Pretty Little Liars Episode 517 Recap: We All Scream for Ice Cream!

Obviously, they get locked in there and A turns on some liquid nitrogen and Aria starts yelling maybe my favorite thing that has ever come out of her mouth: “SPENCER, WHAT’S HAPPENING?! SPENCER, WHAT DO WE DO?!”



My kingdom for a mannequin leg!

Sadly, they do not have some tongue-wrasslin’ good times like what Ron and Hermione finally did down in the Chamber of Secrets when they thought they were going to die. But happily, Emily Fields is well-versed in the fine art of Smashing Shit to Pieces by her (ex-)girlfriend Paige McCullers, so she picks up this giant pipe wrench and starts wailing on the ice box control panel until it explodes and knocks her unconscious and frees Spencer and Aria. #SaveSparia is the hashtag that appears on the screen and it is the first time I have ever felt affection for ABC Family’s official hashtag maker. (I’ve been holding a grudge for #PoorEzra for a while.)

Rosewood Town Square. Ashley gives Jason a list of headhunters so he can find someone whose skillset includes, like, “crafting first-brand personalities for haunted properties” to replace her. (Also, “headhunter” re: Jason is the best joke this show has made since “CTRL+A.”) Jason tries to French Ashley right out in public, but she politely declines. Then she goes home and drinks a whole bottle of Pinot while trying on that engagement ring and taking it off and trying it on and wondering where Ella is these days.


Your hair is so big.


Yeah, I keep my secrets in there.

Emily Fields is the only person on earth who would spend the afternoon saving the lives of two of her friends while trying to track down a third friend to stop her from moving a dead body and still show up to close the coffee shop where she works. (You can take the Canadian out of Canada, but you can’t take the Canada out of a Canadian, I guess.) When Emily walks into the kitchen, Talia tells her to come on in and pull up a chair; it’s just her and her apples in here. Emily looks rough, so Talia’s feelings kicks up a notch and she decides to help boost Emily’s confidence. First, she picks the leaves (??) out of her hair (!!), and then:

Emily: I’ll just go wait in the Lolita section until you’re done.
Talia: Wait, no. C’mere. You had one bad cooking experience. Everyone does. Just stir these apples for a second and I think you’ll be surprised at what happens.
Emily: [Stirs the apples]
The apples: [Burst into flames]
Emily: Nope! That’s exactly what I thought would happen!
Talia: Shit, sorry. I thought these were Red Delicious apples, I didn’t realize I’d used Thunder Blast ones.
Emily: No, for real, I’ll just wait outside.
Talia: I hate to see you leave but I love to watch you go.
Emily: What?
Talia: Nothing.

Up at Capote Cabin, Ezra gives Aria a journal with her initials emblazoned into it and then explains that her essay was actually true and a lot of cool things are going to happen to her in college and he should know because he was in college just ten years ago, becoming obsessed with Alison DiLaurentis, and he doesn’t want to deprive Aria of a life-changing experience like that. She’s like, “We’re not breaking up!” And he’s like, “I think everyone is breaking up this season, to be honest.”


You know how much I love destroying evidence! Why would you go without me? I’ve had a shitty day, Hanna!


Don’t take it out on me! Aria’s the one who put that Ezria fan fiction on her Tumblr!

Hanna comes to Spencer’s house and they fight about whose side Toby is on anyway. Hanna breaking into that storage unit to save her own self put Toby’s ten-minute career in jeopardy, and Spencer is furious about that. In addition to which, when the Liars go off-book without Spencer’s permission, someone is for sure going to die. Hanna’s eyes get teary and she shakes her head a little bit, all, “Wow. You really do still think this is season one, don’t you?” She pulls her unopened acceptance letters to Yale and UPenn out of her pocket (who has the time to read through acceptance letters to all the Ivys, honestly) and tosses them on Spencer’s kitchen counter before walking out the door.

Spencer seriously has to go lie down on her fainting couch for a minute.

At the precinct, Sheriff Toby ignores a call from Spencer and gets down to the nitty gritty details of being a cop with Detective Tanner. She tells him he took an oath and now is the time to start spilling the Liars’ secrets like the blood they spill all over town!

At New Brew, Talia presents Emily with homemade mashed potatoes and this little fact: The reason she kept feigning interest in Ezra’s buns was to see if Emily also had an interest in Ezra’s buns and if she did not have an interest in Ezra’s buns, Talia could begin her second phase in determining if Emily is, in fact, more interested in beans, and the flicking thereof. Emily thinks that’s a very convoluted way of finding out if someone in Rosewood is gay because everyone in Rosewood is gay. Their conversation is swiftly interrupted by a team of lesbian ninjas descending from the ceiling, black ops-style, to deliver Talia a “Welcome to Rosewood, You Queer Woman of Color” swag bag. In it: body armor, a couple of flair guns, military grade walkie talkies, freeze-dried food, a slingshot, a straight-edged razor, edible do-rags, beef jerky, beeswax, directions to Out of Town, and an inflatable life jacket.


I’m surprised to hear you say you’re into me.


You’ve seen you, right?

All right, you cuties! Mash your faces together now! (And give me those mashed potatoes!) (And Talia, be 19 or whatever! Emily, be 18!) (I said, give me those mashed potatoes!) (Talia. Put on your body armor, I’m not joking.)

BSC HQ. Hanna rushes to Caleb’s to tell him she’s ready to take the fall for everything that happened with that storage locker, including breaking and entering, murder, and lying to a police officer about having to pee. He says if they go down, they’re going down together, and if they both end up in jail, at least they’ll be content in the knowledge that the neither of them are free. That’s … not romantic, dude. She says, “I’m dangerous!” And he just hugs her, instead of consoling her with that fact that he also is dangerous on account of he is cursed with perpetual death.

Aria goes home and reads the Rosewood High yearbook, the slogan of which is a wonder to behold: THE BEST YEARS OF YOUR LIFE. If I were teenager in Rosewood and I thought that was true, I would lie down in the street and give up. Everyone in the yearbook has extra curriculars under their name except for Aria. Because the only club she joined over the years was the one at Hollis where you torture blind girls with their own pottery.


She deleted all the Sparia fic?



Toby finally calls Spencer and she yells at him for a good long time about just what did he think he was doing going to that storage place without telling Spencer when he knew how worried she was that Hanna was going there to move a dead body. She tells him to come over so she can yell some more, but he’s all, “Oh, I’m drowning in paperwork and have to work late and blah blah blah I’ll call you some time in the future.” And then he gets into the truck Spencer bought him by pawning her own sister’s engagement ring and drives away! TOBY CAVANAUGH! YOU GO BACK TO BEING A CARPENTER THIS INSTANT!

The Risen Mitten skips around Boo’s Boos ice cream factory and squeals with delight when he finds the full handprint of one of the Liars inside the freezing chamber.

Next page: #BooRadleyVanCullen tweets!

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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 1563 articles for us.


  1. – Pretty convenient that Spencer’s phone no longer gets reception so that they can no longer track the laptop. At least that’s what Spencer told them.
    – When Risen Mitten was looking at the door at the end, there were finger prints on it. That means that someone knows about Mittens stash, but didn’t say anything. That makes a suspect of Spencer, Aria, and Emily. The person had to be tall enough to look in the window, so that pretty much eliminates Aria. Those heavy duty lockers would most likely not be on the second floor where Emily was looking, so that drops her suspect…ability?

    • Exactly what I was thinking, one of them definitely saw inside that room. But they couldn’t be A, I mean how dumb would that be too leave fingerprints there? But they must have seen something inside that made them keep it quiet.
      I agree that Aria would have been too short, but I don’t know if we can eliminate Emily. She said she was going to go to the second floor, but then we see her going Down some stairs. So what level did they start on?

  2. I lost at at Spencer’s reaction to the Ezria fanfic, and the dialogue about the apples.

    Amazing, hilarious recap!

    P.S. I’m secretly totally into Emily and Talia. But yeah how even old is she? Going by TV laws she’s probably a 30 year old playing a 17 year old or some such thing.

    • Talia seems fun! And non-murderous! (Is anyone allowed to be a character on this show without multiple layers of traumatic secrets though?) I cannot tell what age she’s supposed to be but praying she’s like, 22 and Em is 18 or something. (ps hi charlotte!)

      I was SO pleased with Tanner calling out Toby for how ridiculously miniscule his policey experience is. Also Toby you do not deserve Spencer. No one does, maybe Lucy Liu, but that’s it, and certainly not you. Do not hang up on her and walk away! But also hang up and walk away because you don’t deserve her. (Okay, point made.)

  3. I’m really getting disappointing in your “Age Appropriate” comments. Yes Ezria has become problematic on many arguable levels. But you where okay with it before the -A misdirect. IN my view Age gap related prudishness is just as wrong of Sexual Orientations related prudishness or non monogamy prudishness or any other prudishness.

    Emily is 18 now unless the age you start High-school is different in Rosewood’s alternate dimensions. Because she had her Senior year birthday already.

    And to add some perspective, there are cases in human history where Minors have raped adults.

    • When has Heather ever been ok with the age gap? I can recall her writing numerous times, from Season 1 about the age-appropriateness of the Ezra relationship.

      But yes I agree, Emily has already had her birthday, so I’d definitely say that she’s 18, so no age-inappropriateness there.

      And i don’t mean to be rude, but Aria was his student, he knew that she was underage, and there is no way in hell that she was at fault in this relationship. He sought her out. So I’m not sure why adding that about minors raping adults has anything to do with it. Yes I know that there have been cases where this has happened, but there has never been any hint of this occurring on the show. (Ok, wait, maybe the Jenna-Toby thing, where i’m pretty sure Jenna was younger than Toby when she forced him)

  4. You know I’m Paily all the way, so I’m hurting and torn right now. But I think I’m okay with Talia and Emily being a thing for the rest of the season. I mean it’s just nice that Emily gets to be a lesbian in more than name and keep having romances like everyone else. I really appreciate Joseph Dougherty and Marlene King for that. And also for Talia being a woc. I think they listen to fans about as well as any show runners out there.

    Anyway, I’m still confident that Paige will be back. They’re just taking a break right now. But Lindsey is too great and the writers love Paige too much for this to be the end of her. So yeah, let Emily have a fling with Talia while she rebounds.

  5. So Keegan Allen recently said in an interview that we all know who A is, and I think I have to jump on the Aria train. Mostly cuz it would make the show so interesting, (not to mention making the Ezria thing so much less infuriating), but also because it kind of makes sense. But I also wouldn’t hate it if it was Sparia.

  6. Am I the only person who was bothered by the whole Talia trying to assess Emily’s sexuality by asking her about Ezra thing? As a bisexual woman, I just read this as massive erasure – oh, you couldn’t possibly like both! I know, for Emily, she is monosexual, and I’ve no problem with that, but I’m angry that a show which has Jenna and Alison (neither of whom are self-identified bisexual, but both have had romantic / sexual involvement with men and women) as central characters…well, this is a step back? I’m just angry at the way I’m always left out of or hushed up on TV. Also, where the fuck are Jenna, Wren and Noel? Do I pay more attention to the loose ends in the plot than the writers?

  7. Just caught up on the PLL eps since Christmas and then came here for the recaps of course. LOL’d so many times reading these recaps!

    [[Aria starts yelling maybe my favorite thing that has ever come out of her mouth: “SPENCER, WHAT’S HAPPENING?! SPENCER, WHAT DO WE DO?!”



    [[If I were teenager in Rosewood and I thought that was true, I would lie down in the street and give up.]]

    Hahahaha! :)

  8. so apparently this is my level of humour:
    Jason: You don’t have to quit just because we did the horizontal hokey pokey.
    Ashley: That’s not what this is all about.

    But also:
    Aria advises the Liars to split up because she knows less of nothing than Jon Snow

    The Sparia fanfic thread is perfect.

    I’m out.

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