On the first season of MTV’s grounded teen drama Finding Carter, a girl abducted in her childhood found herself struggling to accept the family that had lost her. When she finally came around to feeling like she’d found her real kin, her fake mother—the one who abducted her, at least—went and abducted her again in the season finale.
What’s next for Carter and the rest of the Wilson family in the wake of her disappearance? That’s the question on everyone’s mind on the eve of Season Two, which premieres on March 31. Showrunner Emily Whitesell has come on board for the new season, and in addition to premiering the new trailer, she teased EW five things about what’s coming up next on Finding Carter‘s emotionally twisted ride.
1. Everyone will feel the repercussions of the heavy first season.
Abductions, shootings, arrests, theft—the first season wasn’t the lightest of years for a group of regular high schoolers, and Whitesell says the heavy dramatics will have their after-effects. “When I watched season one for the first time, I thought there’s so much great stuff in here, but in a weird way I thought we needed to slow down a bit and let this stuff affect people,” she tells EW. “In season 2, you’re feeling the difference in the characters. The way these kids have lived their lives in this scared way, with their mom on edge, becoming a cop because of this abduction … if this isn’t going to affect them, then I don’t know why we’re doing it.”
2. Taylor is not okay.
Chief among the emotionally evolved is Taylor, who’s perhaps the most changed in the season premiere. “This season is very much Carter’s, but it’s also a huge season for the sisters together,” Whitesell continues. “Taylor’s confused, upset, and you’ll see her starting to act out on this behavior, not understanding what’s happening to her. And Carter, because she’s so different from Taylor in so many ways personality-wise, is more equipped to handle that and help Taylor get through that. I thought it’d be a great juxtaposition dramatically to see how tough Carter is—she’s got a real tough skin, and Taylor simply does not.”
3. Viewers will get to know Lori better.
It’s easy to malign Lori for, well, abducting a child, but despite her antagonism, viewers will come to understand her this season. “We do love to have a villain, but it’s very complicated because she was good to Carter,” Whitesell explains. “She’s part of her biology. So Lori will play an enormous role, and we’re going to do a big story on mental illness. Carter really is going to try to wrap her mind around understanding her and even trying to help her.” Even so, it’s hard to imagine how Carter will sympathize with Lori after her second abduction—but Whitesell says Lori “truly believes that when the truth comes out, people will start to understand what she’s done.”
4. Elizabeth is redeemed, but it’s not an easy road.
Will Elizabeth face repercussions for letting Carter slip through her fingers? Not quite, and Whitesell says the trouble with Elizabeth’s professional life stems back to her being on her daughter’s case in the first place. “We had to pull back and have the case taken away from her,” says Whitesell. “She never would’ve had that case to begin with.” Enter: another entity that’ll give the case a “bit more of a realistic turn.” We’ll see Elizabeth back in the field this year, though only when her police stories coincide with her family arc.
5. It’s as much about the parents as it is about the children.
Elizabeth’s mother comes into play more this year as motherhood takes the thematic center stage. Viewers will also meet Ofe’s two dads, and something happens with Bird’s parents that’ll change her status quo. “A big theme of ours is parenting, but another theme is teenagers making families if their own family isn’t perfect,” Whitesell says.
BONUS: 6. It’s not all darkness and drama.
Despite the emotions running as wild as Crash without a curfew, the new season won’t necessarily have you reaching for the Kleenex every five seconds. Country-club parties and a giant camping trip will provide some much needed lightness mixed in with the heavier moments.
Finding Carter returns on March 31 at 10 p.m. on MTV; season 1 is available to binge watch on MTV.com.