The end of Pretty Little Liars was a TV shipper’s dream. After seasons of will they, won’t they, Alison (Sasha Pieterse) and Emily (Shay Mitchell) not only committed to raising their (surprise) twins together, but they also vowed to get hitched a la other endgame couples like Aria (Lucy Hale) and Ezra (Ian Harding), and Hanna (Ashley Benson) and Caleb (Tyler Blackburn).
However, Emison never had a chance to live in happily-ever-after land: Spin-off series Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists derailed the couple’s endgame, with Alison moving to Beacon Heights University for a fresh start in the Pacific Northwest. Emily and the babies are, presumably, back home in Rosewood, in Pennsylvania.
The Perfectionists is based on the Sara Shepard book of the same name, albeit with some key changes — including the inclusion of PLL characters Alison and Mona (Janel Parrish). Emily and her portrayer Shay Mitchell will not be joining the series — at least not right away — and it seems that the former couple will officially be broken up when The Perfectionists picks up.
"Emily and Alison were such a beautiful couple, and it was really important to me to be true to who they are, and to be true to why they are separated now, and why they can’t be together anymore” showrunner I. Marlene King tells Refinery29 during a set visit. "I hope that fans are open to the honesty of that relationship, and will embrace how that relationship evolves over these 10 episodes. I’m hopeful that we’ll earn the right for Alison to find love again."
While that certainly sounds like Emison is dead, Pieterse teases that Alison has not quite forgotten about her family back home.
"I think [Emily and Alison] have a really interesting storyline outside of Pretty Little Liars,” Sasha Pieterse explains during the set visit. “Her and the kids are definitely on Alison’s mind. Alison’s grown up, and she’s changed a lot, and relationships change. It’s realistic. There are some things that happen in people’s lives that change you, and I think the [PLL characters] have been through a lot. But, they still love each other."
Alison — who, in PLL's final seasons, was a teacher at Rosewood High — will be embarking on a new adventure after joining the faculty at BHU.
"Beacon Heights is a way for Alison to run away from her problems, and yes, a way for her to get her master’s and to teach, which is what she loves to do, but she thinks that being outside of Rosewood will help her,” Pieterse adds, before teasing: “Something very different happens.”
As we’ve seen from the trailer for The Perfectionists, “something” likely includes the fact that there is a body impaled on a fence. We may love Emison, but if Ali is caught up in that murder, well, she may have bigger things to worry about than her love life.
Check out the trailer for The Perfectionists below.
The new series premieres on Freeform March 20.