Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists: Grade the Spinoff's Series Premiere!

Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists

Wednesday’s series premiere of Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists chronicled reformed mean girl Alison DiLaurentis’ first days working at Beacon Heights University, where perfection is required and two can keep a secret if one of them is dead. (Hey, some things never change.)

First, let’s address the multiple elephAnts in the room. As you likely recall, the Pretty Little Liars series finale ended with Mona holding the show’s Big Bads captive in the basement of an upscale doll shop in Paris. “Yeah, that was great for a while,” she told Alison in the Perfectionists premiere. “But eventually, the reasons I was there… escaped me.” That’s right, friends — though we’ll probably never see them again, Mary and Alex Drake are free!

Alison also gave a somewhat vague explanation for leaving Emily (and their twin daughters) in Rosewood: “Emily loves me, she just can’t get past the past. We are [happy], then we’re not. It always comes back to trust. But I’m not giving up. I want to leave the mean girl I was in high school behind me.” That last bit is a lovely sentiment, but given the dangerous, secretive nature of her new surroundings, I suspect Ali will need to employ every trick in her mean-girl arsenal if she hopes to survive the semester.

And although Alison and Mona have left Rosewood behind them, Wednesday’s premiere revealed that their new zip code might be just as treacherous. Their every move — everyone’s every move, really — is being tracked by Beacon Guard, the college’s intrusive security system, run by all-around puppet master Claire Hotchkiss. She’s got at least one finger in every pie (very sticky!) at all times, and she seems particularly interested in Alison, who reminds her of her late daughter Taylor.

As was the case with its parent series, nothing is quite what it seems on The Perfectionists. Just look at Claire’s son, BHU’s resident bad boy Nolan Hotchkiss, who’s been keeping his relationship with blogger/designer Ava on the DL to appease his overbearing mother. Meanwhile, he’s been pretending to date the far more upstanding Caitlin, all the while knowing she has her own thing going on with a strapping British gentleman named Jeremy. Never mind the fact that Nolan has also slept with Dylan, something Dylan’s supportive boyfriend Andrew knows nothing about. Nolan is basically the thread that connects everyone, sexually or otherwise.

But don’t be mistaken, Nolan is hardly the victim in all of this. He abuses his considerable power every chance he gets — forcing Dylan to write his papers for him, cheating on Ava because he got “bored” with their sex life, and blackmailing Caitlin with proof that one of her moms is cheating on the other. (“I guess two moms don’t always make a right.”)

Perhaps that’s why you didn’t exactly shed a tear when Nolan’s corpse was discovered on campus, impaled by a spiked fence. … Gee, didn’t Caitlin “joke” about that exact scenario shortly before it happened? Could she have been the other person on the roof, to whom Nolan apologized for being such an a-hole? And what did he mean by “time is running out”?

And while we’re spitting out questions here: Why did Taylor (who is alive!) fake her own suicide? What were she and Nolan attempting to reveal about Beacon Guard before his untimely demise? And what does Mona seem to know about the mysterious voyeurs?

Your thoughts on any of these queries? Grade the premiere via our poll below and drop a comment with your full review.