It B Over
Episode 8 of Paper Girls starts this finale with Jennifer attempting to send a distress signal out to 1988, warning about the Old Watch. Now, given Naldo is still in that time period, they manage to connect with one another.
Are the past events connected to the future?
As they communicate, the kids are excited about getting their lives back, giving out the coordinates to the 1999 Folding date. Only, Mac is the one who speaks back, telling them they’re getting their stuff back. With horror, the kids realize this is one big time-loop. The events in the future trigger events in the past, meaning there’s no changing anything.
Mac realizes she’s always destined to die and has trouble processing that news. Also notice how everything is now pink when it wasn’t beforehand? Anyway, when KJ catches up with Mac, they find themselves face to face with the Prioress.
What deal does The Prioress offer the kids?
She offers them salvation; a way back to their time period in exchange for their minds being wiped. Naturally, Mac is all over that idea. However, there’s someone they need to meet first – the Grandfather.
The Grandfather echoes the Prioress’ plan but KJ throws a curveball his way. She wants to go to the future first and pick up a cure for Mac’s cancer. That’s certainly not going to fly, as the Grandfather points out that the STF are “recording over and over” to cause the timeline to degrade and spiral, with it likely to ominously snap in the future. Essentially, the end of the universe. And part of that comes from Mac always dying when she’s supposed to.
Do the pterosaurs actually show up?
Outside, Tiffany notices a pterosaur flying overhead (finally! That’s only taken 7 episodes for them to show up) and decides they should leave. Realizing that their minds are about to be wiped, young Tiffany writes a note for her older self on the book, telling her that she invents time travel. It comes just in time, as she’s whisked up and disappears.
Mac and KJ change their mind about having their minds wiped, but when the Prioress points a gun at them, Larry steps up and shoots toward Tessa (the Pterosaur). Eventually he holds the Grandfather up at gunpoint but he meets a messy end when the dino gobbles him up.
So it seems like the timeline has well and truly changed, so how do the kids make it back to this time without Larry’s help? We’ll have to wait and see!
Anyway, in private Mac reveals the truth to the other kids about her condition, and how she’s going to die of cancer. This actually brings the four closer together, as they go over their options and decide to team up and face what’s to come.
How do the kids escape the Old Watch?
With that, the four confront the Old Watch and find themselves whisked up onto the Cathedral, awaiting their fate. The Prioress appears and demands Tiffany come with her. The others refuse to be left alone, so they all head together, where they’re given an intriguing proposition – to save Mac’s life.
There are numerous escape pods and a “controlled” Folding too, which allows them to jump to different periods of time. The Prioress wants to use this to try and change the future. The Prioress is shot though, prompting Erin to use the insects to try and heal her.
When Tiffany joins, they end up separated from Mac and KJ who are launched in their escape pod to parts unknown.
Of course, the Grandfather is not happy and marches on their location. However, The Prioress recovers enough to set up another pod and sends Erin and Tiffany on their way. They appear to be heading to the same timeline.
How does Paper Girls season 1 end?
The Prioress is convinced that they can change things, pointing out that Tiffany is the doctor and she could be the key to this. Unfortunately, Grandfather doesn’t take too kindly to this betrayal and lets the Prioress die.
As the episode closes out, Erin and Tiffany wander through the trees and find themselves in a very different timeline. But where are KJ and Mac? We’ll have to wait and see.
The Episode Review
So the final episode bows out Paper Girls’ first season with an indifferent shrug, although there are some glimmers of promise in the future. Although this show is based on the graphic novel of the same name, it’s far removed from the source material, especially this late in the game.
It’s a shame too because the first episode hints that this is going to be a faithful adaptation before it just completely careers off track and marches to the beat of its own drum.
As I’ve said in previous recaps, there’s nothing wrong with that – Watchmen and Umbrella Academy also did this while keeping the core essence of their themes intact. Paper Girls though, does not.
Everything here looks rather cheap and the colours are muted; a far cry from the vibrant art and fantastical worlds in the book. While I appreciate this has been renewed for a second season, it’s fair to say it’s going to be very, very different to the comic.
As a standalone time travel story, even those who haven’t read the book will find some things to like here. The girls in particular are great, and there’s enough development for each of them to really take to their stories.
Beyond that though, the actual plot is pretty formulaic and the pacing is really rather slow too, which is surprising given how short these episodes are.
Ultimately, this is another book that’s been changed from the source material but the end result here is far inferior to the graphic novel. Given how many other time travel shows there are on the small screen, Paper Girls comes up short, which is a real shame as this had a lot of potential.