If this show teaches us anything, it’s that being a teenager is hard. You’re insecure. You’re not sure what you want out of life. You don’t have enough freedom. You don’t have enough guidance. There are so many emotions! (You get the picture.)
But also, it teaches us to never, EVER, let a frat boy “refill” your drink at a party. Seriously. Remember that one.
The Teenage World
Thankfully for Carter, Jared’s moral compass is a bit skewed, so although they’re no longer a couple, he’s still allowing a 17-year-old to work at his bar. If all she has to complain about right now is getting the silent treatment, then she should really stop complaining.
But because Carter can’t go more than five minutes without another huge problem, she witnesses Ben messing with the credit card reader at the bar. In other words, he’s tech savvy, but he’s also dumb. I mean honestly. Did you really decide to do this while Carter is here?
However, Ben claims that he’s not affecting the bar’s bottom line because the bank covers any losses. Then he pulls the classic brotherly move of threatening his sister not to mess with him. Siblings are fun.
Speaking of siblings, Carter’s good sibling, Taylor, is packing for a prospective students weekend at a nearby college. She’s going with Damon and Gabe, which leads her to tell Max all about Gabe’s feelings for her. But don’t worry, Max is literally the most chill and forgiving – cough, Crash — teenager to ever exist. Max is all “I can’t really blame him for being into you. As long as he’s the only one doing the feeling, I’m cool.” But is he really? More on that later.
Back at the bar, Carter is trying to help plan this week’s rave when she decides to rat Ben out … without really ratting Ben out. She tells Jared that the credit card reader “looks different.” It’s a smart move until a pissed off Ben goes to Elizabeth and informs her that her daughter is working at a bar.
So yeah, it takes about three minutes for Elizabeth to get in her car and find Carter at work. For some reason, Jared admits that he knows Carter’s age — she’s a cop, dude — but Carter assures her mother that it’s all her fault because she has a fake I.D. And yet, when given an other opportunity to rat out Ben, this time for making fake I.D.s, Carter once again proves she’d do really well in prison by keeping her mouth shut.
As for Elizabeth, she obviously wants Carter to quit. But because she’s Carter, she refuses. And to add on to the drama, Carter calls David and asks for his help on the situation. She also then informs him that, thanks to their visit, Ben and Lori passed the social worker visit. (Yeah, Elizabeth just overheard all of this.)
NEXT: College sucks
Over at Langfield University, Taylor and Gabe are contemplating their lives next year while Damon is trying to reinvent himself (as a British guitarist?).
After finishing up their college tour, the tour guide invites Taylor and Gabe to a frat party, which should’ve been red flag number one. No respecting college guy invites high schoolers to a party (unless they have an ulterior motive).
Later that night, at the frat party — which has a nicer bar than any frat party you will ever attend — Taylor finds herself alone with the tour guide when he offers to get her another drink. DON’T DO IT, TAYLOR. But of course, she does. And moments later, she’s drugged and in the tour guide’s room. Just as I start to panic that this show is going to way too dark a place, Gabe busts in and saves the day. (Although, to be honest, Taylor probably has whiplash from the way he jerked her up off that bed.)
Gabe immediately gets Taylor in the car, punches out the guy who attacked her, and begins the drive home, where he promises not to tell Max. Suddenly, Taylor could be seeing Gabe in another light. (If anyone else here is a Vampire Diaries fan, you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say that Taylor hugging Max and thanking Gabe reminded me of this season 2 moment.)
Back home, Carter’s rave loses its venue, and Jared gives her until the end of the day to find a new location. But she’s too cool not to come through, so once again, she impresses Jared.
However, Elizabeth is less than impressed. Telling Carter that she overheard her conversation with David, Elizabeth feels like everyone has been lying to her. So from here on out, Carter promises to be an open book. And in exchange, Elizabeth buys her a new pair of booties, because when it comes to working on your feet, those are really the only heels that won’t kill you.
Meanwhile, Jared decides that Stevie switched out the card reader, which forces Carter to rat out Ben to save her friend. But once Ben reveals that he only did it to get some money for his unidentified female friend, Carter asks Jared to let it go. By some miracle, Jared promises to keep it between him and Ben. And as for Jared and Carter, “I’ve never tried harder in my life to not like someone so much. I give up. You’re my kryptonite.” Well played, Jared. (Spoiler: They kiss.)
As for Jared and Ben, well, Jared pays a visit to Ben’s house to inform him that one of these days, he’s going to ask Ben for a favor, and he’s going to deliver. Oh, and he tells Ben not to tell Carter. (Wait, don’t tell Carter about the deal she already knows about? Or about the probably illegal stuff you’re involved in? I knew a guy with that hair couldn’t be trusted.)
The Adult World (with Max)
With David out on his book tour, Elizabeth finds herself a bit overwhelmed with all the drama. Her solution? Helping Max demolition the basement. And while they’re at it, the two of them have a very genuine — and slightly inappropriate? — conversation about life. It’s not inappropriate in terms of content, but I just can’t imagine my mother talking to one of my 17-year-old friends about her marriage. It seems like a lot to be putting on a child.
Regardless, Elizabeth tells Max about her issues with David and Carter — as well as how she used to work at a jazz club when she was 17 — and Max tells Elizabeth about his Taylor-related worries. But Elizabeth reassures Max, and by the end of the day, she gets a call from David, and the two of them agree to be more open with each other.
So maybe Max has a future in marriage counseling?
What did you all think of the episode? Hit the comments with your thoughts or find me on Twitter @samhighfill.