Pretty Little Liars exposed Ezra as a possible ‘A’ candidate the mid-season finale Tuesday night, “Now You See Me, Now You Don’t.” The episode also served as a potential Caleb (Tyler Blackburn) send-off, beginning in Rosewood and ending in the mythical Ravenswood, and the official start of World War ‘A.’

The episode began by wrapping up the Ashley (Laura Leighton) murder suspect storyline. Travis, the shy cutie who approached Hanna (Ashley Benson) at the hoe down dance, apparently picked Ashley out of a lineup as the woman he saw run away from the lake before he heard the gunshots that killed Detective Wilden (Bryce Johnson). He also provides the police with a new positive suspect ID: Cece Drake (Vanessa Ray). Ashley is set free and returns home in time to get all dolled up for a celebratory dinner with her preacher boyfriend.

Hanna is ecstatic, but, in true PLL fashion, it doesn’t last long. The girls receive a package from ‘A’ – it’s a tiny coffin, with a doll made to look like pre-‘A’ Mona (Janel Parrish) lying inside. Is ‘A’ planning on killing Mona? The coffin came with a warning – either they find Mona or she dies. Mona, it seems, has checked herself out of Radley and disappeared. Hanna and Caleb stakeout her house while the others have a safe night cuddling with their significant others. Paige (Lindsey Shaw) insisted Emily (Shay Mitchell) stay with her for the night to keep her safe, Spencer (Troian Bellisario) and Toby (Keegan Allen) make-up after their fight last week and cuddle on the couch while Aria (Lucy Hale) has a nice flirty casual hook-up with her ex, Ezra (Ian Harding). After spending a boring evening with Jake (Ryan Guzman), Aria realizes that she has nothing in common with him, and everything in common with Ezra. (It looks like Ezria will be on again when PLL returns for the second half of season 4.)

Caleb doesn’t understand why Hanna is so upset at ‘A’ threatening Mona – he still suspects her of being on the ‘A’ Team. The next morning, the girls receive a clue (and another threat), this time in a magic box. Instead of a doll, inside they find a saw with a message written on it. Someone will die tonight.

Spencer, the girls’ number one detective, puts the pieces together: it’s a magic box and ‘A’ must be leading them to a magic show. One Internet search later and the girls are on their way to a magic show in Ravenswood.

At the exceedingly creepy magic show, Aria is chosen by the mime magician to participate in the disappearing act. Spencer doesn’t see a saw, so she assures Aria that she will be fine in the box and Aria goes inside the magic box. Spencer, Emily and Hanna all watch nervously as Aria disappears in the magic box, and everyone is relieved when Aria re-appears unharmed. Alas, the girls were so busy staring at Aria, they forgot to look out for each other, and Emily has disappeared.

The girls get call Emily, who is trapped in a coffin with her phone. She hears an electrical saw, and she’s moving – she is in a sawmill. The girls run to get to her, and are desperately trying to open the coffin before Emily is cut in half when Red Coat appears. And then another Red Coat arrives just in time to turn off the saw, giving Hanna the opportunity to set Emily free. Spencer goes after one Red Coat and Aria after the other.

Aria fights with Red Coat (those ‘lessons’ with Jake really paid off) and, during the fight, Cece was uncovered as Red Coat (or, as one of them, at least). Cece loses her footing and falls – Aria tries to save her, but the sleeve of Cece’s red coat rips and Cece plummets down to her supposed death. Of course, by the time the girls gather together again, Cece’s body is gone – it would appear that she survived the fall and was able to get away. PLL fans will know that this isn’t the first time a potential ‘A’ suspect has appeared dead only to be thought alive later – Ian (Ryan Merriman) suffered a very similar fate before surfacing with a bullet in his head.

Spencer’s chase after Red Coat 2 was much more successful. She thinks Red Coat 2 actually was Alison (Sasha Pieterse) and that she led Spencer to ‘A’s lair. It’s an apartment in Ravenswood covered with pictures of Ali and timelines for all of the girls’ lives.

The girls investigate: what do these photos tell them about ‘A’? There’s a photo of Wren (Julian Morris) and Spencer, which makes Aria think he isn’t ‘A,’ but he could be working with her. Earlier in the show, the liars learned that Shana (Aeriél Miranda) was sending something to Wren in London, where he appears to be living with Melissa. If Melissa (Torrey DeVitto) was also forced to work with ‘A’ somehow, then Wren could easily have ended up entangled in the ‘A’ Team. The apartment also shows the girls how ‘A’ has been keeping track of their every move: a sophisticated computer system that shows that ‘A’ has hacked into the Rosewood police database and who knows what else. The girls also find a collection of nice, but generic, suits in the closet – is ‘A’ a guy?

Aria, Spencer and Emily continue to explore while Hanna calls Caleb and works on the computer. She can’t hack into it, and his abilities are limited remotely, so he gets on a bus to Ravenswood. Giving up on the computer, Hanna steals one of ‘A’s notebooks off the shelf and sticks it in her purse.

The girls see that, on one of the boards, a flyer has been posted for an old-fashioned costume party, and ‘A’ thinks that Ali will be there tonight. The girls rush out to the town square and are stopped by Ms. Grunwald. This time, instead of shutting Spencer down, Ms. Grunwald comes with a warning. She tells them that she has a gift, a sort of intuition, and was helping Ali try to figure out who it was that was after her. Ali had been dating an older guy, who was not Detective Wilden or Ian, and was buried alive on the night of her death. Ms. Grunwald claims that she felt that something horrible was happening to Ali and drove to her house the night of her disappearance, found her under the dirt in her backyard and saved her. She drove Ali to the hospital, but after she went in to get help she returned and found that Ali had run away. Ms. Grunwald seems sure that Ali is still alive and is in hiding from whoever it was that had been harassing her that last summer. And ‘A’ is using the girls to try and lure her out. By putting Aria, Spencer, Emily and Hanna on Ali’s trail, all ‘A’ has to do is let them lead him or her to Ali.

With that, Ms. Grunwald is gone to the party. Aria decides that they cannot leave now, and the girls enter in a costume shop in an effort to crash the Ravenswood party.

Meanwhile, Toby also found his way to Ravenswood by following Shana, who led him straight to Mona. The two are working together and Mona is hiding in Ravenswood.

The episode ended with ‘A,’ dressed in the usual black hoodie uniform, this time with a black baseball hat, in the newly discovered ‘A’ lair. It’s EZRA. Ezra is standing in the ‘A’ lair, and he’s not happy. He opens the closet door and slams it shut.

Pretty Little Liars will return for their Halloween special episode Tuesday, Oct 22 at 8 P.M. followed by the series premiere of the PLL spinoff Ravenswood at 9 P.M. on ABC Family.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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