Prime Video’s “Paper Girls” is based on the comic book series of the same name, which is written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Cliff Chiang. Season 1 follows Tiffany Quilkin (Camryn Jones), Erin Tieng (Riley Lai Nelet), Mac Coyle (Sofia Rosinsky), and KJ Brandman (Fina Strazza) as they are pulled into a time-traveling war while delivering papers. They are relentlessly pursued by the Old Watch, who want to return everyone who is out of their timeline back to their original time period and erase their memory. Meanwhile, the STF wants to help the titular group upend the Old Watch’s mission. So let’s find out the fate of these “Paper Girls” at the end of Season 1 and what we can expect from Season 2.
The Grandfather Finally Meets The Paper Girls
Juniper Plimpton (Celeste Arias) tries to send a distress signal to her STF contact. Tiffany finds out that the STF uses walkie-talkies to communicate across space and time and that Old Watch can’t trace that. So, she pulls out her own walkie-talkie and informs Juniper that Heck (Daniel Rashid) and Naldo (William Bennett) have that edition of the device because they stole it from Erin back in 1988. So, Juniper, KJ, Tiffany, Erin, Mac, Larry (Nate Corddry), and Adult Tiffany (Sekai Abenì) huddle around the folding to try and establish contact with whoever has that walkie-talkie now. They get a brief response and realize that it’s Heck and Naldo. Juniper tells them to bring in a rescue team to get the civilians out of there and get a jump on the Old Watch. What they hear back is Mac telling Heck and Naldo (back in ’88) that they’re coming to get the other walkie-talkie.
Tiffany realizes that the day they were abducted, the message they heard was from Juniper. KJ says that everything that’s unfolding in front of them has already happened. Mac says that that means there’s no rescue because, as Tiffany puts it, Heck and Naldo got this message, and they still ended up dying. Adult Tiffany says that they are essentially in a time-loop, i.e., a predestination paradox where events in the future trigger events in the past, causing them to repeat endlessly. As per Mac, there’s no way to alter this loop. Erin thinks that if they tell Heck and Naldo to abort the mission, then things will happen differently, and she tries to warn them too. KJ promises Mac that they’re going to figure things out. Mac doesn’t quite believe her and runs back into Larry’s barn. Larry points out that the Old Watch is here to get them.
KJ goes after Mac and finds her caressing a goat. Mac puts her hand on KJ’s and thanks her for being the way she is. If it isn’t very obvious already, KJ’s reaction illustrates that she has developed feelings for Mac. She withdraws her hand away from Mac, and that infuriates her, and she goes back into the house. There, she finds out that Prioress (Adina Porter) has already arrived. Erin finds Larry getting all existential. KJ walks in on Mac and Prioress having a conversation, and it seems like she has convinced Mac that the Old Watch really wants to send them home, unharmed. So, she gives up all the information about their past to Prioress, and she takes them to meet the Grandfather (Jason Mantzoukas), who is listening to Mac’s mixtape. He tells them that he’s going to return them to their original time period. KJ requests him to send them to the future to find a cure for Mac’s cancer.
The Girls Agree To Go With The Old Watch
Erin and Tiffany notice that a Pterodactyl is circling the farm. Adult Tiffany says that that is their cue to leave and orders the girls to get in. The Grandfather uses (and essentially destroys) the mixtape to explain that the STF is installing new events in the Stony Stream time loop (instead of keeping it intact, like the way it was originally) and causing its decay. The more they do it, the closer they get to the unraveling of time itself, thereby leading everyone to the end of the universe. While Juniper gets pulled away by the Old Watch (I am guessing here), the Grandfather explains that he and his team are fighting to maintain the timeline and stop the universe from imploding. It’s a roundabout way of saying that he isn’t taking Mac into the future to cure her cancer. Mac accepts her fate and requests him to scrub her memory extra clean.
Adult Tiffany says that she doesn’t want to go back to her old life with no memory of time travel. Tiffany, knowing that that’s inevitable, writes down “you invent time travel” and gives it to Adult Tiffany. She gets out of the car to join Tiffany and Erin, but is beamed up by the Old Watch. KJ, Mac, and the Grandfather get into another argument about what is right and what is wrong about what the Old Watch and the STF are doing. When Grandfather tries to force them to go back to their time period, Larry intervenes and threatens to kill his Pterodactyl. KJ and Mac run to Erin and Tiffany, whose big plan is to apparently stand there and look at what is going on. Grandfather orders Tessa (the Pterodactyl) to eat Larry, and she does it happily. Erin, Tiffany, KJ, and Mac run into the house’s basement. Prioress and Grandfather go searching for them.
Mac admits that she’s sick. They share a light moment, but Prioress and Tessa come knocking, threatening to tear the house down and take them. KJ and Mac try to do the whole “we plan to sacrifice ourselves so that you can live” shtick. Tiffany says that they’ve survived because they’ve stuck together. KJ immediately realizes that they are the titular paper girls and they should stick together, and they can’t change that now. As if two seconds ago, she wasn’t saying the exact opposite of that. Anyway, they hear Tessa roaring outside and decide to surrender themselves to the Old Watch together. After doing so, we see that they’ve been taken to some freaky floating construction which is being circled by not just one Pterodactyl, but multiple ones. Which can only mean that the Old Watch is lying about maintaining a timeline because they’re clearly breaking it by using prehistoric animals in a different time period.
‘Paper Girls’ Season 1: Ending Explained – What Year Did Erin And Tiffany Land In?
They talk for a while before Prioress enters and asks Tiffany to come with her. Erin, Mac, and KJ intervene and say that if they plan on taking her, she needs to take them with her too. Prioress agrees to take all of them with her. On their way to the hangar, Prioress explains that the time-traveling war has been made possible due to the creation of the Quilkin Institute. She says that this is their one chance to save Mac from her imminent death. She then reveals that they’ve got a folding in the building that they can control and send ships through it. She thinks that if Tiffany can convince her future self to not start this war, then this cycle of death and destruction can come to an end. Soldiers of the Watch arrive, but Prioress subdues them and tells the girls to escape.
In what’s possibly the stupidest moment in the entirety of “Paper Girls” Season 1, KJ decides to hang back for no reason. She goes to Prioress to tell her that she’s going to undo everything and whatnot. Prioress obviously gets distracted and gets shot. She then uses her last breath to shoot the soldier who shot her, giving some more time for KJ to escape. But, guess what she does? She still hangs around. So, naturally, everyone except Mac comes out of the ship to get her back in there and help Prioress in the process. However, they’re too late, and the door closes in on Tiffany and Erin. Prioress activates the ship, and Mac and KJ leave. This moment is shot and written in a way that should ideally make you feel sad for the girls since they are getting separated again, but it doesn’t work. Because the writing, the editing, and even the acting are so supremely stupid that you can’t help but think that this team deserves to face more hurdles.
Before the Grandfather arrives, Prioress manages to get Erin and Tiffany out of there too. Grandfather kills Prioress. Erin and Tiffany land in a cornfield. They assume they are in the future because that’s where they were supposed to go. But they hear noises. They follow the sounds and end up in a drive-in theater. Now, going by the David Bowie song that’s playing (Golden Years) and the movie that’s screening (“The Longest Yard,” featuring Burt Reynolds), they are either in 1975 or 1974, because that’s when the song and the movie came out, respectively. Erin realizes that they have messed up big time and that they have to find a way to make things right again. But, since nothing happens randomly in a show, maybe “Paper Girls” Season 2 will show us that they’ve been sent there for a reason. What’s in the ’70s, though? Well, that’s for Erin and Tiffany to find out.
“Paper Girls” is a 2022 Drama Thriller series created by Stephany Folsom.