Paper Girls – Season 1 Episode 5 “A New Period” Recap & Review

A New Period

Episode 5 of Paper Girls picks up with our travellers stumbling through the portal and touching down on a dock. With the remnants of this robot collapsing on the beach, Erin and the others believe they’ve made it… but Larry is not so sure. He’s agitated and stressed, worried that they may have landed in the wrong time. And that much soon becomes apparent when a purple portal opens up in the sky. They’re out of time.

As the kids all scramble inside a mobile home with older Erin, Larry prepares to face the Old Watch. Out of the portal comes a giant robot, making short work of Larry. The others manage to evade it, but older Erin decides to sacrifice herself to save the kids. Erin is convinced there’s another way but it’s no good. She’s made her mind up.

Taking control of the giant robot, she launches herself at it and the pair square off. The kids stay in the trailer and watch as Erin picks herself up and prepares to hit back against this much-stronger robot. Repeating her usual mantra of “I am going to win”, Erin grabs a makeshift sword and stabs it.

But it’s a futile attempt, given this robot is far stronger, so Erin activates a self-destruct protocol and destroys both robots, killing herself in the process.

Tiffany heads out and searches through the rubble, evading drones sent from The Old Watch. However, they’re too late as the Prioress and the Grandfather have already arrived. Thankfully the kids do remain undetected, long enough for Tiffany to scramble back in the trailer and reveal more of what’s going on. She warns that the Old Guard are intending to wipe their memory so they can keep this Time War a secret.

Sitting in a circle, the four close their eyes as the sky lights up pink. Only… it doesn’t erase their memory. Asa  result, all the kids decide to head back home again. Tiffany is the only one thinking this is a bad idea.

As the ongoing war is still happening, she’s dead-set on helping to fight back, complete with a book that’s the key to all this. It’s a guide to every known Folding. Only, they soon realize there’s a problem. They’re not in 1988 after all, they’re actually in 1999!

Heading to a convenience store, the group create a diversion to pick up some Tampax, given Erin has started her period. We then get a big segment involving the girls reading about and learning how to use them.

Once this is sorted, the kids decide to stay at KJ’s for the night given her parents are going to be off at the lake for the weekend so they’ll be on their own. They can use this time to regroup, come up with a plan. When they show up though, there’s a problem. Numerous cars are outside and a big party is going on inside. So naturally, the kids decide to gate-crash and steal some supplies.

“No black people, big surprise!” Says Tiffany.

Anyway, all the kids decide to wander about the house, helping themselves to clothes, food and whatever else they can lay their hands on. As for KJ, she learns that she’s a prospective filmmaker and a really good Director. KJ and Lauren are romantically involved, and she watches from afar as her older self ends up kissing Lauren.

KJ is conflicted and unsure how to process this. When she heads outside, the group end up falling out, with KJ smacking Mac, and Tiffany deciding to leave.

With little other choice, Tiffany decides to ring her older self…who picks up the phone.

The Episode Review

So Paper Girls moves beyond the source material, simply picking and choosing bits and pieces of the original source material, while instead crafting a brand new story for itself. In the process, we get some pretty bad dialogue.

Tiffany’s disdain that there are no black people inside the party is a disappointing inclusion. This feels out of character for what we’ve seen across this season thus far, and it’s especially egregious because everyone is friendly and absolutely fine with these girls gate-crashing this party, so it’s not even like race is an issue.

Not only that but why is Tiffany completely forgetting that KJ befriended her in the past with absolutely no issues? Is it simply that the older Tiffany wasn’t there? Others may disagree but I just don’t see why this line was even necessary.

Compared to the subtlety of episode 1, where our characters would hint at wisps of sexism, but leave that brewing in the background, now we’re just being told about it outright. But then we have a different writer for this episode so that may be why.

KJ’s sexuality is another point of contention, especially as the comics handle this so well. Within the panels of the comic, KJ experiences a flash to the future, where she notices her and Mac kissing on a rooftop. This causes KJ to be a little more guarded around her friend and explore her sexuality in a natural way. Personally I think this is a much more effective way of showing KJ’s struggle rather than what the writers have done here.

Given this was the longest episode of the season, there’s actually not a whole lot of plot development. Hopefully things pick up going forward but so far Paper Girls has been a bit of a disappointment.

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

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