Pretty Little Liars Episode 618 Recap: Act Normal, Bitch

Previously on Pretty Little Liars, Emily got chased around by a whirring Jeep for about six hours, during which ducking-and-dodging she inexplicably: a) got her hands on the murder weapon that killed Charlotte, and b) concluded it’s not (just) Sara Harvey who’s after them. Caleb left home to roam the countryside, a penniless vagabond once more, because somebody leaked a story about how Yvonne had an abortion and that somebody did so from Spencer’s laptop, and so Caleb took the fall. Hanna threw a re-wedding for Byron and Ella. And Aria confessed to Ezra that she wrote his book for him while he was on one of his benders.

This is the best episode of Pretty Little Liars in all of season 6B, by a full mile. I actually watched the whole thing with my eyeballs directed at the TV and laughed and gasped and clapped (when Lucas’ house came to life to murder everyone, obviously) and swooned about the only thing in Rosewood that has always been consistently great: Mona Vanderjesus Vanerwaal. More Mona, more excellence. If PLL doesn’t pull out of this nose dive, I’ll only be recapping through the end of this season (two more episodes!), and this is the first episode since the first two of season 6A that reminded how much I used to love this show.

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Do you want to split this cake?

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No, I want my own.

The theme today is weddings: Alison, for example, has gotten married of to Dr. Rollins, a thing Emily correctly surmises is a desperate plea for a family. And also it is time for Hanna’s bridal shower, which she could not give less of a fuck about. Ashley honestly doesn’t care, either, because of all the contrived cardboard cutouts keeping the Liars from their romantic endgames, Jordan is the cardboardiest.

Ashley’s main plan to keep from having to throw the shower is to break up Hanna and Jordan, so she goes ahead and invites Caleb to move back into her bathroom shower where he was when Hanna saw him nekkid that first time and forgot Sean existed. Caleb demurs, and when Hanna finds out about it, she is livid. She says Ashley likes Caleb more than she likes Jordan. Ashley says she’s known Caleb for six seasons and it’s hard to get invested in her no-stakes relationship with a guy who somehow has less personality than Sara Harvey. Always the voice of the people, that Ashley Marin.

Until time for the bridal shower, though, everybody’s got things to do.

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Hello, Spencer.

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Spencer’s dad has been Out of Town so long I can’t even remember his name. Paul? Patrick? Oh! It’s Peter! Peter is back and his first order of business is to remind Spencer that she continues to be a constant disappointment and will never be as loved as his favorite daughter, Melissa. He wants Spencer to “release a statement” to “distance herself from Caleb,” as if the voters of the great state of Pennsylvania care about whether or not the boyfriend of the ex-girlfriend of the boyfriend of their congressional candidate’s daughter released information about her abortion. Spencer realizes this is some baloney, just her asshole dad bossing her around about inconsequential shit, as per usual, so she asks him to please talk to her about what really matters: Where is Melissa?

Peter: She went back to London.
Spencer: Seriously?! Without answering for the her missing luggage handle!?
Peter: Her what now?
Spencer: The long hollow piece with the rectangle piece attached at the end. Such a thing murdered Charlotte DiLaurentis!
Peter: Oh, whatever. Melissa didn’t murder Charlotte. I mean, look, yes, Charlotte did die the night Melissa stopped making blackmail payments to someone who knew she buried Bethany in that hole Ali crawled out of, but that’s all.
Spencer: Why didn’t you go to the police with that information?
Peter: Because of the part where your sister entombed a girl in our yard.

Spencer harrumphs away from there, but then harrumphs back after her dad leaves, and just in time, too, because Toby stops by to join in the harrumphing. He wants to know where Caleb is because he’s just so mad that he leaked that information about Yvonne, despite the fact that behavior like that is completely out of character for Caleb, and, in fact, sounds more like the omnipotent cyberterrorist he spent twenty years trying to help the Liars apprehend in high school. But whatever. Caleb walks into the kitchen, looking innocent as the sunrise, and when Toby asks him to deny doing the deed, he refuses, and Caleb wallops him in the face with his fist.

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It is NOT okay to keep killing lesbians on TV!

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That trope damages a real life marginalized and oppressed minority!

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If no one ever made another TV show or movie about white dudes, there’d still be more TV shows and movies about white dudes than a person could watch in a lifetime!

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But the way *I’m* going kill a lesbian character will be special and different.

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No. It won’t.

Obviously, Spencer and Caleb then drive to the town square to sit in the middle of the park while Spencer holds ice to Caleb’s face. Spencer still can’t understand why he won’t just tell people he didn’t leak the information, but Caleb has his reasons. Apparently. He doesn’t say them. But I’m sure they make perfect sense. Anyway, somebody peeps them and word gets back to Peter and he is torn out of the frame. What will the voters say?! Spencer is like, “Dude, half the country is voting for an actual Nazi to be president; I think maybe you’re slightly overestimating the gravity of me sitting on a bench with a boy.”

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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. Omg did Toby and Spencer end really because he was pissed she made a decision about her body alone ?! did he always suck like this or did he get re-written like everyone else?

    Thank you for doing this hard work so I don’t have to watch, Heather <3. You're the hero we deserve.

    PS: someone needs to free Emily and get her to the Dinah Shore or something.

    • He wasn’t angry at all, but he also didn’t comfort her. He was depressed because he thought Spencer was pregnant and he was excited about having a baby, but she wasn’t. She pretty much says she would have an abortion, which was a concept that disturbed him. I agree that he doesn’t have a say in that, but I think it’s a perfectly understandable reason for them to break up.

    • Yes, Toby has always been this terrible. I was yelling at him throughout those flashback scenes. Troian put in some BRILLIANT acting work, you could really feel Spencer’s pain, and Toby was making it all about him and what he wanted. It’s not really made clear if that’s why they broke up, but it definitely seemed like the pregnancy made them finally realize that they wanted different things out of life.

    • Well, we’re only recapping shows with quality queer content in them now, and everything else will get a little write-up once a month in our Boob(s in Your) Tube column, so probably not. If PLL re-gays itself, I’ll keep recapping it. If not, there’s not really a place for queer recaps (which breaks my heart).

  2. It’s like the flashbacks are the intrusion of reality into fiction; in them, Caleb is unsupportive and condescending, Toby is unsupportive and self-involved, and the Liars are faced with the reality of dating straight white dudes.

  3. Parts of this episode were really funny – like the house coming alive, and Toby punching Caleb – but Troian just sold Spencer’s anguish in those flashbacks so hard. That’s what really stood out for me. This show has done a lot of messed up shit this season, but it went all out on telling an abortion storyline properly. And maybe it was just Troian’s acting, (she’s always been five levels beyond the other liars, and about twelve levels beyond Keegan Allen) but god, that hit me hard, my heart completely broke for her. And then screaming at Toby that she would never have judged Yvonne for making the same decision? And calling Yvonne? Spencer’s scenes alone made this episode the standout of the season for me.

    • Maybe that’s why I love Spencer so much – because that’s the best actor on the show?

      Or it’s because she’s so pretty.

      I honestly don’t know.

    • RIGHT. I forgot about that line! It seemed like a totally shout out to the audience, I sort of can’t believe they actually went there!

  4. That wedding book! Like in half convinced* Emily and Mona are going to bang out their mutual love of Hanna in the back of that car.

    *But actually less than half because of FreeForm’s new heterosexual mandates. Did Pat Robertson actually secretly take back over this channel?

  5. You know what frustrated me over the last two episodes? Not one person said the word “abortion.” Not saying the word perpetuates the stigmatization of people who choose to have an abortion. It’s extra annoying when it’s a show aimed at younger people. Makes me wonder if this is a Freeform/ABC Family mandate (have characters on their other shows “terminated an unwanted pregnancy”?) or a choice PLL made.

    Thank you for the recaps, Heather.

    • It very well might be a network mandate. I’m thinking back to their parent network- ABC broadcast. Over the variety of Shonda Rhimes shows, multiple lead characters have had abortions- Olivia Pope on Scandal, Cristina Yang on Greys. She showed the procedure in real time, but I can’t remember if they ever said “abortion” by name. Similarly, last season on the Fosters Lena had to get an abortion for medical reasons, it was also not named. Instead they went with “she lost the baby”.

      This is all off the top of my head, so it’s completely possible that I’m wrong. If I am, please someone correct it! No hard feelings. But I think you may be on to something…

  6. “So I guess she’s going in order of height of the six thousand ‘attractive brunettes’ in this town and Aria is up first.”
    Non-coincidentally, Mona is the same height as Aria.

  7. Well the woman in the middle of the lineup looks really gay and the women on either end are wearing flannel so I think the chances of three out of five being gay for Emily are still pretty good Heather.

  8. Heather, it literally took me about half an hour to read this, a) because I didn’t want it to end, and b) it made me laugh so much I had to keep taking my glasses off to wipe my eyes. You recapping a great episode of PLL is the reason I have kept watching this show – I’m not even kidding. I have been waiting for this recap for days. I knew you’d love it.

    I CANNOT believe you didn’t mention the pink drinks that Ashley wanted to have at the party – I thought that was the show speaking directly to us, like it used to!!!! I was so happy!!! I just about screamed at my computer.

    Also – Hanna Marin / Ashley Benson in that dress = perfection.

    Papa Hastings – fuck off. That is all. what are you even doing here? Didn’t Veronica leave you because you were a twat?
    Ezra Fitz, you can fuck off too, you sanctimonious, dis-interesting, inappropriate knob. How dare you.

    Also – are Emily and Mona going to get it on in that car?! Is this a thing that can happen?! I have everything crossed. :)

  9. Do you know why the house attacked everybody? Because it knew, now that Wayne Fields has passed on, that it was safe to.

  10. Heather! I love your recaps! If you stop writing them I’ll probably stop watching the show, because I only watch it for the humor you bring us every week.
    I guess I’m putting this here because I have no where else to express it.
    I’m really happy that the show (attempted) to show and explain things like abortion and donating eggs this season. It was bold and the writers are aware that the majority of the viewers are now my age (17-21). I’m proud that they’ve shown the reality of situations we have all been in/could be in.
    I’m really upset with this show. They’ve managed to remove Emily from any personal storyline, turn her into the most unsuccessful character, just to have someone move the “Evil Emoji” storyline along. They’ve tried to make a stand about fertility, but by pushing Emily to the side they’re hurting the LGBTQ+ community. I almost believe the writers (cough cough Mrs King) do it out of spite to those who ridiculed them for the season 5 finale. But who knows. Maybe they are just that blind to their actions.
    I hope they really push the “evil emoji” storyline and stop dragging out Jordan and Liam. Stop trying to make it happen. It’s never going to happen. Also, more vanderjesus never hurt.
    Sorry for the rant, you’re the best!

  11. I’m so glad this show is getting better again. I’ve missed the last few episodes but will watch this one on your recommendation Heather. It sounds quite funny and not that annoying!

  12. Yaaaaaay they’re back!!! In disappointment of this season I have started to rewatch season 1 which I miss massively! Seasons 1 – 4 were the best. Then they started to redeem EzrA after finally admitting he was evil, were awesome with the Dollhouse and then decided that having interesting plot development and characters that make sense weren’t as good as shock factor. Holding out hope for the end of the season though *SPOILERS*- we find out who has a twin and ‘Emison is back in its original form’ according to Lucy Hale.

  13. I will just say this: I never laugh as much as I do when reading these recaps. Full belly laughs. Thank you. I’ll miss them should you decide to stop writing them.

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