01x01 - Pilot

[thunder rumbling]

[instrumental music]

(female narrator) Welcome to Beacon Heights University..

... where excellence is not an option.

It's a requirement.

(female # ) Don't stay up too late.

(male # ) He's gonna be there all night.

(female narrator) Ranked as one of the most challenging programs in the US

students here are the best and the brightest.

If you thought getting in was hard..

[chuckles] ... keeping up is even harder.

[thunder rumbling]

At BHU we'll do whatever it takes to stay on top.

We thrive under pressure.

And strive for perfection.

But no one's perfect.

And the pressure... is building to a breaking point.

And someone is about to snap..

[instrumental music]

... and kill.

♪ If I show you then I know you ♪

♪ Won't tell what I said ♪

♪ 'Cause two can keep a secret ♪

♪ If one of them is dead ♪

[instrumental music]

What brings you to Oregon?

I'm joining the faculty at BHU.

You got friends here?

Don't know a soul.

[music continues]

[music continues]

[door opens]



[intense music]

[door squeaking]

[water dripping]



I brought pie.

[thunder rumbling]

Mona, what are you doing here?

I work at BHU.

Recruitments and admissions.

- I thought you were in...
- France?

Yeah, that was great for a while 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.
- I'm still not following.

Then, ten months ago I was hired to help refine their student and faculty selection process.

I did.

And I chose you.

You didn't think of telling me?

Would you have come if I did?


Look, I came here because I needed a fresh start and... it's a lot easier to earn people's trust when you haven't already given them reasons not to trust you.

Story of my life.

Emily loves me. She just can't get past the past.

I thought you guys were happy.

We are and then we're not.

Always comes back to trust.

But I'm not giving up.

I wanna leave the mean girl I was in high school behind me.

I really wanna help these kids.

And you will. I know it.

- What's that?
- That's Beacon Guard.

The school security system.

It's made BHU the safest campus in Oregon.

Mm, speaking of which, how about I give you a tour tomorrow?

Don't you have work?

Oh, showing you around making sure you fit in.

That is my work.

Why don't you put the pie in the fridge?

You don't want it to go to waste.


[instrumental music]

Alison's as determined as she ever was.

Don't you think?

The Hotchkiss family really gives back.

I was reading up on Hotchkiss Technologies.

The family practically built this place from the ground up.

Taylor was Claire and Peter's daughter who died, right?

She killed herself a year ago.

The town's only suicide.

She was a lovely person.

Her brother Nolan's in your class. He's...

Wait, how did you know Taylor if you only came here after she died?

I read up on her.

You're living in her house.

- What?
- Don't worry.

It's all new furniture.

[bell tolls]

I am Alison DiLaurentis and I'm Professor Granger's new TA.

Welcome back to school.

Your summer assignment was to read a book by one of my favorite authors, Agatha Christie.

"And Then There Were None" tackles many complex themes and I'm interested to see what you guys think.

Who wants to go first?

[indistinct chatter]

Uh, Dylan Walker.

I was really struck by the idea of isolation.

I mean, Justice Wargrave deliberately picks this remote location, so the characters can't escape themselves, right?

Part of their, their punishment.

Incisive. I agree.

Thank you.

Um, Ava Jalali.

Um, I think... Dylan's always right.

[all laughing]


Uh, well, there were some and then there were none.

So, it's about the dichotomy between something and nothing.

Wow! Nice try.

I spent the summer growing my YouTube channel.

That's how I pay for tuition.

I get it. But you're gonna have to come to class more prepared.

Of course. Won't happen again.

Caitlin Lewis.

The author wasn't subtle.

She names a character "Justice."

It comes down to..

Well, is it okay to murder a murderer?

Interesting. Do you think it is?

If somebody hurt someone I loved.

Yeah, I'd hurt him back.

Well, don't worry about me, babe.
No one's gonna mess with me.


Nolan Hotchkiss.

What do you think of the book?

Payback's a bitch.

Characters got what they deserved.

They did terrible things and they got terrible things done to them.

I thought you'd appreciate that world view, Ms. DiLaurentis.

[instrumental music]

Alison: For tomorrow, I want you guys to write a three-page paper exploring how you relate to the characters in the book.

Have a good day.

Excuse me, Nolan.

Why do you think I know about payback?

My mother's gonna say to you that... you're here because you remind me of my sister.

It's more than that.

[instrumental music]

I haven't been able to get out of dinner so, I need you at my house no later than : .

Well, I'm already coming to your mom's

Welcome Back To School party and I told you I have plans tonight.

Then cancel them.

You know how much I hate being alone with them.


I can't imagine anything that's more important to you than showin' up for me.

Can I?

Alright, yeah, I'll-I'll be there.

Oh, Dylan, same arrangement as last year.

You'll do the papers for Ava and me.

Uh, I can, I can cover yours but I can't do Ava's work.

I'm tryin' out for a summer symphony chair.

Dylan, that's awesome.

That's everything you've ever worked for.

Don't worry about my paper, Nolan, it'd fine...

Ava. You are the smartest guy I know.

You'll figure it out. You always do.

- Don't be late.
- Mm.

I have to get to class.

Really thought things would be different this year.

Why, because of Taylor?

You were there, I mean, you-you even cried at her funeral.

Dylan, um, whatever Nolan has on you if there's anything I could do to help.

We're just fake friends, alright.

We just hang out to make it look like he has the perfect posse.

So, what, we just don't talk to each other when Nolan's not around?

You know what, I got to go.

I just found out I have three papers to write.

[instrumental music]

- [gasps]
- Mona!

Oh, Jesus! What?

- Nolan Hotchkiss.
- What about him?

Wasn't it like two hours ago we were being all summer camp talking about fresh starts and trust?

So, then who else did you tell about my background?

You know, just so I don't get any more surprises.

What did Nolan say?

You know what? Never mind.

I didn't tell anyone.

Especially Nolan.

He's super smart. But he doesn't belong here.

How so?


By my calculations he could be... dangerous.

Just... try and stay away from him.

[instrumental music]


Pull! Pull!

♪ I wanna know the secret ♪

♪ I am ready to let go ♪

♪ Get me out of the familiar ♪

- ♪ I wanna know what I don't know ♪

- ♪ Can you help me please? ♪

- ♪ Get me off of my knees ♪

♪ Meet me in the mystery ♪

♪ Meet me in the hollow ♪

♪ Teach me I am listenin' ♪

♪ Lead and I will follow ♪

♪ A thousand times ♪

♪ Oh-oo-oh-oh ♪


Why do you keep do you keep doing all this work for Nolan and Ava?

You've been up all night?

I was just helping some friends with their homework.

Like you did with your lit papers.

Now, you're workin' on their history assignments?

- That can get you expelled.
- I offered.

Alright, they had a project that they needed to finish.

I mean, I.. I offered.


[instrumental music]

Saying "Yes" to us was the best decision

I've ever made. But I...

When I came to college... I promised myself that I wasn't gonna get serious about anybody.

Alright, but the day that I met you

I knew that was impossible.


Get everything about you except why you hang out with Nolan.

He's such a douche.

I've got to get to class.

A posteriori, after that fact.

A priori, before the fact.

A verbis, uh.. Dammit.

♪ Look at the stars see how they move ♪

Jeremy, I blew it by going to dinner last night.

Now, I'm gonna tank this test.

♪ Hold out your hands let them fall in ♪

♪ Keep them alive ♪

♪ Ooh ♪

♪ Wait wait in the afterlife of paradise ♪

[sighs] I need to ace this test.

You ace every test.



♪ In paradise ♪

♪ And it follows me ♪

♪ It follows me ♪

Look, you put so much pressure on yourself.

I get that you thrive on this.

What I don't get is Nolan.

[intense music]


It's your second date with him.

How did you know that?

I don't care if you keep seein' your rocket scientist but to the rest of the world, you and I are still a perfect couple.

I-I'm not gonna pretend to be your girlfriend.

Why would I do that?

- Because I'm with Ava now.
- Hm.

You know how my mom feels about her family.

That's so not my problem.

Grow a pair and stand up to your mother.

Actually it is your problem.

[instrumental music]

Okay, why are you showing me a picture of my mom?


Sorry, that you had to see this.

Your mom is cheating on your other mom.

If this gets out, it'll end your mom's political career.

I don't wanna use this.

But I will if I have to.

I guess two moms don't always make a right.

Why should you pay for your mom's mistake?

You don't get it. My mom's gonna run for president.

I-I can't risk blowing that up.

Well, then let me talk to him.

I will find a way to convince Nolan to leave you alone and keep your moms out of it.

No, I'll talk to Nolan and I'll set some limits.


You know, I feel bad about Dylan doing my work.

We're all under enough pressure as it is.

Pressure is what BHU's all about.

Besides, you need more time to do whatever it is you're doing right now instead of paying attention to me.

I'm writing a script that enables pop-ups on my channel to bypass privacy blocks.

You know you can hire people for the day-to-day stuff. Outsource.

I'm not outsourcing my brands, okay?

This is all on me.

When people hear the name Jalali

I need them to think of me not my dad.

They will.

That internship at "Vogue" is a lock.

Good, 'cause I really want it.

I was born into this perfect family.

I don't have a choice but to be the best at everything or at least look like I am.

But you..

... you're gonna be somebody.

You're gonna do it on your own.

I respect that.

I know that you believe in me.

♪ Me and you ♪

♪ Flames crashing ♪

♪ Up through ♪


♪ Patterns mashing ♪

♪ Red ♪

♪ AAA ♪

♪ Flames ♪

♪ In waves ♪

♪ In waves ♪

♪ Flames crashing ♪


Mom? What are you doin' here?

I met Miss Jalali on her way out.

I didn't know you two were friends.

We have a couple of classes together.

She's very attractive.

She's just a friend.

Well, let's keep it that way.

You do not need her family's drama.

You're on the right track with Caitlin.

Oh, I spoke with Coach Wayne and he wants you to lead an extra practice this weekend.

Uh, I wanted to talk to you about that.

I might not crew this fall.

But you've worked so hard to become captain.

Why would you wanna throw all that away?

'Cause I'm taking on a full load of classes.

I'd like some time for myself.

To do what?

You can handle it, Nolan.

You always do.

Oh, and I look forward to speaking with Ava at the party tomorrow.

You'll have her find me?


[instrumental music]

[dial tone]

I want active surveillance on BH- .

(woman on phone) That's your son.

- 'Are you sure?'
- I'm always sure.

[cello music]


Why'd you stop? That was beautiful.

Uh, I stopped because that was actually terrible and I'm not going to win this chair if I don't play this piece perfectly.

And you will.

I can already see you there playing with the Seattle Symphony.

You're wearing a two button navy Brioni.

And I'm wearing one too.

Of course you are.

And then, after your first concert we're going to my boss' mansion on Bainbridge Island.

And who is this rich, fictitious and generous boss of yours?

Should I be jealous about this daydream?

It's John P. Hall as in the brilliant Seattle architect who I've applied to for a summer internship.

- What? You did?
- Yeah.

Well, I've got to have something to do while you're working your way towards your first chair.

So, you really think that I can do this?

I really do.

(Ava) I've never had any kind of problem with my work before.

Well, that's the thing. I don't think this is your work.

This is an extremely layered and thoughtful paper.

And in class, you admitted you hadn't even read the book.

So, who wrote it?

Nolan or Dylan?

I read your file.

- I know about your family.
- So?

Have the authorities found your dad?

Man smart enough to embezzle millions of dollars from his clients isn't going to be found.

It must be hard to focus on school.

- Yeah.
- Do you have a support system?

Maybe your mom?

My dad had to run.

My mom, she... chose to bail.

I'm gonna give you one last opportunity to tell me where your parents are.

I find it really hard to believe they left you behind...

I told you, they left me with nothing.

And since this is still my house..

... get out.

[door closes]

[instrumental music]

I have a party to go to.


You wanna help?

Leave me and my friends alone and just let this go.

[instrumental music]

[indistinct chatter]

(Mona) Okay, great. Looks like I have you both here.

Come on in.

Hey! Welcome to the Welcome Back Party.

Try the champagne. I picked it myself.

Is that part of your job too?

Yeah, I gotta keep my recruits happy and hydrated.

- Excuse me.
- Oh..

[instrumental music]

[indistinct chatter]

No, thank you.

[music continues]

- It's quite a view, isn't it?
- Yeah.

When she was little, my daughter used to love to sit up here and watch our parties.

Mrs. Hotchkiss, I am..

Alison DiLaurentis, our newest TA.

I've been really looking forward to meeting you.

Your application for the scholarship it just really spoke to me.

- May I ask why?
- Well, there are many reasons.

Your academic record, your essay but we were really impressed with your journey from mean girl to mentor.

[chuckles] I thought it was hard when I was a teenager but... it's nothing compared to the pressure these students are under.

I really hope that I can connect with these kids.

I think I can help them.

That's why my daughter became a teacher.

You really remind me of her.


I'm really sorry for your loss.

Um, no parent should ever have to outlive their child.

We're still working through it.

But it's what's motivated me to do everything I can to keep our students safe.

And you should know, Alison, you're also safe here.

- 'Mrs. Hotchkiss?'
- Oh.

I know you won't disappoint me.

♪ I think I love ya 'cause you're just my type ♪

♪ A little strange a little not quite right ♪

♪ I wanna know you better ♪

♪ How 'bout we sleep on it together? ♪

♪ Now I don't want it if you try to save me ♪

Why were you talkin' to Andrew?


He was just saying how great it is since you guys moved in together.

- I'm happy you two...
- You know what?

Save it for somebody who believes a word you say.

Oh! You're hot when you're angry.

You have no idea what I'm like when I'm angry.

If you keep messin' with my relationship then we can find out.

Photo op?

Okay. Oh, good, Caitlin..

[indistinct chatter]

Come here, sweetheart.

Get in next to Caitlin.

Okay, great.

Ava. Come get in the photo.


What do we say?

Crimson and white.


(female ♪ ) Great.

Just a few more.

Yay! Alright, everyone. Thank you.

[indistinct chatter]


- I read your paper.
- Oh.

Your insights were quite provocative.

- Thank you.
- I was so intrigued that I actually took a look at your file.

You're gonna take your mom senate seat when she runs for president?

That's the plan.

Well, thanks for your work.

I'm opposed to capital punishment but... you almost made me believe murder could be justified.

Maybe I was a little too inspired by my own fantasy to get rid of someone.

[laughs] Kidding.

Is your fantasy about Nolan?

I saw the two of you arguing.

You saw somebody else.

We're totally happy together.

Are you lying because you're afraid of him?

Because I can help.

Look, you'll just make everything worse if you start asking questions.

Look, I know a little bit about manipulation.

I used to be like Nolan.

So, I can help you if you just let me..

You don't get it.

He'll do whatever it takes to make sure his mother continues to think that he's her... perfect son.

Including pretending that you're his girlfriend when he's actually interested in Ava?

Uh.. Um..

[clears throat] I'm.. I-I gotta go.

Enjoy the party.

[instrumental music]

[indistinct chatter]

[crows cawing]

[birds chirping]

- [beeping]

I need to see you.

Yeah, I was afraid of that.

She's ordered surveillance on me and she'll be watchin' Ava too.

We need to meet.

I looked at some of your previous writing.

It's your gift for words that gave you away.

It's kinda what it takes to make it here, right?

I know about Nolan and Ava.

Is he manipulating you..

... forcing you to write their papers?

What does he have on you?

Why did you take business ethics if you're so... uninterested in it?

I thought it would give me something to talk about to my mother at her excruciatingly long family dinners.

You know, it's..

It's cool that you guys do that.

I wish my family didn't live so far away.

[sighs] You have Andrew.

That's still a thing, right?

Yeah, he's moving in next week. We are exclusive now.

Sounds limiting. I'm surprise you agreed to it.

It was my idea, alright?

So you and I are gonna hook up we should do it sooner rather than later before he moves in.

I thought that you and I were just... friends.

I've seen the way you look at me when you think I'm not watching.

Do you want to.. You wanna finish this paper?


I want you to kiss me.

♪ ... what we swore we will never become ♪

♪ 'Cause when I need you in case I'm alone again ♪

♪ When I look in your eyes ♪
♪ I'm falling I'm falling ♪

♪ Didn't know that I was falling ♪

♪ Falling I'm falling falling I'm falling ♪

♪ I can reach you now I know

♪ I'm calling I'm calling ♪

♪ Calling I'm calling ♪

♪ There has to be some way I am ♪

♪ Falling I'm falling.. ♪

I didn't write their papers.

I'm throwing you a lifeline, Dylan.

You're here on a music scholarship, right?

It'd be a shame to throw that away.

So don't push this.

I assume that music means a lot to you.

I grew up in a small town, alright?

A small town where you weren't allowed to be... different.

Music was never just my way out.

You know, I mean, it is everything that I am.

If I report this, you'll be expelled.

I don't want that.

Please let me help you.

- Look, you wanna help, just let...
- Let it go?

Yeah. I've heard that before.

But I can't do that.

I'm gonna give you hours to tell me the truth.

- [instrumental music]

Hi. Don't give me that look.
I've been sewing all night.

But the models upstairs will be down and dressed in like, five, tops. Okay?

It's gonna be great.

Okay, I have minutes with the photographer and three changes.

So, let's do this. Are you ready?

It's not what it looks like.

It's exactly what it looks like.

[heavy breathing]

[dramatic music]

What, that's it?

You're not even gonna give me some lame excuse?

I don't need one.

Why are you doing this? We were good together.

It was just about the s*x for me and I'm bored of you.

What are you talking about?

This isn't you.

I can get past this.

I can get past this if you just talk to me.

Get a grip, Ava.

Desperate's not a good look on you.

Hey, and good luck with the shoot.

If she looks as good in your design as she does out of them...that internship's a lock.

Get out.


- [instrumental music]

[dramatic music]

[dramatic music]

I broke off with Ava.

Maybe when this is all over you can explain you did it to protect her.

No way, Taylor.

What I did today, she'll never believe anything I say again.

Nolan, you're my brother.

When this is over I'll talk to her.

Taylor, tell me we're making progress.

Hotchkiss begun changing their security protocol every half hour.

So, I can still grab a feed and throw it to your phone but... nothing is stable.

Nothing sticks.

What can we prove now?

That they're using the Beacon Guard to spy on 'a select group of students. That's something.'

We have that.

We need the "Why" to bring them down.

We can't do this by ourselves. We need help.

- No. Nolan...
- I know someone we can trust.

No, we've talked about this. It's way too dangerous.

To do nothing.

I think this can work.


[instrumental music]

- Hey.
- Thanks for coming.



- Hey.
- Hi.

I remember this place.

Nolan used to bring me here.

Me too.

Somehow I think it's safe.

From what?

Ava, what..

What are we doing here?

I'm done with Nolan 'and I wanna stop him.'

Stop what he's doing to us.

I never thought of that before.

Alison offered to help me.

- Me too.
- Same here.

She also gave me hours before she reports me for writing everybody's papers.

So now is the time.

You think that anybody's gonna take my word over Nolan Hotchkiss?

Well, what if it's not just you?

What if the three of us tell the school that he's blackmailing you both.

Alison's faculty. If she came with us...

Look, Alison or not, if we do this everything that he's holding against us comes out.

I don't know about you guys, but what he has over me is bad.

Ugh, same.

I mean, there has to be some other way to shut him down.

Wish he'd just drop dead.

Nolan wouldn't make things that easy.

We could kill him.

[chuckles] I have to admit, I have thought about him dying in a lotta different ways.

Look, Agatha Christie wasn't wrong, guys, alright?

Murder can be justified.

Yeah, but that's just a fantasy.

But what a fantasy.

Drowning in that ostentatious pool of his.

Heart attack while he's hooking up with some dumb-ass bitch.

That's inspired.

Yeah. By recent events.

Thorne Hall.

We push him off the roof.

And it gives him a second or two to think about dying before he's impaled on those spikes at the bottom.

Good one.

Mm-hmm. Thank you.

We're terrible to even pretend to think about this.

[laughing] Yeah.

[all laughing]

[leaves rustling]

[intense music]

Let's get outta here.

[thunder rumbling]

I think I'm doing a really good job, don't you?



Why am I really here?

'It's not just Nolan.'

It's his friends and his mother and his dead sister who I just saw a picture of.

- She could be my doppelganger!
- Okay.

You're kinda tagging everyone here, Ally.

Taylor Hotchkiss.

- The physical similarities.
- It's a coincidence!

You were selected before I even knew what she looked like.

Did you learn nothing from Rosewood?

There are no coincidences.

Supposedly Taylor cracked.

Couldn't take the pressure.

That's why you're here.

To help people like her.

So that Claire, BHU won't lose anyone else.

[instrumental music]

Thank you, guys, for meeting me tonight.

- It was actually kinda fun.
- Yeah, it was.

You know, it's funny I think that maybe if there wasn't a Nolan we could've been friends.

- Yeah.
- Goodnight.

- Yeah.
- Goodnight.

♪ Always said I was a good kid ♪

♪ Always said I had a way with words ♪

♪ Never knew I could be speechless ♪

♪ Don't know how I'll ever break this curse ♪

♪ Now the world is only white noise ♪

[intense music]

I know this is crazy..

... meetin' here, but it's a safe zone.

I'm sorry I've been such an asshole to you.

And time is runnin' out.

This isn't just about me.

It's about Taylor too. She's alive.

We need your help.

[dramatic music]

- [siren wailing]

[indistinct chatter]


- What's going on?
- It's Nolan Hotchkiss.

He's dead.

♪ The tide is high it sink or swim ♪

♪ My only rival is within ♪

♪ Giants calling round the bend ♪

♪ My only rival is within ♪


It's just like you imagined it.

♪ I won't let my demons win ♪

♪ My only rival is within ♪

♪ I will fight through thick and thin ♪

♪ My only rival is within ♪

Get out. Now!

What the hell just happened?

Was this our fault?

Answer me, dammit!

Mona, go to your safe place. Now.

[indistinct chatter]