Pretty Little Liars Season 5, Episode 15 Recap — A Time to Kiln
Pretty Little Liars continued its string of episodes prioritizing the Liars’ real-person emotional drama over “A”’s machinations, and we were pleasantly compelled by the results. Tonight’s episode saw Emily (Shay Mitchell) struggling to keep her long-distance relationship with Paily going with only her wits and some empanadas. Aria (Lucy Hale) wormed her way into college using emotional manipulation, and we’re totally OK with it. Spencer (Troian Bellisario) and Caleb went behind Toby’s back to destroy evidence that could solve Mona’s murder. And Hanna (Ashley Benson)? Well, she ditched college weekend to visit a trailer park. Here’s our full recap for Season 5, Episode 15 (“Fresh Meat”).
Wherein Spencer and Caleb go kilning. During a police search of Mona’s backyard, Toby ignores what could very well be the murder weapon. Why? He recognizes the knife from his family’s cabin — aka the one Caleb was wasting away in earlier this season. When he goes to Spencer and Caleb with the news, they agree on the course of action: the knife must be destroyed!
Spencer and Caleb think the knife could have been planted by “A” to frame someone on Team Liar. Toby’s not so sure — he’s a police officer now, you know? But, if he had reservations, maybe he shouldn’t have gone to Spencer with the information? Girl does what she wants. Toby should know that by now. They all “agree” to do “nothing.” Four scenes later, Spencer and Caleb sneak off into the Rosewood forest to find the evidence.
How does one destroy a knife? Well, if you’re Spencer and Caleb, you make good use of the much-neglected Rosewood High set to melt potential murder evidence in the art room’s kiln. Unfortunately, “A” is also worried about neglect of the Rosewood High set. While Spencer is acting as a terrible lookout (or something?), “A” locks Caleb inside of the kiln room, almost making him sweat to death. Spencer saves her detectiving/murder weapon-destroying partner, and the two complete the mission they visited the Rosewood High set to complete.
When Policeman Pretty Eyes finds out, you can imagine he is not happy. When Spencer tries to explain, he tells her: “There are things that I can’t know about. Things that you can’t say out loud.” Is Toby turning in his Team Liar Membership in lieu of a Rosewood P.D. badge? Not cool, Tobes. Not cool. We thought Toby joined Team Cops so he could help Team Liar, all double-agent style. But, apparently, this is more Alias Season 3 than Alias Season 1. Spencer is not pleased with this turn of events, and neither are we. Everyone knows Alias Season 1 was the best.
Wherein Emily makes empanadas. Can we just express how much we loved Emily’s storyline in this episode? When this girl sets her mind to something, she gives it her all. Feeling like she is losing touch with Paige, who is now living on the other side of the country, Emily convinces Ezra to let her cater his opening event at The Brew. She’s hoping to earn enough money to buy a plane ticket to visit Paige. Unfortunately, while her enthusiasm is high, her cooking skills are low-to-moderate. When Ezra sees Emily’s wall splatter, he calls in help in the form of gorgeous, empathetic new girl Talia. Emily is pissed. She wanted to prove to Ezra that she could be something more (and better-paid) than a barista, but nobody likes her empanadas. Though first at odds, Talia eventually wins Emily over with her kindness and patience. We have a feeling we’ll be seeing this Talia again…
Wherein Aria tells the truth. Aria was in full-blown meltdown mode in tonight’s episode as her chances of going to college next year slip further and further away from her. When she receives a letter that she’s been waitlisted from her safety school, Talmadge, she unloads on Emily, who convinces her to write a personal letter to impress the admissions board. Only problem? It turns out Ezra’s ex, Jackie, is on said admissions board. In a parallel to Emily’s own storyline (and, most likely, using Em’s determination as an inspiration), Aria pens an email specifically tailored to Ezra’s bitter ex. The email expresses Aria’s supposed regret for missing so much of high school due to her relationship with an older man.
In an alternate, arguably better-adjusted universe, an episode of PLL airs in which Aria writes this email in complete sincerity. But, in this universe, Aria is immediately wracked with guilt when Emily tells her how upset Ezra will be if he reads it. She travels to Talmadge to ask Jackie to delete the email. Instead, the gals have a heart-to-heart in which Jackie tells Aria how moved she was by the letter, and how much she wished she had let go of Ezra sooner. In this universe, Jackie is the smartest character in this episode.
All seems happy in Arialand. She gets into Talmadge. Jackie promises not to share the email with Ezra. Then, Aria finds a bookmark with an excerpt from her letter stuffed into a book at The Brew. It seems “A” has some new blackmail evidence to use against Aria and, if she’s as productive as we suspect she is, some new products for her Etsy page!
Wherein Hanna goes rogue. For the second episode in a row, Hanna is a rogue agent, pursuing clues and making quips like she’s been binge-watching Veronica Mars. When Hanna finds out about the possible murder weapon hidden behind Mona’s house, she ditches college weekend at yet another institution of learning into which she’s been accepted to visit a trailer park. What gives? Well, Toby let slip that Holbrook is out of town “taking care of his dad.” The other Liars think this is B.S., but Hanna knows Holbrook better. They were in a murder mystery book club together and there was that time she inappropriately kissed him — both events that took place B.H.B.A.S. (Before Holbrook Became a Sleazebag). Hanna finds Holbrook’s dad’s trailer, but Holbrook Jr. is not there. Sorry, Han. You now live in the A.H.B.A.S. era.
Wherein Ali is terrible at jail. We felt kind of bad for Ali in this episode. She got multiple visitors in jail, and all of them hated on her. First, we see Toby pay our girl a visit, both to remind all of us how terrible that Toby-in-a-doorag scene was that one time, and to pump Alison for information. She doesn’t give him anything good, only mentions that the Liars will be in there with her soon enough. Which is probably true.
Next on the docket? Hanna! After Holbrook’s dad mistakes Hanna for Alison, Hanna pays a visit to her former bestie to lay down the law. Ali tries to convince Hanna that she’s not “A” using the logic that, if she were, she wouldn’t be in jail. Hanna’s not buying it. “I know if you are ‘A,’ then you’re counting on that last little shred of me that gives a damn about you,” Hanna tells Ali. “And you shouldn’t.” Burn.
Meanwhile, the one person Ali actually wants to talk to, her brother Jason, is avoiding her phone calls. Instead, he spends the day hanging with Ashley Marin. Who can blame him? She is both foxy and one of the coolest parents on this show. Also, Jason seems to be taking over his mom’s real estate business, and he needs employee Ashley Marin’s help. The two do some soul-sharing, one thing leads to another, and before you can say “But you’re dating Pastor Ted!” the two are in flagrante. Hanna gets home sooner than expected, and sees Jason slipping out of the house. Awkward!
Meanwhile, back in The Clink, Alison gets a message from “A” delivered via jumpsuit: “Your friends will see you soon.” Here’s hoping she means at Chili’s for your Yay, I’ve Been Cleared Of All Charges and My Friends No Longer Think I’m “A”! celebratory dinner. But she probably means in prison.
Is the bloody knife a plant or the actual weapon that killed Mona? We’re leaning towards the latter, though we may never know now. It bears mentioning that there are so many unsolved murders in Rosewood, this could be attached to a different one.
The Liars still suspect that Alison is “A”, but the message she received in jail suggests that Alison is just as much a pawn of the “A” game as the Liars.
If Holbrook isn’t taking care of his “sick dad,” then where is he? And how deep does the Ali/Holbrook relationship go? Why did Holbrook’s dad know about Alison?
Ali claims that she was waiting for Cyrus when Mona died — aka she was set-up. Can we believe her?
The guts-filled stuffed animal suggests that “A” was with Hanna at Holbrook’s dad’s trailer park. Is “A” watching the Holbrook family as closely as she is watching the Liars, or did she follow Hanna there from college weekend? And what did that stuffed animal ever do to her?!
Other things to be discussed:
But really. Who knew that school set still existed?
The backstory of Caleb’s trouble youth past seemed a little ret-conny, but not enough to take us out of the story. Still, we’re not sure why having a record would make that evidence that much worse. It seems like finding fingerprints on a murder weapon is bad even if you have no priors.
Emily’s admission that she was hoping she could be something more than a barista felt like it came from somewhere other than solely a desire to visit Paige on the semi-regular. Could Emily really want to learn the fine art of hor d'oeuvre-making? We’re for it.
Aria should just tell Ezra about the email. Play up the I Really Wanted to Get Into College angle.
Um, is it wrong that we ship Ashley and Jason? We know Ashley is technically dating Pastor Ted, but these two look great together and their chemistry was surprisingly compelling. Plus, we feel bad for Jason, who has officially been kicked out his house for saving Spencer from false murder charges.
“OK, whatever happened to a Thank You card?” — Spencer, in reaction to Hanna’s news that she kissed Holbrook
Who else was hoping The Brew opening was actually a circus?
Jug of Chablis? How old is Aria?
“I wanted to write it two weeks ago, but I was too busy being wrapped in a plastic sheet.” — Aria, on why she hasn’t been more active in the college application process #ariasmeltdown
“The shelf life on secrets around here has hit an all-time low.” — Spencer, lamenting any actual communication that happens in Rosewood
“I can’t get hauled away on suspicion of murder. Again.” — Every character in Rosewood, probably
Way to play up all of the trailer park cliches, PLL.
“Are you out on bail?” “No, college weekend.”
Subplot: Emily’s shirts become weirdly prophetic.
“If I wanted advice, I’d ask my mother. We go way back.” — Emily, being awesomely snarky to a just-trying-to-be-nice Talia
“If I was as clever as everyone thinks I am, I would have given myself a better alibi than my brother.” — Ali, on her alibi
“Johnny, you don’t really want to live in my backyard. Somebody was buried in it.” — Spencer, trying to save an unexpected future tenant from the “A” game/her family
“You told me once I could tell you anything.” — Spencer to Toby
“Consider that a ‘thank you’ for dinner.” — Jason’s explanation for the (first) kiss he gave Ashley Marin. Apparently, kisses really are thank yous in Rosewood.
What did you think of Season 5, Episode 15? Sound off in the comments below!
Catch the next episode of Pretty Little Liars Season 5 on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.