The Perfectionists season 1 quickly brought Mona and Alison together as friends, being the only two Rosewood residents in Beacon Heights, but their complicated history should be explored, not entirely ignored, to make them best friends.
Mona Vanderwaal (Janel Parrish) and Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse) were the best of frenemies on Pretty Little Liars, which was the most exciting factor when considering their stories continuing on The Perfectionists season 1. However, as great as it was to see Mona and Alison bond and become close friends, it feels, sort of, unearned, as they have never actually worked through everything they’ve done to one another.
Or, even, what they thought they were doing to the other, even if that wasn’t the case (like, say, Mona bashing in Bethany Young’s skull with a shovel because she thought it was Alison?). If we are gifted with The Perfectionists season 2 (and beyond), more work needs to be done to bond these ladies.
In the circle, but never in the circle
Both Mona and Alison were in the circle on Pretty Little Liars, but were never really in the circle, as Mona told Taylor she would never be on The Perfectionists season 1 episode 8.
Spencer, Aria, Hanna, and Emily could never let themselves fully trust Mona after everything she’d done to them, and to Alison, during high school, even in the flash-forward, leaving Mona on the outside to be used when the girls needed something devious done.
Alison, granted, was more in the circle than Mona, but she was never really part of the group after her return as the Liars just couldn’t ever entirely move on from what she had done to them during their formative high school years. Plus, the dynamic just didn’t really work as well with the five girls in the present day because the purpose of Alison’s character in the flashbacks was to be the center of the group, which they no longer needed.
The Perfectionists was Mona and Alison’s fresh start to be the main characters leading the series’ mystery, which is definitely what happened. Without the two women, I wonder if this show would have been successful. Any way, what I, personally, was most excited to see from Mona and Alison was their growth from frenemies to best friends, but it feels that this was completely glossed over from the very first episode and they were suddenly close.
I mean, Alison was trusting Mona with sensitive information about what she was discovering in Beacon Heights from the pilot episode, but when and where had Mona earned that trust?
After seven seasons of Mona being left out, even when she worked her hardest to get the girls to trust her, it felt rushed and unearned that there was no question about Mona’s allegiance to Alison and or anyone else in Beacon Heights (for the characters or viewers because Mona did restart the game at the end of the original show with Alex and Mary Drake, showing she hadn’t moved on).
Their relationship on ‘The Perfectionists’ season 2 and beyond
Whether in flashbacks of the year between the original series and the spin-off or in the present day, I want to see Mona and Alison work to move past their complicated and intense history to become real best friends, not stand-ins until they can be back with the rest of friends.
It felt cheap and ill-fitting of the show to suddenly bring Mona and Alison together, making it, essentially, Mona and Alison vs. Beacon Heights. To leave both characters singled out in a new town, struggling to find their way to trust anyone, ending up as best friends after working through the trauma they inflicted on one another would have been an amazing first season story, but there’s still time (before the series goes on too long) for them to work through unresolved issues.
I don’t want to see Mona and Alison become each other’s consolation prizes in the midst of everyone else they love being left across the country; I want to see these two unlikely allies become the best of friends, to rival the friendship the Liars share. Since they’ll never be truly part of that group, they should make their own, and there’s no one else who can understand them quite like the other.
(I also wouldn’t hate if Taylor grew close to them, platonically, and this became a trio of dead girls who are no longer dead. They all have that in common at least, right?)
What do you think? Was Mona and Alison’s relationship rushed? Let us know your thoughts!
No news yet on The Perfectionists season 2, but stay tuned for updates!