While the show doesn't return from hiatus until the new year, Pretty Little Liars does a Halloween-centric special to give us a taste of what is to come. A prequel episode, showing us Alison and the girls before everything that happened, and how Alison was the first to receive A's taunting messages.
In my opinion, this was a great episode.
Seeing the girls before the events to come was so bizarre. We're so used to seeing them being secretive with each other and going through major stuff that seeing them rather young and innocent, unaware of the things that are happening and about to happen to them, is just surreal. While we do see things to tie up with happens later (Aria finding out about her father's affair, the hints of Emily's sexuality before Emily herself understood, the aftermath of the separation between Hanna's mom and dad, etc.) this episode was mostly about Alison. I love seeing her scenes on the show, and this was a treat since she only appears in brief flashbacks in the regular episodes. I loved seeing her relationship with the girls in full, also her methods of manipulating and how she includes others into her circle. She tried to convert Jenna but she turned her down, immediately causing Alison's intense hatred for her. There's also the mysterious message that she got, which she hides in her doll -- the doll that Aria later got via Jason when he was cleaning the house, and hopefully that will be discovered by the girls. We see her being the Queen Bee, but also being victimized by someone who she seems very scared by. This wasn't something she brushed off. Once getting that voodoo doll with the note she was quite troubled by it.
I also want to mention the beginning before the opening credits, with Alison telling the story. Now I know partially what happened in the books, and while the show is definitely not the books, I see this as foreshadowing for that particular reveal via the books.
There were definitely a lot of suspects. Either people who hated Alison enough to want to hurt her, or were obsessed with Alison enough to do something. It was nice seeing appearances by other characters, even for a brief moment.
The Halloween party, mostly when the girls went to that scary house where Alison played that prank on them, was intriguing. I found that horrific doll-mask very creepy, and while the prank pulled by Alison was such a her thing to do, the discovery that the hoax wasn't truly a hoax after all definitely gave me chills at the end. It was sent up by Alison and Noel to scare the rest of the girls, however Noel didn't get a chance to make it in time, so someone else was there. Not part of the plan at all, and actually attacked Alison. And then that text...creepy. Of course, if we're going for the book-route foreshadowing, Alison probably already knows (or suspects) who it might be, as the message was quite personal.
All in all, I quite enjoyed this episode. It was something special to give us PLL fans while we wait until January for new episodes, plus something creepy and scary to fit the mood of the Halloween spirit (and the atmosphere of the show being creepy itself.)
Oh, and let me just say that I adored the costumes all the characters were wearing. And of course Spencer would be a historical figure. Of course. Also, Jenna looked fantastic in the Lady Gaga outfit, and so did Alison (although she reminded me a bit of Ginger from Ginger Snaps with that wig, or was that just me?)
THINGS ARE AMPING UP! ALL THESE NEW CLIPS, EMILY BEING ALL BAMF, MIKE POSSIBLY GONNA BEAT UP EZRA (YAY!), AND WHAT IS WITH THE ORANGE JUMP SUITS? COMMUNITY SERVICE? JUVENILE HALL? DID THE GIRLS TEMPORARILY GO TO SOMEPLACE BEFORE THEY GET OFF THE HOOK? BECAUSE THAT IS ALL LIKE WHOA THERE. PLUS WITH THE TOBY AND SPENCER! BUT TOBY GETS HURT AND I HOPE SPOBY GETS BACK TOGETHER BECAUSE THEY ARE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER AND THEY NEED TO BE OKAY. AND WHO GOES MISSING? OH GOD SHOW PLEASE COME BACK TO ME.