Pretty Little Liars Episode 713 Recap: I Needed a Win on an Existential Level

Previously on Pretty Little Liars, a youth tried to blackmail Emily, but you don’t survive giving a man in the woods your face and then bow down to the first Gossip Girl shadow spirit who comes your way. Emily murdered her. Just kidding, the girl played herself. Speaking of which: Aria kept on planning her wedding to Ezra Fitz even though he was gallivanting around New York City with his recently resurrected fiancée. Hanna potentially committed intellectual property theft over a dress design so top secret that Jenna showed up wearing it at happy hour after band practice (after a magical cobbler’s tools came to life and nearly killed Hanna). Spencer found out Mary Drake was her birth mother. And Ali was pregnant and Paige was not and they scowled at and about each other up and down the halls of Rosewood High School, a place they cannot get away from despite never attending it as teenagers.

Wow, 20 percent of Millennials identify as something other than straight.

You did it, Emily. You made an entire generation gay.

It’s Hanna’s turn to play The Game today, which she finds out when someone knocks on her door and it’s herself. Or, well, a mannequin of herself. Hanna’s already having a rough morning. It starts out great when Caleb shows up with a “newspaper” turned to the “style section” and it’s a glowing full-color, full-page review of Hanna’s dress. Before she can even pop the champagne and get her weekday day-drink on, though, some upstart blogger posts on her fashion website page about how that design is actually Hanna’s old boss’ design and Hanna is a thief. You know Meemaw Marin is bombing that blog with a thousand comments but Hanna can’t deal with that right now due to the lifesize doll wearing her face on its head, staring her down from the kitchen.

Hanna realizes pretty quickly that of course A.D. is going to make her perform surgery on her doll self; there’s even a helpful dotted line for her scalpel. As soon as Hanna slices it, blood gushes everywhere. It’s horrifying. Hanna digs a package out of the doll’s innards and inside the package is a little number from the Katy Perry collection that Hanna’s supposed to wear to a meeting with some Japanese investors. Caleb says the dress is so short everyone’s gonna see her “spicy tuna roll,” which is grosser than the bloody doll corpse bleeding out in the background.

Would you like to guess who has set up the meeting with the Japanese investors? Here’s a hint: It’s the same guy whose house Hanna has been living in rent-free since she rolled back into Rosewood engaged to a Ken Doll. Yep: Mister Muddy Sneakers himself, Lucas Gottesman. Hanna seems to think he’s forgotten the time she took him out in a canoe and then pushed him out in the middle of the river in the middle of the night. And she seems to have forgotten that he gave Emily a gloved massage without her consent. I have not forgotten either of those things. Anyway, Hanna never makes it to her meeting because on the way in she gets a call from Spencer saying the Hanna doll sprang to life and massacred Caleb. Poisonous gas. Classic Batman villainy. Ol’ Swampy Shoes says he’ll take the meeting, Hanna shouldn’t worry, and she rushes off to the hospital to find that Caleb is … obviously fine.

Reader, Yvonne is not. She wakes up from her coma, a thing Toby casually mentioned to Spencer in the Brew while picking up coffee (“drop by some time, she’s out of the coma”). He makes a couple of rookie mistakes because he’s obviously never seen a Nicholas Sparks movie. Number one, he says he wants to marry her right now even though she’s still on the brink of dying. Number two, he makes all these insane travel plans with her like going to Russia for Christmas. (Russia! For Christmas!) Number three, he keeps making the plans even when the music gets extra syrupy and the lighting gets extra gauzy. She drops the wedding bouquet she’s holding in her hospital bed and dies on the spot. She was the last plot point to survive the time jump. Not too bad for a transparently doomed woman.

Hanna … if I die …

Caleb, relax. You are too straight and white and male to suffer consequences.

Spencer’s at the hospital anyway because she was with Caleb when the Hanna doll came alive and started terrorizing him, so she gives poor Toby a hug as he falls to the floor. He’s sadder even than that time those kids crossed the street with their ice creams instead of walking past him. Sadder than when he got suspended from the police force for tripping balls on an entire sack of weed gummy bears during a routine mission to a murder arcade. Ah, Boo Radley. Get out of this town. Give yourself that one gift.

Besides her ex-boyfriend’s wife dying, it’s a pretty chill day for Spencer. Detective Furey meets up with her at the Brew and they discover that they both like to be electrocuted by their coffee, so that’s one thing they have in common besides obsessive investigating. He asks her out on a date for the day and she says yes and they go to a community center to help some kids and also engage in a ping-pong match to the death. You knew without knowing that Spencer went to an all-girls equestrian camp when she was a kid, but what you didn’t know is there was a ping-pong table there and that’s where she honed her skills, knowing one day she would be bleeding from a bullet wound and need to play through the pain to destroy her opponent. Which she does. She even changes hands for her kill shot! She thanks Furey for playing, says, “I needed a win on an existential level” and then he smooches her while stitching up the hole in her shoulder.

Board Shorts Ale and a lollipop, little girl?

She heads over to Hanna’s feeling pretty giddy and she doesn’t let Caleb’s solo presence put a damper on her mood. She just offers him a beer and does some casual CPR on him when the doll unleashes its carnage. Not a bad day for a baby born in a madhouse who woke up to a baby crying inside the sentient phone that powers the haunted board game her ten-year stalker mailed to her.

It’s Emily and Aria who have the real adventure on this day. They take a look at the guest list for the charity event the Senator’s Daughter attended and wouldn’t you know it: Sydney Driscoll was there. Obviously she’s the one who shot Spencer and dimed out Hanna to the literal fashion police, then! A quick spot of Googling reveals that Sydney is now a high powered banker who specializes in anonymous clients with billions of dollars. Luckily she is dining out in the open on the streets of Rosewood so Emily is able to swoop in and start in on how she knows Sydney is in cahoots with Jenna again. Sydney’s like, “Girl, look, I know one time I put a rat in Paige’s locker and dressed like Jenna’s twin at the optometrist when you were getting your face repaired after you got kicked in the eyeball by a horse and yes Jenna gave me a mysterious gun and I joined #MonasArmy, but I am just a businesswoman doing business dealings these days. I am not involved in any nefarious plots to lure you into a barn and saw you in half.”

I don’t keep in touch with any of my ex-girlfriends.

This is not good enough for Emily. Good thing Aria’s found some spare time between choosing place settings for her wedding and buying this cheetah-sleeve bomber jacket to become a black ops hacker. She patches herself right into all of Sydney’s shit and they follow her to the Eye Emporium where she’s paying for Jenna’s new retina transplant in the name of A.D. (for “anonymous donor,” okay?). As she’s leaving the Emporium, Emily and Aria pull her into a dark alley and menace her. Aria twists her literal arm! And yanks at her bag! Which she plants a GPS inside! Later on at the hospital, Emily’s phone starts beeping and she takes a peek and Sydney’s just driving her way down Cherry Street. She says, “I’ll take the first watch!” and speeds off into the night to surveil the only Rosewood lesbian she never banged.

Aria, meanwhile, returns home where she proceeds to yell into the phone about her wedding with Ezra for five solid minutes before turning on the light and finding Nicole skulking around in her pajamas. She’s moving pretty good for a girl who just had all her bones rebroken.


Namaste, bitch.

The Risen Mitten is just some gloves attached to the hands of Detective Furey and it’s a good thing he’s wearing them because he opens up a package sent to the Rosewood Police Department and there’s definitely a severed, decaying finger in there. Venderjeus’s pants, I hope it’s Ezra’s.

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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. “Classic Batman villainy”. I love these recaps so much more than I like the show.

    • Pretty little liars is WA€k !!!!!!!!!! Who the hell is A ????
      And ehy is it taking them so long to find A ???? Now its taking the turns of being really stupid . . . They now need a new writer to make a better story .

  2. I read a couple of the PLL books but haven’t watched the show. I finally decided to check in on the Rosewood gals to see what they were up to and…

    What is any of this? I stopped reading because I tired of the twists and turns but this show seems to take it to the next level.

  3. Venderjeus? VENDERJEUS?!? Thou hast taken our Lady’s name in vain, Heather Hogan.

  4. Ok, so this is unrelated to this week’s episode specifically, but I think I have Spencer’s genetic tree figured out.

    So Melissa is her half-sister, Charlotte was also her half-sister, and while technically Jason is her half-brother and Allison is her cousin, since Jessica and Mary Drake have nearly identical DNA, Jason is basically her full brother and Allison another half-sister.

    Phew. Man, I did not sign up for this soap opera shit seven years ago, but here we are.

  5. I still hope that Mona is AD, it would be awesome if she took the game back, and we know she has the tech-skills to create this interactive board game.

    But at the same time, I do hope that the men that wronged the liars (Fitz in particular) have to answer for what they did, like Heather wrote about in an article about a month ago.

  6. I was going to comment, “Why is everyone acting like what Ezra is doing is OK?” W/r/t him just skipping town to spend an unknown amount of time with his old fiance, while she does interviews about how much she loves him, and they do magazine spreads together, and he can’t even be bothered to like text Aria to let her know what’s up, etc….

    But then I realized “Why is everyone acting like what Ezra is doing is OK?” is literally the question of the entire show, and is (probably) one we’ll never get an answer to, so…..

    • Tyler Blackburn isn’t white, but the show’s depicted Caleb with white parents and has done nothing to indicate acknowledging a nonwhite heritage for him or for Spencer (Troian Bellisario is Serbian and black as well as white), so I think that narratively whitewashing the characters makes it okay to refer to them (but not the actors) as white.

  7. It’s nice to be reminded that Aria is exponentially more productive, funny and interesting when Ezra is not around and she has a nice project to keep her talking about Ezra to a minimum. Homegirl would have gotten Donald Trump to tweet less and found a cure for the future zombie apocalypse by now, I’m certain of it, without that garbage fire of a human around to distract her from achieving the impossible.

    Also, sadly, same for Emily re: Alison. I found I didn’t miss Alison at all, and it was actually kind of refreshing to have a core-four episode with Emily engaged and even a little funny, especially after the last episode, and no Alison around to be a humorless jerk to her. Not that Alison doesn’t have a good reason to be upset but it’s frankly kind of…exhausting, at this point. Or maybe it’s my spidey senses about where they’re going with her plot line that’s killing my ability to have any hope that it’s going to be enjoyable anytime soon. I know some people are happy to have “bitchy” Ali back but is it too much to make her funny and bitchy? A real part of the gang and bitchy? Using her powers of manipulation on anyone but Emily to help solve the mystery and bitchy? Maybe she should take up yoga with Sydney.

    • I’m with you, an episode without Alison and Ezra, yay! If only this could last…

    • I feel you. A lot of people were excited to watch Alison pick a fight with Paige or whatever because “yay! I missed bitchy Ali so much!” but I was kind of iffy about that because 1) remember that time Alison almost bullied Paige into suicide? and 2) Season 7’s bitchy Ali is way pettier and milder than the plane-flying, mask-making, lady-blinding Alison from before. Bros Watch PLL Too made a good point about her characterization in that it feels like the writers tend to give post-resurrection Alison some Hanna-type one-liners and pregnancy metaphors because there’s not really a place for her in the main group.
      And yeah, who knew Aria has adrenalized hyperreality when she’s not brought down by America’s favorite pedophile?!

      • Word. Ali’s bitchiness in high school was on a whole other level, and at least it seemed like she was bullying Paige along with everyone else because that’s just who she was in high school. Now, she’s certainly less of a bully…except for when Paige is around? Like, why? To completely negate the growth of both characters and their awesome scene in season 5? Also Bros Watch PLL Too will forever have my heart for their invention of the Ezria Test, like the Bechdel test but it applies to scenes in which the characters are talking about Ezra and not men. And it actually applied to many scenes in this episode! There were many scenes, in a row, in which no one was talking about Ezra! So refreshing.

  8. Love your writing & humorous recaps on the goings-on of Rosewood. Wish I would have found it sooner! One thing, it was the game board that gassed Caleb as he attempted to pry off one of the buildings to see if there were screws underneath. However, you’ve totally made me wish it were the Hannah doll more than anything! Lol. & maybe add ‘CLOSE THE BLINDS/CURTAINS’ to the list of things the girls should have learned by now, seriously, but NEVER WILL be smart enough to do so long as they live! I think this during EVERY episode. I would’ve had my windows sealed off like a crack house since season 1! Looking forward to your next recap almost as much as the episode itself!

  9. The only thing I actually liked about this episode was when Aria went all badass bitch on Sydney. I was like FINALLY girl got interesting again and stopped being all meek and feeble (now that Ezra has disappeared for a bit obvs)

    I was somewhat disappointed by the fact I spent a far bit of time saying to my friend “someone has to die this episode, nobody has died for ages” and then someone did die but it wasn’t Ezra. I too hope that finger is his, but alas I assume it’s Rollins

    • I totally thought they were gonna kill Caleb with the gas which I thought would have upped the stakes in the game amazingly by punishing them severely for trying to break the board… Oh well!

      • Yeah I was wondering that for a while too!! That would have made things interesting!

  10. But but but it wasn’t the creep doll that gassed Caleb into a bad acting attack, it was the game. THE GAME, HEATHER!

  11. I read this recap aloud to my friends after we watched the episode together, and I could barely get the words out I was laughing so hard. Thank you, Heather.

    Also, my friend told me that IMDB accidentally spoiled the reveal of who is A.D. by putting it in the characters bio, and now she knows who it is, and she says it actually makes sense! Is that true!? I both desperately want to know and be surprised. But if it’s anyone other than Ali, Mona, or Ezra, I will probably be pretty pissed.

    • Yeah, I read something about that, too. There are screenshots. (If you do decide to give in to curiosity, btw, it’s pretty easily Google-able.) However, imdb isn’t always a rock-solid source, and people do some pretty impressive things with image editing, so I’m holding out a shred of hope that it’s not actually that particular character (of whom I am a huge fan).

    • There is some info about AD on IMDB, but it doesn’t necessarily make it an official spoiler. The site is open and anyone can add things to it.

  12. “She [Emily] says, “I’ll take the first watch!” and speeds off into the night to surveil the only Rosewood lesbian she never banged.”


    Great review, earn a lot of chuckles from me. Athough Caleb got gassed by The Game not the doll. If memory serves me well, he tried to remove one of the buildings and got gassed by what was under them.

  13. And on the 3rd episode, I gave up. It’s Thursday and I have yet to watch the episode yet and so I haven’t read this recap but know I would have been outraged from something in this episode.

  14. “Sadder than when he got suspended from the police force for tripping balls on an entire sack of weed gummy bears during a routine mission to a murder arcade.” When you read a sentence like this and just can’t remember whether this actually happened on the show, you know it’s pll

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