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Pretty Little Liars - Out, Damned Spot - Review: "The Mystery of Mike Montgomery"

11 Feb 2015

5.19 - "Out, Damned Spot"
Directed by Nzingha Stewart
Written by Lijah J. Barasz
Reviewed by Gavin Hetherington

Season Guide

The girls are surprised Hanna got into lots of colleges. Johnny tells Spencer she doesn't have to go to college. Mike gets defensive with Mona's friend and angrily tells her to give him the book she took out of her room. Ezra thinks it's a good idea he and Aria have some space. Emily and Talia kiss. Ted asks Ashley to marry him. Hanna asks Ashley if she told Ted about Jason but she hadn't. Johnny built a secret whisperer machine in the Brew. The girls conclude Alison is having outside help from someone they would never suspect and we see Mike sign in at the prison to see her, even after Aria told him not to.

'Out, Damned Spot' Recap and Commentary

Cheating Like a Boss

At the Blood Drive, the girls are getting their bloods taken. Emily can't get hers taken as she was in Haiti over the summer and Spencer takes her cookie off her. Bad Spencer, but she didn't make the rules so I guess she's right. Turns out the event is Ashley's idea and Hanna got them to go as the church folk Ashley invited cancelled last minute - guess we all know why. Ashley gives Emily a brownie which Aria takes away from her. I know Emily didn't give blood but I'm starting to feel sorry for her here. Someone from the church does show up and Ashley goes to greet her. The woman won't give blood and she says the others have missed Ashley the past few weeks and tries to get the gossip on why Ted has been distracted. She's a pretty rude old lady. She asks Ashley to ask Ted to put some flyers up around the church and Ashley agrees. Mike then distracts everybody by knocking things over and acts sketchy. He leaves, and we see the case with the blood vials open.

"Was he here to steal cookies... or to steal something else?" - Spencer Hastings

At the school, the girls discuss Mike and what he was doing at the blood drive. Spencer thinks he was trying to steal their blood to help Alison which is exactly what I think too, and Hanna. Great minds think alike girls. Aria goes to her maths test and begins copying off Andrew (haven't seen him in a while) in the class. I would condemn Aria for this but to be fair, Andrew might as well have shouted the answers out the way he held his paper up. It was like he wanted people to copy off him. We cut to Hanna asking Spencer about college and financial aid. Thank God for student finance where I live because being at University is expensive! Hanna reveals Ashley left working for the DiLaurentis's so Hanna needs help. Spencer flicks through her letter and reveals they think her father can pay for it. Aria leaves the classroom when Andrew approaches her. Apparently he saw Aria copy off Andrew (does he have eyes on the back of his head because Aria would have seen him look and would have stopped) but he isn't mad. He offers to tutor Aria and at first she declines but she eventually accepts.

Emily and Talia are riding their bikes as they stop. Talia takes Emily to where she had her first kiss (with a boy, much like Emily). Talia tells Emily about how he had frog cheeks and burped to ruin the moment. Talia asks what Emily's biggest fear is, which I find a little odd in this show when the girls' fears are always coming true. Emily, being the smart girl that she is, doesn't answer it and instead plants a kiss on Talia's lips. Way to go Emily! The do-over Talia needed. Bless. Ashley is in her kitchen looking at her ring when Hanna walks in. Ashley reveals she went to see Ted after the blood drive as he deserved an answer - she said she wanted to marry him but then she told him about Jason. Ted told Ashley he needs to think and would give her a call in a few hours but he couldn't even look at her.

Mike: From a Rugrat to Being All Grown Up!

Cut to Aria and Spencer on the phone to each other. Aria rightfully brings up the point about how Spencer thought Melissa was A for a while and was wrong. Aria promises to watch Mike if Spencer promises not to jump to conclusions. That's going to be a promise unfulfilled considering jumping to conclusions is the foundation of this show. Johnny soon appears out of nowhere which is getting a little creepy now and he has exclusive access to their fridge. He asks about Toby which is really sketchy considering he seems to flinch around him knowing he's a "cop". Johnny wants her to attend something with him but she has to e-mail family associates to get into college. We go back to Aria and we hear a phone ring. It's not hers, it's Mike with the Caller I.D. blocked. She picks it up and it turns out to be a call from the correctional facility Alison is at. It says it's from an inmate called Hank Mahoney but the voice is clearly Alison's. When Aria accepts, Alison puts the phone down.

Spencer is helping Johnny with the mural. He reveals he just broke up with his girlfriend and has a tendency for getting with unavailable women - emotionally or otherwise - which has me thinking he's trying to get into Spencer's pants. They talk about Spencer's ambitions for a bit. Cut back to Aria's house where Mike is lifting weights. Hot damn boy. Here's me eating pizza and there's him looking god-damn beautiful! Aria grills him with questions but Mike isn't so forthcoming. Mike closes the door in Aria's face and I can continue to eat my junk food now. Hanna is on the phone to Caleb when Ashley comes in and tells Hanna her father can't make lunch the next day. Hanna tells Ashley why she can't get financial aid and Ashley tells her that going to her father will not fix it but she will.

At the Brew, Ezra is there when Emily comes in. Ezra notices she and Talia are getting along better. Emily changes the subject to Aria and reveals something Ezra didn't know about her getting into another college. Emily notices Talia's last name is different on a file Ezra has and it's revealed she's married to a man. Shock horror! Back with Spencer and Johnny, Spencer has a look at the mural and she loves it. Johnny wants her to add some of her own art but she's worried she'll ruin it. She almost falls off the ladder and Johnny catches her. Pretty romantic. Back with Mike, he's on an instant messenger service talking to Hank Mahoney. He says "She told me what to bring. I'll have it tomorrow. What time?" and Hank replies "I'll be in touch." Mike goes to his fridge where, inside a can of Power Mass, is a vial of blood. But whose?

The next day, Spencer confronts Johnny in the garden as it turns out they vandalised the college last night. I knew something was off when it was nighttime and the fact that Johnny was being pretty sneaky about it. Spencer is made he tricked her into doing something illegal. Andrew and Aria are having their study session. Ezra's name comes up which is a little awkward. Aria gets distracted by a text from Hanna asking about Mike, and then another text from Hanna and Andrew cleverly uses it to make Aria use her brain. She's not doing this study thing very well. At the Brew, Talia is making something in the kitchen and wants Emily to try some but Emily refuses. She reveals she knows about Talia's husband and that she's married and leaves when Ezra comes in.

Father of the Year Award Goes To...

Emily rides her bike in the town and she notices Mike at the ATM. He pulls out a lot of money and leaves and Emily goes to the ATM where Mike's receipt has printed out. His balance is a massive $18,356.25. Wow. And he only withdrew $400. Back to Aria and Andrew who seem to actually be having a better study session than before. Emily interrupts, wanting to talk to Aria about Mike. They go outside and Emily shows her the receipt, thinking it could be one of Alison's accounts. Aria tells Emily about Mike's phone call from Alison and they hear Mike start the car up. They decide to follow him and ask Andrew to borrow his car. Being the good guy he is, he asks if either know how to drive stick. Of course not.

At Tom Marin's office, Hanna has visited her father. He's impressed she got into the colleges she got into and she wants to talk to him about the finance for it. Tom isn't so generous and only sticks by his agreement with Ashley for $10,000 a year. He reveals Kate is also going to private school and he can't afford to pay for both. This upsets Hanna, and rightly so. Tom never even asked where Hanna applied to and automatically promised to help Kate beforehand. Hanna storms away. How can he put a woman who isn't even his daughter before his own? Harsh. Spencer is on her laptop sending an e-mail to Melissa, asking if Wren still has that contact at Oxford. She sees the vandalism story on her laptop and smiles.

Andrew is driving Aria and Emily who gets a text from Spencer saying she'll be there soon. Andrew asks questions about Mike and Emily thinks of a lie to cover up the truth - Mike is dabbling in drugs. It sounds like it could be true. They stop at their destination and let Andrew go. Bless him, missed most of his batting practice to do a good deed. Doesn't look like he's leaving though. Have I mentioned how much of a good guy he is? They've arrived at a Diner filled with older guys and see a man approach Mike. It's Hank, but Emily knows him to be Cyrus - Alison's fake kidnapper. Mike pulls out some money and they sit down to talk. Hanna arrives at the Brew asking Ezra where Emily is as she left her phone at her father's office. Ezra asks what's wrong and they sit down to talk. Hanna wanted her father to help pay for her school but even more than that - she wanted him to say he knew she could do it. Ezra tells her he paid for his own school after his parents cut him off. He helps Hanna feel better though, saying that when he was a teacher, he always knew she had it in her. So sweet.

It's All In the Blood

Spencer arrives at the Diner where they all hide behind her car to look at Mike and Cyrus. Aria doesn't care if Mike is working for Alison, she just doesn't want him getting hurt so she's about to burst in but the others stop her. Hanna tries to call Aria on Ezra's phone but Aria rejects it thinking it's Ezra. They discuss Aria's relationship with Ezra for a bit and Spencer makes a comment about Emily's love life before they all get a text. Finally, an A text. The first one this episode. It's a photo of Aria's, Spencer's and Hanna's blood vials with the message "Thanks for donating to my get-into-jail fund - A." As they look back up, Mike and Cyrus are gone. Mike drives away and the wonder where Cyrus is. He appears on a motorcycle and chases the girls to the dumpsters. They suggest a trade as he has something of theirs. Andrew - hero of the day - appears with a bat and tells him to back away. Cyrus drives off. I don't know if I wanted Andrew to save them here as that trade sounded promising.

In the Marin household, Ashley gives Hanna her phone back after her father dropped it off. They talk and Hanna thinks of entering the beauty pageant as it has a $20,000 scholarship. Ted still hasn't called either and Ashley doesn't think he will. Hanna doesn't want her mother to give up on Ted and tells her to fight for him. Ashley agrees and goes away to phone him. Hanna sees her missed texts and calls on her phone from the others. Emily gets a text from Talia asking to talk. Emily replies but Talia is already there. At Spencer's, Aria and Spencer arrive to see Johnny filling up the freezer. Aria goes upstairs to allow Spencer and Johnny to talk. She isn't mad with him anymore as she had fun but she also has boundaries.

Talia tells Emily about her marriage. She tells her she married Eric after dating since ninth grade and married right after high school. He knows about her attraction to women but they're each other's best friend. Talia didn't want to scare Emily away so she kept it secret. Emily tells her there are things she can't share as she'd be scared away but Emily moves her hand closer. Awww. Aria is sleeping over at Spencer's and Hanna is there too. Aria is a little scared of her brother now and they're worried about their blood vials. Spencer goes downstairs to get another blanket and we see Mike in the window watching her. Very creepy Mike. What are you doing?! We then get our final A scene - we hear the recorded conversation of Hanna and Caleb disposing of evidence while A picks up Hanna's blood vial. They drop a few drops of Hanna's blood on Mona's bloody shirt.

Episode Verdict

First Aria cheats on her maths test. Then Spencer vandalises a college. It's an episode of the Liars breaking the rules! I thought maybe more would come from Aria's cheating on her maths test but I guess not, though it did score her Andrew. I still don't know how he saw Aria cheat when he was sitting in front and he would have had to turn and Aria would have saw that. We continue to see Ezra and Aria be distant with one another and the others are starting to realise it. Fortunately the Mike storyline saved Aria in this episode as she was growing too dull lately. It's a shame she can't trust her brother anymore and he's on the A-Team by helping steal those vials. Mike has turned full-on creepshow now as he ends the episode with watching Spencer through a window. I'm glad they made him interesting though.

Emily and Talia hit a speedbump when things seemed to be going smoothly but fortunately that bump in the road turned out to be a minor one and they're reconciled. I do like Talia but I'm remaining wary of her character just in case. I did love Hanna's story in this episode, and I always love her scenes with Ashley. They make the best mother-daughter pairing. In fact they're the only constant mother-daughter pairing on the show anymore as we never see Ella or Pam anymore and Veronica made a rare appearance in the last episode. Anyway, I really hope Ashley fights for Ted. And Hanna's father is a douche. Picking Kate over his own flesh and blood is so low. At least it's going to drive Hanna into putting her all into paying for college herself. Spencer's time with Johnny seems a little dangerous to me, walking a fine line there. Toby was nowhere to be seen which is great, but I don't think Spencer spending time with Johnny is doing any good either, even though he's getting her to do more fun. I'm definitely wary of him.

Great end scene too as we see the beginning of the frame-up of the girls. Everything is falling into A's favour. Still have six more episodes to go before finale so I'm expecting more dragging things out in the next few episodes but I'm hoping the pace will pick up soon. Kind of sick of these mediocre episodes that I could easily just skip. It wasn't a terrible episode but it was pretty uneventful too.

Episode Awards

Prettiest Little Liar: Emily Fields. The girls didn't do an awful lot in this episode so it was hard to pick, but Emily didn't cheat on a test or vandalise a college so her hands are the cleanest.

Most Macho Male: Andrew. Knight in shining armour.

Favourite Episode Pairing: Emily and Talia. Again. I like their progress and the little marriage reveal was a nice little bump even if it did get tossed aside with a convenient explanation.

Best Line: "You just don't want to disappoint the wrong daughter, I get it." - Hanna Marin to her father. If you can call him that, sleezeball! Loved that Hanna stood up to her father though in her passive-aggressive way.

Best Moment: Mike watches Spencer from outside her house (Also Mike opens his bedroom door and boom, guns are out).

Saddest Moment: Hanna realises her father won't help her with her college funds. She tells Ezra that she wishes he would have said she knew she could do it.

Creepiest Moment: End A scene with him dripping Hanna's blood on Mona's bloody shirt.

Biggest Reveal: Talia is married?! What?!

Best Cat Fight: Hanna vs. Tom Marin. Wasn't really a cat fight but Hanna showed her father he should be proud but he chooses his wife's daughter over his own. Not really a clear winner in this fight but Hanna wins alone for her sass.

What did you guys think of 'Out, Damned Spot'? Let me know in the comments and be sure to watch the next new episode of Pretty Little Liars on February 17th on ABC Family!

About the Author - Gavin Hetherington
Award-winning author of 'Abyssal Sanctuary: Remnants of the Damned'. Gavin joined SpoilerTV on August 9, 2014 and will be reviewing 2 Broke Girls, Mistresses, Orange is the New Black, Pretty Little Liars, Salem and Sleepy Hollow in the 2014-15 season. Gavin's favourite shows include Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Desperate Housewives, The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Scandal and much more. You can contact him at
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  1. Mike isn't just stealing vials these days, but he's stealing the show too! Come on, we need more than Mike to keep the show interesting right now.

  2. I'm really enjoying Spencer and Jonny's scenes. I think they would make a great pair, since they're both really smart and Jonny is able to open Spencer's mind for things she would never thought about (not going to college?!). So I wouldn't mind him 'getting into her pants' :P
    Great recap, by the way.

  3. Thanks Jay. Oh I totally agree, they make a great pair but I am so paranoid by every little thing that I just think something isn't quite right with him. And I can't imagine Spencer not going to college and he got her to vandalise a college, so he's definitely a bad influence on her. Having said that, it's exactly what Spencer needs right now. When he gets all sketchy whenever Toby is mentioned as he's a cop, it makes me think he's done something bad and he's hiding from the police. I dunno haha this show plays games with my head :P

    Thanks for reading and commenting :D

  4. I really dont know what the hell are they doing bringing Mike to the Game. At least they will reveal some crazy A related thing (which i dont believe he has any). He's all of the sudden helping Allision?, hating his sister?. They are bullshiting this stuff too much.
    Why would he help Allison or A or anyone incriminate her sister and her friends? at least Allison really play the innocent card with him and he believed her.
    Or he has been playing everyone since the beggining and he dated Mona to get info out of her and the A we saw last week that came in late getting the tape was actually Mike.
    I just know that whatever he is doing. It has to make sence, we have seen little so far so im gonna wait more episode to see what all this brings.
    Another thing is annoying me to no end. are the new characters. I really dont care about them and i hate the scenes they are. I just dont see the point. Do the girls really need a new partner everytime their last one is gone or are in a fight with them?.
    I LMAO when everybody sis urprised that Hanna got into all those collages. WE ALL ARE! who would've thought she wa so smart. So who says she isnt smart enough to play A?. *winks*
    Did you know the guy playing Mike is gonan be recurring in Teen wolf (i dont watch that show but saw his picture). I think he is gonna eitehr leave PLL or die at the end of this season.

  5. Most macho male: MIKE! Baby, where were you all this time?
    Biggest reveal: Mike stealing the vials proving he is indeed helping A. It was obscure before and now it came out in the open.
    It was all about Mike. And Hanna. Way to go Hanna for finding the courage to talk to your father regardless the outcome!

  6. Love your awards for those two categories. I was so tempted to use Mike for Most Macho Male but I don't know, I guess it was Andrew's kindness and dimples that got to me. As for the biggest reveal, to be honest I don't know why I didn't use that one! It was quite the reveal! Hanna really did shine in this episode and I loved her standing up to her father.

  7. Thanks Ron, I do try to keep positive when doing my reviews even when I'm bored of what's going on. Got to keep the love for the show flowing even when I'm at my wit's end haha.

    Yeah the whole Mike thing now is so confusing as there's no way he'd help Alison, especially against his own sister. It's not right. Something bigger must be going on there - maybe he's being blackmailed and forced to help A? Maybe he has been playing everybody since the beginning, that would be a cool twist.

    Also totally agree with you about the new characters thing. They always do this when a couple breaks up or is on the edge of breaking up - introduce a new love interest or some foil to the relationship. They re-introduced Andrew too who had a connection with Aria in the episode, and Talia with Emily after Paige left, and Jonny with Spencer. Hanna's okay for now because she has Caleb, but remember Travis? The writers always do this now, good eye.

    I just read about Cody (Mike) joining Teen Wolf for season 5. I watch the show and they have already had several new characters last season that have stayed so I can't see them recruiting more, so he might be recurring or just a guest in an episode or two, but if they make him a main character, it's really bloating the show. I don't think we'll have another Rosewood death, I think he'll just not be featured in the show like they do with a lot of characters who pop up every once in a while.

  8. It didn't prove Mike is helping A. It proved he tried to help Ali - but what's their endgame? Maybe protecting the girls.

  9. A lot of strange things happened in this episode, imo. First of all A don't get to steal Emily's blood (we all know she's been to Haiti and all but if it all comes down to incriminating evidences, and she's in fact guilty of something, she would have the perfect alibi).
    Then Mike starts to act suspicious and all guilty overnight. His part in all this is getting so much exposure that I'm pretty sure he is not A. Still we have to wait and see why is he "helping" Ali. If I'm suspecting my brother is stepping to the bad side, I wouldn't confront him. Aria should know better than to ask him nicely if he's doing something bad (still we have to remember they are playing teenagers in the show, although they are all over 20, but anyway...).
    I wouldn't mind if one of the girls is actually A. It wouldn't be a shock, because pretty much everyone listed on the show has been associated with A at some point (all except from Aria, Hanna, Emily, their moms and most recently Andrew). I can't remember anyone else, regular or recurring that wasn't guilty of something A related at some point.
    My guess is Ali has brainwashed Mike into thinking one of the girls did something to Mona (Hanna being my first choice, since her blood is the one being used at the end of the episode). We are dealing with a group of smart teens, which makes it plausible for them to make the zillion mistakes they make every episode, but it's getting tiring to watch they screw up every single possibility they have to find out who A is. I know it's not the characters' fault, the writers have to write some filler episodes along the way, but it's past time to give us something, anything. The last big reveal was Melissa's part in Bethany's "death". Mona's death was the most shocking reveal ever, but then it all got lost into turning all the eyes to Mike and not giving us something else to talk about.
    I really hope we get to reveal Mike's secret soon so we can get him out of the way on finding out why Ali needs him so badly she couldn't use somebody else.
    The girls completely forgot about Bethany's tape. Not a smart choice.
    Great review btw. Keep up with the good work!

  10. I'm starting to think there's another side to the Mike storyline - he wouldn't betray his sister. Maybe he really is trying to help, but he's being manipulated so it's not quite going to plan.

  11. I didn't think of it like that - that Mike and Alison could be working together to save the girls, but the note Alison got in jail saying the girls will be joining her soon, it was around the same time Mike visited her the first time so he might have wrote that note to Alison and the whole blood thing was to ensure A got hold of it to frame the girls. But I don't know. You could be totally right because it's just so out of character for Mike to go against the girls. I do hope we don't get another Rosewood murder, but it won't be a big loss if Mike was to go.

    Spot on about the other characters though. They really do drop and change their cast when it suits them to try and inject some drama that ends up being unnecessary. Ezra is pointless these days and Toby is... Toby. Interesting about Wren, they did say Big A has been in the show since the Pilot and that includes Wren. You could be right.

    Definitely feels like another filler episode. Almost every episode in 5B has been filler. They're dragging out the Mona's murder identity storyline and the framing of the girls to the point where I just want it to be over and just happen. Since big events in the show don't happen until finales and premieres, expect about a good 30 more filler episodes before the final ever episode.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Love hearing them.

  12. Thanks for the kind words, really appreciate it!

    I agree with you. Once the show starts focusing on someone potentially being A, and the girls get ideas about them being A, then we all know they're NOT A. They're almost always wrong. I wouldn't mind if one of the girls was A too - or even all of them and this was just a huge game to them for attention because they were bored or something - because everything has been dragged out so much and pretty much everyone has been suspected of A at one point that when the eventual reveal comes, it won't be a shock.

    Good theory about what happened to Mike, it's totally plausible. I sometimes forget they're still only supposed to be teens (5 years in real time doesn't equal 5 years in the show, I know, but still it's hard to keep thinking of them as teens) but yes, totally agree, so frustrating when they keep making the wrong choices. They basically have themselves to blame for letting themselves get framed.

    Mona's death was definitely shocking and it was a great part of the show, but with Mona gone the girls are caught in limbo with her murder mystery and without very much progression, the show has felt stagnant since its return for 5B. I do understand the use of fillers but yeah, you're right, they need to give us SOMETHING, anything to keep us tuning in. Right now it feels like they're circling the drain. Let's hope they don't drag Mike's storyline out.

    Thanks for reading, I love hearing your thoughts and ideas about the show :)

  13. thanks for the answer! I guess I will just binge watch the final episodes, it will be certainly more enjoyable...


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