Prepared as we are for the evils of men in Rosewood (after all, as I've noted before, everyone with a penis is a suspect), there seems to be something uniquely sinister about Alison's doctor-slash-husband-slash-possible-future-slasher Elliott (Huw Collins) on Pretty Little Liars. And I think it has a lot to do with the show dispensing with its characteristic ambiguity.
Of course, it didn't start off that way. Our first contact with Dr. Rollins was his name on a chalkboard in a flash-forward at the end of Season 6A, as Alison wrote his surname on the board in her classroom. The neatly-written "Rollins" was quickly juxtaposed with harried Liars busting in and warning their second-most mistrusted friend (only Mona, an actual former A, garners more side-eyes) that he is coming. Our first look at Rollins came with a drop beat before he tried to assuage us with a baby-faced smile and warm tidings for Ali. When a man in Rosewood attempts a charm offensive on the audience, he might as well be telegraphing the location of some improbably close torture dungeon spun from a macabre childhood.
But after Mary Drake and Elliott Rollins availed themselves to be suburban Pennsylvania's Team Rocket (I'll leave it up to you whether Tippi the parrot or Pepe the dog is their Meowth), Pretty Little Liars has been pretty open about the dangerous intent of the good doctor. We watched him drug Alison. We saw his ne'er-do-well conversations with Mary Drake. Even the Liars have been picking up what Elliott has been throwing down.
Granted, the general rule is that if the Liars suspect someone, we can probably rule that person out as a suspect. Pretty Little Liars likes to adopt the Home Alone method of introducing enemies: the meanest-looking, most nefarious-seeming people are probably not your enemy and might even have some home-spun wisdom to impart. But even if Rollins doesn't turn out to be A.D. (and he is likely not), he's still got a bone to pick, isn't above abusing his authority, and is crazy enough to think owning a red jacket in this age of mechanical production is enough damning evidence to lock someone away in Bedlam forever.
So who is this guy anyway? How is he connected to the Liars and how did he get in cahoots with Jessica DiLaurentis's twin sister? I have some theories. And mind you, most of these might not even be mutually-exclusive. He could be all of these things.
Former Radley Resident
Now, I know what you're thinking: Who hasn't been a patient at Radley? The entire Rosewood population is made up exclusively of people who've either had a tour of duty at Radley, sent someone to Radley, or had a loved one turned into a supervillain at Radley. I get the impression the town is actually just a feeder community to keep abusive, archaic mental institutions in business. Rosewood is making sure Big Asylum gets to line its pockets and keep golden parachutes.
So, the most obvious connection is that Rollins started his careen toward the insane arts among the likes of Cece Drake, Mona Vanderwaal, and Lesli Stone (remember her?). He's professed a love for Charlotte on multiple occasions. Now, whether he fell for Charlotte as a patient or as a doctor remains to be seen. He doesn't exactly seem to be the most ethical physician, so it could go either way, despite the fact that everyone there seems to believe he's a total professional. But then again, look at how this town lets their English teachers run amok.
A Man of the Kingston Persuasion
As Americans, we're trained from birth to know that an English accent represents one of two things: a person who is hoity-toity or a nemesis, usually both. It's the curse of the Revolution. The idea that we'd have Elliott Rollins and Wren Kingston in the same show, creepin', lyin', pronouncin' the H in herb, is a bit more of a coincidence than we can justify as random. Also, that they're both mental health physicians is super shady.
Wren was a runaway favorite for A last year before the big reveal, so much so that people petitioned executive producer Marlene King to write the real finale of Season 6A with Wren in the hood. It had tens of thousands of signatures. Charlotte is still A.
But it's not a stretch to think that Elliott is a cousin, brother or friend of the Kingston family. Maybe he's a half-brother from after Wren's father "checked out" for the "chaos inside his own head." Or maybe Elliott was at Radley with Wren for "Bring Your English Cousin to Work Day," remarking on the quaint mid-century approach to mental health (complete with 1950's nurses uniforms) when he saw Charlotte for the first time. He was smitten, head over heels.
But then he got sucked into the madness. Because being around a DiLaurentis is like being around a vortex of drama. Just like Wren when he stood near the other half of this binary black hole near the Hastings household, if one stands close enough, it's only a matter of time before you're drawn to that event horizon. And then you wake up and it's the day you dress up like a dead police officer using a state-of-the-art latex mask in order to gaslight a fragile girl in her early-20s. Insert Talking Heads song here.
The Secret of the DiLaurentis and/or Hastings Family
Mary Drake talked about how she was a secret but maybe Elliott wasn't so much sucked into the vortices of Rosewood's most prominent families as he was already part of the maelstrom. Is Dr. Rollins the British import of yet another Papa Hastings dalliance? Is that how Wren was eventually connected with Melissa? Or is Elliott related to the somehow increasing Drake branch of the DiLaurentis family? Is Elliott the brother Charlotte always wanted but didn't know she had? Would she have also dated him just like she dated Jason? Does Spencer have another half-brother to be awkward around? He does appear to be a Hastings raised by Drakes: a sociopathic base, but lacking in that confrontational vigor. Spencer is going to eat that guy for lunch, and soon.
A Lieutenant in the A Syndicate
However he got involved, it seems like Rollins is a soldier who suffered the loss of a general. With his leader perished, his last action is to get revenge for Charlotte's great fall. He seems to be pulling the strings, or at least has command whenever the actual A.D. isn't around. Mary Drake seems to be a pawn in whatever game they have running on the Liars. Even A has to toss out a red herring or two to keep people off their tail.
But is he the top of the chain? It seems unlikely. You have to hope that whoever A.D. is, it isn't someone who's been introduced to the us after the five-year time jump. The honor of A.D. should go to someone like Lucas or Noel Kahn or, god help us, Melissa. Can you imagine if Uber A is actually Melissa? The "toldjas" shouted by Melissa-haters would be deafening.
The next question would be, how long has Rollins been in Charlotte's employ? Since the days when Charlotte was learning the game from a drugged Mona? Was he the Tuxedo Mask skulking around the dollhouse prom? Or did he only fall for Cece once she went into supervillain rehab?
Literally Anyone Wearing a Mask
The ending of Season 6B really opened things up. Anyone could be wearing a mask to be anyone else. And the masks are so good that anyone can be convinced. So was that Wren wearing a Elliott mask wearing a Wilden mask? Maybe! Is it Caleb? Is it Maya? Get her some stilts and maybe she's in on it! That's half the fun with Pretty Little Liars. Now that the show's gone full-soap, the game is wide open.
Where do you think Elliott Rollins fits into things?