Pretty Little Liars Episode 614 Recap: Ask Not For Whom The Emoji Tolls (It Tolls For Thee!)

Previously on Pretty Little Liars, Emily began the process of harvesting her gay little eggs from her gay little ovaries to spread her gayness to the masses (and also to get enough money to pay her parking tickets). Spencer asked Hannah if she could burn Caleb’s toast, and Hannah said yes, and so Spencer did burn his toast, she burned it real good. Lucas took a break from building game apps and lounging in his various mansions around the world, perusing particular subreddits and cheering for Neil Patrick Harris in Gone Girl, to be Hannah’s alibi for the night Charlotte was murdered. Aria started writing Ezra’s second book so he’d have more time to stomp around and figure out how to make every brutal, violent thing that happens to the women in his life all about him. And A learned how to use emojis.

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Spencer wakes up to a sun-dappled morning ripe with the promise of spring, wrapped up in a duvet and an Alabama Shakes song about how, even though you once got caught in a bear trap in a wedding dress and hallucinated your way into a sapphic noir fantasy, it’s gonna be all right, it’s gonna be all right. Alas, hope breeds eternal misery, and Spencer’s bliss bubble bursts as soon as she reaches for her phone. What she sees is a message from Devil Emoji explaining that he is A 8.0, knows all her shit, intends to destroy her life, etc. Spencer rushes off to NuRadley to talk about this with the Liars.

Who could Devil Emoji be? Sara? Probably not; she doesn’t have any fingers for texting after she grabbed onto that Acme dynamite box when Emily punched her in the head that time. Ezra? Probably not; he’s too drunk on his own pain to know how to use a phone. Ali? No, she’s at an egg farm upstate with her boyfriend. Byron? Could it be Byron? They spy him skedaddling out of the hotel like a many-legged creeper-creature for some reason. Hannah is full of radical ideas in this episode (like, for example, telling the truth and hiring a lawyer), and she kicks off her insurgency by just texting Devil Emoji back, like, “hey who r u?” And Devil Emoji responds.

I am the night! I am the space between waking and sleeping, I am the monster waiting to grab your ankles underneath your bed! Wherever a girl needs to be reminded to act normal bitch, I am there. Wherever there are masks or selective memories springing into your consciousness at laughably convenient times or a necklace made of human teeth, I am there. But sometimes I am not there because I’m in the bathroom or the iOS update on my is taking longer to update than it said it would or I was looking for a thing on YouTube and fell down a fanvid rabbit hole, but most of the time I’m there! Shuffling. Skulking. Slinking. Slithering. Sneaking. Squirming. Sleeping. No! I don’t sleep! You sleep and I watch you sleep. I’m awake. I don’t blink. Am I a disembodied letter of the alphabet? No, I’m a little bearded red cartoon man with horns!

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He follows up this text with a photo of a 9-iron that is supposedly the murder weapon Rosewood PD are looking for to continue their investigation of Charlotte’s murder.

The Liars’ top suspect is Ezra because of how Aria found all those photos of mutilated bodies on the flash drive he let her borrow and how he is an unhinged, entitled, remorseless sociopath. Actually, the reason they give for thinking he killed Charlotte is they asked him if he killed Charlotte and he didn’t say no. Aria tries to get Ezra’s spare key from Sabrina at the Brew, but Sabrina shuts her down, so Aria convinces Emily to use her lesbian wiles to distract Sabrina so she can steal the key. “Breaking and entering” isn’t a crime, see, unless it becomes “breaking and entering and taking shit that doesn’t belong to you.”

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Emily: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Sabrina: Well, I don’t own a TV.
Emily: Yikes.
Sabrina: Or know how to use the internet.
Emily: Oh, so you just, like, text people when you want to talk to them?
Sabrina: I’ve never heard of a phone.
Emily: Right.
Sabrina: I don’t know what a typewriter is.
Emily: It’s been so long since I felt the weight of a woman on top of me, I’m going to say this is fascinating, instead of what it actually is, which is a litany of deal-breakers.

Once Aria lifts the key and she and Emily break into Ezra’s apartment, they are at a loss for what to do next. On the one hand, if they found a 9-iron with blood on it, that would seem to confirm that Ezra is Charlotte’s killer. On the other hand, they have stood in this very apartment and read through thousands of pages of surveillance he did on them while he was manipulating Aria into sleeping with him and that never gave them pause about his trustworthiness or plausibility as a good, kind, loving, gentle, romantic love interest. They are thrown for a loop, however, when they discover that: a) Ezra owns an answering machine, onto which b) Byron Montgomery is leaving a message. He just wants Ezra to know that he didn’t see what he thought he saw the night Charlotte was killed.

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Aria flashes back to a conversation she overheard between her parents one night when Ella went to visit Charlotte at Radley to try to make the connection between the way her father abused and discarded her and the way she became A. But Byron ain’t tryin’ to hear that shit, Ella, you monster! He yells some threats about Charlotte and Ella rolls her eyeballs right out of her head and Aria cowers in the hallway and tucks away this moment to revisit when, and only when, it is an absolutely essential component in forming an opinion about the likelihood of one of these people being a homicidal maniac.

When Emily returns the key to the storage box in the Brew, Sabrina catches her and her feelings are so hurt. She snatches up the box and says there will be a lock on it tomorrow, and honestly, she’s probably going to go home and etch a strongly worded drawing onto a piece of cave slate and send it to Emily via a courier on horseback, so why don’t you go home and wait five to seven weeks for Sabrina’s correspondence and think about what you did, Emily.

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Aria and Emily go to Aria’s house to sit in front of a giant open window, into which an elderly man in a postman suit is staring at them, and figure out what to do about Byron. Aria calls him but he can’t talk; he’s busy sitting shadily in a limousine and fretting to someone that #AriaKnows. They decide to check his supply of white man things to see if any of his golf clubs are missing and obviously the 9 iron is not there. It’s sitting in some storage locker somewhere, covered in rat’s blood, one assumes.

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Caleb and Spencer are adorably awkward with each other at Hastings campaign HQ. They talk about how last night was perfect and he’s never going to ever try to come between her and her first love (coffee). He is dressed like Victorian wallpaper, but that’s okay, it’s okay, Spencer is feeling him and this and them. (And so am I, to be very honest with you.) They are interrupted by one of Veronica’s aides who has assembled a recon package on her opponent and her opponent’s family.

Get this: The person running against Veronica has a daughter who is Spencer’s age and does Spencer’s job and is about to get married to Spencer’s ex-boyfriend. Her name is Yvonne (snaps for casting a woman of color here, PLL; don’t kill her!) and honest-to-Vanderjesus, right there in the info packet about Veronica’s political opponent’s family, it’s like, “Daughter Yvonne is dating former teen contractor Toby Cavanaugh, who has purchased an engagement ring to present to her over a family lunch of braised short ribs and goat cheese polenta at the family estate this coming Sunday.”

Spencer needs to have a think about this. Yes, she has moved on to a new fellow, but, well, Toby built her a rocking chair. She peeped him crying in an alleyway when those kids wouldn’t share their ice cream with him. He chased Emily through the Rosewood High chemistry lab and nearly killed her, but drove her to the emergency room and deposited her limp body in the doorway and rescued her growing-up chart from her bedroom doorframe when her mom tried to make her move to Texas. He was a good guy. A good boyfriend. She one time saw his dead body buried in a pile of leaves and lost her literal goddamn mind, staring up at the sky with her hair crackling like dark magic, whispering, “Follow me, end up like me. Follow me, end up like me.” She stole her sister’s engagement ring two days after her sister’s husband died while trying to murder Spencer, and pawned it and bought Toby a truck. The world spins madly on, a speck of insignificant dust in a magnificent universe, and she loved him wholly for a time. She’ll never touch some abs like his ever again, maybe she’ll never even see some abs like his ever again. And she mourns him.

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Not for long, though, because some dillweed who doesn’t know how to work a camera rolls up in a limo and starts snapping pictures from inside the tinted windows with the flash on. They zoom off when Spencer sees them.

Caleb, meanwhile, goes to visit Toby and tell him what’s up with him and Spencer. Toby’s living in one of those little sardine can RVs on the property where he’s building a house for Yvonne. Toby doesn’t like the news of his former lovers becoming lovers. He frowns and drops his head and walks into his RV and sadly shuts the sad door behind him and cries.

It does not stop him from wanting to marry Yvonne and maybe it even gives him an extra push. He goes to the event Yvonne and Spencer are co-hosting at the Brew to try to get Millennials to vote, and paces back and forth with an engagement ring in his hand. Spencer sees him and so does Devil Emoji, who texts Spencer: ring emoji, crybaby emoji, laughing cat emoji. The event goes really well, though, and all the young people agree to participate in democracy. Afterwards, Yvonne and Spencer hug, because she comes from a “hugging family,” unlike Spencer, who comes from a “stabbing family.” The reason Yvonne doesn’t feel threatened, she says, is because Spencer is a city mouse and Yvonne is a country mouse and Toby also is a country mouse, and while country mouses might enjoy an occasional teenage fling with city mouses, when it’s finally time to settle down, country mouses always build little mouse houses with each other. Yvonne is really into retro TV.

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Spencer and Caleb take off into the night to try to track down Devil Emoji’s phone signal. It’s pretty easy. So easy, in fact, that a similar plan of action at a different time might lead them right into an abandoned bakery where Devil Emoji had prepared a giant pie to bake them alive inside. Not this time, though. It’s just a warehouse with a garbage bin and inside it is A’s old Risen Mitten clothes and gloves and a Nokia 5160. Caleb powers it up and pockets it. Snake still works on it, at least. Devil Emoji texts to let them know he’s not gonna prowl around in the shadows, but is, instead, gonna wear a bunch of service worker uniforms and lurk around in the daylight and eavesdrop on them and serve them warm croissants smothered in honey butter and pick up their recycling and change their oil at the Jiffy Lube.

Hannah’s having a weird day. She tells Ashley about erasing the security footage and Ashley goes berserk because the footage isn’t just stored locally, okay, it also exists at a server farm, and Lorenzo’s gonna find it and see that Aria was shirking around the night Charlotte died, and that means Hannah is going to be a suspect, and that means Ashley is going to be a suspect. “Bleeding heck, Hannah!” is not a thing Ashley says, but a thing I like to imagine her saying. Hannah wants her mom to rob the server farm, but Ashley has robbed enough old ladies and killed enough of their fake nephews, thank you very much, and she will not do any more crimes to keep Hannah from going to jail for doing crimes.

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So Hannah’s next step is to confess to her boyfriend Jordan, who tells her to stop beating herself up about making one little silly mistake, which, by the by, was motivated out of loyalty to her friends, an honorable reason to commit any crime (just ask Hermione Granger), and anyway he is rich and white and a man, and also the son of someone who is rich and white and a man, so this really shouldn’t be a problem. He rings up his dad, and his dad sends a lawyer to town, and the lawyer walks into the Rosewood Police Department and every officer and detective in there faints dead away. A lawyer! A real lawyer! In this very building! Who could ever have anticipated such a thing? While Hannah’s watching them keel over from shock, Devil Emoji sends her text that’s just a couple pig emojis and a cake emoji.

Lorenzo wakes up and tells Hannah she’s free to go because the server from the server farm went missing.

Because Ashley stole it, duh.

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Ashley drinks her whiskey neat in her tailored dress in her pristine kitchen and sighs and rolls her eyes and stuffs that server down the garbage disposal, like so many iPhones before it.

The Liars go to NuRadley to talk about their days and their lives and how Sara is camped out in her room probably making a lair, and Byron is on the lam probably writing shitty poetry in a leather Moleskine, and Ezra is in Philadelphia probably stumbling around in a drunken stupor on the streets bitching to every one who will listen about how these women he’s fucking keep getting brutally murdered and ruining his life. Byron does call, though, and asks Aria to come meet him. He sounds nuts, like he’s speaking through a voice modulator translator or something.

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While all this is going on, an elderly old bell hop leaves the hotel and gets into a limo and peels off his face. Coyotes howl. Glass shatters. Someone’s Samsung Galaxy S6 dings a text alert. It’s nothing but a grey parrot head emoji, from an unknown number.

My forever and always thanks to Nicole (@PLLBigA) for these screencaps and for staying strong in her enthusiasm for a show she loves so much. 

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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. I think Mona and Leslie are the new ‘twins’ and are working together. The masked person had the same fake nerd glasses that Mona and Leslie used and we’ve seen Leslie wear the same skirt and knee socks that Mona wore in the Byron-kissing-Meredith flashback.

  2. Sabrina is by far Emily’s best love interest so far. When she told Aria, to her face, to smoke weed to chill I lost it. She’s actually fun!

    • And a good person for a change. She won’t deal drugs, but she’ll share a little medical Mary J. She pays for things when people don’t have money. She doles out comfort to suffering people (Spencer without ADHD meds, Aria without yoga because Rosewood doesn’t even have a health food store, and Emily when she didn’t have anyone to talk to about her treatments).

  3. This is my theory, A is like Santa Claus. NOT REAL. It is all a figment of Allison’s mind because we all know that bitch is cray. She has been in Radley this entire time after being hit over the head by her sister, and from suffering brain damage she has constructed this elaborate delusion.
    Also, it’s been six years and I’m out of ideas.

  4. This harkens back to Recaps of Old. I love it.

    Also – always caption screengrabs with Emoji’s. It’s glorious. Aria’s eyes and the magnifying glass made me laugh out loud right in my office.

  5. I hate Sabrina so much. She reminds me of every fake hippie girl who has ever tried to throw shade at people using affirmation-type statements. At least Paige was competent and cynical.
    I find it creepy that both Ezra and Toby chose doppelgangers of their exes to date.
    Loved Emily cutting Hanna down to size with her stupid private jet rant.
    ALSO: ‘Does Ezra play golf?’ …idk, do bears shit in the woods?

  6. I haven’t laughed this hard at a PLL recap in ages. I almost spit almond milk all over my computer. Strongly worded drawing on cave slate delivered via horseback. Where do you come up with this stuff???
    This is reminiscent of the hilarious recaps of yore and I love it.

  7. Such a wonderful recap this week – the emoji captions killed me!!

    My theory: Kennth killed Charlotte, but ALI is “devil emoji”. Remember when Ali had that terrifying dinner party and decided her friends were lying to her? So now she’s become the next “A” in order to figure out who killed Charlotte. And the liars are her prime suspects.

  8. But remember when characters used to get shipped off to like New True Directions Glee Club Drug Boot Camp just for being in possession of a joint? Progress.

  9. “I am the night! I am the space between waking and sleeping, I am the monster waiting to grab your ankles underneath your bed!
    I. AM. BATMAN!”
    “Oops, I shouldn’t have said that last thing.”

  10. The emoji captions were amazing. On par with using the raccoon pic in lieu of Eza’s horrid existence. 10/10 would laugh again

  11. Your emoji captions were on point! Except I do not get the one that is chicken mailbox? Under Caleb and Spencer?

  12. Great recap Heather!

    I’m getting burnt out on the recycled story lines over the last 6 years… feels like an eternity. I feel like the whole show will end with another A and we’ll never get closure. And the way they ended last season and stared this season I’m seriously considering only reading your recaps and MAYBE binge watching the parts I want to see when it’s all over.

    “Pretty Little Liars is testing my pretty little patience!” couldn’t be truer.

  13. You = *shining star emoji* *sparkly heart emoji* *crown emoji*

    Thank you for making me actually laugh out loud on the regular. I’m glad we all have you and each other to get through the final moments of this ridiculous show.

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