Pretty Little Liars Recap: Season 5, Episode 19 — “Out, Damned Spot”
At this point in the season, Pretty Little Liars isn’t ready to give any big “A” game reveals, but that didn’t stop Season 5, Episode 19 (“Out, Damned Spot”) from being a great episode. It kept all of the “A” game plates spinning with a few minor reveals, while setting the stage for bigger, scarier things to come. Most importantly, however, it grounded all of the “A” game shenanigans in good, solid drama — namely, in Hanna’s failed attempts to get approval from her dad. Guys, this was riveting stuff. PLL has still got it.
Wherein Aria Finds Out Her Brother Is a Handsome Little Liar. Mike Montgomery may have the physique of a god, but he seems to have the brains of a scarecrow. Why else would he throw in with Cyrus and Alison? We know there’s more to this story than meets the eye, we just wish there was a little more secret-sharing happening in the Montgomery house. What’s the point of having a sibling if you can’t get them to keep your secrets and lie for you?
Anyway, the bulk of this episode’s “A” game plot involved Mike doing sketchy things — right in front of the Liars. (Dude, just scan your immediate area. The Liars are not what you would call “discreet” in their spycraft.) First, he snuck into the blood drive to steal Hanna, Aria, and Spencer’s blood (Emily couldn’t donate because she spent last summer in Haiti — thank god). Then, he withdrew cash from his exorbitantly plush bank account. (He has $18,000, people!). Finally, he delivered said blood (and cash?) to Cyrus Petrillo — aka Ali’s fake kidnapper. Worst. Brother. Ever.
Aria initially refuses to believe that Mike is involved, but she worries about the possibility enough to distract herself from taking a math test. This might not be that big of a deal if not for the fact that she needs to do well in school because she has a conditional offer to attend Savannah College of Art and Design next year. Rather than fail (or, you know, try to answer the questions herself), Aria decides to cheat off of the test of a classmate: Andrew, aka Spencer’s hot decathlon teammate. He totally notices. Rather than turn Aria in, he offers to tutor her, which is Andrew’s Heroic Moment #1 of the episode. You might not think this moment can be topped, but you would be wrong.
Things with Mike come to a head while Aria is knee-deep in her tutoring session with Andrew. Given that Mike has just up and left with the car, she and Emily recruit Andrew (and his car) to follow Mike under the guise that they think Mike is “dabbling” in drugs. They follow Mike to Jonah’s Diner, home of the state’s best rhubarb pie. Um, sold! We say forget the spycraft and opt for the pie, but the Liars push ahead...
They see Mike pass their blood samples over to Cyrus, and plan to follow the latter. However, the cats soon become the mice, and it’s Cyrus who chases them down and demands they explain why they are following him. And, guys, he is very scary about it. There is a motorcycle involved and everything. Though the Liars stand their ground, demanding Cyrus return their blood samples, it is Andrew who saves the day, showing up with a baseball bat, his large arms, and a demand that Cyrus leave the Liars alone. Andrew Heroic Moment #2.
Wherein Hanna Keeps This Show Grounded. Meanwhile, Hanna is on a path entirely her own in this episode — and, as Hanna’s paths tend to be, it is awesome. You see, Hanna Marin has gotten into multiple elite institutions of higher learning — the $45,000/year private college kind. Unfortunately, though Ashley may be out of a job, Hanna’s dad apparently brought in a lot of money last year. This means that Hanna received virtually no financial aid from the expensive schools she got into. Though Ashley informs Hanna that she and her father worked out his financial obligation towards Hanna a long time ago — and it does not include paying more than $10,000/year for college — Hanna goes to see him anyway. Because she is an emotional ninja, capable of facing any and all people who stand in the way of her happiness.
The Marin women are always a thrill to watch, but they are arguably at their most compelling when they are supporting one another to make brave, vulnerable decisions. It makes sense that Hanna decided to call her father out on his behavior given the example Ashley Marin set at the beginning of the episode — i.e. Ashley finally went to Ted and told him the truth: yes, I want to marry you, but you should also know that I slept with Jason DiLaurentis. Not an easy thing to say, but Ashley set an incredible example for her daughter. She demonstrated that being a good role model isn’t about not making mistakes; it’s about owning up to them and being emotionally brave with the people your choices are affecting and, in Hanna’s case, the people whose choices are affecting you.
What Hanna wants most of all from her father is for him to see her as someone other than a vapid valley girl, as someone who is capable of doing whatever she sets her mind to. And it sucks that he doesn’t. It sucks that he doesn’t take more of an interest in her life. A million points for Hanna calling him out on his emotional and financial neglect: “So, Kate’s going to Dartmouth and you’re paying for it, and you didn’t ask where I applied.” With the craziness that the Liars have been through in the “A” game, the fact that Hanna still cares what her father thinks of her makes this show so, so relatable. And it needs that relatability. As long as PLL keeps having moments like this, we will watch — no matter how crazy or frustrating the “A” game gets.
Wherein Spencer is Back on the College Track. When Jonny tricks Spencer into vandalizing the Hollis College campus with a mural, the scare of being caught and therefore risking her collegiate future clarified for Spencer how much she really does want to go. It also clarified for us how much of a manipulative dick Jonny is. Sure, his out-of-the-box thinking and encouragement of Spencer’s artistic side is probably good for her, but tricking her into breaking the law? That just sucks.
We were kind of bummed to see PLL seemingly glossing over Hanna’s complex financial difficulties with the magic cure-all of a beauty pageant offering $20,000 in scholarship money, so it was nice to see the show earn back some of its realism points in its depiction of how Spencer goes about trying to get into college — i.e. she makes use of the Hastings family’s wide network of contacts. In the end, she emails Melissa to ask if Wren still knows someone at Oxford. This may have been a simplified representation, but getting into a good college can be as simple as having the right social connection. And the Hastings have those in spades.
Wherein Emily Finds Out Talia Has a Husband. Oh boy. We knew Talia had secrets, but a husband was not what we had in mind. This reveal didn’t do the show any favors in making the age difference between Talia and Emily seem minor. Talia has had time to get married and drift apart from her husband? That’s gotta take at least a few years, right?
Still, we’re still cautiously on board the Emily/Talia relationship bandwagon. We’re intrigued to see where this relationship goes, and we appreciate when television shows portray more casual, short-term relationships as well as the epic soulmate stuff that tends to get most of the screentime. Who knows what will happen with Emily and Talia in the future — especially if and when Paige comes back to town — but, for now, we’re enjoying the ride. These two totally have chemistry. Their bike riding date? Adorable! The way they ended the ep sweetly holding hands on Emily’s porch? Picturesque and heart-melting. Anyone who recognizes that Emily Fields is worth fighting for gets the benefit of the doubt in our book.
This episode made it clear that Mike did steal the blood and deliver it to Cyrus, but we’re not as sold on the Cyrus/Ali connection. After all, it was Cyrus who supposedly stood Ali up during the time of Mona’s murder, suggesting his loyalty lies elsewhere. Perhaps, with Mona? Who else would Mike agree to betray his own sister for?
On that note, there has to be more to Mike’s betrAyal than meets the eye, right? No matter how bad it looks, we have to believe Mike thinks he’s protecting Aria — even if he’s not. But how could that be?
Is Talia telling the truth about her past? We recently floated the theory that Talia is actually an undercover cop, trying to get close to Emily to learn the truth about the “A” game. That “Tell me your biggest fear” line could have been her hunting for the truth. Also, did we know before that Talia is from Rosewood? That story of her first kiss would certainly suggest so, which means she could have connections to other characters — i.e. the kinds of characters with ulterior motives.
“A” ended up with the Liars’ blood, and decided to plant Hanna’s on Mona’s jeans. What is the next step for the villainess? Is she planning on framing just Hanna, or will she add some Aria and Spencer blood to the mix, too? Will Emily be let off the hook because she couldn’t give blood? Emily’s community service is really paying off.
Mike’s access to so much money certainly suggested that he is working for the “A” Team, which is incredibly well-funded. Guys, all of this evidence is pretty damning.
Other Things to Discuss
“No blood. No cookies. I didn’t make the rules.” OK, the Emily doesn’t get any baked goods gag was pretty funny.
Ugh. The ladies from Ted’s church are the worst.
It was pretty sweet to see Hanna ask Spencer for help deciphering her financial aid letter. We love when these friends are friends.
Andrew may just be the nicest person in Rosewood. Putting up with Aria’s complete lack of focus during their tutoring session was practically a saintly act.
“Riding downhill, steady on your pedals, is the closest you can get to flying.” Oh, Emily, how you manage to maintain your childlike wonder and appreciation for the world is kind of amazing.
Aria calling Spencer out on that time they thought Melissa was “A” and she wasn’t was a good, organic throwback. It also made us initially think that the email Spencer was writing to Melissa was some kind of apology and/or a more in-depth reach out. Oh, well.
“Be careful there.” “Why.” “The dimples, mostly.”
Spoby’s date was canceled. All of the feels.
Um, is it just us or was Spencer extra gullible in this episode? Also, all it took for Jonny to convince her to come mural with him was the promise of a “good dinner.”
“I tend to fall for women who are unavailable — emotionally or otherwise.” Ugh. Jonny is the worst. And who is this Sophia chick he just broke up with? Is it someone we know? (What? Everyone in this town has at least one pseudonym.)
“Well, how can you love something if you’re bad at it?” Spencer, confused about the concept of doing something you are less-than-perfect at.
“You two seem to be getting along a lot better these days.” Ezra’s obliviousness about the Emily/Talia relationship was kind of hilarious.
“Throwing things at people on ladders? Not cool.”
“Compared to your exciting life, mine must seem…” “Functional? Healthy?”
“Stimulants. Amphetamines. We think he may be dabbling.”
We’re a little annoyed with PLL’s continuing efforts to convince us that Ezra is a good guy, but his conversation with Hanna in tonight’s episode was pretty awesome: “I know this isn’t the same, but I used to be your teacher. And I know that you’ve always had it in you.”
What is up with Ezria? Have they not talked at all since Ezra told Aria they should break up?
“He thinks he’s the reason why I didn’t have the perfect high school experience.” “Is that even a thing? Does anybody have that?” The Liars, getting real about high school.
“I know your dad can be dismissive, but please tell me you’re not looking for validation in a beauty pageant.”
“If I can enter a beauty pageant, then you can call the man you love and want to spend the rest of your life with and tell him to take you back.” #TeamMarinForever
“We should have all spent the summer in Haiti.” Seriously, get out of the country.
What did you think of Season 5, Episode 19? Sound off in the comments below!
Catch the next episode of Pretty Little Liars Season 5 on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.
Kayti Burt is a contributing writer for Wetpaint Entertainment with a penchant for all things pop culture. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!