Pretty Little Liars Episode 519 Recap: The Secret Life of Talia Two Last Names

Previously on Pretty Little Liars, this girl with big glasses on her face came to Rosewood pretending to be Mona’s best friend, which caused both Mike and Hanna to spiral down a jealous rabbit hole. Mike mostly just stomped around in the rabbit hole, while Hanna channeled her feelings into lesbian sleepover flashbacks, one of which was Mona’s Adrenalized Hyperreality origin story. (Plot: Mona wanted Adrenalized Hyperreality. She willed herself to have it. The end.) Also Hanna found a cassette* tape of Bethany Young plotting to murder someone on Endless Labor Day. Johnny came thiiiiiis close to convincing Spencer to become a pig farmer instead of going to college. Aria was awesome because Ezra was Out of Town, which is exactly what she said in her Talmadge essay that Ezra knows is the truth but she still thinks is a lie. And Emily and Talia made out with their mouthparts after whispering into Johnny’s secret-stealing machine.

* A cassette is like a CD** that is shaped like little rectangle that’s the size of your phone but can only hold 12 songs.

** A CD is like an MP3 that lives on a little silver disc that’s the size of a tea*** saucer but can only hold 18 songs.

*** Tea is what people drink when they don’t want to drink coffee because they hate life.



I want you to think for a second about what is the dumbest possible thing you could do in Rosewood, PA besides giving a person in the woods your face or ever talking to a man. Everybody think about the answer and we’ll all say it out loud on the count of three. Ready? One. Two. Three. LETTING SOMEONE HAVE YOUR BLOOD. Correct. Good job!

If you live in Rosewood, PA and are not a ghost like Caleb or a witch like The Grunwald, and so you have blood in your body, the most important thing you can do is guard that blood with all your strength and wit, because: DNA. So of course the Liars go to a blood drive at school and give away one gallon of blood each. Well, all the Liars except for Emily because she went to Haiti to build houses after Maya died and so she’s banned from donating. She tries to eat some of the sugary treats anyway, but Aria and Spencer steal them away, which is for the best, really, because can you imagine what would happen if their blood sugar dropped at the same time? Mayhem, at the very least. Someone would probably die.


M is for Muffin. Would you like me to butter it?


Make up with Aria, already.

Ashley Marin is hosting this blood drive for Pastor Ted but no ladies from the church show up because somehow they know she broke his silver foxy heart. Probably she hasn’t been coming to church and he’s been preaching nonstop from Job. Probably that’s how they know. Also probably they hate her because of the time she accidentally slipped up saying the Lord’s Prayer, like, “Our Savior who art in heaven, Pinot be thy name, thy red grapes come, thy ferment be done, in the bottle in my refrigerator as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily buzz, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven the fake architects who tried to steal back the money we stole from dead old ladies. Lead us not into Rosé, deliver us from Riesling, for thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, forever. Amen.”

While the Liars are taking away all of Emily’s sweet treats, Mike knocks over a giant metal tray of glass or something, making the loudest CLANG-A-LANG-LANG! noise you’ve heard since Spencer tried to sneak up on Emily and Alison in that warehouse that time. Obviously he is there to steal everyone’s blood.


“And Spencer is kissing Aria, once! Twice! Kissing like she has never never been kissed before, and certainly not by Ezra Fitz.”

Aria doesn’t want to deal with that, though! For one thing, Mike threatened to kill her last week when she asked him who he was leaving a sack of gummy bears for down at Face Lake. And for another thing, she’s got a math test. It’s an impossible math test. Not just because math is a satanic ritual, but also because the first question is “Solve for A.” Which, frankly: The limit does not exist. So Aria goes on ahead and cheats right off of Andrew’s paper because that boy is only good for test answers and dealing drugs and getting Spencer to take off her bra. Andrew notices Aria cheating and sort of bullies her into accepting tutoring in exchange for him not tattling on her.

Hanna — god, this storyline is so heartbreaking. Hanna goes to Spencer to ask about getting financial aid for college because she didn’t get any scholarship offers and she’s not eligible for any grants or anything. Spencer takes a look at her paperwork and, lo! It is her shithead father who is making too much money and that’s why she’s not eligible for any monies. I find it very hard to believe that Mona didn’t have a college fund set up for Hanna in the event of her untimely ascension to her throne in the celestial portal of eternity. Maybe we just don’t know about it yet. Mona did love a good treasure map.


This old thing? Oh, everyone in town has a yellow tank top.

Talia and Emily ride bikes through Koatohee National Forest, just rolling through at a leisurely pace, chatting idly about whatever early-dates thing. It’s a nice visual because I’ll bet if she was riding bikes with Paige in the woods it’d be a race because Paige is never not full-on McCullersing everything, and never not challenging Emily to be even better than she already is — and with Talia, it’s a breezy thing, a not-heavy thing, only the words and not the million-billion things underneath the words. They pull up at the spot of Talia’s first kiss. Fourth grade. A boy with the face of a frog. Talia didn’t like it. She wants to know about Emily’s first kiss. (Ninth grade. Girl with the face you seen on every person wearing a mask in this town. Emily loved it.) But Emily doesn’t want to talk about that.


Let’s makeout and never discuss my past.

Talia: Okay, that’s cool. Too intense. I get it. Um, so what’s your biggest fear?
What Emily doesn’t say: That my boobs are dark magic and everyone who touches them dies. The hole in Spencer’s back yard where 50 percent of my girlfriends end up buried. Sports cream. My mom. Buildings that come to life to murder me. (Schools, greenhouses, barns especially.) Dolls. Fashion shows. Chinese food. Hoodies. Cops. Cars. Mushy squash.
What Emily does say: Here’s a kiss on the spot of your first kiss! A redo!
Talia: I have secrets too, you know.
Emily: As long as one of them doesn’t kidnap Paige and stuff her in a trunk, I think we’re good.
Talia: Paige?
Emily: I don’t want to talk about that.


Mrs. Pastor Ted. Mrs. Pastor Ted. …Mrs. Ashley Merlot. *sigh*

Ashley is sitting at home in the dark, clutching her wine, fretting about the fate of her relationship with Pastor Ted. Turns out she told him yes, she’d marry him. And also yes, she boned Jason DiLaurentis. He didn’t ask about that second thing, but Ashley told him anyway. This is the state Hanna finds Ashley in when she arrives home, and because she is Hanna, she stuffs her college acceptance letters and financial aid info and hopes and dreams down into her purse and sets to work preparing dinner and mending her mother’s broken heart.

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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. “** A CD is like an MP3 that lives on a little silver disc that’s the size of a tea*** saucer but can only hold 18 songs.” Definitely thought AutoStraddle was blocking the word bag with those three stars. Have never been more happy to be wrong.

  2. We have already seen how easy it is for A to get Hanna’s blood a season ago. Who cares if they donate? Just means it will hurt less when A takes the blood.

    Toby is a naive ass for trusting the police system in rosewood or any American city for that matter.
    Couch cushions? you mean the pants Mona (maybe) died in?

    Also this season is why time should have continued to move at a nonexistent pace: this college talk is so boring. I really don’t care and I really don’t want adult liars. The dynamic of the show is going to change so drastically. I’m so tired of people who watch the shows for the wrong reasons (apparently everyone wants timelines and plots that can happen irl because that makes for good tv). I want more tippi the bird and breaking into a morgue while wearing candy striper uniforms at a hospital that doesn’t have a candy striper program.

      • Our only hope is that summer before college lasts 1-2 seasons (and a movie) because theres something less magical about adult women wearing candy stripers.

  3. I can never unsee the line, “if a John Hughes movie mated with Will Schuester…” That creature will haunt my nightmares.

  4. Dear Lord. I’ve seriously never disliked a character on this show more than Johnny, which is really saying something considering half the people in Rosewood are just straight up murderers/sexual predators…

    Also, is it weird that I’m pretty much OK with the idea of Emily and Talia dating, but the second I saw them riding bikes together I was like, “RIDING A BIKE IS PAIGE’S THING, TALIA! WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO NEXT, KNOCK OVER A BUNCH OF TRASH CANS IN A JEALOUS RAGE?”


  5. I am kind of over coming out type drama for Emily/her girlfriends. I’d like to see Emily with someone who has a more confident personality. I feel like she’s been having the same dynamic for awhile.

  6. “…because that boy is only good for…getting Spencer to take off her bra.” You say that like it’s a bad thing.

  7. the three photos you have of emily as they are “watching” mike and cyrus,…….good lord, shay mitchel’s face!! also, when we so clearly have the face of someone doing creepy crap they die, will mike be the next victim?

    • Nicole always gets the best reaction shots of Shay and Toian’s faces. I could make a giant collage of them, Mona-style, if I had time!

  8. So, Gladys Witham is Spencer’s paternal grandmother. Is Peggy Carter and Angie Martinelli her maternal grandmothers? Did Steve Carter have a baby with Peggy, that her and Angie raised to be Spencer’s mother? Is Spencer the granddaughter of two WWII spies and a super human?

    • Spencer’s being kinda pushy, but Ezra is worse. Taking out an ad in the paper? Too far, dude. Always too far.

  9. i think those were mona’s pants from the day she died that the risen mitten put hanna’s blood on.

  10. ugh I dislike Johnny so much each time he’s on screen I’m like “no go away stay away from Spencer that hairdo is just hiding what looks like a receding hairline Spencer no you can do so much better” and I realized Toby isn’t so bad. I’m glad I’m not alone in my dislike of men in PLL specially men named Johnny

  11. I don’t care if you have your spouses blessing to sleep with other people. You don’t get in a relationship with someone and not tell them you’re currently married to someone! wtf???

  12. Johnny is the fucking worrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrst. He makes me miss Toby, and I can’t stand Toby’s face or bi-emotional outbursts. Uggggggggggggghhhhhhhh fuckin’ Johnny

  13. Stumbled onto this article accidentally and I’m so glad I did. Pretty much every line was a delight to read and I literally laughed out loud. Thank you.

  14. Urgh wtf did Em & Spencer do to tptb to be stuck with such shitty randoms this season (& Em even worse spending most of her time with Ezra too)?

    Is it just me or is Talia’s excuse just a queer equivalent of “My wife doesn’t understand me”?

    • I feel like Talia is sincere in her feelings for Emily, but girl has got to get divorced if she wants a for real relationship! Also, though, if you’re old enough to be getting divorced, you’re probably too old to be dating high school students, eh?

      • Exactly! That whole “we’ve been together since high school” thing? Emily is still IN high school!

  15. I don’t know what the writers were thinking when they brought Johnny onto the show. He embodies the worst traits of white male entitlement and faux-rebellious hippie “artist” tropes. His purpose as a character seems to be to get Spencer to think about not going to college and up the tension with her relationship with Toby, but the whole thing just feels so awkward and out of character for her! Spencer is way too awesome to be wasting time with such a loser, and the way they are flirting with each other is super gross.

  16. A couple stuff:
    1. Your snarky footnotes about Cassettes V. CDs V. Mp3s V. Tea were the highlight of my day.
    2. Your continued Sparia captions are everything.
    3. I know last week I talked about Hanna’s child of a single parent storyline, but buckle up ladies and ladygents. Cause I’ve got a lot of feelings about this.
    A thing I don’t share with many people, is that I lived through a conversation with my father very much like Hanna Marin’s.
    I was 18, slinging pizzas at the local fast food joint. My mom was newly employed and seriously underpaid at a new job in a new state. Money wasn’t tight, it was scarce, and as the spring semester approached I realized I didn’t have the money to stay in school. To my surprise (despite being legally declared a broke ass) I didn’t qualify for aid either. Why you ask? Because my father made more than enough money to help me with school.
    I did everything in my power not to call that man and beg for help. I called my grandfather before I called my dad. Eventually, against my mother’s warning I contacted my dad. He didn’t tell me ‘it all came down to dollars and cents.’ He wasn’t paying for some phantom stepdaughters education. He just straight up did not want to help me, told me so, and called me a few names. I’ve spoken to my father twice since that conversation nine years ago. Once was at a funeral.
    Why open up and over-share this way?? Because Hanna Marin’s story showed me that my own story was a little less rare than I believed. And you know what? It made my story feel that much less shameful. Mona bless these writers, and keep Hanna Marin. She’ll figure it all out by her damn self. I know she will, I did.

    • Thank you for sharing that story. That’s a very brave thing to do. Mine is very similar, and Hanna so bless Hanna for continuing to be the hero we need!

    • I’m so sorry that happened to you, but I’m really glad (despite the ridicmewpuss plotlines) that PLL has moments like this which touch people and make them feel less alone.

        • Such devotion to your craft – even taking risks in purrsonal relationships! Did she not like your purrticular blend of humour? Was she stewing? Was she boiling ofur with incandescent rage? This might work better if I hadn’t made a commitment to always write in cat puns…it detracts furom the tea. Also I have to say, the comment about the Will Schuester and John Hughes made me laugh my arse off – and I didn’t just like it fur the cats!

  17. 1. Andrew looks too fucking old to be a teenager. I was like, who is this guy.
    2. Ugh, Johnny. Get the fuck out.
    3. The financial aid story was sad. I wanted to punch Hanna’s dad. I kept thinking though, there’s like an option where you can file as a single parent household, especially since Hanna’s parents are divorced. I mean, I get it, this isn’t real.
    4. I’m glad there’s another queer woman of color on the show but I miss Paige :( Talia isn’t winning over my heart.

  18. These recaps give me life, I just had to get that out of the way. Anywhoooozer, I am so over all these random people that I have to care about now. Between these new character and the old side characters they bring back who can keep up any more? I am super stoked that they’re saying we are learning who “#thebigA” is soon tho. Let us pray it isn’t someone random.

  19. I found out about these recaps when Jessica Goldstein (of Vulture) stopped doing her recaps and I was so upset thinking I wasn’t going to find another feminist and hilarious recapper for PLL because frankly it makes the show so much better. And then someone in the comments of her article mentionned you and I am SO glad. I literally laugh out loud throughout, every time. You killed me at “Solve for A”. And the fact that you are a fellow gay lady is just the cherry on top.
    I was watching this week’s episode thinking “Seriously, donating blood???? You guys aren’t the sharpest crayons in the box eh? I can’t wait to read what Heather has to say about this!” (And you didn’t disappoint.)
    Anyway just wanted to say that you are a really talented and hilarious writer and I hope you never stop doing this. K? K.

    PS: Emily to kill all annoying / creepy / sexual predator-y men on this show 2k15!

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