In the series premiere of Freeform’s Recovery Road, we’re thrown right into the thick of it. There isn’t any time wasted with a build up or much about who Maddie is, but rather we’re brought straight into her recovery with details later progressively revealing more about her. As Maddie struggles to accept her alcohol addiction, she meets new friends struggling with the same problems.
The episode opens with Maddie waking up on her front lawn. As she stumbles her way into her house, we get flashes of scenes from what appears to be the night before. The night basically consisted of lots and lots of alcohol. And then more of it. When we come back to present day, Maddie is getting a ride to school with her mother and giving a completely made up story about why her car isn’t at home. Her mom seems to buy it.
Still confused about what even happened the night before, Maddie asks a friend who she partied with if they have any idea what happened and, more importantly, where her car is. The friend proves to be of no help. We then cut to Maddie and her mother sitting in the office of the school counselor, Cynthia McDermott.
Cynthia has a plastic water bottle which she’s pulled from Maddie’s locker. She asks Maddie if she knows what it is, to which Maddie responds with a very sarcastic, “it’s water. Are all the questions going to be this difficult?” Cynthia opens the bottle for Charlotte (Maddie’s mother) to smell. It’s vodka. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Cynthia then makes Maddie take a breathalyzer. In the middle of the school day, Maddie blows a 0.12. Charlotte leaves Maddie with two options: expulsion or a 24-hour detox followed by a 90-day rehabilitation home where she can only really leave to go to school. Guess which one she takes?
Maddie’s New Family and “An Old Friend”
Maddie’s first day at her new home, she meets the other patients, who are quite a group of characters. To name a few, er roommate Trish (Kyla Pratt) is a zany former meth head, Vern (Daniel Franzese) is sarcastic and sassy and Wes (Sebastian de Souza) is an angsty alcoholic who is clearly Maddie’s new love interest. Also, we meet Rebecca, someone from Maddie’s past who things clearly didn’t end well with. When pressed on how they know each other by Trish, Rebecca ominously says, “We go way back. She’s an old friend.”
Maddie sits in on her first group session, where she refuses to participate and insists she doesn’t belong there. Group leader Craig (who isn’t an alcoholic himself) tells her that everyone there felt like that their first few days. He guarantees her that in no more than 2 days, she’ll realize she belongs there. While Maddie is just saying hello, another group member, Doug, is saying his goodbyes. Doug has completed his rehabilitation at the home and is getting out. The group hugs him, exchange gifts, and Doug tells Maddie to take care of this group and let them take care of her.
Trish tries to bond with Maddie on her first night and picks up a unicorn that Maddie pulls out of her back. Maddie immediately snaps it out of her hand and reveals that it was from her father, who died when (wait for it) a drunk driver hit him. Maddie has a dream that night where she sees her father and tells him she misses her. He responds, “I have a feeling we’re going to see each other really soon…” his face then transforms to a bloody stump and car horns are heard blaring when Maddie wakes up.
Little White Lies
Charlotte picks Maddie up for school the next morning, as a condition of her punishment. On the way, Maddie once again expresses her anger about the situation and goes through the “5 Stages of Grief: Teenager Edition”. On the drive, Charlotte ends up asking Maddie if she does drugs. Flashbacks occur which show us that Maddie does indeed do drugs. Lots of them. Maddie angrily says no, but we now see that her troubles are much deeper than we thought.
When they get to school, Maddie is greeted by the boyfriend we only just now discover she has, Zack. Zack asks her why the counselor drove her to school and where her car is (a question Maddie herself still doesn’t have an answer for). Maddie lies and tells him that she needed a ride and her mother and Charlotte are friends. Feeling guilty about it, she talks with her friend about whether or not she did the wrong thing by telling Zack “a little white lie”. She also gets some advice about how to find her car; her backpack is in her car. Her laptop is in her backpack. Turn on “find my device”.
Breaking Curfew and the “Get Out of Jail Free” Card
After 2 days, Maddie has had enough of this home that feels like a jail cell to her. She tells Wes that she needs to get out and go get nail polish, just to spend a little time out of the house. He tells her she can’t because it’s past curfew, but Maddie says she’s going regardless, and he’s welcome to come. Wes agrees to come and tells her there’s a hole in the back fence.
When they’re at the drugstore, Maddie reveals to Wes that she lost her father and the aftermath made her discover she wants to be a mortician, something she’s never told anyone. The two have a nice heart-to-heart (though Wes doesn’t give her any details of his own life, other than that this isn’t his first stay in the home), but it get’s tense when they come across the beer fridge. The mere sight of it is too much for Wes, who says he’s going to wait outside. Thinking she’s going to ease his tension, Maddie comes outsie with a bottle of vodka. This was the worst thing she could have done to ease anything. Wes freaks out and exclaims that he’s serious about his recovery this time. Realizing what a stupid thing that was to do, she pours the vodka on the ground and tosses out the bottle. Just then, Craig pulls up and busts the two for sneaking out.
Back at the house, Craig tells Maddie to pack her things and that her mother can make arrangements for her expulsion. Wes interrupts him and says, “neither of us are leaving.” Frustrated Craig hands Maddie a cup and tells her to pee in it. This is her only warning. As she’s leaving, Craig tells Wes to hang back. When they’re alone, Craig tells Wes that he bailed him out once before. This would make them even. When he asks if Wes really wants to call in his favor for Maddie, Wes says yes. Craig can see there’s something between them and tells Wes that his recovery won’t be possible if he gets involved with Maddie. They can never be. Forbidden love is so much more steamy, right?
The Condom Wrapper
Maddie’s mom comes to visit her to see how everything is going. She tells her that she got her car back and is going to let go of her questions about how it ended up on the opposite side of town and how Maddie even got home. Maddie is relieved about this, but that quickly turns to shock at what her mother says next. She found a condom wrapper in her car and is glad to know that her and Zack are being safe. Maddie brushes it off and quickly leaves. She’s next seen crying with Trish, because guess what? To Maddie’s knowledge, she’s a virgin. More than that, she wasn’t with Zack the night she lost her car. Scared and unsure if she cheated on her boyfriend, was raped or if this was even the first time, Maddie breaks down.
Charlotte and Cynthia’s Secrets
In an outing with the other members of the group, Maddie goes to what looks like an alcoholics’ mixer. Vern grabs her to introduce her to a close friend of his in the alcoholics’ meeting. Surprise! His friend is Cynthia, Maddie’s school counselor. Maddie is outraged and feels that Cynthia is a hypocrite for punishing her when she’s an addict too. Cynthia takes this as a victory because Maddie just admitted that she was an addict. It isn’t that smooth for Maddie. She threatens that if anyone for any reason at school were to find out about Maddie’s current situation, she would tell everyone that Cynthia was an alcoholic.
Cynthia calls up Charlotte, Maddie’s mother (who apparently actually IS her friend) to talk about what happened. Charlotte clearly already knew about her friend’s recovery. She shows Cynthia all of the bongs, pills, bottles and other things she found in Maddie’s room. She had been suspicious of this for quite a while, but didn’t realize how bad it has gotten. Charlotte then drops a secret of her own; she was the one who told Cynthia to search Maddie’s locker.
One night at the home, Doug comes barreling back in. It’s unclear if he’s high or drunk, but he is anything but sober. Doug tells the housemates that he’s there to “see his junkie friends” and tries forcing himself on Rebecca. He grabs her and says they should leave and go party. The guys of the house are eventually able to take Doug down and call the cops. As the police take Doug away, the housemates reveal that he’s had a lot of chances and they’re worried he won’t get off so light this time. “He’s not a bad guy,” one of them says. “That could have been anyone of us,” others respond. Charlotte comes to pick Maddie up when she hears about what happened. She’s ready to take her home and forget all of this. However, Maddie now realizes the magnitude of addiction. She finally decides she needs to take this path and tells her mother that this is where she belongs right now.
Recovery Road airs Mondays at 9pm on Freeform.
(Image courtesy of Freeform)
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV