Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, loosely based on Sara Shepard’s novel The Perfectionists, follows Alison DiLaurentis and Mona Vanderwaal as they attempt to break free of their tumultuous and dark pasts in Rosewood, Pennsylvania.
On Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, the story has only just begun, but Ava, Dylan, and Caitlin need to be put in their place from the start to make way for the real stars of the show: Alison and Mona.
Hiding in the Background
For seven years, Alison and Mona were pushed to the side—Sasha and Janel had their exceptional combined talent all but wasted—to focus on Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily, who, rightfully, stood in the spotlight and didn’t leave much room for anyone else. Pretty Little Liars was and will always be their story, and Alison and Mona only played a supporting role.
After Alison returned from the dead and was released from prison for Mona’s fake murder, the writing of her character had completely changed. Gone was any semblance of the HBIC that led the entire town of Rosewood for years before her disappearance, and in came a much nicer, much more “toned down” Alison, so she could finally fit in with her old friends.
Meanwhile, Mona’s character over the years was even more inconsistent because the writers could never really decide who, or what, Mona was going to be. The road was always left open for Mona to become -A again, which prevented Mona from settling down and beginning to repair her relationship with Hanna (or to create a relationship with any of the other girls, particularly after their intense dollhouse experience, where it seemed like all should have been forgiven). From Loser Mona to Crazy Mona to Reformed Mona, Janel Parrish was forced to play so many variations of her character that we never really learned who Mona was.
Honestly, it’s surprising that either Sasha or Janel would want to return as Alison and Mona, respectively, given how the writers treated their characters in the later seasons. However, perhaps leaving Rosewood for a new town, where they would be forced to work together and become their own characters outside of the liars’ lives, was the alluring factor for the ladies to join Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists.
The Other Characters Aren’t Really Necessary (Right Now)
In Beacon Heights, while The Perfectionists part of the show is focused on Ava, Dylan, and Caitlin, this is, lest we forget, a Pretty Little Liars spin-off. Alison and Mona deserve their chance in the spotlight and the new characters, while integral part of the story, are not entirely necessary to push the universe in this direction. With or without them, Alison and Mona could have moved to Beacon Heights and gotten wrapped up in a murder investigation, and their history in Rosewood would have allowed for a unique perspective on the story.
I am excited to see the new characters have their moments and to watch their story play out, but it’s going to take a significant amount of time to ever make them equally as interesting as Alison and Mona. We have seven years of their journeys in our head (and almost ten years of their life experience), and focusing too much on the new characters, at least in these early episodes, doesn’t seem like the smartest move to make.
Many people came to the series for Alison and Mona, or Sasha and Janel, and the new characters should be written intriguing enough to make viewers interested in seeing more of them. However, the series shouldn’t focus on developing the new characters as much as possible in the first ten episodes at the expense of allowing Alison and Mona their due time.
To the Pretty Little Liars fans that have waited since 2010 for proper focus and direction for Alison and Mona, and the chance for these ladies to overshadow other characters and shine brighter than they ever have, we deserve for this series to treat them as the developed, exceptional characters that we’ve come to know and love. Their stories may be tied to The Perfectionists, but they’re far too interesting to be second string to the newbies. (Sorry!)
What do you think? Should Alison and Mona be the starring act of Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, or should Ava, Dylan, and Caitlin? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists continues Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.