Tuesday, September 2, 2014

REVIEW: 'Finding Carter' - Carter and Crash Hit the Road but Then a Loved One is Sent to the Hospital in 'Love Story'

MTV's Finding Carter - Episode 1.10 "Love Story"

Grant and Taylor are furious when Elizabeth chooses to take extreme actions to find her daughter. Carter's choice becomes one of life or death.

"Love Story" is the most emotionally manipulative episode of Finding Carter yet. And that is really saying something. I'm just going to be so pissed if the show has its worst character (okay maybe not worst but infuriatingly dull and uninteresting) in Crash kill its hands down best character in Max. It's as if no one on the creative team has any clue how their story and these characters are coming across. They rightfully recognized how easily people have gotten attached to Max. He's just a fun and fully-developed character. His relationship with Taylor is easily the strongest part of the show. But they also see Crash as this brooding heartthrob who has been abused by the system but has never really been given a chance in life. He's not any of those qualities. The show has tried giving him a tragic backstory but it's all to exploit audience emotions. Are we really suppose to be rooting for Carter and Crash as a couple? They are toxic together and "Love Story" pushes that quality over the edge in the worst and most tacked on way possible. There's nothing redeeming about that relationship pairing. There's simple not this strong magnetism that propels them to be together despite how wrong they are for each other.

There's simply no reason why they should be on the run together. The forces that be created this out-of-nowhere twist that landed her in prison yet again. And I would have been fine with all of that pressure mounting within Carter as she faces betrayal from everyone in her life except Crash, Taylor and Grant. But she learns early in the hour that she's no longer facing any kind of legal problems. And yet, she remains on the run with Crash. That reveal makes this less a story about a young girl taking back control of her life and more like a teenage girl having a temper tantrum because the world is unfairly conspiring against her. Seriously, how much more emotional turmoil will the show just fling on its characters? Can none of them have any kind of happiness at all? Or if they do get happiness, can it be for longer than an episode?

The whole episode is clearly building up to something life-changing. Whenever Crash is driving, the show made it a point to have him looking at Carter whenever he delivered a line and the action would then cut to moments of oncoming traffic at night. The show was just teasing us. The real tragedy is Crash pulling out a gun and shooting Max because he foolishly wanted money and thought the safety was on. He's the one who told Carter to learn how to use it and in all actuality he's the clueless one in the pairing. Nothing in the writing of this episode offers any kind of consistent character beats for Crash. He's in love with Carter and willing to run away with her. Then, he's so in love with her that he needs to set her free. Then, he becomes a paranoia-stricken creep unable to stay still for a second. It's just wildly inconsistent and that keeps the character from being approachable. I don't have a strong sense of who Crash is. So when he does this ridiculous thing and then just runs away, I don't care if Carter is conflicted over her feelings for him. He's not the important part of this story! He's the person who deserves to be punished! Carter cannot simply care about him after this horrible thing that he's done. And yet, that's precisely what she - and the show - are doing. They intercut images of the two of them in happier times at the very end as she heads to the chapel while Max is in surgery. That's just such a misfire. That's the biggest letdown of this grand twist. I literally do not care because none of the active players involved have acted in any kind of realistic or character-based way.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Love Story" was written by Elle Johnson and directed by Jennifer Lynch.
  • And then out of no where, Taylor blows up at Carter saying how all of their lives have gotten so much worse since she reappeared in their lives. That's technically true. But it doesn't feel like an earned moment for that character. The two of them were on happy terms just a few minutes before the big shooting.
  • I didn't exactly see how many numbers were on the wall that Lori left for Carter to find. But from the brief glimpse I did see, it looked like a phone number. Why then were Carter and Crash utterly clueless then? That seems like a natural assumption to make.
  • Moments I actually did like include the brief Grant-Taylor bonding scene (even though it wasn't quite earned), Max giving Taylor a key and the almost non-existence of David.
  • In case the episode wasn't emotionally manipulative enough, the show had to intercut famous lines and interactions with Max as everyone was waiting for news at the hospital. Ugh!