As you are probably well aware, Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game are based on book series from the same author, Sara Shepard. And the similarities do not stop there; at the heart of both series are twins.
Pretty Little Liars has not strictly followed its source material and, until recently, we were unsure if the television show was going to keep Alison’s twin (Sasha Pieterse), Courtney, as an aspect of the plot. Now, it seems more and more likely that Ali had a twin. Until we learn more in PLL, can we glean more about the PLL twins from aspects they might share with their Lying Game television counterparts? We’re certainly going to try!
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If the PLL twin theory is correct, then given our Lying Game comparison, that leads to the rather obvious assumption that the twins were impersonating each other, but to what end? On The Lying Game, Sutton (Alexander Chando) convinces Emma (also Alexander Chando) to impersonate her while she searches for their birth mother, but what was the dynamic between Ali and Courtney? Could they have reached some kind of mutually beneficial arrangement — Courtney impersonates Ali so that Ali has the freedom to go where she wants and do as she pleases? And — similar to The Lying Game — did their relationship turn sour when Courtney did a better job of being Ali than Ali did herself?
Two sides of the same coin
In The Lying Game, Sutton’s friends and family attribute Emma’s kind behavior to a change in Sutton, a softening of her otherwise cruel personality. This can make “Sutton” seem a bit bipolar at times. In retrospect, the same can be said for Ali. In some flashbacks -— such as the one when she and Emily are dreaming up a trip to France together — she is sweet, kind, and loving. In other flashback scenes, however — such as when she plays at telling Melissa that Ian and Spencer kissed — she is cruel and manipulative, seemingly with no true affection for her friend (because what kind of friend would do that?).
As the “main” twin, we paired Ali with Sutton. Like Sutton, Ali grew up with a supportive family in a nice house where she seemingly had to want for nothing. But if Ali is anything like Sutton, she is dishonest and emotionally insecure with an impressive capacity for self-deception despite her privileged upbringing. Sutton can spin almost any story to convince herself that her actions are morally acceptable. Was Ali the same?
We have seen her manipulate her friends and family in flashbacks and, if she is playing a part in the “A” Team, then she has only gotten worse since her “death.” Was Ali as selfish as Sutton? Did she have the same capacity for manipulation and self-deception? We think so.
Courtney, on the other hand, would be more of a victim of circumstance. For some reason, she would have had a more troubled upbringing with no true home or supportive family, but still managing to come out on the other side as a good person. In The Lying Game, Emma is initially convinced to lie to Sutton’s friends and family, but the lies quickly begin to eat away at her as she grows to care about them as her friends and family.
Could Courtney have been caught up in a similar predicament? Maybe the impersonation started out as something short-term or more lighthearted and quickly grew into something harder to maintain as Courtney grew to care about the Liars. Was Ali their true friend, or was it Courtney?
Do you see any other similarities between the television version of Emma and Sutton and Ali and Courtney? Let us know in the comments below!
Catch the next episode of Pretty Little Liars on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.