Someone cue up Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again because here I go again, hopping back on the Pretty Little Liars train to be once again tormented by a new, much more disturbing version of A.
The spinoff series Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin is a spirited and unhinged version of the originAl. Rosewood has nothing on Millwood, a town haunted by a dark secret that dates back all the way to a Y2K New Year’s Eve party in 1999.
While the shows may share a name, there’s not much connecting the reboot to the original. The new version almost feels like a continuation of the Scream TV series if it had a baby with I Know What You Did Last Summer (and it’s already better than that spinoff), while the villain has zero A-like qualities and presents more like a cheaper Michael Myers, though, equally as terrifying. And since Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa serves as showrunner, a bit of Riverdale’s style has bled in like Greg’s Archie hair or Karen’s dad’s dated patrol car in 2022. The mesh of past and present always makes for an eerie atmosphere.
But don’t worry, A still has eyes everywhere (and it almost feels like there are multiple A’s at one point, which I know original fans understand all too well) and he/she/they are still using text messages for stalking purposes. Some things never change.
The PLL moms ended up having their own fan base in the 2010 version, so this series is leaning fully into that. The PLL moms on this show are the original sin.
When the pilot kicks off, we see a distraught young woman begging for help. She’s turned away by nearly everyone at the party, including her own best friends, so she climbs up to the top and asks the crowd if they can see her now before plunging to her death.
Naturally, there’s a lot of trauma there for the now-adult women who just so happen to be the mothers of the high school seniors being targeted by the masked stalker. The girls may all be classmates, but none of them have any actual connection to each other aside from Imogen and Tabby. And based on the fact that they had no idea their moms were close in high school, after Angela’s death, none of the now-moms kept in touch in hopes of forgetting about what happened.
Except A doesn’t want them to forget. And his first kill, Imogen’s mother, is proof of that.
While PLL had its anxiety-inducing moments, it paled in comparison to the grisly scenes that Original Sin serves up right off the bat.
Imogen, who is 6-months pregnant, bares witness to her mother’s bloody suicide along with Karen, who is teed up as the show’s more humanized yet sometimes much more dangerous villain—a blonde mean girl.
Karen’s behavior is pretty one-dimensional at first, but as we peel back the pieces of her life, it’s revealed that perfect is just another word for dysfunctional. Imogen owns up to the fact that she’s a walking teenage tragedy (losing your mother is definitely a tragedy, but not in the way they imply, and being pregnant in a school full of hormonal teens who are having sex isn’t exactly tragic), but Karen puts on a front instead. In reality, she lives in a preachy house and is insecure because her father (who is also caught having an inappropriate relationship with a classmate) is a perfectionist who pushes her to be “the best,” and she pity’s her mother who just puts up with all of it and doesn’t say a word. It’s a lot to digest, but my point is, that we have plenty of reasons to feel sorry for Karen, even if she doesn’t make it easy. It’s unclear how Karen is connected to the daughters who are being targeted by A, but it does seem like A wanted them to turn against her because when they all land smack dab in detention for “crimes” they did not commit, the common denominator is Karen.
As they bond over their mutual hatred — in a really clever politically-charged dialogue bashing our society’s definition of a “Karen” — they vow to get revenge on the rampaging bitch. Their words, not mine.
Imogen declares the need to “kill Karen,” which seems to be intensified for dramatic effect, though, my guess is she just meant “ruin her.” At least, I hope. The town truly doesn’t need any more psychopaths running around.
I also hope it’s the case because, as of now, Imogen seems to be the heart of the show that’s desperate to live up to the energy of every past, present, and modern-day slasher. That poor janitor never saw it coming, but he should have! Imogen’s pregnancy is a clever plot device to hone in on the emotional toll of these deaths that sometimes feel so empty in slasher-horror films because we don’t actually have any emotional connection to the people being murdered.
We can all relate to the grief and heartache of losing a mother, but it hits a lot harder when the loss happens to a young woman on the cusp of a life-changing event who is now forced to navigate motherhood all on her own. Imogen has been thrown into an unthinkable situation, but despite a few panic attacks, she steps up to the plate. She doesn’t just show up, she puts Karen in her place publicly as she vows to become prom queen.
It’s only a matter of time before they piece together that they are being targeted as punishment for their mother’s sins, and their moms will likely figure it out too when they start getting threatening, cryptic text messages. Even if they were mean girls in high school, no one should have to pay the price for immature decisions years later, especially not innocent children who are already navigating a mean and cruel world, to begin with. What’s up with the ballet teacher? I know the world of dance is cutthroat, but girl, chill.
But it all begs the question that’s old as time — who is A?
It has to be someone with access to the school. For now, after a first impression, my money is on Karen’s dad Sheriff Beasley. He did say he was the best, and that’s something a psycho killer would say.
Other Moments Worth Mentioning
- Wes and Tabby are the equivalent of Aria and Ezra but like so much weirder. There were definitely issues with Aria and Ezra, but there’s no romanticizing Wes and Tabby. He’s trying to groom her and get in her pants by flexing his NYU connections and its grade-A douche. I really thought he was going to get killed on that deserted road, and he should be thanking Tabby from up above that she told him to drive faster than he’s ever driven before.
- Karen and Greg’s relationship is so toxic.
- Can everyone talk about how they’ve seen a masked peeping tom creeping on them? I feel like we need to get that out in the open.
- I know Ash just wants to help Mouse come out, but I don’t trust him!
- I thought Tabby was cool, but why does she have a secret camera from the boy’s locker room? Now, that’s some stalker behavior!
PLL was creepy, but PLL Original Sin takes it up ten notches, and it doesn’t seem like it’s stopping there.
The pilot episode was promising, even if I’m missing my OG liars, and I’m hoping that the series will find a way not to burn out fans with a guessing game about the killer’s identity that drags for several seasons until it no longer makes any sense.
What did you think of the series premiere? Should it even be compared to PLL since it’s like the show’s much darker older sister? Will you continue to watch? Was it as chilling as you thought it would be?
We’re giving the premiere a B-!
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa Shares Cryptic Tease About ‘Pretty Little Liars’ on Halloween
If you follow Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Instagram, you were likely puzzled by his latest post teasing Pretty Little Liars Summer School.
As the announcement was made on Halloween, it’s a bit of a trick and treat—we know something’s coming, we just don’t know what that something is.
“Happy Halloween! It may still be October, but it’s not too early to start thinking about summer vacation. Or in the case of Millwood High’s [Pretty Little Liars],” Aguirre-Sacasa wrote on Instagram that was accompanied by some pretty gnarly artwork.
The announcements immediately sent fans into a frenzy.
Is it a tease for Season 2 of PLL: Original Sin? Could it be yet another spinoff as part of the PLL franchise?
One user pointed out in the comments that the girl in the key art looks a lot like Karen, one of the mean girls from the first season of the PLL spinoff. The caption also mentions Millwood High, so it likely wouldn’t be a new show.
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And since the draws inspiration from 1981’s slasher parody Student Bodies, it’s in line with the slasher vibe that the first season embodied.
Chandler Kinney, who plays Tabby, also commented on the post, writing, “SUMMERRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!”
And she wasn’t the only one!
“The kettle is whistling, the TEA is HOT,” Bailee Madison, who stars as Imogen Adams, wrote, while Malia Pyles, who plays Minnie, emphasized the “summer” season in her comment. Zaria Simone, who stars as Faran, commented, “Kelly? Karen,” which also makes you wonder if the second season could be a prequel set prior to the events of season 1.
All of this leads us to the very real possibility that the cast and RAS are dropping hints about the upcoming season, specifically, a premiere date.
And if that’s the case, we have a few months to prepare, liars!
‘Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin’ Renewed for Season 2 — But What Comes Next?
If you logged onto the internet today and saw Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin trending, you knew it could go either one of two ways—either HBO Max renewed the series for a second season… or, the murder mystery met its match and was a short-lived, yet promising, run.
Thankfully, it’s the former!
HBO Max has decided to stick around Millwood for a bit longer as it officially renewed the series, per The Hollywood Reporter.
The show’s 10-episode run impressed fans and even tied up loose ends by revealing who ‘A’ was rather than stringing the mystery along for several seasons like its predecessor on Freeform.
“We are so proud of the incredible response both critically and from fans that Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin has received,” said HBO Max head of originals Sarah Aubrey. “Viewers have embraced our new generation of Liars, and Roberto and Lindsay’s brilliantly dark, horror-fueled take on this iconic franchise. Along with Alloy and Warner Bros. Television, we are thrilled to continue the Pretty Little Liars legacy.”
PLL: OS, created by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and co-creator Lindsay Calhoon Bring, is now considered a legacy title and joins the ranks of Sex and the City and Gossip Girl, both of which were renewed by the streamer.
Season 1 starred Bailee Madison, Chandler Kinney, Zaria, Malia Pyles, Maia Reficco, Mallory Bechtel, Sharon Leal, Elena Goode, Eric Johnson, Alex Aiono and Lea Salonga.
Madison evens showed off her excitement in this celebratory tweet:
Recorded this for the family just INCASE it was good news… and ya’ll are like one big extended family so had to share… we LOVE YOU! SEE YOU SOON! #PLLOriginalSin #PLLOriginalSin2 @hbomax @PLLonMax pic.twitter.com/b6RBukq8ip
— Bailee Madison (@BaileeMadison) September 7, 2022
As for why the season wrapped up its core mystery, Bring previously told TVLine, “It was important to us with a cable show — a short-order show, a serialized show — to complete these stories and complete these mysteries,” adding, “Roberto and I love a complete story, so we wanted to complete these mysteries.” Of course, this begs the question, what’s next?
The door was left slightly ajar with “A” escaping the hospital in order to seek his revenge on Chip, one of the show’s villains in his own right, but with the mystery of the masked killer’s identity revealed, it’s unclear how the series will keep up the intriguing in a second season. However, Aguirre-Sacasa promised it would follow the same group of girls and seemed confident that viewers would remain hooked noting that they have “some preliminary ideas.”
“We certainly have a lot of places for these characters to go, new mysteries to tell and hopefully new ways to scare people,” he added.
Either way, we can’t wait.
You can catch up on all the PLL: Original Sin Season 1 content right here!
PLL Original Sin Season Finale Review – A’s Identity Revealed… Officially
If there’s one thing HBO Max’s Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin makes abundantly clear, it’s that the original PLL mystery did not need to span several seasons when it could’ve (and some would argue, should’ve) been wrapped up in a neat, tiny bow in just one.
And that’s exactly what Original Sin managed to do—minus a few loose ends. Granted, in this case, I would’ve welcomed a mystery that stretched into a second season so that we could’ve gotten a little more insight into these characters as there was a world of potential and backstory to play with. However, I also understand that the writers and creators were being cautious since they had no idea whether or not the network (which has merged with Discovery+ and already kickstarted a handful of layoffs) would even allow a second season.
Despite everything, the writers still delivered a satisfying ending that seemed way more plausible than PLL’s (and they had so much time to plan that one!). Was it still far-fetched? Yes. But was it more believable? Also yes.
Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin Season 1 Episode 10 was a whirlwind of emotions from start to finish as it tapped into ‘A’s purpose for targeting the new set of liars and their mothers.
The episode kicked off with Angela leaving her home on December 31, 1999, to go be with her “friends.” “They want me,” she told her mother, Rose Waters, who was doing everything in her power to keep her daughter at home not knowing that this would be the last time she would ever see her alive. While it’s unclear what happened to Rose in the present day, considering that she kept Angela’s brother, described as a boy with a face only “a mother could love,” in a cage and far-removed from the public, it’s fair to assume that he lashed out, and Imogen stumbled upon Rose’s rotting corpse when she broke into the what she thought was the abandoned home.
And yes, I said brother. After snooping around the Waters residence, the girls found some clues that indicated that Angela may have had a vengeful sibling. They weren’t wrong, as their worst fears were confirmed when ‘A’ summoned the liars to the closed-down school (lead poisoning was the excuse) for a ‘trial’ while also revealing that he kidnapped their mothers.
When they arrived, it was a scene straight from every horror movie that Tabby has ever screened at the Orpheum.
The liars were greeted with invitations to essentially play a game and decide whether or not they wanted to get revenge on the people that hurt them — Tabby found Chip tied up in a room, Mouse saw Steve, Noa found her mother’s drug supplier, while Faran encountered Madame Giry. All people that made their lives a living hell. As for Imogen, her mother’s corpse was there as she was tasked to pull something out of her mouth in order to learn the truth about her past.
Original Sin has pushed the boundaries of the slasher/horror genre since day one, but even this scene was next level.
Obviously, none of the liars took the bait since they aren’t murderers, but Imogen did read the card, which featured the words “erase her.” We’d later come to find out that the words signified Davie’s plan to punish Angela by making her invisible to the rest of the student body.
When the liars finally made their way to the auditorium, they realized ‘A’ was being “merciful” by allowing them to lash out at the people who wronged them right before he dished out his own revenge on them.
As ‘A’ watched over their bounded mothers, Principal Clanton to reveal that he was leading the charge this whole time.
‘A’ was, as suspected, Angela’s troubled brother, Archie (not Archie Andrews, I hope!), but the real shock was that Clanton was Angela’s father and the mastermind behind everything. Now, that’s a juicy twist I never saw coming that’s also not entirely far-fetched. It explains how ‘A’ had so much access to not only the school but all the private conversations inside the halls as the whole place was bugged. He needed to have a co-conspirator for any of this to actually come to fruition. ‘A’ was just the muscle that was following orders this whole time, and there’s something truly terrifying about unmasking the real killer as just a man in a suit.
Clanton then confirmed that Davie did, in fact, kill herself, an act he calls the “easy way out,” so a very-pregnant Imogen would have to pay the price for her mother’s sins. It’s a sick and twisted way of looking at the world, and particularly stressful to watch as Imogen is almost 40 weeks pregnant. Have you ever tried running halfway across a cemetery with contractions? Lord, I do not wish that upon my worst enemy.
But since you can’t expect two psycho killers to show anyone any mercy, including the pregnant girl, Imogen did her best to outrun and outsmart Archie all while trying to get through the pain. The final girl showdown between Imogen and Archie was brutal, but she stood her ground, proving that she’s not one to be messed with. She put the capital B in Badass.
If it wasn’t for Imogen’s memories of her mother, she likely wouldn’t have found the strength to fend off ‘A,’ but whenever she remembered what was taken from her, she tapped into her emotions in order to bring him down once and for all. It’s an interesting depiction of how one person can impact people’s lives in different ways. For Imogen, Davie was the best mom in the world, but for Angela and her family, Davie was their worst nightmare and the person who took everything away from them.
The problem with Davie’s character was that the way she was portrayed was largely inconsistent, which might be because we never actually knew her. Her character, aside from the first few moments of the series, was presented through skewed lenses. We got the high school version of her through memories of friends and people who hated her, and we got the adult version of her through Imogen’s memories. At times, it felt like two entirely different characters. It’s hard to villanize Davie the way the series wanted us to — or more specifically, the way A and Clanton did — when she seemed like a loving and supportive mom in the brief time we saw her alive.
Back at the high school, Kelly and Greg’s arrival threw off Clanton, which allowed the liars and the moms to ambush him and free themselves. When they arrived at Imogen’s house, they saw both her and ‘A’ passed out on the ground in what could only be described as a bloody mess.
Imogen and her baby came out victorious… but so did ‘A.’ And that was just one of the big battles of the season finale.
After Tabby informed Kelly that someone was coming after them in hopes of avenging Angela’s death, Kelly confronted her father, who forced her and her mom under house arrest, before making it very clear that none of them were going to ever set foot outside of the house again.
Kelly was bold in calling her father out for all his demons, including Angela’s rape, but it was her mother who finally made a choice to break out of the hellish lifestyle. As she listened to Tom spew more of his gaslighting venom, you could tell by her face that she was fed up and on the verge of snapping. And when she finally did, she stabbed Tom and put an end to her and Kelly’s suffering once and for all.
Tabby and Imogen also sought out justice for the sexual assault. While none of us had Clanton and Archie as ‘A’ on our bingo cards, we were all definitely right about Chip being the rapist.
Tabby and Imogen are brave, but sometimes, their actions are kind of questionable… like when they confronted Chip about this horrific thing that happened to them without any backup. They needed to question him in order to prove their theory, but it could’ve ended very badly for them.
Initially, Chip denied it, but the more they pressed, the guiltier he felt until he finally cracked and admitted to the crime explaining that, in both instances, it happened as a result of feeling rejected. It’s no excuse, and the fact that he didn’t feel bad about his actions until he was forced to face the truth simply means that he did deserve everything that happened after. He was a bad guy pretending to be one of the good ones.
Chip’s promise that he’d never do it again meant nothing because, for months, he was able to just lie to their faces and even go to the appointments with Imogen. Chip is a full-on psychopath… and one that ‘A’ took care of when breaking out of the hospital.
‘A’ also ensured that Tom Beasley died from his injuries because well, he was also responsible for hurting Angela. And I love that the liars called out Clanton and Archie’s double standard as he targeted all the moms but not the actual person who assaulted her. Even if the plan was for Tom to take the fall for the death of the liars and their moms, why not torture and torment Tom for weeks leading up to it as well?
One of the best things about the series was that while it tapped into a popular and established franchise, it reinvented itself with a fresh storyline, while also focusing on how parents’ mistakes and actions can affect their children. It underscores the very idea that everyone is human.
There are some good and bad takeaways from how the series ended.
Despite knowing what she did in high school, Imogen still chose to cling to only the good memories of her mother. It makes sense, but also sends a mixed message that could be interpreted as making it ok for bullies to get away with their actions. Angela’s memory was also never truly avenged as now she’ll just be the dead girl who had a crazy family.
And while the series tried to suggest that change is possible, ‘A’ went above and beyond to prove that he didn’t believe in the idea of redemption or second chances.
There was no justifying what Team ‘A’ was doing to these women simply because of what they did to Angela Waters in the past. People learn and change. Wisdom comes with years, and all you can hope is that the next generation is a bit more wiser, loving, and understanding, which, in this case, was true. And the biggest bully here was ‘A,’ the person trying to bring down the bullies.
While the moms deserved to be held accountable for the poor choices they made in high school—which is basically explained by mob mentality—violence is never the answer to violence. And their daughters had no stake in the game, they were just innocent byproducts of high school cattiness that went too far.
It just feels like there were opportunities missed to really hone in on some important subject matters and character development, which, yes, is important, even in a slasher series. It’s what held the original PLL together for so long!
Instead, the show leaned into one last jump scare.
I truly don’t know why anyone would believe that Archie would ever stay locked up for good. A couple of handcuffs could never hold down a determined murderer. Haven’t they ever seen a horror movie before?
But the open-ended nature of the final does make room for season 2. Without a second season guarantee, the writers wrapped up everything as logically as they could, and ‘A’s’ rise to the land of the living means that the scene is set for him to cause even more terror. What that will look like, I have no idea. We know his identity, so the mystery won’t be focused on “who is ‘A'” and everyone in town practically knows what happened, but we don’t actually know what he looks like under the mask, which would be fun to explore. Season 2 could also address some lingering storylines, including how Crazy Joe was connected to it all. Did he just know too much and get killed for it?
In the end, most everyone came out relatively unscathed… physically, at least. The emotional abuse will take some time, but at least they all have each other to lean on, which is a lot more than they had at the kickstart of the season. The Christmas ending had me all in my feels as everyone was there with their significant others/those closest to them wrapped up in the coziness and safety blanket of the holidays!
And as one final Rosewood cherry on top, Imogen revealed that she was pursuing an open adoption with a couple from the neighboring town, Aria and Ezra! Could you imagine all the fun crossover possibilities if a season 2 did happen? And what are the odds that Ezria’s new baby already fought a battle with ‘A’ and won?!
All in all, it was an enjoyable reboot of a beloved franchise that kept things fresh while weaving in moments and storylines that stayed true to the original. If a season 2 doesn’t come to fruition, at least the franchise and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa both redeemed themselves.
What did you think of the season finale? Are you happy the mystery was finally solved? Do you think ‘A’ will return to chaos more havoc?
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