Pretty Little Liars Wiki
Pretty Little Liars Wiki

If At First You Don't Succeed, Lie, Lie Again
Season 1, Episode 15
Air Date January 31, 2011
Written by Maya Goldsmith
Directed by Ron Lagomarsino
Episode Guide
Careful What U Wish 4
Je Suis une Amie

If At First You Don't Succeed, Lie, Lie Again is the fifteenth episode in Season 1. This episode aired on January 31st, 2011.



Aria rouses the girls early in the morning from their sleep at Spencer's house. She's been up all night analyzing the picture that "A" left them. The girls all huddle close to Aria, but Spencer stands aloof, not quite comfortable participating for some reason. Aria has figured out that the picture was taken from the perspective of Alison's bedroom window. She thinks Alison's brother, Jason, may have taken the picture. Hanna notes that her mother saw him at the bank, indicating that he is back in town. Aria proposes talking to Jason, but Emily and Hanna treat the thought of approaching him with disdain. Spencer quickly volunteers, wanting to know if he indeed took the picture.


At home, Hanna slips some big bills into the box of popsicles in the freezer. She manages to slide the door shut before her mother Ashley walks into the kitchen and can see what she's up to. Ashley is taking a work call, and she is nonchalant towards the other person on the line until she hears that a new development has been added to the schedule. Apparently, there is a meeting, previously unplanned, scheduled for later that day. When she gets off the phone, Ashley sits down heavily and lets Hanna know that Mrs. Potter has made an appointment to see Ashley this week. But she tells Hanna to go to school, not outwardly panicking despite the fact that she could be busted very soon for her "unauthorized loan."

Spencer seeks out Jason.

Spencer goes to seek out Jason DiLaurentis, where he's working out at the local baseball field. He reveals that he is in Rosewood "taking care of family business." Without wasting time, Spencer shows him the photograph; Jason reveals that he‘s received similar photos of Alison surrounding the night she disappeared and goes on to tell her that a private investigator has determined many of them to be fake. Still, he is willing to see if this one is real. Before she leaves, Jason apologizes for acting like a jerk while planning Ali's memorial, and Spencer accepts.


At school, Emily dedicates herself to swimming once more. She swims in record time on morning at a meet, and Coach Fulton makes a comment to Paige letting her know that she has competition. Paige seems happy about Emily's return to the team overall.


Later in the hallway, Hanna calls her mom, worried about their family situation, but Ashley again instructs her to stay calm. Aria and Spencer ask Hanna about her conversation, but she brushes it off. Then Spence gives Aria two tickets to a museum, as her father has no use for them, though he's a member. Aria plans to make a date night with Ezra out of the tickets.

Paige's bribe bracelets

In the locker room after swim practice, Paige unctuously distributes gifts to her teammates, vying to be swim captain. She tries to win them over with presents and a pep talk, but Coach Fulton cuts her short, embarrassing Paige mid-sentence in front of everyone. To add insult to injury, Coach Fulton lets the girls know that Emily has broken a new record and encourages the girls to be like Emily. Abashed, Paige leaves the locker room in a huff.


Next, Aria shows up to Ezra's classroom, where he is administering a makeup test. Under the guise of asking Mr. Fitz to look over her assignment, she presents him with a gift tie (that she is wearing with a post-it that reads "wear me") and the tickets for the following evening. Ezra goes along with it and accepts, not being able to keep the elated look off his face.

More blackmail from "A"

Next, Hanna is notified by Coach Fulton that she has a week's worth of detention for skipping gym class three times. Hanna tries to use ankle pain and the fact that she was hit by a car to get out of it, but Coach Fulton points out that Hanna was on her feet for hours at the dance marathon. Caleb sees the exchange and doesn't miss the opportunity to tease Hanna. Then, Hanna opens her locker to find an envelope from "A" containing a third ticket to the museum opening that Aria plans to attend with Ezra. "A" has commissioned Hanna to give the ticket to Ella, thereby busting Aria's illicit relationship, in exchange for getting her mother's cash back. "A" fashions the order in the form of a mother's day card, with a word bubble above the mother saying "I need money."


Hanna returns from school to find her pajama-clad mother asleep on a kitchen chair. When Hanna enters, Ashley stirs quickly and whimsically decides to make pancakes. While she's cracking eggs, she reminisces how she had saved Hanna at the hospital, when the doctors were stitching up her ear. They had wanted to shave the hair there, but Ashley had insisted that the effect could be detrimental to Hanna's state of mind when she woke up. Ashley then tears up and assures Hanna that she will always take care of her. Hanna breaks with her mother to remove the ticket-containing envelope from her bag and jot down the name "Ella Montgomery" on the front.


In the locker room after swim practice, Paige saunters over to Emily, where she's just finished getting dressed after swim practice. Paige teasingly picks up Emily's bra and comments "nice." She sarcastically congratulates Emily on the second record she's broken in two days, but Emily is unfazed by Paige's behavior and her comment about needing to test Emily for steroids. But when Paige makes a nasty comment about Emily's homosexuality, Emily gets nasty back and warns Paige that she will need to work harder if she wants to beat her. And with that, Emily slams her locker shut and makes her exit.


Hanna then delivers the envelope to Ella Montgomery's school mailbox, adding a line of thanks from the Rosewood PTA, passing it off as a token of appreciation. Aria then spots Hanna and invites her to a joint manicure after school. Hanna declines, using homework as an excuse, which makes Aria raise an eyebrow. Aria takes Hanna's glum mood to be about her breakup with Sean, which prompts her to mention the challenges of her own relationship with Ezra. While on the subject, Hanna suggests that Aria and Ezra cool off and not go to Philadelphia for her date that night. At first Aria is confused, but then she interprets Hanna's remarks as signs of jealousy and walks away, insulted by her friend.

Paige's beaded team bracelet

At lunch time, Aria, Spencer, and Emily sit eating the less-than-appealing school lunch. When Spencer hears that Paige is giving Emily a hard time, she recalls how impossible Paige was to deal with as an over-competitive teammate on the hockey team. Aria checks out the gift-wrapped box Paige has given her teammate. Inside, she finds a "Go Sharks" beaded bracelet– just like the ones Alison gave the girls. Spencer gets the idea to go to the store and try to investigate who commissioned them to make the fake "Alison" and "Jenna" bracelets. If they found out, they would know who "A" is.


In Ella Montgomery's history class, recalling the beginning of World War II, Spencer plays 'Hermione Granger' by answering all the teacher's questions. Spencer points out that bullies can never be appeased, which gives Hanna pause, as reflected by the expression on her face. When class ends, Hanna hurries over to her to try and stop Ella, but she had already left the classroom. She runs toward her, calling her name, but before she can follow her down the hallway, Coach Fulton corners her and forces her into the detention classroom.


At detention, Hanna finds the company in none other than Caleb. While joking around with her, Caleb learns that Hanna is trying to prevent Ella from driving Philadelphia. He uses his phone to stage that his social worker has dismissed him from detention.


Dressed to the nines, Aria buzzes Ezra's apartment, but he is already inside a limo across the street waiting for her. He went all out for their first real date.


Meanwhile, detention ends for Hanna at 4:00, and she leaves the classroom with a sinking feeling. Then, Ella Montgomery tries to start her car in order to get to the museum, but it won't start...


Coach Fulton calls Paige and Emily into the locker room for a serious discussion about a homophobic comment, but Emily talks it down, not willing to divulge any details, calling it "a misunderstanding." Paige just looks on silently with a sober expression. After Emily's assurances, Coach Fulton dismisses Paige, then persists in her attempts to find out what happened. But, Emily insists that it is nothing and asks to leave.


Ella calls Byron to help out with her car troubles, since all their AAA points have been used up dealing with other breakdowns. Initially, Ella is hostile towards Byron, blaming the car problems on him.


Jason drops by Spencer's house to tell her that the picture was determined to be legit. Also, as it was taken from the point of view from the DiLaurentis home (maybe even Jason's window), it is very possible that Jason was the one snapping the photograph, but he doesn't remember, as all he remembers is getting stoned a lot that summer, a secret the Ivy boy wouldn't reveal to just anyone. He mentions that Ian was part of his stoner posse that very same summer, casting the preppy boy in a new unbecoming light...


After bickering about the car for long enough, Byron generously offers to give her a ride all the way to the city. At home, Spencer eats something before her appointment to see the bead-lady at her house. When Emily brings up the swim team, Spencer nonchalantly asks her if Paige has been kicked off. Emily cannot believe that Spencer knows about Coach Fulton's interrogation about to Paige's homophobic comment, but Spencer readily reveals that she was the one who told her about it, not expecting Emily to react negatively. But she does, and Emily leaves, upset about the fact that Spencer didn't think that she could stick up for herself.


At the museum gala, Aria and Ezra are happy despite the fact that the presenting artist didn't show up. They kiss in public, not shying away from PDA for the second time in their relationship. Then, Hanna visits her mother at work, wanting to be there to support her when the bomb goes off. But, a different bomb is dropped when Denise, Ashley's coworker, interrupts the Marins' conversation to inform Ashley that Mrs. Potter has had a heart-attack and could not be revived. The law-evading women hug at the bittersweet news.

Date night after all.

Byron arrives at the museum gala with Ella, but a re-ignited spark between the couple keeps Ella from going to the gala altogether and opting for a steamy kiss and a date with her husband instead.


Meanwhile, Spencer goes to the bead lady, asking who commissioned her to create a fake Alison bracelet. She finds that indeed, it is the same Bead Lady who helped designed the fake Alison and Jenna ones. Spencer is then horrified to find out that someone posed as "Spencer Hastings" for two separate transactions.


At school the next day, Hanna musters up the courage to approach Aria, planning to confess about almost exposing her relationship. But Aria is thrilled to be talking to Hanna again; they make up, and Aria gushes about her successful date with Ezra. Hanna just goes along with Aria and changes her mind about confessing.


Emily swims alone at the pool, doing some practice laps. When she surfaces for air at the edge of the pool, a hand forces her back in, nearly drowning her. Emily fights back, finally managing to remove her goggles and scream defiantly at -- Paige. Unabashed, Paige accuses Emily of trying to replace her, as Coach Fulton has changed the two teammates places in the lineup, making Emily the new anchor. So, Emily barks that Paige should take her beef to Coach Fulton, not her, and Paige mocks Emily for seemingly having done that already.


Hanna goes to her locker to find Caleb leaning against it. She compares him to barnacles, making him smile. He then hands her a piece of Ella Montgomery's car, which he removed the day before. When Hanna finds out that Caleb had helped to prevent Ella from getting there, she is pleased, but isn't outwardly grateful. She does offer him money, but Caleb says he wants something else; he doesn't know what yet, but he'll think about it...


Ella then catches her daughter in the school hallway and invites her to go shopping after school. Ella asks how Aria's sleepover at Spencer's was the night before, and Aria lies. Aria changes the subject by asking how Ella's night was. Ella replies that she had gone to see an exhibit opening at the Philadelphia Museum. Alarmed, Aria does a double take, but Ella interprets Aria's shock to be about the fact that Ella had done something so eventful on a school night. Aria is freaked out and doesn't seem to detect that her mother is lying, despite her making up a fictitious story about meeting the guest artist, who had been absent the night before.

(Real?)Picture of Alison

Later in her room, Spencer sits on her bed, reflecting on the picture of Alison the night she disappeared. She then flashes back to that night, something made obvious due to Alison's distinctive yellow top. She had been arguing with Alison about not wanting to reveal that she had kissed Ian. Spencer refused, but Alison warned that Melissa would find out the next day, whether Spencer told her or not. Spencer agreed to tell Melissa before Alison did, but warned her that the dynamic between the five friends would change, as they would now all be against Alison and her games. In response, Alison arrogantly claimed that Spencer and the other Liars were her puppets. Spencer furiously countered just the opposite, that Alison was nothing without them and dead to her already. Alison appeared distraught, then left angrily, and after a moment's pause, Spencer marched outside after her.


Back in real time, Spencer reveals to the other girls, who are now sitting beside her on her bed, that it was HER shadow in the picture with Alison. She had gone after Ali after the two had a fight. Spencer admits that the reason she had never told the girls thus far was because she had felt responsible for wishing Alison dead. Aria wisely points out that Alison had said far worse, and the other girls comfort her similarly. Suddenly, the girls all move to Spencer's bedroom window, where they see Jason DiLaurentis in his old house across the street, looking out his own window in their direction... The girls are shocked to see him inside.


At the bead lady's home, the eccentric old woman prepares a cup of tea for her house guest. The black gloved figure takes it from her, as she comments on her guest's interesting eyes. She also tells her guest not to worry -- she has done exactly what the black-gloved figure has asked her to do...


  • "If At First You Don't Succeed" is a poem written by Thomas H. Palmer in "Teacher's Manual." (1840) The punchline of the poem is:
"Tis a lesson you should heed,
Try, try again.
If at first you don't succeed,
Try, try again."
The episode's name played with the last line, making it "If At First You Don't Succeed, Lie, Lie Again." What an appropriate lesson for Pretty Little Liars.

Main Cast

Supporting Cast


  • Ritu Lal as Denise, Ashley's co-worker
  • Candace McKinney as Swimmer (uncredited)

Featured Music

  • "Hey Na Na" by Katie Herzig (Aria flirtatiously invites Ezra to art opening)
  • "Leave It All Behind" by Allie Moss (Ezra pulls up in limo)
  • "Redeeming Love" by Amy Stroup (Spencer and Emily argue about Paige)
  • "Heal for the Honey" by Brooke Waggoner (Paige tries to drown Emily)


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If At First You Don't Succeed, Lie, Lie Again has a photo gallery.

Memorable Quotes

Emily: You know what, Paige?! You need to suck it up! If you want to beat me, work harder!

Aria [to Hanna]: Homework? What subject is more important to you than your cuticles?

Hanna: You know, I've always hoped my first sunrise would have tequila in it.

Jason: Spencer, they have programs now that make photoshop look like scissors and a gluestick.

Hanna [to Aria]: One eye is bigger than the other. You look like a strung-out Powerpuff Girl.

Emily [eating the school lunch]: Why is this called meat casserole?
Spencer: The lunch lady has a gift for suspense.
Spencer [setting down her bowl]: Where's Hanna?
Aria: Who cares?
Spencer (incredulously): What?
Aria (rethinking): I don't know.
Spencer: Em, how's swim practice?
Emily: Can we talk about something else?
Spencer: Okay, I've heard of communal cramps, but this is ridiculous.

Spencer [about Paige]: I will destroy her!
Aria: Can I help?

Spencer [to Aria]: What happened to all that 'first real date' excitement? I mean, yesterday you were ready to give me tongue for giving you two tickets.

Caleb: You stalking me?
Hanna: Yeah, can't get enough of that knock-off cologne.

Jason: I was a jerk — I know that now.
Spencer: Well, that wasn’t the term that I would’ve used, but it works.

Paige [to Emily]: You break any more records, and we'll have to test you for doping.

Emily: Well, I can stand up for myself.
Spencer: Well, you never did with Alison.

Hanna [about Ella going to Philly]: But if she gets there, a lot of people are going to get hurt.
Caleb: Is Mrs. Montgomery running a terrorist cell?

Alison: I made you Spencer! I made all of you!

Spencer [to Alison]: YOU ARE DEAD TO ME ALREADY!