It's funny — having watched Pretty Little Liars for seven seasons definitely has me champing at the bit for when The Perfectionists is gonna get crazy up in here. I keep having to remind myself that PLL started out very tame compared to where it ended up, and if The Perfectionists started at 11, there would be nowhere to go. Still, when Alison (Sasha Pieterse) was searching the cabin, it was hard not to wish that Taylor Hotchkiss (Hayley Erin) would come bursting out of a closet with a knife or something.
But let's back up and see what we learned about everyone's motive in Wednesday's "...If One of Them is Dead."
It's still hard to buy that any of the core trio killed Nolan (Chris Mason), but Caitlin (Sydney Park) definitely had a solid motive. It turned out that what Nolan was holding over her was a doctored photo of one of her moms appearing to be having sex with a man, which would be quite scandalous for the senator. Caitlin told Claire (Kelly Rutherford) that the photos aren't real, but that wouldn't stop people from believing they are — and boy, isn't that a commentary on the world right now — so Claire used the photos to her advantage to get Caitlin to spy on Nolan's other besties.
Caitlin halfheartedly attempted to find out what Nolan had over Dylan (Eli Brown) and Ava (Sofia Carson), but the three of them had quickly become pretty tight, so she decided against spilling any kind of tea to Mrs. Hotchkiss.
Speaking of Dylan and Ava, while they didn't get into anything really suspicious this week, we did see that Dylan wears some kind of patch on his back and we don't know what it's for, plus Ava seemed to have a bit of a drinking problem. It remains to be seen if this was temporary, grief-fueled alcoholism or if it will become an on-going thing. At least she was clear-headed enough to take Dylan and Caitlin to the cabin in the woods. She told them she followed Nolan there the night he died and saw him meet up with a blonde girl who looked a lot like Alison.
Coincidentally, Alison showed up at the cabin when the trio was there because she saw the cabin in a yearbook photo of Mason and Nolan. The comment about a blonde who looked like her definitely pinged Alison's radar because she's not a dummy, so after the trio left, she doubled back and took another look at a yellow rose that is the exact same kind as the one routinely left at Taylor's grave. At least someone is connecting the dots here.
As the trio left, they smelled something foul coming from Ava's trunk, which turned out to be Nolan's weed stash box... only now it contained a dead rat along with a note containing a thinly-veiled threat to Caitlin not to be a rat.
Still, none of the trio were overly suspicious this week, but you know who did seem suspicious? Ava's friend Zoe (Roxanne Stathos). She likes to "borrow" Ava's clothes, and maybe it's the PLL talking, but it smacked a little bit of Single White Female. There was no obvious connection between Zoe and Nolan, but keep your eye on her.
Mason (Noah Grey-Cabey), meanwhile, seemed to be trying to make his move to get back together with Caitlin, who was having none of it, plus he chews the same kind of gum whose wrapper was found both in the woods and at the cabin.
Alison & Mona
Our favorite Rosewoodians continued to poke around Beacon Guard this week, with Mona (Janel Parrish) initially getting locked out of the system due to suspicious activity on her account. So whoever they're going up against — whether it's Nolan's murderer or not — is someone super smart if he or she can mess with Mona's hacker skills.
While they didn't really uncover anything, Alison did tell Mona that she thinks there's something wrong with the town and the school. That was something I had already made a note of, actually — did you notice how it has been mentioned that both Taylor and Nolan started acting really weird once they came to Beacon Heights? So it sounds like there might be a larger conspiracy at play here.
Additional thoughts on the episode:
- One possible suspect addition: Caitlin's senator mom. If she somehow knew about the photos of her in bed with a man, maybe she decided to take Nolan out before they could see the light of day?
- Similarly, it felt like a weird choice of words when Claire said of Caitlin, "She's not going to risk her family's future to protect Dylan or Ava, it's not in her DNA." Is something going to come out about the identity of Caitlin's biological father? Surely she can't be half Hotchkiss because Claire would never have encouraged her to date Nolan if that were the case... right? But what an odd phrase to use.
- Alison: "Do you know why I faked my own death?"
Mona: "Because everyone in Rosewood wanted to kill you?"
Alison: "Not everyone!"
Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Freeform.