PEN15 season 1 finale recap: Dance


The first season of PEN15 culminates with Anna and Maya’s fights coming to a boiling point. They’ll have to be honest with each other or risk losing their friendship.

The final episode of PEN15 season one starts with the aftermath of Anna finding out her parents are getting divorced and Maya getting her first period.

At school, Maya and Anna are both pretty somber as they stand at their lockers. Maya apologizes to Anna for yelling at her and Anna says she thought she’d have heard from Maya sooner. Anna says it was a pretty awful day for her. Maya responds by saying she had an awful day too. Neither goes into why their days were awful.

Down the hall, Heather waves at Anna. Anna, after saying that she guesses that she and Maya can’t do everything together, after all, goes over to talk to Heather.

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Maya goes over and stands near the group of girls and listens. She hears Heather talking about Anna’s parents getting divorced. Heather, whose parents are divorced, tries to make Anna feel better by telling her things will be ok, even though it feels like the world is ending.

After Heather walks away with her friends, Anna is left standing by herself with Maya a few feet away. Rather than say anything, Maya grabs her stuff and leaves.

At lunch, Maya stands with her tray trying to figure out where she’s going to sit. She winds up sitting next to Sam while Anna is across the cafeteria, talking to Heather. Maya, annoyed, tells Sam and his friends that Anna told Heather about the divorce before she told Maya. That’s when Gabe brings up a rumor that’s going around that Heather is going to the dance that night with Anna (instead of Anna going with Maya).

Maya is furious. Sam tries to diffuse the situation by saying that at least they’re all going together as a group (as Jenna slides into the seat on the other side of him). No one at the table, Sam included, seems to like Jenna very much. Maya takes her tray and leaves.

In the bathroom, Maya changes the wads of toilet paper she’s using in her underwear. But when she tries to flush the old toilet paper, the toilet won’t flush. Maya starts to panic and decides to just leave.

When she leaves the stall, she runs into Jan (the custodian). Jan, seeing that Maya is struggling with having her first period, gives Maya a tampon.

Back home, Maya turns the tampon over in hand in the bathroom. This cuts to her on the computer with FlyMiamiBro, telling him that she wishes he was there. She’s not on the computer for long when the doorbell rings. Anna and her mom are there so the girls can start their prep for the dance.

Anna and Maya sit in their swimsuits in the bathtub as their mom’s talk them through shaving their legs for the first time.

As they shave, Maya just stares at Anna ominously. After asking what time Anna was going to get to Sam’s (with Anna giving no clear answer), Maya says that she heard that Anna was going to be getting ready for the dance at Heather’s house.

Anna tries to say that she was going to maybe take pictures there and spend half the time with Heather and half at Sam’s. Maya calls Anna a liar and says that Heather is Anna’s best friend now. Anna tries to say that they’re not best friends, it’s just that Heather is being nice to her right now. Before they can fight more, Yuki tells them it’s time to get out.

This cuts to Sam’s house where Sam, Jenna, Jafeer, Gabe, Anna and Maya awkwardly stand as their parents take pictures. Anna and Maya are still arguing through the session.

At the dance, Anna goes to hang out with Heather and her friends and leaves Maya alone.

During the dance, Sam keeps getting distracted looking at Maya and not paying attention to dancing with Jenna. Brendan comes in, dressed in black and wearing a spiked dog collar around his neck. He asks Anna to save him a dance, but before she can answer, she gets sidetracked by Alex making his entrance.

Jenna finally gets fed up with Sam and tells him to go dance with Maya since he’s clearly so obsessed with her. He goes over to Maya and they awkwardly dance next to each other. Eventually, a slow song comes on and they dance.

Elsewhere, Anna works up the courage to go over to Alex and ask him to dance. Once she asks him, he bluntly says no.

As soon as Alex walks away, Heather’s friends come up to Anna to ask what she said to Alex (after all, Heather and Alex used to be an item). Her friends tell Anna it was messed up of her to talk to Alex when Heather was so nice to Anna. That’s when Heather confesses that the only reason she had invited Anna was that her mom made her since she heard about Anna’s parents breaking up.

They walk away and Anna is devastated. She blinks as she holds back tears.

As Sam and Maya dance, Sam finally confesses that he’s FlyMiamiBro. Maya breaks away from him and makes for the door. She stops short and turns.

The lights transition and the other students disappear as Anna and Maya share a choreographed dance to Des’ree’s “You Gotta Be.” In the end, they each ask that the other not to leave them. They strike a pose and the episode cuts back to the real dance—with Anna and Maya friends again and dancing together.

As they dance, Brandt comes up and calls Maya UGIS again. This time, she spits back a furious insult. He backs down, saying he was just joking, and offers to finger her. She agrees and drags Anna long when she goes to meet him in a closet.

In the closet, Maya pulls Anna to a corner as Brandt stands waiting. Maya doesn’t want to do it and asks Anna to do it, but Anna doesn’t think she’s ready to do it either.

Anna offers second base (with both of them) as an alternative. Brandt agrees. Brandt awkwardly gropes Anna and Maya’s breasts simultaneously. After an awkward (yes, it’s worth reemphasizing how awkward it is) few seconds, Brandt leaves. On his way out, he tells them to wait a minute before they follow and he says “I love you.” Maya responds in kind, but Anna just mumbles.

After he’s gone, both girls freak out.

Later, Anna and Maya sit in Maya’s bed going over everything that happened at the dance (including filling Anna in on Sam being FlyMiamiBro). They both feel older now, having together gotten felt up for the first time, and Anna wonders aloud when they’ll get their periods. Maya doesn’t take the opportunity to fill Anna in.

Instead, Maya, asks why Anna called Heather the night she found out her parents were getting divorced. Anna tells Maya that she only called Heather because Maya didn’t answer and Heather was the only person in their grade with divorced parents.

Maya initially doesn’t believe that Anna tried to call her and points out that there’s someone else other than Heather with divorced parents. They argue briefly before Anna yells at Maya that it’s not about Maya, it’s about the saddest thing that has ever happened to Anna. This finally hits home with Maya, who wraps Anna in a hug as Anna starts to cry.

Maya holds Anna and apologizes.

As they calm down, Maya goes to her closet and pulls out the cigarette she’s had stashed. They agree to go “take a walk” with it.

They sneak out and go sit by a shed with their cigarette and two lighters. Maya lights the cigarette and cautiously puts it to her lips and takes a couple of small drags before passing it to Anna. She says she likes it.

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Anna takes a few drags and starts coughing too. Season 1 of PEN15 ends with Maya’s arm around Anna’s shoulders as the two friends sit outside.

What preteen issues do you hope PEN15 tackles next season? Let us know your PEN15 thoughts in the comments.