When I saw the title of this episode, “She’s Come Undone,” I was instantly intrigued because the Wally Lamb book of the same title is one of my favorites. However, Lamb’s book is incredibly dark, so dark, in fact, that I couldn’t see how it would fit something like Finding Carter. The good news is that the show doesn’t take things to such extremes, though I’m not going to lie, it comes close.
The real question is: Who is the “she” in this equation? Is it Taylor, who’s still dealing with the effects of last week’s attack? Is it Elizabeth, who’s slowing watching Carter slip away? Is it Olivia, who nearly loses her life to drugs? The answer is probably all of the above. Maybe the episode should’ve been called “They’ve All Come Undone.”
The Teenage World
We start with a very dramatic intro: A passed-out Olivia is on the bathroom floor as Carter and Ben try to revive her. Just as Lori shows up to help, we flash back 10 hours, where the world seems like a much happier place to be.
While Carter and Taylor get ready to attend a “house concert” — which apparently involves going to someone’s house, listening to music all night, and sleeping on the lawn — Carter is secretly packing to spend her first night alone with Jared, even after Elizabeth warns her about the dangers of dating older men. Why Carter feels the need to lie to Elizabeth about her relationship with Jared, though it’s obvious Elizabeth knows, I have no idea. Teens are confusing.
And of course, Carter isn’t the only one keeping secrets. Taylor still isn’t ready to tell Max about the attack. As she tells Gabe, they reported the guy, and now she just wants to leave it in her past.
With that, the girls head off to the house concert. Only Carter ends up actually having to attend after Jared informs her that they must have miscommunicated because he has to work tonight. See, older men suck.
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At the house concert, Ben introduces everyone to his foster sister, Olivia, who we quickly learn is 21-days sober. So Ben thought it’d be a good idea to bring her to a party? Teens are confusing and stupid.
But she won’t be alone in the whole not-drinking thing because, after what Taylor went through, she’s understandably sticking to soda this evening.
However, when Carter shows up and Olivia hugs her, Ben senses that something is off. Liv’s mood went from about zero to 60 in the last five minutes. He immediately knows that she’s drunk or worse. Spoiler: He’s right. And within the next five minutes, he finds Olivia on a bedroom floor and enlists Carter to help him get her home.
Once she’s home and throwing up all of the bad things, Ben fills Carter in on his plan: He’s been saving money to get his sister into rehab. And let’s hope he’s got enough cash at this point because when Carter and Ben go to check on her, she’s locked the door.
They bust in just as we find ourselves back where we started the episode: Olivia is passed out. Thankfully, Lori shows up — words I never thought I’d write — and is able to give Olivia CPR and get her breathing again.
NEXT: The return of sane Lori
Suddenly, Carter gets a glimpse of the woman she grew up calling mom. And after she finds herself in Lori’s room looking at old photos, she decides to give Lori a chance to at least talk to her. It doesn’t take long for Lori to ask about Jared, and before she knows it, Carter is telling her ex-mom way more about her love life than her current-mom. Lori tells Carter to follow her heart and to trust herself.
With that in mind, Carter finds herself at the bar, where Jared has surprised her with a romantic dinner for two, followed by an overnight stay at his place. See, older men don’t always suck.
Back at the party, Damon tips Max off that something happened on the college trip, and Max wants answers from Taylor. And after he sees her dancing up a storm with Gabe, she finally tells him. And because Max is seriously the most level-headed teen ever, he says all the right things — “It’s not about me,” etc. So for now, the two of them are good.
Max and Gabe, however, are something else entirely. After Max thanks Gabe for being there for Taylor, we get this loaded exchange:
Gabe: “You know I’d do anything for Taylor.”
Max: “So I’m learning.”
Yeah, there’s a fight brewing there.
The Adult World
This week, the adult world pretty much consisted of Elizabeth texting David about how times flies and all of their kids are grown up. And because he sees how sad she is, Grant gives up his movie night with Reagan so that they can both help Elizabeth paint the basement. (On another note, Max is the fastest contractor in the world if this basement is already ready for paint.)
When Elizabeth steps away to get some pizza, she gives Grant the perfect opportunity to get his first kiss with Reagan while she discovers that Carter left her phone at home. And when she calls Taylor from it, she learns that Carter left the party to help Ben (read: go to Lori’s).
The next day, while cleaning up some of Carter’s things, Elizabeth discovers an old rock that Carter took from Lori. It’s clearly from Carter’s childhood. It’s painted with the words “Mommy loves Carter.” So of course, Elizabeth is instantly insecure that Carter could be reconnecting with Lori.
And matters are only made worse when Ben shows up to inform Carter that he’s taking his sister to rehab. As Elizabeth listens in, Carter admits that seeing Lori in a crisis was good for her. She hadn’t seen her like that in a long time.
And around and around we go on this parenting carousel.
What did you think of the episode? Hit the comments with your thoughts, or find me on Twitter @samhighfill.