Who Killed Nolan & More Theories About the New ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Spin-Off

Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists
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Attention, Pretty Little Liars fans: The liars are back—well, sort of. Fan-favorites Mona Vanderwaal and Alison DiLaurentis are back for Freeform’s new Pretty Little Liars spinoff, which premiered on March 20. In typical PLL fashion, the premiere led to dozens of fan theories, but which are the best Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists theories? We did the research to find out. Like Pretty Little Liars, The Perfectionists centers on a murder and the mystery around it. In the first episode, Nolan Hotchkiss, a student at Beacon Heights University and the heir of Hotchkiss Technologies, is murdered when he’s pushed off a building and speared by a fence below. Who killed him? We don’t know. But fans have a lot of theories.

Only a couple episodes of The Perfectionists have come out, but fans already have their theories for who murdered Nolan. Was it Ava Jalali, Nolan’s secret girlfriend who has been emotionally abused by him? Was it Caitlin Lewis, who was blackmailed by Nolan with a photo of her politician mother’s infidelity? Or was it Dylan walker? another Beacon Heights student who is blackmailed by Nolan after he cheats with him on his boyfriend. If The Perfectionists is anything like Pretty Little Liars, the answer is seasons away. But that hasn’t stopped fans from having their theories.

Alex and Mary Drake Escaped Mona’s Dollhouse

The end of Pretty Little Liars in season 7 saw Mona lock Alex Drake (Spencer’s evil twin) and her mom, Mary Drake, in her own personal dollhouse in France. “She can’t keep us here forever,” Mary said to Alex, who replied, “Of course she can. It’s Mona.” Last we saw, the two considered escaping, but did it actually happen? Well, in the first episode of The Perfectionists, Mona might have hinted that Alex and Mary escaped, which is why she’s in Beacon Heights and not in France anymore. When Alison asks Mona why she isn’t France, she responds, “Yeah, that was great for a while,” Mona tells Alison. “But eventually the reasons I was there…escaped me. So I came back to the States to devote my time to something that suited my talents and my passions—game design for Hotchkiss.” Uh—could Mona’s emphasis on the word escaped be a clue? Could Alex and Mary have escaped and did Mona move back to the U.S. to stay safe? (And does this mean a future cameo from Troian Bellisario?) Well, that’s definitely a theory that HollywoodLife came up with.

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The Room with Screens Is Mona’s Imagination

The cliffhanger of the first episode of The Perfectionists is when Mona talks into a mirror at Beacon Heights and the camera zooms out to a room of surveillance screens, leading fans to think that Mona is associated with Beacon Guard, a security system in Beacon Heights that’s secretly spying on its students. Or so we think. Tumblr user @uberaalison came up with the theory that the room is actually Mona’s imagination, and there’s a huge clue to prove it. Before she talks to the mirror, Mona shoos away a student who’s using it. As PLL fans might’ve noticed, the student is dressed just like Mona from the first few seasons of PLL. Janel Parrish, who plays Mona, confirmed to TV Line that this was a conscious Easter egg left for fans. “That was a little Easter egg for our fans,” she said. “We dressed [the actress] to look like a young Mona, a little nerdy Mona. I’m so glad you noticed that! We’ll have a couple of those Easter eggs here and there throughout the season.”

OK. But why is that important. Well, after Mona freaks out about Nolan’s death to the mirror, a woman behind the mirror, in the room of surveillance screens tells her, “Go to your safe space.” As @uberaalison points out, that’s an exact quote from Pretty Little Liars, when Spencer told Mona the same thing. “She went to her safe place,” Spencer said when Alison asked why Mona was dressed in her previous nerdy attire. This is too many Easter eggs to not have a significance. Could this mean that the room of screen isn’t actually Beacon Guard’s headquarters but the inside of Mona’s mind?

"The Perfectionists"

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"The Perfectionists"

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Nolan Faked His Death Like Taylor

In the first episode of The Perfectionists, we learn that Nolan’s sister, Taylor Hotchkiss, faked her death, so they could take down Beacon Guard. But what if Nolan’s death at the end of the episode was fake too? Twitter user @lyingperfs thought of this theory as a way for Nolan and Taylor to combine their power. The only problem: We see Nolan impaled to death by a fence, so unless it was a twin, he’s likely actually dead. Then again, this is the PLL universe we’re talking about, where twins have been used on more than one occasion, so, hey, it’s fair game.

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Jeremy Was the One Who Killed Nolan

For the majority of The Perfectionists fans, Jeremy is the number-one suspect for who killed Nolan. For one, he has a motive. He’s Caitlin’s boyfriend, who must be kept a secret because of Caitlin’s fake relationship with Nolan, who blackmailed her to be his girlfriend. The pushed-off-a-building idea was also Caitlin’s fantasy from when she told Ava and Dylan in the forest. The three theorized that someone must have heard them at night, which is why Nolan did the exact same way. Could that person have been Jeremy, who killed Nolan to protect his girlfriend and so that he and Caitlin could be together in public? It’s a theory.

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Taylor Is Alison’s Adopted Twin

Alison has a freak out when she learns that Taylor, Nolan’s dead-but-not-really-dead sister, looks like she could be her sister—if not, her twin. To make matters more mysterious, Alison is living in the house that Taylor used to live in before she “died.” Could this be because Taylor is Alison’s twin? We wouldn’t put it past The Perfectionists to have a twin twist (they did it with Spencer and Alex in PLL), and it would make a lot of sense in the moments we saw before Nolan’s death. Before he was pushed off a building, Nolan looked like he recognized who was about to kill him. We also learn in that episode that Nolan (or someone impersonating Nolan) sent Alison a text, telling her to meet him on the roof of the building where he died. What if Nolan actually sent that text and expected to find Alison on the roof? That’s Twitter user @PLL_TP’s theory, who theorized that, at first, Nolan thought he saw Alison, but really who he saw on the roof was Taylor who then killed him. Because of Alison and Taylor’s similar looks, it’s possible that Nolan mistook his sister (who he had a heated conversation with before his death) for Alison, a seemingly new ally in Beacon Heights.

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Taylor Is the Fourth Drake Child

The Drake family were the main villains in PLL, and just when we thought the liars had defeated them, fans thought of a theory for their possible return. Twitter user @meggy_love34 has a theory that Taylor is an adopted Drake child and that’s why she and Alison are so connected because they may share the same father. “What if Taylor Hotchkiss is actually Taylor Drake and that’s how her and Alison are connected? Maybe Mary had a secret fourth child and the Hotchkiss family adopted her like the Hastings adopted Spencer. Meaning that her and Cece have the same characteristic,” @meggy_love34 tweeted.

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Taylor Is Bethany Young

PLL fans will remember Bethany Young as a Radley Sanitarium patient who was killed and mistaken for Alison on the same night as Alison’s disappearance 2009. The two look alike, which is why Mona killed her, thinking she was Alison, when she showed up at the DiLaurentis house. There are several fan theories that Bethany didn’t die that night and is still alive, living under the name of Taylor Hotchkiss. It would be a wild theory considering that the character would’ve had to fake her death twice.

Nolan’s Mom Was the One Who Killed Him

Ah, another kill theory. Twitter user @alisonsguard tweeted their theory about why Nolan’s mom, Claire Hotchkiss, may have been the one who killed him. Here’s the theory: Claire killed Nolan because she found out about how he faked his sister’s death. Claire also favors Taylor over Nolan to the point of obsession, so when Nolan told Taylor that there was one person they could trust with their scheme, it could’ve been their mom, who turned on Nolan and killed him.

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Caitlin Was the One Who Killed Nolan

This theory comes from The Perfectionists books, where Caitlin’s full name is Caitlin Martel-Lewis. In the show, it’s Caitlin Parker-Lewis, a nod to Parker and Julie, two characters in the books that have been removed from the show. Turns out, in the books, Parker and Julie are the same person. It’s revealed that Julie suffers from multiple-personality disorder and it’s her personality named Parker who kills Nolan, which leads fans (including Tumblr user @pepelovestippi) to speculate that the show may be rewriting Caitlin as Parker and Julie.

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Mona Was the One Who Killed Nolan

Mona has had her hand in the death of many in the PLL universe. Could Nolan be another? According to Tumblr user @kkthanks, there’s a theory that Mona is the one who killed Nolan. The theory is that Mona missed the PLL game and chose to play it with Taylor, whom she helped fake the death of in a similar way she did with Alison. Mona is also associated with the Beacon Guard scheme, but when Alison comes to town and investigates, Mona switches teams to protect Alison, in case her digging may be life-threatening, which is why she kills Nolan. The theory is long, but there’s a lot there. Read it in full here.

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Caitlin Will Meet Spencer

Troian Bellisario, who played Spencer in PLL, has confirmed to direct an episode of The Perfectionists this season. Could her character, Spencer, also make a return? Well, according to Tumblr user @pilguy, the best theory for Spencer to return would be a friendship with Caitlin, whose mother is a politician running for president. Given Spencer’s law background, it makes the most sense for her to be introduced to Caitlin through some sort of legal or political relationship.

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