Carter dances, then greets Max. Gabe walks up and stands behind her, and she greets him with a kiss, much to Taylor's dismay. Taylor tells Carter her behavior isn't cute and that she liked her better when she thought she was dead. Carter begins having a seizure, and Taylor apologizes; Max yells to call 911.

Four days earlier, Carter looks at a picture of her and Lori. She puts it back into her green backpack and puts the backpack in the closet. Elizabeth calls Carter for school. Downstairs in the kitchen, David explains to Taylor that it's been a tough month for all of them and that they will be able to discuss things in family therapy. Carter walks into the kitchen, and Elizabeth explains that she can't go to school in her pajamas. David says it's not a big deal, then follows Elizabeth into the other room to argue about who takes the Wilson kids to school. Once he leaves, Carter pulls a skirt out of her backpack and puts it on. Carter explains that she gave the impression that she was going to wear her pajamas to school to distract Elizabeth so she could annoy her by taking her keys. Carter takes Grant and Taylor to school.

In class at Benjamin Harrison High School, the teacher goes over the class rules; he gets onto a student for eating yogurt in class, and she puts it in her desk. Carter starts breathing deeply and looking down; the students around her start to notice. Gabe turns around and calls for the teacher, saying he thinks she's having a panic attack. Carter mentions her mom and the yogurt, and Gabe explains to the teacher that last time Carter saw her "kidnapper mom" was at the yogurt shop, and she almost got arrested by his dad. Gabe and Carter are dismissed to go to the office so Carter can call her parents.

In the hallway, Gabe tells Carter he'll call her mom Elizabeth. Carter grabs her jacket and stops breathing heavily, then tells a shocked Gabe not to bother, as well as to stop calling Elizabeth her mom, because she's not her mom, and not to refer to Lori as her "kidnapper mom", because Lori is her mom; Gabe says it gets confusing. Carter thanks him for helping her out of the classroom, and Gabe tries to consince Carter to let him spend the day with her, but Carter explains that she can't because of Taylor. On the way out, they see Taylor, who shoots Carter and Gabe a dirty look.

Carter asks Gabe about Ofe. Carter runs downstairs to meet Ofe and finds he's running bets on when Lori will be captured. When Carter confronts him, Ofe quickly shuts his briefcase and tells Gabe he's upset about losing a customer; Ofe and Bird talk about how they weren't really telling anyone about the bets. Ofe and Bird introduce themselves to Carter, with whom they're impressed by over the shotglass trick Carter performed at the party. Ofe explains his bet pool and says he feels bad; Bird suggests he not do the pool, but Ofe says he doesn't feel that bad. Carter walks off. Bird catches up to Carter and invites her to her sanctuary; one part of the sanctuary is filled with Bird's sketches and acts as an art studio, with the other part of the sanctuary acting as a lounge.

Carter finds a yellow foam finger giving the middle finger and asks if she can use it, because she has a family therapy appointment that night and thinks it could be useful. Bird, Carter, Gabe and Ofe talk about Lori. They concoct a plan to mess with the FBI: Gabe, Bird and Ofe pretend to be Lori text messaging Carter with burner phones. Bird sends "Love you more" to Carter from a burner phone; Gabe announces Phase 1 as complete.

At family therapy, Elizabeth talks to Carter about her anger regarding Carter's taking of the keys; as a result, Elizabeth had looked in Carter's room and found her backpack, which looked like she was ready to run away. Grant looks up at Elizabeth. Dr. Simone Weldon asks her how it was, and Elizabeth said it wasn't bad—she's always been able to talk to Carter when she wasn't there, so she could easily talk to a chair.

The next day, David explains to Elizabeth that they can't get mad at Carter for not coming to therapy if they want her to come to therapy. Elizabeth says she wasn't going to. Carter walks in, and Elizabeth asks her if she borrowed her car or just stole it, because it isn't home. Carter pulls out the foam finger. Elizabeth tells her to get rid of it, using the presence of her 12-year-old brother, Grant, to convince her. Carter says it's a joke; Taylor rolls her eyes. Elizabeth calls it an obscenity. Carter says it's a good thing she didn't bring it to family therapy last night, and Elizabeth gets upset about Carter missing the appointment, then tells Grant and Taylor they have to take the bus to school today, calling Carter "this".

Carter defends herself by explaining that she lost track of time with friends and got too drunk to drive home, so Gabe gave her a ride. Elizabeth doesn't understand how Carter's actions and behavior are "responsible"; David agrees. Elizabeth says she wants the foam finger out of the house, and Carter acknowledges this; on her way out to Gabe, who is picking her up for school, she puts it on the outside of the front door of the Wilson house; David and Elizabeth are surprised she didn't put the finger on Elizabeth's car, but they don't realize the finger's actual location.

At the station, Kyle checks up on Elizabeth, who says he doesn't have to keep checking up on her. He relents and tells her they've a lead on Lori based on text messages sent to Carter's phone from burner phones. He tells her to keep an eye on Carter, because the phones are local.

Elizabeth walks into an interrogation room to a nervous Max, who allows her to tape the interview. Max babbles; he explains that he really likes Carter's other mom, Lori, and Elizabeth explains that Lori isn't Carter's "other mom", she's Carter's kidnapper. Max agrees, but he admits that he isn't objective. Elizabeth continues looking at him, and Max says that he sees what Carter means about her: Elizabeth never laughs, at least Carter doesn't know what she sounds like when she's laughing. He explains that he isn't saying that this is a funny situation, but that Carter says Elizabeth is like one of those people who brag about never crying, but with Elizabeth, it's like she brags about never laughing. Max grows quiet; Elizabeth closes the file folder and stops recording the interview, then asks him what else Carter says about her.

Carter joins Taylor in the kitchen and asks what's for dinner; when she finds out Taylor is making fish, Carter groans. Elizabeth walks in and greets them, groaning when she learns fish is for dinner. Elizabeth says she hopes there's enough for a guest, and Carter says she's going out for dinner, getting excited when she sees Max. Elizabeth introduces him to the rest of her family, save David, whom she presumes is still working. Carter and Elizabeth begin arguing about how Elizabeth brought him home to spy on Carter, and Carter leaves with Max for dinner.

Grant enters Carter's room and opens her closet; he unzips the backpack and looks inside.

In the sanctuary, Gabe asks Max how long he'll be there. Max doesn't know, but he has a lot of dirty laundry in the back of his truck that is starting to stink. He also tells Gabe that he hasn't really been going to school. Max also says he's already been interrogated today by Carter's mother, and Bird says that Gabe's dad is also a cop—to which Carter tells Max Gabe's dad was the creep who watched them when she went to see him. However, Gabe is confident no one will follow Carter anymore after his FBI sting. Max is impressed.

Gabe gets another phone from Ofe for Phase 2; he asks if they're all free tomorrow after school.

Kyle and Elizabeth meet with two FBI agents to review the coded text messages sent to Carter from untraceable numbers, and they think it could be coming from Lori. One agent explains that the text messages don't make sense alone, but when they line up the list and emphasize the first word from each sentence, it creates an understandable message. The message for today is to meet at the food court in the mall at 4pm. The agents have already placed units around and inside the mall, and they and Kyle insist that Elizabeth focuses on keeping Carter safe.

Elizabeth rushes to the high school and sees Taylor, who says Carter has been skipping school and has everyone thinking she has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, so they send her home. Elizabeth runs to her car and takes off, turning on the siren.

Gabe and Bird smile at Ofe, and they leave for the mall; Taylor watches.

Elizabeth runs into the house and upstairs to Carter's room; she opens the closet door to find Carter's backpack missing, then runs downstairs with her phone to her ear. David enters the living room frame and tries to get Elizabeth's attention; Carter emerges from the kitchen and asks where the peanut butter is.

Elizabeth joins Kyle and the FBI in the food court at the mall. She tells the FBI Captain that Carter's neither at school nor at home, and her escape backpack is missing; he allows her to be there. Kyle and Elizabeth are assigned to eyeball the crowd. They look around. Ofe faces Elizabeth and Kyle, whilst Gabe sits turned away as they walk by. Gabe starts a countdown. Kyle says she isn't there, and Elizabeth says, "Something doesn't seem right." Ofe blinks a flashlight, and the crowd laughs and raises red, yellow and blue foam fingers matching Carter's. Bird films the scene with her phone. The Captain tells Elizabeth the message looks like it was for her and that it's a good thing she was there to get it.

Max draws on Carter's chalkboard wall, and Carter shows him the video of Elizabeth distraught reaction to the foam fingers. Carter finds it hilarious, but Max doesn't agree. She explains to him that Elizabeth is obsessed with the idea of putting Lori in jail, rather than focusing on Carter being back, or at least being happy with having Carter back, and leaving Lori alone. Max apologizes and tells Carter she needs to tell the Wilsons how she feels, but Carter says she can't, because every conversation she has had with Elizabeth is her telling Carter what she's done wrong, and her opinion doesn't matter. Max explains how Elizabeth only asked and wanted to talk about Carter when he was being interrogated.

Carter has joined the Wilsons at their family therapy session. Taylor and Carter argue; David asks Carter what she'd like for them to know. Carter explains how she feels, and Grant explains that he feels the same way, only no one notices him like they do with Carter, and Taylor says she notices him.

Attention is turned to Elizabeth, who has been quiet. She explains how it's hard to hear what terrible parents she and David have been, but Carter corrects her and says it's just been Elizabeth. She goes on to say David's never lied to her face, isn't spying on her or recording everything she says, and that she doesn't have to be in a therapy-like room with him for him to listen to her; she asked him not to write the book, "Finding Carter", and he's not. When David comforts Carter, Elizabeth accuses him of rubbing his connection with Carter in her face, and Carter gets upset, because the moment was about her and David, not her and Elizabeth. Elizabeth says she's known David for over seventeen years and that it wasn't just about David and Carter, but it was about her and David as well.

The therapist redirects the discussion to an open one and directs it back to what Carter was saying about Elizabeth, whom she calls Carter's "mother", and Carter gets upset at the use of the word. She explains to the therapist that Elizabeth isn't and never will be her mother, because she's the one hunting her mother.

As Carter sews an article of clothing, she and Grant talk about their therapy session and Elizabeth. He tells her about the day Elizabeth made a speech to Carter's empty chair and described the day she came home and Carter wasn't there and is afraid she'll have to go through coming home to Carter missing again. Carter says she doesn't know what will happen and gets upset at the possibility of Carter leaving the Wilsons. Grant tells Carter Elizabeth found her escape backpack; Carter rushes to check her closet and gets mad when she finds her backpack gone. Grant tries to explain that he took it, but Carter goes off on a tangent about how Elizabeth has upset her and is trying too hard to keep her around, then leaves.

The next day, at the sanctuary, Carter explains to Bird and Ofe how she'll slowly do things to upset Elizabeth. Bird suggests finding a way to make Carter happy instead of thinking up ways to make Elizabeth miserable. Ofe suggests MDMA, because he thinks Carter could use a vacation from being unhappy for so long. Bird says that it's safe, and Ofe says they get it from a guy named "Crash". Carter doesn't want to take it alone, so Bird takes it with her.

Carter dances at a party. Ofe sells glow sticks, and Gabe watches Carter. Ofe tells Gabe that a million girls would love to go out with him, but Gabe says that they're not Carter. Bird moves through the crowd, passing Max and Taylor, who walk into the sanctuary. Taylor's supposed to bring Carter home, but Max says she probably won't be ready to leave for another several hours.

Carter greets Max. Gabe approaches Carter from behind, and she greets him before kissing him. Carter looks at an upset Taylor and says she looks like Elizabeth when she's mad. Taylor gets mad at Carter and claims she liked her better when she thought she was dead. Carter starts having a seizure, and Taylor apologizes; Max and Gabe tell Ofe to call 911.

Carter wakes up at the hospital and thinks she sees Lori, but soon realizes it's Elizabeth. On the other side of the bed, David stands with a worried Taylor. David teases Carter, saying she's been there for three years. She's been out for a while—technically a coma, long enough to scare them all to death. Carter apologizes for kissing Gabe, and Taylor says her liking him might be okay with her eventually. They decide to leave to allow Carter to get some rest; Elizabeth gives Carter a grey stuffed elephant on her way out. She falls asleep looking at the elephant.

When Carter wakes up, she finds Grant waking from a nap in the chair. He explains the backpack situation and apologizes. Grant shows her the burner phone he put in the backpack and tells her to call him.

David meets Toby at a bar and tells him Carter's fine. Toby tells David people love his sample chapter, but between the YouTube video and the coma, "Finding Carter" will be huge. David presents a recording from the family therapy session with Carter.

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Episode recaps
Season 1 Pilot  •  The Birds  •  Drive  •  Now You See Me  •  The Heat  •  The Fugitive  •  Throw Momma From the Train  •  Half Baked  •  Do the Right Thing  •  Love Story  •  The Long Goodbye  •  One Hour Photo
Season 2 Love the Way You lie  •  Shut Up and Drive  •  We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together  •  Pretty When You Cry  •  Wake Up Call  •  Stay With Me  •  Something to Talk About  •  Riptide  •  I Knew You Were Trouble  •  Rumor Has It  •  Wrecking Ball  •  I'm Not the Only One
Finding Carter: Episode recaps