Pretty Little Liars 419 Recap: Shadow Play, or One With Paige Finally


Mona + Ezra. Ezrana. Mozra. Monezra. I think I like Mozra, it sounds like Mothra, and at this point they look like they’re going to cause a lot of damage, so it works.

We glide on over to Ezra and Mona drinking together on a balcony. Hanna, P.I., sees them. “Men,” she says disgustedly.


Just spyin’ on some lesbians, nbd.

But wait, we’re back at the House of Silky Nightgowns, and we’re in a play now? AND OH MY GOSH IT’S PAIGE


You guys all got sexy hair and I got these curl things? This is fucked up.

Let’s talk about how everyone looks fucking flawless in this 1940s filter and how they made Paige so strange looking in her clothes! Is she in a housecoat?! Compared to Emily’s super gorgeous dress, I’m not feeling this Paige makeover.


Emily and Paige are talking about Shana. It’s going well.


Oh gosh, they’re secret lesbians! So it must really be 1940s, correct? Emily tries to take Paige’s hand and the guy at the counter glares at them. Paige is really cute and lovey in this scene. I have missed her. Emily asks if she’ll see Paige later, and Paige says she doesn’t know.


Are they setting us up to have Paige and Emily break up?



Mona struts down the street in a fur coat and Hanna is tailing her. High heels make tailing someone so obvious. Mona disappears around a corner, then shows up in a billion mirrors to heighten the terror I’m feeling right now. Mona calls Spencer and tells her there’s a blonde package waiting for her in apartment 3B. Ezra’s place.


Please examine and appreciate Hanna’s fierceness in the background of this shot.

Spencer gets there to find Hanna chillin’ on the couch, looking entirely too casual for being held for ransom? For a second, I thought maybe Hanna was in on it, but nope, she’s just awesomely indignant about hanging with Ezra and Mona and can you blame her?

Spencer comes out with it and asks Ezra if he and Aria are back together. He basically dares her to tell Aria about him as A, asking her why she hasn’t told yet.


Real talk: I just googled “Double the trouble” to see if it was a Mary-Kate and Ashley movie and I found this cowboy erotica book of the same name instead, so I’m just going to leave it right here. You’re welcome.

“I’ll tell you why not. It’s because you’re not sure. You’re not sure about anything. You’re in over your head and you know it.”

Finally someone can see that Spencer is cracking a little. Too bad that person is a stalker whackjob.


Hanna steals a carrot from Mona’s glass. Why do I feel like the carrot is poisoned. THE CARROT IS POISONED DON’T EAT IT, HANNA. I watch Once Upon A Time, I know what’s up with poisoned produce. They leave, which seems way too easy for someone who was just ransomed/blackmailed? Why did they even call Spence over if she could just walk out?


Ugh, I can’t wait until they can just merge two human ovum to make babies and we can eliminate men from the world entirely.

Hanna has turned into a real misandrist in this episode. “What is it with men? Why do they always turn on you?” They bicker about what causes baldness (the hats? genetics? climate change?). Spencer tells Hanna she traced the number on Ali’s list and that it’s the Fitzgerald Art Foundation.

HANNA WORKS A SWITCHBOARD. So they DO have big girl jobs!


This is your first boudoir shoot? Don’t worry, I’m a professional.

Aria and Paige are hanging out, being buddy buddy. Aria is lending Paige a camera for a trip to the Delaware Water Gap on a canoe trip with Emily. That’s the most adorable lesbian outing I’ve ever heard of. Dear girlfriend, if you’re reading this, I want to go on a canoe trip.


That awkward moment people assume you’re going to grow out of being a tomboy.

Aria tells Paige that she grew out of being a tomboy by falling in love for the first time. I personally love that this is happening, because it exactly shows how awkward closeted lesbians feel ALL THE FUCKING TIME. Aria tells her she just “grew out of” climbing trees, where climbing trees is a euphemism for being a big ol’ lesbian. I, too, “climbed trees” in my youth, but I just never stopped.


Toby and Ezra are drinking at a bar? Toby, you’re underage, go home. Why are they hanging out — Wait, did Ezra just refer to women as skirts? Fuck this. I hate Ezra. He’s giving Toby some information: Alison DiLaurentis is alive and Spencer Hastings knows how to find her. This isn’t going to be good.


Back at the Hastings house, Ali is literally just hanging out in front of her portrait. I hope the actress who plays Ali gets to keep that portrait. I would 100% hang that above my fireplace if that was me.

Who painted this portrait, you ask? Too bad! We are so not finding that out. Everyone keeps telling Spencer she has all the pieces. Ali is being super creepy, and Spencer’s pills fall into the garbage disposal, which may or may not have been invented in the 1940s just saying, and of course I am fucking terrified of the combination of garbage disposals and my hands. Pretty Little Liars is just following me around, asking me what my biggest fears are, and then putting them in this show, I am positive of it. First the dentist, now THIS.


It’s okay Spencer, this haphazard Noir reenactment will be over soon, it’ll all be over soon.

But don’t worry, Toby is our savior, and grabs her hand out of the disposal because women be crazy, am I right? Ali is nowhere to be seen, of course.


Spence is just so tired of everyone using bad 1940s slang already.

Are we in Toby’s Private Investigator office? Is he a legit detective? He is shining a light on Spencer to interrogate her. He asks if maybe Ali tricked Spencer into helping cover up her death. Well, duh.


Cheers to lax alcohol distribution laws!

Perhaps the Liars grew up in the time change, because Aria and Ezra are together at a bar, drinking champagne. That’s right Ezra, get your underage girlfriend drunk on champagne. Why are they drinking champagne out of martini glasses, you ask? I’m very sorry, I don’t know the answer to this question.  (Updated to add: genius Autostraddler Lizzie says those are champagne coupes. You learn something new every day.)

Aria wants to tell her friends about the two of them hanging out drinking champagne and being in love. Ezra is manipulating Aria again, telling her that she trusts her friends too much.


Got a secret, can you keep it? Well, this one you’ll save. Better lock it in your pocket, taking this one to the grave (and you’re welcome for that earworm of the day).

Ezra: I bet you I know one of your secrets.
Aria: I bet you don’t.
Ezra: Alison’s alive.

WHAAAAAAAT. Is Ezra coming out and admitting that he is A and he knows all? I swear, if Spencer wakes up from a dream at the end of this episode, I’m going to be so upset (spoiler alert: I was pissed).


LOLOLOLOL Paige thinks Rosewood is a city, aw, that’s so cute. Wait. They ARE in a city, did you see those apartments outside of Emily’s window?


Paige and Emily are scared of being lesbians together, and my heart is breaking for every closeted lesbian in the entire history of ever. Emily is doing a great job of making her girlfriend feel better, including the best line ever:

Paige: What if people find out?
Emily: Then they will be insanely jealous of me.
Paige: Of me.
Emily: Of us.

I’m not crying, you’re crying.

PLL419-00201 PLL419-00202 PLL419-00204

Wait, guys, there is LESBIAN SEX IN THIS EPISODE and it’s so perfect and Emily’s hand slides under Paige’s bra strap and this scene will fuel our fantasies for the long Paige-less episodes bound to happen.

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Hansen is the former DIY & Food Editor of and likes to spend most days making and cooking and writing. She teaches creative writing at Colorado State University and is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in her free time.

Hansen has written 189 articles for us.


  1. They weren’t martini glasses – they were champagne coupes! It’s a different way to drink champagne. Legend has it that Louis XVI had the glasses designed based on a mold of Marie Antoinette’s breast so when you hold a champagne coupe… it’s like you are cupping Marie Antoinette’s breast. Gay.

  2. I think all of things Tobey said in this episode were more conversations Spencer was having with herself (cause really? Tobey as a detective?). So although Ali is indeed sad and desperate I do also feel like she is desperate enough to be setting them up for something bad. The liars are close to something and that normally means them getting in trouble or nearly killed.

    • I’m so sad to hear that the Erie Canal Museum opened in the 60s because, when I saw the garbage disposal scene, I was sure it was anachronistic and went and looked it up. But garbage disposals have actually been around since the late 20s/early 30s. Oh well, I guess at the very least I learned some history.

      I have heard that a lot of people hated this episode but I actually kind of loved it. Like, let’s be honest with ourselves: PLL usually makes no sense and the actors are mostly very attractive and very bad at acting. The episodes directly before this one were almost painful. I laughed out loud when they pulled a note out of Hannah’s teeth and read it with a magnifying glass. Like, WTF? So when we got a fun trip into Spencer’s (gay) sub-conscious complete with noir-style cinematograpy and 40s clothing and makeup, I was actually so happy. The inconsistencies of the episode were now artistic interpretations of the show/Spencer’s perceptions instead of lazy writing and bad acting.

      In that context, it totally made sense to me that Toby was some kind of weird (and really annoying) detective guy because, as the other Amanda mentioned above, he was like another manifestation of her, pushing her towards the right answer. The only thing that bothers me is that we are somehow supposed to totally forgive and forget that Toby acted as A/lied to everyone/was awful because Spencer loves him, while we continue to hate Mona and doubt her every move. But Mona seems just as trustworthy as Toby to me (and more attractive and interesting).

      Anyway, I am interested to see what they do with the Ezra story line because they are being so over the top about him being A that I just can’t believe that he really is. Like, within four episodes or something he went from being someone who could have normal, empathic conversations with people to sounding like a robot trying to imitate human expression and emotion and failing miserably.

      • Hmm this was not supposed to be a reply but Autostraddle was spazzing out on my computer so I guess that’s cool…

  3. This episode confused me so much.

    I don’t even know what happened. Except that Spencer is now the gayest of them all. Her subconscious(?) not only makes Hanna “president of the man-haters club” and has Aria of all people making vague allusions to lesbianism, but she also fantasizes about Emily and Paige making sweet sweet lady love. And, on top of all that, she continues this weird, (but not unwelcome) homoerotic power game with Ali.

    This show………….

    • I was going to say the exact same thing. “Figures that the only time Emily and Paige have sex is when Spencer’s imagining it. GAAAAAAAAYYYY~~”

  4. OMG! Joseph Dougherty who wrote and directed this episode (and is a huge Paily fan who has written kindle worlds stories about them) sure nailed it! From Ellen Page’s wikipedia bio: “Growing up, Page enjoyed playing with action figures and climbing trees.” As Aria would say, what a tomboy. ;D

    Great recap Hansen! <3

  5. I agree Paige’s outfit is terrible. Her hair though, is totally the hairstyle they gave the “quirky best friend” in the 1940s and in Noir films. I think it’s very interesting they mix the “best friend” aspect of Paige with the total romance- wind and curtains blowing, swelling music, etc. Well played, PLL.

  6. The guy that plays Toby CAN-NOT-ACT. Ugh, this was already cheese but he made it powdered cheese.

    I daydream a lot (without substances) just like Spencers lil, thing – i’m a writer and also very well aware of my mental issues! Gotta use what cha got.

    This episode was all about casual lesbian references to me. And then lesbian makeout parties. And Ashley Benson being perfect.

    Ezra’s not a bad guy, questionable in his methods, but not an enemy. I think he truly loves Aria too, but with things getting too close for comfort with him he’s becoming slightly unhinged bc he’s been able to keep his deal so tightly under wraps. (spoiler i guess: I’m pretty sure he’s either a PI, or just a rouge anti-a protect these girls guy, and has something to do with the real bad ppl).

    This week has been super gay with all the olympics lgbt protests/supporters, gay football player support/ellen page, PLL makeouts.

    • I typically find Toby’s affect odd. I cant’ tell if the actor can’t act or if he’s just like that. Either way him forcing the 40’s manner of speech exacerbated my “OHMYGAH HE CANNOT ACTTTT” feels. He’s the only one who made me feel that way. acting wise.

    • At first I was like, “why is Toby speaking like that when Spencer is speaking normally?” Then I realized that Toby isn’t actually himself in her dream, he’s Spencer’s conscience so I *think* that was a directional move… having him speak/act very 1940s because he/her brain was pushing the “plot” vs. everyone else just kind of in the story as Spencer imagined it. I don’t know.

    • Am I the only one who thought that Toby as a 1940s detective seemed more of a natural fit then Toby as a high school student?

  7. Can someone make a list of eps with Pemily in? Or can they get a canoeing holiday spin off? Basically at this point I just need that.

  8. “Toby” was actually Spencer’s conscience. She was basically bullying herself to the truth. But also, she made out with herself. lolol.

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