Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists (Sex, Lies & Alibis: Recap and Thoughts)

10:32 PM

"It's okay if you're relieved that he's dead." 

  Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists 
1x02: Sex, Lies and Alibis
Also known as: Pies, Funerals, Lies & Slaps 
New city, new lies, same tricks--the mystery and intrigue continues! Sex, Lies and Alibis marks the second episode of the highly anticipated Pretty Little Liars spinoff on Freeform. The episode picks up exactly where the pilot ended and deals, primarily, with the central mystery at hand: who killed Nolan Hotchkiss?

Further, it deals with the new liars and their mixture of guilt, horror and relief over the fact that Nolan Hotchkiss is gone. Not unlike its predecessor, there's a ton of complex and conflicting feelings when it comes to Ava, Caitlin and Dylan's emotions. It's entirely reminiscent of the aftermath of Alison's "death" in Pretty Little Liars, and the way that Aria, Emily, Hanna and Spencer coped with the loss and relief, except we know that Nolan is actually dead.

Despite the text Alison received from Nolan's phone, asking her to meet him on the roof of Thorne Hall, we're pretty certain he is dead. We saw the body. Alas, the text is quick debunked as likely nothing more than a text delay due to an outage. Sigh, I was hoping that Nolan was speaking to us from beyond the grave.

We get some pretty great scenes between the OG's: Alison and Mona. Another day, another drama, another pie and another bitch slap to return us back to our senses. Alison always is quick on her feet. Mona always knows what's up. These two great minds can accomplish a lot if they team up.

Okay, I'll admit it: I really love this dynamic.

It has always been awkward and entertaining. I've always wanted these two to be friends, so I'm over here rooting for this to happen in the future. It is interesting seeing these two, again, as fully fledged adults, working at a university, when not so long ago they were teenagers. I love that they're finally at a place where they're, mostly, at peace with each other--they're the only ones who know what it was like back in Rosewood, and they're the only ones who know what it's like to be at the center of all the bad parts of their pasts.

Right now, where they are in Beacon Heights, Alison and Mona are all each other have. Everyone they know are miles away.

Seeing them care for each other on this new level is a nice change of pace for the former frenemies and I look forward to where this friendship takes them.

Meanwhile, heartbroken and nostalgic, each of the main three struggle with Nolan's death in different ways. For Ava, her biggest comfort is in the bottle, signaling a potential substance abuse issue on the horizon. Dylan finds himself trying to return back to normal, but Nolan's presence in his dreams is making this a bit more difficult than anticipated. Caitlin, however, fills in the Spencer Hastings shaped whole in our heart by stressing out--but attempting to keep herself on track to her future.

Frustratingly, Caitlin must embrace the "grieving widow" role for a while, as she and Nolan were in a faux relationship at the time of his death. This puts her and her real relationship in an awkward place, and is doing no favors for Ava--who actually loved Nolan.

As if things couldn't be more uncomfortable, Caitlin's ex-boyfriend, and Nolan's childhood pal, walks into the aftermath of Nolan's death. If we've learned anything from being in Rosewood for so long, it is to never trust anyone. Ever. On top of his arrival, under the cloak of grief and concern that may or may not be real, the investigation into Nolan's death has finally begun at the hands of Dana Booker, the former FBI agent that was investigating Ava's father.


 (x) Glassison knowing exactly what Booker is doing/fishing for and having none of it.

Finally, Alison DiLaurentis is OFFICIALLY back on brand. The line of the evening goes to the sharp tongued former Queen Bee herself: "Bring it on, bitch." Hear, hear, Miss DiLaurentis.

There were a lot of moments this week that are nods to the original series:

  • The obvious being the reference of Alison and Emily's daughters. I do hope that Emily and the twins make an appearance at some point in the future. It's so weird not having them around and Alison not living with them. Every relationship has its issues and, as it happens, this is theirs. I just hope that it gets back on the right track. 
  • Mona called Hanna: her and Caleb had their baby, Spencer and Toby eloped. I miss the girls a lot so it's just nice to have even a mention of these things. I'm glad that Hanna and Mona are in a good place and that Mona's redemption arch has continued to grow through the years. 
  • Nolan's funeral is very much so a parallel to the original series. The whole episode is, but we'll get to that in a bit. Nothing says Pretty Little Liars like a funeral covered in grief, black couture and questions. Should I be crying, or taking a shot? 
  • We've got ourselves another investigator who is poking their nose around in suspicious ways. I mean, should we trust that Dana Booker is only doing her job? Or do we have another bad guy on our hands? I do love a good villain.
What I loved about the episode: 

  • Alison and Mona's friendship. One of my favourite scenes is when Mona is getting lost in her head and Alison brings her back down to earth. It had some of my favourite lines from it. Plus, I've been saying this for so long you guys are probably 100% over me, but, these two could do SO MUCH if they continued to team up. They'd be basically unbeatable. 
  • The callbacks to the original series, if that wasn't obviously.
  • AVA'S FUNERAL OUTFIT. What a look. We already knew she was going to be THE one to watch in terms of fashion but, damn, girl, let me breathe! 
  • Ava, Caitlin and Dylan's grief, guilt, and fears are all explored differently and I'm definitely into that. 
  • Mrs. Hotchkiss' continued weirdness. She's suspicious as heck and we all knew this already based on the pilot alone, but I have to wonder--is she as suspicious as she looks? What's boiling under the surface of her perfectly put together life? Two kids "gone" and seemingly nothing else--you have to wonder if she's safe. Either to be around... or to be left alone. If someone is targeting the Hotchkiss family, she could very well be next, after all.
  • The little jump scare when Alison comes home only to find Mrs. Hotchkiss drinking in her place. We all have questions. 
  • Despite all the mourning taking place on campus, and the pressures that are leaning into Ava, Caitlin and Dylan, there are a couple of more playful scenes scattered throughout this episode. Pretty Little Liars has always prided itself on doing shippy things, only to knock us upside the head with investigations or revelations. Or, you know, death, but there isn't actually any of that this week--only the aftermath. 
  • Someone is possibly setting up Alison. Which is so on brand for the series in general. It is almost annoying. But also a very logical idea, given everything that's happened in the short time she's been on campus. But, who? Taylor? Mrs. Hotchkiss? 
What I didn't love: 

  • The text delay to be this BIG DEAL at the start of the episode only to just kind of... fizzle away. Knowing this series, it'll come into play in the future episodes a lot, but I just felt like it was there. And then it wasn't. 
  • No mention of Aria and Ezra. Although, this isn't a big deal. I don't ship them. And it probably would have felt too weird to have this stream of updates on all of the original ships in one phone call. But! I feel like that was kind of unfortunate for the shippers who were hoping for a little bit to hold onto. 
  • Dana Booker felt a bit too much like Detective Tanner. I don't know. We'll definitely see how that goes in future episodes. 
Theories and Suspects:

 “It’s just like you imagined it.” An ominous voice whispers this at the memorial for Nolan and seemingly disappears. There are a lot of possible explanations for this. 
  1. It could be Mrs. Hotchkiss herself. I already don't trust her, obviously, and honestly? I wouldn't surprise me in the least. We've already seen she's a bit overwhelming and not opposed to going and spying on her own son. She's lost two kids, so really, what does she have to lose in tormenting his friends? Mrs. Hotchkiss could have stumbled upon the trio talking about the fact that Nolan happened to die the same way they'd talked about--they're not being especially discreet about this, talking about it out in the open. 
  2. Taylor Hotchkiss. There's a possibility that she's behind all of this. I don't think her lack of screen time this week puts her in the best light, but, she is of course a suspect. And one of the only people who could get away with the murder--namely because she, herself, is legally dead. Mrs. Hotchkiss said Taylor was paranoid, too, so how far-fetched would it be for her to be the one who not only killed her brother, but is now spying on his friends? 
  3. The new guy. All newbies shall be taken with a grain of salt. In order to survive these types of shows, we must be skeptical of all things new. Especially when those newbies offer, out of the blue, to give their ex-girlfriend an alibi just because. 
  4. Readers of the book duology that this is based upon will know that two massive characters are missing from the show and could very well be composite characters. I find it hard to believe that they'd not use the plotline--so let's say that someone has mental health issues. I.E., multiple personality disorder. This opens up a lot of doors and questions as to who it could be. Taylor is the most likely of the suspects, but any one of the trio could be the bad guy... and not even know it. Especially since Nolan apologized to his killer on the roof--for being an asshole, basically. Could Ava be a composite character of the villain from the books? Caitlin? Dylan? Or is it someone we haven't seen--will Julie and Parker be making an appearance? 
Oh, how I've missed this series and it's mind games. If you loved Pretty Little Liars, you should give this spin-off a chance. We're only two episodes in, and it's already been better than I expected. With all the lies, the drama, the style and the chills, how could you say no? Indulge a little. 

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