listen to the Top Ten Hits of 1915 by a ghost.
She's eventually rescued by Miranda -- Caleb's new friend he met on the haunted bus to Ravenswood -- but not before seeing strange lights, Alison's actual real face and the terrors of Gasmask coming after her and after us all. Hanna and Miranda make their way through the haunted mansion, and we learn that not only is it Miranda's ancestral home, it's also a funeral home, and some stuff about her uncle that doesn't yet make sense...
Also not making sense? The grave that she and Caleb find once the ladies have located him, which bears her portrait and name even though clearly she is alive and has been to this town maybe once ever. (I'm guessing the Ravenswood hour reveals matching tombstones for Caleb, the two blondies from the party and the chick we haven't met, but I'm only just about to watch it.) In the end, confronted with too much weirdness and feeling Hanna Marin feelings of protective toward the girl, Hanna stations Caleb in Ravenswood to solve help her weird mystery -- without even knowing that it involves him, too. (In the tag, we see him discovering his own tombstone, which is a hell of a way to leave a show!)
Following the sounds of Ali's screams, the Liars make their way to the Grunwald's apartment within the mansion, where she reveals herself as the estate's caretaker (as well as being a part-time psychic, which is where the tape of Ali freaking out came from). She sends them home with her usual no-nonsense admonitions to stay the eff out of Ravenswood, but also a sudden vibe that one of them, chillingly, at one point dated the person Alison "fears most."
Stuck with a flat tire and down one Caleb Rivers, the girls can't wait to get out Ravenswood -- so when Ezra turns up, pretending to have just arrived, they don't ask questions. (They also don't seem to notice his injured hand, despite however long the drive is.) Back home, they're immediately surprised by Redcoat, who finally stands still long enough to reveal herself:
Alison DiLaurentis. Smiling sadly and asking, "Did you miss me?"
Someone immediately approaches, sending Ali into the shadows after a classically vague reminder of what she said to Hanna -- that time Hanna got run over by a car and was so high she didn't even remember the conversation -- before Ezra appears, returning Aria her phone from the car... And offering up a big steamin' mug of creepy stares that nobody registers, because they are all too busy with how Alison is back now.
January 7: With three fairly huge game-changers -- Alison, Ezra, Caleb -- in the mix, it'll be interesting to see what the show even looks like. The hashtag is #EzrAisEverywhere, which is a fine start, and I guess we'll see how much the girls will even be in contact with Ali at this point. But it'll be nice to finally get some answers on the A-Team, the B-Team, Team Redcoat and CeCe Drake, not to mention Boardshorts and the rest of it -- because from what I can tell, not even Alison necessarily knows how deep the Ezra stuff goes, or even who her A is. I cannot imagine how frustrating that would be!
Redcoat summoned the Liars to Ravenswood, and thence the ultimate A Lair: Timelines, documents, a million omniscient computers... And Redcoat herself, secretly watching from behind a picture of Alison's face. Per The Grunwald -- with whom Ali shares some kind of parrot-related ESP connection, and who dug her out of the ground that one time -- trying to protect Alison could result in leading A straight to her. What nobody knows, as they set out to track Alison down in totally decent Edwardian gear, is that Ezra might well be behind it all.
Knowns: CeCe is either a Redcoat or in the employ of A, although she definitely has spent time in A's Ravenswood Lair, and definitely did not die from Aria trying to kung fu her to death. Mona's outside Ravenswood, meeting with the B-Team, seemingly to guarantee her own safety from "her," as Toby reports from the shadows. Melissa and maybe Wren are off to London, maybe together, and Shana was in league with one or both of them; we still don't know for sure who killed Darren Wilden. Caleb is now on his way to Ravenswood, just in time for the big city-wide creeper party that will explain what the hell this crazy town is all about.
Liars: "Okay so let's all try to find Alison before A finds her, or us. But what the hell kind of place do you have a party in a graveyard? Oh right, Ravenswood."
Hanna: "This girdle's killin' me."
Spencer: "It's a corset."
Hanna: "It's bullshit is what it is."
Emily: "Wait! I am having an Emily attack. I don't mind running into A, but I am scared to see Alison. It will be too weird."
Aria: "Oh, honey. Come on."
Aria takes Emily's hands, and the girls proceed into the graveyard party.
THE KNIGHT BUS
Caleb is all alone on the enchantedly horrible bus to Ravenswood, except for one mysterious Ravenswood-looking dude with no teeth.
Aria: "This place is effed up. Are those some fingers sticking out of that grave?"
Spencer: "They are clearly mushrooms! I was born to call bullshit on Ravenswood."
Hanna stops cold, spying two little girls in identical red coats staring at some graves while a top-hatted monster man puts flowers on another grave. Guess what, if you never see her face, a little girl in a red coat is going to be a little person. That is just the rules.