Pretty Little Liars Season 3 Review “This is a Dark Ride”

Pretty Little Liars Halloween Episode This Is a Dark Ride Season 3 Episode 13 (1)

After last season’s “bonus” Halloween episode of Pretty Little Liars, entitled “The First Season,” proved to be less of an one-off than it might have seemed at first blush- a little something to tide fans over until the season proper resumed in January, as it were- it became obvious in retrospect how key the episode was in the grand scheme of things, with lots of crucial clues dropped. As such, I’m sure fans were counting on the same thing for this episode, ominously titled “This is a Dark Ride,” and it did not disappoint.

But before we get into spoiler territory, let’s take a look at some of the more amusing flourishes on the fun show. First up: the costumes! Hannah did a serviceable Marilyn, circa “The Seven Year Itch”- loved how she thought for even a second that Spencer, of all people, might steal her cos idea! (Loved Spencer’s reaction to the unveiling of said costume even more…)

Meanwhile, Aria went for the literary allusion, as a girl dating her English prof might be wont to do, and went as Daisy from “The Great Gatsby.” And can I just say that, as a guy, if I were a girl, I would totally kill for that outfit she was wearing in the opening scene, and would totes wear that pimp hat with the crimson skulls, regardless- Aria has by far the best fashion sense! (I don’t know what was up with Hannah’s necklace in the same scene, though- it looked like Voltron or something. I thought when she was making out with Caleb that it might come alive and transform into a weapon and take him out!)

Spencer was super sexy as a Femme Fatale type…she might not be the girl you marry- that’d be Aria- but she’s probably good at other things, if you know what I mean and I think that you do. As my fave character, I was more than a little concerned for her, given the Toby sitch, but she emerged relatively unscathed, thankfully, despite an attack by creepy costume guy/girl.

And how about that dapper Paige, with the swift Spencer save? I guess she’s one of the good ones, after all, despite my doubts in the past. Either that, or she’s really deep undercover, but that would be a stretch, even by this show’s standards, so I’m gonna go with her being on Team PLL. She was certainly the luckiest gal of the night, given that her girl Emily had hands-down the best- and sexiest-outfit of the night. How fetch was she, letting her Freak Flag fly with that rocking “Barbarella” get-up? (Runner-up has to go to the MILF-tastic Naughty Nurse, Ashley, aka Hannah’s mom- was it me, or was she even sexier than her daughter?)

Also worth mentions were Jenna’s tongue-in-cheek one-eyed pirate and guest star Adam Lambert’s vampire dandy. Was it me or did you flash instantly to Anne Rice’s Lestat character? Anyway, I’m not the hugest fan of Lambert’s but his songs were actually better than I expected and surprisingly tolerable. Loved the band’s outfits as well. Whatever the case, it’s definitely a step-up from David Copperfield in that movie “Terror Train.” (Anybody? Jamie Lee Curtis? Vanity? Is this thing on?)

Onto spoiler terrain. Some big developments, and some mighty big revelations, as well as some clever clues. And, oh yeah, they killed off a major character! So, there’s that. My jaw hit the floor after the pseudo-revelation about Byron, aka Aria’s dad. Granted, we still don’t know quite what was going on between him and the late Alison, but it didn’t look good. It could be that she knew about his cheating on his wife and was blackmailing him, but it looked a bit hinkier than that. Could it be that the reason that he hit the roof so hard about the situation between Ezra and Aria was that he himself was guilty of the same thing and feared it was coming back to haunt him, instant karma-style? Either way, it sure did look like he was going in for a kiss right there at the end before Garrett gave himself away.

Speaking of Garrett, I did figure going in, when it leaked that there would be a death, that it would be him that got the axe. My other main candidates were Noel or Jason, given the business on the eight “webisodes,” which, if you haven’t seen, can be found here.

Yes, Cece and Lucas were in the “webisodes” as well, but Lucas seems to have a bigger role to play in this than we know (remember the camera business and the previous Halloween ep?), and Cece is so new that I’m sure they have more planned with her, and as it turns out, wasn’t even in the episode- at least not that we know.

Mona was also around to cause some mischief- was she the one that tried to assault Spencer and drugged Aria? If not, it could be Cece. I’m still not entirely convinced that Toby is on Team A, despite evidence to the contrary on the last episode. My feeling is that, while he is indeed working with them, it’s either against his will- maybe A’s ring leader threatened Spencer if he didn’t play along- or he’s playing some “undercover”-type angle. I buy that much more so with him than with Paige. Paige has issues, but she would seem to be in the clear after the events of the last ep and this one.

The less said about the business with the creepy little girl, the better. Yes, it had its moments, spookiness-wise, but I can’t imagine it had anything to do with anything, and I don’t know what to make of the “Carrie”-style ending with the hand emerging from the ground. Maybe Pretty Little Liars is going to do a mash-up with The Walking Dead or something. I suspect that was just Halloween freakiness and not much to do with anything crucial clue-wise, but I’ve been wrong about the relevance of stuff before, so there’s that.

Big-ups to the excellent direction by TV vet Tim Hunter. He did the excellent “River’s Edge” back in the day- also about a teen murdered under mysterious circumstances- and directed some episodes of the seminal cult show “Twin Peaks,” which is a pretty direct predecessor of PLL, so it seemed like kismet having him direct an episode of the show. In some ways, this show comes closest to the murder mystery aspect of “Peaks,” much more so than “Desperate Housewives,” and that had “Peaks” vet Kyle MacLachlan. Lord knows, PLL can be as creepy and weird as well, with equally bent characters.

What did you think? Whose outfit was the hottest? How creepy was Mona’s singing and that china doll mask that Garrett wore? Did the little girl’s storyline reflect something within the main storyline or was it much ado about nothing? Did you catch any other clues that you think were relevant? Where was Cece? Did you think that Ezra’s cropping up at the end there a little suspect? (I’ve always felt that he could be A… maybe he had a thing with Alison and she threatened to expose him? He’s definitely smart enough to pull off something elaborate, but he could be just a pawn in the game as well.) And was that Alison’s body in the ice? Ick! Remind me to avoid drinks altogether the next time I’m on a party train, between that and getting roofied! One thing’s for sure…the Haunted Mansion had nothing on this dark ride!

Let me know what you thought in the comments!