The Carrie Diaries continued its tread through the 1984 school year this week with “Endgame,” featuring Carrie Bradshaw’s (Annasophia Robb) first attempt at legitimately cooking anything ever, and it was Thanksgiving! We didn’t get to spend a much time at all in retro Manhattan this episode, and still, it might have been my favorite episode yet. I tend to like when shows focus time on an intimate gathering than when they spread their characters all over the place. Throw in a flaming turkey, and we have a party!
The episode opened with Carrie reminiscing about her mother’s alleged love for Thanksgiving. Having known her mother to cook the entire meal every year, Carrie had decided to take it upon herself to play backup to her grandma’s chef skills, if only to keep the memory of her mother alive. In New York, Carrie filled new boyfriend George (Richard Kohnke) on her plan between kisses. The two were set to spend the holiday in two different states, it seemed. Of course, we know how Thanksgiving episodes work on shows like this. Everyone was coming to dinner, whether Carrie liked it or not. Shenanigans were in the works!
At home, Carrie scrambled through the door with groceries, having put her youthful quickness to good use in one-upping the middle-aged moms fighting over stuffing mix. The running joke became clear at this point; Carrie burns nacho cheese, so how would she manage an entire Thanksgiving meal? Well, she was counting on her grandma to pull through, but unfortunately, a storm in Florida put her out of commission. Carrie would have to go it alone, or settle for Chinese takeout. Surprise! In an attempt to spice up the holiday, Carrie’s dad Tom (Matt Letscher) invited Harlan (Scott Cohen) and his son George to dinner.
Carrie would have to act fast if she wanted to keep up the charade of being a mysterious woman with New York on the brain and in her heart. The Hello Kitty collection would have to go, and there was no way in Hell her autographed and framed photo of Shaun Cassidy could rear its ugly head. Dorrit (Stefania Owen), never one to let Carrie for a second pretend to be adult, let her evil scheme percolate while Carrie juggled between cleaning and prepping. Downstairs, Carrie was devastated to find that the recipe cards were unreadable due to an unfortunate grease spill, and any legitimate cookbooks were nowhere to be found. Thinking on her feet, Carrie enlisted the help of Mouse (Ellen Wong), who’d already finished her early seating at the country club. Mouse brought over her entire cookbook collection in hopes of scrounging up any turkey recipe.
George and Harlan arrived just in time to put added pressure on Carrie’s curly little head. While Mouse got to work on the food, Carrie worked on impressing George. Dorrit had planted the Shaun Cassidy autograph in plain sight, but Carrie managed to thwart Dorrit’s attempt at ruining her relationship. Upstairs, Carrie gave George a “tour” of her bedroom. The make-out session left poor Mouse struggling to prepare a meal for a family that wasn’t even hers! Carrie had no choice but to leave George with Dorrit, while the dads sat fixated on the football game. Anybody but the Cowboys!
George called Dorrit out on her shtick pretty quickly, claiming it to be just a phase and even taking a shot in the dark on her hamster, Morrissey’s, name. Dorrit was impressed by how much they had in common, biting habits included. Once she learned that George had his very own shrink, she was sold. To Carrie’s dismay, they were bonding. Throw in the fact that she would have to remove the giblets from the turkey, and Carrie’s Thanksgiving was seemingly on a downward spiral.
Meanwhile, Maggie (Katie Findlay) found herself in her own private Thanksgiving Hell, stuck at Walt’s (Brendan Dooling) poor excuse for a family dinner. Walt’s conservative parents gave him little room at all to speak his mind, and Maggie’s brand of candor was an ill fit for the uptight folks. Walt’s dad did get a chuckle out of me though, when he brought up the story of that one time he and his friends ended up drunk, tied up, and naked in a wine cellar during his time at Dartmouth. He couldn’t wait for Walt to have the same experience! Closeted gay boy Walt choked on his drink. I’m seriously looking forward to how the show handles Walt coming out in the 80s. I hope that they use the time period to keep the story fresh and unique with regard to that.
Maggie made a comment, one that Walt took as a joke, about following him to Dartmouth. Maggie laughed along, but addressed the mistake later. Firstly, she was upset with Walt for not speaking his mind and telling his father that he had dreamt up plans to attend NYU. Walt didn’t laugh at Maggie, though. He was surprised that someone as sure as she is with herself would consider following anyone anywhere. Walt admitted to his own confusion about who he is. His parents are way too controlling, while her parents pay her no mind at all.
That night, Maggie returned home and for the first time, was concerned with her own future. After talking to her older brother, who’d become a cop like her father, she found out that her parents saved no money for her to attend college. Her family expects her to do nothing but marry Walt, apparently. Upstairs, Maggie found herself enticed by her former flame, the young cop who’d spent Thanksgiving with her father. Realizing that she has to start respecting herself, she turned down his advances.
Everyone had caught wind that Sebastian (Austin Butler) would be spending Thanksgiving at home with his mother. Carrie found it charming. Unfortunately, his mother bailed via a phone call. She’d run off with the tennis instructor again. Turning down his housekeeper’s invitation to her own family dinner, Sebastian decided to go it alone. That is, until Donna called him over for some fun later that night. He grabbed a bottle of whiskey, but would never make it to Donna’s…
By the episode’s close, Carrie would vow to never cook again, setting aside her future oven for storage. Sex and the City fans know she’d keep that promise, using the oven in her NYC apartment to store sweaters. Having struggled with smashing a giant bird into her small oven, Carrie and Mouse made room by setting it to broil (!). Having gotten fed up with Carrie’s version of Thanksgiving, Dorrit decided to smoke a joint out back. I mean, does Dorrit smoking pot ever get old? The blowup we knew was coming happened at this point. To me, though, Carrie should know by now that Dorrit hates when she attempts to play the role of their mother. While Carrie had been trying to replicate the holiday they’d come to associate with the feeling of having their mother around, Dorrit felt tortured by the idea of creating a false sense of her at all.
Just as Mouse had reached her boiling point, (Harland had mistakenly referred to her as “the Oriental maid”!) the turkey ended up in flames after a booming oven explosion. Amidst the smoke and the chaos, Carrie ripped into her father for doing nothing but sitting back and watching the game as his fifteen-year-old daughter cooked the entire meal herself. Previously, Tom had spoken to Harland about being grateful for the ability to just sit back and watch football, without ever really thinking about the possibility that quietness could be masking simmering panic among his children. To top it all off, Carrie’s mishap left the group without power.
In the darkness, Dorrit and Carrie reconnected. Having heard Carrie’s screaming from upstairs, Dorrit could have sworn it was her mother. According to Dorrit, their mother hated Thanksgiving. It always drove her crazy! It was within Carrie’s cornucopia of insanity that she actually did mirror her mother, rather than in her attempted perfection. Dorrit was grateful that Carrie hadn’t ratted her out for blazing up.
George and Harland headed back into the city after dinner ended up abruptly cancelled, and Harland got a little too tipsy. Having had enough of boys, Maggie showed up at Carrie’s to experience the blackout herself. The next guest was slightly less expected. Sebastian, scotch bottle in hand, showed up at Carrie’s doorstep. The bottle was full, don’t worry! The two talked about what Thanksgiving meant to them, and Sebastian vented his frustration surrounding his mother’s slight. In the end, Carrie and her father invited Sebastian in to try her ambrosia salad and some bean dip. He gifted Carrie’s dad the whiskey.
Carrie and her father set things right, and her father shed a little more light on her mother’s love/hate relationship with Thanksgiving. Sometimes, craziness breeds the best memories. Was it me, or did it seem just a little like Sebastian was flirting with Tom over the dinner table football talk? Obviously, he wasn’t. It’s probably just that I enjoy all of the funny faces Austin Butler pulls when he’s acting. That’s a compliment, by the way.
What did you all think of The Carrie Diaries Season 1 Episode 6, “Endgame”? Did you enjoy getting to know Maggie better beyond her relationships with guys? Is Mouse getting better and better? Team Sebastian or Team George?
Thanks for reading my Recap and Review of The Carrie Diaries Season 1 Episode 6, “Endgame”!