Pretty Little Liars Recap: 'Twas the Fright Before Christmas

Pretty Little Liars Christmas

Snow isn’t the only thing that fell Tuesday during Pretty Little Liars‘ chilling Christmas special.

Emily and Paige’s relationship also took a pretty serious nosedive, but as Emily said — and as Shay Mitchell told us earlier this week — Paily “will always have a special connection.”

Here’s a play-by-play of everything else that went down in Rosewood this week…

ALI’S ARMY | Never one for subtlety, Alison arrived at the ice ball with her entire new crew in tow, which included two very familiar faces: Sydney, who’s “not gay,” and Jenna! The masked ladies told Emily they’re only following Ali’s lead because they fear her — and they’re pretty sure she killed Mona — but do we trust them? Do we trust anyone? We certainly don’t trust Cece Drake, who also made a cameo at the ice ball to warn Alison that her former “friends” are on to her.

A NEW CONNECTION | While the rest of the liars were ballin’ for charity, Spencer and Hanna broke into Alison’s house — because everyone on this show is a criminal — to search for anything that might connect her to Mona’s murder. In addition to a near-death experience with a knife-wielding “A,” Hanna also discovered a letter proving that not only did Ali know Bethany, but she invited her to Rosewood for Labor Day. Toby claimed that’s enough of a link to clear Spencer’s name, but I’m not holding my breath.

WHAT THE HELL? | The rest of the hour was devoted to Ali’s ghostly visit from Mona, who helped her remember the first lie she ever told: When Alison was a little girl, she found two dresses at Christmas, but her mom made her lie and say she only found one. So, who was the other dress for? Bethany? Ali’s twin? We didn’t get an answer — surprise, surprise — but we did get a creepy peek into Ali’s future, complete with ghosts and demons. (I can’t believe Alison even asked, “Am I going to hell?” Like, girl… of course you are.) But who was Mrs. D talking about when she said, “They’ll be coming for you”? I’m getting major Ravenswood flashbacks right now.

So, PLL-ers, was this Christmas special worth the hype? What new theories have you hatched after all this holiday sleuthing? Grade the episode below, then drop your thoughts in a comment.


Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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34 Comments
  1. JJM says:

    Absolute rubbish of an episode. I hope they never do a Christmas special again.

  2. ... says:

    This episode just made me miss Ravenswood, which, by the end, was better than PLL had been in years.

  3. MadWhy says:

    Did anyone else catch the fact that Mrs. D was in the black widow outfit? But Mrs. D was already at Wilden’s funeral…leaning towards Mrs. D having a twin.

    • Andy Swift says:

      I’m not putting too much thought into what she was wearing. I thought she was just meant to symbolize the Ghost of Christmas Future, so they stuck her in that costume.

  4. Riana says:

    You know it’s entirely possible that Ali could have wanted to get to know Bethany.

  5. Brandon says:

    No flash recap?

  6. Kavanaugh says:

    Wow. Amazing.
    An entire episode filled of rubbish. NOTHING happened. Paily drama (as friggin’ usual, why can’t they be happy for a couple of episodes without this stuff?), the boxer scene, which I found almost embarassing, Alison being visited by Mona’s ghost… bloody hell, gimme back the Halloween specials, at least those were entertaining.

    • Cate says:

      The boxer scene felt really forced….I mean how awkward, especially for Ezra having been their teacher a year ago!

      • Kavanaugh says:

        Exactly! I have nothing against Ezra, but come on… the guy was their teacher (and stalker) for a couple of years! Was it really necessary for them to put this scene just to flash the guys’ abs?

      • reesecup1908 says:

        I literally fell over laughing when they came down the stairs with the boxers. So they just all happen to have Santa Claus boxers on hand? Felt kinda weird and orgyish to me lol.

        • lauri5567 says:

          Thank you! It felt weird. One on one it might have been okay, but what was supposed to happen after they appeared?
          I did enjoy the episode. Also, Holbrook and Aria? I feel like it goes back to Jenna’s line about Aria having a thing for authority figures.

      • Carrie says:

        That was REALLY bizarre. Did they think they were being cute or clever? It was lame and uncomfortable to watch on many levels. The entire episode was pretty bizarre. It could’ve been a fun take on the whole Scrooge thing, but instead the pacing was off and the entire episode felt pointless. Even Mona’s makeup and wig were way over the top.

  7. Cate says:

    I think the girl in Radley was Mrs D’s real daughter and Ali was adopted. “They are coming for you” is Ali’s birth parents. Cece is probably her biological sister who tracked Ali down as a teen and told her she was adopted. LOL because this show is ridiculous and that’s the craziest thing I can think of that doesn’t involve a twin :)

  8. Azerty says:

    This shows has so many characters I can’t even remember who is who. It took me 20 minutes to remember Cece’s name and who was that Santa Aria talked to (detective Holbrooke).

    • Snakebite says:

      I had the exact same problem! I can never remember Holbrooke’s name (and didn’t until you posted it here). I just kept thinking, who is that guy? Why is he flirting with Aria?! This is about the millionth inappropriate relationship for those girls.

  9. Ryan says:

    I liked the “Sidney-who’s not gay” comment, made me laugh so much and it was pretty good but the pacing was the only part I didn’t like and I had hoped there would of been more Mona. Otherwise a nice episode that gave nice Christmas vibes.

  10. reesecup1908 says:

    I appreciated the Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” homage with Toby (James Stewart) in the wheelchair with the broken leg holding a camera playing lookout for Hannah and Spencer (Grace Kelly). I’m a huge Hitchcock fan, so that gets a plus in my book.

  11. Barbs says:

    I got a major disturbia vibe from the whole Toby in a wheelchair with a camera thing…

  12. Loved the Ali bits. Just wracking my brain trying to fit the clues together. I’ve had theories about Mrs D having a twin.. Anyway, It’s hard seeing Ali as an outcast from the group.

  13. What the hell was up with the missing legs? Like, what is THAT supposed to mean?

  14. Nick says:

    Janel parish practically told us Ali didn’t kill mona when she said in a interview that quote “that she went down with a fight, which is great. I love that fight in her, I wouldn’t have wanted her to go out any other way.” Which would mean her killer would have scratches and bruises but yet
    Ali had no scratches or bruises
    So that’s why I think Ali didn’t kill mona!

  15. Snakebite says:

    I cannot believe this episode. It was so stupid, it my have finally put me over the edge so that I will stop watching. As an almost-30-year-old who watches the show, I’m embarrassed by my friends and family enough for my obsession–the show doesn’t also need to hsame me. But there were certain moments in this episode that seemed to say “this is a show written by people who are writing only for the 14 and under crowd.”

    Here are a few of them:
    1. when Ali shows up at her not-masquerade ball (what’s with all the balls in Rosewood anyway?), with a bunch of masked clones in tow. Really?!
    2. when Paige, Caleb, Ezra and Toby (who has a broke leg, making changing undies really difficult) all show up on the stairs wearing Santa boxers. First, this says when you have a boyfriend, all of your friends will have someone too, and then all of the partners will become best friends, even though they literally have nothing in common, which is false. THEN it assumes that these best friends who have nothing in common will all go underwear shopping together. PUH-lease. If this ever were to happen, especially when none of them were supposed to be in the same house that night, that would be so creepy.
    3. where are these girls’ parents? Only Emily seemed to have an explanation. And if they were snowed in and not supposed to be there that night, why was there a bunch of stuff for a Christmas feat in the fridge? Also, I know they are all criminals, have inappropriate relationships (at least Aria) and are implicated in several murders, but since this show is clearly written for the middle school set, maybe don’t show a bunch of high school girls drinking champagne without even a slight worry that it’s illegal? Especially since Toby is also underage and supposedly a cop now (also, if that is true, why is he aiding them in a break in?!).
    4. A is able to erect a HUGE light scene, with timers and everything, with ZERO neighbors around to notice? And it calls them bitches in it? Really!?!?! This is Rosewood, where the neighbors would certainly care about profanity being lit up on their street.

    I just don’t know if I can care about who A is when this show makes me feel like the writers think I am a fool. Which means it’s going to be someone who I can’t even remember who it is (speaking of, I can never remember that new cute cop’s face), and they will give some weak explanation, because at this point, nothing will make sense. I DID love watching Hanna tell the little girls that “bitches get buried.” That was classic.

    • Ryan says:

      I completely agree with you in those big logic fails, especially Ezra and the girls’ boyfriends/ Paige thing. These logic fails are getting so tiring and inconsistent.

  16. Liz says:

    I thought the episode was really disappointing. Nothing was revealed and it was just an excuse so show the boys shirtless. As usual the lesbian couple got the short end of the stick. The write off of Paige was lazy and deserved more than two seconds. They shouldn’t even bother giving Emily a new love interest, because they won’t give any attention to them. They’re too busy focusing on their straight couples, which is a horrible message for their LGBT fans, and the show just isn’t what it used to be. It needed to end two years ago.

  17. Rebecca says:

    I loved the rear window homage!!!!! That was amazing. Their dresses are beautiful. I personally think this was so much better than last years Halloween episode!

  18. I'm So Excited says:

    such a poorly acted episode especially the last shot showing each of the couple’s reactions to A’s holiday greeting. it had a 90s teen series vibe with all the couples having romantic cheesy moments during the christmas montage. actually it was not even a montage but one shot which is even worse.

  19. Shane says:

    One of my favourite episodes soooo far… I love everything about it… I thought we were gonna learn how Mona got killed… But anywhoo loved the ending… Merry Christmas Bitches… -A lol

  20. crystal says:

    I loved this episode but I’ll admit that the whole couple-y thing is getting ridiculous and unnecessary. And why the hell will they bring Paige and Emily back together only to ship her off again? Though kudos to Paige’s parents for their parenting skills.
    My questions on this episode however;
    1. Where the hell were Cece and Ali when they made those weird twins dress like them?
    2. Why didn’t A just stab hanna, considering s/he had a big knife but just knocked her out?
    3. Where did Ali’s legs go?
    4. Why can’t there be at least one decent adult male who isn’t interested in teenage girls?

    Also I couldn’t help but laugh when Ali asked if she was going to hell. Like seriously girl?

  21. ReallyThough says:

    Not great. BUT because my friend and I fancy ourselves DVR detectives, I wanted to ask…
    Did anyone pause and read the Bethany letter??? So apparently Ali sent Bethany the same outfit (yellow top) that she wore on Labor Day!?! Bethany writes that yellow is her favorite color, also a callback to the dresses Ali finds as a child.
    Sounds like Bethany was setup/dressed up by Ali!
    Not as revealing or well-edited of an episode as I wanted, but teen shows don’t usually last this long, so props for that.