‘Paper Girls’ Season 1: Timeline And Comic Book Storyline, Explained

Amazon Prime’s newly released ‘time travel’ thriller “Paper Girls” has arrived with eight fresh new episodes. And we get just the right amount of teenage spice-ups, adventures with time shifts, and an exploratory cliffhanger in this final episode. Although they altered a little bit of Brian K. Vaughn’s original story in the series, they still didn’t forget to keep the essence of the origin. So let’s find out who started the displacement of the timeline. And who will even finish it?


Old Watch vs. STF

In the first season, we learn about the Old Watch and the STF underground. These are the two warring parties in the battle of time. The Old Watch, on the other hand, erases or terminates the memories of people stuck in a time loop just for the sake of their own prestige and supremacy. But STF members stand against the Old Watch to help these lost people return to their own world. These four girls unluckily fall victim to the cold war between these two sides, and in the end, we come to know who is really behind all this mess.

The Quilkin Institute

When little Tiff went to the future in 2019 and saw the Quilkin Institute through the internet, we wondered what could be the secret behind this institute, but in the final episode, after Prioress tells Tiff that she is going to be Dr. Quilkin, who made the Quiklin Institute, we get that the earlier glimpses of this institute we got were simply not to be ignored. Prioress says Tiff is the only one who can stop her adult self, Dr. Quiklin, from beginning the war of time. So it’s possible that old Tiffany is the one responsible for all of the destruction and death in the timeline.


Another thing to think about is Larry’s deciphered diary, which Little Tiff gives to adult Tiffany before her complete memory wipe. Little Tiff’s writing in the diary, “you invent time travel,” may trigger her future actions.

Time Travel Triggers Mac’s Death

When Grandfather compares the flow of time with Mac’s mixtape, he says that like every reel of a mixtape, if we unravel the nature of time, the quality of human life degrades like the quality of the music on the mixtape, and the result is the destruction of the world. So it can be said that if Mac had to endure time travel multiple times, then maybe that is the reason why she died of brain cancer.


Besides, the purple lightning in the sky, known as Time Folding, contains a huge gravitational force during each time jump. Mac’s cancer-causing body may be none other than this Folding’s powerful ultraviolet rays.

Is Mac Going to Live?

Whether or not time can actually be changed, this fact is highly disputed in fictional stories. The idea of predestination means that what has happened will happen again, and this particular time loop will be maintained. Though we see Tiffany as an adult realizing that their fate and troubles are predetermined and that they are now stuck in a loop. Still, younger Tiffany and the other girls believe that there’s still a possibility to bring back Mac’s deserved life.


The notable thing in this story is that the girls don’t hold back their grief for their past, but they have the spree of embracing the future’s progress and proving the formula of predestination wrong. They think they can change the future because the future is not predestined but what they make it. It remains to be seen whether the Mac can survive at all.

In Which Timeline Do Mac and KJ End Up?

At the end of the last episode, we see Erin and Tiff arrive in a wrong timeline where the drive-in theater, the movies playing in the theater, and the costumes of the people around them seem like it might be the seventies. However, it is not known in the first season which timeline Mac and KJ will end up in. But at a glance, you can remember that the Prioress wanted to send Tiffany to the future, so the machine that Mac and KJ entered for the first time could be a precursor to the future. And maybe in season 2, we’re going to get Mac and KJ in 2019 or even later in the timeline.

What Actually Happens In ‘Paper Girls’ Comics?

Written by Brian K Vaughn and designed by Cliff Chiang, the comic book “Paper Girls” doesn’t differ much from the show. In both the comics and the series, the story begins with the paper girls delivering paper in the early hours of November 1st, 1988. And proceeding to what happens next, we can make some distinctions from the comics.

We still haven’t seen any Kaiju battles in the first season, whereas the comics have the most exciting fight between two water bears. But looking at the work of visual effects in season 1, it can be assumed that bringing the Kaiju fight would have been very expensive. But if the viewership of “Paper Girls” continues to increase, I hope we can get something more exciting in the next season.


We don’t even get to see any clones of Erin from the comics in the series. Yes! The comic novel has clones too. Although adult Erin’s uncomfortable inertia, which is a defining quality of her character, is something we might never want to see in a clone again. So it is wise not to include clones in the series.

Although in the comics and the series, we have seen Mac’s death in 1992, maybe in the next season of the series, some transformative events might happen, and we will see Mac survive.


Apart from that, KJ’s lesbian relationship is not a spice added to the series but is actually derived from the comics. Even in the comics, we see Mac and KJ getting close.

The Prioress of the comics is actually a group of Old Watch soldiers, but the appearance of the Prioress in the series is detailed and interesting to see.


Final Words: What Works For ‘Paper Girls’ and What Does Not?

“Paper Girls” is undoubtedly a good sci-fi drama that deals with various new aspects of time travel and predestination. As we get into the thrill of the story at the beginning, we see the consequences starting to get more complicated.  So even if the visual effects are not up to the mark, we don’t leave it in the middle of the series. But some of the episodes in between are based on mere dialogue, which disrupts the mood of the story a bit.

However, the girls’ self-understanding and their differences from their adult versions are interesting to watch. But the problem comes in the final episode. Instead of cold excitement, the final episode gives us the feeling of a very generic drama ending. It may seem a bit rushed to finish.


But overall, you can have a good time with some great 80s and 90s nostalgia. Old songs and old movie references are bound to give you good vibes. At the end of the series, as we enter the 70s with Erin and Tiff holding hands while listening to David Bowie’s “Golden Years,” we’re left with more nostalgia for Season 2 and expectations for some hardcore thrillers.

Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda hails from a medical background, yet her journey is to cross the boundaries of medicine and survive in the cinematic world. The surrealistic beauty of cinema and art has attracted her from a very young age. She loves to write poems, songs, and stories, but her dream is to write films someday. She has also worked as a painter, but nothing attracts her more than cinema. Through her writings, she wants to explore the world of cinema more and more and take her readers on the same ride.

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