Pretty Little Liars Episode 525 Recap: The Greatest Show on Earth

Oh, my precious grey parrots, I humbly bend my knee before you and ask you to forgive me for the monstrous lateness of this final Pretty Little Liars recap of season five. I buckled under the pressure and time wouldn’t stop for me. When season six rolls our way (and oh, so soon!), I promise to be on my best, most Spencer-approved recapping behavior, even if I have to take off my bra to get a bucket full of Adderall. After the recap are the 100 best #BooRadleyVanCullen tweets of the whole season!


Previously on Pretty Little Liars, the Liars were all convicted of murdering Mona Vanderwaal: Alison first, in a trial where her lawyer’s main defense strategy was having her throw grapefruits across the courtroom; and then the rest of them because of, I think, habeas corpus. And while the Liars were getting handcuffed and carted away, Veronica Hastings was just shaking her head over there in the corner of the courtroom because if they’d stayed home like she told them, they would never have been arrested for homicide. Toby was like, “Rawr, I just want to be the police!” And Caleb was like, “My essence is on sale at JCPenny!” And Paige was at Stanford, forcing Emily to learn to make empanadas on her own.

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Spencer, we can’t have an orgy. We’re all wearing handcuffs.

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Maybe we could auto straddle.

The Liars are on their way to jail in an RPD paddy wagon, wearing orange jump suits like one of the other times they were arrested (for digging their therapist’s boots out of the mud with a shovel, remember) and forced to do community service. Emily asks Hanna what it’s like in prison, which is ridiculous, like I am so sure Emily has not watched every episode of Orange Is the New Black six times. They talk about how hopefully they’ll all end up at the same facility and be bunkmates so they can share commissary money and start a coven.

Spencer: This is some hardcore bullshit, but I will tell you what, it has really always only ever been the four of us, and that’s all we need.
Aria: Should we all cuddle up like a crate of puppies at the end of a rainbow, for comfort?

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My grenade launcher. My game. My rules.

They do not have the chance. The paddy wagon wrecks and the back doors open and A+ steps out of the darkness and shoots a grenade at them. Luckily it’s one of those grenades filled with sleeping gas and not gun powder, and so they all get knocked out instead of getting dead.

When the Liars wake up, they are in their own bedrooms. But except no they are not. They are in real-life simulations of their own bedrooms with just enough stuff missing that it feels like getting seasick. One-by-one they realize the world beyond their windows is just cement walls, and that all their photos are the ones that came with the frames, and that the books on the shelves are the kind in IKEA. It is Spencer who hurls her chair through her window, which A+ always knew would happen. Remember when he had all those literal rats in literal cages and Spencer-rat was the first to crack? (I think they got arrested for that too? When they took that trophy to the police and it had Spencer-rat’s blood on it and not real human blood?)

The Liars are greeted by the sound of a disembodied airport voice saying good morning in like six languages and inviting them to follow the lighted path to their destination. The doors unlock and they amble out into the hallway and are so relieved to see each other that Emily practically faints dead away. They do follow the lights. The lights lead to Alison’s room in the doll house.

She’s sitting there too, wearing a mask of her face over her face, as per the usual. Playing the piano. She takes off the mask. And the face under Ali’s face isn’t Ali’s face at all. The face under Ali’s face is the same face that was under Ali’s face under Caleb’s Halloween costume’s face on the Nightmare Express.

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Oh hey, it’s me, Alison. Come here, Emily, let’s kiss on the lips.

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Just kidding, kissing girls is gross, how could you.

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Just kidding again, I love you, let’s have sex. I’m Alison.

THE FACE OF MONA VANDERWAAL.

Did your soul grow a little? Did you scream? Did you run around the room and fall over your cat’s toys and break your neck and not even care? I grabbed my girlfriend’s leg so hard I almost bruised it. I started shaking. I did. I shaked for the next half hour like a little polar bear without a coat. My girlfriend was like, “But you knew she was alive. You kept saying it. I specifically remember you calling yourself one of the few faithful Vanderchildren.” Still, though. Believing and seeing are two different things.

Mona Vanderwaal is alive and wearing a blonde wig and the yellow tank top everyone wore the Labor Day they were bashed in the head and buried in the yard. She even says she’s Alison, and invites the Liars to join her in “her” “sitting room” for a nice, normal cup of tea.

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WHERE ARE MY ENCYCLOPEDIAS?

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I CAN’T ORDER PIZZA?!

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COSTCO-SIZED SPORTS CREAM???

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IS THAT AN AGE-APPROPRIATE LOVE INTEREST?!?

Hanna: Mona! Oh, man. Mona. Mona.
Mona: Stop calling me that! I am Alison!
Hanna: Prove it.
Mona: [slides her hand up Emily’s thigh]
Hanna: Okay, then.
Mona: Anyway, you know I hate that bitch Mona Vanderwaal. But who I love is the Grunwald because of how she pulled me, Alison DiLaurentis, out of the ground after my jackass mother covered me in dirt and left me for dead.
Emily’s eyes to Spencer’s eyes: This is her real hair.
Spencer’s eyes: I’m never taking study drugs again, ever.
Aria’s eyes: [are bigger then eleven Jupiters]

The loudspeaker in the doll house chimes four times and Mona hops up and walks out the door to a game room because four chimes is game time. The game they’ll be playing today is called Mystery Dream Date. What event will they be attending with these Dream Dates? Well, the doll house chimes two times, which means Tyra Mail time, and today’s Tyra Mail is invitations to prom. So that’s what the dates are for. While Spencer is looking around the room for any kind of clues, fixating for a nanosecond on some building blocks with letters on them, Hanna loses her goddamn mind. She turns to one of the cameras on the wall and starts screaming about how kidnapping one of the two loves of her life is enough, and if A tries any funny prom date business with Caleb, she is going to burn down the entire planet earth.

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Time for a little Lesbiopoly!

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I am not trading SheBar and The Planet for McKinley High School.

And then she turns her yelling toward Mona.

Hanna: You’re not Alison, you’re Mona!
Mona: Dude, stop. I’m Alison.
Hanna: YOU’RE NOT ALISON, YOU’RE MONA!
Mona: Seriously, Han, shut it down.
Hanna: YOU’RE NOT ALISON YOU’RE MONA YOU’RE NOT ALISON YOU’RE MONA YOU’RE NOT ALISON YOU’RE MONA YOU’RE NOT ALISON YOU’RE MONA!!!!!!

A deafening alarm goes off and Mona yells over the sirens that the only way to make it stop is for the Liars to go to their rooms. They run that way with their hands over their ears, step inside their rooms, turn to face each other, and their doors slam shut. The alarm is silenced.

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What do you mean he made paint from garbage? Stop talking! He sounds like a monster!

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When you say it out loud I finally hear how awful it is!

Hanna falls asleep somehow, and is awakened to the light of a battery-powered lantern and a Mona Vanderwaal who knows she’s Mona Vanderwaal. She tells Hanna they’ve got three minutes to debrief with the other Liars, so she needs to move her buns. Okay, and get this: Mona explains to the other Liars that every single night, the power goes off for three minutes while the generator recharges, and so every night for three minutes, for all the months she has been here, she has been methodically exploring this hell hole bunker, running full-speed in one direction for 90 seconds, and then full speed back to her bedroom for the other 90 seconds.

Down this one hallway is a door to a vault filled with noodle dollars, probably. Down this other hallway is a portal to that doll hospital in Brookhaven. That hallway leads to a replica of the inside of Kahn Kabin. This one goes to a Beauty and the Beast-style library where every book is Lolita. There’s a room full of those burlap baby-face zombie masks. A room with nothing but photos of the inside of Aria’s ear. A pit full of snakes. A simulator where you get run under, over and over, by a car. One room looks exactly like the English classroom at Rosewood High, with an animatronic Ezra Fitz inside teaching The Great Gatsby all day every day until the end of time, and sometimes between talking about the themes of class and the dissolution of the American dream, the animatron snaps, “Some people have real problems, Emily!”

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So. How’s Caleb?

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Caleb who?

What Mona has figured out, besides all that, is if you don’t make it back to your room in three minutes, A+ leaves you out there in the hallway in the dark with the sirens going off and no food and water for days, and sometimes it’s like those Jabberjays from The Hunger Games squawking your loved ones’ voices at you, screaming and crying and begging to die.

But have those torture tactics cracked Mona Vandejesus Vanderwaal? No, ma’am, they have not.

Mona: Is my mom okay, though?
Hanna: I mean, I saw her all the time at first. She slapped Ali at your funeral for sure. Things got weird when Leslie Stone came to town trying to rifle through your shit and claiming to be your lover. I was guarding your bedroom 24/7. I think your mom was creeped out. Anyway, who the fuck is Leslie Stone?
Mona: Shoot, that was the warning click. 17 seconds until the generator is working again; we’d better scoot.

Sadly, this episode is not just all Liars all the time. Mercifully, though, the boys have holed up in Calebzra’s apartment and are hanging out there and impotently interacting with one another, and also with the Hastingses, who have been clued in by Toby that Spencer and the others have been hijacked and are being held hostage. Ezra is the best in these scenes. Just the absolute best. He stomps around and pulls at his hair and falls to his knees and shouts at the sky and rips his clothes and talks about how all he cares about in the world is keeping Aria safe, and then he presents dozens of boxes of stalking notes to Veronica and Peter, from the several years he spent watching Aria get chopped into tiny pieces and fed to wolves every day without ever intervening to help her.

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You can’t have a pet parrot in prison, I’m sorry.

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I hate everything.

The Hastingses decide to tag-team and question Ali about the roofied paddy wagon drivers who careened their van into a ditch, thereby enabling the kidnapping of their daughter.

Ali: I mean, it was A.
Peter: Fuck wank bugger shitting arse head and hole!
Veronica: Pardon me?
Peter: That’s some slang I learned from Colin, Melissa’s British roommate, when I was Out of Town.
Veronica: Alison, we know Mona was A. Dr. Annabeth Gish explained how she was living in a perpetual state of hyperreality after Spencer drove her off a cliff, remember? And now she’s dead for a second time? That’s kind of why you’re in here?
Alison: It’s true Mona was A, but after she checked into Radley, a whole other even more sinister A stepped up to the plate, and it stopped being kid’s stuff like nasty little text messages and occasionally getting stuffed into a woodchipper, and started being real terror stuff like — okay, one time I had to land my plane in the forest and pull Hanna from a burning building.
Peter: Blimey, mate! Bugger all chunder kerfuffle!

In the doll house, Spencer finally takes Emily’s advice to think like Mona and decodes the lettered blocks she peeped in the game room earlier. She wakes up and legit goes, “IT HAS A NAME!” And its name is Charles.

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God separated the light from the darkness.

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And it was good.

Mona wakes up and smiles so sweetly into the camera peering down at her. The camera waggles its finger toward Mona’s dresser. There’s a gas mask there and a note saying it’s a gift because she’s A’s favorite. Mona smiles as bright as an Oklahoma morning, says, “Want me to put it on?” And she does. And then she stands in front of a mirror in the fake room of a girl she’s being forced to pretend to be, while the actual girl who lives in the real version of this room is in jail for her murder, wearing a gas mask and brushing her fake hair. This episode is one of the most monumentally fucked up things I have ever seen on television. I love it so much.

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You don’t know-oh-oh! That’s what makes you beautiful!

The Liars make their way down to the basement of the doll house. It kind of (kind of) looks like the Batcave from the 1960s Batman TV show. All of the Liars have been assigned to work stations to help prepare for prom, the theme of which is: Hellscape 2004. Incidentally, that was the theme of Ian and Melissa’s prom. Emily is like, “Nuh uh, no! I did not start a lesbian revolution on television to be sent back in time to a year when gay women only had sex on premium cable! Absolutely not!” Frankly, Mona agrees. Hanna is in charge of the snacks station, so she flips off the camera and tells A+ to bite her, before chomping (awesomely) into a brownie.

Mona invites the Liars to her station to help her fill out Prom Queen & King ballots, which only makes Emily madder. 2004 was so heteronormative! But Mona doesn’t care about the ballots; she wants them to use the ballots to pass notes between each other.

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I want to work at Mona and Emily’s station!

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Maybe polyamory isn’t for me.

Meanwhile, at Calebzra’s, Ezra gets a text from someone letting him know that Tanner & Co. are on their way to arrest Caleb. He willingly goes in for questioning because he’s never gotten to sit across from Tanner and give her a piece of his mind and now seems like a good time.

Tanner: Well, the girls were cyberjacked, and are you not a cyberjacker?
Caleb: Maybe, and good luck killing me, because I’m also a ghost.
Tanner: Where is Hanna?
Caleb: Do you not think if I were the cyberjacker who jacked her paddy wagon that I would be with her right now, instead of hanging around in my apartment with these Hastingses and Ezra Fitz?
Tanner: Can you think of anyone else who would want to jack Hanna’s paddy wagon?
Caleb: Yes, but she’s dead. Anyway, I already found the paddy wagon, from my iPhone.
Tanner: We’ll talk about your arrest after you help us crack the case of these missing Liars.
Toby: Yessssss. Solving a mystery! Making arrests! Officer Cavanaugh is on the—
Tanner: Toby, go get us some coffee.

Caleb takes over RPD’s intranet, shows Tanner where the paddy wagon has landed, and so off everyone goes to save the day. On the way, Melissa calls Veronica to check in on things, and Andrew “Cousin Nate” Campbell is somehow tapped into that phone conversation, just listening in on it while he plays Tetris in another window on his laptop down at Fitzgerald Candy & Book Shoppe.

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Do you think we could use this as a dildo, or nah?

In the doll house basement, Spencer suddenly starts flipping tables and yelling about how subpar all these materials are, and what she could really use is some copper wire and three packs of nine-volt batteries and and a handful of D-sub connectors and a modular connectivity port and half a dozen capacitors and resistors. Mona’s eyes get bright and she chimes in, talking about, “Shit, yeah! And a toggle switch and a liner taper potentiometer and about six hundred light bulbs!” Aria starts yelling too: “Yeah! And, um, a bag of bird feathers and a leather-bound journal with unruled free range organic paper and some coconut water!” Spencer and Mona dialogue about how if they had those things, they could rig up this fancy stairway entrance and when Ali walks down it to get her crown, all the light bulbs will flash at her like the paparazzi!

Obviously, they are planning to make an Oceans Eleven-style pinch to cut the power because both Mona and Spencer have those schematics memorized inside their brains.

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Well, I think Jo March was straight. The least gay character in the history of American literature.

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Now I kill you.

The next morning, the supplies are all there, so Emily and Spencer stage a fight like from their time doing community service.

Emily: I’ma sit down and have a think.
Spencer: Like the time you sat down and had a think while Maya was murdered and Paige was kidnapped.
Emily: [Whispering] That was harsher than we discussed!
Spencer: [Whispering] Just hit me!
Emily: Not a problem.

She tackles Spencer to the floor and they roll around. The camera whips over to watch them wrasslin’, and as soon as it does, Mona pockets some of their new supplies to build the pinch. It only takes her about five minutes, with no instructions, and she does the whole thing behind her back without even looking. Siiiiigh. My Lord and Savior.

The Liars go back to their bedrooms to get ready for prom, and you know A has thought of everything, including makeup and styling products and dresses that fit the Liars’ own personal styles. Hanna is classy Jessica Rabbit. Emily is sexy mermaid. Spencer is wearing one of those ribbon chokers from the ghost story about how when you untie it her head falls off. Aria’s dress is too plain and normal-looking to be anything Aria would ever wear, but A has a lot to do; you can’t expect him to sit around for six hours with a hot glue gun and a bedazzler making an evening gown out of Coke cans and entrails.

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It’s like ten thousand mannequin legs when all you need is a Cece.

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Isn’t it ironic?

The Liars arrive at Hellscape 2004, and walk down the stairs to find a dance floor full of people. Mannequin people. Mannequin people dressed in prom clothes. It’s the creepiest damn thing I have ever seen in my life. Natasha Bedingfield’s “Unwritten” plays and the Liars are like, “Oh, and also, here is this year’s prom queen: Alison DiLaurentis!” (I wish they’d gone with the 2004 smash hit “Milkshake,” but you can’t have everything.) Right, and Mona glides in wearing a dress made for a My Little Pony and her Ali mask, and Spencer is like, “Charles! Oh, Charles, we know you’re here! Come on up and accept your prom king crown and escort Alison to the dance floor!”

Charles is lurking around behind the mannequins, and he thinks he will, in fact, accept his crown. As soon as he steps out of the shadows, Aria clicks the pinch and the lights explode and the Liars bolt, right for the noodle dollar vault.

Where have the police and the Hastingses and everyone ended up? At the old Campbell farm. The paddy wagon is there, and also so is A’s new lair. It looks a lot less like Mona’s den of costume shop horrors, and a lot more like Ezra Fitz’s Ravenswood set up. Tanner’s eyes look like they’ve stumbled onto a dinosaur farm. That’s how much she cannot believe that A has been real and under her nose this whole time. She and Toby find some surveillance footage of Hanna eating those brownies.

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Oh thank god. I need to watch the new Game of Thrones before I escape and get spoiled on Twitter.

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Come over here and kiss her. Nothing weird will happen if you fall in love with your sister.

So, in the doll house, the Liars break into the noodle vault, but there’s no dollars in there at all. It’s a house. And one of the things in the house is this film projector that Spencer takes the time to power up, and suddenly there’s this home video on the wall of Jessica DiLaurentis holding a baby at the old Campbell farm, talking to some brothers about, “Come kiss your sister. Tell your sister goodbye.” Jason is the one with the twin! Yes? Charles? Yes!

Okay, and then Charles walks on into the room and stands behind Spencer, quiet as a cat burglar.

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Hang on a second, Charles, this Jaime/Cersei flashback is wigging me out.

Spencer: Charles, is that you?
Charles:
Spencer: I’m going to turn around and see if it’s you.
Charles:
Spencer: I’ve turned around and it’s you.
Charles:
Spencer: I probably should take your mask off and look at your face and see if you look like any half-brothers I know.
Charles:
Spencer: I’m just going to stand here, though.
Charles:
Mona: Spencer, girl! Where are — oh, hey. This place is nice, right? I was thinking it was going to be more like — who’s this? A friend of yours?
Charles: [Runs for it]

I have never seen so many people complaining about an episode of Pretty Little Liars in my life, and it was honestly like the most confused I have ever been on the internet, because, first of all: Mona Vanderwaal is alive!

And you know what else? This is not only the second best episode ever, it also takes the show as a whole to a completely new level. If your main thing when you are watching Pretty Little Liars is whatever circus promos ABC Family has on blast, go watch Scooby-Doo. You know who A is! It has been confirmed! A is the male gaze powered by surveillance culture and enabled by a victim-blaming society saturated in sexism and obsessed with denying women their agency. Who has been systematically torturing the Liars all this time? The patriarchy, just as we suspected! Who thinks women are interchangeable play things created to act out male fantasies? The patriarchy.

“The second they slam that door shut, you feel ashamed.”

“They treat you like a criminal, and it’s hard to remember that you’re not one.”

“It’s the loneliest feeling you could ever imagine.”

Hanna knows what Hanna means.

This episode a goddamn study in scathing social critique: Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock want to kiss Marlene King on the mouth for this one.  You wanted it to be someone who has been here from the beginning, right? Well, we got someone who’s been here for six thousand years! I’d be happy as a peach if this is all we ever knew about A. I don’t care who. I care about exploring and exposing the grossness of how.

I wonder what it’s like to be a lesbian showrunner in a male-dominated industry, ushering in a golden age of queer and feminist representation on TV, completely revamping ABC Family’s scripted programming model, and the whole time everyone’s yelling at you to make Keegan Allen take off his shirt. Stomping their feet and demanding chicken nuggets when coq au vin is on the menu. (No offense to Keegan Allen’s abs, obviously; those things are a work of art and have never even seen a chicken nugget.)

The Liars finally bust free of the building, but once they’re out in the yard, it is not good news. The whole place is surrounded by a 50-foot fence. And, well, fuck it. Emily is going to climb her ass right over that thing and go home and take a shower and buy a plane ticket to Palo Alto and never come back. She starts running full-throttle toward the chain-link and is a single breath from going all parkour when Spencer shouts, “WAIT, STOP!” Because the fence is glowing blue because it is pulsing with 1.21 jiggawatts of electricity. It’ll fry them like a sack of taters if they touch it.

The Liars stand around in the yard and turn in circles, and Billy Williams’ “Don’t Fence Me In” starts playing on the loud speakers and the camera pans out and out and out and out.

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I see trees of green.

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Red roses too.

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I see them bloom…

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… for me and you.

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And I think to myself…

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…what a wonderful world.

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Mona played with dolls. I play with body parts. Kisses, bitches. – A


My most enormous thanks to Nicole (@PLLBigA) for another amazing season of fantastic screencaps. Follow her in the off-season for all the Pretty Little Liars news your heart needs!

Next page: The top 100 #BooRadleyVanCullen tweets of season 5B!

When I started #BooRadleyVanCullen back in season one when I was writing for AfterEllen, I was just looking for a good way to watch this full-tilt bonkers show with some like-minded queer women. I had no idea that it would evolve into this revolutionary cultural thing where we talk to the show and the show talks back to us, where we form our own inside jokes with the people who make what we love to watch on TV, where we say “Tippi the Bird” enough times and she appears.

This season was a tricky one for me, and I wasn’t able to do these round-ups like I have done in the past for every episode. But tweeting with you was always one of the best parts of my week, and so to thank you for sticking with me through 12 more bananpants episodes, I’ve rounded up 100 of the best tweets of season 5B. (I couldn’t use your tweet if it had emojis in it. WordPress hates emojis.) I love you guys. I really do. Thank you for being the best.



See you next season, my loves!

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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle managing editor who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 800 articles for us.

37 Comments

  1. I think the comment about I. Marlene King sneaking in all this subversive feminist commentary on the grossness of the patriarchy while having to appease the patriarchy (network execs) to even get this show on the air is the truest thing ever.

    Some lingering questions I have:

    1. How long does everyone think the girls will be kept in the dollhouse? Does Mona use her brain power to just teleport everyone out there?

    2. Since Tanner has now seen Mona alive does she just release Ali from prison? Do they keep her in there so A doesn’t think they’re onto him?

    3. Where the hell is Pam Fields? Her daughter is in JAIL (well was, now she’s just kidnapped)!

    • “I think the comment about I. Marlene King sneaking in all this subversive feminist commentary on the grossness of the patriarchy while having to appease the patriarchy (network execs) to even get this show on the air is the truest thing ever.”

      100% agree.

      • Seriously, we were robbed of everybody in Emily’s life responding to her arrest and subsequent disappearance from jail. Yes, Pam Fields would tear Rosewood apart looking for her. Wayne Fields would scale all the buildings with no regard for his heart or their propensity for coming to life. And Paige Fucking McCullers would leave the most epic trail of overturned trashcans as she literally ran all the way across the country to try and rescue Emily.

        • I feel like the only reason the Hastings were the ones the writers clued in was because they’re the only ones you can count on to be weirdly chill about their daughter being kidnapped. Between Pam, Ashley and Ella Rosewood would have been torn apart crypt by crypt until they found their daughters.

  2. – Awwwwww, it’s Sparia.
    – Aria. Accessories. The jokes just write themselves.
    – If this is the Dollhouse, where’s Echo?
    – When Spencer breaks the glass in her room you can see her reflected in the glass. Heather Hogan said about the noir episode, “Showing a person in a mirror to symbolize his/her duplicitous ego is a famous noir convention…”
    – Yes. YESSSSSS. The VanderJesus has risen.
    – Of course Mona can play the piano.
    – Hanna is the first one to talk to Mona. I refuse to believe that that is coincidence.
    – F**k these guys. Go back to the girls.
    – I know how you can snap Mona back to herself Hanna.
    – “We have three minutes.” That all you’ll need…for me or Hanna.
    – When Risen Mitten is watching them through the monitors, is Spencer in her bed?

    – Spencer’s in her mind again.
    – Who’s Charles? Of course a show about four girls turns to one stuffy guy.
    – “How did we not know this was going on?” I’ve got a few theories. Most of them center around trips to Out of Town.
    – Boy, when the Hastings Lawyer Team goes up against the police, they really beat the po po down.
    – The girls are dancing…but not with each other. Lame.
    – Apparently A likes Hanna’s cleavage as much as I do.
    – Is Charles A, or just a minion?
    – It seems a little cheating to bring in this person at the eleventh hour.
    – Is it actually Charles, or is it Jason?
    – If Mona’s not in the barrel, then who is?
    – So, if Mona left those three anagrams of Charles Dilaurentis behind the mirror, then why didn’t she realize that those blocks spelled Charles? She’d been there for months. Only Spencer realized it. Did she also leave the notecard behind the mirror? Spencer is A.
    – The thing I love most about the VanderJesus still being alive is that now there’s still a chance for PinkDrink to be canon.

  3. when mona appeared onscreen i let out a howl of pure joy and delight to see her lovely face again. MONA. MONAAAAA.

    so wait — is that rumor about a 4 year time jump true? are they going to be in the bunker for 4 years? is season 6 going to be unbreakable little liars???

  4. Am I the only one who thought these last two episodes were funny as hell? Emily and Spencer are a comic goldmine.

    “If your main thing when you are watching Pretty Little Liars is whatever circus promos ABC Family has on blast, go watch Scooby-Doo. You know who A is! It has been confirmed! A is the male gaze powered by surveillance culture and enabled by a victim-blaming society saturated in sexism and obsessed with denying women their agency. Who has been systematically torturing the Liars all this time? The patriarchy, just as we suspected! Who thinks women are interchangeable play things created to act out male fantasies? The patriarchy.”

    This is why we come to you for recaps! I didn’t even know what a woman’s agency was, till I started reading your stuff.

  5. Yeeeeeeeessss thank you Heather for this amazing recap, you truly are the best. You said everything I wanted to say to the people criticizing the episode. I kept coming back here every day after the episode waiting for your recap because I knew you would understand it. I was very touched by what you wrote about patriarchy, so thank you!!!

  6. The thing about A being Jasons twin is that A’s lair looks like a shrine to Charles. I think Mrs. D had a twin and that twin had a son Jasons age give or take a month named Charles and he died around the time of the video (which I don’t think the baby is Ali because jason/Charles would have to be 7 but look at most 5) and this twin went insane and got committed where shenanigans with Bethany young and Marion cavanough took place. And now her son is one of her personalities. At wildens funeral A had a distinctly female form and that was the A (bc the dress is in the background) that blew up tobys house and sent flowers to Bethany’s parents. Both radly connections.

  7. Top notch recap, Heather Hogan! Long live Vanderjesus!

    Related: can I now add “Composed a Top 100 Season 5B #BooRadleyVanCullen Tweet” to my resume? Would that get me hired places, you think?

  8. “This episode is one of the most monumentally fucked up things I have ever seen on television. I love it so much.”

    These two sentences sum up my feelings about this show perfectly.

  9. Heather. Heather, Heather, Heather. I may have bitched to my gf about this recap being so late, I may have thrashed around and moaned and gotten caught in a bear trap in the woods, but truly, this show would be nothing for me without your recaps. As much as I love it, and I would watch it anyway, you’re the one who got us on to PLL and you’re the one who will always make the show worth watching. I savour these recaps like fine wine. Perfect, as always. Xxx

  10. This post was great! It actually makes me want to start watching the show again. I stopped watching it after Ali came back. It just got to be too much and I felt like the producers and writers liked messing w my emotions lol!

  11. I’m so glad you felt the same way I did about the finale – I was baffled by the number of people who hated it. I love that they’re upping the darkness with the show. It was deliciously fucked up! Out of interest, Heather, which is your fafurite epussode, if this is your second?

  12. “You know who A is! It has been confirmed! A is the male gaze powered by surveillance culture and enabled by a victim-blaming society saturated in sexism and obsessed with denying women their agency. Who has been systematically torturing the Liars all this time? The patriarchy, just as we suspected! Who thinks women are interchangeable play things created to act out male fantasies? The patriarchy.”

    Heather, I LOVE how smart you are. And I love how right you were about this show. When I started watching in season 1 it was because I had read a few of your recaps on AE first and you promised me that the show was smart and subversive and that these women were going to rescue themselves every damn time and I didn’t always believe you, and I didn’t always see what you saw, but you’re right. You’re right you’re right you’re right. You told me so. Any time I tell people to watch PLL and they roll their eyes at me I say “but start at season 1, and read Heather’s recap after each ep. You will DIE.”

    Here’s hoping someday there’s a college course on PLL, and you’re the professor.

  13. Your recaps are half the enjoyment of watching this show. They’re golden. Thank you so much for your wonderful wit and the flawlessness of your literary technique. I loved that metaphor specifically, about chicken nuggets and coq du vin, and not just b/c i love food. Marlene King is a genius and this show deserves all the viewers and respect any “adult” show does. I’ve seen too many ppl belittle it w/o watching it, because it’s about a bunch of teenage girls- a demographic seen as inconsequential. I’m not a teenager anymore, but I wholeheartedly support the agency of girls and women and believe in their potential. I too, don’t care if this is all we get to know about A. it was never just about A; this show shows the dazzling possibilities of female friendship. I’m glad they’ve never stooped to the petty overdone trope of having the Liars fight over a boy or something. It passes the Bechdel test, hell it passes almost any test relating to the depiction of females on american tv. A truly groundbreaking phenomenon. I haven’t said anything you prolly haven’t heard, but i just want you to know that I’m so grateful for your work in these recaps.

  14. If they Unbreakable PLL those women next season this female will be mad as hell. Many many thanks for the stunning recaps HH, truly they are genius, and witty, and amazing, and always always worth the wait. The pAtriarchy is real. Vanderjesus is risen.

  15. I don’t understand the people who try to make sense of all the crazy plot stuff PLL throws out there over the years. Trying to figure out Pretty Little Liars is like trying to understand the mechanics of a rollercoaster WHILE YOU ARE ON THAT ROLLERCOASTER. Just hang on and enjoy the ride, man.

    I loved this episode SO. MUCH. and I’m glad you also enjoyed this episode because it was the kind of crazy and disturbing and wonderful that only PLL can pull off and it got so much hate it didn’t deserve. I mean I do wish they hadn’t pushed the “BIG A REVEAL FOR REAL WE REALLY MEAN IT THIS TIME” thing because I genuinely thought it was going to happen in the same way that “Ali is Alive!” happened and instead of the “Is she/isn’t she” thing they had dragged out, they were like “no really she is” and the show moved on to the aftermath of that reveal, so I was thinking this would be the same but since it wasn’t that I was inevitably disappointed in a way I wouldn’t have been otherwise.

    My only other gripe was that when Mona was revealed she wasn’t actually A which I was FREAKING OUT ABOUT BECAUSE HOLY SHIT WHAT A DELICIOUS PLOT TWIST THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN. I was so fucking excited when I thought she was the Big A reveal and she had just been Loony Toons Psychopants this whole time and actually lived in this mega A lair and faked her death and her sanity and everything, and then I was kind of let down when that wasn’t the situation but eh, I’ll take alive Mona in any way I can get. (ALIVE MONA!!)

  16. So did I miss something or is Talia still at Emily’s house sharing recipes with Pam wondering why Emily didn’t return home from court? Or after blackmailing the beauty pageant lady did she high-tail it out of Rosewood for California with Paige where it is safer for Emily’s exs and women of colour?

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