Recovery Road (S01E01): “Blackout”


This new Freeform series reflects on the life of Maddie Graham, a high school student that loves to party and, most of all, drink. Maddie wakes up on a front lawn in the beginning of the show’s first episode. We see flashbacks of the night before, Maddie at a party, getting completely wasted.

At school Maddie is called to the guidance counselor and told they had found a water bottle filled with vodka in her locker. When told to breath into a breathalyzer, Maddie refuses. She is threatened with expulsion and she blows. 0.12. The guidance counselor, Cynthia, tells Maddie and her mother how Maddie can avoid expulsion, 24 hour detox and a 90 day recovery program. Maddie will go to school during the day and in the evening she will live in an adult recovery group home.

Maddie freaks out in detox, crying and vomiting and finally passing out. The next day she is taken to the home where she meets the counselor, Craig. Maddie is very hostile the whole time she is signing papers and being informed of the program’s rules. Especially when her beloved cell phone is taken away. A very loud and hyper girl named Trish enters and tells Craig that Vern hid the remote because someone stole his snack. Trish brings Maddie on a tour where she meets Vern and is given the remote to hide. Trish tells Maddie she was addicted to meth before she came and that she was getting clean so she could get custody of her daughter. Trish shows Maddie their room and tells her about some of the things they do there. Then another resident, Rebecca, walks in. We find out that she and Maddie know each other and quite obviously do not get along.

We are shown the daily group session and each person tells their own thing they’d like to say. When it’s Maddie’s turn to speak she is hesitant to say anything. The group welcomes her, nevertheless. We are then shown Douglas, a resident who is being released. They have a group hug and he tells Maddie to take care of everyone and let them take care of you. At night Maddie shows Trish a gift her father, who had died years ago from being hit by a drunk driver, had given her. Maddie has a nightmare about him, causing her to wake up in a panic. the next morning she is driven to school by the guidance counselor and greeted by her boyfriend, who she tells that her car is in the shop and her phone was broken.

Back at the house she tells fellow resident Wes that she wants to get out of the house. He tells her about a hole in the back gate and they go to the drug store. They tell each other some things about themselves and they leave. Maddie then shows him some alcohol she had gotten with someone else’s I.D. Wes tells her he is very committed to his recovery and she throws it away. Car lights suddenly shine on them and, you guessed it, they’re Craig’s.

Maddie tells Craig it was her fault and not to kick Wes out. Craig tells her to pack her bag and she hesitates. Wes says neither of them are leaving. Craig gives Maddie a cup to pee in and Vern reassures her that she’ll get a hang of it on her way to the bathroom. He said it’s like riding a bike, but she tells him she never learned. The next morning, Wes is very distant from Maddie.

Maddie’s mom comes to the house to tell her she found her car and that she found a condom on the front seat. We cut to Maddie crying in the bathroom. Trish finds her and asks her what happened, and Maddie shows her the condom and tells her she remembers nothing. She’s afraid it might not have been consensual, or it may not have been the first time it had happened.

At a meeting for the program Maddie sees Cynthia and attacks her for calling her out when she was an alcoholic, too. That was the first time she said she was an addict. Cynthia calls Maddie’s mother and they speak about how Maddie is doing. We find out that her mother was the one who told Cynthia to search Maddie’s locker.

At the house everything seems calm until Douglas makes a surprise visit. He’s obviously already broken his sobriety and starts touching Rebecca, refusing to let go. Finally, a few of them jump on him and they call the police. Douglas is arrested.

The episode ends with Maddie’s mother telling her she wants to get her out of the home and send her to a teen home instead, but she says she wants to stay. She writes in her journal and says that people make mistakes and that she can do this. only 86 more days, and she gets her life back. One day at a time.