Pretty Little Liars 509, 510 and 511 Extreme Mega Recap Blast

Hello, and welcome to everyone’s favorite show about a woman named Alison trying to find out what happened to a dead woman named Beth!




That’s the one! Away we go!

Episode 509: March of Crimes

When we last left the liars, Ali had just revealed that she used Noel Kahn to fake a break-in so Hanna’s mom wouldn’t question her story! Wow, what an interesting and horrifying choice, Ali! Spencer, Hanna and Emily have fucking finally come around to the idea that their loyalty to Ali actually hasn’t excepted them form her lies and manipulation, which is amazing because this is season five.

Flames, on the side of my face, breathing-breathl- heaving breaths.

Flames, on the side of my face, breathing-breathl- heaving breaths.

But before they have a chance to play the “What Kind Of Friend Does That” card, Ali plays the “Spencer Was Spying On Me, You’re All Terrible Friends” card.

“Yo, didn’t you just admit to lying to us? Spying seems like a reasonable response to that,” Spencer says. JUST KIDDING NO ONE SAYS ANYTHING BECAUSE NO ONE EVER ARGUES WITH ALI FOR SOME REASON.


Well if we’re not going to take our tops off, I’m going home.

So Ali leaves, Spencer defends Melissa because she feels a lot of family feelings right now, Hanna drinks and laments Ali staying in her house, and Emily makes a bunch of comments that are too pointed, and we all have a gay old time!

The unfortunate side-effect of door-play

The unfortunate side effect of door play

Later, somewhere on the mean and unforgiving streets of Rosewood, Emily is riding her bike on the sidewalk and proceeds to lock it to nothing like she’s a white person in an infomercial. She hears Ali’s voice, but lo and behold, it’s Noel Kahn having a private listening party to recordings of Ali in the middle of the street with his windows down in the middle of the night.

The unchained bike is a symbol of Paige's freedom

What am I adjusting on my bike? I don’t even know. I bet Paige would know. I miss Paige.

It’s too dangerous, and I’m not taking anymore chances ok. Shana, please. Don’t fight me on this.

“A CLUE, A CLUE!” the studio audience says.

“WHERE?” Emily says.


We just figured out Blues Clues

We just figured out Blues Clues

The next morning, Hanna is getting ready for what I’m sure is her 500th day of senior year while Alison takes a shower. Her mom comes in and suggests that the three of them go shopping after school for BIG ENGAGEMENT PARTY stuff. (You may remember this engagement as the one between Aria’s mom and Zack, the dude who wants to hook up with Hanna and this party as the one A is totally going to ruin.)

Soooo....what is up? What's the 411? What has everybody been up to?

Soooo….what is up? What’s the 411? What has everybody been up to?

Hanna’s like LOL NOPE re: the party, so her mom is predictably frustrated, but don’t worry, her frustration quickly melts into righteous parental rage when she finds Hanna’s flask. She warns Hanna that she needs to stay in control as long as Ali’s kidnapper is still on the loose, and Hanna’s eyeballs roll right out of her head.

Oh man, did I forget to take my toys out of the dishwasher?

Oh man, did I forget to take my toys out of the dishwasher?

In another dimension, Aria and her mom are being questioned by Lieutenant Tanner about the break-in at Hanna’s house. Tanner asks when Aria met Ezra, and she lies and says on the first day of school, so Pull-No-Punches Tanner follows up with “but you guys boinked on the reg, yeah?” and then goes on to suggest that it’s possible Ezra was also involved with Shana, which: HA, but also who even knows, at this point. Aria looks like Tanner just took the last blue Fla-Vor-Ice so now she has to have orange.

I just wanted a blue tongue so I could make jokes about eating out Smurfette.

I just wanted a blue tongue so I could make jokes about eating out Smurfette.

After the interrogation, Aria’s mom is like, “listen, I know you’re the Belle to Ezra’s Beast, but Tanner is just doing her job, sooooooooo,” but Aria jams her fingers in her ears and sashays away.

I hope this scene goes on for another minute, I just really found my Dawson's Creek light.

I hope this scene goes on for another minute, I just really found my Dawson’s Creek light.

Ali catches up with Spencer in the hallways and reminds her that the show is called Pretty Little LIARS so she has to LIE when Tanner inevitably questions her. She goes on to say that “If one of us falls, we all fall, and A wins.” This doesn’t seem strictly true, but I am willing to buy into it so the rest of the show makes sense. Anyway, Ali is pissed at everyone, I don’t know, everyone on this show needs to drink some tea and watch an episode of Bob’s Burgers or something.

You might think it upset me that Paul Metzler had decided to run against me, but nothing could be further from the truth. He was no competition for me, it was like apples and oranges.

You might think it upset me that Paul Metzler had decided to run against me, but nothing could be further from the truth. He was no competition for me, it was like apples and oranges.

The we Boot Scootin’ Boogie over to the swim coach’s office where our dear homosexual Emily is interviewing for a position as assistant coach. A couple snappy lines of dialog later, and she’s got the job! She responds to this by immediately looking in a confidential binder of locker assignments to find Noel Kahn’s locker because who has even one second to waste before abusing their position of authority, I mean really.

These ARE replica Xena wrist guards, thanks for noticing!

These ARE replica Xena wrist guards, thanks for noticing!

Emily The Professional later breaks into Noel’s locker and steals his keys!

Grand Theft Lesbian

Grand Theft Lesbian

Then we dig our pogo sticks out of the back of our closets and hop on over to Caleb’s apartment, where Spencer is having a Real Talking with him about feeding into Hanna’s self-destructive patterns. More importantly, we learn than Hanna hasn’t told Caleb about Zack, so right now Hanna’s storyline involves a lot of people talking at and about her but no one really listening to what she has to say.


You know I can only sing the Joanne part


You know you’re the more Maureen out of the two of us.

Back in the choir room (#continuity from the last episodes), Alison and Hanna are celebrating their one millionth conversation about how their group is falling apart. Hanna tells Ali that her stunts affect other people, which really does seem to be something Ali doesn’t realize or care about, but since this is national No One Listens To Hanna Day, Ali patly ignores it. Hanna tells Ali to stay with one of the other girls because U-Hauling makes her uncomfortable.


Seeing the faces of the Final Five

Just then, like a shooting star, Jenna appears to make our queer dreams come true! Typical passive-aggressive conversation happens for a while, and then:

Ali: Wait. How’d you do it?
Jenna: What?
Ali: Shana.


Dear reader, I have to tell you, there was a full beat where I thought Ali was asking Jenna how lesbians have sex. But no, Alison just wants to know how Jenna “turned Shana against (her).” Boooooo. The answer is “we were DATING,” but Jenna says it was Ali’s fault Shana hated her, which is probably also true but avoids queer subtext, so WHATEVER, SCRIPTWRITERS.


Stop looking at my ass!

Time for an indie song montage! Aria texts Ezra that Tanner is asking questions about Shana and then pointedly doesn’t let Hanna sit with her. I don’t understand. If any of these people were actually friends, I feel like at some point one of them would say to Hanna “listen, clearly you’re going through a lot right now, do you want to get coffee and talk about how you’re feeling? What can I do to help you?” I mean really. This is crazy. These people are the worst.

Whatever, at least I have this sick jacket

Whatever, at least I have this sick jacket

Elsewhere in the indie song, Spencer is at the eye doctor getting her eyes dilated. Through a blurry haze, she sees Jenna and Sydney in matching cosplay of the twins from The Shining. She tries to take a picture, but it’s rude to take pictures of cosplayers without asking, so the twins leave before she has a chance to.

Prepare for trouble! Make it double!

Prepare for trouble! Make it double!

The indie song fades away as Emily breaks into Noel’s car. She finds an envelop of stalker pictures of Alison that would disprove the kidnapping and also the tape recorder that she presumably heard last night. Why did he keep this stuff in his car? That’s the real mystery here, Emily.

This mudwrestling photoshop is hot, but I wish they'd spent more time on Paige

This mudwrestling photoshop is hot, but I wish they’d spent more time on Paige

Spencer calls Em to tell her about the “two Jennas,” and Em tells Spencer about the pictures. Spencer gets a note from A in the form of an eye chart and continues to be surprised when shit like this happens.

Turn around, bright eyes

Turn around, bright eyes

We’re almost halfway through the episode, which means we’re long overdue for a scene with a dude who’s into underage girls! Aria returns home and tells Zack that Hanna isn’t coming to the BIG ENGAGEMENT PARTY because she isn’t feeling well, but Zack plays it cool and seems only passively interested. Ugh, I hate him so much.

Sit on a cactus, you off-brand Jason Stackhouse

Sit on a cactus, you off-brand Jason Stackhouse

Meanwhile at the cosplaying optometrist, Spencer is back in the waiting room wearing Daft Punk sunglasses.

What do you mean you've never seen Tron?

What do you mean you’ve never seen Tron?

Emily shows up to be the other Daft Punk dude, but before they can make it through even one chorus of “Get Lucky,” Sydney and Jenna pop into the waiting room! Ahh!

Let's get together, yeah yeah yeah

Let’s get together, yeah yeah yeah

Emily whips off her sunglasses in the most Jurassic Park way imaginable so she can better interrogate Syd on her secret friendship with Jenna. Jenna keeps talking over Sydney, which prompts what will surely be the best line of the episode:


And then whoooooosh, the terrible twosome is gone. No one asked them about their matching outfits, though, which seems like an oversight.

Back in Caleb’s den of sin, Hanna marches in, grabs a beer, and plops down in front of the TV. Caleb asks what’s wrong, and Hanna says everything and also fuck this BIG ENGAGEMENT PARTY tonight, which is when Caleb reveals my favorite Hanna story to date:

Caleb: “Last year for Cinco de Mayo we drove ten miles out of town to a gas station just for the free burrito and a mini sombrero.”

You guys, why don’t people like Hanna more. Also ten miles is not that far for a burrito, puh-lease.


Fuck it, let’s get drunk and watch women’s soccer

Anyway, Caleb gets Hanna to tell him about Zack, and he finally says the magic words: I BELIEVE YOU. Fucking finally. She says she doesn’t want to talk about it anymore, and Caleb transparently offers to go confront Zack I MEAN GO GET SOME FOOD.

Oh please Lesbian Jesus let something gay on this show soon, in Jenny's name amen

Oh please Lesbian Jesus let something gay happen on this show soon, in Ellen’s name, amen

Then we quantum leap over to Aria’s bedroom where she and her mom are putting the finishing touches on their BIG ENGAGEMENT PARTY. That gnawing feeling that Aria has about Hanna telling the truth about Zack has finally bubbled to the surface, so she tells her mom that this engagement to Zack might be a mistake.

Does this dress say "hard femme/Grease extra" to you?

Does this dress say “hard femme/Grease extra” to you?

Ella immediately asks if he was inappropriate with her, and Aria is like, “whoa, I didn’t realize mind-reading was part of being a witch in a past life, but no, it was Hanna!” Apparently, there was another incident that prompted Ella’s guess, and it looks like the engagement is more or less off. Good.

no comment

no comment

I’ve gotta say, though, that this show is setting up a weird dichotomy between “good” guys who go for underage girls and “bad” guys who go for underage girls. Ezra and Zack are both pieces of shit, and it bothers me that the Pretty Little Liars writers are only really condemning Zack because he’s cheating on Ella and not because he’s an actual sexual predator. Ezra is a statutory rapist! That’s just a fact!

Oh man oh man, it’s time for Caleb to confront Zack!

Hello, I came to fuck shit up

Hello, I came to fuck shit up

Zack is yelling ambiguous party-planning orders at the Brew staff when Caleb walks up and asks about Zack hitting on Hanna. Zack says he was “just responding to the signals he was getting” and pulls out a note that says “Sorry if I acted shy before. I’ll promise I’ll make up for it. -Hanna,” and I vomit in my mouth. But then! Caleb punches Zack in the face! While I don’t agree that that violence would be the way to react if this were real life, it felt fucking great to see here.

Listen, I just really identify with Larry, what can I say. Vee is a close second, though.

Listen, I just really identify with Larry, what can I say. Vee is a close second, though.

Later, Hanna is watching a public domain movie at Caleb’s house when our hero swings in and immediately ices his hand. Hanna is super embarrassed, and Caleb is like “you ain’t seen nothing yet” and shows her the note. It’s obvious that she didn’t write it, so now the case of Who The Fuck’s Handwriting Is This has begun! The answer is probably A.

Jacket Appreciation Life

Jacket Appreciation Life

After a moment of our favorite kind of exposition (the “on the phone going over the situation” kind), Emily heads to her car to go to the BIG ENGAGEMENT PARTY. When what to her wondering eyes should appear but Sydney!

I looked at Medusa, that's why my face is always like this.

I looked at Medusa, that’s why my face is always like this.

She wants to explain that she knew Jenna from when she lived in Philly and that she befriended Emily to keep an eye on her for Jenna, so to speak. Then she says “I didn’t expect to like you,” which is a horrible tease because she didn’t mean it in a gay way, at least not yet, so I groan audibly and Emily groans in her head and tells Syd she’s taking the coaching job because she wants to mess with her. Whaaaaaat? I think Emily has officially lived long enough to see herself become the villain.

Valjean, at last, we see each other plain

Valjean, at last, we see each other plain

Spencer is at the lakehouse looking for clues! Someone is hiding under a sheet on a chair behind her, which makes me laugh because imagine someone sitting under the sheet for like, hours, waiting for someone to show up and find them.

Peek-a-boo, I see you

Peek-a-boo, I see you

After a brief commercial break, Spencer sees the sheet move, grabs a fireplace poker and rips the sheet off to reveal… Old Man Jenkins! Just kidding, it’s Noel Kahn. He wants the pictures of Ali back so he has something to prevent Alison from turning on him. He plot-expositions that he obtained the pictures by breaking into Jenna’s house (at Ali’s request) minutes before it exploded and that Jenna obtained the pictures from Shana. Spencer tells him that she needs the pictures for Ali Insurance too and pokes him with the poker until he leaves in a huff, surely lamenting the fact that he didn’t make any copies of the pictures.



Meanwhile, probably, Hanna is pouring beer down the sink to symbolize the end of her drinking problem story arc! Aria slithers into the apartment to ask for forgiveness without apologizing and calls Zack a “jerk,” which is lenient but well-intentioned. The engagement is implied to be off, thank goodness, and the party is for sure not happening. Everyone hugs and cries.

God, your jacket is so amazing.

God, your jacket is so amazing.

Back in the Marin Kitchen-O-Feelings, Ali and Hanna’s mom talk about the the BIG ENGAGEMENT PARTY being canceled at the last minute due to Ella “contracting food poisoning.” Ali is like “LOL IT’S SO FUNNY WHEN PEOPLE LIE,” but moment is interrupted when Hanna’s mom receives a phone call from Lieutenant Tanner.


My name is Jonathan Franzen. I’d like to order 50 pizzas. It’s for a prank.

Apparently the police apprehended the man who broke into the Marin house and want to question Ali at the precinct. Ali looks like she’s going to throw up all over the house of cards that are hopefully about to come crashing down.

Not enough lube

Not enough lube

Starsweep back to Aria’s house where Ella is packing up to move to a motel because Byron, her ex-husband and Aria’s father, is home from his ambiguous conference. She tells him the engagement is off, and Bryon talks about how Ella is good at making small spaces seem bigger, which seems like it should be a double entendre but somehow isn’t. Everyone hugs and cries. I get up to pee because parent scenes are boring.

God, your jacket is mediocre.

God, your jacket is so mediocre.

Alison and Mrs. Marin are at the police station, and shit, you guys, things are getting interesting. The police have someone in custody all right, and that someone is… someone we’ve never seen before?

Oh good, another generic white guy

Oh good, another generic white guy

AND he’s corroborating Alison’s kidnapping story perfectly? What the actual fuck is going on? Even Ali doesn’t seem to know anymore.

Glendale Community Theater Actress Of The Year

Glendale Community Theater Actress Of The Year

Ok, are we feeling good? Do we feel ok? Maybe take a break and drink some tea. Here we go! Another round of Pretty Little Liars, or: How I Learned That Lying Is Bad!

Episode 510: A Dark Ali

Our next adventure begins where our last adventure ended: at the police station with the man who admitted to kidnapping Alison. Lieutenant Tanner tells Ali’s dad (but mostly the viewers) that the dude’s name is Cyrus Petrillo and that his story matches Ali’s perfectly. Case closed, cancel the next two seasons.

Lieutenant Kickass over here

Lieutenant Kickass over here

Except that we all know he’s lying. What we don’t know is why, although I’m sure we’ll find out.

The cops ask Ali if Cyrus is the kidnapper, and she says “I don’t know.”

All these white dudes look alike, how should I know if it's him

All these white dudes look alike, how should I know if it’s him

Smash over to The Four, who are like, “uhhhhhh stop lying to the police for like two seconds and just say he didn’t do it?” But Ali’s like, “this show is called Pretty Little LIARS so I have to keep LYING, god, keep up.”

No, you can't just use your lips like this, you have to get your whole face in there

No, you can’t just use your lips like this, you have to get your whole face in there

Anyway, they’re going to use this guy to find out who A is since clearly they’re in cahoots.

After a brief theme song, Spencer, Hanna, Aria and Emily are walking somewhere together and chatting openly about how fucked everything is. Aria posits that as soon as Ali says that Cyrus is the kidnapper, it’ll come to light that he couldn’t have done it and that Ali is a liar. Real talk, I don’t understand why no one has just decided to be the bigger person and just tell the police everything, even at the risk of doing jail time themselves.


This happens:

Aria: Okay, well, someone needs to go back in there and make sure that she doesn’t ID this guy.
Hanna: Right, well, Emily, yeah?
Spencer: Yeah.
Emily: Spencer’s the convincing one.
Aria: Yeah, but you’re the hardest to disappoint.
Spencer: It’s about your eyes.

Guys, can you at least wait until you get home to jump each other's bones like this

Guys, can you at least wait until you get home to jump each other’s bones like this


Emily goes inside to talk to Ali while Spencer finally tells Hanna and Aria about the pictures of Ali that Emily stole from Noel. She loudly plot-expositions that she’s going to put them in a safe place in her room that nobody knows about.

Meanwhile, Emily is emphasizing that Ali shouldn’t say that Cyrus kidnapped her. Ali says she understands but that she can’t just say that he’s innocent, which is GR8 because it means she’s still keeping secrets from her friends that she keeps yelling at for not being loyal to her. Ali’s dad comes in and says she should definitely tell the cops that Cyrus kidnapped her because he forgot this show is about lying.

I'd give this shirt 7 out of 10 possible tomboy-femme points

I’d give this shirt 7 out of 10 possible tomboy-femme points

In a parallel timeline or maybe the same one, Ella is making phone calls to cancel her wedding plans. Aria brings her some food and tells her to eat, but Ella isn’t having any of it because she’s too sad.

Try the gray stuff, it's delicious

Try the gray stuff, it’s delicious

It’s ok, though! If I know anything about situations like this, it’s that she’s about to start studying for the LSAT so she can get into Harvard!

We learn how to blacksmith, shoe some horses and ride like the wind over to Caleb’s apartment, where Hanna is throwing away all of Caleb’s unhealthy food in a transparent attempt to control some aspect of her life. She’s really fed up with all of this A bullshit, she confesses. She just wants to be normal.

Listen, I'm just a girl in the world trying to do it all, trying to make it happen, trying to throw away moldy fried foods and not get groped by older men

Listen, I’m just a girl in the world trying to do it all, trying to make it happen, trying to throw away moldy fried foods and not get groped by older men

Hanna: You know, the other day Ms. Adinolfi made an announcement about chorus auditions for a solo and all the girls are freaking out. Then I thought, wow, what’s that like? To lose sleep over some stupid chorus audition.


Caleb tells her that you can’t be normal with a psychopath tracking your every move. Hanna vows to go to the audition, probably because it’s easier to put that on a college resume than “evaded a killer for five+ seasons.”

Spencer and Emily have some plot to expose over the phone for us! Emily tells her that her search for a new coffee shop is not going well and (unrelated) they should probably start being more careful w/r/t talking about the Ali Situation in public. Spencer agrees and is about to hide the secret pictures in a compartment under her chair when she realizes that the secret tapes Ali made of her medical exam (where the bulk of her kidnapping lie was constructed) were GONE! A TOTALLY TOOK THEM!

No, you should come over, I think I just got my new RodeoH in the mail

No, you should come over, I think I just got my new RodeoH in the mail

Melissa comes into the room, which is important because Spencer simultaneously receives a phone call where A plays back the stolen tapes. She hangs up but receives a text moments later: “Check mate. -A” Womp womp.

oh your life is falling apart how weird oh well g2g bye

oh your life is falling apart how weird oh well g2g bye

Hanna and Caleb are getting fit! Aww! They’re going for a run together when they encounter Spencer, whose outfit suggests that she’s about to tell them she’s Dr. Who’s next companion and that she’s leaving forever.

Leather-vest-trench-coats are COOL

Leather-vest-trench-coats are COOL

Disappointingly, she’s only here to talk about the security footage she took that may reveal who took the medical tapes, but Hanna’s like WHATEVER BYE and literally runs away from her problems.

I mean fuck it, honestly, at this point

I mean fuck it, honestly, at this point

So Spencer takes the tape to Aria. The tape shows Melissa giving something (presumably the medical tapes) to a man (presumably Cyrus) and tells him to “do it.”

What's not to get, she's drunk and in a kitchen.

What’s not to get, she’s drunk and in a kitchen.

Aria underlines how fucked up everything is, but then Spencer MY HERO tells her they should just talk to the cops already! You guys! This is the best! Aria feels decidedly not-great about this plan since it involves her confessing to killing Shana, which, again, WAS SELF-DEFENSE.


Kegel Face

Hanna is signing up for auditions when Mona rises up through the floorboards ready to sing the shit out of a Sara Bareilles song that may or may not have anything to do with the actual audition.



The choir teacher calls their names for the audition, and Mona crumples into a pile on the floor! Which is appropriate because she was just singing “Gravity.” ZING. Jk, it’s terrifying.

When Mona eventually wakes up, she is confused but immediately and ferociously concerned about where her bag is. Hanna obviously digs through it before giving it back and finds Cyrus’ mugshots inside. Ruh-roh.

Shit, did my diva cup just shift?

Shit, did my diva cup just shift?

Aria pays a visit to Ezra to tell him about Ali and how out-of-hand everything suddenly seems. She doesn’t mention how Spencer wants to go to the police, but it doesn’t seem intentional? Which is weird to me. But Ezra decides he wants to talk to Ali and make sure she doesn’t implicate Cyrus for this crime that didn’t actually happen, but Aria makes him promise to stay away from the situation. LOL, Aria. LOL.

found the butt plug

found the butt plug

Emily and Ali are hanging out at Ali’s house, and Emily asks how long before Ali’s dad gets back, but it’s not so they can bang, which is admittedly disappointing based on the lack of lesbian action on the show since Paige melted into the mist or something. No, Emily just wants to keep having the same conversation over and over:

Everyone: Don’t do the thing.
Ali: I might do the thing.
Everyone: Ok but don’t do the thing.
Ali: I will almost definitely do the thing.

Oy with the poodles already

Oy with the poodles already

Ali says Cyrus isn’t some random dude, though, because he gave her a scar on her leg! The situation is a purposely muddled, but we know that he was horrible to Ali.

Ali: He didn’t want me. He just wanted my stuff… my money. And the way he looked at me… Like I was nothing to him. Worse than nothing.

A series of flashback images flash quickly on the screen, but I don’t want to put them here because they’re kind of uniquely terrifying. But Ali really is in a basement, and Cyrus really is attacking her, albeit with other people around and decidedly not in the context of a kidnapping.



And then Emily The Tone Deaf tells her that she can’t tell the cops he kidnapped her because it’s still not true, which is good advice but definitely not what Ali needs right now.

Later, Emily bounces into her bedroom only to be greeted by Spencer, who is splayed out on the floor with the stalker pictures of Ali laid out in front of her.

Hey, so Cosmo did a thing about lesbian sex positions, so I'm ripping them out so we can see them without making sure the magazine is open to the right page.

Hey, so Cosmo did a thing about lesbian sex positions, so I’m ripping them out so we can see them without making sure the magazine is open to the right page.

Emily is on a rampage and tells her 1) to get the pictures out of her house since they’re a magnet for danger, 2) that she is diametrically opposed to going to the cops about everything, and 3) that Ali isn’t going to implicate Cyrus and plans on waiting for the cops to just let him go without giving an answer either way. You guys, I’m worried about Emily. Ali is warping her perspective in a way that can’t possibly end well.



Back at the Brew for some reason, Ezra runs into Ali. He’s about to walk away and keep his promise to Aria but instead decides to press his luck and do the opposite. He tells her that “a lot of people have supported you, done whatever you’ve asked, gone along with all your stories,” which is weirdly open to interpretation, and then scurries away when Ali’s dad returns. And then he runs into Aria! DOUBLE WHAMMY!

I give his shirt 8 out of 10 tomboy-femme points

I’d give this shirt 8 out of 10 possible tomboy-femme points

In the parking lot, Aria rips him a new one for talking to Ali because “once (Tanner) figures out that (Ezra) and Alison are connected, it is over.” Ezra apologizes because it’s really not a big deal at all? But Aria keeps yelling because she’s a child and because she’s having a hard time dealing with the end of her mom’s engagement.

And how DARE you talk shit about the Cheetah Girls in front of me!

And how DARE you talk shit about the Cheetah Girls in front of me!

Later, Mona is out for her nightly scanning-for-discoverable-blue-tooth-devices drive around Rosewood when Hanna hops into her car! Hanna flips out and starts peppering Mona with questions, specifically questions about how she set up Cyrus to take the fall. Mona says it wasn’t her but that she’s trying to figure out who it was, which Hanna responds to by being bad at technology and forcing them to team up likes it’s the last season of Battlestar Galactica or something.

Rizzles: The Early Years

Rizzles: The Early Years

Mona gains listening access to Tanner’s cell phone as the dynamic duo watches Ali and her dad leave the station. Hanna urges Mona to follow them, but Mona is like “bro, chill, I’m really good at this shit” and tells her that they’re going to follow Cyrus instead.

Back at the Hastings homefront, Melissa is busting Spencer for snooping through the barn for answers.

Who will ever call to say "I love you?" Send me flowers or a telegram?

Who will ever call to say “I love you?” Send me flowers or a telegram?

She admits to helping Mona in order to prove that Ali is still toxic ala Britney Spears and says that it’s not safe for her in Rosewood anymore and that Spencer should come with her to the Emerald City.

A Wicked Experience3

So it turns out Tanner was taking Alison and her father to the basement that Cyrus identified as the place he kept her locked up! Holy shit, this seems like such a mean thing to do to someone who says they were kidnapped.

Presumably there is a giant nest of rats immediately out of frame that make this otherwise perfectly normal basement uninhabitable

Presumably there is a giant nest of rats immediately out of frame that make this otherwise perfectly normal basement uninhabitable

As Ali looks around the room, we get a full flashback about what happened. Flashback Ali introduces Flashback Cyrus to her then-roommates. Cyrus and Ali are holding hands heterosexually. Then Flashback Ali wakes up and sees Cyrus stealing her bag. She fights to stop him, but he stabs her in the leg and runs away with one of her roommates.


> : (

Tanner: You remember this place?
Ali: I could never forget it.

Back at the Mars Investigation stakeout, Mona and Hanna exchange unfriendly barbs while they wait for Cyrus to be released. Mona admits that Ali is giving her real, actual panic attacks, and that’s why she’s been on the offensive.

Now kiss.

Now kiss.

Hanna gets a call from Caleb because no one ever texts unless they have to; she lies and tells him the audition went well and that she’s with her mom. Before Hanna and Mona’s stakeout can evolve into a full-on tryst, they hear Tanner on the radio saying not to release Cyrus. Yiiiiikes.

Well, I read on Autostraddle that scissoring it totally a thing, so I don't see why you won't at least try it.

Well, I read on Autostraddle that scissoring it totally a thing, so I don’t see why you won’t at least try it.

Then we hop in our Irony Police cruisers and head on over to Aria’s house so she can bare her soul about Ezra The “Good” Pedophile while comforting her mom about Zack The Bad Pedophile. It’s, I don’t know, heartwarming? It’s clearly supposed to be heartwarming, anyway, but the irony is really too much. Ella is cheering for Aria to work things out with Ezra because “Zack is not gonna write the book on relationships in this family.”

These people stress me out.

These people stress me out.

The moment is interrupted when Aria gets an SOS text about Alison identifying Cyrus as the kidnapper.

Alison and her dad arrive at home, but Emily is right there to meet them. Emily’s taken a page from Paige’s book and has a speech prepared for Ali, and it’s amazing, so I’m just going to transcribe it for you. Just bask in it. It’s so liberating.

Emily: Ali, I thought we were in this together.
Ali: We are.
Emily: No. We’re not. Whatever “A” has planned affects all of us, not just you.
Ali: I waited as long as I could. Everyone was looking at me, being in that place. You weren’t there, Em.
Emily: When? When wasn’t I there? When Hanna broke her leg because of “A”? When I almost died in an elevator because I was trying to find out who killed you? Or when Spencer had to check into Radley because of everything your disappearance put us through? The past several years haven’t been easy for any of us, but what makes it okay is that we stick together. We don’t turn on each other.
Ali: I have a plan.
Emily: Oh, I’m sure you do. The problem is you’ll throw us all under a bus just to pull it off. I stuck up for you against Paige, against Spencer, against everyone. I wasted so much time on you.



Hanna and Caleb share a nice moment that solidifies their relationship for us, and even though Hanna says Spencer’s plan of going to the police is a bad one, I still like this scene. They look like goofy, supportive puppies together, which is nice.


Hanna “Dimple McGee” Marin

Hanna is all smiles when she walks back into the room with Aria and Spencer, which Spencer finds concerning because no one should be happy, ever. Emily sweeps into the room saying WE HAVE TO CUT TIES WITH ALI LIKE RIGHT THE SHIT NOW, and Aria is like OH COME ON, but no one really states a plan of action.

It's vibrators. It's an envelope full of tiny vibrators.

It’s vibrators. It’s an envelope full of tiny vibrators.

Cyrus is standing in the woods when a brunette approaches. There’s a moment when it seems like it’s Melissa, but IT’S ACTUALLY ALI! The whole thing was a set up that she orchestrated, duh, and now Cyrus is looking for a plane ticket out of the country to avoid getting arrested. Ali says something cryptic about how they “both win.” Totally believable coming from someone wearing a wig so no one recognizes her.

Cool wig, Ali.

Made of 100% real chest hair

Right at the end, we get a tiny scene of Melissa setting up a camera to record herself telling the truth to give to Spencer. Is it because she’s leaving? Is it because she’s fearful for her life? Is it because she’s really into video confessionals right now? Who’s to say because first we have to watch a scene of A folding laundry!

I wasn't kidding.

I wasn’t kidding.

Episode 511: No One Here Can Love or Understand Me

(Dark title, y’all)

It’s all happening, you guys. The liars are going to the police to tell them everything. They’re literally crossing the street to go to the station when A has a message for them, and the message is LOL STOP.

"Act normal, bitches" is both a note from A and the only costuming note they had this episode

“Act normal, bitches” is both a note from A and the only costuming note they had this episode

Store-window TVs flashes pictures of Ali in a candy-striper uniform at the hospital “no one will believe that we didn’t know Ali was alive when they see this,” which is crazy? None of the other girls are in those pictures, and they legitimately didn’t know that she was alive. But it’s enough to stop them from telling the truth. All of this has happened before and will happen again. So say we all. MOVING ON TO THE LYING.

Once we know / that we are / we're all stars / and we see that

Once we know / that we are / we’re all stars / and we see that

We flash over to the Brew and immediately learn two things: 1) the Brew is for sale, which means Zack has successfully been run out of town, and 2) Emily would be the best girlfriend ever.


(Emily brings Spencer coffee.)

Spencer: I can’t drink coffee right now.
Emily: Oh, it’s decaf. I bought it for the whipped cream.

Be still my beating heart.

Anyway, Spencer and Emily chat about how shitty Ali is and how they just need to relax and cool off a little tonight. Maybe the message on the TVs was from Ali pretending to be A, they posit. Or vice versa. Emily is especially mad because she had something “genuine” with Paige but blew her off to stay loyal to Ali.

Spencer: Can you fix it?
Emily: Sure, yeah. I can go up to Paige and say, “So you were right all along. My bad. Let’s kiss and make-up.”

But then this credit pops on the screen:


And suddenly I hope that’s EXACTLY what happens.

Over at Caleb’s Apartmet, where the doors are never locked and the booze never really runs dry, Hanna waltzes in and smooches the top of Sleeping Caleb’s head. He jumps awake, which is a reasonable response given that he fell asleep with his front door wide open.

I just, I mean. Sigh. Statistically at least ONE member of Haim is probably queer, right?

I just, I mean. Sigh. Statistically at least ONE member of Haim is probably queer, right?

He’s also been drinking, which pisses off Hanna since they had a deal to quit together. She leaves in a huff. Man. It’s either the highest highs or the lowest lows with these two lately. That’s maybe the most teenager-y part of the show.

Emily shows up at Ezra’s house to talk to him about Cyrus since apparently Aria hadn’t even told him the dude’s name? What? Their relationship is so confusing. Regardless, Emily gives him one of the pictures of Ali that they stole from Noel and puts Ezra on the case to dig up some dirt on Cyrus.

No I can pop my eyeballs out the farthest!

No I can pop my eyeballs out the farthest! Watch!

We take out our time turners and apparate over to the Montgomery house, where Aria arrives at home to find Mona studying and “studying” with her brother.

via Shutterstock, keywords: gross, why

via Shutterstock, keywords: gross, why

Later, her dad comes into her room to see if she needs anything, and Aria’s like “yeah I need Mona to stop boning Mike,” and her dad’s like “slow down, you crazy child” and advises her to let it play out on its own. He also says something about wearing a fedora to an event later, so I’m already rolling my eyes.

Hey you, just popping by to tell you I'm in this episode, ok thanks

Hey you, just popping by to tell you I’m in this episode, ok thanks

Then we hop on our hoverboards and float over to the hallowed halls of Rosewood High, where Spencer, Aria, Hanna and Emily are talking about who could’ve sent the message on the TVs. Ali seems to be a frontrunner, which Spencer deems “a bad thought,” but nobody can argue against it. I’m mostly worried because we’re almost a quarter of the way through this episode and Ali still hasn’t made an appearance. She’s probably Vee-ing in the shadows or something.



Hanna pulls Spencer aside and asks her for help dealing with Caleb’s drinking problems. That’s the first time anyone on the show has connected their substance abuse problems.


*cat with hearts for eyes emoji*

*cat with hearts for eyes emoji*

Paige and Emily talk about keeping an eye on Sydney and about swimming in general, but the meat of the queer summit is that Emily wants to set aside time to talk. Paige agrees that it’s necessary.

Gurl, I know this t-shirt/hoodie/denim vest combo is working. I know.

Gurl, I know this t-shirt/hoodie/denim vest combo is working. I know.

Sidebar, can I just say that I haaaaaaaaaate this. Even watching it happen on TV is giving me anxiety. Just say what you need to say right now so I can live my life without wondering what you have to say!

Somewhere else in space and time, Spencer is on the phone with Toby. She misses him, a lot, but she really wants him to come over to talk to him about Caleb.



Spencer finds a note from Melissa telling her that her dad is taking her to the airport and she’s sorry and Spencer will know the truth soon. Dun dun DUN.


Fucking IKEA directions, I think we built this Friheten backwards

And then flash-bang-wallop, we’re walking with Hanna, Aria and Emily as they talk about their possible Ali theories. Maybe Ali left town because blah blah blah no one actually knows. What’s important is that they run into Tanner, who wants to chat with them. Maybe she wants to swap lemon bar recipes, but probably not. Who can say, though, honestly.

My lemon bars are gluten free!

My lemon bars are gluten free!

They skip past the part where they talk about lemon bars and instead we get to watch Tanner tell the girls to tell the police anything out of the ordinary, which: HA. She stands up to leave, and then, because there was a Columbo marathon last night or something, she goes “OH JUST ONE MORE THING, WHO KILLED BETHANY YOUNG???” And the girls are like “ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, we haven’t thought about it.” Good lie, guys. 10/10 in believability on that one.

She didn't even ask if we had any egg-substitute suggestions.

She didn’t even ask if we had any egg-substitute suggestions.

Spencer and Toby are making out heterosexually. Spencer tells him he’s going to make a good authority figure, and the broader contextual timing makes that an even weirder thing to say. But she really wants to talk about Caleb because he’s looked haunted ever since he came back from Ravenswood, and Toby tells her it’s the look of someone with a short-lived spin-off. No one makes any puns on the word “spirits,” which feels like a gross oversight.

Spencer finally feels comfortable broaching the topic of femslash with Toby.


Spencer and Hanna are on the phone not passing the Bechdel test. They’re plotting something to help Caleb, but Hanna is preoccupied by the run-in with Tanner to be too enthused. She tells Spencer that Tanner thinks they killed Bethany Young, which seems like a generous extrapolation to me, but sometimes on this show, you have to just believe what the characters tell you is going on.


I gotta go, some PETA  people just walked in and this isn’t fake leather

A package arrives, and it’s from Melissa! It’s the video Melissa made in the last episode! Ahh!

When will my reflection show who I am inside

When will my reflection show who I am inside

The facts are these: The night Ali “died,” Melissa saw Spencer fighting with Ali and carrying the shovel. Later, she saw a body but was too afraid to look at her face. Assuming it was Alison and assuming she was dead and in an attempt to save Spencer, Melissa buried the body. It later came to light that the body was actually Bethany Young and that she wasn’t dead after all.


Later, Spencer is looking haunted, but she’s also about to get Intervention Dinner with Caleb, Hanna and Toby, so she’s visibly trying to pull herself together. Hanna is freaking out, and Toby tells her to play it cool, so of course as soon as Caleb walks in the door, Toby verbally pins him to a wall about whatever is wrong with him.

You smell like freshly mown grass and new parchment and spearmint toothpaste

You smell like freshly mown grass and new parchment and spearmint toothpaste

Later, the guys talk amongst themselves while Hanna and Spencer sit at the bar and talk about love.

Listen, if you don't touch yourself, you'll never what you like.

Listen, if you don’t touch yourself, you’ll never know what you like.

Spencer: Sometimes people want to tell you things, but they just can’t look you in the eye and say it.
Hanna: Why not?
Spencer: Because they’re afraid of what you’ll think of them.


Toby and Caleb talk about Ravenswood, and I have pastel-colored flashbacks to when Buffy would talk about things that happened on Angel even though I wasn’t watching it. Caleb gets frustrated and leaves.

A big win for #booradleyvancullen

A big win for #booradleyvancullen

Back at the Brew where Emily apparently still works, Paige is all femmed out and is picking up TWO coffees.

Just got off set from the noir episode

Just got off set from the noir episode

It’s a hard moment for Emily, seeing Paige head out on what’s is most likely a date. Her face is definitely that of someone who’s going to cry about this while watching early Alice/Dana scenes later.

I can't wait to talk to Mr. Piddles about this.

I can’t wait to talk to Mr. Piddles about this.

Then we army-crawl over to some sort of theater situation that’s full of people who are very committed to ambiguous, vaguely noir-themed period costumes. Aria has to sit next to Mona, which bums her out, but not as much as her dad’s fedora bums ME out. Neither of those bum me out quite as much as seeing Paige walk in with Professor Umbridge on her arm, though.

Hem hem!

Hem hem!


The movie starts, and I swear to god I thought Aria was going in for the kiss with Mona?


I can smell your fart from over here.

You guys, this show is so weird. Instead, Aria whispers something to her, which Mona visibly reacts to and has to excuse herself.

Later, Aria goes to check on Mona and finds her crying in the bathroom! Whoops.


Hold on, I think I got some bullshit in my eye.

Mona says’s always been just trying to protect herself and that everything is grossly unfair and that she should’ve died when she went over that cliff (foreshadowing?) and she really likes Mike even though she knows he deserves better.

Mona: Maybe you won’t believe this, but I’ll say it anyway: When she finishes with me, she’ll come after you and the others. She can’t trust you anymore. Not after Cyrus and not after New York.

Mona and the biggest dildo the world has ever known

Mona and the biggest dildo the world has ever known

I’m gonna be honest, I was surprised when she said that, even though I know I shouldn’t have been.

Meanwhile, Emily and Ezra are meeting to discuss the Mysterious Mystery of Alison DiLamystery, i.e. Ezra did some basic Googling and found some minor dirt on Cyrus. He committed some petty crimes but nothing intense enough that Ali would be able to blackmail him into corroborating her insane kidnapping story. The mysterious mystery continues!

No, just look at this, next week's script has a lot more Paige in it, don't give up yet

No, just look at this, next week’s script has a lot more Paige in it, don’t give up yet

Spencer made it home in one piece and is watching Melissa’s video on repeat. It’s a gut-punch. What can Spencer do now that she knows that the truth is harder to process than the mystery?

God, the last episode of Xena gets me every time

God, the last few Battlestar Galactica episodes get me every time

She cries, and I wish I could give her a hug.

There is a quick, boring scene where Aria tells her dad that Mike and Mona are just a couple of crazy kids who are gonna make it after all. But then Lieutenant Tanner is at the door to ask Byron some questions. What is Tanner’s home life like, do you think? Do you think she has a cat? She seems like a dog person, but her work hours are maybe too crazy for that.


Maybe she has a nice one-bedroom that’s empty all week but full of love and brunch on the weekends? I just want her to have nice things.

Tanner comes in and tells Byron she just wants to talk. He’s upset that she keeps “harassing” the girls and accuses her of not doing her job, which is crazy since she’s doing her job right now, in the dead of night. She tells him that homicide cases are supposed to get simpler as they go along, and the fact that this one is getting more complicated means someone is fucking with her. But don’t worry, apparently one of the girls is going to come forward with the whole truth! Aria, who is obviously listening in, is like FUCKING SHIT GOD DAMN IT.

I wonder if Tanner sleeping with Hanna's mom would solve this problem

I wonder if Tanner sleeping with Hanna’s mom would solve this problem

Caleb stumbles into his eternally unlocked apartment to pack some things and probably skip town? Or something? But Hanna, who had been sitting in the dark for an hour so she could have this moment (I love her), flips on the light and busts him. He tells her to fuck off, and she tells him they have to work on trusting each other otherwise he might as well leave.

Surprise, bitch.

Surprise, bitch.

Caleb’s response is to explain the series finale of Ravenswood, which I still don’t understand. I didn’t watch that show. This scene is confusing and a monument to the failure of Ravenswood as a whole.



All I know is that Caleb feels like he’s fucked up after living through whatever that was, and there is officially a supernatural element in Rosewood. The Ouija Board is real. Rosewood might as well be Bon Temps or Sunnydale, at this point, since introducing the supernatural opens up possibilities that we can’t even guess at.


Later, Aria is talking to Spencer and Emily about what Tanner said, and they all agree that it’s gotta be Ali prepping to tell another giant lie to the cops. Emily shows them the kidnap-story-ruining evidence that Ezra unearthed, and Spencer is like I CAN DO YOU ONE BETTER and shows them Melissa’s tape.

Learning Beyoncé choreography

Learning Beyoncé choreography

Emily and Aria continue to live in a world of constant surprise and wonder, and the three girls posit theories about how Bethany could’ve ended up wearing Alison’s clothes. Seriously, it’s a little like watching the writer’s room try to figure it out simultaneously. They agree that something weird is going on! Oh man!



And that’s she wrote for this week! Next week is the mid-season finale, so I will be liveblogging it here, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel. Apparently someone is going to die, so gird your loins for that party.

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Intern Grace

Grace Ellis has been writing and making hack-job graphics for Autostraddle since 2011 and is a co-creator and co-writer of the comic book series Lumberjanes. She is mostly an intern in name only. (Mostly.) She lives in Columbus, Ohio because why anything. Also, she wants to write the Black Widow movie and feels like if she just keeps telling people, eventually she will be allowed to do it. She has a Twitter and a Tumblr, both of which are pretty above average.

Grace has written 89 articles for us.


  1. I also hate when people are like “can we talk later” and I’m like “sure let me just take a Xanax so my heart doesn’t explode before the aforementioned later” JUST TELL ME NOW!!!!

    That is also how I feel when I watch this show, I JUST WANT ANSWERS!

  2. Paige dating a blonde, :D yieeeee! Get your girl back! Perform ala anna kendrick. Emily sing!
    “Don’t you, forget about me (just the way you are)
    As you walk on by, will you call my name…”

  3. “Sit on a cactus, you off-brand Jason Stackhouse”

    I feel like every man on this show is an off brand version of a man on a better show, like Caleb is Tim Riggins. Actually this could go for most shows on abc family. I wonder when the lying game is coming back on. Anyhow this is hilarious I’m gonna finish reading it now.

  4. Am I a bad person for wishing for some Melissa/Ali flashbacks, practicing, I don’t know..linedancing?

  5. I’m just glad they finally wrapped up the Melissa’s Big Secret plot.

    I want to know what Aria told Mona in that theatre though.

    • Aria was whispering sweet nothings to Mona, asking her to wait for her in the bathroom for some making out?

      #Monaria works really well as a hashtag, I don’t know

  6. I may just be naively hopeful, but I disagree about what the show is doing with Ezra/Zach. I think Aria realizes that everyone’s–but mainly Hannah’s–reaction to Zach was about more than him being engaged. She is now looking at an adult male being inappropriate with an underage girl from the outside and is seeing that it is creepy. When Emily mentioned that she got help from Ezra, Aria looked distinctly uncomfortable.

    At least I really hope that they were just messing with us for the first three and a half seasons by saying that Ezria was romantic.

  7. 1. I absolutely thought Aria was full on going to kiss Mona and I was so much more into it than I thought I would be.

    2. Am I the only one who loves Ali and Emily and assumes that Ali is not evil because it’s too obvious? And who really wants Paige to get the hell away from this insanity and live her deserved life as the swimming Shane of Stanford?

    3. All of this was really hard to type because my eyes literally rolled out of my head during the Ravenswood fireflies nonsense and I haven’t yet been able to find them.

  8. Yay! I’ve been waiting for you to recap more PLL Grace! Fantastic work! :D Paige is back next week and in the Christmas special so things are looking up. <3

    Am I the only one who thinks Paige should have been wearing something like Mike did to her date? I mean Lindsey is gorgeous no matter what but the dress seemed a strange choice for Paige.

      • I feel they are trying to “feminize” her character honestly. I’ve read that a lot of the fanbase dislikes Paige and maybe they figured “oh a dress will fix that” or something ridiculous. Like they decided straight people can’t handle a MOC character?

        • Oh I thought that was the whole idea — that she was dressing like that specifically to impress this new girl instead of dressing like herself. Because i feel like outside of that scene, her wardrobe choices have gotten more tomboyish over time.

        • maybe paige should have just worn this outfit again instead. I would have been okay with that:

  9. Jesus I love this stupid show so flipping much. I want to quit so hard. But I won’t. Ever. I’ll follow you into the dark, PLL.

    Also Intern Grace I love your recaps even more than I love everything Hanna wears and I routinely google “PLL Hanna Style WANT” so that’s a lot.

    Also also, wtf with the fireflies. The hell was that nonsense?

  10. I’m so behind on this show (actually now I’m caught up to this point but I don’t have cable so I can’t watch the finale until tomorrow ANYWAY…)
    I just have to go on record that Hanna is my forever favorite. She’s the actual best and I will fight anyone who says otherwise.

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