Pretty Little Liars Episode 717 Recap: Jealous or Crazy?

Despite the several dozen things that perpetually make me want to punch my own face right in the eyeball during this final season of Pretty Little Liars, one thing the writers and I fully agree on is that the overarching theme of these last few episodes should echo the major lesson of the entire show: None of us ever have, or ever will, deserve Mona Vanderwaal. My suspicion was that Mona was going to be revealed as A.D. at the end of the show, not as a bad guy, but as the person who stole the game back from the people who stole it from her and then used it to help the Liars finally get all their answers. It’s why I kept saying this new A.D. and this new game seemed weirdly helpful. It doesn’t seem like that’s the case; the final scene of this episode shows Mona in a modified lair inside her apartment, where she’s trying to outgame the game and solve the very last set of mysteries. No bloody clown masks, but she’s got an entire stack of shovels in the corner.

Hmm, let me see, will I help you.

Girls, you know I’ve always got time to boss you around.

And that’s just a piece of her infinite majesty on this day. Hanna finally reveals to the group that she’s let Mona in on the game. The Liars snip and snorp about it because they’re morons. The only times they’ve ever been at A’s level, and especially the only times they’ve actually been a step ahead of A, is when they’ve shut up and done exactly what Mona told them to do. They’d have died down in that underground dollhouse like some beautiful little rats if Mona hadn’t been there scoping it out in the dark and figuring out the rules months before they arrived. Hanna’s like, “Look, we all know Mona will run under you with a car — wait, Mona, let me finish. We all know she’ll run under you with a car, but then she’ll show up at the hospital to do your makeup and create an elaborate verbal cypher when talking to her dolls to help you suss out the fake cousin among you. She is our best and only hope.”

The Liars know it’s true, even if they don’t like it, so they finally relent and agree to follow her lead. Firstly Emily. Mona figures Ali and Emily should probably know the sperm donor whose DNA makes up half of their forthcoming baby, and she’s already gone to the trouble of tracking down the doctor who forcefully inseminated Ali. She and Emily could just march up in there and start asking for answers, but you know Mona’s fondness for playing dress-up. She and Emily pretend to be a couple trying to get pregnant. They hold hands but haven’t really discussed their backstory. They both insist the other one will carry the baby. When Emily reaches the end of her acting ability, Mona rips into the fertility doctor.

It’s not just Advanced Lesbianism, doctor.

She falls in love with literally every woman who makes eye contact with her.

He barks at them to leave like that’s gonna slow Mona’s stride. She lifts a magazine with his home address on the way out the door — “You stole that?” Emily gasps, like this isn’t the same firecracker fae who nodded and shrugged when the Liars found out she literally smashed Bethany Young’s head in with a shovel — and breaks into his home to dig into his personal records. She discovers he accepted an enormous sum of money, enough to pay off all his medical school loans, right around the time Ali was forcefully impregnated. In an afternoon she figures out all this shit, more shit than all the other Liars have ever figured out on all days combined.

Okay and then she does my most favorite Mona thing, which is breaking into other people’s dreams to act out my greatest fantasies. This time it’s Aria’s dreams and it’s a black-and-white musical set to “Jailhouse Rock.” Mona performs the song while dancing around in a guard’s uniform, twirling a nightstick and jabbing it all around her prisoner, who just happens to be Ezra Fitz. He is bloody and bruised and everyone keeps punching the hell out of him and the whole time Mona’s just a-smilin’ and a-dancin’, placing a veil on Aria’s head, thrusting a bouquet in Aria’s hands. Veronica Hastings is the officiant of this nightmare wedding. She says she wouldn’t piss on Aria’s grave, which is rude and weird, but whatever. Mona dances and sings and Ezra looks like hell and is behind bars and this is the soul of their relationship, People Choice surfboards or not. I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t seriously consider turning off the episode at this point and never watching PLL again. My ultimate endgame. This scene might as well have been written just for me, is how much of an arrow it was straight into my heart.

What’s worse, lookin’ jealous or crazy? Jealous or crazy?

Or like being walked all over lately, walked all over lately. I’d rather be crazy.

Aria wakes up in a panic with Ezra dozing on the couch beside her. She’s worn out from doing all of A.D.’s busy work to keep that college essay she wrote about Ezra being a predator out of the cops’ hands. She yells at her face on the phone like, “I was just a child when I wrote that thing,” which, yeah, that’s the point. But like all the times she and the other Liars have talked about that particular piece of history, they can’t hear their own words coming out of their own mouths.

The whole day she’s distant and aloof with Ezra, doesn’t enjoy dance class with him, doesn’t want to listen to the song he has picked out for their wedding, doesn’t want to make eye contact with him or be touched by him. He assumes it’s because she’s still mad at him for writing that true crime novel about Alison. You know the one: He did his “investigating” and “research” by seducing and stalking his 15-year-old student and her friends. But no it’s actually not that. It also could be the fact that his fiance came back from the dead and he zipped and skipped all around the world at her family’s beck and call and didn’t even return Aria’s phone calls while that was going on. But no it’s not that either. Aria’s very obvious misery doesn’t keep Ezra from creaking on about how his mom’s going to ruin their “perfect day.”

They make Jolly Rancher Pop-Tarts now.

You know you can’t mix that kind of sugar with Study Drug.

Ezra actually goes full “Some people have real problems, Emily” on Hanna and Caleb, who are sitting in a corner at the Brew talking furtively about the most recent police investigation they obstructed because it implicates Hanna in homicide. They’re whispering back and forth about Detective Marco Fury’s visit earlier that morning and what this “new evidence” is he’s got his hands on and whether or not Ashley’s really going to believe Hanna didn’t flood the basement of Radley. Well, Ezra brings them coffee under the guise of being a Nice Guy but really only wants an in to plop down in a chair and go, “You think you’ve got worries. My mom hates my brother’s girlfriend!” Aria sees them and side-eyes Ezra and shuffles on by.

Ashley does want to know what the bleepin’ heck is going on. Fury and the Gang showed up at the Radley talking about the security system going offline for ten minutes, and Hanna and Caleb were there when it happened, and all of a sudden the receipt that proved that Spencer paid for a round of drinks with a dead man’s credit card the night he died had been erased by a tsunami. Also Ashley wants to know what the deal is with Caleb, just in general. Like, he lived in the walls of Rosewood High and then in their shower and then with his Uncle Dad Jamie in a bean barn and then like on a train in Europe where he started boning Spencer and then in Spencer’s garage and now at the Radley. What’s his whole hobo deal, really? It was cute when he was a kid, but is it permanent? Caleb explains that he’s still grifting because he’s trying to figure out if Hanna loves him back, loves him-loves him in a forever kind of way. He wants to marry her. Ashley forgets the murder investigation and picks up Caleb and twirls him around the kitchen.

Thank you, lesbian Jesus, for this wine we are about to receive and these two idiots I love.

Later, because the police are swarming the hotel and I guess Lucas finally kicked Hanna out of his apartment, Hanna and Caleb meet in the woods in a tent and propose to each other with cigar rings and champagne. And then they have sex like the first time they had sex. I teared up, I don’t mind telling you. It’s pretty silly when shows marry off their high school sweethearts, but with these two I believe it. This is a full circle moment that actually laid the groundwork and the payoff is a weepy and well-earned nostalgic ending.

Spencer has the weirdest day of everyone, per the usual. For one thing, both her parents are in town and at home. They’re working together to pack up to move to Harrisburg or some other innocuous-sounding place. Two amazing things: 1) Peter says they’re not having a yard sale because he’s not leaving bits of himself behind in Rosewood, which is hysterical on account of half the kids in this town are made up of bits of himself. 2) Just randomly in a box on the couch Spencer finds a baby blanket that says “property of Radley.” A baby blanket. With the logo of the local asylum. Which her parents hung onto. A BABY BLANKET THAT SAYS PROPERTY OF RADLEY. It’s so dumb and great. When Spencer first says, “This must be what they brought me home in” I thought she meant it was like a straightjacket she came home in from her teenage time in Radley, but this is even better.

Toxic masculinity…

…ruins the party again.

While they’re packing, this loud as balls recording of Peter and Mary Drake talking about murder comes blaring out of all these speakers all over the house. Peter rips down some of the speakers and yells and smashes his fist on the counter. I honestly can’t figure out how the recording they hear is more damning than any of the other shit that’s ever happened to this family, but for some reason it causes Veronica to “forfeit” her senate seat and Peter to bust through the wall and run screaming into the night like a rabid werewolf. I mean I guess the reveal is that he bought some drugs to kill Jessica DiLaurentis? Which, like, yeah? Of course he did. You think that’s gonna weird out Veronica’s constituents more than the Hastings’ backyard being the most high profile rotating residential graveyard in history and Spencer and her friends getting arrested for murder every five minutes in high school?

Either way, Spencer’s ripped up about it, enough to consider going on the lam with Mary Drake, who half-kidnaps her and explains that the drugs Peter bought were actually for her. He and Jessica had a plan to kill Mary but Mary just killed Jessica right back instead. They had the same DNA, you know? So they both knew the special kind of pills that would stop each other’s hearts. Spencer does feel sorry for it. Her dad is truly the worst. But she’s gotta stay here and protect her friends.

I miss you guys.

Miss you too, bb girl. Come home soon!

Also she’s gotta stay here and fight with Detective Marco Fury who has now decided Spencer’s main crime isn’t possibly killing someone, but having sex with him that night at the Radley because she was sad Caleb was still in love with Hanna. Motherfucker, she was drunk. You were drunk. You didn’t know each other. You fucked in an elevator. And now you’re mad it’s because you weren’t the love of her life or the first man to ever sleep with her or that she wasn’t just entranced by your natural charm and charisma? Jesus, the men-child in this town/the world.

The Liars are getting to the bottom of the game. Aria creeps into Ali’s in her black hoodie and adds a couple more puzzle pieces to the map they’re building together. I hope it leads to Mona’s hyper-adrenalized dreamscape, a place full of more glorious madness and grandeur than Willy Wonka’s most exoctic fever dream. We can all sip on Spencer and Toby’s broken engagement wine there, together.


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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 was sitting there thinking, “I can’t believe I’m watching a cutesy black-and-white musical number about an actual child predator going to prison for his multiple crimes, and it’s couched as both adorable but also as if it would be a BAD thing and a real shame-bummer” and then I remembered who’s in the White House right now so I shifted to, “Well of fucking course this is what we’re doing right now.”

  2. “When Spencer first says, “This must be what they brought me home in” I thought she meant it was like a straightjacket she came home in from her teenage time in Radley, but this is even better.”


  3. There’s a mistake in the recap, it says it’s Aria who performs in the dream when it’s actually Mona!

    This show is just getting more batshit and I’m here for it. I spent waaay too much time to quit in these final moments. I also thought the thing from Radley was a straightjacket and I was very confused over Emily being all emotional and urging her to keep it.

    Also, did we ever see Aria writing that police report? Was it when she found out that in addition to being a sexual predator and statutory rapist, her boo was also a stalker and even more of a sexual predator? I honestly forgot half of what happened in this show. Because I was under the impression that she never actually acknowledged their whole light-of-my-life-fire-of-my-loins situation was oh so many flavours of wrong.

    I loved Hanna and Caleb this episode and they’re the only couple I really root for, so I’m hoping we’ll see their wedding and skip the whole Ezra-Aria affair.

  4. I love how this is the first time Ezras stalking and seducing of multiple teenagers has come up since the first reveal and it basically consisted of Ezra being like;
    “Sweetie, why are you mad at me? Is it because I accidently stepped on your toes when we waltzed? Is it because of this morning when I left the toilet seat up? Is it because of that time I had a weird inappropriate relationship with your 15yo dead best friend who turned out not to be dead and then became your teacher and seduced you pretending like i didnt know who you were already while I literally recorded everything you and your teenage besties did (both visual and audio recordings)for the first 2 years of our definitely illegal relationship for the sake of writing a book that revealed all your secrets in the memory of said dead best friend I might have been a little in love with and definitely saw the night she was “murdered” but then never told the police and casually stood back and let them pin it on toby (another student of mine)?
    And Arias just like: “No dont be silly, none of those things are imprtant or big deals, im just in a mood. I guess I’m PMS-ing or something.
    This fucking show, man

  5. Watching Mona Vanderwaal sorting all of this out and casually adding a musical number to the proceedings had me wondering why they’ve wasted time having anything else happen on this the past few seasons.

  6. I also loved how Aria was all “oh no i cant do that to spencer, shes been through enough!” but was okay with smearing fake baby blood all over the nursery for ali and emilys baby. Nice attempt at appearing to have morals, Aria.

    • I kind of took it as Aria loves Spencer more than everyone else, which fair. Team Sparia and all that.

      But also I don’t think anyone has had actual morals on this show since like season 4.

  7. “While they’re packing, this loud as balls recording of Peter and Mary Drake talking about murder comes blaring out of all these speakers all over the house” OK this had me cackling, this show is RIDICULOUS

  8. my favorite part of this episode was when spencer’s dad was like “you have no idea what you would do if someone was coming after you constantly like mary did to me!” i know that it was supposed to parallel A.D. currently coming after spencer, but her dad fully knows about the previous 75 As who also came after spencer! some people have real problems, emily!

  9. Prison guard Mona singing and dancing was perfection and hot as hell.

    Also dafuq was with the casual reference to Ezra having stalked Aria and the liars all that time ago and her being like “no it’s fine that’s not a problem” I wanna be like WAKE UP ARIA!

  10. Also side note: is Veronica Hastings mommi? I feel a vibe…. Also Ella Montgomery (and I miss her in this show damn it)

  11. Ughh I realised I have that same shirt Aria wore this episode so I guess I have to burn it now

  12. Mona is pretty much the only part of this show that doesn’t make me want to claw my eyeballs right out of my head at this point. I mean there IS the teeny-tiny fact that Haleb is obviously going to be a thing and there was never a chance in hell for Mona and Hanna, but having adjusted expectations accordingly…yeah. Mona is the lord and savior of my eyeballs (and the rest of me).

  13. Remember when we all had a good laugh at how useless Aria was, yeah well not she’s stupid too. We’ve already established how she’s the worst AD minion ever and how she can’t handle a simple task executing it or emotionally not to mention how she has the worst poker face and acts shady AF. I’m surprised when Mona walked in she didn’t take a deep breathe in and call Aria out for working with AD (because you know that’s the kind of think Mona can do).
    Anyway back to why Aria is stupid, the way she dropped the phone in the box, she hasn’t had a turn, i mean how have none of the girls figured out she’s on the AD team, oh never mind they’re all stupid too. but it’s what she did with the puzzle piece that takes the stupidity cake. she gets it and she puts it on the game board like no one is going to notice extra puzzle pieces??? No what she should have done was hold onto it and then when the “game” is over and Hanna complains yet again that Aria never had to do a turn she whips out the piece and says surprise bitches I was double agenting and got my piece.

    I loved Mona this episode (probably her best). Actually I would’ve liked if the show kept Mona as the 5th PLL and kept the show about Alison’s disappearance (but that ship has sailed).
    I loved how Spencer was the first to say something like “we’re gonna trust her theories” when every time Spencer accused someone it turned out to be wrong.
    I loved Mona and Emily playing a couple. With Mona by their side any liar could start making smart decisions. Where would Emily have gotten if she went to see that doctor alone or worse with one of the other liars, no where.
    And then you know other stuff happened this episode.

    I’m kind of annoyed because I was so sure Mona was AD but as the show showed us her “lair” at the end it almost guarantees she’s not AD but really just cleaning up all the bone head messes the liars have created. She has the shovels, my guess is she has the receipt which is why Hanna couldn’t find it originally, and any other bits of evidence from the crime scenes the liars have been around.

    So then who could it be, the voice talking to Aria sounded familiar obviously not the distortion but the inflection and the “sweetie” i think was said. i want to listen to it again and analyze it but then again I’m really not that interested and I’m just waiting for the final episodes. How many now, 3?

    • I’m only now watching this episode, so chances are this is moot, but the voice sounded like Sydney.

      Though now that I think about it Ella Montgomery also used ‘sweetie’ a lot. Or was that Piper on Charmed? It’s all just a badly plotted blur at this point.

  14. I lost my goddamn mind when Ezra said “I truly believe that we are stronger for having weathered those storms. Don’t you?” Like, was he just checking if being a predator had long-term consequences on Aria? Or downplaying his awfulness to a “storm” that they can get through together? I didn’t think it was possible to hate his guts any more.

    Jesus tap-dancing christ, I missed Ashley Marin so much.

    And for the record, I didn’t think Mona was AD, and definitely don’t now, and thank god for that because Mona is basically the only thing that can save humanity, even the Liars who do not deserve it, now.

  15. OH MY GOD the “wish you were queer” emailing back and forth from Mona and the Amazons !!!! (that’s who that is, right? I’m sneakily looking at this recap real small at work). TOO good.

  16. The info about Ezra that Aria turned in was NOT her college essay as writer of this piece said, but an actual police report she filled out on him when she found out his original reason for creating a relationship w her. It was probably around the time she was almost at Principal Hackett house to tell him.

    Also Peter didn’t buy drugs. He was on a medication himself that was the opposite of what Jessica and Mary took. I think his was for high blood pressure and Jessica’s and Mary’s were for low blood pressure. When she gave Jessica Peters. Eds it made her blood pressure go too low and stopped his heart.

    • Thank you for the clarification. I salute you for being able to keep track of all the ways Ezra has been implicated in statutory rape over the years.

  17. a MFM reference in a PLL recap is basically the best thing i could have ever hoped for. bless u.

  18. I always ask myself why do I still watch this show… I guess that it’s because I hope that it will end with a good plot but I have to admit that after every episode so far this seems pretty unlikely.

    I hate Aria so much (you guys have no idea!) which makes me despise Ezra too so that musical scene, for me, was totally unnecessary, although Mona was pretty hot in it.

    And I was confused about that baby blanket too… I really thought it was some shirt (or even a straightjacket) Spenser used when she got out of Radley!

  19. Ouch…the pain of writing a comment for 15 minutes, then accidentally hitting some key which erases it all…

    So, I will just say, THIS…all of THIS! Thank you, Heather!!!

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