9:05 pm EDT, May 22, 2019

‘The Perfectionists’ season 1, episode 10 review: The experiment commences

The Perfectionists season 1 finale opened the door for the series to get darker and more twisted in the future.

With the revelation of “The Professor” and his plot to force Alison, Mona, and the Perfectionists into playing his game, the series changes course for the future (if it’s renewed), and I am SO EXCITED.

The Perfectionists season 1, episode 10, “Enter The Professor,” was by far the series’ most exciting and intense episode. Even though the episode had the villain’s name in the title, I was still shocked to learn that the villain’s name is “The Professor” and they are, indeed, a professor at Beacon Heights University. I’m glad the scene at the end of the episode, reminiscent of Pretty Little Liars‘ -A scenes, confirmed that this person is someone at the school (probably a person in a position of power), so there’s not much room for leeway when it comes to the identity of this mystery person.

This episode is my favorite of the series, so far, and I feel that it finally separated The Perfectionists from Pretty Little Liars, even though they still exist in the same universe. It’s no longer about a villain watching them and trying to frame them for a crime they didn’t commit; it’s a villain who is studying them, piecing some experiment together, and ultimately has a plan for all of our main characters, while using BeaconGuard to spy on them at all times.

This person is capable of murder, and I wonder if Nolan’s murder was because of something he did or if it was because he was getting in the way of The Professor’s experiment. He could have been killed because he was not letting Dylan, Ava, Caitlin, and Taylor truly shine… he was holding them back and overshadowing their every move.

Lackluster final moments and a missing character

Altogether, I felt like this episode was a very composed, well-thought out progression of the mystery, but for being such an important finale, the ending fell a little flat. Pretty Little Liars is known for its shocking finales, and while the middle of the episode was incredibly interesting, exciting, and shocking, the final moments felt like the final moments of a normal episode. The ending didn’t feel like it fit with the episode, but rather that it should have been the ending of the next season’s premiere.

Making Dylan’s feud with Luke one of the last memories we have of The Perfectionists season 1 was disappointing, but completely fit with how they’ve written Dylan, as I’ll explain more later. It’s clear that The Perfectionists was trying to differentiate itself from the original series with this finale and find their own path, and sometimes that doesn’t always succeed. In this case, a shocking character demise, saving the reveal of the villain’s name and their plan for the end of the episode, or even just having a group scene instead of Dylan’s scene with Luke be the last few minutes of the episode could have changed everything and not have left viewers with a sour taste in their mouths.

On top of this, Taylor was gone for what was arguably the most important episode of the show. After the cliffhanger of the previous episode, and the mess she has gotten them all in by shooting Jeremy and giving The Professor leverage to use against them, Taylor should have found a way back to Beacon Heights to make amends with her new friends. The guilt, anger, and fear could have given Hayley Erin such great material to work with, but instead she was shipped off to a retreat and didn’t even have one moment in the episode, not even to say goodbye. By not including Taylor in the episode or unveiling of the villain, she’s also been effectively kicked out of ever truly being in the group because there’s no coming back from that… just ask Mona.

The Perfectionists season 1, episode 10

Dylan

Dylan feels like a character on a completely different show that I do not want to watch. I thought, with The Perfectionists season 1 episode, 10 being the finale, Dylan’s love life would be put to the side (as was done with Aria in the bigger Pretty Little Liars episodes, usually). However, yet again his love life and sexuality were the main substance of his story, which didn’t fit the theme of the episode (and hasn’t fit the theme of the series).

Everything about Dylan revolves around Andrew and his sexuality. The secret Nolan held over him? He cheated on Andrew with Nolan, as Nolan used his sexuality to create blackmail to use against him. Dylan is going to help with Ava’s fashion show? Oh no, Andrew is mad at him and won’t be there to watch. It’s the first time he hasn’t been there to see a performance. Literally everything Dylan does has to be connected to his relationship with Andrew, whether it’s used to “strengthen” or “destroy” their relationship. Dylan and Andrew have such a bland, uninteresting relationship, and all they have done so far on The Perfectionists season 1 is eat time that we would have rather seen used on developing Taylor or Claire, or giving Alison and Mona more moments to show their growing bond.

At least, with Aria, her shining moments and stories were usually those rare stories that had to do with the series’ overarching mystery and her relationship with her friends, but we’re not even seeing a connection between Dylan and the others. Dylan is the oddball of the group; Taylor fits in with Caitlin and Ava better than Dylan, and there’s absolutely no chemistry between Dylan and Alison, Mona, or Taylor. Hell, there’s hardly chemistry between Dylan and Caitlin, but the only chemistry he does have is with Ava (and let’s just say we’re not getting friendship vibes from those two actors).

I think the creators made a big mistake by not only introducing a man into the classic female dynamic of Pretty Little Liars, but also by casting a straight man to play a gay character. Sometimes it works, but in this case, it does not. Dylan doesn’t fit with everyone else and his character just isn’t necessary to the story at hand. Being only 10 episodes in, it’s not too late to rectify this mistake, and there are still two or three characters from the books that could be introduced to fit in the group (or Taylor could just take Dylan’s place in the trio’s dynamic).

Anyway, enough with the negatives of the episode/season. This was truly one of my favorite episodes so far, and I’m so beyond excited to see what stories could be created by the writing staff with this new villain and the “experiment’ in play.

The Perfectionists season 1, episode 10

Alison and Mona

Alison and Mona’s friendship over the course of The Perfectionists has been my favorite aspect of the show, and I’m thankful they haven’t introduced unnecessary conflict into their relationship. These two could have carried over their “frenemy” status from the original series, but the writers made the right choice in doing away with that. It was already incredibly overused on Pretty Little Liars when it came to Mona’s relationship with, well, anyone in Rosewood.

With their experience, I’m excited to see how Mona and Alison lead the charge against this new villain in future seasons. Already in the finale, they were instructing the Perfectionists on how to handle a threat like this and how to change their behavior to sneak around and look for clues, like finding the list of BeaconGuard dead zones on campus. Alison and Mona should be the two main characters on the show because it is their turn to have their time in the spotlight after being pushed to the background for so long. As wonderful as the others may be (particularly Caitlin and Taylor), they’re out of their league when it comes to messes like these, and it’s only realistic for Alison and Mona to shine.

Alison took a backseat in the last few episodes until the second half of the finale, and that’s not something that can happen again. She was dead center in the posters for the show, meaning she’s the main character and this is her story. Alison has what it takes to take down The Professor (especially with Mona on her side), if she can find the right balance between the person she used to be and the woman she is now.

As for Mona, her best scene in this episode was her blackmailing Claire into getting her job at BHU back, but my favorite was her message to The Professor. Clearly she’s going to be causing a lot of trouble for this villain, and Mona is not one to be messed with. Just ask Alex and Mary Drake… Mona will always win. It was such a classic Mona move to use blackmail to get her job back, but I actually did doubt whether she was going to be able to stay at BHU. The sigh of relief I had is not one I will take for granted.

I hope Mona will truly let her relationship with Mason end like their final scene teased, as viewers do not like or want it and the show has received a lot of criticism for having another “teacher”/student relationship after the mess of Aria and Ezra on Pretty Little Liars. Mason and Mona don’t have much to offer each other either, and it was kind of weird how they had acted like their relationship had gone on for months when it had been just a few days and they had sex maybe twice? Like, you two barely know each other, get OVER it!

Mona is highly intelligent and logical, but kind of struggles with the emotional side of things, while Alison is very emotional and smart in a different way. These two make the perfect pair, and future seasons could be so good if their strengths were highlighted and Janel and Sasha are able to work together more. Alison went off through a Taylor Hotchkiss rabbit hole this season and her relationship with Mona wasn’t as fully developed as it could have been, so I’m hopeful future seasons will have more episodes so we can see more of these two women kicking ass together.

(Also, after the endearing Alison and Mona scene where they talked about getting on a plane and leaving town, who wants to see Alison and Mona have another spin-off living a Sex and the City life? Another idea for after The Perfectionists ends, maybe?)

The Perfectionists season 1, episode 10 (1)

Ava and Caitlin

Ava and Caitlin have such a good relationship that needs more time to flourish without Dylan ruining the dynamic.

I’m actually surprised by Ava’s actions in this episode, and I wonder what the writers plan to do with her when they return for new episodes. Having the money her father stole was the biggest secret she had, and now that she’s done dealing with that (and Dana Booker is off of her case), what’s left for her to do? Her relationship with Zach, while cute, lacks any emotional weight because we’ve seen her with both Zach and Nolan this season, so it’s hard to get attached to either couple.

Zach was the person who unknowingly drove her to do the right thing, along with her friends’ support and guidance, but aside from that, what else does he have to offer Ava? He’s just a very one-dimensional character, and Ava needs someone with multiple layers to offset her own.

Caitlin has a lot to make up for with Jeremy, if she ever gets the chance. The writers left it open for a few people to be dead when the series returns, from Jeremy to whoever was in that RV. Now that she knows Jeremy didn’t kill Nolan, but has other secrets to hide, their relationship is going to be tumultuous and I wouldn’t be mad if we saw Caitlin focus on herself for a while. Her moms are on her back to get her act in order, and now she has someone threatening to expose them for a crime, which would ultimately destroy her future career path and even her mother’s.

Caitlin finished this season just as she started it: As the strongest new character on The Perfectionists. Her intelligence, emotional strength, and quick thinking have made her an asset in this race to find who killed Nolan, while a certain other just floats along letting everyone else do the work for them.

All in all, this finale of The Perfectionists didn’t feel much like a season finale, particularly the ending, but it certainly did go the extra mile to further the story, introduce another mystery, and make future episodes much, much darker. This finale reminded me a bit of The Good Place season 1 finale because it introduced a twist that changed the course of the entire show, which is what I feel “the experiment” is. We’ve seen this group get themselves into a mess over these last 10 episodes, while trying to find Nolan’s killer, but now they know that the killer has their sights set on them.

This changes everything.

What did you think of The Perfectionists season 1, episode 10? Did the reveal excite you? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

The Perfectionists season 2 has not yet been announced, but stay tuned for updates!

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