Over all 10 episodes of Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, Alison DiLaurentis remained the stable, supportive friend and mentor in the midst of the chaos. Without her, it’s clear this spin-off series would have fallen apart.
The Perfectionists season 1 worked hard to build another universe in the already-established Pretty Little Liars universe, attempting to build off of the momentum of its predecessor and learn from the mistakes of the original show. While it may have taken a little too long to introduce the main villain and mystery, the season’s goal was to establish these characters and this world, making fans understand why Alison and Mona left Rosewood for Beacon Heights.
All in all, I’d say the goal was accomplished, and The Perfectionists season 1, episode 10 left me thrilled and desperate for another season. When looking back at the season as a whole, it’s clear that none of the story would have been possible without Alison DiLaurentis, even when she was more focused on her own troubles and journey. She held everything together as she put on a brave face and entered a new (and deadly) chapter of her life, finalizing her divorce and accepting she had to move on.
Taylor Hotchkiss and Pretty Little Liars‘ own Mona Vanderwaal can be counted as Alison DiLaurentis’ closest friends in Beacon Heights, with Mona being her confidant after everything the two went through in Rosewood on the original show. While Taylor’s allegiance remains a mystery, though hopefully we can count on her to be on Alison’s side, they bonded over the similarities in their life, while learning of the differences and growing to trust one another.
Mona, on the other hand, began trusting Alison a little too quickly, and the two quickly grew close and became what looks to be best friends, though some more work needs to be done for this new chapter in their lives to feel earned.
Without Alison, Mona and Taylor wouldn’t have interacted much or at all; Mona’s distrust of Taylor was so automatic that it was practically like we were watching Alison’s welcoming back to Rosewood High being overtaken by Mona and her group’s unwelcoming demeanor. Alison is the only thing holding this trio together, and it doesn’t seem like that will change much after Taylor shooting Jeremy on The Perfectionists season 1, episode 9. While Alison ran to comfort Taylor and calm her down, Mona was angry and yelled, effectively ruining the progress Mona and Taylor had made to trust one another.
Without Alison, Mona and Taylor didn’t really have a role in the main story, either. Mona was brought into this by Alison, who was digging around into the history of Beacon Heights University and Nolan’s death as soon as it happened. Mona went off the deep end trying to figure it out, blaming herself for his death, but after she recovered from that, she could have easily moved on and continued her newly normal life at BHU. Taylor was more involved with Nolan’s murder, but wouldn’t have found her way into the group without Alison because no one, except Alison, knew whether she was trustworthy.
(Not to mention that had Alison not convinced Taylor to come back to the world of the living, she would still be hiding in her RV, or worse, Nolan’s killer would have gotten her and really killed her.)
The three Perfectionists
Without Alison, I wonder if the three Perfectionists would have been able to come together in the same way. When the series started, Alison began looking into them because of their respective relationships with Nolan and the pattern she was seeing in how he treated them vs. how she treated people as a teenager, particularly her friends.
Alison quickly became their mentor, as she was their light in the darkness of almost certainly being framed for Nolan’s murder. While they didn’t know she was partially protecting herself, they thought she was risking everything to protect them, be their alibi, and help get themselves out of this mess.
The Perfectionists came together to become best friends in the aftermath, but Alison’s presence in their life surely kept them from lashing out (even more than they already did) at one another. It allowed them space to work through their issues without caving under the pressure and stress that Dana Booker and Nolan’s murderer were placing upon them. Plus, Alison had a few good chats with the characters, particularly Caitlin, that set them straight on the path that was going to inflict the least harm upon them.
Without Alison DiLaurentis, the Perfectionists’ lives would have quickly crumbled and they wouldn’t have had Mona and Alison’s beautiful minds helping them find a way out of this mess. After all, it is their experience with Rosewood’s finest that kept Alison and Mona composed and ready to shut down this villain before their game could truly begin (even though they, obviously, failed that task). Could they have come together as a trio without Alison? Probably not. And they definitely wouldn’t have been part of the group.
It was interesting to see Alison back in the center of a group of friends again, just like she was with Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily when Pretty Little Liars first began. Whether it was done knowingly or not by Alison and/or the Perfectionists writers, Alison is slowly morphing into someone else that falls between who she was as a teenager and who she was when she first arrived in Beacon Heights. Taking center stage as part of a new group and her return to being a little more snarky shows that.
Should The Perfectionists be renewed for seasons to come, I would like to see what happens if Alison were no longer holding the group together (for a short time). I don’t want Alison to die or anything, but maybe she could take a trip back to Rosewood, or, even better, be kidnapped by The Professor and the group has to overcome their differences without their in-house mediator to save her. Alison and Mona have been through enough already, but how amazing would it be to see that story play out?
No word yet on The Perfectionists season 2, but we will update you as soon as we hear anything!