Pretty Little Liars Season 3, (Halloween) Episode 13: ‘This Is a Dark Place’

Pretty Little LiarsIt’s been almost two months since we last saw the Liars, a break that I’ll be the first to say has not been enjoyable. My life has taken a turn for football and book reading (both important, but different), while m’gurls have been a little too busy on non PLL-related things for my liking. Lucy Hale (Aria) was on the September issue of Cosmopolitan talking about lady things, Ashley Benson (Hanna) is apparently dating a guy named James Franco, and every other girl on the show probably is sitting at home, hating the fact that Ashley Benson gets to date a guy named James Franco.

Thankfully, instead of making us wait until the official second half of the season (January 8), the show decided to throw us a bone by putting on a Halloween episode. The only three things I knew going into this episode:

Adam Lambert is making a cameo.
The Liars will be wearing costumes.
They will all undoubtedly look perfect in said costumes.

Let’s do this. These pent-up ABC Family emotions are about to explode.

Previous episode recap, in 140 characters:

— Rembert Browne (@rembert) October 24, 2012

We start out with hot but creepy (or creepy but hot, still unclear) Mona singing a devilish Halloween carol. She’s talking to someone, but it’s Mona, so she could be talking to herself. Mona on Halloween:

All the dressing up. Being other people. Tricks and treats. Tricks that turn into treats.

I love taking “tricks that turn into treats” out of context. It’s very fun. I suggest you try it.

Oh, and then she gives us this gem:

It’s better than Christmas. More makeup.

I might need to crowd-source this statement. I never knew makeup-loving girls hated Christmas. Anyway, we see that Mona is talking to a hooded character, to whom she then hands something:


Pills and ammo. Well, this should be a good episode.

Finally, after this transaction, we see our Liars. They’re dressed like Hocus Pocus understudies, presumedly because they’re saving the big guns for the Halloween party tonight.


They’re walking around, talking about how they’re going to surprise each other with their costumes, as well as some “Ghost Train” that screams makeout central, and then they stumble upon someone’s idea of Halloween yard decorations:


This seems rude. Three of the Liars are not happy with this, but Emily is mad. She storms over there, presumably to knock it over, and …


This jerk “Clifford Yeardly” jumped out of the coffin to scare Emily (and me). Not cool, Cliff. As they walked away, Spencer delivered the pretty/cool girl TKO:

You know, this is why no one will go out with you.

Clifford ran away laughing, but he heard that. And it hurt his feelings. This is how Clifford flirts. It’s not working. He’s still crying.

After this rude encounter, we see Spencer walking around her house, then suddenly startled by the sight of the (newly free) Garrett in her living room. He brought flowers for Spencer’s snitch mom, but also tells her that he wants to talk. Spencer, being ever tough as nails, just wants answers. Just as he’s about to start talking, Toby walks in.

Whatever the factorial of “awkward” is (“AWKWARD!” — A x W x K x W x A x R x D — I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore), that’s what this moment is right now. Toby, being the MAN/killer? that he is, tells Garrett to leave. He does, and then tells Spencer she’s not spending any alone time with Garrett. He’s not kidding.

Please don’t actually be A, Toby. I can’t handle this. How does Spencer take rugged Toby? Exactly how you’d expect:

You make it so hard to be a modern post-feminist when you get so alpha-male.

Preach. Anyway, they hug, Spencer gets all smiley and cuddly, and then:

Ugh. He’s definitely bad. This is not good.

Immediately after this, we see Hanna and Faux Rigs making out in a storage closet. I’m not mad at this, especially with the new leaf I’ve turned over that is #TeamFauxRiggins. They’re forced to keep their rekindled relationship on the low, because they don’t want to be a target of A, but neither of them is enjoying this current configuration. They flirt, Rigs turns out the lights, and then they continue making out next to bottles of Windex and toilet paper rolls.

Next up: Aria, who is looking at herself in the mirror (get it, girl). Ezra walks in, and I have this weird feeling he’s about to do something bad:

We have a problem with tonight. I can’t go.

Not smooth, old man. What your excuse this time?

I’ve got a meeting in Philadelphia.

Oh, an adult manner to take care of. So sad, Ezra can’t go on the spoooooky “GHOST TRAIN” with his high school girlfriend. FOR SHAME. Aria’s about to be so sad.

But then she wasn’t. Weird. She “understood.” After Ezra said he’d make it up to her, he noted that he had some free time right now, which is code for “What up, girl, yeah, let’s do this,” but then trick-or-treaters knocked on the door. Sorry I’m not sorry, Ezra. I sent them there. I refuse to let you win. Ever.

Right before the scene ended, however, Ezra looked off super creepily, so he’s probably making up the whole trip, because he and Toby are probably the Hall and Oates of -A and going to kill everyone tonight.

Thankfully, this scene ends quickly and it’s time for the GHOST TRAIN. Who’s the first Liar we see in costume?

Very cute. Forced to assume Hanna went as Michelle Williams. Next:

Aria as Josephine Baker? That was my first guess, but apparently she’s Daisy from The Great Gatsby. “The movie?” Hanna asks, which is a bold move on her part, showing her true allegiance to Baz Luhrmann over F. Scott Fitzgerald. You can’t take that stance back, Hanna. After Aria complained about Ezra’s no-show, they were greeted by the worst couple in high school history, Noel and Jenna:

I’m unsure of who they are supposed to be, but it looks like The Nutcracker and an equally drunk Jack Sparrow. Anyway, their entire existence isn’t unimportant, because of the couple that just walked through the high school auditorium fog machine-induced haze:



This is the most attractive couple I’ve ever seen. I’m talking Brangelina-fly. My only worry: If Toby has the accompanying Tommy gun for his outfit, it’s probably real and everyone’s going to die.

Speaking of dying, Noel threw some food up in the air, then caught it in his mouth. And then:

Which led to:

Which then became:

I think Noel’s about to die. This is a huge bummer for him, and for the GHOST TRAIN. I didn’t like him, but you never really want a high school kid to die before the annual Hallowee—


Nothing like a good choking scare to get the blood flowing, pre–GHOST TRAIN. This is sure to be a night none of us them ever forget.

Where’s Emily? I need all my Liars in one place — I get worried when one’s gone rogue.

Oh, hello there, Emily. How do you do? This is all I can bring myself to say right now. WHO NEEDS JAMES FRANCO, AM I RIGHT?

Just as the costume processional seemed over, a wild card walked through the door. Jason DeLaurentis. He’s dressed in a red jacket, not especially Halloweeny, unless he claims the “Beat It” video as his costume. Anyway, Spencer begins to talk toward him, but then they make the “shuttles are leaving” announcement, so she walks back to her man Toby and they walk off. But Jason’s coming. And you’ve got to think he means no good.

Before we see people make out, fall in love, and then die on the GHOST TRAIN, we take a visit to Casa Hanna’s mom. What’s going on there?

Oh nothing, just nurse Hanna’s mom and doctor Pastor Ted, giving out candy and flirting with each other in that “pastor meets ex-floosy” way. It’s all very cute.


They walk on, and, in classic high school fashion, everyone thinks it’s lame. That is, until the lights come on and ADAM LAMBERT IS PERFORMING.

Everyone’s excited and they all start dancing, which let me tell you is the worst thing I’ve ever seen.

It’s this horribly awkward bounce, which is eerily reminiscent to when the DJ would play “Hot in Herre” at bar mitzvahs and the parents found it necessary to flood the stage and boogie. It’s almost as if they’re dancing to a different song. Is Adam Lambert a green screen? Is there even music playing? I need answers, because this is just too much. Someone needs to send these girls a threatening text message ASAP so they can do what the do best: lie.

As the dancing regrettably continues, a figure makes its way through the crowd.

Unsure what a Jabbawockee with a hoodie is doing on the GHOST TRAIN, but I’m sure he/she is about to ruin this great time being had by all. (Thank you so much; I can’t take much more of this gyrating.)

The figure walked behind Hanna and did something to her, causing her to turn around and threaten him. While it looks like a classic case of high school butt-grabbing, I have a feeling this is Faux Riggins being fresh, even though he said he couldn’t come on the GHOST TRAIN. Either that, or it’s -A, who has just planted a bomb on the back of Hanna’s dress. There is no third option.

ADAM LAMBERT, WHY ARE YOU STILL SINGING? You better be A or something.

Finally, once his music video is done, we see Spencer walking through the train. She’s following Jason, who notes that she seems to be following him.

Spencer: I didn’t know you were back.

Jason: I’m back.


Jason says he was going to stop by, but saw that Spencer had company. Garrett Reynolds. Spencer sure is in cahoots with a ton of men. Between Jason, Garrett, and Toby, she’s really got a lock on the “could be innocent/could be killaz” market. It’s pretty impressive. Jason excuses himself after a standard vague conversation, and then my worst nightmare comes true:

Causing more of THIS:

It’s like watching a YouTube video where the audio is off by two seconds. Did they film this episode in one take? What is this? Also, Adam. If this is longer than a two-song set, I’m returning all of your albums. Yeah, I kept the receipts. JUST IN CASE.

What if A kills Adam Lambert? If that doesn’t happen, I’ll be forced to assume Adam Lambert is A. Again, there is no third option.

We take a quick detour from the GHOST TRAIN, again, to visit Hanna’s mom’s house. As the trick-or-treaters leave, mom walks into the kitchen and sees this:

It’s a little girl who is lost and cold and needs her mother. This is so bad. This girl is, hands-down and without a doubt, an evil spirit. Or possessed. Or NATE in disguise. I have a horrible feeling Hanna’s mom is going to help her out, but if she doesn’t physically punt this girl out of her house ASAP, it’s going to get very bad, very quickly.

Mom: Scary things can sometimes be fun.

Evil Satan Child: I don’t think so.


Taking a break from the demon seed, we see the creepy Jabbawockee out on the platform with Hanna. Hanna knees him in the balls. And then finds out that, yes, it is her man Riggins. (This is the first time I’ve ever accurately guessed something. Kudos to me.)

Before we go on to the next scene, I think it’s worth noting they just showed the GHOST TRAIN from the outside, and it’s going 700 miles per hour. It’s terrifying.

Anyway, back inside, Aria is drinking alone and is knocked out of her sad stupor by a new friend:


Is he about to be a pivotal character in this episode? I hope so. I really do. They’re talking, learning each other’s names, and then:

Adam: Listen, I have another set, so—


After he leaves, this creepy character presents itself:

More creepy:

The character has either granulated sugar, crack rocks, or some sort of poison in a ring, and is probably about to slip it into Aria’s drink.

And then it walks by and slips it into Aria’s drink. This will be bad. I wonder what it’ll make her do? Maybe it’s a party drug. Maybe she’ll get onstage with Adam and everyone will LOVE IT. Either that, or she’s dead in 20 minutes. The theme of the episode, in case you haven’t noticed: There is no third option.

In other GHOST TRAIN news: There are a ton of rooms on this thing to make out in, which Emily and Paige have found, and are following suit. After this very touching, touchy scene, we go to Spencer, who is (obviously) just wandering around by herself, humming. Well, kind of by herself:


Uh-oh. Not good. Not at all. My Liars are getting picked off left and right.

A few seconds later, we learn that it might not be so bad, because it’s Garrett. I guess this is his way of talking to her, by attacking her. But is it working?

Yes, it is. Garrett claims he’s going to tell Spencer everything he knows, then he’s leaving. Forever.

[cue flashback]

We see blind Jenna and Garrett in Ali’s backyard. Jenna and Ali have a confrontation and Garrett looks as if he’s going to attack Ali. Because Jenna is blind, she hears two noises and then Ali stopped speaking, so Jenna thinks Garrett killed Ali. But he didn’t. I’ll be honest, I don’t understand any of this. [Ed. note: You and me both, pal.]


Spencer: That’s it?

My feelings exactly. What? You attacked Spencer for that story? What?

Garrett: There’s more.

There better be.

[cue flashback]

Garrett went back to Ali’s backyard. And sees her talking to someone.


The point is, Ali was still alive at that point in the sketchy, vague timeline of when Ali actually got killed.

Spencer leaves Garrett to go find Aria, who (obviously) at this point has been abducted. They find her purse, though, which (obviously) rings the second they pick it up.


Not good.

The other three Liars huddle and have a rather circular conversation about Aria’s whereabouts, all coming back to the fact that it’s a moving train, so she’s probably still on it somewhere, unless someone threw her off, which is even too gangster for the Liars to comprehend.

Hanna starts wandering around, finds Riggins, and starts telling him the news. But he’s not responding. Instead, he’s getting very handsy. She likes it, but needs him to get serious. And then, in the middle of her rant, sees the actual “Riggins” (not Taylor Kitsch, “Caleb”), realizing someone is impersonating his outfit. WHO IS GRABBING HER?


Two-minute break from the GHOST TRAIN to go back to Hanna’s mom and the demon seed, who has disappeared, reappeared, and now disappeared. Great, Hanna’s mom. Way to console her, and then get your house haunted for the next 99 years. Way to go.

Back to Spencer, walking around by herself, who, like clockwork, gets spotted by the evil jester that drugged Aria. This jester means business.

Yes, that’s Spencer, hanging over the edge of the GHOST TRAIN, getting choked out by a strong devil jester. Not ideal.

Spencer’s about to die, but then Paige comes out of nowhere and saves her life. Spencer’s shook up. So is Paige. Immediately after this, we go to Aria, still trapped in a box. She gets the duct tape off her mouth, and then looks over.


Next thing we know, the box that Aria is in is being transported somewhere. The Liars are frantically looking for her, leading them to a dead end, but then Emily finds Aria’s necklace. They’re close?

Aria is trying to free her taped-together hands in the box, and finally does, just as you hear someone say “push, dammit.” Are they about to push her off the train? Wow, this is, in fact, more gangster than I thought.

Aria, screaming for her life (she’s about to legit die), finds a screwdriver in the box (flat head), and through one of the cracks in the wood stabs whomever is pushing her to her young death. It works, and they leave, but the deed is almost done. She’s about a few seconds away from the end of her run (poor Ezra).

But then:


Her girls find her, pull the box back to safety, look at Garrett’s super-dead body, and then hold each other the way only best friends can. That was one of the closer calls.


Hanna’s mom and the pastor discuss ghost girl, and then the GHOST TRAIN makes an abrupt stop, seeing as that there was a murder and an assassination attempt. (Yes, Aria is that important to me.) The Liars try to connect the dots with the murders, think they’re getting somewhere, and then this dude Ezra walks through the door.


Apparently all the Liars’ men love to surprise their ladies, because his plan was to surprise Aria at the end of the line. But then he heard someone got hurt and needed to find out what was up.

Ezra: I drove beside the tracks until I found you.

Interesting, Ezra. I don’t believe that for a second, seeing as that the GHOST TRAIN was going 780 miles per hour. Anyway, just as they started getting all lovey, Noel and eyepatch Jenna walk over, super sassy.

And then Noel calls the girls “bitches.” And then Toby decides that’s his cue to regulate.

They start fighting (a lot of missed punches going on), and then they knock over the extremely large ice bucket, responsible for cooling all the drinks. That and, you know, HOLDING A BODY BAG.

Everyone’s startled.

We leave this episode with a picture of the maple glaze mask next to Mona’s bed in the institution, and this final image, which we’re left to mull over until January 8.

A hand sticking out of the ground. Someone got buried alive. BUT WHO?

SEE YOU IN 2013.

Filed Under: ABC Family, Lies, Pretty Little Liars, Recaps, Secrets, TV

Rembert Browne is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ rembert