Emmanuel turned upside-down after learning that the

Emmanuel
Toney

Character Development

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“Finding Carter” is an older show which can teach us a
lot about ourselves and how although we grow in our own lives we constantly
impact the ones that are closest to us. This show was created by Emily Silver
and is about a young girl, Carter Stevens, whose life is turned upside-down
after learning that the woman she thought was her mother is in reality has
abducted her from her front yard of her biological family’s home when she was
only three years old. Carter returns home after being found accidently and is
now forced into a new life with a whole new family which she never knew she
had. The intro video to the show itself explains a lot about the show and tells
a story within itself. It starts with Carter standing in the middle of her room
and as the room begins to move everything falls and breaks and turns upside
down but carter remains there while everything around her is changing and seems
to be collapsing. This is the theme for not only the show but my paper as well.
Carter’s life has an effect on everyone around her, from her kidnapper to her
newly found twin sister. Throughout the show the characters are constantly
being built up and developed and much like in the intro video everything around
her begins to change and although she is in the center of it all everything is
intertwined. Throughout the essay I will focus on five prominent characters in
the show that demonstrate this point. Carter, Lorie (the kidnapper), Taylor
(twin sister), Elizabeth (biological mother), and lastly Max (the best
friend/ex-boyfriend).

In the “pilot” episode of Finding Carter the story begins with Carter in her home waking up
to Lorie. The story continues as she, Max and some other friends sneak off to
this carnival after hours and smoke weed while on the merry go round. The
police arrest the kids and everyone besides Carter is released. The cops later
told Carter to come with them and after Carter asks where her mother is she is
given the news that for thirteen years she has been living with her kidnapper.
Elizabeth then bursts through the door with David her husband embracing Carter.
This is just the start of the strange character building and relationship
developments that take place during the show.

The relationships are almost perfectly structured for
conflict on the show. Carter is a sixteen year old girl who acts as if she is
twenty one years old. That attitude and confidence partly coming from Lorie and
her nonchalant parenting style with Carter letting her be independent and free.
This is completely contradicting with Elizabeth and her beliefs as a parent and
also against her professional beliefs. She is a detective and has been
searching for Carter ever since the day she was kidnapped so as you could
imagine she is very protective and very set on rules. Taylor is the book smart,
go by the rules type of girl who is not so confident. She both admires and
loathes Carter for being the polar opposite of her. Lastly, Max is her
ex-boyfriend and the only character that has the advantage of seeing both lives
of Carter both with Lorie and her new life. Throughout Carter has a direct
impact on the lives of many characters but specifically these five in
particular and these five characters throughout the show are constantly
building and changing.

As Carter becomes accustomed to her new life things
begin to change a lot and very quickly. In episode 7 “Throw Momma from the train” Carter wakes up to her grandmother and
grandfather whom she has just met and her parents and brother wishing her and
Taylor happy birthday. Carter then realizes that she has been celebrating the
wrong birthday for years and actually has been celebrating the day of her
kidnapping (May 5th). She asked Taylor is the birthday was a big
deal every year and Taylor replies “no, this is usually the worst day of the
year. It’s the annual reminder you weren’t here. I’ve always dreaded my
birthday.” So even Carter being there has changed not only Taylor’s attitude of
her birthday but gives her as well as the family a reason to be together and be
happy. Carter introduces Max and Taylor and in episode 5 “the Heat” Taylor, after playing a game of spin the bottle starts
to fall for Max. Later that night after Max drops Taylor off at home Lorie
approaches him outside of their home. Max threatens to tell the family and have
her arrested and Lorie flees the scene. As this goes on you begin to see the
relationship develop between Taylor and Max and with the friends and family
around starting to love their relationship as well.

While this is going on Carter is starting a
relationship of her own with a kid that her mother Elizabeth has arrested
multiple times but Carter is rebellious towards Elizabeth naturally. Carter
gets arrested and the guy bails her out of jail and convinces her to break her
phone so they cannot be traced. They are now on the run and Elizabeth has
placed an amber alert out for Carter. They stay the night at Carter’s old
run-down apartment where Lori has left her a phone number. Carter wants to leave
a message for Lori with Max at the gas station by their town he works at. They
get there and Max (being one of Carter’s closest friends) tells Carter he
doesn’t think he is making the right choice running off with this guy when she
has such a good new life here. Carter then asks for a burner phone and some
snacks for the road and Max denies and continues to try and talk her out of
making a huge mistake. Crash (carter’s boyfriend) barges in the store and pulls
out a gun and demands that Max give him all of the money in the register. Carter
freaks out asking Crash what he thinks he is doing and he says it’s on safety
and then shoots Max in the chest. Carter immediately runs to Max’s side and tries
to stop the bleeding and cries out to Crash for help, but he panics saying “we
need to go carte!” and runs off and leaves her there. Carter manages to call
the ambulance and as they get to the hospital Max’s condition become critical
and Taylor says to her that she has done nothing but worsen their lives since
she came home. Carter has not only given Taylor the chance to find love but has
also endangered this love through her decision making.

In season one episode 11 “The Long Goodbye”, Max is still in critical condition and Elizabeth
has started a full fledge manhunt for Crash. Crash is constantly reaching out
to Carter pleading his case and trying to convince her to come and meet with
him before he flees the town and she does just that. Elizabeth follows her car
and arrests him on the spot as soon as she sees him. The irony is that Carter
knew her mom would follow and that’s why she went to see crash, to do some good
and this is the building in trust between her and Elizabeth as well as
understanding. Elizabeth harps at her for being irresponsible and Carter stops
her to say that she knew she would be there to protect her and says
“because you are my mom and I love you”. Elizabeth, in shock and
overflowing with emotion says “I love you”. Carter then apologizes to
Taylor and as she makes things right and they hug Max wakes up. After Max wakes
up he becomes different. Max beings to feel sorry for himself and as a result pushes
Taylor away at any and all of her attempts to help Max. Max becomes very
distant and even breaks up with Taylor with no real reason at all, you see a huge
character shift towards a fan favorite and all this led with Carter not obeying
her mother and trying to pursue some ridiculous relationship that was no good
for her.

Lorie is single handedly the most effected character
from Carter. The conflict which seems to linger throughout the series lies in
this question. “Will Carter stay or run back with Lorie?” In episode six of
season one, “The Fugitive”, right
before their birthday party which Carter didn’t know about Lorie had met up
with Carter and given her instructions and a location to meet so that way she
could leave with Lorie. This single decision changes everyone in an instant. At
the start of season two episode one, “Love
the Way you lie”, Carter wakes up in a motel room with Lori and realizes
she has just been drugged and kidnapped again. She hears Lorie on the phone
discussing that she wanted to take Taylor now too. Carter attempts to escape
and is caught by Lorie and forced to text Taylor saying she has to at a diner
with the two of them alone. Taylor tells her whole family about this and
Elizabeth comes up with a plan. She gets Taylor wired up with a recording
device that allows David and Kyle (Elizabeth’s partner) to hear everything from
their car outside as they wait outside. They walk inside and once they’re all
seated, Lorie reveals a huge secret that shakes the foundation of Carter and
Taylor. Revealing to them that they are actually her biological daughters,
because she donated her eggs for Elizabeth and David to have children. This
explains her insane attachment with Carter and why she now wants Taylor
involved as well. Lori insists that she has a right to have a relationship with
her daughters who are technically hers and Elizabeth rejects the thought of
this. Lorie then shows she has a gun saying she better let her walk out with
them. Carter unplugs Taylors wire to send a signal to Kyle and David outside
and Kyle runs in and after a fight they are able to take Lorie down and arrest
her. The constant struggle with Lorie throughout the show is due to Carter’s
weak spot for her. Carter is constantly letting her back in her life even after
finding out the truth.

Through this essay I hoped to not only tell about the
show but to give you a picture of how everyone is interconnected and how the
decisions someone else makes effects everyone and how Carter directly impacts
everyone’s life. Throughout the show each character not only continued to be
developed based off of the sporadic life changes which took place regularly but
also just because they grew through new experiences which Carter brought to
every episode. The “normal” lives they had, well somewhat normal, have never
and will never be the same with Carter in them. In the end they all end up
seeing things different or even gaining a different character trait within
themselves. Carter is not only the face of the show but she is the face of
change, and nothing in the story truly changes unless Carter is somewhat
involved in it.