You can take the girls out of Rosewood drama, but you can never really take the Rosewood drama out of the girls. At least, that’s certainly how it feels looking at the brand new Pretty Little Liars series, The Perfectionists. Just because A has finally been unmasked once and for all and for good (dear god, at least I hope), that doesn’t mean that the drama can’t continue on in other ways.
While The Perfectionists is very much its own show, it’s got original PLL DNA all over it, and not just because two former Liars are at the centre of the show once again. The Perfectionists is based off a book series by the same name, written by Sara Shepard who also helmed the Pretty Little Liars series. The Perfectionists takes places in Beacon Heights, Oregon, which is some odd 3,000 miles away from Rosewood, Pennsylvania. The new PLL follows a group of students at Beacon Heights University who are all, you guessed it, striving for excellence and, “the stress of needing to be perfect leads to the town’s first murder. Behind every Perfectionist is a secret, a lie, and a needed alibi."
It’s important to know that the book doesn’t exist in the same PLL universe — it’s a completely separate stand-alone series. But, that doesn’t mean the show can’t have some familiar faces front and centre to connect it to the prior events back in Rosewood. Depending on how you feel, Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse) and Mona Vanderwaal (Janel Parrish) might be the last people you ever expect to show up here. But those are the exact two who have left Rosewood (and Europe) behind for Beacon Heights.
Clearly in search of a fresh start and a new life without any Red Coats, Alison joins Beacon Heights University as a faculty member as a teacher’s assistant in order to get her master’s degree. We saw Alison take up a teaching career at the end of Pretty Little Liars, and clearly she’s kept up with it, and has now sought out a brand new career path in academia. Even though she went through a whole lot of stuff in Rosewood, Alison’s clearly got a pretty good resume to her name.
But, it appears as if Alison has left some things behind, as Emily (Shay Mitchell) is nowhere to be seen in The Perfectionists — at least not yet. At the end of Pretty Little Liars, let us not forget that Alison and Emily were engaged, and had just adopted twins. But, just because Emily and the twins aren’t in Beacon Heights themselves, it sounds like they’ll be there in spirit. Talking to TV Guide, showrunner I. Marlene King explained that Alison came to “Beacon Heights because an opportunity arises that she can't pass up. It's very hard for her to leave Emily and the babies, but we will understand as the first 10 episodes play out what's happened in that relationship, why it's happening and why Alison is so far away from Emily."
At least Alison will have one familiar face: Mona. Last we saw Mona, she was in Paris selling creepy dolls to French children and also had Alex (aka, the big bad A.D.) and Mary locked up in the basement. The Perfectionists takes place two years after the finale of Pretty Little Liars, so let’s hope these two are out of the basement by now…
And, it’s a job at Beacon Heights University that has brought Mona stateside as well, and it’ll be interesting to see how Alison and Mona get along this time around.
The released promos for the series have included a few callbacks to notable references from the Pretty Little Liars universe, so the connections to the original series might be even deeper than just Alison and Moana hanging around.
Let’s just leave the dollhouses and twins behind once and for all.