There are a couple of party stragglers that wander in after Emily has opened fire on everyone else in the room. Shana and JennaBot are there because Shana heard Coachprah is stopping by and she really wants to make a good impression on her. Also, Jake is the arm candy of some girl we don’t know but who I thought was Samara for a hot second, and I was shocked by how much I wanted to see Paige throw down on her earing-crafting ass. Aria is the one who does the honors, though, on not-Samara, because when she told Jake she had family game night tonight, she thought he’d just go Out of Town like Holden and wait for her to call for whatever Tang Soo Do thing.
Paige and Emily wander out to the dock to have a little chat about Olympic swimming school, and this conversation is a little too close to home for me, if you want to know the truth. I’m forever a Paige McCullers: juuust this side of socially awkward, tripping over my own good intentions, weirdly intense about pretty much everything I love, trying and trying and trying to figure out my most authentic life, and always the knowledge that the only reason the darkness didn’t get me is because I fucking hate to lose. But in this one instance, I am an Emily Fields. That thing where you put all of the pressure of the universe onto your own shoulders and when you start buckling underneath it, projecting that pressure onto the people closest to you, like they’re the ones who are going to be disappointed if you fail, when all they want is for you to be happy because that’s how love works.
Emily: You get why I’m pissed, right? You gave me hope, Paige. Actual hope. So the fall back to reality hurt even worse than if I’d just kept on believing I was broken.
Paige: OK, but in all fairness, I thought there was hope. I can’t imagine what it would be like for a person to say no to you. I want you to be happy.
Emily: You want you to be happy.
Paige: I don’t understand why those things have to be mutually exclusive.
Emily: I’m just going to say it out loud: What’s going to happen to us when you go to college next year on the west coast and I stay here getting murdered at some state school?
Paige: It depends on whether or not you believe the truth of me and you, or the truths everyone else will lay on you like the law because they think their experiences are universal.
Emily: We’re not going to be together when we go to college.
Paige: Clearly you saying that thing to me has been coming since the beginning of the season, but that doesn’t make it any less like a pocket knife to my soul. But I’ll tell you one thing that might ease your suffering: This show is never graduating any of us.
Emily: Maybe later we can celebrate your perfection with a hoe-down, but for now I just need to wallow in my misery, OK?
Paige: That’s cool. Go on inside and get some cake. I’m going to hang around out here with Jake and probably one of us will murder Jenna.