Pretty Little Liars Recap: How ‘A’ Stole Christmas!

Truth rating: 10
Pretty Little Liars Christmas Recap

By Shari Weiss


Pretty Little Liars Christmas Recap

(ABC Family)

The first-ever “Pretty Little Liars” Christmas episode aired on Tuesday. Called “How The ‘A’ Stole Christmas,” the special picked up one month after Mona was killed at the end of August’s midseason finale. Get the full recap below!

The episode, the 13th of season five, began with Rosewood decked out for Christmas and the Liars strolling through town. Spencer said she had no desire to celebrate this year as she was out on bail for Bethany’s murder and didn’t think Santa would bring her a “stay out of jail free card.” Emily was in the holiday spirit, though, and suggested they all make a wish, which only reminded Hanna of Mona’s death, and her body still being missing.

A lawyer approached Hanna claiming he was representing Mona’s estate, and that he was instructed to give her this package 30 days after the teen’s death. Inside the envelope were blue prints and a note from Mona telling Hanna that if she was reading this, she was dead, but Hanna had to go on fighting. Emily thought this was a gift from Mona that could be used to clear Spencer’s name and take Alison, who was hosting a Christmas Ice Ball, down once and for all.

Alison, meanwhile, was still grieving her mother’s death, and started having nightmares about holiday seasons past. In her first imagining, Ali saw herself as a child playing the piano, only to be stunned when Mona’s ghost appeared alongside her. Young Ali was confused when she found two Christmas gift boxes with the exact same dresses inside, but Mrs. DiLaurentis told her her father would leave them if he found out there were two presents, and convinced her to lie to him. “And the monster was born,” said Mona, with Ali wondering if the other dress was for Bethany. Mona shot back, “It won’t be that easy, b*tch.”

Spencer fretted with Toby, who was still in a cast and wheelchair after the car crash that broke his leg, that this might be her last Christmas, but then surprised him by dressing as a sexy Santa girl. Hanna and Caleb were off volunteering with young kids at the church, and she was disturbed to see one girl bullying others, a la Ali. “Mean girls stay mean,” she told Caleb after attempting to set the children straight. Aria and Ezra were volunteering too, with senior citizens, and he surprised her with a stunning dress and set of earrings for the gala.

Emily had words with Sydney, who was still swearing Jenna wasn’t a bad person, and then shared a sweet mistletoe kiss with Paige, who had just had an angry conversation with her parents. Ali being Ali, she made over her two new minions, calling it a “Christmas miracle,” and then it was time for the party. Lucas was portraying Santa, and vowed to keep Ali distracted so Spencer and Hanna could go investigating. Ali, of course, made a grand entrance with her new entourage wearing masks, and Caleb told Hanna to be careful before she headed out with Spencer — passing someone in a hooded, white cloak.

Aria was shocked to see Ali behind a curtain “kissing Santa Claus,” but it wasn’t known who was in the red suit (and it wasn’t Lucas). And then who showed up in a Santa suit moments later? None other than Detective Holbrook, who Aria quickly assumed was Ali’s makeout partner. The two were obviously suspicious of each other, and Aria was unsettled when he revealed he knew her dress was a gift from Ezra. Ali wandered through a maze of festive lights and mirrors, where the person in the cloak was revealed — it was CeCe! “Merry Christmas, Ali,” she sweetly said to her old pal.

Sydney revealed herself to be one of the girls in the masks, and Jenna followed suit. Jenna told Emily that she and Sydney were playing on Ali’s team now and pretending to be her friend just so they could “survive,” especially since they shared Emily’s suspicions that Ali was responsible for Mona’s death. At the same time, CeCe was regaling Ali with tales of life in California, and Alison thanked her longtime friend for coming to her during a time in need, as it was her first Christmas after her mom’s murder. Ali confided that she had a dream about Mona, and CeCe told her that Mona couldn’t hurt her anymore, and suggested that her “ex-friends” were the ones to worry about, as they were still around and weren’t exactly coming by to say Merry Christmas.

Spencer and Hanna were creeped out as they snooped around Ali’s house in the dark, with Toby taking long-distance photos from Spencer’s home next door to keep watch, as a weather report on the TV forecasted a Christmas Eve blizzard. Hanna found a passport that gave Ali a new identity as Holly Varjak, which Spencer quickly realized was a reference to Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Spencer, meanwhile, discovered that Ali was using the personal ads in the newspaper to communicate with someone.

Emily wondered to Aria, Paige, Caleb and Ezra if Holbrook had been on Ali’s side for much longer than anyone had realized, and the guys went off to distract the officer as Emily and Aria set their sights on Ali and her hooded pal, whom they had no idea was CeCe. Of course, it was a trap, as when the girls caught up to them, it wasn’t Ali and CeCe at all, but just more minions in disguise. Toby, meanwhile, received a call from Caleb that they lost Ali, and Hanna and Spencer needed to get out of the house ASAP.

At it turned out, Spencer was actually hiding from someone in black clothes who was holding a knife, while a none-the-wiser Hanna was going through a trunk of Ali’s belongings, and found a tape recording of Ali screaming she would “kill you,” but it wasn’t revealed who she was talking to. Hanna also discovered that Ali and Bethany had been writing letters to each other, as Toby, hampered by his injury, became increasingly worried about his girlfriend and friend still in the home. Suddenly, Spencer heard Hanna scream, and found her knocked out and a window open, but didn’t notice someone hiding behind one of Ali’s creepy dolls.

A recovered Hanna reunited with everyone back at Spencer’s home, where the gang was staying put due to the storm. Spencer, while not hopeful, expressed optimism that the letter Hanna uncovered could help her legal case. Ghost Mona, meanwhile, was continuing to haunt Ali, who admitted she was scared and just wanted her nemesis to go away for good. The hallucination took Ali to the church where she found a coffin… with herself inside! Ali believed Mona was showing her future (one where she died without legs!), and she was then shocked to see her mom dressed as the Black Widow, warning her that “they’ll be coming for you soon.” “Am I going to hell?” asked Ali, before bursting into tears, and then waking up on Christmas morning (see photo above).

The girls were still at Spencer’s stranded due to the condition of the roads, and the guys tried cheering them up by dressing in Santa boxers, with Paige wearing matching shorts and a white tank. The show then went into a sweet montage of the couples spending Christmas together, but Paige dropped the bombshell that her parents want her to move to California because they don’t think Rosewood is safe anymore. Hanna was saddened to be celebrating without Mona, but went on to enjoy a Christmas dinner with everyone, as Ali watched longingly from outside.

Emily toasted, “To this family, may we always stay together.” The special meal was interrupted by a noise outside, after which everyone discovered a gorgeous Christmas tree had been erected. They were all in awe, until a message lit up on the garage saying, “Merry Christmas, B*tches – A.”

Wow! Now viewers will have to wait until the “PLL” midseason premiere on January 6 to find out what will happen next, though the promo indicates there will be some kind of funeral for Mona, a confrontation between Ali and Aria, and the return of Mrs. Grunwald. In the meantime, Gossip Cop wishes everyone hAppy holidAys!

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