Lose a daughter, find a stranger
Review (with Spoilers)
As you can imagine, finding a Skins alumni on a new show is a big deal. Especially when it was one of the actors who played one of your favorite characters. So imagine MTV, who really are improving with the shows they green light, hiring a Skins alumni for this show. One which deals with a girl who was abducted at a young age and is finding it so difficult to live, and be with, her birth family. Needless to say, I don’t know who is green lighting the scripted programs at MTV nowadays, but they certainly deserve a raise.
Topic 1: The Old Life – Carter
When we meet Carter (Kathryn Prescott), she seems like your general TV teen who has this big group of friends, a slightly complicated relationship with her ex, and is slightly mischievous. However, Carter is by no means a troubled kid. She simply is someone who has a loving mother named Lori (Milena Govich), who seems like a more mature Lacey (from Awkward) because she seems so young, and while she may have gotten arrested, she overall doesn’t come off as a bad kid.
Topic 2: Meet the Wilsons – Carter, Elizabeth, Taylor and David
However, with getting arrested, as a minor, there is a need to call one’s parents. And while all of Carter’s friends are released, Carter finds herself stuck because her mom is missing. Though it would be more accurate to say her mom is on the run since we learn she kidnapped Carter when she was 3. So, in comes Elizabeth (Cynthia Watros) and David Wilson (Alexis Denisof) ready to take their daughter who has been missing 13 years home. Meaning this is yet another program featuring a 16 year old.
Anyway, due to David releasing a book about Carter’s abduction, under her real name Lyndon (which I’m citing Wikipedia for since I thought it was Linda), there is a big deal about Carter returning. Especially with Toby, David’s literary agent, wanting to use Carter since David owes the publisher $100,000. But that is a whole other matter. Perhaps the big deal is that Elizabeth, Carter’s birth mom, is very cold and she and Carter don’t really bond at all. Carter does with her grandparents, twin sister Taylor (Anna Jacoby-Heron| who isn’t Prescott actual twin), and her little brother Grant (Zac Pullam), but with Elizabeth being a cop and just not as loving as Lori was, Carter is very uncomfortable with her.
Especially since when Carter asks to borrow Elizabeth’s car she gets the 3rd degree, and Elizabeth sends Kyle (Eddie Matos) to watch her. So while Carter tries to regain a sense of normalcy with Max (Alex Saxon| Wyatt on The Fosters) Kyle is watching and because he gets distracted he doesn’t realize it when Carter and Max catch him snooping.
The drama doesn’t end there though for we find out Max and Elizabeth are having an affair. Then, to make matters worse, Taylor’s crush Gabe (Jesse Henderson) has a crush on Carter. So a lot of drama gets pilled on from scene to scene. And, in order to compete, we see Taylor go from this suburban square to trying to keep up, or just emulate, her sister. Which of course Elizabeth isn’t for since Taylor has basically lived under her thumb all this time, even to the point of cooking most of the family meals.
Topic 3: The Loving Mother – Carter, Grant, Lori and Elizabeth
As we see Carter quickly get accustomed to the town, even getting a job, it really does make Carter’s relationship with Elizabeth stand out. Though, thanks to Grant, the replacement child as he calls himself, everything gets explained. You see, this cold exterior comes from her losing one of her babies and feeling helpless about it. Then, with Grant, he was born premature so twice in one life she was forced to question her abilities to be a mother and it seems it made her almost close herself off. At least to her kids and husband anyway.
Though, if I may say so, while I don’t like Taylor, for she really seems like a bore, Grant definitely seems like the black sheep who really can deliver. Be it because he seems like he is an actual replacement child, the fact that he seems ignored by his family, or maybe just because he seems more human than most of the characters we have met, there is just something appealing about little Pullam’s performance. Especially since, as Carter takes pictures with visitors at her new job, he seems to be the only one to figure out she is trying to give Lori an idea where she is. Showing that not only does he come off interesting, but the boy’s analytical skills might be better than his parents.
Leading to, of course, Elizabeth prepping to take Lori down and leading to a major moment between her and Carter. For with Lori risking her life to see Carter, and Carter helping her get away, naturally Elizabeth is upset. But, being that Carter was raised in a trusting and loving household, and she doesn’t like Elizabeth, she really lets Elizabeth have it. And when I say have it, she not only calls Lori her mother, but says that Elizabeth is her true abductor in the situation, from her point of view anyway.
I watched the pilot due to Prescott, but I am staying because this seems like a good show. So good I’m definitely going to keep doing reviews on it. For while I do find some characters bland, the majority of them have good stories setup, and the drama from the pilot alone was just thrilling. And truly, as mentioned, whoever is working on putting these scripted shows on air on MTV should have been hired years ago for while they lack racial diversity, they are better than the reality shows and US adaptations MTV has attempted.