As the girls walked through downtown Rosewood, a lawyer approached Hanna on the streets with an envelope Mona had left for her. When Hanna opened it, the girls discovered maps of Alison's hiding spots in the DiLaurentis home. They hoped that with the help of the maps, they could prove that Spencer didn't kill Bethany. That little bit of hope seemed to cheer the girls up, enough that Aria spontaneously made a donation to a Santa walking by. He handed her a snowglobe in exchange for the nice gesture, which turned out to have a message for the Liars from A...
Across town, Alison woke up from a dream to see her dead mother walk through the door. She asked Alison to "pay attention. She has a lot to show you..." Her mother was referring to Mona, who appeared to Alison as a mix of the ghosts from Dicken's Christmas Carol. Ghost Mona began with a scene from Alison's past. As a little girl, Ali was practicing the piano, and happened upon two hidden Christmas presents. She opened them to see what was inside, and was confused to see two identical dresses. Mrs. DiLaurentis walked in and told Alison that she must not tell her father what she found, or he would leave both of them. Mrs. DiLaurentis told Ali the version of the story she would tell her father, and had Alison repeat it back to her a few times. Present-day Alison has no recollection of the events.
Spencer and the other Liars came up with a plan to get them inside Alison's house in order to check the hiding places marked on Mona's maps. During the DiLaurentis Ice Ball, Spencer and Hanna would sneak into Ali's house. Toby would watch the girls from the window in Spencer's room a la Rear Window. Aria and Emily would keep an eye on Alison and her minions at the dance.
Hanna and Caleb dressed as elves and volunteered to hand out gifts. While talking to a young deaf girl, Hanna overheard another young girl and her friends laughing at the girl. Reminded of how her friends folded when it came to Alison's bullying, Hanna called out the mean mini-Alison and told her friends that they didn't have to listen to her. Mini Alison stormed out of the room, while the other girls sat back down and continued coloring together. Hanna then told Caleb that she doesn't think that Alison has changed at all, and that mean girls stay mean.
In a nursing home somewhere in Rosewood, Emily, Paige, Sydney, Jenna, Aria, and Lucas sang carols for the elderly. Sydney tried to talk to Emily in another attempt to apologize, but Emily shut her down, clearly still angry at her betrayal. Paige argued over the phone with her parents, who want her to move to California after Christmas.
Back across town at Chez DiLaurentis, Alison gave Cindy and Mindy a makeover.
The night of the Ice Ball arrived and the Liars made their appearance, waiting until Alison and her new crew showed up. Flanked by Sydney, Jenna, Cindy, and Mindy, (all wearing masks) Alison made her grand entrance. The Liars wondered who the other girls were, but quickly put their plan into action.
At the Ball, Aria followed Alison and saw her kissing Santa Claus. She told Emily, who went off to follow two of Ali's minions, while Aria discovered that Detective Holbrook was dressed as Santa, and knew that Ezra had bought her the dress and earrings she was wearing. (Creepy!)
When Alison stepped away for some fresh air, a figure in a white hood followed her. It turned out to be CeCe, who came back to Rosewood to wish Alison a Merry Christmas, and give her a customized perfume that she had spent all day making in a Parisian Boutique. CeCe told Alison that she didn't need to be afraid of Mona anymore, and that the Liars, her "ex-friends" were the ones to watch out for.
Emily followed a masked minion to a secluded area of the ball. She brought her to Jenna, and revealed herself to be Sydney. Both girls were still afraid of Alison, but claimed that being her friend was the safest place to be. Jenna claimed that it had been a mistake to turn down Ali's offer of friendship when she had first arrived in Rosewood. The girls confess that they both though Alison killed Mona, but couldn't prove it.
Later, Emily, Ezra, Aria, and Caleb watch Alison and a hooded figure leave, and Holbrook followed. They suspect that Holbrook and Alison have been a thing for a while. They wonder if Holbrook helped CeCe escape, and if he's in on the scheme to frame Spencer for Bethany's murder. When Ali and White Hood leave the room, Emily and Aria follow them. When Paige and Lucas corner Ali and White Hood from the other direction, Ali and White Hood turn around to reveal that they are actually Cindy and Mindy, wearing Alison masks and blonde wigs.
Over at Alison's house, Hanna and Spencer begin searching for the hiding spots on Mona's maps. Hanna found a fake passport in the bottom of a birdcage in Alison's bedroom. Spencer found an old newspaper with personal ads showing that Alison had been communicating with someone other than Mona.
After losing track of Alison, Caleb called Toby to have him warn Hanna and Spencer. Toby turned back to the windows of the DiLaurentis house to see A/Black Hoodie with a butcher knife, stalking through the living room. Inside Ali's home, Spencer hid from A, but was unable to warn Hanna.
Upstairs in the DiLaurentis attic, Hanna found a box of Ali's old letters, and found that she had been writing to Bethany Young. The letter claimed that Alison knew Bethany, and invited her to visit during Labor Day Weekend. Hanna heard a noise and went down the stairs, only to be knocked out by A. Spencer heard her scream and ran upstairs to find Hanna on the floor and the attic window open. The camera panned over to a wall of masks, where it looked like someone had just settled into a hiding spot.
Back at Casa De Hastings, the group gathered to discuss the letter Hanna found. Spencer seemed hopeful, given that according to the letter, Alison invited Bethany to Rosewood.
At Chez DiLaurentis, Mona arrived to show Alison a glimpse of her future. It includes Alison in a coffin. Ali asked Mona when, to which Mona asked, "Does it matter?" Alison told Ghost Mona that it mattered to her, and Mona chided her, claiming she was the only one. She also made an odd remark about how it was a shame that they never managed to find Alison's legs. Jessica DiLaurentis appeared in the church, dressed as the black widow. When Alison asked if she was going to hell, Mrs. D. told her that "they are coming for her." Alison told Ghost Mona that she was scared, and awoke visibly shaken.
Thanks to the snowstorm, the Liars spent the Holiday at Spencer's house with all of their significant others. Ezra prepared a huge Holiday dinner for the group. Outside, Alison walked over and saw the happy gathering, clearly sad to have been left out.
Back inside Chez Hastings, the Liars hear something on the roof, and Hanna excitedly yells "Santa!" The group laughs, but they all head outside to see what made the noise. They see a decorated Christmas tree and smile, until the words "Merry Christmas Bitches -A" light up on the garage.
I love how the beginning credits are always edited just a little for the special PLL episodes. I was really glad to see that this episode was no different!
Can we just talk for a minute about how Mona had a will with instructions all ready to go, just in case? While that's incredibly sad, it's also a little suspicious. Thankfully, there's a theory for that! I think that Mona was legitimately frightened of Alison, and I'm also thinking that Alison was legitimately frightened of Mona. There's a reason Ali offered the olive branch in Miss Me x 100. She did the same thing to Jenna when she first came to town. Girl can spot a threat from a mile away!
But... I'm still having trouble believing that Alison is A. I just don't see it. Could she have been part of the A-Team at some point? Possibly. Could she have been blackmailed into doing some of A's dirty work? Who hasn't in Rosewood? Alison's definitely shady, don't get me wrong, but I don't think it's shady of the A variety. When you try to think it through logically, it just doesn't make sense for her to be A.
So disappointed in Cindy and Mindy. Had to throw it out there. Honestly, kind of disappointed in Jenna and Sydney too. I think what they're doing makes sense to them, but I think it's going to burn them in the end.
Then there's CeCe Drake. She pops up at the weirdest times. I'm pretty sure she could've sent a card or a well-meaning gift from Paris. She didn't have to come back and give Alison something in person. Not only did she do that, at what looks like a really big risk to her safety, she reminds her bestie that her "ex-friends" are not to be trusted. I can't rule out that CeCe might have a twin, and that twin might very well be/have been Bethany Young. Or, CeCe is actually dead and Bethany Young took CeCe's place.
If A is so anti-Liar, why didn't he/she kill Hanna in the attic? Why just knock her out? And did that assailant actually escape out the window or hide with all the masks like we saw. And if they did escape out the window... did the person hiding in the masks see who hit Hanna?
Aaaaand because they weren't creepy enough the first time around...
The eyes in that mask don't look sparkly to me, and we all know that
So, we know that at the moment, Spence is going down for Bethany's murder. Total frame job. Then there's also the fact that coming up, Ali spends some time in an orange jumpsuit, and Hanna thinks that Alison is trying to frame her for Mona's murder. So... is A trying to frame every single one of the Liars and have them end up incarcerated? That was endgame in the books when Alison was A. That could be the ultimate goal of A in the series too. A has definitely made the girls do an awful lot of his/her bidding throughout the series. Could it be that everything they've done is all part of a vastly larger plan to frame them all for something they didn't do and see them locked up for life?
And while we're on the subject of A... I feel like there's so much more that we really don't know when it comes to a motive. There's just no way. Supposedly, we're going to feel sympathy for A once the truth is all revealed. I don't think that we've met anyone yet who the Liars have collectively wronged that would equal the things that A has done. Maybe I'm wrong in that frame of thinking? When I think of A like this, I always come back to Jenna. She's really the only character with legit motivation for being A.
All in all, I liked the Christmas episode a lot. It was great to have a festive holiday version of PLL, but I feel like the show is definitely better suited for Halloween specials. Don't get me wrong, we definitely got a couple of little tidbits of information, but nothing that really pushed the story forward. That will only happen when we return to Rosewood for 5x14... Through a Glass, Darkly. According to previews, three whole months have passed, so hopefully the gang will have some new leads and more information, like perhaps a picture of Bethany Young?!? (I mean, seriously! Just google her Spence!!!)