This is going to be a sad one, y’all.
Carrie and Alex are madly in love, and Carrie is really truly happy for maybe the first time. She has their whole lives together planned out–and then one night Cathy wakes up to find Carrie sitting silently in her bedroom, staring out the window. Alex has proposed to Carrie, but, he’s also told her that he plans to be a minister. And Carrie can’t be a minister’s wife, because they’re expected to be perfect and she’s just devil’s spawn. Oh Carrie. She tells Cathy that Alex is perfect and has never done anything bad in his life, and Carrie has been lying to him from the start, telling him that both Dollanganger parents died in the car accident, when Corrine is in fact alive. Cathy tries to tell her that it doesn’t matter, but Carrie is on a roll. She hated Sissy Towers, the bully from boarding school, and Sissy died when she was twelve, which Carrie attributes to the power of her hate. She hated Julian too, and HE died. How can she tell Alex that she has so much hate inside of her? How can she tell him that their father was their mother’s half-uncle?
Cathy tries to comfort her, telling her that the world isn’t black and white, no one is perfect, and that Paul had told her that Chris Sr. and Corrine’s sin was just that—THEIR sin, not their children’s, that God wouldn’t punish them for what their parents did. They aren’t sinful, and they aren’t freaks. But the word freak is a bad one to choose, and Carrie points out that she doesn’t grow, so maybe she is being punished. Cathy tells her that she’s beautiful and smart and that Alex should count himself lucky. Carrie has more guilt on her conscience, though. Apparently once she and Alex passed an adult movie theater and he said that anyone who did those things was a sinner. Damn it, Alex. Paul and Cathy taught Carrie that sex was normal and natural, but if it was, then why would Alex think that way? Carrie then confesses to Cathy that once, when she was visiting Cathy and Julian in New York, she and Julian, well we’re not told what they did, just that it wasn’t intercourse, but let’s all remember that when Carrie visited them she was fifteen. I hate you, Julian. Maybe you died from the power of MY hate.
Cathy tells Carrie that if Julian made her do something she didn’t want to do, then that was Julian’s problem, not Carrie’s, but that’s when we reach the core of it. Carrie liked what she did with Julian, which must therefore mean that she’s sinful and evil and Alex would stop loving her if he knew. Cathy’s like Alex can change and will change, look how much the world changes all the time? But Carrie notes that Alex even used to think that Cathy and Julian’s ballet was wicked, and oh my god, Alex. Carrie goes to bed but tells her sister that she knows that people aren’t perfect, that they do bad things and then God punishes them. Sometimes it’s with a grandmother and a whip, sometimes it’s a car accident, but everyone is punished in time. No one loves her except for her family and Alex, and Alex will stop once he knows the truth about her.
Oh, cripes, Carrie.
Over the next few days, Cathy notices that Carrie isn’t eating, and one day when Cathy is heading to work, Carrie asks her to leave Jory home so that Carrie can spend more time with him. Cathy acquiesces, but worries all day, checking in several times. Bart shows up with the blackmail letter that she’d written Corrine, and he gives her his card and tells her she’d better call him soon, as he has some questions. We don’t have time for this, Bart!
When Cathy gets home, she finds Carrie sick in bed (Jory is with the neighbor) and Carrie has a 103.6 fever. Cathy drives her to the hospital and the next day calls Paul and begs him to come. He advises her not to call Chris (who is on vacation) since Carrie’s symptoms could mean so many things. Paul arrives and sees Carrie, who says she wishes she could see Chris before falling asleep. Paul tells Cathy she should maybe call Chris.
Chris arrives and Cathy is surprised that he can’t guess what’s wrong with Carrie–she says it’s the arsenic. She shows him a note Carrie had left in her room. In it she says that sometimes she thinks Chris and Cathy are her parents, that she thinks that all of her dreams have been foolish—she’d never be able to be married and have children, she’s not talented or smart like her siblings. She asks that they not let the doctors prolong her life, she’s never felt the same since Cory died*, and she wants to go. She regrets that she won’t get to see Jory become a famous dancer. She’d started thinking about the things their grandmother used to say about them, and she’s realized that it’s true. She should have died with Cory, and she never used to believe that their mother had poisoned them, but now she does. She thanks them all for loving her.
Cathy then shows Chris what else she found in Carrie’s room—a container of arsenic and a package of powdered sugar donuts, with only one left. Cathy confronts Alex after a few days, asking what happened to make Carrie so suddenly unhappy, but he doesn’t know. He’d proposed and she’d accepted, but then one day he called and she sounded terrible and wouldn’t let him in when he came by. On the fourth night, Carrie wakes and up and talks to Cathy. Carrie ran into Corrine on the street, and tried to speak to her, but Corrine denied knowing her and walked away. If her own mother doesn’t want her, how could anyone? Cathy tells her that Corrine did this to them for money, not because of anything they did, and Carrie can’t die because they all need her, Jory needs her. Carrie says that Cory needs her now, and she can see him and their father waiting for her, in a world where she’s just as tall as she’s always wanted to be. And then she’s gone.
Cathy plots her revenge at Carrie’s funeral, blaming Corrine for this death as well. If Carrie hadn’t seen their mother, everything could have been different. Chris is like “I can see in your eyes that this is not over, but please let it be because you can’t live like this” and wants her to forget and to forgive. Have you met Catherine, Chris? As they walk to the car, Cathy thinks she sees a woman dressed in black hiding behind a tree, a woman wearing a string of very familiar pearls. Cathy swears that she’ll color all of Corrine’s remaining days black, and that brings us to Part Five.
Coming up: Cathy and Bart
*SURE WOULD BE A SHAME IF THIS WERE ALL CHEAPENED BY SOMETHING LIKE CORY BEING ALIVE