Pretty Little Liars
Shadow Play

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 95 USERS: A
Neither Tarnished, Nor Afraid
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!


Spencer's busily geo-caching the Valley of the Dolls, but only Hanna has noticed this distinctly different flavor to her madness; Alison's out of money and on the run, thanks to same. The Liars are cautiously willing to stipulate to Ezra's A-ness, but nobody wants to talk to Aria about it because if you even try to imagine the epic shit-fit she's gonna throw, all you see is just a blinding light and a deafening sound and then you wake up on the floor a couple hours later with a nosebleed.


In the relentless pursuit of culture that causes Rosewood High to put on so many unnamed theatrical productions or study one book so deeply that it takes three years, today we have arrived at all 32 of Bach's "Goldberg Variations," which I believe in this context is a joke about Kurt Friedrich Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems (and usually indicates a secondary reference to Poe's detective story "The Gold-Bug.") And in this case further references both by having the Liars refer to it as the "Goldstick Variations," which is a comment from inside the show on the name of one of its producers. Which is, in itself, a demonstration of the Incompleteness Theorems that Bach's music, and this set of pieces in particular, already evoke.

Which is a shot across the bow because the whole episode -- written and directed by the Emmy-winning, always great Joseph Dougherty -- is like that: Internal references to external works that strengthen the show's structure while also commenting on it.

The Theorems basically prove that any formal system is actually incomplete. There are true statements you can say within that system's language that you can't actually prove are true, like, you could say "This sentence is false." (A little something known as the Liar Paradox.) And the other side of it is, a system that includes a statement of its own consistency, thanks to Theorem 1, makes itself a lie from the inside out. You say, "This sentence is false is true," and you are automatically lying.

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Pretty Little Liars




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