It wouldn’t be Pretty Little Liars if it didn’t end in a murder.
On Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists Season 1 Episode 1, Alison has an unconventional first week at work as she learns more about Beacon Heights from Mona and her students. Meanwhile, Ava, Caitlyn, and Dylan are all trying to make it through the school year while being manipulated and watched by more than just one person.
Welcome to Beacon Heights
The show begins with an eerie glance of Beacon Heights University and its students, followed by Alison walking into her creaky new house where Mona is waiting her arrival. Right away they start asking each other the questions everyone is dying to know about why the other decided to pack everything up and move to this small Oregon town.
Which means, viewers coming from Pretty Little Liars won’t have to wait long for the elephants in the room to be addressed: What happened between newly-engaged (and now married?) Alison and Emily? And more importantly, what happened with Alex and Mary Drake? However, even though both predicaments are mentioned within the first 5 minutes of the show, in true Pretty Little Liars fashion, the answers given are rather vague and left open to interpretation. And Mona definitely has some further explaining to do.
We then get introduced to The Perfectionists: Ava Jalali, Caitlin Martell-Lewis, and Dylan Walker. Unlike fans suspected, Dylan’s last name won’t be that of his respective book counterpart, “Mackenzie Wright.” We also meet the infamous Nolan Hotchkiss, who holds a similar status at Beacon Heights University as Alison did at Rosewood High.
There wasn’t really enough time in the pilot for them to showcase their personalities all that much yet, but to give everyone an idea of how they are:
Ava is an aspiring fashion designer who is getting her start as a YouTuber. She comes from a rather complicated and corrupt rich family, and wants nothing more than to make a name for herself outside of her parents, particularly her father.
Caitlyn is a Senator’s daughter who intends on following in her mother’s footsteps. She is very strong in her convictions and doesn’t shy away from speaking her mind throughout the pilot. Unfortunately, this is probably going to get her into some trouble in the upcoming episodes.
Dylan is one of Beacon Height’s finest students and cello players who is focused on making it into a prestigious symphony. However, with so much to juggle, he’s very worn out and easily taken advantage of, and he’s definitely not the only one.
Alison is Professor Granger’s TA at BHU and it isn’t long before drama and conflict arise between her and her new students (both inside and outside of the classroom). Throughout her first few days, she becomes more and more suspicious of why she’s actually there and feels uneasy about some of Beacon’s residents and her new living situation. She’s also clearly missing home and really only has pictures of Emily and the kids there to comfort her. Like everyone else, I’m curious to see how Alison is going to be personality wise. So far, she’s similar to how she was in Pretty Little Liars 5B. She’s making strides to be a better person for her friends, family, and now the students of BHU, but she’s also still very weary of other people and has no problem with confrontation.
Mona, on the other hand, seems fairly well-acquainted with Beacon Heights, as she’s lived there for nearly a year now, and is definitely up to more than she’s leading on. However, as far as everyone is concerned, she’s just in charge of recruitment and admissions. In the last few minutes, something about Mona’s story for the season is revealed, and we get a sneak peek at what she’s hiding from Ali and the rest of the world.
Hopefully we’ll finally get to see Alison and Mona develop a friendship and grow closer without the influence of Rosewood and the liars. It would be nice to see them bond and become a team in the same way Spencer, Aria, Hanna, and Emily did. They’re arguably two of the most dynamic and complex characters TV has to offer, and it would be a waste if we don’t get to see them work together and be used to their fullest potential.
As for the perfectionists, their love lives and friendships are all incredibly complicated and hard to keep up with. Nolan is involved with each one of them in one way or another, and they’re all also involved with other people. There’s easily enough drama already to get this show to last for quite awhile.
Last Minute Reflections
Based off of the pilot, it seems like there’s going to be more LGBT representation than we’ve seen from Pretty Little Liars in the past; between Alison, Dylan, Andrew, Nolan, and both of Caitlin’s parents, we’re off to a good start. However, I do have some reservations thus far. First off, in the very first episode of the series, multiple LGBT characters have already followed very stereotypical (and frustrating) tropes. Plus, with Emily back in Rosewood, the majority of the main LGBT rep will be consisted of male characters. Not to mention the fact that although Alison isn’t straight, she’s married and more than likely won’t have much of an on-screen relationship.
Basically, prepare yourself for a lot of content for gay men and hardly any for gay women.
It’s a shame considering Freeform is getting progressively less reserved when it comes to gay romances and actually lets them be intimate on-screen in the same way heterosexual couples are. (Unlike even just a few years ago when the most Emily ever got was fully clothed sex scenes and barely any physical contact at all.) It would just be nice to see that kind of content for lgbt women as well, but it is just the pilot, and there’s plenty room for growth and circumstances to change. All in all, it seems like The Perfectionists is going to continue to push Freeform in the right direction when it comes to normalizing gay relationships. Let’s just hope Emily Fields makes some appearances.
Speaking of Emily, the biggest question the premiere left me with is why the hell are the twins pale gingers with only light features??? Emily Fields is Filipino, African American, Spanish, and Korean, and even though Wren is white, he has all dark features. Does anyone care to explain this biology to me? Why do Emily and Wren’s babies look most like Alison, whom they have no blood relation to at all? I’m annoyed and I’d like to speak to whoever was in charge of picking out these child actors.
No Context Quotes
- “By my calculations, he could be dangerous.”
- “2 moms don’t always make a right.”
- “She could be my doppelgänger.”
Are you excited for Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists series premiere? Leave your thoughts in the comments down below!