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'Finding Carter' recap: Ghosts from the past

Season 2 | Episode 8 | “Riptide” | Aired May 19, 2015

Finding Carter dropped a lot of bombs last week. Taylor finally admitted that she had a pill problem. Carter quickly and expertly got to the root of said pill problem. (She’s destined for a career as some kind of youth counselor, right?) Grant asked to move in with his grandparents. Gabe’s relationship with his counselor came to light. That last part was huge, but if you were hoping for closure on that, you’re in for some disappointment with this week’s episode.

Instead of moving the plots it focused on last week forward, this week’s Finding Carter took a trip down memory lane, specifically for Carter and Max. Max was an above-and-beyond BFF (slash … whatever else he and Carter were at the beginning of the series—weird to think about that now, huh?) and moved to a whole new city with Carter after she found out about her kidnapping. The rest of Carter’s friends from back home were more typical teens and, well, didn’t move to be with her. This week, we meet one such friend (who Carter basically hates for not driving miles and miles to visit her after news of the abduction came out). That friend is Madison, a lesbian rebel with big plans for her and Carter and a slightly-disturbing continued bond with Lori. (I’m worried there will be a reveal later that Madison is in love with Lori.)

Madison shows up on the Wilsons’ doorstep, having taken a $200 Uber to see Carter. At first, she claims that she had to come see her after learning about the second kidnapping, but it quickly becomes obvious that she had other motives. For one, her parents kicked her out of the house after learning she was gay (even though Carter says it was common knowledge in their hometown that Madison was into girls). Two, she’s been in contact with Lori, who was worried about Carter.

If Max represents the best of Carter’s old world, Madison seems to represent the worst. Where Max is fiercely loyal and the kind of friend who is there for the worst, no matter what, Madison seems like the kind of friend who is behind those same big, worst moments that a guy like Max doesn’t bail on. She wants Carter to get an apartment with her and reclaim the freedom she had living with Lori (a tempting proposition for Carter, who is currently facing harsh punishment after taking the fall for Taylor’s fender-bender). But even though it makes sense that Madison would value that kind of freedom above all else (her parents are clearly strict in the worst kind of way), Carter has come to realize that she actually values the boundaries that Elizabeth and David set for her, because they show her that they care.

Madison makes nothing but trouble in every scene her presence graces, but she feels like the kind of problem-making plot device that isn’t going anywhere any time soon (at least not permanently).

For Carter, looking back on the past via Madison brings clarity. She loves and appreciates her family more than ever, and it reaffirms that she’s happy where she is. For Max, the blast from the past is a little more painful (and also, surprise, surprise, courtesy of Madison in a roundabout way). When Madison spills to Taylor that Max’s mother was attacked when he was young, and that he witnessed the whole thing, Taylor is floored. It’s huge news, and Max has never so much as hinted at it. While I feel for Taylor in the sense that she really believed she knew everything about Max and that she was sharing everything about herself with him, I have a hard time really getting behind this indignant moments that seem all-too-common from characters in movies and on television. Taylor is upset that Max didn’t tell her about the attack and she confronts him about it, just as it looks like they’re reconciling. Max tells her what she wants to know and, to Taylor’s credit, she calms down about it quickly, apologizing for pushing him to tell her, but sharing the story is hard on Max and now, as was predestined in the great yo-yo of their relationship, he’s the one that needs a little space.

Max witnessed his mother’s attack, but the part that no one but Carter knows is that her attacker wasn’t a stranger; it was his father. And, to make matters even more devastating, Max blames himself because he had to stay home sick that day—the only reason anyone was home for the attack to begin with.

Even though this week was a bit of slower episode than last, I’m excited by where we ended up. You don’t come to a halt for this much backstory and exposition when big things aren’t about to happen—at least, not on Finding Carter.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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