Pretty Little Liars 221 Recap: Breaking The Code And My Heart

We’ve taken to referring to Monday nights as “The Night Of Lies,” as it’s on Monday that ABC Family airs its two Sara-Shepard-Novel-Inspired Deception-Focused television programs, Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game. The takeaway here is that Sara Shepard has serious trust issues.

Things Sara Shepard has strong feelings about:

1. Illegitimate children
2. Police corruption
3. Mistaken identities
4. Boys from the wrong side of the tracks
5. Girls from the right side of the tracks
6. Parents
7. Text-messaging

Anyhow, this week on Pretty Little Liars, everybody married bacon!

i want to shoot this commercial in the face

But first, all this other stuff happened!

yup, other stuff. other stuff like this

Mona’s vagina veered haplessly in Hanna’s ambivalent direction as Mona herself has now joined the “good thing I have unlimited texts on my Microsoft Kin Telephone” Zone following A’s sudden interest in Mona’s whereabouts and Mona’s torrid history of mall-level criminal behavior.

the only way to fix this outfit would be to take it off

By the episode’s end, Mona sacrifices her squeaky-clean criminal record to save Hanna’s Mom and Hanna from some police/shoplifting related activities/cover-up, but basically the takeaway here is that Mona wants to hug Hanna with her legs.

you know your boyfriend is such a lesbian that really leaping from caleb to me would be nbd

Despite Mona’s sticky fingers which certainly should’ve reaped a less visually offensive wardrobe, Mona ends up making her debut to the “Friends of A” Lunch Table dressed like Edina Monsoon, but everybody’s too self-obsessed to notice.

a crisp, darling, a crisp

Melissa Hastings returned to Rosewood, where she and her profoundly troubled and freakishly paranoid yet totally gorgeous sister sat solemnly on a bed, staring at the wall while exchanging dramatic snippets of dialogue regarding their father’s illegitimate son, Jason DiLaurentis.

Rosewood River Anthology, Act I

In order to keep the memory of his scandalous conception fresh in Mr. Spencer’s mind, Jason has kept his hair the same exact style since 1991, see:

very Leonardo DiCaprio 1996

Aria and Spencer meet up with an impish extra from the classic Tom Green film Road Trip to buy a post-it note for $2,000.

should've used that $2,000 to get the fuck out of town

Unfortch, when they hit up the address on the paper it’s not inhabited by their intended target of “Vivian Darkbloom” but by Boo Radley. Also, The Haunted House was once a law firm where Melissa Hastings interned. Speaking of Melissa’s complete sketchbaggery, she turns up on this week’s fresh web-only clip of The Incriminating Video, looking extra-wrathy.

i really like her dress in this video though, sidenote

This video inspired all the Liars to give blow job faces:

Oh my god a spot on the waitlist opened up! We're going to A-Camp to Meet A in real life!

So, Spencer hits up The Hospital After Dark Bar to talk murder with her sister but unfortunately, as much as we’d like to see the underager and the pregnant woman work it out over cocktails, Melissa bails on Spencer and FURTHERMORE flees the scene with Officer Douchebag, leaving Spencer alone with the British Doctor, who just-so-happens to be at the bar because this is a television show. Also, the bar is playing Belle & Sebastian.

i swear the ice cream truck just drove by and now it's gone

Spencer consequently gets totally smashed, talks about buttering bread with a steak knife and confesses that she’s so competitive that “I even have to win at yoga,” which is 67 kinds of adorable. In case you’re wondering, Competitive Yoga is an actual thing:

this could be spencer in the future

Also, alcohol transforms Spencer into a Wanton Sex Goddess.

c'mon, i'll even let you suck my toes this time

Ezra and Aria broke up, finally, and Aria cried so hard that her earrings turned into the waterfalls they’ve always dreamed of being.

these earrings are far too ambitious for this relationship

Then Mom changed her tune and volunteered to “listen” to Ezra and Aria explain their love over a piping hot cup of Lemon Zinger. So, ugh, Ezra will never go away, just like The Real L Word, the commercial about marrying Bacon, and the forks in my sink (I hate washing forks).

aria's shoulderpads are designed to kill birds

okay humbert humbert, spill.

Also, Garret spent the entire episode driving around in his car, staring at people.

On a scale of “1” to “blinding,” everybody’s hair this episode was essentially its very own sun, moon, and solar system. In fact, Emily was forced to wear a non-seasonal Whitney Mixter beanie all episode to cut down on the glare.

a) "What!?" b) "what..." c) "what?"

Anyhow, onto The Lesbian Parts!

The Lesbian Parts begin in a mysterious classroom where Emily’s calling Maya for the bajilionth time. See — somewhere between Maya terrifying Mrs. Fields with her rapid psychotic bisexuality disease, turning her bedroom into a fish-tank, killjoying Emily’s Swimmy Shark Party and getting caught with drugs again; Maya stole Emily’s heart and therefore, because Maya has ignored her since aforementioned Shark Party, Emily’s thick into the Psycho-Zone of Obsessive Phone Contact.

next time, i'll be singing "and i am telling you" on your voicemail, so prep your ears for that

It’s thrilling to see Em take initiative for once, as she’s traditionally so fond of tentativeness, but Maya’s a disappointing target.

Emily: “Why aren’t you calling me back? If silence is your way of breaking up with me, then I’m really starting to feel like it–” [BEEP]

Then, before I’m done screaming “BRING BACK PAIGE!”, guess who’s back? Paige, motherfuckers! Despite her apparently consistent involvement with The Rosewood Hammer-Head Sharks, Paige’s managed to remain off-screen all year, but today the camera swings her way and boy is she camera-ready.

p.s. i decided it'd be smarter to drown your girlfriend than to drown you

It seems Paige has given up attempted murder and off-road biking in favor of looking unbelievably hot. Her hair is all just-so-accidentally tousseled, she’s got this Maybe-She’s-Born-With-It makeup situation and she’s clutching an important binder/clipboard object and nothing is hotter than a girl with a binder/clipboard object.

Paige invites Emily on a trip around the block to sell ads for the Sharks program because otherwise Glee Club can’t go to Nationals.

i've been meaning to tell you, i've got this feeling that won't subside, i look at you and i fantasize

Emily: “I’m not really good at asking people for money.”
Paige: “Please, you’re the star of the team. Who could possibly turn you down?”

By that Paige means, “I wanna fuck you like an animal,” because girlfriend is rocking intense Sex-Eyes all episode. Seriously don’t look at Paige’s eyes unless you have a Hitachi Magic Wand handy.

hahahaha no your sex eyes didn't just make me wet, it's just residue from practice earlier

Anyhow, NEXT!

Pages: 1 2See entire article on one page

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3213 articles for us.


  1. Glad to see someone as ecstatic as I am about Paige’s return, it’s about time!
    Although I wish the last part of THAT scene hadn’t happened- I can’t even complain because we’ll probably get some more (really GIF’able, may I add) scenes out of it in upcoming eps, fingers crossed.

  2. TeamPaige! The girl was crazy at first but the Emily/Paige pairing really grew on me, most likely due to the amazing chemistry between Shay and Lindsey. Please keep Paige on longer this time around.

    Though, ease your jets there Paige. I do hope we get to see a real friendship develop between the girls, that may eventually (hopefully) lead to more. I’d rather Paige not just be a rebound, that would be chemistry wasted. The classroom scene, so much sexual tension.

  3. I have no idea why but I’m still not feeling Paige. I still not ready to give up on Emily and Maya.

    This is probably because I’m extremely attracted to Bianca Lawson.

  4. Oh my Lord thank god the “who’s at the door” came back !! I was expecting that and I’m glad they did !
    Also yay I’m all caught up on PLL so I can read the recaps again and laugh laugh laugh a lot ! :)
    And hmmm… We need Maya to stay. I almost died from so much cuteness. It made me want to lie in bed with my girl and kiss her and hold her hand and transform my bedroom into a fish tank. Or a unicorn glade. So hmmm… I don’t really know where they’re headed with this fight that shouldn’t have happened and all this weirdness but I don’t want her to be dead. I mean.. I waited over a whole season for her to come back. And she’s the prettiest and sweetest and also I think the more balanced girl Em has dated so far… I don’t even understand how she could have a hard time fitting in seeing how she seems balanced and comfortable in her own skin all the time. Strange.

  5. I can’t believe they still haven’t learned how to shut their damn blinds! They know everyone can watch them and even watch what they’re watching when they have the lights on and it’s dark outside? Right? Do they know?

  6. I always read these recaps because they’re funny, but I’ve never watched the show, so when you say something about someone’s outfit and then post a picture of several people, I try to guess which one you’re talking about. And I think I guess wrong most of the time, but then again who knows?!

    True story.

  7. Easiest joke ever, but Conservatives likely to support human-bacon marriage before same-sex marriage include Chris Christie, Newt Gringrich, Rush Limbaugh, Jim Sensenbrenner, etc., etc. (Seriously though, I don’t have a tv so I really appreciate being updated on the latest batshit fast food commercials without having to suffer through them five gazillion times myself.)

  8. I really don’t care who Emily is with at any point, so long as the seemingly never-ending parade of Hot Women For Emily to Date continues.

  9. I stared at “Semaraiforgothernamea” for the longest time thinking it said “semarai’vegotgonorrhea” then i realised that was probs what you were trying to do and i cursed my brain for being so slow.

    Great recap btw

  10. The recap had all my favorite screencaps of people’s faces. Especially that one of Spencer in the bar when she was drunk. And Who’s At the Door had me dying. I’m glad I’m not the only one that think Spencer can show up looking gay. Seeing a pic of all the Liars and being told one of them was a lesbian, I would have picked Spencer out of the line up.

    AND PAIGE! I’m glad she’s back. I think it’s amazing that Emily has all these options in high school.

    Glad someone watched the promo for next week in slow motion. I could never get it to stop on that image.

  11. You are hilarious!


    ” because girlfriend is rocking intense Sex-Eyes all episode. Seriously don’t look at Paige’s eyes unless you have a Hitachi Magic Wand handy.”


  12. “so how about another picnic?”

    BAHAHA. This entire thing was pure genius. I love how you are so unafraid to insert “Hitachi Magic Wand” and random inappropriate jokes in your recaps. Please keep doing these, I died laughing!!

  13. Riese, the “Secretary” reference…amazing. Although, if Emily:Maya is like James Spader:Maggie Gyllenhaal, would that make Paige that awkward Peter guy? :)

  14. My theory (and I haven’t read the books): this is actually a sad story of teen methamphetamine abuse. the girls are paranoid because they are spun out of their minds. there is no A, just worried texts from their loving families begging them to stop.

  15. I’m a little bit mad at you for making that joke about their blowjob faces because now every time I see that picture (and it keeps popping up), that’s what I picture.

    Also, the “who’s at the door” pics gave me a serious case of the giggles.


    I’ll try and leave some space here so you can avert your eyeballs. Please remove if it’s not appropriate.

    It’s from an interview with Bianca Lawson.

    “But as the episodes have progressed, you’re starting to see a crack. You’re starting to see that the things that went on there weren’t all happy songs by the campfire. Something traumatic happened to her at the camp, and she’s kind of experiencing some PTSD. What you saw in episode 220 was those fears getting triggered. She is terrified of being sent back.”

    Um, yeah. After using words like traumatic, PTSD, triggered and terrified, I’m a little afraid to find out what happened.

  17. God, I love Paige. Love love love her. So glad she is back. Although, I do agree that she needs to slow down a bit.

  18. Paige is just gross, I’m sorry. And I don’t mean appearance-wise(although I don’t find her attractive at all whatsoever). Her personality stinks something awful.

Comments are closed.