At this point, there’s no difference between teens and adults in the Finding Carter universe. Teens are committing murder. Adults are lying to the cops. The only thing that separates these two groups at this point is the ability to drink legally.
And considering that we have two hours’ worth of drama to get through, let’s get right down to it.
Fresh out of jail on bail, Jared finds Carter to beg for her forgiveness. Yes, he threw her under the bus, but he knew she wouldn’t get in real trouble. After all, he has a daughter. And did he mention that Rick Barnes — drug dealer extraordinaire — threatened his daughter, which is why Jared started dealing for him? Also, he has a daughter, so he’s allowed to do bad things so long as he keeps mentioning that he has a daughter … right?
Wrong. And as soon as Elizabeth finds out that Jared’s lawyer made a deal that he would rat out everyone involved in Rick Barnes’ drug trade, Carter wants to make sure that Ben’s name will not be on that list.
Meanwhile, Max is cleaning up his apartment so that his mother can come stay with him and get back on her feet. See what I mean about blurring the lines between the teens and adults? Why Max is getting his mother’s bills in order is beyond me, but it’s not surprising that their situation doesn’t last long. Irresponsible mom decides to spend all her bill money on food, which really isn’t the worst thing, but it still isn’t great. And after one fight with her kid, she realizes she’s got to get out and get herself together. Whether she’ll actually do that is still to be determined.
Also returning home is David, who left his book tour to experience what Grant calls “the new normal.” What else would you call a room filled with your wife, your once-kidnapped daughter, your daughter’s kidnapper/your ex-lover, and your recently discovered son?
David takes zero time to adjust to being home before passing judgment on anything and everything. Within half an hour, he’s decided that Jared is 100 percent lying when he says he won’t give up Ben, and furthermore, Elizabeth has really screwed up when it comes to looking after the kids. Yeah, slow down, buddy. You just got here.
The only good thing David does is take his no-longer-a-secret son out for coffee and offer for them to finally get to know each other. The rest of the time, he just sucks. At least until Carter gives him a reality check and he goes begging for Elizabeth’s forgiveness.
After Crash shows up on Carter’s doorstep to “do the friend thing,” she heads off to call Jared and tell him that she can’t be in that relationship anymore. My favorite part? Jared asking, “Can I ask why?” UMMM YOU CAN, BUT DO YOU NEED TO? Honestly dude. I can’t even start with you.
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Not surprisingly, Jared then adds another bullet point to the “reasons why Carter shouldn’t be with him” list when he gives up Ben, which lands poor Ben in a jail cell. And despite the fact that Ben agrees to testify against Rick Barnes, the state is taking him away from Lori. It’s back to the system for Ben.
In an unrelated and somewhat thrown-in story line, Bird is off getting an abortion in the middle of all of this. Taylor goes with her. Gabe’s a good friend. That pretty much sums it up. (Perhaps they shouldn’t have tried to squeeze this in?)
After Carter talks to Crash — who informs her that he has a new girl, so it’s totally fine for her to talk to him about Jared — she visits Ben in juvie, who informs her that people like Jared get what’s coming to them. So, in other words, he’s been in juvie for 30 seconds and has already turned into a homicidal mastermind. Or so it seems.
NEXT: Murder … in the bar … with a bottle
From there, Carter heads to the source of the problem. On her way to confront Jared, she calls Crash — who was totally lying about having a girlfriend, by the way — and tells him that she has to take care of something. Crash immediately calls Max and says he’s worried about Carter, and he probably should be, considering that she’s alone with Jared right now.
Now that Carter’s broken up with Jared, he doesn’t care about Ben. He’s all “this is the way the world works,” trying to teach Carter about being an adult, but when she informs him that the “only place your little girl is gonna see you is in prison,” he grabs her arm. In return, she slaps him, which leads to the inevitable “shove that will accidentally result in head trauma.” With that, the first hour ends with Carter knocked out on the ground of the bar.
But that’s not the shocker. Instead, the shocker is how the next hour begins: Carter wakes up to find Lori at the bar … next to a very dead Jared. It seems someone hit Jared over the head with a bottle of alcohol. Carter, unable to remember anything, thinks it might’ve been her, but it’s Lori who confesses to the crime. Now the question is: Who’s she covering for?
After Carter gets stitches, she starts trying to piece together the mystery. Visiting Lori in jail, Carter finds something wrong with Lori’s story. Or rather, Crash finds something wrong. Lori claims that when she showed up at the bar, Jared was choking Carter, but there’s no signs of choking. And there’s another twist: Rick Barnes is out of jail and probably on the hunt for Ben, who by the way, has also gone missing. Exciting, right?
Turns out, Ben has found his way to Max’s place, and when Taylor gets there, she claims Max smells like alcohol. Really, Taylor? You’re the smart one! Put it together!
But it isn’t until Carter and Crash show up that Carter pieces it all together. Lori is covering for Max.
Way ahead of the girls, Max is paying a visit to Lori — this police station is real flexible with visits, considering Liz and David just left after informing Lori that they’re getting custody of Ben. Max wants to tell the truth, but Lori claims that after making so many mistakes in her life, this is the first good thing she’s done for Max, Taylor, and Carter. She asks him not to take that away from her.
And for once, Taylor agrees with Lori. After Max tells them exactly what happened: He showed up at the bar just in time to watch Jared shove Carter, after which he snapped and hit Jared over the head with a bottle. Lori then showed up, called 911, and told Max to leave. (Yeah, his fingerprints are definitely somewhere.)
Carter knows that this will never be over until Max tells the truth, but Taylor would much rather watch Lori rot, even despite the fact that they just had their first weird mother-daughter moment when Lori confessed that she wasn’t doing this for Max. She was doing this for Taylor, because “part of being a mom is making sacrifices.” Yeah, these relationships are so, so strange.
In the episode’s final moments, Ben confronts Rick Barnes and attempts to threaten him, which results in Ben ending up beaten on the side of the road. And the only person worse off than Ben is Max, who turns himself in at the police station. His final words to Taylor and Lori: “I’m sorry.”
To be fair, he should probably say that to Jared. Then again, Jared sucked.
What did you think of the finale? Surely Max can’t go away for this, right? His hair’s too pretty! And how long until Crash and Carter are back together? Hit the comments with your thoughts or find me on Twitter @samhighfill.