Freeform’s Pretty Little Liars spin-off, The Perfectionists, just wrapped season 1 with an unsettling discovery and new villain for season 2. However, one character is at risk of continuing to drag the series down.
Dylan Walker’s story on The Perfectionists has been anything but perfect. As I stated in my review of The Perfectionists season 1, episode 10, Dylan feels like a character on a different show that I do not want to watch (and that was my opinion throughout the entire 10-episode season).
There are several reasons why Dylan’s presence in the group and on the show in general just does not work. Dylan’s personality and storylines have been frustrating, eaten up too much time that could have been used developing other characters, and have officially made him the worst main character in the Pretty Little Liars universe.
His relationship and sexuality
Instead of being essential to the mystery, Dylan Walker’s entire story (and I do mean entire story) on The Perfectionists season 1 has been focused on his relationship with Andrew (Evan Bittencourt) or, as we saw in the finale, his sexuality (involving yet another man in his life, which was his THIRD love interest in just 10 episodes).
Even during the group scenes where he should have been focused on helping himself and his friends get out of trouble, it was always brought back to Andrew (whether someone brought him up, they were fighting, or Dylan received a text message from him).
It seems clear, at least to me, that the writers are trying to replicate the importance of Pretty Little Liars‘ Ezra and Aria, but it’s not working. That relationship had several issues that were never addressed because fans had already come to know them as the heart of the show, but very few viewers have come to appreciate Andrew and Dylan’s relationship.
Instead, many have grown to resent the relationship because it is the primary focus of Dylan’s story and character development. PLL fans resented Aria toward the end of the series because of her, for lack of a better word, obsession with Ezra that clouded her judgment and repeatedly took her out of the main mystery.
Even in the season finale, which potentially could have been the last episode ever, rather than Dylan’s focus being on the unveiling of their tormentor, The Professor, Dylan was 100% focused on his old high school bully, Luke. To make matters worse, in one of the final scenes of the episode, Luke confesses his sexuality to Dylan and claims he won’t leave Beacon Heights until he’s made things right. Dylan literally had zero interest in the villain because he had two men fighting over him and if that doesn’t sum up the uselessness of his character, I don’t know what does.
As tiresome of Dylan and his love interests are, this story being Dylan’s finale story is fitting for the character he is; he’s not part of the mystery, he just feels like a random bystander that got sucked into this mess and doesn’t really have a purpose in the group.
Dylan is becoming the male version of Aria Montgomery, which is not something that we want to see repeated on this spin-off series. Ezra and Aria’s relationship — while many loved the two together — was the worst part of the original show because it was almost always a story divided from the main mystery and plot, leaving Aria on the outside as her friends played the most important roles in solving the murder and taking down their tormentor.
The odd man out in the group
Introducing a gay man into the Pretty Little Liars dynamic on The Perfectionists was a risk that didn’t pay off. Perhaps it has to do with casting, or the fact that he’s being written as if he’s just one of the girls (which doesn’t work when he, clearly, is not), but every group scene is just… tense.
Eli Brown (Dylan) doesn’t have the real-life chemistry to portray a deep friendship with the ladies on the show, whereas the rest of them seem very content and comfortable with each other. Sofia Carson (Ava) is the only actor that Brown shows genuine interest in sharing scenes with, but the chemistry between them doesn’t feel platonic, as it should for scenes between a gay man and straight woman who are, supposedly, becoming best friends.
exactly. and the og girls’ real life friendship helped contribute to their chemistry on screen but that doesn’t work with eli when off screen he probably wants to sleep w/sofia and on screen he’s supposed to be bffs with her. s2 definitely needs some changes
— a. (@thespelImans) May 26, 2019
@lucysjanel I think Sofia and Eli have more romantic chemistry than he did with Andrew. I mean, I just didn't buy that relationship.
— Adam Lentz (@lentzadam533) May 1, 2019
Oh man. No, but… Did I think they had chemistry in this last episode? Yes. Yes, I absolutely think they did.
— Marco Sparks (@marcosparks) April 25, 2019
Can dylan and ava have a relationship in #PLLThePerfectionists ? They have chemistry. And I ship them hard. 😄 @SofiaCarson @imarleneking
— Sofia (@sofiabenx) April 25, 2019
As the creator of both Pretty Little Liars and The Perfectionists has said (even to the cast, as explained in the video below), “the epitome of PLL is ‘all of these girls dressed to the nines in gorgeous heels. In the midst of this chaos, we all look so glamorous.'” Dylan doesn’t fit into this, which wouldn’t be a bad thing if he wasn’t a main character on the show.
The Pretty Little Liars universe is meant to be led by women, as is proved by the awkward tension in every group scene where Dylan doesn’t really have a role to play (not just because he isn’t allowed to have a story outside of Andrew, but because he’s played by a straight man who is clearly out of his league surrounded by all of these women).
right!! & like especially dylan’s character feels so dry and it puts this weird damper on the dynamic
— 𝖑𝖎𝖆𝖒 // renew the perfectionists (@villaneverights) May 26, 2019
Creating Dylan Walker, instead of using one of the other three female characters from The Perfectionists book series by Sara Shepard, in my opinion, was a mistake. Casting or not, the friendship between the women in this universe has always been the strongest part of these shows… it just doesn’t work on The Perfectionists with a man complicating the dynamic.
It doesn’t help that Dylan isn’t focused, at all, on anything the women are worried about. All of the women are carrying the story and mystery so Dylan can run about with his multiple love interests and focus on anything but their tormentor, which isn’t what fans want to see after seven seasons of the same story playing out with Aria on Pretty Little Liars.
Something needs to be done to fix the dynamic between Dylan and the ladies or maybe it would be best if Dylan left the show and another female figure from the book series joined the cast (like, say, Mackenzie Wright, who Dylan was based off of). Even if his dynamic in the group is somehow changed, which I don’t see possible, Dylan doesn’t have a story outside of his love life. Is it too late to rectify that? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
No news yet on The Perfectionists season 2, but stay tuned for updates!
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