Pretty Little Liars Episode 715 Recap: The Heart of The Thing Is Mechanical

Hi, it’s Heather! I’m in Wisconsin wrapping things up with A-Camp 8.0. I haven’t even seen any TV in nine days. Luckily, Dufrau is here to take you safely through Rosewood. I’ll be back next week! 

Previously on Pretty Little Liars: Spencer banged that cop who won’t go away. Everybody misgendered Charlotte, including her father, who is apparently Pastor Ted. Charlotte and Lucas were maybe best friends, because everybody on this show is the same age no matter what age they are, except for Peter Hastings who is at least old enough to have fathered the entire town. Aria met with my true love Weird Sydney in a limousine. Ali is pregnant with Emily’s baby, and Emily was happy with Paige for almost an entire hour.

Currently in Rosewood, Emily and Ali have the first of many talks they will have today about their baby plotline. They are heading to the clinic to get blood tests and “sort of explain” the circumstances of the pregnancy, which is a conversation I almost wish had made in into the episode except that this entire storyline is disgusting and I wish it wasn’t happening at all. This particular scene though mostly serves to remind us of the plot and to make us feel a human emotion before they cut to a scene where Aria, napping in the garbage for some reason, gets a facetime call from her own horrifically snapchat filtered face and we lose our souls forever. Aria claims that she will not turn on her friends, and then immediately agrees to turn on her friends.

If we have this baby, you have to promise me you won’t give its face to a man in the woods.


Spencer heads to the police station to bring cupcakes with zero ingredients to her policeman boyfriend. She says to him “So I understand that you found a finger,” and between that line and her immaculate cupcakes he somehow still resists the urge to propose to her on the spot. In fact, he’s getting suspicious. Which he explains to Spencer and later Ali in absurd detail, but they are both too busy to get wound up about that whole murder rap.

Spencer gets a note from Mary Drake in a wine bottle, and sends one back the same way, and gets another one, this time with a key. Mary Drake would fit in just fine with the other Rosewood moms sending messages by wine. All she needs is a lasagna box for Spencer’s allowance and they would have themselves a family. Spencer goes to meet her, but her policeman follows and is like “How many times do I need to accuse you of this murder before you understand that I am accusing you of this murder?” and I sincerely believe that Spencer seriously considers murdering HIM for a minute before settling on something along the lines of “You are not the first of my police boyfriends to interfere in my schemes. Peace.” But also she’s now pretty sure she left a bad evidence trail at The Radley. When she gets home she finds one last mournful message in a bottle from Mary saying she saw the police, and she is very disappointed. This episode marked the most active parenting Spencer Hastings has ever received.

Wow, Grace really is in love with Frankie.

Yeah. She sure is.

Hanna’s job this week is to ascertain the disposition and intent of one Mr. Lucas Gottesman. She does that by pushing things around his desk and asking Emily questions like “What the fuck is action figures? Why the hell are comics? Do you think Caleb and I would have cute babies?” as if she is just now realizing that she is friends with a nerd and as if that last thing isn’t the shittiest possible line of questioning to be throwing at Emily today. They find a hand drawn comic signed on the front by “Lucas & Charles”, which is at least the second time they’ve deadnamed Charlotte in the episode, and every time it feels like the writer is shouting BUT THERE’S A REASON, but the reason of course is that the show decided this was their story to tell in the first place and instead of admitting it when they screwed up they have continued to explain themselves deeper down into an inescapable hole an awful lot like the one they put Charlotte in when they realized people were mad at them. BUT ANYWAY. The comic is pretty cool, and they now have what looks to be proof that Lucas is connected to Charlotte, and they tell everybody but Ali.

I’m a monster.

Aria has two entire plots this week. The first, if you can believe it, is relationship drama with Ezra. He is again headed to wherever his other child bride is being kept, to read her chart or some inexplicable nonsense that her father insists can only be handled by Ezra Fitz. Aria is upset about that because it honestly is getting a little ridiculous at this point. They have a fight where they both make a lot of points in support of their own selves being the worst. Then Ezra legit says “This isn’t about Nicole, it’s about ME” and the sentence went on a little longer but honestly that’s all you need to know about Ezra Fitz right there. The pie or the beer, Ezra, you can only have one. (He will always choose the pie. The beer is too grown up.)

In between fights with him, Aria gets another call from Herself, like, “Hey Me, what’s up?” And Aria is like “Absolutely nothing, is all you’ll get out of me, Me!” And Her Face is like “Are you sure-” and then Aria immediately tells Her Own Self everything that has ever happened on the show and Her Face is like “Slow down! I just want the comic.” So Aria steals the comic and sneaks into Rosewood High at night like some kinda any-Liar-except-Aria and puts it in a locker for less than 5 seconds before changing her mind and opening the locker again only to find that the comic is gone, and in it’s place is a black hoodie. And hopefully some stilts, because Aria is the shortest adult in Rosewood, and who am I kidding her earrings will make enough noise to give her away no matter what.

Standing in the light of your halo.

I got my angel now.

In possibly the most romantic scene this show has ever done, including Paily by the pool, Mona Vanderwaal finally meets the game. She lays her cheek on it and inhales its scent and knows it like a kindred soul. She is so tickled when it tries to stab her, almost proud even. The things she says! “I can’t hear a fan, but I can feel where it’s warm.” “The heart of the thing is mechanical.” She finds so much life in mayhem and it is a wonder to watch. If this show ends with Rosewood collapsed like a hellmouth with a lonely island in the middle where Mona is calmly sipping a glass of wine, I’ll be alright.

Hanna is less enamored with the game than Mona is. She brought her there for help. She asks Mona to help her play the game, and Mona is like “Hanna Banana do you REMEMBER the me that was into this stuff? I am a danger to myself and others. Also I’d be marginally less aroused by this machine if there was a Me on it.” But Hanna is like “Counterpoint: Imagine how you’ll feel if you BEAT IT?” And man, Hanna Marin knows how to get to Mona. The heart of the thing is mechanical.

Do you have any wine left?


Okay, the real stuff. The Emily, the Ali, and the Paige. These scenes were loaded this week, just so tense and sad and awful. This was Troian Bellisario’s directorial debut for the show, and it was a real plot monster, but these scenes were framed in these isolating ways and filled with heavy silences and just treated exceptionally well, and they are all the most open and honest conversations anybody on this show has ever had. They anchored the episode.

First, Emily and Paige have a half-talk about Ali’s pregnancy, where Emily tells her who the “father” is but not that it’s likely her own egg. Paige is sympathetic. But then Ali calls Emily and confirms it’s Emily’s egg, but that her horrible husband that they all murdered is not the father. Ali asks Emily what she should do, and Emily says she can’t tell her that. Then Emily gets drunk at Spencer’s and tells her she wants Ali to have the baby, but it’s not her right to say so. Spencer is honestly very supportive and attentive, considering she had her eye on a Mary Drake wine message the whole time. Then Emily goes to Paige, and tells her the actual truth, all of it, and that she wants to raise this baby if Alison is willing. And Paige listens and does not get mad or passive aggressive or anything but resigned to the fact that Rosewood is just not a place for well adjusted adult people. “This is the third time I’ve said goodbye to you. I’m never gonna say it again.” They kiss in a sad way a whole day after they kissed in such an easy joyful way. She’s going to Iowa.

Are you here to suggest a lesbian power thruple parenting situation?

Alison, if we raised a baby together it would open the Chamber of Secrets on its first day at Hogwarts.

BUT FIRST. She goes to Ali’s room and wakes her up from six inches away from her face in the middle of the night like she heard Mona did to Hanna that one time and is like “YOU SHOULD REALLY LEARN TO LOCK THE DOOR”, but she’s not being spooky, she’s just being that same girl who rode her bike to Emily’s in the rain to confess her entire life. And she gives Ali the chance to confess her entire life, and Ali does. And her entire life, the life this show has left her with at this point anyway, is the way Emily Fields looks at her. Paige also accidentally calls Ali a terrible person and says “You’re gonna have a beautiful baby!” which are both so embarrassing and inappropriate and Paige my babe, you are forever looking for that coconut cupcake in my heart. Get you to an Iowa. Unless you are A and your grand plan was to convince Ali to keep the baby for some nefarious reason, because that’s what happens. Emily goes to Ali, and Ali says she’ll try if Emily will help, and Emily will always help because that is what makes her Emily. THE HEART OF THE THING IS MECHANICAL.

These scenes were honestly very good, and very affecting. But. I just really hate this storyline, guys. I hate it so much. I hated mystical pregnancy every time it happened to Cordelia Chase, I hated it on Jane the Virgin even though it is the catalyst for that entire show which I love. The only time i ever loved it was on The Cosby Show where a man who is a rapist in real life gave birth to giant sandwich and a bottle of orange soda. I don’t like to see motherhood treated like a punishment. I don’t like how there’s always somebody around to talk a pregnant woman into knowing what’s best for herself. I don’t like storytelling where they take away all agency from somebody then give them one choice to make and proclaim them emancipated. Ali was Galadriel. Beautiful and terrifying, everywhere and nowhere. And now she’s just a girl, and this show has forgotten that that is the most powerful thing she could ever be. And I am as disappointed as a Mary Drake whose secret daughter is dating a policeman.




At the end, Spencer is at the airport having a drink with Wren. Ezra is there and apparently doesn’t know Wren, but I have always been 100% certain they are brothers in some kind of pedophile fraternity, but there’s not enough show left to tell that story. Spencer tells Ezra she’s digging for info on Charlotte from Wren, and to please not tell the police. Ezra is like “I prefer not to ever speak to police or adults, don’t worry.” Ezra goes home to Aria, and I think they both lie to each other, and I think I don’t especially care. The end tag is A bleep-blooping some more Aria Face because she missed a Skype call with Herself to make eye contact with Ezra.

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Sarah lives in the Boston area and plays a lot of video games. Her interests are cats, bragging, and foods that can be eaten lying down. She has too many sneakers and not enough pants.

sarah has written 30 articles for us.


  1. I watched the first six seasons of this show as it was my guilty pleasure then gave up. Now when I read these recaps I feel exhausted and confused about the story, but at least I can laugh at the captions. But I am still so lost after hearing about magical babies and such.

  2. I gave up on this show way back in season 5. It became simultaneously convoluted yet predictable and reading these recaps I now see that the decision to stop watching was one of the smartest decisions I ever made because WTF! Seriously, what the hell. This is madness; sheer madness!

  3. This pregnancy story is stupid. But. Counterpoint. Emily’s sad, drunk wallowing outfit? She looked great in that shirt. So. It gave us that?

    I mean at this point you gotta find the silver lining where you can.

  4. Ok so I haven’t seen this show since season 5 and I only have one question: What even is happening? This recap is bonkers!

    • That largely depends who the sperm is from. Unless it was a randomly chosen sperm donation, in which case Ali’s husband was off being a lunatic out to steal Ali’s money on his own and not working with A.

  5. Last night was the first episode I’ve seen since the first one after the 5-year time jump (I’m sure I don’t need to explain why), and I mostly had no idea what was going on. But I guess they’ve lined everyone up for their final couples? Not too thrilled that two of them are going to be a statutory rapist and his victim, and then two people who’ve actually never even dated but are somehow bonded by a forced pregnancy (unless Emily and Ali dated in the time I’ve missed, but it doesn’t seem like it). But I came back for the end run because, hey, I invested a lot of years in it and might as well see its conclusion since I think there are only 5 or so left?

    Anyway, in total agreement about the wonderful Mona scenes. Very romantic.

    And finally, Shay Mitchell impressed the crap out of me with all her rolling around holding a glass of red wine and wearing a white top. That shit’s not easy to pull off. Well done, Mitchell.

      • When did Emily and Ali date? They kissed in the mid season finale, but they haven’t dated.

        • It certainly looked like they were dating to me. Isn’t that why things didn’t work out with Sabrina? Because of Emily and Ali’s sleepovers and handholds and longing stares whatnot? (And also Emily being secretive about the A stuff.)

          • Emily and Ali didn’t date.

            Emily and Sabrina were on a pause before the mid-season finale because Emily couldn’t/wouldn’t open up about AD, so Sabrina got tired of being in the dark. They never showed her on screen again, Aria just mentioned a couple of episodes ago that she had gotten a job as pastry chef in some other town and therefore left Rosewood.

            In the mid-season finale Ali kissed Emily after finding out she was pregnant. Next episode Emily asked her if she really meant it or if she just didn’t want Emily to leave. Ali replied that she didn’t know, and Emily told her to not kiss her again until she knew. So they did not date there, they just kissed.

    • Emily and Ali shared one chaste kiss post-time jump, took solace in each other after years of being almost murdered every week, and Ali’s been a little territorial whenever Paily are in the same room. That’s seriously all you’ve missed between those two. This gross forced pregnancy story line is forcing them into being endgame.

      Other stuff you might’ve missed: Spencer is probs ending up with Toby only because the showrunners fridged his fiancee, Yvonne (woman of color), after a random car collision with a deer. Ezria’s probably endgame, but you might’ve missed that bit about him having initially been grossly obsessed with Ali first, then setting sights on Aria for information.

      Hanna and Caleb are the only two who organically got back together (after Caleb briefly dated/broke Spencer’s heart, and Hanna dumped her rich, bland, Australian fiance). Really, Mona and the game are the only OTP worth shipping these days.

      • Sadly I did NOT miss Ezra’s original obsession with Ali. He’s so gross.

        Thanks for the info! That was indeed what I thought about Emily and Ali, that it’s been kisses and jealousy and dancing around it but never a relationship.

  6. So obviously the sperm donor is going to be someone we’ve met before. They’re not gonna just have it be some random donor from the bank that got robbed. Unless some dude we know was also a donor. My money’s on Jason cuz that’s just the kind of weird DNA family shit A/this show would pull.

    Though, there’s also a good chance it’s Peter Hastings, since he’s also everyone else’s dad.

    • My first thought was that it’s Cece’s. We don’t know if she had gender reassignment surgery or not, and even if she did, she could’ve had sperm frozen earlier in life.

      • That’s what I’m thinking too. We know Archer was in love with Cece. I’m trying to think of a reason why he would impregnate Ali. It couldn’t be just torture. There are other ways to torture someone that don’t result in an actual human being. We know this because of all the ways the liars have been tortured over the years.
        Honestly, I wouldn’t put it past the writers to make a bizarre and insulting storyline even more bizarre and insulting. I think this might be the worst plot point ever. Which is really saying something when you consider all the rape, incest rape, and statutory rape.

      • Dear lord. Please don’t let them make this Charlotte’s baby. Let her rest, free of dead naming and hypothetical sperm stealing.

    • Could still be Wren’s baby, too, but who knows in this show?

      I hope Peter Hastings got a vasectomy at some point in the vague past, though. That family tree is already dark and twisted enough.

    • At this point I feel like Peter Hastings is probably the father of every Rosewood person under his own age…

  7. So, when Archer was married to Ali, he artificially inseminated Ali with Emily’s donated eggs, without the consent of either of them. The sperm is not his, so he was working with another guy, who is A.D. or working with A.D.

    • Or he could’ve just stole some sperm from the same place he stole Emily’s eggs. I’m sure it wouldn’t be some random person though, it would still be somebody we know.

  8. As much as I despise the pregnancy storyline, I will LOL forever if the father was somehow Papa Hastings, who has fathered most of Rosewood.

  9. i am blissfully clueless about all of these plotlines but i am grateful for your writing, dufrau, and even more grateful for shay mitchell drinking wine dot jpeg dot com

  10. Sometimes, when I consider stuff like the continued existence of Ezra Fitz and all the other creepy, predatory men allowed to roam around wrecking shit, I regret pouring years of my young life into the last seven seasons and the first nine books of this messy series.

    Then Mona Vanderwaal tries to demonstrate heavy petting on a demonic board game and the regret melts away.

  11. I thought I was going to one on here and be the only one that wanted to rip the pregnancy story line to shreds. It actually stems beyond just this pregnancy story (although it is the root) and I hope my emotions/rage stay in check while I write.
    There’s a very good chance at the end of this show all the ship couples get some what of a happy ending; Hanna and Caleb are together now with no hiccups, Aria and Ezra are having some hiccups but I guarantee that will pass, and Spencer and Toby may not rekindle anything romantic now (his wife just died) but they will at least become friendly and then there is Emily, her one shot of getting her coupledom happy ending just went to Iowa over a situation that the writers could’ve avoided or gone in another direction with, much like the Charles/Charlotte/CeCe steaming pile of shit they created.
    On top of that I really hope that TPTB don’t use this pregnancy to bring Emily and Alison close and make Emison endgame. You want to talk psychologically, manipulative, abusive relationships, look no further than Emison. I don’t know what TPTB want to accomplish with this story but it won’t be good I can guarantee that.I can’t say anymore, I am too aggravated by it.


    Dufrau, you do a good recap. I liked your point about Ezra making Nicole’s ordeal about himself but I was more taken aback when he was trying to defend having to be with Nicole to see her through her “nightmare” and essentially told Aria that she doesn’t know what Nicole went through. Really Ezra?! Aria WAS also held hostage and tortured in the Doll House remember? for days, weeks, months, who knows how long.

    I loved Mona in this episode, but she needed to be in it more.

    • Both Spoby and Emison will be together in the end. The thought of four high school best friend all ending up with their first love is probably the most unrealistic thing to ever happen on this show (and this show has surely had a lot of unrealistic things happen), but it’s what the fans want and romance-wise, the show runners are all about fan-service.

      • I think or at least I hope that TPTB’s decision to make “Emison endgame” is just to ridiculously have them raise this baby together and not link them romantically. And that would make the Emison shippers happy.

        If we see Spoby together in the end i think there would need to be a time jump.

        • After what Paige got Ali to say in the latest episode I’m sure that the writers are gonna play it as Ali having real romantic feelings for Emily and that they will be a “real” couple rather than two friends raising a baby together.

          And yeah, I think they’re talking about a one year timejump after AD has been revealed to catch up where the liars are a year later, and that’s where all couples are together and there will be weddings, perhaps more than one.

    • Wouldn’t it be great if Maya came back as Emily’s pot-smoking vampire true love and we could just forget about this gross rapey pregnancy? Full circle, man. I’m holding out hope.

  12. The only thing which could make this pregnancy even more screwed up is if it was Charlotte’s sperm. I’m really hating this story line and I just don’t get why the hell they couldn’t have come up with something better. Liked the fleeting suggestion Emily made that Paige should stay, and they coulda been a throuple lol

    Paige outdid herself with the gay betwene the plaid shirt, blazer, and whiskey. She just needed a side undercut to complete the look.

    I did enjoy your recap though Dafrau :) and I’m so here for all the photos of Emily drinking wine. Same girl, same

  13. This recap makes me as happy as Mona with her face pressed against an evil board game. I guess my heart of the thing is mechanical too.

  14. “Ali was Galadriel. Beautiful and terrifying, everywhere and nowhere. And now she’s just a girl, and this show has forgotten that that is the most powerful thing she could ever be.”

    Yeah. This is such a sadness, and feels emblematic of so much that I wanted this show to be and that it sometimes was and then mostly never became. I still love it, god help me, but like Mary Drake with a cop-banging secret daughter, I am constantly disappointed.

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