“The Fosters” Episode 101 Recap: Fosters, I Barely Know Hers!

Back at Anchor Beach School for Pretty Surfers, Callie is ditching to go to Mexico and the Piano Man sees her and follows her. There is some dramatic beach walking accompanied by equally dramatic music and Callie finally tells Piano Man that her brother, Jude, is still in her previous foster home and she ended up in juvey for taking a baseball bat to the foster dad’s Trans Am.

Digression 6: I didn’t know they still made those! Maybe it was a classic car. I will say that the Trans Am was my favorite Hot Wheels car growing up. Mine was destroyed in an unfortunate firecracker incident. A baseball bat would have been overkill.

Why did puppy-eyed Callie do such a horrible thing? Well, the dad caught her little brother in a dress and started beating him and Callie intervened and then he started beating her and then she ran out of the house and started beating the car.

Very sad.

So, the Piano Man gets on the bus with Callie and they go to Mexico.

alternately, we could just go to Yogurtland

alternately, we could just go to Yogurtland

While they are on the bus heading towards trouble in Tijuana, we head back to the house where Mariana says she is sick and can’t go to Piano Man’s final competition that night. Lena asks Jesus (the brother, not the Lord – she is not praying) what’s up with Mariana and he makes reference to “that time of the month” and Lena tells him never to say that again in a house full of women. I might have smiled at that. What can I say? I’m easy.

Then, Steph the Cop Mom comes home and eats string cheese in the kitchen and tells Lena that she has been partnered with Mike and Lena obviously doesn’t like it but we don’t get much lesbian processing because the doorbell rings and there is Mike all dressed up in a suit, ready to go to Piano Man’s recital. Yes, Mike is the dad and his presence proves that lady lovin’ ladies keep all their exes around.

Digression 7: Why did Mike change into a suit but Steph the Cop Mom remains in her uniform for the concert (that doesn’t happen because of Mexico) and for the rest of the episode. This distracted me. It was like when Brittany and Santana went to the amusement park on skip day in their cheerleading uniforms.

hello, i'm here to fulfill my trope

i don’t know if you’ve heard, but national law requires one man per every two lesbians on a television show so i’m just here to fill that “void”

Mike and Lena stand awkwardly in the foyer and Lena brings up the fact that Mike asked to be Steph the Cop Mom’s partner and he says that he didn’t want her with a rookie and he’s protective of her. Lena says, “As a feminist, I’m totally offended and everything but, as her wife, thanks.” I am a sucker for TV characters who talk explicitly about being feminists so – bistro glasses for Lena!

They suddenly realize that Brandon is missing! And the show starts to turn a little Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. Fortunately, Steph the Cop Mom has an app to track her kids (Note to self: get children phones and then get that app) and her iPhone shows us that his blinking red dot is heading to Tijuana! They figure out that he is with Callie and they suspect that they are in trouble, not simply seeking out authentic Mexican cuisine.

They all pile in the car and drive to Mexico. Parental road trip!

Meanwhile, Mariana is heading out to meet with her birth mother to give her the wad of money she had asked for. As Mariana waits on a park bench on the beach, her iPhone tells us Jesus is calling (her brother, not the Lord). She ignores Jesus’ call. I laugh because I’ve ignored that call for years.

If you ignore Jesus' call, you'll end up living with lesbians.

If you ignore Jesus’ call, you’ll end up living with lesbians.

Mariana’s birth mother arrives and just wants the money but we don’t have time to sit with Mariana’s complicated emotions about this realization because we have to go to Mexico where Callie has snuck in the back door of her former foster family’s house to take her little brother.

pensive-on-bed

is wondering if that half-finished powerade from lunch is still in the fridge because all this dissent is really dehydrating

Piano Man knocks on the front door as a distraction but these things never go well. There is a lot of shouting, grabbing, crying, hitting and then the foster dad pulls a very shiny silver gun out of a drawer and is pointing it everywhere. Fortunately, this is television and Olivia Benson Steph the Mom Cop arrives on the scene with her merry band of travelers and she can see the gun from the street. She and Mike the Cop Dad pull their guns and go into the house and put an end to these shenanigans and cuff the foster dad.

Digression 8: Can off-duty cops carry their guns, enter a private residence in Tijuana and cuff some guy? Also, were they really in Mexico? So many questions but, ultimately, who cares?

As they are all getting in the car to go home, we see that Jude has a turtle on his backpack and the turtle touching in the claw foot tub makes more sense. However, the artsy water shots of the sink are never explained. Sometimes, we must live without understanding the complexities of such things.

They drive away without any tacos while Brandi Carlile sings “Before It Breaks” which is a fitting end to this episode of The Lesbian Moms After School Special Victims Unit.

reunion

i have covered myself in superglue so if you hold me tight enough we’ll never be apart again

Overall impression: Better than I expected.

Favorite lines: Brandon says, “Moby Dick waits for no man.” Steph responds, “Which reminds me – do you need condoms?” Steph ends the conversation with, “To protect and to serve. It’s my job.”

Really? Did they have to do that?: Fosters Fostering.
Until next time…bistro glasses for everyone!

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Vikki Reich is a writer and communications consultant. She lives in Minneapolis with her partner and kids, surrounded by a loving queer community.

Vikki has written 25 articles for us.

65 Comments

  1. I really like the fact that the twins still speak Spanish and that Stef (?) is learning too. I’ve seen too many foster parents strip their kids (unintentionally) of the their heritage. I liked that tidbit

    • The Spanish was so forced, though! It did not sound natural and that really bothered me. Even *I* can speak Spanish more naturally than they did. Maybe they’re just not that great at acting?

      • Oh maybe you can tell me what it was that the cop mom said to them about speaking Spanish? It sounded like some kind of rule about when they were allowed to use it, so I was less impressed with her as a “good” adoptive parent. But I’ve never studied Spanish, and I’d be delighted to be able to rescind that opinion.

          • I had a similar experience w/r/t the language thing. About 3 months into being in foster care, the family I was placed with took in two brothers and a sister who are Micronesian. Our guardians (or as I liked to call them, rental parentals) forbid them from speaking their language because they were afraid they’d “hatch some kind of a plan.” These kids were ages 4, 6, and 7, by the way. What did they think they’d do, run away and hop a greyhound?

          • As a parent, I can understand feeling excluded. However, as a parent (foster or otherwise), it is also your responsibility to honor your kids in all their complexity.

          • Oh god, that’s exactly what my guardians said. But actually, in our case, we were teenagers and I KNOW some of my foster sisters were hatching plans to run away and things like that.
            Still, though, we were in Florida and you would think they would’ve tried to find some people who could speak Spanish.

        • I think the rule was that they can’t use spanish to talk about other people

          The twins were clearly talking about Callie when Stef entered the room. Basically, Stef and Lena don’t want them to hide behind a language that the other kids don’t understand to mock them or other people.

  2. a real email i just sent out to the whole team:

    “guys i am obsessed with vikki and that recap.”

    i didn’t watch the show and i probably never will but i can already tell i’ll be waiting for these recaps obsessively. thank you vikki!

    • Missy and Brandi are two of my favorites and it was definitely noteworthy though didn’t you think “Secret” was a little too something for a scene about secrets? Maybe I’m just picky. “Before It Breaks” was absolutely perfect for the end though so kudos to the person doing their music. Hope it continues.

      • Oh, Secret was way too much, especially because I can’t hear it without knowing the backstory to it, that it’s about Missy’s dating a closeted girl and how hard it was for her, and so it didn’t really fit in my mind.
        Brandi at the end was exceptional, as always.

  3. I am kind of hoping the comment about little Jude being abused for wearing women’s stuff is going lead in later to them coming out as being a trans girl. Kind of stereotypical but would be nice to add a trans character to the mix.

  4. i love you vikki

    also, i felt like there was no chemistry between the two moms? everything felt really watered down and predictable, but that might just be because it’s abc family. or because i have a family like this, it lacks a novelty factor that it might still have for straight people. but it was very respectful of queer families. i’m interested in how jude’s story will play out!

    • They packed a lot into the first episode and hopefully they’ll be able to pick up all those strands. As for the chemistry, I didn’t think they lacked chemistry so much as didn’t have many opportunities to show that they had some. I thought it was sweet when they were lying in bed after folding clothes. At this point, not being awkward together is enough for me to buy in and they didn’t seem awkward. For the record, I never fold clothes at bedtime (or ever if I can avoid it).

  5. You didn’t add my favorite line which was when Jesus told Callie (after she said the dukes thing), “they prefer the term people, but yes they’re gay”. But otherwise this was great.

    • Yes, that was a nice little scene. I also liked how the kids made it clear that friends didn’t want to come over because Steph is a cop, not because she is a lady lover.

  6. Great recap Vikki! I’m looking forward to reading them every week. I really hope this show continues to be worthy of them. The ex husband as a partner thing is a major load of crap and a pretty laughable way to insert a male character into a show that the suits probably thought had too darn many women in it. It’s a concern going forward.

  7. OK this made me actually want to go and watch it. I love the concept, but I’m not huge on ABC Family shows in general, so I’m hesitant. I’ll probably give it a couple of episodes, and I look forward to future recaps!

  8. This recap was so good I actually want to tune in. I do have a bit of a soft spot for ABC Family thanks to Bunheads.

    I also laughed out loud at this: But alas, Jennifer Lopez didn’t ask my opinion when producing this show. We just don’t talk like we used to.

    Thanks for this Vikki!

    I still have ominous feels about the shoehorned ex but I’m going to ignore them.

  9. Why have you not been recapping shows this whole time?!?! I would award you a bistro glass for this recap, but apparently you have an endless supply. I agree with the concerns mentioned about the ex husband/dad /partner. I’m just waiting for the moment when they make the mom cop and dad cop have an affair. Cause that’s where this is going, right? Ugh.

  10. Okay, so while I appreciate the analyzation of characters for the Lesbian and entire LGTBQ-Q community, I just want to say that the show’s premise is mostly about foster care.

    From your critique it is very obvious that you have some very misinformed and judgemental views of youth that are in care. Specifically, the language around the juvenile justice system, processing child abuse and truama, and substance use and abuse. I’m glad that we can discuss feminist issues and the characters, but come on. The details that you describe as boring and choppy are the some of the details that best document a youth’s time in foster care and create awareness for those that have the privilege not to have ever been involved with the system. Dismissing those details is dismissing a compilaition of foster youth’s lived experiences.

    Quite frankly, reading this re-cap left me feeling really disappointed with the inability to critize accurately and senstively the main focal point of the show: foster care. if you would like to learn more about that and need some awareness materials about foster care issues, please feel free to contact me.

      • While not perfect, it does represent some truthful experiences. Also, I wasn’t defending the respresentation in the show but expressing the inability to critically engage any of those issues in this post.

        As an advocate that works in foster care policy and engages with these issues every day, and someone who was in the system myself, I am aware of that. I just hope that when people engage with issues in the show that they also engage with youth issues and foster care issues in a respectful and meanigful way that doesn’t perpetuate stigma and stereotypes.

    • I want to start by saying that it’s unfair to make assumptions about my knowledge of the system based on a recap of a television show. So, I’ll tell you a little bit about me…

      In November of 2012, I quit my job. I was an Adult Protection Investigator for the county in which I live and investigated abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of adults and worked extensively with families. For 15 years, I saw the worst of what people do to each other so I am very aware of the issues related to abuse, trauma and chemical dependency.

      So, your assumptions about me are way off. However, you have a legitimate point in regard to the recap. No, I did not focus on the foster care aspects of the show – partially because the recap was meant to be entertaining and partially because the issues are so complex that a recap couldn’t possibly do them justice.

      And, for the record, the choppy and boring parts were actually the fault of the editing and speed with which they moved through scenes not because of content.

      I hear what you are saying though and I will keep it in mind in the future.

      • I’m sorry if it came off as that I was attempting to make assumptions about you. I didn’t mean it that way. I just wanted to draw attention to the fact that in re-capping shows like this one without giving a lot of attention to the issues surrounding the youth is unfortunate.

        I say this because, as a youth advocate, I see stigmas around juvenile hall and probation propageted every day by mainstream media. Foster youth and homeless youth are disproportionately part of the queer community, and are often left out of the discussion in the community in general.

        With this new show, I think that there is a great opportunity to discuss these issues on a broader scale that bridges issues of gender, sexuality, foster care, class, and society. I just hope that that doesn’t get lost in the name of entertainment.

        But thank you for that.

  11. Great recap! The show definitely has the potential to get a little too After School Special-y, but so far I like it a lot.

    I love how they got the “OMG they’re lesbian moms” thing out of the way right off the bat, with Jesus’s matter-of-fact response to Callie calling them “dykes.”

    As far as the ex goes, I don’t think he was shoehorned in. I hope things don’t go to the affair place between him and Stef, but so far I’m choosing to just see his involvement as Brandon’s dad. It’s fair that he be in his son’s life.

  12. I loved this show! I loved that there was actually *gasp* a bi-racial lesbian couple with a family on ‘normal’ teevee. I actually liked that the moms came across as sweet and professional and mom-like and not super sexual or whatever. They have been together and parenting for over 10 years I would gather and by that time (normally) people settle into their routine and I think this portrayed that really well

  13. I too was (pleasantly) surprised at how much I sort of enjoyed the show.

    However, this recap was an entirely different experience and a wonderful one. Great job! Hopefully the show continues and Lena and Steph get a relationship with each other a bit more – that doesn’t involve fighting about the ex boyfriend. I look forward to your next recap.

    P.S. They didn’t go to Mexico but I was also confused.

  14. To clarify, they weren’t in Mexico, they were in San Ysidro, which is an American city on the border, directly across from Tijuana. When she saw that they were in San Ysidro she worried that they might be heading to Tijuana, but they weren’t.

  15. This recap was *almost* better than the show itself. The most annoying thing for me was that the kids had no definite reference system for addressing their Mum’s – Piano Man & Jesus call Steph “Mum” but thereafter, Lena is only addressed as “Lena”. Where’s the equality in this?

    • I’m glad you pointed this out because I didn’t notice it. Our kids call us mom or mama or mommy or by our first names, or sometimes a combo. It can change even within a single conversation and sometimes depends on who else is in the room. I’m interested to hear from people who are more structured on this.

      • I didn’t notice this on the show either, so will have to pay attention next episode.

        As far as in my own family, I’m “Mommy” and my wife is “Mama” or (more recently) “Mom.” If someone calls us by the “wrong name,” my 4-year-old will call it out. So it’s pretty set in her mind that “Mommy” and “Mama/Mom” are different names for different people, and not different words for the same thing. I wonder what will happen when she gets older, if I’ll stay “Mommy” or if she’ll come up with something else that’s more mature-sounding to call me.

  16. As someone who was adopted & has reunited with my first family, I am so interested to see how they handle these story-lines moving forward. I’m so sick of seeing the flowery adoption/donor/surrogate portrayals in the media.

    They do not accurately portray the complex realities most of us have actually experienced (ie: both the positives & the negatives).

    I’m not sure why the parents have a rule about speaking Spanish in the house. The twins have been a part of their family for so long, that this should be something they all embrace for their sake. It isn’t easy losing your culture/language/entire family of origin (whether it is best for you to be raised by different parents or not).

    It looks like the twins first mother will be bad news… it was heartbreaking when she just took the money & left. I wonder about their father & extended families & I think it’s very realistic that the twins are coping in different ways.

    • The scene with Marianna and her mother was really hard and that was one of the times that I got really irritated about the editing and pacing. We barely had to time to think about what she must be feeling before we were whisked away. I know a pilot episode has to establish a lot but it felt like they tried to do too much which lessened the emotional impact.

      • Agreed. I mean if Marianna is a main character, that was a HUGE moment for her. Something that in real life would likely impact the rest of her life. So I hope they revisit it — but I agree & also felt they did not do that scene justice.

      • Also do we know if the twins mother’s rights were terminated, or if she relinquished rights to the them so they could be adopted?

        All I remember is the mother was basically slut-shamed for leaving them to run off with a man. Of course it begs the question whether or not that is what actually happened (or just their perception of what happened).

  17. I feel like it says a lot about me as person that immediately upon seeing the name Gutierrez I thought, “OMG that was the surname of Ampata from Buffy!”

    This recap was really hilarious and fun. I might have to watch the show now. Thanks, Vikki!

  18. Thankx a lot Vikki ,lots of parts i didn’t quite understand from this episode except after reading your beautiful recap and your very nice comments within the recap ;)

    u did a wonderful job dear

    Have a great weekend :)

  19. OMG VIKKI WROTE A THING! AND I LIKE IT!

    I finally got cable due to finding a cheaper place *woot woot* so I’ll will be watching this because it’s been so so so long. I also have lots of feelings about foster care and the children I personally knew involved so yeah when I get around to watching the first epi, you’ll know all the feels.

  20. While I’m sure you’re right about the ex being inserted because there were just TOO MANY LADIES, I am genuinely interested in depictions of post-separation co-parenting where both parties are interested and involved.

  21. May I just say that when she called herself a feminist I straight-up cried? Also, genderqueer/questioning kid: adorable. I am so excited about this show I cannot even compose myself.

      • Yeah, and just because a character in a show has the full run of The L Word in her living room in one episode doesn’t NECESSARILY mean she couldn’t be straight, but ugh can you please not. There is not exactly a lot of media out there acknowledging trans kids exist, ever, and this sort of reaction denying a character could be trans (and laying on the gendered pronouns really heavily to add insult to injury!) just no, back off, let us hope.

  22. I will keep watching, just so that I can come back and read your recaps. Hilarious, Vikki! You can come live with me and use my bistro glasses any time! (And when the iPhone product placement tells us that Jesus is calling, we won’t answer.)

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