HOLLYWOOD—I honestly had no idea that we were getting an actual spin-off of one of my favorite guilty pleasures of all times. I was a super fan of the ABC Family now Free Form series “Pretty Little Liars.” The notion of being tortured by a cyber-stalker who made the lives of our protagonists hell for close to seven seasons. I will admit some reveals were great, others were major letdowns.
While some of you might think this is “PLL” all over again, but not quite. Hanna, Aria, Emily and Spencer are not part of this series, but we have fan favorites Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse) and Mona Vanderwaal (Janel Parrish) part of this new series. Both are working at the top elite university in Beacon Heights. This is a town similar to Rosewood, where prestige and class matter, but secrets are being harbored by plenty of its residents. I will say some of the characters have bits and pieces of our ladies from “Pretty Little Liars.”
We have our core characters, who intermingle with one another. There is Caitlin Lewis (Sydney Park), who is an athlete and aspiring political power player, there is Ava Jalali (Sofia Carlson), the fashionista and then there’s Dylan Walker (Eli Brown), the cellist who are keeping those close to his chest. Mona and Alison have become re-acquainted both working at Beacon Heights University in Oregon.
The Hotchkiss family is very powerful, and is being led by Claire (Kelly Rutherford) who recently lost her daughter Taylor (Haley Erin) to suicide. However, she has a son, Nolan (Chris Mason) who is a power player on campus, who has plenty of secrets; he is also dating Caitlin. Caitlin, Nolan, Ava and Dylan seem like allies, but not actual friends if you know what I mean. Caitlin knows Nolan has leverage over Dylan, and the dichotomy is an interesting one to say the least.
One thing for certain is this series utilizes technology as a major power player. Mona was up to her antics per usual, as Alison questioned if Mona shared things about her past. Hmm, Nolan seems to be an enigma that has plenty of people scared, even Mona, who isn’t scared of anyone. Nolan seems to be the mean girl; he has ammunition on everyone. With Caitlin, he knows her mother is cheating on her other mom who is running for President. Caitlin is busy dating Jeremy (Graeme Thomas King), who isn’t a fan of Nolan.
Speaking of Nolan, he wants Caitlin as his fake girlfriend, while secretly smooching with Ava. Ok, there is a lot of mystery going on with this show and 20 minutes in I’m already sold. The audience isn’t aware of all the juicy secrets, just yet, but we know there are plenty of secrets. Claire Hotchkiss is the mother from hell; she wants to control every aspect of her son’s life. Not sure if this is a direct result of her daughter’s suicide, but there is more to this woman. And with Mona in her back pocket, there is no telling how ruthless Claire can be. The woman is tailing and watching her own son people!
Alison is no idiot, and she realized that Ava’s paper was not written by her, just as we dive more into Ava’s backstory. Her family has done some wicked things apparently and she has been left to clean up their mess. I mean the FBI are investigating them, but at least she had a stash of money to financially hold her off. Alison may no longer be the mean girl, but it seems she still has a wicked edge.
Claire seems to be drawn to Alison, as she reminds her of Taylor. Looks like Taylor is a crucial element of the narrative and only more will be unveiled as time progresses. Caitlin you should not joke about murdering people, especially Alison; she knows about murder and faking your death people. Ali sees Nolan in her. Nolan snuck off the premises to make a call about needing to see someone and to escape before they get busted. The intrigue people it is killing me right now.
A flashback revealed that Dylan and Nolan had a secret hookup; one that only those two know about, just as Ali pieced together that Dylan wrote papers for his pals. Nolan is making enemies left and right; first he blackmails Caitlin, then Dylan and severs ties with Ava. Well, well, we learn a bit about Taylor, the fallen daughter of the Hotchkiss family. Nolan met up with TAYLOR, the sister who everyone thought was dead, but who is very much alive. So she faked her death, the question is why? Taylor is a high-tech genius, and they are looking to bring down Beacon heights or shall I say dear ole mom. The question we all want to know is why?
Dylan, Caitlin and Ava all met in the middle of the night to discuss ways to take out Nolan or to at least neutralize him. The trio joked about murder, and something tells me a murder is in the works. Mona being Mona was confronted by Alison about her true reasoning for being summoned to Beacon Heights. Alison grilled Mona about Taylor; a woman with many secrets who had plenty of power on campus as well. Nolan met with a mystery person, on a rooftop, where he revealed his sister was very much alive. Rather it’s a man or woman, we have no idea.
At the same time, Alison learned that she was being watched. The campus was shocked upon learning that Nolan fell to his death and was impaled by spikes. Um didn’t Dylan, Caitlin and Ava just joke about Nolan being killed in that exact manner? Why is Mona speaking to herself, um wait she’s not, she was speaking to some sort of high-tech caliber security firm. I really don’t know what just happened, but that first episode had me hooked. Interesting characters, plenty of intrigue, lots of surprises and twists galore.
Why did Taylor fake her death? Who was Nolan speaking to? Just what secrets are Mona harboring? What is the connection between Ali and Taylor (c’mon, we all know there is one)? We’ll just have to keep watching to find out “PLL,” correction, “Perfectionists” fanatics! “Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on Free Form.