9:02 pm EDT, May 15, 2019

‘The Perfectionists’ season 1, episode 9 review: Unsurprising aftermath

An unsurprising gunshot fades The Perfectionists 1x09 to black

On The Perfectionists season 1, episode 9, Caitlin and Jeremy shadily discuss what exactly he’s been hiding and lying about, though to no avail as his desire is to put off the conversation until later.

On The Perfectionists season 1, episode 9, “Lie Together, Die Together,” it’s quite literally a tale of how our six main characters’ lives have spun out of their control, and now their entire livelihood is threatened. Everyone’s future, except for Alison’s, is in jeopardy as their positions in Beacon Heights are threatened by external forces.

The big cliffhanger was as Pretty Little Liars-esque as it could be as we head into the finale, which would have been so much better if Freeform’s promotion problem was under control and the final moments weren’t included in the episode trailer (as you can see below).

Mona and Taylor

Out of all of the characters, I am most worried about Mona’s future in Beacon Heights, as I don’t really see how she can find her way out of this mess. She was fired for sleeping with a student, which is an offence that will keep her blacklisted from working at any college, so working at BHU again (unless she blackmails her way back in) is a non-starter.

The rest of them can easily find their way back into BHU, but what could Mona possibly do? Not working on campus means she’ll lose her apartment, her job, and she won’t be able to stay with Alison long-term, should she be forced to.

After everything Pretty Little Liars put Mona through, I have been hoping to see Janel Parrish’s talent used to a higher extent to showcase what an incredibly complex and dynamic character Mona is, but we haven’t really even seen much of Mona since The Perfectionists season 1 began.

The Perfectionists season 1, episode 9

We’ve seen her do a little digging, her distrust of the new characters, but her full potential has not been utilized yet. It’ll be a disaster if the series doesn’t get a season 2 and Mona and Alison’s stories end like this.

As for Taylor, this episode sees a remarkable dive into her past, her trauma, and her mindset. Taylor’s clearly snapped (and hasn’t yet recovered), but it goes back much further than I think any of us expected. Her father’s murder, which Taylor was apparently present for, led to this; Taylor would have never had to fake her death to escape BeaconGuard if she hadn’t created it in the first place.

Should the series continue, Taylor is going to need much more focus and story if we’re ever going to truly understand who she is. Already, she’s such a complex character with so much in her past that needs a spotlight. Taylor’s story is supposed to provoke emotion, but we just met her and she’s barely had any time on-screen, so it’s hard to really care for her and feel the emotional weight the writers are attempting to convey.

Taylor’s relationship with Claire is, by far, the most interesting part of her story and I’d love to see this mother/daughter relationship fleshed out in a way that we were never able to see with Alison and her mother. Perhaps there’s a chance Claire isn’t an evil bitch, but I’m not seeing it.

I want to believe that by forcing Taylor to a “spa,” she’s truly trying to protect her child, but does it seem that way to anyone? Claire’s motives seem to be to get Taylor out of the way so she can take down Alison, Mona, and the Perfectionists for Nolan’s murder (because, god forbid, anyone is framed for a crime they didn’t commit).

If the writers were eventually to redeem Claire and make her a mother with good motives, which she so clearly is not, I could see a wonderful story and incredible work by Kelly Rutherford come out of it. Claire already has so many layers, quite like her daughter, and peeling those back and finding what rotted inside of her could heal her and make her a decent human being.

The Perfectionists season 1, episode 9

Ava’s secret

Honestly, based on the episode description below, I expected something much darker to be revealed between Ava, Dylan, and Caitlin, rather than just the fact that Ava has money her dad stole.

According to Freeform’s synopsis for The Perfectionists season 1, episode 9: “On the night of a school gala, the gang is convinced they know who killed Nolan and set out to prove it. However, Dana continues to complicate their lives by exposing a critical secret between the Perfectionists.”

Sure, Dana’s little revelation complicated Ava’s life, and Caitlin’s because she’s too good of a friend for Dylan and Ava, but how did that truly affect anyone? It was a minor secret compared to what happened at the end of the episode, but I guess it threatened Ava’s life at BHU? I was just expecting something much more dangerous and “critical” that threatened the relationship between the Perfectionists based on the description.

Caitlin and Dylan’s relationships

Starting with the boring one, Dylan and Andrew are really getting on my last nerve. Everything about Dylan’s story revolves around Andrew, even when he’s engaging in the mystery of who is trying to frame him and his friends. Nothing about Dylan screams that he’s a good character because he’s been reduced to Andrew’s love interest, quite like Aria was with Ezra for the entirety of Pretty Little Liars.

Dylan should not be focusing on Andrew when they’re trying to create a plan to catch Jeremy in his lies, as they all believe he literally murdered someone, yet he is. Even during the gala, Andrew completely upstaged the entire event to play Dylan’s cello piece, which we’ve heard more than enough times.

If Dylan’s entire story is going to revolve around his relationship then I’d rather he be demoted to a recurring character and Taylor take his place in the group with Caitlin and Ava. Or, better yet, write Dylan off and introduce the true book character that he’s based on: Mackenzie Wright. Dylan just isn’t working out.

The Perfectionists season 1, episode 9

Caitlin, once again, is by far the most interesting and dynamic new character on the show, just like Spencer on Pretty Little Liars. On The Perfectionists 1×09, she’s forced to choose between her friends and her long-time boyfriend, and she makes the right choice. Instead of leaving with Jeremy, she works to get him to admit what she believes he did to Nolan.

Caitlin’s mother, at least this one, is the absolute worst. Somehow she’s worse than Veronica Hastings in the beginning of the original show or even Jessica DiLaurentis. Caitlin obviously isn’t leaving Beacon Heights, but I wonder how she’ll find her way out of this mess. I hope Caitlin puts her cheating, lying mother in her place and knocks her off of her pedestal in the finale, should she be around.

The ‘surprise’ ending

Jeremy is shot! He’s dead! No, he’s alive! Fade to black. Imagine how great this ending could have been if Freeform hadn’t spoiled it in their trailer for the episode. Showing Taylor with a gun and everyone else behind her near the docks, while Jeremy and Caitlin are on the docks, gave away the final moments, which is just disappointing at this point.

Every episode trailer for the series thus far has given away the final moments, and those are usually the most shocking and thrilling moments of an episode. Freeform’s promotion problem is getting out of hand, and The Perfectionists 1×09 is just a perfect example of that.

Back to the actual story, I’m not surprised that Taylor shot Jeremy after how she had been acting throughout the episode. Even before she used her personal BeaconGuard to track his gait on the night Nolan died, she had decided he was guilty. Taylor went into the gala with a premeditated plan to make sure Jeremy couldn’t get away from them and ended up exactly like Nolan.

Taylor’s actions in The Perfectionists season 1, episode 9 further my theory that she’s being written as the character with the mental illness twist from the book series, just potentially without following the exact split personalities story.

What did surprise me was how willing they all were to cover up Taylor’s crime, immediately after it happened. Seconds after, Ava was planting a weapon, while Alison was telling Taylor what “actually happened.” If it had been a coverup for someone else, I could have believed it more, as this was Taylor’s first episode with a group scene and she had just officially met Dylan and Ava.

In the finale, I want to see Mona’s distrust of Taylor come to a head, and I want to see Mona fighting back on their plan to completely hide Taylor’s crime. Maybe she’ll come around, but Taylor has just gotten them into another Rosewood-like mess, and I don’t see Caitlin and Mona siding with the others on Team Taylor.

What did you think of Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists season 1, episode 9? Are you surprised Taylor shot Jeremy?

Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists‘ season 1 finale airs Wednesday, May 22 at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform!

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