Summer School Ruined A Franchise Legacy Character With 1 Scene

Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Pretty Little Liars: Summer School finale.


  • Pretty Little Liars: Summer School changed a legacy character’s personality, tarnishing their original identity within the franchise.
  • Dr. Sullivan’s motivations didn’t make sense, leading to inconsistent writing that negatively impacted her character arc.
  • Returning legacy characters in a spinoff like Summer School may not always land well, affecting the overall series.

Pretty Little Liars: Summer School re-introduced a franchise legacy character, but in doing so, the spinoff tarnished the individual forever. Summer School is the sequel to Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin and focused on a group of teenagers tormented by a new villain named Bloody Rose. While it was a solid next chapter after Original Sin’s ending, bringing back a beloved character from the original series only to change their entire personality was a creative choice that didn’t benefit the show in the long run.

Max’s Pretty Little Liars spinoff is set in a different town from the original. Still, there was connective tissue between Millwood and Rosewood throughout the first two seasons. A beloved franchise alum sharing the screen with the Summer School characters should have resulted in a much better arc than what the series ultimately gave them. Pretty Little Liars: Summer School’s ending wouldn’t have been possible without this character unless the show went in a different direction. However, the actor’s return to the franchise negatively affected the character’s Pretty Little Liars legacy.


10 Biggest Unanswered Questions & Mysteries After Pretty Little Liars: Summer School’s Ending

Following the Pretty Little Liars: Summer School finale’s cliffhanger ending, many questions remain that a (probable) season 3 must answer.

Dr. Sullivan’s Motivations In Pretty Little Liars: Summer School Didn’t Make Sense

Annabeth Gish Deserved Better

As a therapist, Dr. Sullivan’s comeback should have been an easy crossover, but it did more harm than good to the character. Annabeth Gish was never a series regular in the original Pretty Little Liars, but she tried to help the liars through their tussles with A. The initial episodes of Summer School gave her a good reason to be a part of the narrative. Sadly, as the season progressed, it was clear the showrunners didn’t know what to do with her. At various points, the show even implied she was Bloody Rose before ending her arc in a way that didn’t line up with the original show.

Dr. Sullivan was initially shown to be thankful to the liars for saving her from Wes in the end, seemingly righting some of her previous missteps, but that all changed when she was on the phone with her book publisher. In Summer School‘s fateful finale scene, Dr. Sullivan claimed the girls were “narcissists” and would open up about their experiences in exchange for money. It was another example of inconsistent writing for a legacy character that should have been utilized better. If this is a sign of things to come, if other former stars are interested in returning, maybe it’s best to focus on new characters instead.

Pretty Little Liars: Summer School Actor


Bailee Madison

Imogen Adams

Chandler Kinney

Tabby Haworthe


Faran Bryant

Malia Pyles

Mouse Honrada

Maia Reficco

Noa Oliver

Mallory Bechtel

Kelly Beasley

Sharon Leal

Sidney Haworthe

Alex Aiono

Shawn Noble

Jordan Gonzalez

Ash Romero

Elias Kacavas

Greg Mantzoukas

Annabeth Gish

Dr. Anne Sullivan

Ben Cook

Henry Nelson

Derek Klena


Ava Capri


Noah Alexander Gerry


Loretta Ables Sayre


Antonio Cipriano


Max’s Pretty Little Liars Spinoff Should Avoid Legacy Characters

Pretty Little Liars: Summer School Is Different From The Original

Annabeth Gish as Dr. Anne Sullivan in Pretty Little Liars Summer School season 2 Episode 1, 2
Image via Max

While legacy characters are a great way to tip the hat to the show that started the universe, their appearances have to benefit both the series and the franchise. The biggest hurdle with returning characters is that the spinoff is a slasher, whereas the original Pretty Little Liars focused more on the psychological warfare that A inflicted on the girls. The tonal differences between the two shows mean that bringing familiar faces back probably won’t land well.

Given her profession, Dr. Sullivan was the best person to appear, so it’s just a shame that her character was ruined in the finale after putting financial gain over her ethics. The scene felt more like the showrunners wanted her to embrace her villainous side to warrant killing her off shortly after. Of course, A arrived to murder her in the end, but even then, she seemed to accept her fate in a way that felt out of character. With so many great Pretty Little Liars characters to choose from, this first big return has probably dashed any hope of future comebacks in a likely Pretty Little Liars: Summer School follow-up.

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