Previously on The Fosters, Stef and Lena drank a bottle of wine and were unaware that they’re about to get another kid. Callie continued to play out Pretty Little Liars inside a completely different Freeform show. Mariana and Jesus bonded and were adorable. Something something Brandon something. And Jude was invisible again.
Lena is ready to quit to show solidarity for Monte. Or something. Stef is like, yeah you’re not quitting because you love Paily Anchors Academy and besides our kids all go there. Also, not for nothing, but I’m the one who make impulsive decisions. Don’t crowd my territory, babe.
Mariana tracked Gabe down in time to find him packing up his shit and heading for Tahoe. Of course he was going to tell the twins first.
Brandon, ever the selfless big brother, offers to give Jesus his room. So he, Brandon, can have the garage apartment. Oh come on, dude. Stef and Lena will consider it but first they have to let Callie know that her trial date has been set.
When Jude gets to class, a couple of donkeys have left a dildo on his chair. They figure he’d dig it after homo sex ed. Charming. And boys, your mom is going to be pissed you stole her toy to bully some kid.
Drew-bag, the guys who got Monte fired, is blowing smoke up Lena’s ass about how he never wanted Monte’s job. She lies and says it sure will be great to work with someone with an education background. He hands her forty-seven pounds of work to take home.
In the storyline that won’t die, Callie and Aaron discuss Troy Johnson’s shitty alibi. Honestly, can they just call Olivia Benson and end this goddamn thing forever. Thanks. Callie agrees to go to Aaron’s house for his dad’s birthday as long as they can do some sleuthing on the way. Lena, ever the sucker for teen bullshit, tells Callie that sure she can go with Aaron oh and why don’t they take the family car while they’re at it.
Emma and Jesus are fooling around in his hospital bed. Stef and LEna never figured out how to make that Craftmatic work for them but the teens sure have. But Emma would like a signed, notarized, doctor’s note before she engages in sexy time with Jesus. Honestly, the kids shot himself in the head with a nail gun, a doctor’s note isn’t that outrageous.
Gabe is over at Mike and Ana’s trying to convince her to break the news to the twins that he is moving to Tahoe. The guy lost all his jobs, was evicted, and needs to go to Tahoe for work. But he doesn’t want to disappoint the twins. Mike walks in just as Gabe and Ana hug it out.
Emma and Jesus kiss a wee bit more than I am comfortable with Lena sitting in the background. Once Emma leaves, Jesus asks Lena if he can have sex. Her face says “what fresh hell is this?” He knows all the safe sex stuff but he wants her to call the doctor and ask if it’s safe for him. Good lord, Lena, crack open some wine. It’s going to be a long day. Instead of calling the doctor, she does what I would do; texts her wife and says when the fuck are you going to be home.
Callie and Aaron arrive at his house. He’s tense as hell but his mom gives him a big hug. She gives Callie a hug too. The dad offers curt handshakes but Arron almost gets knocked on his ass by Evan (I am assuming his little brother). Little bro goes to take Callie to her room when Aaron’s mom calls him by his old name. I mean, you knew it was coming. But fuuuuuuck.
Callie looks at a whole mantlepiece of pre-coming out pictures of Aaron before he arrives and gets tackled (again) by his little brother. Little brother is a pain in the ass who has no trouble asking Callie if she’s a lesbian like Aaron’s last girlfriend. Aaron tells him that A) Callie has a boyfriend and B) to piss off and go help with dinner. Callie tells Aaron about her break-up. It’s for the best since she’s going to jail. But then she tells him that maybe she can get a plea because she doesn’t think she can handle a trial. Guys, this whole storyline makes me want to do murder. Alex Cabot save us all!
In strict contravention of what Lena told him earlier, Jude and Noah have broken into Anchor Beach to decorate Taylor’s locker for her birthday. WHile they are at it they break into his history class to find out what he got on his test. Come on, this is some Steve Sanders level stupid! When he sees what Todd (the bully) got he decides to get some payback. He tapes the kid’s D- test to every other locker in the school. Noah wonders if maybe he’s going a bit far. But Dark Jude is just getting started. Or something.
At dinner, Aaron’s mom wrong names him again, his dad makes a joke about him joining a sorority, and then sets aside the books Aaron bought him for his birthday without a second glance.
Lena and Stef are bickering over who has it hardest. In Lena’s corners we have kissing ass at school to keep her job, telling Callie she can go to LA, and investigating whether Jesus can get laid. Stef has being a detective. Stef, your turn to stop at the store, lady. This made me laugh because when I started working full time, my wife and I made a list of all the chores and then split them 50/50. Groceries are not my chore. Cleaning the kitchen every day is. But I don’t have to deal with making sure our children are clean, so that’s win in my book.
Aaron’s dad won’t leave it alone. He goes after Aaron for mutilating his body. Nope. That’s all Callie can take. She goes after the dad with everything she has. Aaron is the best guy she knows, Pops. Aaron’s mom is like “come on! It’s a party, let’s drink and pretend we aren’t dead inside.” Oh I speak WASP fluently.
Ana wants Gabe to be able to move into the one bedroom she and Isabella were going to live in. She can just stay with her parents for a little longer. Sure, sounds legit.
Callie pops into Aaron’s room and asks if he want to get the hell out of there. He gets mad at her for yelling at his parents. She was defending him and he says that it’s not up to her to defend him. He has chosen to have his family in his life, even if they are awful to him.
When Jude and Noah get back to the house, Noah decides he won’t come in for a nightcap. He doesn’t like Dark Jude and thinks bullying a bully makes Jude a loser. I don’t know. This scene felt very D.A.R.E. to me. Noah swoops off into the night, his acid wash jean jacket blowing in the wind.
Brandon bounces into the kitchen wanting to move into the garage. Stef has her serious glasses on and her sarcastic pants. She has a counter-proposal. Maybe stop getting arrested, cheating on the SATs, running a fake ID scheme out of the school, and while you’re at it go get groceries. Brandon says “cool” and takes the list and the credit card.
Lena has gotten off the phone with Jesus’ doctor who cleared him for sex so long as he is careful. She thinks they might be smart to relax the rules for the older kids so that if they are having sex it’s in a safe place. Stef would rather not be surrounded by four teens getting busy in their home.
Callie pops down to the kitchen for some water and to have a long heart-to-heart with Aaron’s mom. His mom can’t stop using the wrong pronouns which is purposefully jarring. But she is having a hard time giving up on the dreams she made the instant the doctor’s told her she had a daughter. She didn’t know the doctors were wrong.
They say your life flashes before your eyes when you die. I haven’t died yet so I don’t know if that’s true. But I have given birth. I have become a mother twice. So I can tell you that when I met my babies for the first time, their lives flashed before my eyes, too. We get so far ahead of ourselves even if we don’t mean to. Even if we know that our baby could turn to us and say, “No mama, I am not a girl. Mama, I am a boy.” Even if you know that. Even if you spent your own childhood crying and fighting with a mother who wanted you to wear a dress because it was Christmas or Easter. Even knowing all of this, it’s so easy to assume, so easy to make up a life in your head as they fall asleep on you in the middle of the night.
I can’t help but write these recaps from the perspective a married lesbian mother, like Stef and Lena. I can’t help but come at everything like a mother. Aaron’s mother can do better for her son. She has to do better for her son. She infuriates me, and I understand the impulse to plan your child’s life the first time you hold them in your arms. We tell our children all the time that it’s our most important job is to keep them safe. They roll their eyes but for me it’s a promise. And that means big stuff like not getting run over by a car, but it’s the other stuff, the stuff that really hurts, too. It’s keeping them safe from a world that elected a racist, xenophobic, hatemonger. And it’s also keeping them safe from us and the world we create in our minds the second the doctors told us the gender of our children. Parents can do so much good, but we can also cause so much pain and harm. So we are on the lookout for ways we are not listening or doing right by our babies. Because what good is marching and keeping them safe from the rest of the world if they aren’t safe to be themselves at home?
It’s important to center trans experiences when telling trans stories, but it’s important for us to get to a place where we don’t need reminders inside stories that it’s an act of violence to misgender and misname your trans children. Not just stories about how it’s shitty to be transphobic.
When talking about this storyline, our Trans Editor Mey Rude said, “I think something like Callie dating a trans guy and his dad helping him tie his tie and being like, ‘I wore this tie on my first date and your grandfather wore it in his. Now it’s your turn’ would be a good start. I want to see trans boys in the Boy Scouts and trans girl cheerleaders and trans boys who want to be a ballet dancer just like Baryshnikov and trans girls who want to play in the WNBA. Stories that revolve around trans people’s gender in an affirming way.”
The Fosters is a start. A trans guy played by a trans guy. We need more stories about trans women too, especially Black trans women, played by Black trans women. This is an important story and it’s important that — unlike on, say, Glee — it’s very clear who’s wrong and who’s right here. We can sympathize with Aaron’s mom, but we, like Callie, know that this has to be about her son. We, as parents, have to let go of the stories we told ourselves because our children’s lives are theirs and they deserve to live the truth.
Callie marches up to Aaron’s room, wakes him up to apologize and then they smooch a little. The next morning Callie has won over the fam with coffee and donuts. And she had a picture printed of Aaron. His mom says how handsome he is before popping the picture on the mantlepiece.
Lena is having the most awkward sex talk with Jesus and Emma. So they can have sex as long as Jesus is on the bottom and as long as they are careful. Oh god! I laughed so hard during this scene and also died a little of secondhand embarrassment.
Ana breaks the news to Mariana about Gabe. She’s sad but she wishes Gabe had just told her that he was having a rough time. Mike wants things to move forward with Ana and Isabella and dealing with Gabe would just set all that back.
Teen sex party is Jesus’ room. Except the party doesn’t go anywhere because Jesus’ penis doesn’t want to participate. Good lord, can we go back to the moms having sex so I don’t have to recap Jesus’ penis?
Jude and Noah are back at school to take down the tests. They hear voices and it’s Drew-Bag talking to some guy about turning Anchor Beach into a private school.
Brandon went shopping but without the list so he got marshmallows and forgot the stuff Lena actually needed for dinner. She sends him back before she decides to make the garage into her own private retreat. Hold that thought because Mariana already offered the garage to Gabe. Curses!
Aaron spoke to Vanessa’s ex-husband and yeah she was having an affair with Troy and would have done anything for him. Callie sees a little hope and promises not to take a plea deal. I would take a plea deal if it meant the end of this storyline. Aaron stumbles through some awkward stuff about how maybe that kiss didn’t mean anything a blah blah blah before Callie smooches his face again.
BAck in the dream kitchen, Mariana is giving Lena the hard sell about Gabe living in the garage. Brandon moseys in a actually says “what about me?” Stop it! Jesus adds to the let Gabe stay chorus and who is going to deny mister impotent, TBI man his tree house? He checks the side effects on his meds and yep, they include all kinds of stuff but holy shit! the boy can read again!
Lena is folding laundry when Stef walks in. Lena has about had it with having to run the house without any of Stef’s house. Stef tries to pull the “you wanted me to take the job” bullshit. Nope lady, back that train up right now. You have been taking your wife for granted and she is eating marshmallows because of it. Lena, I had you more pegged as a sea salt caramel kind of lady but any port in a storm I guess. Stef promises to help more, starting with the laundry. But maybe their herd of teenagers could help, too? Yes. Honestly, my elementary school aged kids do more than the Adams Foster teens.
Jesus wants to read the letter Emma wrote him but can’t find it. Brandon delivers Jesus’ medicine and lies about having seen the note. Jesus pretends to take the medicine and goes back to rifling through the desk.
Nothing stays buried long in this house so of course Stef finds the letter as she is prepping the laundry. So now she knows Emma was pregnant. Everyone knows but Jesus!