Title: Pretty Little Liars S5.E19 “Out, Damned Spot”
Released: 2015

Hey, Liars! Remember Lesli Stone? No one else in Rosewood does either. GOOD. Mona’s plan to return to life via astral projection is going perfectly.


The Marin queens! Hanna, for having the guts to ask her dad about money for college, and the wherewithal to call him out for his bullshit when he both refused and let slip he was paying for his stepdaughter’s education; Ashley for having the guts to come completely clean to Ted when accepting his proposal, and the wherewithal to not fall to pieces as she waits for him to sort out his thoughts and come back to her with HIS answer. 


Jackass Marin. He doesn’t even deserve to have his name remembered, except I just did: Tom. Tom Marin. The waste of space that ruined Ashely and Hanna’s lives and self esteem whose only value is as occasional reminder to the Marin queens that they are Better Than.


Talia being married—to a man!—earned an OH SHIT from at least one of us, so we will go with that. Although a Liar being manipulated into a relationship with an unavailable adult who is full of secrets is sort of par for the Rosewood romantic course, and thus, shouldn’t come as much of a surprise at all.


Giving blood at a locAl chArity drive in Rosewood, PennsylvAniA is just taking your life into your own hands.


Hanna got into a billion colleges, while Hobo Artist Jonny did his damnedest to convince Spencer that there is no rule that says you have to go to college (eye roll). STOLEN LIES came to town and carried around Mona’s old Poe compendium as if it were really one of Mona’s creepy dolls, and Mike freaked out about everyone (Hanna) trying to tear apart Mona’s life and make it like she doesn’t exist. Ezra leveled up in retch-inducing patronizing by declaring to Aria that he IS bad for her and that she needs to take time for HERSELF. Emily kissed Talia, dispassionately, because she is lonely. Pastor Ted proposed to Ashley with a cookie, even though she had given her own cookie away to Jason while Ted was out of the country. Holbrook was revealed to be poisoned by the toxic patriarchy of Rosewood, but otherwise innocent of being the person helping A(li) terrorize the girls the past few weeks. Mike has been visiting Ali in prison, despite Aria’s ultimatum that he QUIT, and so obviously they all now think he is mini-A.


Liars’ Blood Summit

Although, isn’t that every week’s Liars summit? Anyway, this week the Liars are convened at school for the church-sponsored blood drive, which Ashely is running. Emily can’t donate because of CONTINUITY (that time she spent a summer in Haiti one year and four seasons ago), but still thinks she deserves a cookie. She doesn’t. Spencer takes it away from her. “No blood, no cookie!” she literally says. Four seconds later Ashley comes swinging by (GET IT. SWINGING.) with a tray of brownies…which Aria interrupts her math studying just long enough to promptly take away from Emily, too.

“NO BLOOD NO BROWNIE.” And Aria was raised on Ezra Fitzgerald’s Rulebook of Pastries and Bloodsport, so she would know. We mean, Emily did stab a guy once and thus should be absolved of all blood tithes for pastries for the rest of her life, but. She’s not one to make waves. She lets it go.

It is clear that Ashley is heading this blood drive because of love/guilt, because little else could persuade a Marin queen to put up with the blonde terror with a tickle in her throat and a despot’s eye for gossip who shows up just then, not to donate blood, but to wheedle TMZ relationship details from Ashley and also to post fliers for the upcoming Glass Slipper “Scholarship Program” Pageant.

Alexis: “there is no one bitchier than a church gossip”

Rosemary: “omg someone who guilts other people for not coming to church is THE WORST SORT OF PERSON”

Alexis: “Aria is the worst sort of person”

Which is true because right as Ashley’s blonde terror leaves, a wild Mike appears and knocks a billion things over “just trying to get a better look at how everything works” in the fridge with all the sample blood vials.

Synchronized head turn! Our favorite trope!

At their lockers post blood-drive, Spencer reminds Aria that they saw Mike standing by the coolers that held their vulnerable DNA, and if he’s helping Alison…but Aria won’t let her finish that thought. Emily tells them all to take a deep breath, and Hanna retorts that ”It’s hard to breathe when someone’s trying to set you up as an accessory to murder.” Which, fair. But Aria is in denial (duh) that he would hurt Mona, or even team up with someone who did. Plus, she has a math test and because Aria only deals with Aria’s problems, she CANNOT DEAL WITH THIS RIGHT NOW.*

If it is any consolation for the shade we will be throwing at Aria’s choices this episode, she is at least at the top of her fashion game. Girl looks GREAT.

*To be fair, none of them has ever been expected to know math before this, teacher boyfriend or no, so we should probably cut Aria a bigger break.

Aria, Meet Hot Andrew

Disclaimer: Rosemary and Alexis have WILDLY varying opinions on the return of Hot Andrew. As in, Alexis kept making notes about the next TWO scenes that followed his reintroduction, whereas Rosemary spent that same time finding new ways to comment on how great Andrew is and how one of the Liars had better get on that so that she doesn’t have to jump into a fictional TV murder town in order to do it herself. (”I stand by this.” – Rosemary) We DO still agree, however, that Hanna is perfection and Ezra is a wiener predator. In case you all were worried.

In class, Aria doesn’t know any of the answers on her test because this is her first math class in her history at Rosewood High, so she starts cheating off her neighbor, HOT ANDREW. Welcome back, Hot Andrew. Rosemary missed you (while Alexis still can’t forgive you for being Callie’s horrible rapist on The Fosters). Despite having had to hide everything having to do with A/Ezra for the last two years—i.e., like 85% of her daily life—Aria is the opposite of stealth, and so is, of course, caught.

She tells him she got a conditional admission into Savannah College of Art and Design (Wait – what? When? Did we not have like five hundred episodes dealing solely with how A scuppered her attempt to get into every school ever???), and they’re watching her every move, A-style, and she can’t screw up, so she panicked. Hot Andrew is not mad (just TELL me this doesn’t look exactly like the face of an abuser before he hits a person? -Alexis) because he is perfect and sexy, and instead he offers to tutor her.

That evening, Aria’s homework time is interrupted by Mike’s ringing cell phone. She sees the call is from a blocked ID and, playing her big sister trump card, she answers it (ARIA). Turns out, it’s a collect call from Chester Women’s Correctional Facility from inmate ::cue automated voice recording:: Hank Mahoney. But when Aria accepts the call expecting it to be Allison, “Hank” hangs up. Cut to Magic Mike XXL, lathered up with baby oil, getting his heavy metal workout on in his bedroom. Aria knocks on his door to ask WHY Allison’s calling him, WHY he’s visiting her in jail and who the HELL is Hank Mahoney?! She knows he and Mona got in a fight the night before she died, and she wants to know what’s up. Mike plays dumb (at least – we think that’s an act).

Later, we see Mike AOL Instant Messaging with Hank Mahoney. A/S/L, Hank? But alas, we learn nothing about who Hank is, only that he and Mike are to meet up later. Mike goes to his bedroom mini fridge and pulls out a can of muscle milk that produces a hidden vial of blood. Presumably stolen from the blood drive and NOT some freaky-deeky way to get swole?

“MUSCLE BLOOOOOD.” #MikesSecret #RosemarysHusband

During their study date the next day, Aria asks Andrew for help with the subjects she’s worst at. “I guess math and science weren’t Fitz’s strong suit?” he asks. Aria is SHOCKED he would say such a thing! Andrew “innocently” points out that she could ask Ezra for help, “assuming you’re still together.” This might’ve been a roundabout way of him figuring out if she’s single, but, like, kinda low blow there, buddy. Aria tries to redirect this trainwreck of a convo, but things are officially awkward. Andrew checks his phone—doesn’t want to be late to batting practice—and Aria teases him for doing all these regular teenager things. Golly shucks gee whiz, he looks up at her through his eyelashes, his life must seem boring compared to hers. No one’s EVER tried to kill him and he’s not once been seduced by a teacher!

At that moment, Emily bursts through the door and shows Aria Mike’s ATM receipt, reminding her that A’s always got money, and thus, Mike must be working for A. Aria says that Mike just took the car somewhere, so they have to follow him…they just need a ride. And it’s high time Andrew got a little excitement in his life.

The threesome load up in Andrew’s car, and on the way, he rightly asks what the EFF is going on, so as Emily texts Spencer and Hanna to get on board with what’s going down, she tells Andrew that Mike’s dabbling in drugs, of course. MUSCLE DRUGS. They follow Mike’s car to a sketchy diner in the woods, and Aria quickly dismisses Andrew. EVERYONE ALWAYS DISMISSES HOT ANDREW. Inside, the girls spy Mike sliding into a booth with a padded envelope where he’s met, not by a stranger named Hank, but by Cyrus, Alison’s fake kidnapper!

Spencer catches up with them outside in the parking lot. Aria won’t let Mike get hurt and tries to go after him, but Spencer stops her–they’ll follow Cyrus and figure out what’s up, but if they go in now, they get no new info. SO RELAX, ARIA. Aria’s phone rings with a call from Ezra, which she quickly DECLINES. And even though they’re in the middle of spying on something super shady, she takes a moment to fill them in on the Ezra sitch, because no time is a bad time to talk about Aria’s personal life. But she’s stopped short by a GROUP TEXT/MIKE DRIVING AWAY.

We missed you, group texts from A!

As visions of jail cells dance in their heads, a motorcycle speeds toward them. It would seem that Cyrus doesn’t like being followed. The girls tell him he has something of theirs and they want it back. So Cyrus offers a trade, but before he can finish, Hot Andrew appears wielding a baseball bat. “BACK AWAY FROM THEM,” he yells. Cyrus takes off, leaving the girls trade-less. Good try, Andrew, but you sorta screwed the pooch on this one.

Emily and the Married Woman

Because Emily is an actual angel among us, she finds time between hammering together shelters in Haiti and getting hammered by the constant terrorism of A to invite the woman who has been using her insecurities as a cover to justify sexually harassing Em at work on a bike ride. That was a convoluted introduction to say basically: Talia is no good for Emily.

Anyway, Emily has brought Talia on a bike ride to remind her of what carefree joy is, and also to convince us that Talia isn’t nearly as old as she seems when she has her hair up at Ezra’s RareBrew Books & Co. Talia tells a very cute/gross story about her disastrous first kiss, here at this very spot, concluding with the declaration that she’d always wanted a do-over. She then asks Emily to tell HER something.

“Ummmm my first kiss is not bikeable,” Em says. “No,” Talia says back. “More like, tell me a secret. Tell me what scares you most!”

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA um, dying by industrial mill sawblade and/or losing every girl I love to the vicious hands of A/pAtriarchy and/or my house and parents finally being blown to ashes, Em thinks, while saying “NO SECRETS HERE KISS ME.”  They have zero chemistry.

One reason they maybe don’t have chemistry is Talia’s secret! Which is: she is married. To a man. Which Emily discovers when she spies Talia’s married name on her employee file back at RareBrew Books & Co. and Ezra brushes off Talia’s married status like he is completely blind to the canoodling going on in his own kitchen (he evidently only has spy skills when Aria is involved). 

This discovery of course puts the kibosh on Talia’s continued RareBrew flirting efforts. Emily calls Talia out on her secret marriage, then storms out. She refuses to answer Talia’s frantic texts that night to explain, but luckily (SIRENS! RUN AWAY!) Talia is just idling outside Emily’s house like one of Emily’s many old stalkers, and she MAKES Em listen to how yes, she is married, but to her best friend! Who knows Talia likes women! It’s very complicated! She shouldn’t have lied, but didn’t want to scare Emily away!

Emily. RUN. AWAY. 

(She doesn’t. She tells Talia she has dangerous secrets too, then lets Talia hold her hand/kiss her. It’s terrible.) 

Throughout all this Talia mess, Emily also manages to: spy Mike withdrawing $400 from an ATM (where his abandoned receipt further shows that the account he accessed has $18k left in it); retrieve Aria from her Hot Andrew study session/Spencer from her Hobo Artist vandalism date; and convince Andrew to tail Mike into the middle of nowhere. We think maybe also she did a shift at RareBrew, and also saved a litter of puppies from a fire. ANGEL.

Spencer and Hobo Artist Jonny

So Jonny is “doing a mural” tonight at Hollis, and wants his “assistant” with him. “Another commission!” Spencer exclaims happily. “I’m painting at Hollis, yes,” he says back not reassuringly, pushing a trash bag of vegetable tops or whatever into her hands while pulling a balaclava over his face and double-checking that her cop boyfriend isn’t going to be coming around any time soon. “This sounds fun and not suspicious at all!” Spencer grins. SPENCER RUN AWAY.

She follows him to a side of Hollis’ campus she’s never been to before, one that visibly needs some TLC, and just keeps congratulating Jonny for how awesome his art is and talking about how lucky Hollis is to have him/he is to have any art skills at all. SHE, on the other hand, has been conditioned by Hastings family absolutism to believe that anything you don’t excel at, you quit. Like for one example, violin, which she loved but was not a prodigy at. So now she is just an art appreciator.

Jonny is an appreciator, too. Of Spencer’s tennis-toned butt, which he gets to stare at because—after he explains that if she hadn’t helped, he’d’ve called his emotionally unavailable ex Sofia, because he is like REALLY bad at relationships and always goes for girls who are unavailable in any conceivable way—he convinces her to climb to the top of the ladder and add some of her own paint work to the mural he has started on the building’s roof. “Looks great!” he says. “You can’t even see it!” she laughs back. 

NOT COOL, on a dozen levels.

Pro-tip: someone who wears his shitty relationship skills like a paint-flecked badge on his artistically holey t-shirt collar is basically a human brigade of alarm sirens. RUN AWAY.

The next morning, Spencer stalks across her backyard to throw the newspaper in Jonny’s face. No, it’s not a shot of him upshotting her—it’s a report on VANDALISM AT HOLLIS. Turns out he didn’t get hired to do anything.

“PRO-TIP,” she shouts at him, “vandalizing shit is not exactly something I should be doing!” And then she runs away. Good job, Spencer!

Also, good job being your insufferable self, Jonny—you finally pushed Spencer back into being Spencer. As in, you pushed her back into her house, up to her room, where she emailed Melissa (…isn’t she probably dead?) about that contact at Oxford charming ol’ Wren was always going on about.

Oxford is literally the furthest away a person could get from Hobo Artist Jonny—geographically AND philosophically. THANK GOODNESS.

(Unfortunately, after returning from being accosted by Cyrus/Andrew’s chivalry in the middle of the Rosewood sticks, Spencer apologizes to Jonny for accidentally eating all the food he has bafflingly been storing in the Hastings’ main house refrigerator, and also tells him she had fun being a vandal, she was just scared. Then HE tells her he’s “trying to have boundaries” while staring longingly and creeping us the heck out. Wren! We know you are probably Big A, but do Spence a solid and GET HER OUT OF THERE.)

The Only Bitch Badder Than A: Financial Aid

Hanna flags Spencer down in the hallway. She needs to talk to her about college, even though she knows it’s a touchy subject cuz, like, she got into a billion colleges or whatever, and Spencer…

She’s right, Spencer is touchy about it. But Hanna is realizing that college is ‘SPENSIVE, and she needs financial aid because Ashley’s unemployed at the moment. Spencer explains that financial aid is based on parents’ income, and it would appear that, even though Ashley’s broke, Ballard knows that Papa Marin has them dollars. And Hanna won’t be getting aid while his buckage stands in the way.

Hanna returns home to Marin Mansion, where Ashley apparently doesn’t understand how light switches work so is sitting in the semi-dark, swilling wine and thinking hard. Hanna wants to talk to her about the financial aid mess she is facing, but once she learns that Ashley finally womanned up and simultaneously accepted Pastor Ted’s proposal/told him about Jason, Hanna decides to wait/talk to her dad on her own.

Later, Ashley comes in Hanna’s room to tell her, with eyebrow raised, that her dad called and can’t do lunch. Hanna admits that she’s not getting financial aid because Papa Marin’s making those big bucks, so she had tried to get in touch with him about it. Unfortch for Hanna, Ashley explains that he’s off the hook when it comes to child support, thanks to some wheelin’ and dealin’ he did during the divorce. Ashley would prefer he didn’t know she was unemployed, so she pleads with Hanna to drop the subject. And Hanna agrees.

JAY KAY! Mr. Marin is very surprised to find Hanna sitting in his office the next day but we are not because Hanna rules the world. She tells him she got into some rad colleges, and he tells her he DNGAF. He agreed to $10K a year for college and that’s all she’s getting. He can’t afford more because he’s paying for his evil stepchild Kate to go to Dartmouth because she “worked hard” to get in. Cue RAGE and CURSE WORDS from your usually friendly recappers.

Reasonably upset, Hanna runs to the Brew looking for the girls but finds Ezra instead. She left her phone in her dad’s office and can’t reach anyone and won’t go back to get it. Ezra offers to play the dad/counselor/creepy mentor role, so she tells him that her dad doesn’t think she’s college material and now she won’t get to go to college. All she wanted was for him to look at her and say he knew she had it in her. Ezra tells her that his parents thought he wouldn’t amount to much (he didn’t) and he ended up working as a hot dog (a.k.a. wiener a.k.a. dick) to pay his way through college. He reminds her that he used to be a teacher (HOW COULD WE FORGET) and he knew she had it in her all along.

He is still terrible but this was actually really great for Hanna (and us) to hear. 

Hanna uses his phone to make the call that Aria declines while staking out Magic Mike. Figuring she’ll inevitably catch up on all the A drama later, Hanna starts to leave, but is distracted by Awful Church Lady’s beauty pageant flyer. $20,000 SCHOLARSHIP! It promises, sparklingly. And Hanna’s brain-wheels start turning…

That night, Ashley returns Hanna’s cell phone and confronts her about seeing her dad when she promised not to. She teases Hanna about applying for a beauty pageant, until Hanna tells her she could win some scholarship skrilla. “Now leave me alone and go call Pastor Ted,” Hanna says (with love).

Liars’ Blood Summit, Redux

Back at Spencer’s, Aria and Hanna are staying the night because they are scared of what Mike/Cyrus will do with their blood. “A drop here, a drop there and boom, we’re all sharing a jail cell with Ali!” Hanna says philosophically. “Probably we should’ve all spent the summer in Haiti.”

We agree. Also in agreement? Magic Mike, who is downstairs creeping outside the Hastings’ dumb door windows like a regular old Toby black-hoodie. Miiiiiiike!


As was established with the return of the group text at the end of their failed Magic Mike stakeout, A has the vials of Spencer’s, Aria’s, and Hanna’s blood. Add that to all the bloody evidence bags from the storage unit/ice cream factory, plus the hacked video of Hanna planning her evidence round-up break-in playing on loop, and what do you get? A planting Hanna’s blood on Mona’s bloody clothes with an eye-dropper. 



Hanna has pageant practice. Cop Toby is back and catches Spencer looking like a hoodlum.


Rosemary lives in Little Rock, AR with her husband and cocker spaniel. At 16, she plucked a copy of Sloppy Firsts off the "New Releases" shelf and hasn't stopped reading YA since. She is a brand designer who loves tiki drinks, her mid-century modern house, and obsessive Google mapping.