Pretty Little Liars Episode 518 Recap: Them!

The Liars need a minute to be skeptical of Leslie because, in their experience, when someone comes to town claiming to be a dead person’s best friend, that person is Cece Drake, and you don’t want to walk into that situation blindly or someone is coming away with a nickname like “Americano.”


I wonder if Spencer is still mad about the Ezria fic.


I am still mad about the Ezria fic.

Spencer goes home to steal Alison’s visitation records from her mother’s briefcase and also to yell at her mother when her mother starts yelling at her about college. In true Hastings fashion, the problem is not that Spencer didn’t get into college. No, despite being arrested, admitted to rehab multiple times for Study Drug addiction, Radley-ed, and not attending school past season three, Spencer has been accepted to one hundred colleges, but she hasn’t bothered to tell Veronica about them or even open up the acceptance packages.

Veronica is livid! She starts in on Spencer about, “Do you think I keep murdering people in the backyard so you can not pursue your dreams of higher education? Do you think I stayed married to your father and kept my mouth shut when Melissa started making out with her half-brother so you could spend your 20s traipsing through Amsterdam wearing a backpack and dreadlocks and getting baked and eating food out of those FEBO vending machines? Spencer, do you honestly think I’m going to let you skip college after I left my career at the Special Victims Unit to keep you from losing your goddamn mind inside a noir fantasy? You’re going to college. Open these letters and start packing.”


But Toby’s police “certificate” isn’t valid anywhere outside of Rosewood.

If you think that’s angry, wait’ll you get a load of Detective Holbrook down at RPD HQ getting fired. Hanna and Caleb are hanging out there, talking about how weird it’ll be if Ashley becomes a preacher’s wife, when Holbrook explodes in the kind of rage handsome white men in their 30s often do when they find out they can’t just take whatever they want in life and get rewarded for it. He starts screeching about how someone else messed up the investigation and now he’s taking the fall for it, and smashing up his desk, and calling everyone names, and stealing people’s staplers and Post-It notes on the way out the door. When he sees Hanna and Caleb watching him, he goes, “Perfect! Just perfect!” And Caleb steps in front of Hanna because he thinks maybe this asshole is unhinged enough to start throwing punches at teenage girls.

Hanna rushes back to the book shoppe to tell Emily about Holbrook going berserk, and she’s got a bad feeling about what he’s going to be doing with all his free time now that he’s not a cop. Caleb did some kind of techno hocus-pocus on the cameras at the storage unit place, so that’s okay, but the video of them discussing their plan to break into the storage room and steal a dead body is still out there somewhere, for one thing. That does worry Emily, what Hanna is saying about how Holbrook is going to destroy all their lives, but it doesn’t worry her as much as seeing Spencer cozying up in the corner with Johnny Garbage Paint. Also, she’s got some Talia on her mind. It’s a busier day than normal in Emily’s noggin.


I guessed that your password was “feathers” of course.


And now all you have to do is press delete on these Ezria fics.

Spencer tells Aria the weird news that Mike visited Alison in jail, and despite Aria’s protests that Mike only went there to spit in Alison’s eye (“because when you don’t like someone, you blind them; he was just doing what we taught him!”), she knows something wily is going on. Mike has a history, you’ll remember. He broke Ella’s arm. He broke into Emily’s garage one time and stole some camping gear. He was a confidante of Noel Kahn.

When Aria tries to confront Mike about the jail visit, she finds him watching Them!, which is such a good Pretty Little Liars movie. Like, this is one of my favorite film-within-film commentaries this show has done because Them! is this absurdly terrifying sci-fi flick — the first and probably best of the 1950s “creature features” — about how atomic bomb testing in New Mexico created a colony of giant super ants. Which seems like it should be silly, but it’s actually really eerie and there’s some scathing social commentary about how, like, a radioactive explosion in a small town can cause even the most innocuous and tiny things to morph into monsters. (Metaphors!) The part Mike is watching is the beginning, this lost little girl wandering around in the desert clutching a headless doll, whispering, “Them! Them!” And the state trooper who finds her being like, “What’s your name? Who do you belong to?”


Miss Aria You’re a Killer, Not Ezra’s Wife

Mike says it was one of Mona’s favorites (because of course it was; Mona’s mind is a gift that doesn’t stop giving, even after she’s gone), and that he’s trying to watch all the films she had on her Best Of list. Aria doesn’t ask Mike about the jail thing because she can see he’s too broken up over Mona to answer questions right now. Oh, Aria. Let me relearn you without Ezra occupying your whole life. There’s so much goodness and uniqueness inside you that we’ve never even seen!

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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 1719 articles for us.


  1. I’ll give the writers all of my money if they stop the whole “brown people must die” thing and let Talia live and kill off Johnny.

    Also, I can’t even talk about how happy I am about Talia. My heart exploded this week. It completely burst into a shower of happy glitter and tears. I live stream the show at work, and I cried when I got home on Tuesday.

    • Fuckin’ Johnny.

      How do I hate thee, Johnny?
      Let me count the ways.
      Your stupid face
      Your stupid fedora head
      Your stupid NOT SCIENCE
      Your stupid words
      Your stupid brain that didn’t go to college

      If you put your mouth on Spencer Hastings’ perfect face, The Army of Lesbian Darkness will fall upon you and send you directly to the bottom of a lake next to the cop car Aria and Hanna put there that one time in a barrel maybe locked in with Lucas and his shitty chinstrap face hair.

      Talia, I love you, stay forever and please be age appropriate.

  2. If the thing about Holbroock and Internal affairs is true it means Tanner was suspicious of him well before what Toby told her. Which gives a new insight on things.

    I think Veronica knew 100% Spencer went through her stuff. I”m wondering if she maybe even planned that.

  3. no joke, i replayed that scene with hanna hitting holbrooke almost just as many times as i did when emily kissed talia. it wasn’t just that she hit him but her words!!! they knocked me back too. hanna, a rebel indeed

  4. Hmm. Well, ‘Caleb’s’ response to “how do lesbians even get together?” felt like Truth whispering in my ear. She might have also mentioned that I need to get over myself. ;)

    HANNA MARIN. That is all.

  5. Heather, the only justifiable reason for Johnny is your parody of Johnny. Worth it.

    I wish I liked Talia, but so far it’s all too bland and forced for me.

    Now if Hannah could only remember that on-point sentence she said to Holbrook and spit it directly at Ezra Fitz(gerald) the next time she sees him, we can all be happy.

  6. It’s not that I don’t like Talia, it’s just that I don’t see any point in liking her. She’s going to end up dead, evil, or out of town forever within the next seven episodes. (And also, CLEARLY SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH PAIGE SINCE WHEN DOES PAIGE MCCULLERS EVEN UNDERSTAND THE WORD SPACE???)

  7. But if you look at Emily’s friendship with Hanna, you will understand how she could get her “more than friends” signals mixed up.

  8. I had to break this down because I had to many thoughts as I was watching and reading.

    1: Bernard’s watch is what Mona is talking about…do you not have that show in America?
    2: Can Talia please have an episode without a cooking metaphor. I miss Paige enough without her being replaced by a 2 dimensional character. I know she hasn’t had much chance to be fleshed out but damn she has moved into Emily’s life fast and without anyone knowing anything about her other than she cooks! Is my wanting background because I feel like they should all have bigger trust issues than they do? Seriously, just me?
    3: Johnny is everything I hate about the perception of artists. He makes me want to throw up into his whispering booth. D-bag. The parody in this recap is perfect.
    4: Hanna Marin is my hero.

    Thanks for another awesome recap HH :)

  9. Hanna was such a fucking badass in this episode, UGH IT WAS SO GOOD.

    And holy shit, Emily has game. After she used that (incredibly inventive) secret-machine, I was overcome with the gay-pours.

  10. Great recap, I always get a lot of new meanings from your recaps, I love that.
    But my favorite, as usual
    “Come on, Fields; focus on staying alive and out of jail!” But there’s another part of me that honestly just wants to feel the weight of a pretty girl on top of me.”
    Yeah, but like, who isnt?

    Actually Im glad about emily and talia. I dont have any strong feelings towards talia, but I really like how mature emily seems to be in this new “relationship”. And actually I would quite like to see emily becoming kind of a player, tho I hiiiiiiiiighly doubt they would go there. But it would be interesting. Out of all the girls technically emily is the one with the most shifting love interests, and we assume she has gotten it on with more thann one person – tho we can never be sure if she actually had sex with Alison or Paige, cause Aria can be seem riding her perverted teacher, but god forbid they will show any hint of 2 teenage girls having actual sex #rantover. So shes actually more experienced and Id like to see her more confident, and who knows, maybe a relationship//affair between 2 girls that its more out of desire than “are they end game?”

    • HAHAHAHA! I just read a comment on tumblr on how how Troian would be great to cast as a teenage/young adult Root despite the not that many years age difference between the actresses.

      (Also have many feels about Root since POI 4×13 and seeing this mention of her just made me temporary seize up with emotion.)

  11. Episodes without Ezra are always my favourite but Hanna righteously defending herself against a pervo may be my favourite scene in the history of this show. It’s definitely up there with ‘adrenalized hyperreality’, CeCe and the snake, and drunk Emily.

  12. This is my second time reading one of your caps, and now I’m wondering how I could live without them. I love how morally invested you are in the show, because even if Pretty Little Liars only started as a guilty pleasure for me and the story-lines are sometimes ridicuosly ilogical, I think it has a sub-message that is so much more important. The development of the main characters on this show indeed has been great, like them or not, they have been so consistent that they almost feel real.
    The first recap I ever readed on this site was the one of Paige leaving. And altho not a part of the LGBT community myself, it gave a new perspective on how much Paige and Emily’s couple meant for so many people. I wish everyone would read it, because its truly eyes-opening.
    I haven’t been an Emily’s or a Paige’s shipper myself, for my very own reasons. I just don’t like needy people, and Alison’s abusive relationship towards Emily just seemed inaceptable to me -hard to believe Emily could be so loyal to someone torturing and using her like that-. Even more unbelievable was the fact that Paige could resist and yet remain admiring someone who would diss her as Emily did. And yet, the final part of last season and this one has been so game-changing for their characters. Emily became to me someone I could look up to, so brave and out-spoken, and the farewell between her and Paige was simply amazing altho a bit out-of the blue.
    As for this new Talia’s side story, I think its something to look forward. Even if the character won’t have much development to be morally invested in it, I think the fact they’re allowing Emily to self explore herself this much and with this self, confidence is just great. She’s a teenager after all, so end-game relationships at this point of their lives would feel so forced.
    As for Hanna’s, I still can get over how amazing she was in this episode. I always loved Hanna’s character, but they have truly turn her into the core of the show this season.
    Other than that, just amazing recap! I’ll make sure to keep reading, so thank you for sharing your work with all of us.

  13. did I miss the recap for this week?? I can’t find it and I almost look forward to the recaps more than the episodes hahaha

  14. Heather, these recaps are so delightful. This show (rollercoaster of somehow excellent ridiculousness that it is), would not be anywhere near as enjoyable without your jokes and insights after each episode. You brighten my day, make me laugh, and also make me go ‘huh, I never thought of that,’ all the time. Basically: thank you.

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