Pretty Little Liars S05 E17 – Splitting up saves lives

Previously: Spencer and Caleb found what they think is a barrel full of Mona.

The Bin of Sin

Jessica: We start off in Caleb’s hacker apartment, with the “suspicious storage unit was rented in Hanna’s name” plot point. Caleb and Spencer are convinced that the barrel they found in there contains Mona’s body, without, you know, having looked inside it. Maybe they’ve been reading the Rosewood LOLPD manual on how to investigate potential crime scenes.

Marines: They also haven’t been paying enough attention to their lives to figure out that whatever they think happened is 100% not what happened.

Jessica: Aria thinks this is Ali getting payback on Hanna for visiting her in jail – a visit which is news to the other two Liars. Wouldn’t she want them to visit though?

Mari: There goes Aria being the worst at keeping secrets again! (I don’t actually remember if Aria is bad at keeping secrets, but if I can accuse her of being the worst at something, I’m going.) 

Jessica: I’ll allow it.

Caleb says that the storage unit was rented in Hanna’s name starting four months ago, one day before Mona’s murder, which they take to mean Ali meant to frame Hanna all along, potential prison visits notwithstanding. They talk about the knife that Caleb and Spencer burned, and about all the potential fingerprints that may or may not have been on it because, again, they destroyed the evidence. At least it was on purpose that time?

Hanna’s latest plan is to get rid of the possible-body-barrel in the storage unit, which Emily points out would be tampering with evidence and maybe they shouldn’t do that THIS ONE TIME. Hanna isn’t convinced though because she’s still being framed and her alibi is only Caleb due to contrivance.

They wonder if Holbrook was in on this, then decide their best course of action is to tip Detective Tanner off to Mona’s laptop location in the suspicious storage until, which will somehow tip her off to Holbrook’s involvement. Hanna doesn’t like the “somehow” part when she’s next in the suspicious lineup and storms out.


One Coffee Shop. Emily is creeped out by the thought of Mona’s body in the possible-body-barrel which, legit. Aria, of course, manages to make everything about her and her nightmares that Ezra might find out about her letter to Jackie, in which she wrote that it wasn’t wise of her to hook up with her high school English teacher. Why does she think Ezra will freak out about this? Who knows, who cares, Ezra is and always will be the worst.

Mari: “Oh no, I might remind him that dating his high school student was really inappropriate!” 

Jessica: THE WORST.

Ezra is conveniently unreachable for a potential confession though, and new coffee employee Talia enters the scene. She’s made a pecan pie for Ezra, causing Emily to mention that he’s not available. Talia insists it’s only a thank-you-for-hiring-me pie. Emily tells her to back off, regardless.

Marin Manor. Hanna is researching chemical-resistant rubber gloves (M: wow, way to make your browser history evidence…)(J: Also, is that really a thing that requires research? Or maybe it was just purchasing. I did not rewind.) when her mom enters the kitchen. She’s talked with Ted since his peanut butter cookie proposal and declined or at least continued putting it off, and she’s also decided not to tell him about her one night stand with New!Jason. Hanna argues, to no avail. Mrs. Marin declines a call from New!Jason and leaves.

LOLPD. Toby is pouring over paperwork at his desk, seemingly to be about Ali’s case, when Spencer arrives. She wants to go somewhere private for a discussion but instead they stage-whisper at his desk until Detective Tanner shows up. Spencer splits, and Toby and Tanner start discussing Alison’s case. Toby brings up his and the Liars’ suspicion that the polygraph test may have been manipulated. He insinuates Holbrook may have done it, but Tanner isn’t convinced, even when Toby drops the allegations of Holbrook and Ali k-i-s-s-i-n-g.

You have been a cop all of 6 minutes and you have the nerve to investigate your superior,” she says, and warns him off of his “little research project.”

Mari: While that seems like a terrible way to police, “all of 6 minutes” made me giggle. 

Jessica: Montgomery Manse. Ezra arrives and damn it, I have to recap an Ezra scene. BOOOOOOO.

Aria leads with the fact that she got into Talmadge, which he’s happy about. Aria chickens out for a moment and Ezra prepares to leave literally moments after walking in the door, but Aria stops him and finally spills the beans about her letter to Jackie. She hands him a copy of the letter, watching nervously as he reads it. The show tries to make this into a cliffhanger by switching to Marin Manor, where Hanna is packing supplies into a bag. Caleb’s done a thing with the laptop, so she reveals her supply-gathering for her terrible body-barrel moving plan… which she demands he help with. The plan involves burning everything except basically the body-barrel, which they’ll roll into the woods and tip off the cops with a phone call. Caleb points out that terrible plan is terrible, but Hanna cares about as much as a honeybadger, which is to say not at all. She compares this to when he and Spencer burned the bloody knife, so he relents.

Not!Cliffhanger at Aria’s house. “No wonder you got in,” Ezra quips after reading the letter, and I just want to punch his smugly smug face of smugness. But psych! He’s not mad, even though she apologizes profusely. They hug and Ezra gives the letter on the coffee table some serious side-eye. So it’s over then… or is it??? Seriously, why is this the cliffhanger?

Mari: Because people actually care about these two douche canoes for reasons that are beyond me.

Jessica: Insert epic Tina Fey-style eye roll here.

One Coffee Shop. Mama Marin’s talking strictly business with New!Jason. Turns out she’s quitting. He says it doesn’t have to be because of their one night stand, but she says that it does, since her current boyfriend proposed and all. He looks sad and leaves.

Hanna and Caleb commence their break-in of the suspicious storage unit, starting first with cutting the cables to the cameras and attempting to drill into the padlock. (M: This is so stupid.)(J: I guess Hanna’s too good for the air duct.)

Meanwhile, Emily and Aria discuss Aria’s coming clean to her pedo-boyfriend and his apparent lack of care about the knowledge. “I wasted so much energy worrying about how he was going to react, when I could have been worrying about all the other things I could have been worrying about,” Aria says, which I find funny because I have definitely been in that position before, except it’s not funny because Ezra.

Emily’s worried that they haven’t heard from Hanna, and then Spencer pulls up to them on the sidewalk. Her phone tells her Mona’s laptop is on the move, and she suspects it’s Hanna because she wasn’t in school today (remember school?). They drive off together, tires screeching.

Mrs. Marin is cleaning her things out of the office when New!Jason appears, claiming to have thought she was gone already. He notices her lack of engagement ring and she says she hasn’t answered the proposal yet. She starts pouring her heart out to New!Jason about her being-proposed-to feelings, who responds by asking if their one-night stand was just an excuse for her to say no to Ted. She claims it wasn’t, and he gives her feelings face before walking away. Sad-ish music takes us to a shot of Ezra in his office, broodingly reading the letter.

It’s near dark now as Spencer, Aria and Emily drive in search of the laptop. How far away is this storage unit? Meanwhile, Hanna and Caleb have just finished drilling the lock and they open the door to — an empty unit. Empty, that is, save for the possible-body-barrel. Caleb says they should open it but Hanna doesn’t want to see the body, if it is there. Caleb says they get the barrel-moving plan going anyway, just in case.

Meanwhile, the other three Liars have traced the laptop signal (which we now know isn’t being moved by Hanna and Caleb, though they don’t) to, no joke, an old ice cream factory. There’s no service inside the factory so naturally they split up to look for the laptop because they’ve never seen a horror movie before or learned ANY lessons from being stalked by A for, what is it, five years now?

Suspicious Storage Unit. Hanna and Caleb are on their way out when they run into Toby and Tanner. Dramatic fade to black.

After the Not!Commercial break, Tanner disbelievingly repeats Caleb’s excuse that he’s checking out the place in order to rent his own storage unit. Toby gives Hanna serious side eye while they talk, and Tanner asks Hanna if she’s nervous. She makes up an excuse about the bathroom and they part ways. Suspiciously.

Tanner doesn’t want to wait for the manager and sees the cut wire. (M: Seriously, Caleb couldn’t have closed the electrical box?) They have a pair of bolt cutters and continue down the hall.

Ice Cream Factory of Splitting Up for No Reason. Spencer walks around in the dark, and hears voices. She goes towards them. Emily, in a different location, touches a tarp, from behind which boxes fall and we hear the stereotypical cat yowl, but see no cat, only a dead rat on the ground, plus a pack of freeze-dried almonds which the zoomy camera man seems to be indicating are important but (spoiler alert) are in fact not important by the end of the episode. (M: Et tu, zoomy camera man?)

Suspicious Storage Unit. Tanner opens the door to the unit and she and Toby survey the empty room, including the possible-body-barrel inside.

Factory. Spencer follows the voices, a female and male voice. It’s Mona’s laptop playing a video. She picks up a heavy object and props the door open before entering the room. It’s a video of Caleb and Hanna talking about the terrible body-barrel-moving plan. Aria appears and they both watch the video.

They grab the laptop and get ready to go, but hear footsteps. Spencer crawls toward the door and reaches for the thing wedging the door open, but it gets swept away and a hooded figure closes the door, turns a key and pushes buttons, which turns something on, trapping Spencer and Aria inside. Factory sounds happen, and they freak out. Liquid nitrogen starts pouring into the room from various vents and nozzles and they’re in danger of dying. Again. (M: Dying while trapped in something. AGAIN!!!!!)

Luckily, Emily hears the noise and comes to the rescue. She mashes buttons and finally attacks the control panel with the large door-wedging wrench. The effort knocks her down, and Aria and Spencer also fall to the ground, staring at her dramatically through a window that quickly becomes frosted over. Emily then attacks a nearby pipe thing, which opens the door. Spencer and Aria fall-crawl out of the freezing room, and Emily throws her jacket over them.

Mari: I’ll not lie: the main thing I was thinking about was how splitting up actually often helps them save each other from doom rooms. 

Jessica: That … is a good point. Because you know at least one of them is going to get trapped somehow. Our other most recent example – when Spencer saved Caleb from being Hocus Pocus’d in the school kiln.

Suspicious Storage Unit. Toby and Tanner (this duo is starting to sound like the name of a cop show. Anyone?) are opening up the possible-body-barrel. “What’s that smell?” Toby asks. Tanner doesn’t know but sends him to call a hazmat team. After he leaves she lifts the lid and looks inside, shakes her head and puts the lid back. Bending down, she sees drops of blood on the concrete floor, and we dramatically fade to black.

Rosewood. Mrs. Marin is finally done moving out of her office, thanking New!Jason for his help with the boxes. How much stuff did she have at this office? I’m pretty sure I could fit all my office stuff into a plastic Safeway bag. He hopes he didn’t cross a line in talking to her about her pastor proposal, but she says it’s cool. New!Jason talks about how hard it is working with his father, she tells him not to do it anymore. They hug and New!Jason kisses her on her mouth. She tells him it can’t happen again and drives off, leaving him with more feelings-face.

One Coffee Shop. Emily walks in, trying to reach Hanna on her phone. In the kitchen, Talia is cooking. Emily agrees to help cook whatever, and Talia promises to help clean up. Talia pulls a leaf from Emily’s hair, then Emily gets a text from Hanna about Toby and Tanner getting to the possible-body-barrel. This causes the dish she’s stirring to LITERALLY GO UP IN FLAMES. I DON’T EVEN KNOW. Talia comes to the rescue and sends Emily out front.

Montgomery Manse. Aria’s hanging out with Ezra on the couch after take-out dinner. He hands her a gift, which is a leather-bound journal with her initials on it. He remembers how excited he was when he got to college and gives her this whole speech about adventures, and it just emphasizes the grossness of their age gap. However, Aria’s letter has made him also think about how gross the relationship it is, and he starts backpedaling. Aria wants to stay together. “If we stay together, you might grow to resent me,” he says and ONLY NOW IS THIS COMING UP, AFTER YEARS, AAAGH. He asks her to promise about thinking about breaking up with him and she cries but says she will.

Marin Manor. Hanna and Spencer have a yell-fight over how Tanner knew about the Suspicious Storage Unit. Spencer assumes Holbrook was monitoring them and had recorded that video earlier, and tipped Toby and Tanner off about the Suspicious Storage Unit. Hanna wonders why Toby didn’t warn them, and Spencer defends him, accusing Hanna of screwing over herself and Caleb by going in without the other Liars’ knowledge or agreement. Hanna storms out, and Spencer calls Toby. He sees the phone ring in the police station but ignores it. Tanner appears to discuss the DiLaurentis case, even though she’s already yelled at Toby about investigating it. They know Alison had help killing Mona and moving her body, Tanner says. Though she doesn’t know if the possible-body-barrel holds Mona, if the drops of blood she found are Mona’s, the Liars will be the first brought in for questioning. She reminds Toby of his police officer oath and tells him now is the time to tell her anything else she should know.

One Coffee Shop. Emily is on the phone with Hanna, but hangs up when Talia appears. Talia says there’s no need to worry about her apple-pie-turned-apple-flambe. Emily apologizes for “not being myself” lately and says she just needs some sleep. Talia hands her a plate of mashed potatoes (¯\_(ツ)_/¯) (M: at least she’s not drinking milk creepily? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) and Emily thanks her. Emily says she can’t imagine what Talia thinks of her, since she’s been a little all over the place since Talia’s arrived, but Talia is worried she looks like a control freak to Emily. She confesses that she’s interested in Emily… in a romantic way, then runs away to shave her hands finish cleaning the kitchen.

Marin Manor. Hanna tells Caleb that Holbrook recorded their move-the-body-barrel conversation and set them up. She feels bad for dragging him into her crazy plan, and tells him that he should keep his distance from her, to stay out of danger. “Then we’ll both be behind bars,” he says, and romantic music swells as they hug each other.

Mari: Romance over shared prison sentences hokay… 

Jessica: Music continues as:

  • Aria looks through her high school yearbook, catching a glimpse of herself with no list of clubs under her photo like every other photo in there.
  • Mrs. Marin stares at the peanutbutter cookie engagement ring, putting it on and taking it off.
  • Spencer lies on the couch and stares at the ceiling. Toby calls and she answers. He’s at work and says he’s really busy, explaining that Tanner got an anonymous tip about the Suspicious Storage Unit. He didn’t have time to reach out to her, and tells her he can’t tell her what was in the barrel. He also refuses to come over after work, even though Spencer is crying, and hangs up. She flings her phone down in frustration and Toby walks away from work, driving off in his car.

A-tag: All the bagged evidence from the Suspicious Storage Unit seems to be in a new location, but it’s dark and I can’t quite tell where. There’s sort of plinky music playing, so maybe it’s at the ice cream factory? The hooded A figure appears and uses a black light to pinpoint several handprints on the door, which might have been where Emily, Spencer and Aria pounded on it? I’m not really sure, but the music assures us it’s ominous and we fade to black again.


Next time on Pretty Little Liars: I don’t know, Johnny continues to be a thing in S05 E18 – Oh, What Hard Luck Stories They All Hand Me.


Jessica (all posts)

I'm a chronic book nerd and love storytelling in all forms. I'm particularly excited by the rise of the television show as an art form with long, cinematically beautiful plots and complex character arcs (I also watch cartoons). My travels in the past handful of years have led me through three continents and most recently landed me among the majestic mountains of Colorado. Some day I will compile all my travel journals/blogs into one place. Some day. Until then, you can find me with craft beer in hand, ready at any moment to deeply and passionately discuss survival tactics for the zombie apocalypse.

Marines (all posts)

I'm a 20-something south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is my life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. My main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything I attempt seriously well. After that, my life goals devolve into things like not wearing pants and eating all of the Zebra Cakes in the world. THE WORLD.

Samantha (all posts)

I'm a 25 year old graduated English major I can often be found singing too loudly (poorly) in the car or spending some time (hours) on Tumblr. I am a lover of Harry Potter, the Spice Girls, and too many other things.

Did you like this? Share it: