With “Finding Carter,” MTV took a gamble that they really do no take often these days: Telling a serious teen drama with weight, diverse characters, and constant twists and turns. If you look at what they are known for predominantly, it is a combination of science fiction series, silly comedies, and reality shows where people scream at each other.
The first season of this show was something special, since it touched on so many different important social issues such as abandonment, identity, and also whether or not there is a way you can ever rebuild your past to the desired specification. Season 2 expanded on some of these themes further, but also did occasionally lose its way and venture into soap-opera territory. The ratings also slid, which makes us wonder whether or not a third season is even possible.
What worked – When “Finding Carter” gives you a shocking twist, it delivers in a way few other people do. The final few episodes of the season were extremely well-written and acted, as we saw everything from the death of Seth to the downfall of Jared to eventually his death and Max’s arrest. These are the sort of events that viewers watch to see, as devastating as they are. This is a show about overcoming obstacles, and Kathryn Prescott excels in these sorts of moments.
Elsewhere, we really liked the Ben Wallace addition as a whole in the second half of the season. Sure, at first we thought that he just looked like a serious version of Matty from “Awkward,” but he became an interesting foil to Carter and someone who could add new dimensions to Lori, who didn’t really have much to do on the show before that.
What didn’t – The simple answer is that this season didn’t need to be 24 episodes. It would’ve been better off somewhere between 12 and 18. The length of the season caused some stories, such as the evolution of Max and Taylor and the beginning of Carter’s relationship with Jared, to drag and drag until there was no tomorrow. When the show moves at a faster pace, it is easier to handle the fact that sometimes we get a little too dramatic and decisions are made by characters that don’t make sense (such as Carter’s list of people she trusts versus people she doesn’t). Also, don’t David and Elizabeth get a win at some point? They may take the make for Miserable Couple of the Year.
Overall – Still a show with strong acting and great buzzworthy moments. However, also a show that drug its feet a little too long and is not always easy to believe. Grade: B-.
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