Pretty Little Liars Season 4, Episode 16 Sneak Peek: Are the Liars Too Late? (VIDEO)
Credit: Ron Tom/ABC Family    

Pretty Little Liars

Pretty Little Liars Season 4, Episode 16 Sneak Peek: Are the Liars Too Late? (VIDEO)

Season 4B of Pretty Little Liars has flipped the formula when it comes to “A” game dynamic. Instead of the traditional cat-and-mouse game we have grown used to in previous seasons, both “A” and the Liars are in a race to find Alison before the other. And, in this sneak peek for next week’s episode (Season 4, Episode 16: “Close Encounters”), it seems like “A” may have caught the mouse first.

The 45-second clip shows the Liars cautiously entering a darkened room we presume is part of the Busy Bee Inn we heard so much about last episode. The room looks recently lived-in, and recently torn up.

“It looks like there was some kind of a struggle,” notes Spencer, field hockey stick in hand (we love her choice of a weapon) as she peers through a broken window.

Aria picks up a bloody shirt. “I could definitely see Ali wearing this,” she tells the others. Yikes! We really hoped this scene was staged for some reason because that is kind of a lot of blood.

“If Ali was here, where did she go?” asks Hanna, giving voice to the question all of the Liars must be thinking. They were the ones who gave “A” the coordinates of this particular hideaway, and now there friend is gone.

“Maybe she fought ‘A’” off and got away,” Emily suggests. Aw, Em! Always the optimist. Spencer, on the other hand, seems to expect the worst.

“Yeah, or he took her somewhere else,” Spence says, warily. Might we suggest checking the basement in Ezra’s lair in the woods?

Aria admits that Ali’s fate could be even “worse,” just as the door to the room creaks creepily shut and the Liars notice the message “A” has left scrawled on it: “You’re too late.”

Uh oh! Did “A” really take Ali? We’re leaning towards no. Not only would that be a development too major for a non-finale episode, but we know from the promo that Emily and Alison will meet up at some point in this episode. Given that the sneak peeks are usually from the first 15 minutes of an ep, we think the rendezvous happens after this scene. Unless Ezra’s letting Alison out for social engagements, we’re guessing the cat is still looking for the mouse. Then again, that doesn’t mean Ezra can’t snatch Ali at her meetup with Em! We have to admit, finale episode or not, the stakes seems dangerously high in this episode.

Do you think Ezra has nabbed Alison? If not, how did she escape and where did she go? Share your theories in the comments below!

Catch the next episode of Pretty Little Liars on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC Family.

Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!