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Pretty Little Liars S04E05: "Gamma Zeta Die!"

Oh, I had a great one all ready for you. I watched that teaser with Hanna's dream, where Ashley sat up looking like she'd been run over by a lawnmower that'd just finished clipping rocks, and the ghosts of television past crept into my head. I'm forever haunted by the image of a yanked-off red wig revealing a scar that looks like it was designed by H.R. Giger gashed across the bald spot. I didn't watch a lot of the original Melrose Place, but that image still knocks around in my head from time to time and it was enough for me to say, "Hey, wait a tick! Was that Laura Leighton?! Was that a Melrose Place reference that only I would get because I'm the oldest person watching Pretty Little Liars? Because in ABC Family years I should be preparing my journey in the ice flow?"

Sadly, I was a little off. That was Marcia Cross who played Kimberly and freaked everyone out with her wicked scar. And actually, Laura Leighton (Sydney) already had her referential moment after hitting Wilden with her car, much like how her character fake-bit it on the original Melrose. Anyway, I guess this is all to say that I blew it and I'm sorry.

Consolation for my disappointment was a one-liner-filled wink of an episode that probably made an attentive audience feel like they're being heard. From the return of Mike to an actual revelation to a helping of Spencer with extra-crazy sauce, "Gamma Zeta Die!" had pretty much everything I ever want from an episode of Pretty Little Liars, except with more banter between the Liars and fewer parrot-inspired plots.

Though the banter in this episode didn't quite recall the Veronica Mars conversation of the past, the interaction between the Liars and their unstable ground with non-A pressure mounting on all of them made for an interesting change of pace. It felt like Spencer took Hanna's script this week, as she was full of one-liners like "Ivy League Pimp who waves a magic loafer" and, one of my favorites, "Britney Shears" in relation to Hanna's dream. But what made her the most interesting is that her determination to solve the puzzles of her life looked downright self-centered and cruel when juxtaposed with a struggling and, let's face it, pedestrian Emily.

We've known Emily is the weakest link in this chain for years. The girls know it. We know it. Unfortunately the lieutenant colonel doesn't know it. Em speaks the truth when she says she's "average" without athletics. Otherwise she's just a terrible liar with a decaying naivete playing in Hanna's academic ball park, in a league that I imagine looks kind of like the Bad News Bears. But because Wayne Fields is the best father on this show (Byron will forever lag behind, what with his being implicated in Ali's reindeer games), he's there to support his daughter and make sure she doesn't feel like the quotidian personality that she is. You're special, honey. There's just nothing remarkable about you.

Faced with the fear of not being able to move forward in her life because her parents' money bin isn't exactly swim-worthy and no one's offering a Doe in Headlights scholarship, going to Cicero and wanting to make an impression fit perfectly with Emily's character. And the fact that Spencer was willing to put her tour of the Ivy League on hold while she investigated this scholastic garbage dump was an organic conflict between Liars that I could appreciate.

It feels like it's been awhile since the Hastings have been called out as the high-falutin' Rosewood family, a definite separation between the Fields (civil service), the Montgomeries (teachers), and the single-parent Marin household (I know the Montgomeries are split, but they're both involved). And because it's been so long, that's why it felt so out-of-place for Emily to call it out. Not that class struggle isn't a component of Rosewood's society (probably very important once we get closer to what happened to Ali), or a social problem concerning the barrier of entry to this country's university system. It just would have been sufficient to bring up that Emily is at a serious disadvantage when it comes to higher education because she's never demonstrated herself to be excellent at school and her shoulder is janky. That Spencer deigned to step foot on that campus to carry out a mission to stop the bullying and couldn't possibly consider such a dump to be a school that one of her friends might want to attend, so much so that she offered negative support when Emily said that she was taking it seriously, was at least interesting, given how just a season or two ago, everyone getting into college would have been a top priority for Spencer.

Now Spencer's priorities are more focused on walking around in creepy, dilapidated environs, looking for clues. When she was essentially tip-toeing down the halls of the sorority house, it was almost laughable that she'd be so careful and hyper-aware in a place with carpeting and painted walls. She's been in way worse conditions. Just a few weeks ago, she was leaping through the burned-out skeleton of a house, just waiting to find an upturned nail or collapsed staircase. Not that a sorority house isn't a danger to young girls when a party is afoot (life is a roofie circle) but it reminded me of the time that Melissa ate Spencer's froyo to a suspenseful soundtrack. Seemed unnecessary.

But then Spencer found the room that looked like a lost set from Silent Hill, so all that creeping turned out to be germane. The trip to Cicero was successful for everyone: Emily got in good with the sorority sisters and Spencer got to solve a puzzle.

Well, it was successful for everyone except Hanna. Hanna's dream of getting into the Fashion Institute (which fits her personality, I suppose, but she doesn't really do anything to that end other than shop) grated against campus visits. But none of that really matters anyway since Hanna is completely consumed by her mother's possible guilt and the gun she found in Ashley's locked closet. Ashley's shiftiness continues, though at least she's talking to Not-Rish about doing something about it. While Ashley and Veronica's conversation wasn't exactly revelatory, it's a relief for Ashley to at least discuss openly that she's in some kind of trouble instead of just telling Hanna not to worry about it and locking herself in her room. It was nice to see her in a scene where she didn't walk out of the room mysteriously and dramatically.

All those dramatic exits mean Hanna is, of course, still obsessed with the idea that she has to save her mom. Unfortunately she doesn't have the wits of a Spencer or the good sense to do nothing like an Aria, so she's acting like a fool. Carrying around the weapon you think might have killed someone and flashing it to your friends while A is probably watching? That's a rookie mistake, Hanna. I hate to see that happen.


NOTES

– Spencer's tip for getting rid of stress dreams: Drink milk before you go to bed. I'm pretty sure she's getting crazier and crazier every week. Just forget about the all-consuming, possible end-of-your-life-as-you-know-it scenario playing out before your eyes and drink some stupid milk, Hanna!

– What was up with the weird camera stuff this episode? Did we need the sting cam on Ella in the car? The keyhole POV when Hanna was trying to break into the closet? The mug shot? Oh, wait, that last one I get now.

– Mike's back! Just in time to create some family strife. His wit doesn't match that of his fellow Montgomeries (though it's not really fair to pit "boffing your teacher" against Aria's "four-wheel hive" winner), and he seems to be really behind the times (sneaking around with Ezra is soooooo Season 2), but his return will give Aria yet another week to make us consider the aftermath of Ezria's destruction. I was hoping when she and Ezra broke up that she'd be able to find her own personality, not drag out not having one for another season. Also: Mike's totally A, right?

– Wow, did Brendon go from helpful fellow to pedo creepster in record time, or what? Dear older guys: Stop scamming on the high school chicks. I'm starting to think there's something in the water at The Brew that turns upstanding citizens into leches.

– I loved everything about the conversation with the information-center kid. From the shirt to the remark about how Spencer has the crazy eyes (SHE DOES HAVE THE CRAZY EYES) to the Game of Thrones discussion. Of course Spencer would drop a Lannister line! Also, of course Spencer has read all the books.

– Why did that dude in the woods jump out and spray Emily in the crotch with silly string? What kind of prank is that?

– Your Moment of A: Sometimes a Hoodie likes some honey in his or her tea, and to sip it while looking at dusty old pictures of sorority marms. It's how A unwinds.



Next Episode

AIRS ON 8/2/2016

Season 7 : Episode 6

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How do you even, watch it?
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This episode just reminded me how much I love Spencer!!!
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Nice review, I can only agree. The GoT scene with Spencer and the nerd was just amazing - so typically Spencer!

And the educational system in the USA just seems - indeed - a little weird in a social context, way different from where I live (The Netherlands: different 'levels' in highschool, which determine in what 'level' of college you can participate (schools for 'easy' proffessions, applied sciences or university). And all universities (and schools for applied sciences) have the same yearly fee (about 1800 euros)). So this fight Emily and Spencer had was indeed very interesting. Spencer is just used to the idea of going to an Ivy Leage, 'cause her family is rich and they all went to an Ivy leage university. For Emily's family it's another story, because the army does not make you rich. But the way she acted around that blonde guy (Brandon?) was just plain annoying, so I get Spencer's frustration.

And Hanna's actions were just stupid. I get she's trying to protect her mother, but - like everyone said already - hasn't she learned ANYTHING?!?
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And you are right, the town must turn early to mid-20's men into creepertons.
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Ahhh, silly string crotch, what we all did in college... No, wait, I was too busy discovering beer.
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Another hilarious episode where stupidity was high and common sense was once again thrown out the window (Hanna I'm definitely looking at you). The only redeeming part was the entire GoT discussion that completely blew my mind and suddenly made Spencer my favourite character ever. Seriously, I could hardly process the rest of the episode because I was so buzzed about the whole GoT part. Top notch reference writers, top notch. Now if you could just give the girls some brains that would also be excellent!
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Is there some secret rule that the liar parents can't be together in the same scene, because it sure looked like that in this episode.

also I don't get why the writers always make hanna do incredible stupid things , when spencer was like we gotta stop hanna from doing something stupid and in the next scene well what do you know hanna did something stupid. I mean you think a person being tormented by A for quite substantial time will know by now that burying things in the ground /drowning it in a lake would eventually get back at you and bite you in the ass but no….

is it just me but it feels like from the beginning of the season that a lot of people are missing from the show , where is mona, jenna, lucas , Jason even ezra where the hell are all this people or is it possible to have too many characters in one show .


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Should've just googled "how to dismantle a gun" and throw each individual piece in a separate location (the garbage, the sewer, etc.).

Also it's a common PLL theme that once a character has no usefulness when it the Liars (or A) then they disappear. We don't see their lives, we don't know what's going on with them until they come in contact with the Liars for either a relationship reason or an A reason.
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OF COURSE SPENCER LOVES DANAREYS FROM GOT!!! OF COURSE
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Well, I liked this episode. Sort of. Not my usual complaints, Spencer got around to solve an effing mystery, there was a genuine dispute with herself and Emily, Aria still has no personality, Hanna is off doing stupid thing to save her mom and Ashley got a little less weird. Well, not exactly, but I liked her scene with not Mariska Hargitay. Also, that Brendan whatever guy went TOTALLY PEDO CREEPY IN A HEARTBEAT.
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All of the career paths for the Liars seem so clear (Hanna: Personal Shopper, Spencer: Lawyer, Aria: Writer) except Emily who I really don't see as an Olympic Swimmer so this college storyline is pretty relevent to me.
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Emily mentioned something about majoring in Biology, but have we ever even seen her with a Science book? It just seemed like the writers had to come up with something for Emily to study in college.
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I just find this whole "Emily-can't go to college becasue her family doesn't have the money" story line to be bogus/annoying/unrealistic. First-off, Emily hasn't even applied to Stanford yet, so why is she sure she won't get financial aid? Has she heard of scholarships? Plus, why are the Fields acting all depressed about being too poor to fulfill their daughter's dream of going to Stanford? They live in a $$$ house and Emily wears $200 jeans and has a brand new car. Kind of hard to feel bad for them when they look so well-off and haven't bemoaning their issues while sitting on an Ethan Allen couch. We really haven't seen the Fields struggle except talking about how they will never afford college.... Why not? Heck, Emily's mom actually has a job now, so they are no longer a one-income family. Sure, Emily is the only Liar who has an after-school job, but wasn't that something she decided to do on a whim to keep busy during after the summer of Maya murder? The last plot line like this was when single mom Ashley was "struggling" to keep up appearances and in order to continue living beyond her means decided to steal from a dead old lady. No sympathy for these fools.
Got to give Hannah props for taking a beer mug to dig a whol instead of using her hands or a solo cup.
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Didn't Emily tell Maya back in season 2 that he was a lieutenant colonel or colonel? I know that they make a lot. Also, why can't she get a student load or a GI bill for kids of parents in the service. That was a bunch of BS. If Emily wants to go to college, there are ways for her to go without swimming. If she is as dumb in scholastics as she seems going against A then her grades wouldn't be good enough for Stanford. She would have to get a swimming scholarship.

Emily Fields, You are the weakest link. GOODBYE
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Getting financial aid has gotten ridiculous. The requirements to get need-based financial aid are just out of the world stupid. You have to make next to nothing to get it. And most scholarships are merit based, and Emily said it herself. She's average. A lot of schools also tend to give more statistically to in-state students. WVU had this program for in-state students called the Promise that paid full tuition, room and board, and had a stipend for books as long as you agreed to work in state for so many years after graduation. I got the maximum scholarship they would give to an out-of-state student and it didn't even cover half of my tuition for the year.

I know, I'm trying to put logic into this. I just come from a place where I understand the financial pitfalls of college. And I don't think the issue is not affording college period. It's affording THE college.
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I agree with your observation about Emily. If the writers want us to believe that Fields have money problem then Emily should at least sell her car.
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Well I thought,that Hanna dropped gun at that party,when those 2 guys knocked food on her,but was surprised she still had it. I was so sure,that either she will lose it or someone will stole it,but I am glad I could still be wrong on show like this one:D
Shows develop certain trends or whatever you wanna call it: here anyone is creep and possible A-team....on The Following anyone was a suspect of helping Carol,etc.
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Personally, I enjoyed reading this review more than the episode itself. Seriously, this has to be the worst season yet. There were so many things wrong with the episode.

1. Hannah - For someone who's spent years being torturted by A, she should have known better than to carry the gun around! WHY ARE THESE GIRLS SO STUPID!!?!?!!? Did they learn nothing? < (from being framed for murdering Alison (the shovel nonsense), and everything that has happened to them; have they learned nothing!?!?!!?!?)

Hannah's idiocity made me rage while watching. No one is this stupid.<

2. Spencer - the
inconsistency in the writing of her character is borderline psychotic. First she says (to the girls) that they owe it to Alison to find her killer. When she found out about Toby working with Mona as A, she says Alison was a "slut" and they shouldn't care what happened to her at all. Now she's back on the "let's find who killed Ali" bandwagon by saying these stuff about how they need to find out who Alison was seeing that summer.

IT makes no sense to me whatsoever! Are we supposed to forget the whole going to Radley storyline never happened? (even though they keep bringing it up) Why all of the sudden Spencer cares again??Q@?!?!?!?@@?

3. Emily - I was so annoyed with Emily this week. Spencer was right! Emily was flirting with that pedo guy! < She was
batting her eyelashes and flirting with him! And to get defensive and deny it was simply pathetic! ARGHGH!@@!

I still don't care about who killed Wilden, and I still don't care about Hannah's storyline AT ALL. I wish this storyline would go away already!

Small note: WHERE WAS MONA? She's been gone for while now, and noone seems to care. Not even the girls. I though that she will be a part of the liars group; I guess I was wrong.
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Here's my opinion as far as the whole Spencer thing is concerned.

I think part of her initial reaction to Toby being on the A Team was knowing that Alison's actions and her general bitchiness pushed Toby, the guy she's madly in love with, to be a part of the people tormenting her. So her sudden "who cares what happened to Ali" attitude is understandable.

Now that she knows that Toby was doing it to protect her, it mellows out those feelings. Regardless of how closely they end up following the books, finding out what happened to Alison and what she was up to that summer is going to be integral to figuring out who the full -A team is and why they are targeting the girls. And ultimately taking them down
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aria's brother's still alive! o.O
is it even the same actor playing him? i don't remember his face anymore
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Yup! That it is.
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Hey. Emily's athleticism could still be useful after college. Just think of how fast she could prepare those burgers and fries. :o
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BEST. COMMENT. EVER
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1. Spencer is a geekette and GoT's fan girl. Can she become even more amazing? The crazy eyes are just an icing on the cake.

2. Nick - every time I see Laura Leighton I think of Melrose Place .

3. I think the mask, the bat and the picture at the end were a tribute to The House on Sorority Row. I can't wait till PLL becomes a classic slasher (I know it won't happen - but a girl can dream)


3. I'm starting to think that the whole A thing started when Melissa and her friends were in collage. They did something bad and now Liars (cause Spencer is Melissa's younger sister) have to pay for it. What do you think?

4. Suddenly all Liars' Moms are back on screen. I have a bad feeling about this.

5. Looks like Hannah is going to wear orange this summer. Fortunately, Ashley Benson looks good in everything. Also touching a murder weapon without gloves = terrible idea!
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Hey I actually got to watch this on time this week!!!!

So when we saw the creepy mask thing was anyone else waiting for its eyes to glow and a bunch of zombies to turn up and crash the party?

I love that everyone pretends that Spencer is just perfectly ok after her nice stay at the asylum. Cause she is definitely a little more on the crazy side than she used to be. But Spencer's my fav, and a little crazy never hurts so I'm all for it.

I get that Hanna is freaking out but who does that? Watching her reaction to things right now makes me annoyed in a way I haven't been since watching kids try to put together the damn silver monkey (it wasn't that hard people!!!).

I felt like the confrontation between Emily and Spencer seemed kind of weird. Maybe it's part of her post-Radley personality but I don't think the Spencer of old would have been that hard on Emily taking the college visit seriously. I can see her calling Emily out on the whole "flirting" thing but not on exploring your options when you're forced to start at square one.
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OMG, thanks for reminding me about the Shrine of the Silver Monkey! I vaguely remembered watching it, only I couldn't remember any details, just sort of what the set looked like and it's been bothering me, literally, for years now. Gonna go watch clips of it on Youtube :]
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Hahaha it reminded me of the episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer when the mask had come to life and made everything come back from the dead.
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That's exactly what I was going for there! I'm glad somebody got it and it wasn't just me!
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Am I the only one who remembers Emily's dad being Army??? My friend's dad was in the army for two years, died when she was four, and she was still eligible for a military scholarship type thing when we were college searching.... Shouldn't the same go for Emily?

The fact that no one has mentioned that as a possible solution confused me.
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What? Logic in a television show? That exists? :D

Even if it is an option, it might not be a huge scholarship. And given the current economic situation, I wouldn't be surprised if they are a lot stricter on handing them out. I know DOD doesn't give out anywhere near the number of research grants that it used to so a drop in scholarships wouldn't surprise me either.
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True! What was I thinking?! This is PLL, logic has no place here... My bad!
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I can't believe I'm saying this, but Hanna was so annoying in this episode! Usually, she's one of the best things about this show, but the rookie mistakes she made just now... How the mighty have fallen indeed!
And I liked Spencer a bit more again in this episode. Okay, I wish she would take her getting into college a bit more seriously - what's the point in unmasking A, when you no longer have a life to get back to when it's all over? - but her quips were simply hilarious this week!
Emily is a bit of a sad excuse for a character. I don't think she's average, I think she's below average. Seriously. I sincerely hope they make something out of her character this season. Someone who learns to stand up for herself and isn't always so "helpless" all the time. Oh, and preferably someone who's honest, or at least a less obvious liar than now.
Don't need to talk about Aria. She's a snoozefest. Always has been. Always will be. Not missing Ezria in the least!
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Really Hannah!!?? This was a low low low moment for her..she didn't learn anything from trashing the car in the lake??? she should have left it in the closet better yet give it back to his dad...aaarrrgghh I'm losing my patient with this show...
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When does Hanna ever think logically? It's a big rarity.
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Hanna has her moments for example during the Halloween episode when she used a fire extinguisher to open the box aria was trapped in on the Halloween train. From the previews it seems like she has learned to be more cautious.
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lets hope so...I always like her for her comments but really..this was beyond stupid!!
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