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

Later that day/week/afternoon/year, Emily and Paige, giddy with delight over their ability to finagle Betty and Eddie’s Pizza into springing for a $50 ad, return from their Walkathon to stand around in an empty classroom and talk to each other.

you a fine motherfucker when you back that ass up

Paige, whose eyeballs remain so interested in undressing Emily that I’m surprised they don’t literally leap out of her head into Emily’s vagina, has news:

Paige: “I came out to my parents.”
Emily: “You did? How did they take it?”
Paige: “They freaked out, a little. Some tears, some screaming but nothing like I thought it would be.”
Emily: “Wow, That’s so great, I mean…not the screaming part, but, GREAT.”

Emily’s distracted, though, ’cause of Maya, and Paige knows it ’cause she’s obsessed with Emily, but wishes it wasn’t so.

so how about another picnic?

And you know what? Paige makes sense. Maybe she didn’t make sense before, but maybe she always has, and maybe she does right now. She’s not wild and unpredictable like Maya or mysteriously wise like Semaraiforgothernamea, she’s just another girl like Emily who is pretty, and likes to swim, and is gay, and can blend in just fine with the other kids but has always felt slightly apart. Paige wouldn’t thrill Emily, but I think she could make her happy. She’s transformed from the alluringly psychotic love interest into the potential “safe choice.”

Paige: “I have you to thank for it.”
Emily: “Me? What did I do?”
Paige: “You handled coming out so well, just made it seem possible for me to do it too.”
Emily: “I don’t know about that.”
Paige: “I do. I watched you.”
Emily: “Thanks… I’m glad you were able to.”
Paige: “I just… wish I’d done it sooner.”

…so that we could be getting gay-married in New York this spring.”

is thinking about synchronized swimsex

Em gets a call– it’s Hanna with an SOS. Paige is like, “is that Maya?” and Emily is like, “No,” and then that’s that.


After some other stuff happens we arrive at one of Rosewood’s many fine dining experiences, where Emily’s grabbing takeout but first spots Maya across the room. So Em darts over, chock-full of psycho-lesbian abandon, only to discover it’s not actually Maya, which means there’s more than two black people in Rosewood, which clearly totally throws Emily off her game.

Em dashes from the diner, fueled by renewed sexual frustration, and she smashes right into Paige, who’s either been stalking Emily or also enjoys eating dinner (it’s wide-open, really).

oh hey i had no idea when i parked next to you in the parking lot that i'd run into you on the wheelchair ramp

Once again Paige is newly compassionate and impeccably styled. Meanwhile, Emily’s got tears in her eyes and Paige urges Emily to dish regarding her obvious dishevelment and Emily does, because Emily is needy and sad and isn’t good at talking to her friends about it, apparently.

cry, babe

Emily: “Maya and I got into a fight the other night at the party, and I haven’t talked to her since. I don’t know if she’s breaking up with me or… if she wants to work it out. I don’t know anything cause she won’t call me back.”
Paige: “Don’t you see, Em? this is who she is? When things get tough, she bails. I know you really care about her, but you really need someone you can count on.”

For starters, Paige is totally right, but for seconders, Paige tried to drown Emily in a pool. But for thirds, it wasn’t ever really Paige who left Emily — it was Emily who dumped Paige’s closeted ass in favor of that blonde girl we’ve already forgotten about. So it’s Paige who has to re-prove herself, but Emily might not even care anymore.

Then Paige goes for the makeout…

gimme some tongue, fields

…and Emily gives her the fakeout and it’s all very sad and annoying and weird and obviously it’s ’cause Emily is still hung up on Maya, who A has probably axe-murdered by now.

just because i wanna have sex with you doesn't mean i'm gonna kiss you

Shocked and appalled, Emily escapes into the night.

We return to Emily’s Lesbian Parts in the Seasonless Courtyard, where Emily is leaving Maya another voice mail: “Hey I just want you to know that I’m not angry,  I’m just confused and I miss you like crazy. Please call me back. I love you, Maya.”

One scoop of creamed potatoes. A slice of butter. Four peas. And as much ice cream as you'd like to eat.

I mean — GAH! What, exactly, would push Emily over the edge with Maya, then? I mean, I liked Maya, and she’s smokin’ hot and all that but she’s totally shaping up to be one of those girlfriends you can only see privately ’cause nobody else in your life likes her anymore, which is a recipe for disaster, isolation, and Stockholm Syndrome that’ll lead to a fight that’ll lead to you throwing your cell phone at a brick wall, which, I guess, might be a good thing at this point for these weirdos. They should all throw their cell-phones at brick walls.

But of course, I say all this assuming that Maya has indeed bailed, when that might not be the case.   She’s probably just smoking drugs with Jason DiLaurentis, her best friend from True North.

I mean, anyhow, let’s fast-forward to Emily’s last scene when she gets a mysterious knock at the door!

Who’s at the door?

Is it Spencer, looking especially dykey and prepared to switch orientations?

Is it Toby, coming over to stop Spencer from switching orientations and breathe like Darth Vader?

Hmm… well, maybe it’s Jenna, stopping by to say something ominous and weird?

No? Oh, I know! It’s a Shark!

Not a shark? Huh. Well, then it must be that guy who married bacon, right?


hey uh, we've gotten some complaints about a woman dressed in all-black creeping around your yard at all hours?

Anyhow, he wants to talk to Emily about Maya St.Germain. If you want to know why, you should watch next week’s trailer in slow-motion:

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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 3151 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.

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