by Lauren Mandel
If you thought you weren’t ready for Halloween, chances are last night’s line-up on ABC Family most definitely put you in the mood! And by that we mean, you’re literally shaking in your seat, checking under your bed for ghosts and trying to convince yourself that you are safe from all supernatural harm!
Night four of the “13 Nights of Halloween” delivered surprises, mystery, cliffhangers and more with the annual “Pretty Little Liars” Halloween special and premiere of “Ravenswood.”
The night began with one of the most game-changing episodes in “Pretty Little Liars” history. So, let’s get right to it: Alison DiLaurentis is alive!
“Grave New World” picked up right where we left off in the summer finale, with Aria, Spencer, Emily and Hanna ready to crash the Ravenswood Founders' Day Celebration. Their goal: to find Ali before A gets to her. But, as Emily voices, not all of the girls are ready to see Alison alive again.
At the party, which unsurprisingly takes place in an extremely creepy cemetery, the girls spot a man dressed in the same retro Army uniform spotted in A’s lair. While they think this might finally be the infamous “board shorts,” they’re proven wrong when Aria stumbles upon a costumed bride, who claims the boy was not the one who pushed her into the grave hole. As the girls search for their next suspect, they catch a glimpse of Ali running in her red coat!
Unable to chase her down, they find themselves trapped in a mysterious maze of tunnels below a Ravenswood mansion. And here begins the 20 questions on whether there are supernatural forces haunting the town of Ravenswood. Suddenly, a storm of wind encompasses the tunnel, shutting the power on and off only to reveal a statue in the place of a now missing Hanna!
Meanwhile, Caleb finds himself en route to Ravenswood sitting on a bus next to newcomer Miranda, played by “Make It or Break It” star Nicole Gale Anderson. Miranda explains to Caleb that she is an orphan in search of her Uncle who coincidentally (or not!) lives in the mansion our pretty little liars have found themselves trapped in!
Hanna, alone and lost with A on her trail, stumbles into a phone booth in the next room attempting to call for help. But, before she can complete her call, someone shuts the phone booth door, locking her in.
At this point, Caleb and Miranda are off the bus and entering the Ravenswood graveyard—Caleb in search of Hanna and Miranda for her uncle. By the time Miranda makes it to the mansion, Aria, Spencer and Emily have found their way to the first floor when they hear, “my friends will find out. They know I’m here.” Immediately recognizing Ali’s voice, Spencer takes off alone, leaving Aria and Emily alone to be nearly decapitated by a window.
Hanna, on the other hand, gets a startling surprise when Ali’s face is pressed up against the phone booth window, followed by A’s, followed by Miranda’s, who ultimately unlocks the booth and introduces herself. The two find themselves in a room full of caskets, which brings back memories for Miranda, who sees herself as a little girl standing with her uncle in between her parent’s caskets—a memory she tried to erase.
Spencer winds up alone in the green house in search of Ali. She is greeted by A, whom she quickly attacks with a pair of extremely large hedge trimmers. With A down, Spencer leans in to remove his mask—just as he wakes up and strikes Spencer across the face. A moment too late, Emily and Aria find Spencer just as Mrs. Grunwald enters the room repeating her favorite phrase: “You shouldn’t be here.” But that’s not the only thing she had to share...
“One of you has been touched by the one Alison fears the most,” Grunwald explains. Well, by deductive reasoning—Ezra being A, and Ezra dating Aria—it’s pretty clear to whom she is referring. In addition, Grunwald reveals that she is the caretaker of the mansion, which belongs to Miranda’s uncle, Mr. Collins of Hinchley, Trumbull & Collins: Funeral Directors.
As Hanna and Miranda finally reunite with Caleb in the cemetery, Miranda comes across a headstone with her name on it. Even creepier, there is a picture on the stone that perfectly resembles her.
With the whole crew ready to leave town, Spencer discovers she has a flat tire. Lucky (or unluckily) enough, Ezra pulls up behind them claiming he’d been worried sick about Aria (quick change out of that costume, huh?) and offers the gang a ride back to Rosewood. Invited, Miranda turns down the offer to go with. Instead, Hanna and Caleb share what is likely to be their last on-air screen kiss for a little while, as she tells him that he needs to stay and help Miranda find her uncle, as well as the answers he is looking for.
Back in Rosewood, the girls catch sight of Alison running through the yard. They follow her to the garage where she turns around to face them. Finally, Alison DiLaurentis is revealed alive! In the remaining moments she tells her friends that she cannot come home without their help. Her last words before disappearing are a reminder to Hanna to remember what Ali told her in the hospital.
That next moment, Ezra returns, calling for Aria, to reveal her cell phone in the palm of his hand, claiming that she forgot it in the car. The episode ends in complete mystery with regards to where Alison went! Did Ezra see her? Was that why he came back? When will the girls realize he is A?
Back in Ravenswood, Miranda and Caleb come across another disturbing headstone. This time it’s “Caleb Rivers” written on the front with an old fashion picture of a man identical to Caleb.
In the opening scene of “Ravenswood,” we pick up in the cemetery with Miranda and Caleb the morning after. Still shocked by what they’ve seen, Miranda musters up the courage to return to her uncle’s house for some answers. Unfortunately, Mr. Collins isn’t exactly thrilled by the reappearance of his niece and tells her that she should leave town; however, he does seem intrigued to learn Caleb’s last name—Rivers.
Outside Mr. Collins' mansion, Miranda and Caleb spot siblings Luke and Olivia arguing over their mom, who is struggling to clean the spray-painted words “black widow” off a headstone. Word around town (and even according to Luke) is that their mother killed their dad—news that made the front page of the Ravenswood Gazette, a newspaper owned by Luke's girlfriend Remy’s father, who warns Remy that she needs to stop seeing her BF for good.
Caleb meets Remy as he begins his investigation for an obituary for a “Caleb Rivers," as the headstone has now magically disappeared. When Remy's father refuses to give Caleb any information, he and Miranda follow Remy later that night into the “morgue,” where they keep all of the old Gazette editions. With her own questions about the mysterious Flood of 1896, she agrees to help them discover why their headstones moved.
Now, if you’ve ever been concerned that “Pretty Little Liars” was too scary to watch alone, you’re definitely going to want to pre-plan your viewing habits for “Ravenswood.” This first episode was filled with suspenseful music, creepy ghost appearances and the most traumatizing—a wet woman with long black hair resembling that of Samara from “The Ring.”
Other creepy crawlers: Mr. Collins’ body bag, strange noises coming from Miranda’s bedroom and the constant reappearance of a body standing over Miranda as she reads the letter Mr. Collins gave her from her parents. But, in the most terrifying moment of all, Caleb strips down for some alone time in the tub (mhm!) only to find himself nearly suffocated to death by the falling shower curtain.
Back in the center of town, Olivia’s best friend Tess (or is she?) and Olivia’s boyfriend Dylan are convincing Olivia that she should attend the Homecoming Parade, however, in a socially mortifying moment, someone sprints by their car during the celebration and throws a can of red paint all over Olivia’s dress. Completely crushed, Olivia runs out of the car and into the arms of her brother Luke, who finally shows up to support his sister.
In search of answers, Caleb, Miranda and Remy come across an article from an old issue of the Gazette that shows the hundred-year-old Miranda and Caleb having died on the same day with three other students. But, before they can dig any further, a mysterious figure is seen running through the morgue. Back in Remy’s car, she explains that there is evidence that every time a soldier comes home from war alone with doubts as to why they were the only one to survive, five teenagers die. With two previous happenings and the return of Remy’s mom from Afghanistan, it would only be a matter of time before the next indecent.
Remy spots Luke and Olivia walking home and offers them a ride, but just when it seems that everything is going to be okay, Miranda screams as she recognizes the wet woman standing in the middle of the road. The car swerves avoiding the woman and goes straight off the bridge into the water with all five teenagers stuck in the car.
What did you think of the premiere of "Ravenswood"? How will the five of them survive this crash? What is Mr. Collins hiding? Will you tune in for more?