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'Finding Carter' react: Elizabeth's affair gets outed

Season 1 | Episode 8 | “Half Baked” | Aired Aug 19, 2014

Well, we knew it was only a matter of time before Elizabeth and Kyle’s affair came to light. Of course, who knew it would take eight episodes? After Grant and Gabe overheard Elizabeth and Kyle talking about their affair, it had to be sooner rather than later.

This week, no time is wasted getting down to business. Elizabeth tries to offer Grant some lunch, and the act of kindness is met with a vitriolic “I hate you!” Grant runs off to Max’s for a little escape. Max and Taylor are in the middle of a make-out session; Max almost pretends not be home because, as he says in what is easily the best line of the episode (aren’t the best ones always Max’s?), “Shhh … I’ve been getting a lot of Mormons.”

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As an aside from the affair drama, this scene is also the first of several this week in which Max hints at thinking he’s not good enough for Taylor. He’s adorably protective of her and geared toward what’s best for her, and he’s turning some of that instinct on himself. Her grades are already slipping, and the aftermath of the affair only pushes her in more non-Taylor directions.

Grant immediately opens up about his mini-runaway from home. (Can we take a second to talk about how unbelievable it is that parents who lost a child to kidnapping wouldn’t chase after him when he ran out of the house, though?) He is met with a whole lotta “WE DON’T BELIEVE YOU, LITTLE THIRD CHILD WHOM NOBODY LISTENS TO! YOU’RE JUST ACTING OUT TO GET SOME OF THAT ATTENTION YOU CRAVE.” Grant counters this with a solid, “NUH-UH, GABE HEARD IT TOO.” Gabe, being a worldly 16 or 17 and, by all accounts, a child receiving enough parental attention to not make up outlandish tales of scandalous trysts, is believed immediately.

See, rest of Finding Carter? This is why Grant is always commenting on his low totem-pole status. This, right here.

Anyway, turns out Gabe has known for three years and just kept quiet because his dad had been so mega-depressed after his mom died of every horrific cancer you can think of that he was just glad to see his dad come out of it … even if it meant an affair with his BFFs mom. The girls decide (by which I mean, of course, that Carter decides and lumps Taylor in with herself) to confront Elizabeth about the affair immediately—you know, to fix their family.

Everything about the way they think this will go is wrong. Everything about everything is wrong. Let me count the wrong thoughts that Carter & Co. had during this episode:

1. “Ambushing our unfaithful mother will foster open communication.” Predictably, Elizabeth goes straight for denial when Carter and Taylor confront her about the affair, standing in Angry Olsen Twin poses.

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Though Elizabeth eventually—after stumbling over many lies and half-assed coverups—does promise that the affair is done for good and agrees to tell David, it’s only out of fear of losing her children and family. Carter and Taylor handled the situation with approximately the finesse of cracking open an egg with a jackhammer.

2. “Telling Mom to tell Dad she’s been cheating on him for three years will fix our family. As soon as she does this, we can go back to normal.” The normal part isn’t me facetiously paraphrasing. That’s actually what Carter says about the situation. I understand that this family has a skewed take on “normal” to begin with, but that doesn’t excuse willful ignorance. Elizabeth finally confessing to the affair can let them start to work things out, to heal and to move forward, but I wouldn’t say it would bring things back to “normal” in any circumstance.

3. “We are shocked that Mom moved out.” When Elizabeth does break the news to David, he takes it shockingly well, explaining that he already knew, and stayed with her because he believed that she would end it eventually. He seems 100 percent okay and ready to move on, actually, until he realizes that this was what Taylor and Carter had to talk to her about. Taylor and Grant know, and that’s bad. But Carter knows and that’s terrible. He’s so fixated on being cool and loved and admired by her that he can’t stand the idea that she might now pity him. He kicks Elizabeth out to take back power in the situation.

The kids are floored by this development (they have none of the details, just that she told him and he kicked her out). It’s like they live in a magic bubble where bad fiction reigns supreme. This wasn’t a one-night-stand or a bad decision; it was a three-year affair. David has some questionable motives and morals himself, but it’s completely reasonable for him to ask her to leave. Carter and Taylor are both smart (a mix of street smarts and book smarts that should make them unstoppable), and we sometimes forget that they’re naive teens. This moment is a big reminder.

4. “We can take care of the family.” With Elizabeth gone, everything immediately goes to hell. The kids oversleep for school, there’s no milk in the fridge and David is nowhere to be seen. The girls get Grant off to school and promise to pick him up (SPOILER ALERT: They forget), then skip school to go hang out with Max and Crash, whom they’re trying to force into a bromance. They only thing they have in common is smoking pot, so Crash offers some as a “peace pipe.” Taylor decides to try it (much to Max’s chagrin—again he’s worried that he’s a bad influence), and has a bizarre little episode before passing out to forget about her brother.

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5. “It’s my job to fix my parents’ marriage by allowing my dad to write a book about my personal life that I don’t want written.” Carter goes to have a heart-to-heart with David, to ask him to let Elizabeth come home. He implies, with just enough drunken slur to make it sound like truth (and maybe it really is), that a lot of their problems come from his low self-esteem. Elizabeth married a writer. No one wants any of his books—except, of course, for the one he can’t write. Carter picks up the pieces just as Puppet Master David wants. She knows that if he could just write the book about her, they could be a family again (which is a messed-up thing to make a 17-year-old girl think). She goes to Elizabeth and demands a promise that she’ll really try this time, then returns to David to grant permission for him to write the book. He accepts, with a nice little line about this showing how much she wants them to all be together. It’s despicable, but I personally can’t hate him too much because he’ll always be Wesley Wyndham-Pryce, Rogue Demon Hunter, to me. For those of you not obsessive about the Whedonverse, though, I imagine there’s a lot of David hate happening.

Oh, and it all comes crumbling down when Elizabeth accidentally reveals that David didn’t try to set up a meeting with Lori. Since the episode opens with him and Carter waiting for Lori (and David so convincingly pretends to want the fake meeting to happen, even though he knows all along that Lori won’t show), this is a big blow. Cue Carter’s spiral.

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What did you think of this week’s Finding Carter? Are you feeling lots of David hate right now? Do you think the family can bounce back from this? Sound off in the comments!

Finding Carter airs Tuesdays at 10/9C on MTV.

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