'Pretty Little Liars' TV Review: 'Gamma Zeta Die' Returns To Teenage Roots
Pretty Little Liars was almost crazier than normal in “Gamma Zeta Die” as it ended with Hanna (Ashley Benson) getting arrested (O.M.G.)! The episode was awesome, if for no other reason than Holly Marie Combs, who plays Aria’s (Lucy Hale) mother, Ella. Ella had more screen time than usual, and I just love her motherly charm. Why was Ella instructing a handful of seniors on how to behave during weekend college visits? Don’t know, don’t care; I love her. So, you can imagine my fear when Ella found herself locked in her car with angry bees! ‘A’ has done some scary things over the past three seasons, but never has she/he (?) attempted such a subtle physical attack (think running over Hanna in season one). I shared in Aria’s horror as she watched her mother scream from outside.
Anything else involving Aria was pretty boring this week, and I am growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of Aria-Ezra interaction. Ezra (Ian Harding) has pretty much been AWOL ever since his break-up with Aria (yes, I’m still upset about it), and I miss him and his vests. Plus, we never got to see what his reaction was when Aria texted him to tell him that she wanted to see other people, and I strongly believe that some jealous Ezra action would liven Aria right up! I admit, Aria’s new suitor, Jake (Ryan Guzman), has been pretty swell so far, but I’m having trouble figuring out how he’ll fit into the whole ‘A’ situation (especially considering we know absolutely nothing about him other than his martial arts skills). It’s been a while since PLL had an old-fashioned love triangle, and I think that Jake-Aria-Ezra has great dramatic potential.
On another note, Aria has been bugging me lately because she’s totally oblivious. Other than finding masks of Allison in last week’s episode, she rarely goes off to follow an ‘A’ lead on her own, and relies on Spencer (Troian Bellisario) to take the lead. Also, she was completely unfair to her brother this episode, which is probably due to the writers. Am I the only person who remembers Mike’s (Cody Christian) depression story line from season two? Why is Aria acting like Mike has no ground to stand on when he says he would like his mother (who just recently divorced his father and moved out of the house) to stay in the country? Either Aria is totally insensitive, or the PLL writers dropped the ball (my money’s on the latter).
Despite this plot inconsistency, the episode was probably my favorite of the season so far for two reasons: 1) the parents were heavily featured (and had their own conflicts), and 2) Spencer and Emily had a totally relatable fight.
I am a huge fan of the character of Ashley (Laura Leighton), and I love her relationship with Hanna and the other moms (remember when she was the first one to realize something weird was going on with the girls and brought the moms together to talk about it?), so I’m really excited to see her get such a juicy story line this season. We’ve already seen that Ashley will do whatever it takes to protect her daughter (see season one’s theft), but is she really guilty of murder? My gut says no, but, either way, I love the fact that Ashley’s role in Wilden’s (Bryce Johnson) death remains ambiguous. It gives Laura Leighton more room to play and makes it more fun to watch.
That said, the best scene of the night definitely goes to Spencer and Emily’s fight outside the sorority house. It’s rare that the characters on PLL have problems the audience can really relate to. Sure, many PLL fans are currently trying to figure out how to apply to college, but they’re not also living in fear that a person in a black hoodie will strangle them in their sleep or frame them for murder. It was really refreshing to see Emily and Spencer have a conflict based on their different socio-economic backgrounds, instead of ‘A’-related problems. This fight, in which Spencer was dismissing a college that Emily couldn’t afford without a swimming scholarship because paying college tuition isn’t even on Spencer’s radar, is probably happening in high schools everywhere, and it brought the larger than life television show down to earth a little bit. At the end of the day, Pretty Little Liars is about four teenage girls, and it’s nice to see the show embrace that rather than try to make the characters little adults.
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