Pretty Little Liars Episode 421 Recap: She’s Come Undone

Welcome back to a show about teenagers dealin’ with things way beyond the scope of what’s normal. Let’s all watch as they skip-hop along down a deep dark path.



We begin with Aria telling the Liars every detail about Ezra and the ski lift episode. The Liars are more into finding out who A is or if Ezra knows A or what the hell is going on, which, well, can you blame them?

Ok, now Aria, lift your right leg and slide closer to Spencer.

Ok, now Aria, lift your right leg and slide closer to Spencer. That’s it, exactly.

Apparently, Ezra thought that one of the Liars killed Ali. I’m going to be honest, I started rewatching the series this week and if you remember the first episode, there were quite a few hints that Spencer might have had something to do with Ali’s death/disappearance/whatever the hell happened with Alison. So! Very interesting, Ezra. Very interesting. Also, it might be interesting to note that Aria didn’t say which Liar Ezra thought killed Ali. Hmm. Unless she didn’t look? Which, in that case, what. the. fuck.

And then he said he's keeping our Hitachi Wand. This has been a profound loss for me.

And then he said he’s keeping our Hitachi Wand. This has been a profound loss for me.

Back at the Hastings house, the show’s writers remember that these teen girls have parents, and were kind enough to put BOTH OF THEM in the scene! What! Mr AND Mrs Hastings?! To what do we owe this honor?


Law And Order: PLL

They want Spencer to go to rehab for the pill habit (oh hey, might be a pretty good idea), but Spencer panics and says she doesn’t want Radley AND rehab in her background. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but would college admissions know these things? It’s not like they have access to medical records. Am I wrong? For some reason, Spencer’s parents agree to let her not go to rehab and try to kick the pill habit on the condition that Spencer takes the withdrawal medication under their supervision. Any bets on how well this is going to go?


What do you mean Glee is back

At school, Hanna finds Buzzcut, who is dressed rather dapper, wearing a suit to school. What did Hanna wear to school today? You remember Aria wearing a Lisa Frank dress the other day? Hanna just took it to the next level wearing this Lisa Frank pantsuit. Normally, I’d be really  embarrassed for her, but you know what? Hanna is pulling this shit off.


Buzzcut offers a dramatic reenactment of when he tongue-kissed Hanna

Anyway! Buzzcut is going to court, or rather, his dad is going to court for something that was discovered when Mrs. Marin was being cleared of Wilden’s murder.

Meanwhile, outside, because it’s normal to just hang outside in light clothing during winter in Pennsylvania, Spencer is riding the strugglebus.

This is just what my face looks like now, this is my face now because the world is assaulting my brain

This is just what my face looks like now, this is my face now because the world is assaulting my brain

Emily finds her and tells her that she spoke to Shana, who requested that Emily drop the monies off to a PO Box an hour away for Ali. But they can’t get into it for long because here comes Aria on a fucking mission if I ever saw one.

Hurry, my butt plug is falling out.

Hurry, my butt plug is falling out.

They follow her to Ezra’s classroom, where Aria runs in and demands to speak to Ezra, but there’s a sub. Ezra took some time off for “family-related issues” or something like that. Sure he did. Maybe not the best time to confront Ezra anyway, you know, Aria? Or maybe it is and I’m just wrong!

DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING, SINGING THE - guys, it doesn't work unless you sing with me

DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING, SINGING THE – guys, it doesn’t work unless you do it with me

Spencer shows up to Toby’s with cronies and begs forgiveness. He forgives her and she makes a lot of difficult promises to keep, I bet.


The face of an angel cherub babe

At school, Paige finds Emily wandering around and they make plans to hang out that evening. Paige noticed that Emily has a ton of money and Emily lies, saying it’s from her grandma. Nicest grandma EVER.


Idk, Em, that seems like a lot of fingers

Hanna goes to find Officer Holbrook and talk to him about Buzzcut’s case. Not a thing you can do! She begs him to take pity on Buzzcut’s dad.

Just put your hands up like this and come at me. I can totally block it.

Just put your hands up like this and come at me. I can totally block it.

Aria ends up at Ezra’s apartment! She gets in, and finds it empty, and then LEAVES THE DOOR OPEN as she starts looking around and finding more of his evidence and spy-work. She flips through the notebooks and finds one that says, “Aria knows nothing.” That’s when she proceeds to flip the fuck out. It’s pretty amazing, actually. I liked the part where she smashes the picture of the two of them. Isn’t this pretty much everyone’s dream — to trash their ex’s apartment? Oh, just me. Oh, okay. Moving on.

God, it's not even a GOOD Sparia fic. He knows I'm not athletic enough for that.

God, it’s not even a GOOD Sparia fic. He knows I’m not athletic enough for that.

Back at school, Spencer finds a pill bottle in her locker. It says “Don’t say I never gave you anything – A” Jerk move, A. I’d panic about this, but Spencer tells Emily about it immediately. At first, I was proud of her, and then when she didn’t let Emily take the bottle, I got nervous. Soooo it’s going to be THAT kind of After-School Special episode.



They realize they haven’t heard from Aria in awhile, and realize that she’s probably at Ezra’s. They find her in a daze on Ezra’s floor and take her home. Now, there’s tons of evidence everywhere, and none of them want to take it with them?! Are you kidding?! Spencer finds a picture of her shadow with Ali that we’ve seen before with a note attached “From Mona Vanderwhal.” So that’s interesting.

Psh, Aria's totally not athletic enough for that.

Psh, Aria’s totally not athletic enough for that.

Hanna finds Buzzcut in court, and we learn that Detective Holbrook was a good guy and said nice things about Buzzcut’s dad and now everything’s fine.

This is kind of my minimum, tbh

This length is my minimum, tbh

After, she finds Officer Holbrook at the brew and tries to thank him but ends up kissing him?! What?! Stop! But Officer Holbrook reacted just as you should when a teen girl kisses an adult and he is freaked out. Good. Okay.


Henley by Broad Shouldered White Dudes Inc

Emily goes to drop off the money at the PO Box and Paige finds her there, following her around because the show’s writers hate us and want a good excuse to break up Emily and Paige. Great. Emily tells Paige that Ali is alive. Then Paige gets upset about Emily wanting to send Ali money, because duh, and also duh danger, and also maybe jealousy. She gives her an ultimatum, and guys, word of wisdom here: NEVER GIVE YOUR GIRLFRIEND AN ULTIMATUM. The ultimatum is that she can give the money to Ali, but then she has to cut off all contact with her or Paige will go to the police with the info.


I told you it was too many fingers.

Spencer is also looking through Ezra’s stuff, but she finds a card for a private investigator with “Hired to follow Spencer” written on the back. UH WHAT? Not for Melissa after all?! She takes more pills. NOOOO.

You guys! "Marc Pope" is an anagram for "I am Lord Alison DiLaurentis!" Mystery solved.

“Marc Pope” is an anagram for “I am Lord Alison DiLaurentis.” Mystery solved, case closed.

But away we must go to the land of ex-girlfriend vengeance, where Aria is flipping through Ezra’s journals and burning pages with her dad. She finds a letter about an installment of his novel and his agent’s info. She calls the agency, pretending to be Victoria Blackwell, a co-worker of Ezra’s. She wants to know the publication date. Turns out Ezra is there right now disussing the date. Now she’s more upset about Ezra lying to her about burning the manuscript than the fact that a novel about her life with her real name is going to be printed? Can you print names of minors in true crime novels? Who reads true crime novels and wants to tell me?

Ok, and how discreet is your shipping? Perfect.

Ok, and how discreet is your shipping? Perfect.

This sets her off to go to the principal’s house to tell him about her and Ezra’s relationship. Hanna talks her out of it and the reasoning seems legit but it would have been fun to see Ezra get in trouble/thrown in jail. So now Aria has to figure out a new way to make Ezra pay. I’m sure whatever it is, it’ll be good.



Emily finds Aria later at her house and Aria’s packing to go somewhere. She doesn’t want anyone to go with, and she doesn’t know where she’s going. This seems like a well thought-through, great idea, Aria. Yeah.

So now that Spencer is back on the pills wagon, she can look at Ezra’s stuff more closely. Apparently Ezra also wrote that Cece AND Mrs DiLaurentis saw what Spencer and Ali were fighting that night. Mrs DiLaurentis paid off Cece to keep her mouth shut about it, however. We get a flashback to see that Spencer was holding a shovel and threatening Ali.

Spencer "Questionable Decisions" Hastings

Spencer “Deep V” Hastings

Because Spencer was on the pills at the time, however, she doesn’t remember anything that happened. Uh huh. Spence then talks to her dad, who gives her zero info, and then Toby comes over. Good timing. Spencer goes out with Toby, but ditches him to go talk to Mrs DiLaurentis. But instead of talking, she freaks out and grabs Mrs DiLaurentis, hurting her and creeping her out pretty bad. When she gets home, Toby and her parents are waiting for her. Toby stands up and says it’s time for her to get help. Oh man.

Spencer, it's good to have goals, but I don't think Aria is athletic enough for that.

Spencer, it’s good to have goals, but I don’t think Aria is athletic enough for that.

Meanwhile, Paige has an envelope and is walking at night. This looks pretty suspicious. She opens it to show us it’s a note saying Ali is alive and then tosses it in a cop car? ET TU, PAIGE?

Oh shit, cronuts.

Oh shit, cronuts.

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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. ET TU, PAIGE !?!
    LOL my thoughts exactly.
    Not sure if I’m being one-sided but this seems like betrayal to me. I get that she is probs more jealous than scared but I can’t see how this is going to help I mean does she not see that Emily is not happy about her ultimatums and still homegirl turn around and goes to rosewood PD. she should trust Emily ….. tight

  2. What do we expect from a relationship built on attempted drowning? Just sayin.

    Never understood how everyone got on team Paige after Paige TRIED TO DROWN EMILY. Sounds like abuse waiting to happen.

    • A fucking men. Most of the characters on this show (like real-life humans!) are deeply flawed. The lionization of Paige (particularly by AE, cough cough) given her history of physical and emotional abuse is really troubling to me.

    • Paige never tried to drown Emily and it’s a dumb thing to keep repeating over and over. She was a bullied, scared 15 year old full of self loathing and Emily held up a mirror to the parts of herself she tried to hide. She dunked Emily in a rage, to scare her. It was not a murder attempt. She didn’t fire a gun at Emily and miss. Toby tried to run Lucas over with a car, but people forgive him and don’t bring it up constantly. Marlene King, Joseph Dougherty and Maya Goldsmith have all said it wasn’t a drowning attempt.

      Paige has done more than any of the romantic interests to apologize and change. Now she’s a proud, confident young woman and it’s beautiful to see. She’s arguably one of the most important characters on the show just because it’s so powerful and amazing for young women and girls growing up dealing with this crap to see her come out the other side with her head held up and get her dream girl.

      • Ahhhh I disagree so much!

        I don’t really care what Queen Mar, etc say. Mostly for the same reasons it doesn’t count for JKR to say Dumbledore is gay after the fact (if you mean something, put it in your canon!). But also, I can’t even count the number of times the PLL producers and writers have lied or misled in interviews, so their word means nada to me.

        It also doesn’t matter what Toby did? That has no reflection on Paige. I’m guessing you’re implying that I am picking on Paige too much. Welppp Lucas did not start dating Toby after that incident and I dislike Toby as much as I dislike Paige! PLL glamorizes so many abusive relationships, and I dislike all of them. I just brought up Paige here because that is what people were talking about.

        In any case, it doesn’t matter if Paige dunked Emily in an attempted murder or an attempt to scare her. She did it out of rage. She hurt and terrified someone because she was angry. It was assault. And to start a relationship based on that is unhealthy. To portray relationships like that as romantic, especially when you have a young audience like PLL, is irresponsible and wrong. No matter what you say after the fact in interviews.

        I know I am not going to change your mind. I just feel so passionately about the way PLL portrays relationships, abuse, statutory rape, and love to its young audience, and how irresponsible and dangerous it is. So I couldn’t get your comment out of my head and I had to respond. Sorry you’re the brunt of my treatise that really should be directed at Queen Mar et al., haha.

    • (tw: abuse)THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT! I have never trusted Paige for a second because like you said, a relationship built in a fucking ATTEMPTED DROWNING (or at least Paige dunking Emily’s head underwater to make Emily THINK she was being drowned which believe me this was done to me and it IS fucking traumatic), not to mention PAIGE ADMITTING TO KISSING EMILY WHEN SHE KNEW EMILY WAS DRUGGED AND DIDN’T KNOW THAT IT WAS PAIGE. Those are two really fucking clear cut instances of abuse and I truly don’t understand how anyone can have positive feelings about Paige!

      Unrelated to this, I don’t totally buy Ezra’s true crime novel being published. Would he really write a book admitting to sleeping with two underage girls, one knowingly? Even if it was written from a perspective that didn’t include him admitting to sleeping with Aria, he would have to realize how big of a betrayal writing the book would be to Aria, giving her a great reason to turn him in. I almost wonder if he has been target by A this whole time too, and as a writer he is just organizing his info in the best way he knows how. A has manipulated the liars into keeping secrets from each other, so A could have absolutely manipulated Ezra into not telling Aria the truth when she found all the writings. Ezra meeting with the publisher could have been about something totally different. Either way I think Ezra’s backstory is going to be really fucked up and interesting to uncover.

      • he doesn’t have to admit to it in the book, he just used it as a way to do research, no?

      • Someone on twitter said something like “If Ezra published that book in real life, Gawker would uncover his statutory rape in less than a day.”

  3. Yeah actually I found a lot of things in this episode to be really borderline rapey. Spencer grabbing Mrs. DiLaurentis was weird. Then the Hannah and Aria scene made me sad, cause I agree that Aria should think things over before she tells the principal, but honestly I didn’t think Hannah’s reasoning was all that great. Paige was the worst though: you can’t control someone “for their own safety.” If you think someone is doing something dangerous, you tell them you are worried about them and ask them if you can help them. You don’t give them ultimatums or make big life decisions like that for them while creepily whispering DON’T WORRY ABOUT ME STALKING YOU, CONTROLLING YOU, OR BETRAYING YOU. IT’S BECAUSE I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. What saved it was Aria indignantly saying “Are you on Ezra’s side?” and Emily telling Paige “I don’t like ultimatums.” I was like, YOU GO GIRLS!

    Also, I thought I didn’t want Ezra to be A, but now he’s just a fame-hungry dickhead. Being a criminal mastermind or a creepy but earnest teacher guy would have been infinitely more interesting. Oh well, I’m sure the writers have no idea who A is and neither will we for a loooong time. At least we have Spencer’s very interesting character journey to look forward to for the next three episodes. I just wish she would dump Toby (gross) and get with Andrew…or Aria…(loved the Sparia captions btw)…

    • I agree, I don’t know what’s up with this show but The Boyfriends (in this case, The Girlfriend) are always acting against the Liars’ will or behind their back and it’s always under the excuse of protecting them or helping them. What about listening to them and respecting their decisions? I don’t like Paige or any of the others tbh. The only one I semi liked was Caleb and he’s gone.

    • Her rampage outfit was the same sweater that M. Rod is wearing in the paparazzi photos of her with her “new” gf! Ah, fashion overlaps = heavenly.

  4. Ugh, this was a rough episode. I’d be more upset with Paige if Emily hadn’t been falling down in the girlfriend deparment so much for awhile now. I’m sure there will be a lot of angst, but I’m hopeful they’ll be back together and stronger eventually.

  5. This episode was a doozy.

    The thing that irked me the most was that the thing that seemed to upset Aria the most about Ezra was that he didn’t love her(?). He knew she was underage and that he would be her teacher when he decided to hook-up with her in the pilot episode. And for more than two years he spied on and stalked her and the others while maybe also torturing them. Or, if he isn’t actually A, he sat idly by while they were physically and emotionally harassed and never once thought to intervene or alert the police. After all of that she’s only pissed off that it now seems like he never really loved her. I know she’s just a teenager and romantic relationships can overshadow everything else, but they’ve also characterized Aria as the mature one and, again, considering what she and her friends have been put through for the past two or three years it just seems a little petty.

  6. The whole scene with Emily and Paige about Ali made me reeeeeeeeally uncomfortable, but can we also acknowledge that Emily made an ultimatum FIRST? Not justifying Paige’s, but Christ, Emily didn’t start things off well by threatening to dump Paige if she didn’t comply.

    (Also, loving your Sparia captions, Hansen.)

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