Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin Series Premiere Review: The Countdown

master mentalism tricks

There’s something about small towns that makes them the perfect setting for slasher stories.

Maybe it’s the feeling of dread that everyone knows everyone, meaning that the person tormenting the town will be revealed to be a well-known individual.

In any case, Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin Season 1 Episode 1, Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin Season 1 Episode 2, and Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin Season 1 Episode 3 make the happenings in Rosewood look like child’s play in comparison to Millwood.

Called to the Principal's Office - Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin

In fact, Millwood is more akin to Ravenswood, albeit probably a little scarier, and we should be prepared to lose any character at any time.

There was great skepticism when this series was announced, with many thinking it would seek to copy the original story with a poorly thought-out mystery.

Look Over Your Shoulder Imogen - Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin

That couldn’t be further from the truth because this new iteration of A is one of the scariest villains to hit the small screen.

Imogen hasn’t had the best start in life. The torment at the hands of Karen, losing her mother, and everything else was heartbreaking to watch.

For a teenager, she’s had a lot going on, and the only positive about a deranged killer on the loose is that she’s made some great friends who will be ride-or-die until the end.

Killing off Davie so soon was dark, but it was the perfect way to send the mystery into high gear. It was an inciting incident that disrupted the narrative in a big way, making it a solid starting point.

Bailee Madison on Original Sin

Imogen is a significant departure for Bailee Madison, and she’s strong in this role as a pregnant teenager whose world is crumbling around her.

She’s a person who very much plays in the grey area, and as the series progresses, I’m sure darker sides of her personality will come out to play.

I need help. Sidney? Corey Please.Davie, please. Davie? Please. Help me. Help me, please. Please. Please, look at me. Please. Sidney. Sidney. Sidney! Sidney, please, look at me. Please, I’m begging you. Look at me, please. Please.


Her declaration that she and the other liars should kill Karen came out of the left-field, but maybe it was to highlight how exhausting Karen was during their friendship.

Karen was truly horrible in the scenes before her death, but thanks to her having a twin, it’s hard not to expect some twinsanity peppered throughout the series.

Bailee Madison, Chandler Kinney, Malia Pyles, Zaria, Maia Reficco

We’ve seen twins swapping places in mysteries, and the original series certainly had twisted twins, so we should probably expect a lot of revelations about Karen and Kelly as the series progresses.

Karen’s wickedness seemed more like a coping mechanism because of the sad state of affairs at home.

She strikes me as the type of person whose relationships are fostered by a culture of fear, more so if her sketchy father is the sheriff.

It was hard to feel sorry for Karen when she died. She was as wicked as they come and continually tried to bully the other Liars to get what she wanted.

Setting it All in Motion - Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin

Granted, A definitely manipulated the events to some extent, making the girls believe Karen did some wicked things to land them all in detention.

It’s hard not to question whether Kelly died and Karen is posing as her sister. I hope that isn’t the case because that kind of storyline has been done to death.

Davie: Drink your milk.
Imogen: Milk with dinner is gross.
Davie: Oh, okay. Your only source of calcium can’t be from Ben and Jerry’s.

Kelly changing her mind and telling the truth about Karen was another shocking development, and maybe she’ll be crucial to the gang’s success in finding out the truth about A.

It’s hard not to think about how the twins’ lives could have been changed had they grown up in a home with parents that weren’t devoid of emotions.

Terror on the Dance Floor - Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin

Far more happened in that house than we’re privy to, and hopefully, Kelly becomes a fountain of information as she very likely gets closer to our core five.

Sheriff Beasley is a scary individual, and honestly, he might be scarier than A. He’s desperately on a mission to prove Imogen, Tabby, Minnie, Faran, and Noa were responsible for Karen’s death, even if it was clearly something else at play.

I don’t want to defend him because he’s awful, but it was a textbook case of deflecting. He knows he was a shitty father and is probably thinking about what he could have done better.

As a result, he thinks taking the killer(s) down is some sort of penance for his actions.

Karen and Kelly Beasley are Under Attack - Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin

The unfortunate part of that is how he will make Noa’s life a living hell. She’s on community service, so she has to be in close proximity to him a lot of the time.

She didn’t strike me as someone to break the law, so the revelation that she was covering for her mother shouldn’t have been that surprising, but maybe it shows how wicked Marjorie is.

Imogen: Are you fսcking serious, Karen?!
Karen: Excuse me?
Imogen: Don’t play dumb. Like you didn’t go to Principal Clanton about me.
Karen: Oh, shit. Imogen… you don’t seem well. Are you sure this is the right environment for someone in your delicate condition?
Imogen: Thank you so much for your concern, but I’m fine.
Karen: Your unhinged behavior indicates otherwise.
Imogen: What did I ever do to you? Really? And, Greg you piece of shit coward. Will you finally tell her the truth?
Karen: You don’t belong here. And I am not the only person who feels that way. Imogen: Hm… Hm. Well, I’m not going anywhere. In fact… I’m gonna be Spirit Queen just like my mom was.
Imogen: What are you even talking about?
Imogen: Aw, keep up, Karen. I’m… running… against you, and I’m gonna win.
Faran: She’s got my vote.

As a parent, why would you have your child take the fall for something you did, effectively scuppering their future plans in the process?

Marjorie has a lot of explaining to do, but she clearly thinks her life is more important than her daughter’s, and something tells me A will be happy to unveil the truth when we least expect it.

A Liars Mama Bear - Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin

Where will that leave the mother-daughter relationship? I don’t know, but after seeing Marjorie for a handful of scenes, we should probably expect the worst.

Noa’s future has been put in jeopardy by her mother, and it makes you wonder how she must really feel behind the facade.

She’s probably worried about college, future job prospects, and everything else. It’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to stay in Millwood for the foreseeable future.

I think most of them would have a better shot in Ravenswood, where supernatural happenings leave everyone in danger.

Zaria on Original Sin

Imogen living with Tabby allowed us to dig deeper into the mystery of 1999, but it was clear Tabby wasn’t happy to be hosting Imogen at the start.

As the three-episode opener continued, they realized they had much more in common than they first thought.

Knowing their parents were friends once upon a time probably helped bring them together because they’ll be curious about how everything panned out the way it did.

Tabby needs to get far away from Wes, and I hope somehow, the corrupt law enforcement in Millwood actually does something decent to get rid of him.

Noa on Original Sin

He was inappropriate from their first scene together, and Tabby is much smarter than he gives her credit for.

Making her go to his place for the flash drive and trying to turn it into a wine-fueled dinner date was beyond inappropriate.

Tabby: Karen’s a giant walking micro aggression, but there’s safety in numbers. You wanna sit together at lunch?
Imogen: Yeah… for sure.
Tabby: Cool, I’ll meet you in the cafeteria, and, Imogen fսck ’em. You don’t owe anyone anything.
Imogen: Thanks, Tabby.

It was a difficult scene to get through, but I’m thankful Tabby knew to get out.

The original series had huge moments that found the girls taking people down who were icky, and I hope we get something similar here.

Pretty Liars: Original Sin Key Art

Faran and Minnie are also great Liars, but we didn’t get nearly enough of them in the opening episodes. I expect that to change as we delve deeper into this new — and horror-filled — tale.

The mothers joining forces at the end of “Aftermath” was concerning, leaving me with more questions than answers.

Angela’s death undoubtedly set off a chain of events that are still having ripple effects in the present, but we don’t know how these events are connected yet.

Her death certainly mirrored Karen’s in some respects, but what is A’s link to Angela?

Minnie on PLL Original Sin

That’s one of the more significant questions we’re left to ponder as we await more episodes.

The parents undoubtedly stayed apart because of the rising threat of someone who could be stalking them. One of the moms commented that they hadn’t been sent anything in months.

Does that mean they’ve been receiving stuff about 1999 for the last 23 years?

The mothers want to keep their children safe, but I suspect they will start to tell the girls more things when more bodies pop up.

Chandler Kinney

The series could go in many directions with the mystery, but I hope we don’t have A wiping out the parents to reiterate that the teenagers will be next.

Another thing that worked very well is that A isn’t scared to show up in public places, mask and all.

The girls know they’re being left in the dark about many things, but at least they know they aren’t imagining this masked serial killer popping up in random places.

They need each other to stay alive and to unpack 23 years’ worth of mysteries.

New Era of Lies

The three-episode launch forges a different path for the franchise, becoming a full-blown slasher. The original series could never.

What are your thoughts on the new liars?

Do you think the mystery is good?

What are your thoughts on the horror elements?

Hit the comments.

Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin airs Thursdays on HBO Max.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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