Pretty Little Liars 605 Recap: The Girl With the Tippi Tattoo

Previously on Pretty Little Liars, Alison and Jason found out Charles DiLaurentis was Jason’s imaginary friend. Wait, no. Their older brother who died and was cremated. Wait, no. Their older brother who died and was buried in Aunt Carole’s garden. They believed each new tale from their father about Charles without pause or reason. Spencer remembered the after effects of chopping someone/something to pieces in the dollhouse. Aria remembered dying her hair pink in that same place. Hanna begged Caleb not to turn into Ezra. And Emily took — OUCH! Holy shit! What the hell was that? My brain feels like it just got hit with lighting or something. Sorry. Emily took Sa—donkey balls, man! Is someone scrubbing the inside of my skull with a clothes hanger?! Hem hem. Emily took Sara Harvey to—MARSHMALLOW CHRIST, WHAT THE FUCK.

I’m sorry, I can’t access the memory of what happened with Emily last week for some reason.




Ugh, don’t be such a dance mom, Spencer.

Spencer mentally teleports herself to the basement of Radley Sanitarium where Alison DiLaurentis once held her close and twirled her around the graveyard of doll skulls, whispering into her ear about how kissing girls for practice is more fun than kissing boys, full stop. But there is to be no such lesbian diversion on this day. Instead, the ghost of Maddie Ziegler modern dances her way from electrocution table to electrocution table, and while Spencer is impressed with this young ghost’s artistry, she is also disturbed by the brain fuckery of the whole thing. Also she finds a pair of Charles DiLaurentis’ gross old flip-flops down there, and that just creeps her out even worse.

No offense to Ezra (lol jk all offense to Ezra always), but we should never discourage Spencer from doing drugs. The inside of her brain is a horrific marvel.


Are you stuffing study drugs into your mouth at 8am?


No, it’s pot, chill out.

When Spencer wakes up, she calls Aria to sleuth out her dream and also bitch about how her mother wants her to be the valedictorian of Rosewood High School’s graduation, despite the fact that she has only attended approximately two weeks of school since her sophomore year. The whole time she’s prattling on, she’s stuffing pot brownies in her mouth, for breakfast. She’s pretty sure she’s been down in that Radley basement before, and not just for Phantom Prom. Aria honestly doesn’t have the energy. It’s not that she doesn’t love Spencer or want to support all her accusatory whims; it’s just that she picked up the phone an hour ago before she was even fully awake and Spencer hasn’t stopped talking since. Aria also thinks “graduation” is a jibberish word; she’s never even heard of it.

Hanna walks into her kitchen to find the glorious presence of Mona Vanderjesus awaiting her, looking like the lovechild of Holly Golightly and Jenna Marshall, which cannot be a coincidence, my darlings. She’s been at a spa, and but even though she did not receive a nonconsensual gloved massage from Lucas at said spa, she could not relax. Because of PTSD from what happened in the dollhouse and the omnipresent danger of existing in this town when Charles DiLaurentis is on the loose? No. Mona could not relax because she was worried about Alison coming after her to get revenge for faking her own death and sending Alsion to prison for premeditated murder.


I’ll never let ANYBODY put me in a cage.


I don’t want to put you in a cage, I want to love you!

Hanna explains that Ali’s main thing these days is getting preyed upon by the new police officer in town at church, but Mona Vandergolightly Mashallbot doesn’t believe this is true.

Emily and Sara are taking turns having a hundred showers. When Emily returns from one such scrub-a-dubbing, she finds Sara on the phone hollering at her mom about … whatever things a person yells at an imaginary parent. “Oh my god, Mom, I have a new life now, and a career. I dress like a lesbian and take a hundred bubble baths and make fetch empanadas with my girlfriend. No, that’s not a euphemism, Mother. I’m talking about meat-stuffed pastries! Ugh you’ll never understand me I hate you!” Anyway, it’s such a traumatic phone call that Emily suggests emancipation as the key to Sara’s troubles.* She’s been watching The Fosters, so she knows all you’ve got to do is a get a part-time job at any old where and that’s how you get emancipated and it only takes a few hours.


#cleaner than you

(*If these girls are young enough to need to be emancipated to live on their own, they are too young to be making out with GROWN-ASS MEN.)

Aria decides to spend her day at the junkyard with Clark taking photos of spine-chilling dolls in a variety of artistic poses. Doll guts juxtaposed with rusty forks. Doll eyeballs in a bowl of tomatillas. Doll heads as Christmas lights. Doll bodies chopped into halves by a guillotine made of Mason jar lids. Clark is into it. Not just her macabre photographic sensibility and the fact that she has had a complete psychotic break one of the two times he has been in her presence, but also the fact that she’s famous from the news for being kidnapped by the guy that kidnapped the girl that faked her own death and pinned it on the other girl who faked her own death. I mean, he doesn’t want to freak Aria out that he knows all of that about her, but does she want to get brunch some time?

No, she does not.


I’d like to think I’m slightly less disappointing than your mother.


Weirdly, you are not.

Once again, Alison cannot trust the officers of the law who have been hired to protect her. She overhears them talking shit about her, so she steps outside to take some deep breaths, and here comes her shitbird father (whose name, I have been informed, is Kenneth) to tell her to get back inside and shoulder all the slander. It’s her own fault that literally every man she has ever interacted with — from her own brother, Jason; to her brother’s best friend, Ian; to Teacher of the Year, Ezra Fitz; to the police; to Kenneth himself; to (spoiler alert!) Pastor Police Lorenzo — has abused and exploited her. Kenneth tells her to deal with it, says she was a real bitch was she was a 15-year-old child who was trying to survive while being able to trust exactly no adults on earth. She had it coming.

Mona and Hanna hit up the Brew for some coffee and weed, and guess what psychotic tornado is there? Oh, it’s Lesli Stone and she is pissed as noodles at Mona. Tanner has called Lesli in for questioning because of how she committed perjury when she said Alison killed Mona except for Mona wasn’t dead, which is hilarious for so many reasons, not the least of which is: Tanner is goddamned determined to arrest someone for something in connection with the original mystery of this show and make the conviction stick. Let’s arrest the Liars for killing Ali. Whoops, Ali is alive. Let’s arrest the Liars for murdering Wilden. Whoops, Wilden molested all of them and Cece Drake killed that motherfucker. Let’s arrest the Liars for murdering Mona. Whoops, she’s not dead either. Let’s arrest them for putting rat’s blood on a trophy. Let’s arrest them for holding a shovel. Let’s arrest them for owning a parrot without a permit. Let’s arrest them for riding their bikes on the sidewalk. Let’s arrest them for looking at us weird. No? No? No no no no no? Okay, well, how about that grumpy-faced one with the glasses who helped them without knowing she was helping them? That’ll teach ’em to mess with old Detective Tanner!


You’re a virgin who can’t drive.


Lesbian sex is actual sex, Lesli. Wake up, the patriarchy has brainwashed you!

Lesli yells at Mona and Hanna about whatever Scooby villain thing and how they’re going to burn. Mona is a little shaken. Hanna is deeply unimpressed.

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. Not sure if it was intentional on the writer’s part, but I fully appreciated Hanna calling Aria out on her transphobic tomfoolery regarding A’s shadow.

    Aria: “Boobs means girl because gender binary!”

    Hanna: “Or nah. Just a bust. A bust that probs belongs to a redheaded bespeckled she-demon, but still just a bust with no inherent gender because that’s not how that works.”

  2. – I got my wish. A “House on Haunted Hill” Spencer.
    – I completely forgot about Mona and Mike. Apparently so did Mona.
    – What is that that Emily is holding. Is that lingerie?
    – I feel less bad about photographer boy now that I realize that he’s just a plot point to get Aria to her time jump.
    – “Alison, you have to own it. Bad behavior has a way of catching up with you.” This is what I’ve been saying all along.
    – KILL HER HANNA! Kill Lesli and protect your woman.
    – Lesli threatening Mona with payback in a town with both -A AND Mona is a joke.
    – So Spencer has to be high to be sexting Tobey? I’m sure she sexted Aria ACCIDENTALLY. She was high. Yeah, that’s it.
    – Here I’m going to have to include a tweet from Kim Baczko: “Hannah’s bone dry cup needs to be filled with some pink drink pronto”
    – Emily, are you talking about her…or yourself?
    – Was Hanna hitting on Lesli? However Lesli was dropping some truth on Hanna.
    – “You’re the first girl to toss her cookies in my car.” DAD JOKE!
    – So is that tattooist hitting on Emily? Her good china brings all the girls to the yard.
    – I see Lesli yelling at Mona, and she’s berating her about being able to do anything, but I wonder if Mona is playing her. Mona did make a whole bunch of noise down there. On a night when she knew that Spencer and Hanna would be there.
    – Spencer moving Hanna’s head around is the most Spencery thing to ever be Spencered.
    PS – Spencer is -A.
    PPS – A short Pretty Little Liars noir fanfic of mine.

      • yes. People unfairly hate on Aria. Starting with 4A she has just gotten better and better. But bc she was awful s1-3 no one engages in her storylines and just writes them off.

        • S1-3 is more than half the series at this point in time so you can’t really blame people for being conditioned to tune out during Aria’s scenes. (And I say this as someone who’s trying really hard to like her.)

          • Ali was awful for 4.5 seasons and yet everyone has turned around on her. The same way season 5/6 have made me recontextualize Ali 1-4 season 4 made me recontextualize Aria seasons 1-3 and now looking back I’m not nearly as annoyed by her.

  3. When PLL is finally over, it is highly possible that Ali could go down as one of the best examples tv has given us of a feminist icon. She certainly has the potential to be one of my favorite television characters, ever. If that is ruined for a romantic relationship, in particular one with the likes of FUCKING LORENZO, I will lose my shit. It will go down as one of the greatest disappointments in the history of tv, in my opinion. Second only, of course, to Faberry never happening.

    Excellent recap, as always. Thanks, friend.

    • Co-signed, especially because Faberry. I don’t think enough people give Ali credit for being the most complicated female character ever.

    • I totally agree with you. I have to believe, though, that a show that could make me do a 180 on Ali (I went from her #1 hater to #1 fan) would have something up their sleeve on this whole Lorenzo thing. He’s a grown ass man making out with a teenager. Just like Detective Rick Perry Hair was a grown ass man making out with (the same) teenager. He’s up to no good. Maybe Hanna can go all Tonya Harding on him with a tire iron like she did Det. RPH.

      • I absolutely agree with this! I also think Lorenzo is up to something shady and the show will go in that direction. But I have trust issues. :)

    • Also, Marlene King has always said that the Liars are the only Ship the show cares about. I really do have faith that Alison will take her place as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne as she burns the patriarchy to the ground with her fucking dragons.

      • I wish it were more obvious though (“the only ship” part). The show seems to hold onto Hanna+Caleb and Spencer+Toby for dear life. And used to do the same with Aria and Ezra… The male romantic interests on this show just WON’T GO AWAY.

  4. OK, but Spencer’s nightmare with the dancing ghost girl was WAY TOO SCARY like that was some shit straight out of The Ring.

    This recap, though, is on point 100%.


  5. The only thing I could think after the episode was
    “Oh no, no no no, now the knowledge that Emily has a nonsensical kanji (Japanese symbol) tattooed on her hip will plague me for the rest of my life!!”

    It’s one thing to have kanji tattoo and it’s another thing altogether to have a tattoo of a kanji that doesn’t actually exist. Don’t be one of those people, Emily!!!

    Courage in Japanese is 勇気 so they got the first symbol right. The second one looks a bit similar to the traditional way of writing the second symbol but it’s still different and not the same at all.

    My only hope now is for them to show the tattoo later in the series and have it somehow magically be the correct symbol.

    • It bothered me at first but then I realized it’s such a perfect bad impulse tattoo for an 18 yr old girl. I can only hope she later gets that crap lasered off.

      • And she wasn’t even drunk when she got it, lol.

        Maybe the writers intend for this to be a lesson for the teenagers to not get tattoos on an impulse.

        • She was drunk on peer pressure from a sketchy blonde girl. We all know what that does to Emily.

  6. I nearly threw my laptop into the wall when Lorenzo kissed Ali. FUCK. THIS. SHOW. SERIOUSLY.

    I also can’t believe the whole Sara-emancipation nonsense, and that Emily would impulsively get a culturally misappropriated tattoo just like that? Is that legal, to get tattoos under 18?

    Ugh, and then Dean showed up and condescended to Spencer about being better than needing drugs to help deal with her PTSD. Like. Are you fucking kidding me, show. This is the same as telling a depressed person that it’s all in their head and just have a positive attitude.

    This whole episode was chaotic garbage. All of it. If I didn’t know that there was a time-jump coming up soon, I’d consider walking away because this show is just flying off the rails with the constant predatory mansplainers everywhere.

    • Not only can it not be legal, well it could be legal for Sara if she’s emancipated, but it’s expensive. What exactly is Sara’s sorce of income?

    • Pretty sure Toby was also under 18 when he got his tatt. But as we all know, Rosewood’s more than a little IFFY about ages of consent for things.

      (I guess Toby’s could be a Juvie tattoo though. Just imagine Toby getting inked in his do-rag.)

  7. My head also exploded during any scene featuring Ossifer Creepenzo. But I strangely find myself rooting for him just because it makes Kenneth (Vernon is a much better name for him, btw) SO MAD.

    Where is Tanner? She keeps summoning folks to interrogate them for whichever crime, but we haven’t seen her?

    Shoutout to High n’ Horny Spencer. I can’t imagine sexting Toby would be all that great. Like, she’ll come down and reread her texts and maybe judge herself. Also, she should rethink her relationship with Mona (hopefully, long live HasterJesus!!)

    Oh, Emily. You gorgeous amazing human. You’re so gonna regret that tattoo after the time jump.

    • Yeah, the bit about Spencer needing to be high in order to find her boyfriend sexually appealing made me laugh.

  8. Your recaps are everything! They always make my day! I’m particularly impressed at your ability to recall random events from so many seasons ago and relate them to what’s happening right now. and I just love how you point out the absurdity of things. This show is pretty ridic in many ways but I still can’t stop watching. Definitely a guilty pleasure. Although it does have some important underlying social commentary. Also I just love Alison, been on her side from day 1; she is not the problem but the fucked up society she lives in..also hate Lorezon obviously.
    Emily what’s up with you, poor tattoo choice and I don’t dig the Harvey chick or they relationship dynamic.. I think it’s time they give Emily another love interest with actual potential.

  9. The captions though. “I thought it was another man coming to explain basic shit to me”, laughing forever.

  10. This episode was one of the scariest ones they’ve done in a while. Aly’s dad is the worst. Emily is so into Sam and she’s making all the cute faces. The Aly Lorenzo romance feels so forced. Can they please give Aly an age appropriate romance that’s not manipulating her. People are so awful to her. I love Mona and am glad she’s back.

  11. Forever calling it the good china from now on. Also, was Emily blinded in the dollhouse because that Tippi tattoo was godawful. I second the fact Em should have gone with the mermaid holding a harpoon, perfect metaphor for what she’s doing with her life right now, antithesis of her “courage” tattoo. Hoping not for it to be Lasered during time jump but for giant water dragon coverup from rib to knee.

  12. I used to be pro legalizing marijuana. Then I remembered the deadly consequences: Fake Cousins.

  13. Spencer, I know you were high for practically this whole episode, but if A could fake an autopsy report, A can fake an organ donation report. USE YOUR HEAD. Charles is obviously not dead, and Leslie is obviously a red herring.

    And Emily? Remember Fake Cousin Nate? Stop trusting people who give you so many reasons not to trust them.

    And Aria? Boobs do not mean “girl”. Remember that Vivian Darkbloom wig? Remember the masks of Ali’s face? A is a chameleon. Maybe if you’d actually been on this show for the first three seasons, you’d know that already.

    And Mona? Ali is not the problem. Use you adrenalized hyperreality to find the person who, I dunno, abducted you and trapped you in a bunker?

    Finally, Hanna? You can stay. But have a talk with your BFFS, because you are the only one who has made any good decisions in the last like, 3 episodes.

  14. -At this point I almost feel like they won’t make Sara Harvey a double agent for A because pretty much everyone’s calling that
    -Don’t get me wrong, Lorenzo is the absolute worst, but I’m pretty sure the relationship isn’t that age appropriate? Like, I’m under the impression that he’s supposed to be Toby’s age (like 19) and Alison is either 18 or really damn close to turning 18. They should really make it more clear though.
    -Clark is basically just a plot device to get Aria to her timejump/take that one picture of ‘A’ so I’m not particularly fazed by him tbh
    -Also (MILD SPOILER ALERT?) Tammin Sursok said in an interview that she’d be back in season 6 for a handful of episodes, so maybe Mona’s look at the beginning of the episode is foreshadowing of that? (And hopefully Sydney will come back too… and Noel and Lucas and Cece and everyone else involved in this A web).

    • Lorenzo looks like he’s at least 34. He looks like he’d be a more appropriate love interest for Ashley rather than someone Hanna’s age.

  15. Love your Seussical words, Vandergolightly and Marshalbot were fabulous. Your provide insight into both the craft of television and storytelling. Now if I could just peel off you Paily goggles, but I understand your personal attachment too well to believe that will ever happen. Thanks for the prompt recap, I live for yours to be posted.

  16. I just now want to see Hanna and Spencer on a dinner date together- menu: pot brownies and pink drinks.

  17. was spitting my tea everywhere just from the GIRL WITH A TIPPI TATTOO title of this recap before I even read it

  18. So I have to admit, originally, I wasn’t completely hating on Lorenzo – for a couple of reasons.

    First, Ali is all alone and she really needs someone in her corner. For two years she was alone on the streets. Then when she came back it wasn’t long before her friends turned their backs on her and tried to frame her for murder (cough…Emily…cough). Her first Christmas home she spent alone while the other girls partied it up next door at Spencer’s house. Then she was all alone in jail. Now that the girls are all out of the dollhouse no one is spending time with her, except when they want to yell at her about Charles. Emily is too busy chasing after feral, crazy train, Sara like a lost puppy begging for affection (Don’t even get me going on that one because I could write a book about it). Meanwhile, Ali has NO ONE right now and it would have been nice to see her interact with someone with no agenda and no judgement of her past deeds, even if it was just temporary.

    Second, I don’t think he is supposed to be that much older and it’s just bad casting. Ali and these girls are about to graduate (well maybe not Ali because she has so much school to catch up on) so they’re most likely already 18, or if not at least late 17/almost 18. Lorenzo could very likely be fresh out of the academy, like Toby. So realistically he could be 20 or 21, maybe even 22 and that isn’t age inappropriate for a girl who is 18 or about to turn 18. Again, I think it was horrible casting on the producer’s part to choose an actor who looks so much older so it yet again looks like an older man trolling on a young girl, when it probably isn’t the case this time.

    Third, When I heard Ali was going to get involved with Toby’s partner I had mixed feelings. For a minute I thought how great it would be if maybe…. just maybe….. the writers took that opportunity to show Ali in a new light. He could be the perfect catalyst for Ali to realize and accept that a relationship with a man is not right for her, nor is it what she wants.

    But what the writers are doing, the way they’re portraying this relationship, is an absolute travesty. They’ve made him a sleazy creep who they’re trying to make look genuine, but he’s simply preying on her vulnerability. And it’s a combination of the writing, the casting and the acting. It makes my skin crawl they way he looks at her and speaks to her and I want to take a shower and wash away all the ickiness after every one of their scenes. There’s no chemistry there and you can see Sasha’s attempt to make it work but she has nothing to work with in her scenes with him.

    So I find myself not only disgusted but supremely disappointed. Once again the writers are wasting an opportunity to explore the Ali and Emily dynamic and are, instead, throwing these girls with two insignificant characters who mean nothing, have no impact on the story and are just taking up space. Unless Lorenzo or Sara turns out to be Charles or A or on the A-team, what is the point of this? Why are they wasting air time when there are still so many unanswered questions and one very long overdue conversation about a certain night spent in Ali’s bed? I get that Emily is done coddling and letting Ali manipulate her, but it seems like the writers don’t want them to interact at all. When was the last time they had a scene alone together? That phone call from jail?

    Anyway…. to sum up all my rambling…. Lorenzo is a creep and now I am officially hating on him. It makes me sick to see Ali being preyed on yet again. It’s like Spencer’s drug addiction and Emily’s need to cling to any lesbian who steps within a one mile radius of her. Can’t the writers come up with anything else, new and unique, to do with them?

    Come on Marlene and company, use your creative brains and give us something worth watching…. although I do have to admit Spencer and her pot brownies and cookies do make me laugh despite the severity of the underlying message of how she’s about to crash and burn again.

  19. Heather Hogan, I am anxiously awaiting your dissent in regards to Emily’s storyline this season. I appreciate that you don’t want to talk about it yet. We don’t want to hear about it yet. However, I look forward to the day when you write out exactly what’s wrong with what’s going on this season.

  20. (By the way, the movie about Tippi and her lions is AMAZING and TERRIFYING. And not a snuff film, though I was genuinely concerned for a while.)

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