Paper Girls – Season 1 Episode 1 “Growing Pains” Recap & Review

Growing Pains

Episode 1 of Paper Girls starts with us meeting our four paper girls we’ll be following across this crazy story. If you’ve read the graphic novel, you’ll know exactly how this goes down, but for those who haven’t, strap yourself in and get ready for one heck of a ride.

Erin, Tiffany, Mac and KJ all get ready to leave. Erin is the newbie in the group, and it’s her first night on the streets as a paper girl. At the eye-wateringly early hour of 4.30am, it’s the day after Halloween and Erin has picked one heck of a day to get started. Mac comes racing up, and the trio cycle through the alleyways to Wally and his gang, stopping them in their tracks and saving KJ from their rampage.

Erin suggests they pair up, partly to test out Tiffany’s new walkie-talkies, but also so they’re not attacked on Hell Day either. Only, that lasts all of 3 minutes before Erin is jumped on and her walkie is taken. Whoever it is, they begin rattling off some numbers, prompting Mac to head out and bring their walkie back.

Heading out to an old house, they follow strange rhythmic pulsing to the basement, where they notice two figures whispering behind a sheet. The girls attack, pouncing on them and determined to get their walkie back. Only…it’s not there. Instead, these two guys are seemingly deformed, but there’s something worse.

Scrambling out the house, the kids look up and notice the sky lit up a sicky pink, complete with swirling black clouds. The power is out, someone seems to be speaking Russian down the walkie, and everyone in town appears to be missing.

Believing it’s the Russians, Mac suddenly brandishes a gun. Mac wrestles with the girls and eventually ends up shooting Erin in the stomach. When she regains consciousness, they’re on the way to the hospital.

Two strangers on the road stop them in their tracks, and when Erin regains consciousness, she finds herself in a strange pod. These two strangers from earlier happen to be aliens and use a translator on their necks to warn the girls that they’re in danger. “They’re coming soon.”

These four girls are a long way from home and when one of the men is shot down, he implores the others to run and get moving. Somehow Erin isn’t dead either, having recovered from her gunshot courtesy of strange bugs who have healed her.

However, they’re stopped by a man who appears, holding a gun and asking if they’re “Underground”. The Priestess is out there though, watching them, and intending to strike at any moment. So the four girls rush off in search of salvation, making their way to Erin’s house. Only, there’s a problem. It turns out there’s already a woman living there. It’s Erin. The woman from the start of the episode was actually an older version of her!

The Episode Review

Paper Girls starts off with a decent opening chapter; a good introduction to the characters and the general story beats. However, there are clear narrative changes and it does feel like the budget has been scaled down on this a lot. In the comics, we see giant dinosaurs and Alice is the one to shoot Erin.

While those can be overlooked, the time jumping and the general pacing from the moment we meet the strangers to jumping into the future is so fast and doesn’t allow any time to actually understand what’s happening. For context, the comics slowed down a little around this point, with a whole segment involving the group following the strangers through the sewers and learning that they’re also teenagers.

Aside from that though, the casting is absolutely spot on and the story is certainly enjoyable. With all episodes dropping today, thankfully we don’t have to wait too long to find out what happens next!

Next Episode

You can read our full season review for Paper Girls Season 1 here!


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