Episode 2 — “A Star is Torn”
Let’s do a quick rivalry recap: there’s Rainer versus Jordan, Alexis versus Paige (although Paige doesn’t totally know it yet), and Jake versus Rainer (although Rainer doesn’t totally know it yet). But what fun are three feuds when you can have four? Nina (Rainer’s mom, who is secretly sleeping with his ex-best bro, Jordan) is embroiled in battle with a little celebrity blogger, Barrett Hopper (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett), whose YouTube videos appear to run the town’s tabloid scene — our own millennial Hedda Hopper.
Very quickly into the episode, we are reminded just how famous Paige is getting (example: “She’s gonna be a big star!”), but Paige still is prioritizing her education over all the glitz and glamour because she is #humble. She meets with Nina to tell her that she refuses to drop out of school, to which Nina replies, “Being a movie star isn’t a choice.” While Paige is complaining about becoming too famous to finish her econ class, her poor friend Cassie is getting herself into some trouble with an unnamed and unknown older man whose house she keeps visiting. It’s clear she is doing something for him, but we don’t know what until the end of the episode, when we realize she is cleaning his house, topless, fulfilling a strange fetish that I’m sure exists in L.A. Later, we learn that this sketch man is not only a Somebody in Hollywood, he is Nina’s former boss and they still have major beef.
Speaking of beef: Tangey is stirring a pot of her own by telling her ex, Rainer, that Jordan is “ten times the man” he will ever be. Ouch. Definitely fresh wounds all around, but we still don’t know WHY they hate each other so much. It’s becoming clear that Rainer is very self-absorbed, enough so not to notice that his ex-best bro and current nemesis is consistently sleeping with Rainer’s own mom in a totally creepy “Stacey’s Mom” kind of way.
Things aren’t going so well for Paige either, as she tries to “rip the tags off” her budding relationship with Jake. They make googly eyes at each other from across the kitchen for what feels like hours until Jake cuts it off clean — to save his friend (and unspoken love) from the stress of dealing with a boyfriend while also transitioning from a nobody to a very famous person. Paige is getting really stressed because she has to tell her parents that she is about to be Famous, but is scared that they will disown her for putting school on the back burner. While attending a super swanky event (her real public debut), Paige’s flirtation with Rainer reaches a head when she realizes that she can trust him to look out for her during this major life change. (They make a secret hand motion to signify when Paige feels overwhelmed and needs Rainer to step in — sweet.) It’s only a matter of time before the tabloids pick up on this growing on-screen friendship.
Paige finally spills the beans after her parents catch her coming home from the premiere, which went splendidly, as she is introduced as the “new face in Hollywood”. Of course her mom is a huge fan of the book, and her dad is not so happy (which I get but, like, come on dad). She promises them she will balance school and fame (ha!) and as she does, a girl approaches her table, and asks for Paige’s autograph. “Paige, this is incredible! You are famous already!” her mom gushes, ecstatically.
So, how “famous in love” is Paige Townsen on a scale of Disney Channel extra (1) to Jennifer Lawrence (10)?
4 — She signed her first autograph! Although at this point, she is mostly known as August, her Locked character, and not as Paige herself, so she still has a ways to go.