“The Fosters” Episode 102 Recap: Little Lying Lhasa Apsos

The show opens in the Great Lesbian Kitchen, which is where most of the action seems to happen in this house. Not that kind of action, though that sturdy table could take it. Jesus rides his skateboard into the kitchen and Lena tells him he shouldn’t do that and I agree because that would be hell on the floor and then I wonder what type of flooring they have because I am easily distracted by flooring. This burning question goes unresolved.

Lena looks out the window and Steph the Cop Mom is sitting outside with Brandon the Piano Man. He says that he did a dumb thing “last night” which means this is the morning after the trips to and from Not Mexico and the House of the Shiny Gun and they all seem surprisingly chipper. He tells Steph, “It won’t happen again.” and she says, “You’re darn right…” and then says that she was about to drop the hammer on him and, with restraint unknown to most, I resist making the stereotypical lesbian and tools joke. It turns out that Lena feels he’s suffered enough and they aren’t going to ground him. I disagree with Lena but this show already has an abundance of moms so I let it go.


are you saying that you know with certainty who redcoat is? and you didn’t want to tell me until now?

Steph and Brandon enter the kitchen and Lena says, “Steph, your pancakes are burning.”

Digression 1: Were the pancakes waiting for Steph to return? Is Lena pancake-flipping impaired? Is Steph the Cop Mom also Steph the Pancake Mom?

Digression 2: Marianna complains that her hair makes her look like a Lhasa Apso but she doesn’t really look like one – no underbite. Also, my sister has Lhasa Apsos and one of them bit my son in the face and now I don’t like Lhasa Apsos and this is unintentional foreshadowing because it turns out I don’t like Marianna much in this episode either.

Steph serves pancakes and then Jesus runs over Steph with his skateboard and Steph says, “Have you taken your pill this morning?” He says, “Yes.” She says, “No.” and he says, “No.” This foray into ADD/ADHD and medication is clunky; however, I have this conversation with one of my kids often. Even when I’m saying it, I hate myself for it and, watching this scene play out, I hate it even more. Vikki the Recap Mom got a valuable reminder – sometimes kids are just kids and they do stupid things and we shouldn’t always follow their stupid things with that question and, Jesus! Stop skateboarding in the house!

Jesus takes the wheel. No, he doesn’t – he takes down the wicker basket to get his pills and I wonder what happened to the Burberry basket from last time and suspect that Lena sold it to buy more taupe clothing and bangles. We get a close-up of Jesus’ hand with his pills and the plot thickens.

As the opening scene fades, we get the first true show opening with music and credits. There are shots of homework, cluttered stairs, a sponge, arms, height marks on a wall, pancakes, sheet music, a rubber duck in a top hat and Steph and Lena’s hands in bed together. Just their hands. They could each be sitting on the floor on opposite sides of the bed. Who knows? I had three thoughts: 1) Why the hell is there a sponge? 2) We have that duck in a top hat! 3) I am a stupid sap because this opening gives me warm, fuzzy feelings and a craving for pancakes.


Then we have a series of quick scenes…A mean girl approaches Marianna and says, “Do you have any more…?” and I yell, “SKITTLES!” because even mean girls shouldn’t do drugs and also Skittles are delicious. Marianna says she can’t get anymore. Lena tells Steph she worries about her being a gun-toting cop and wishes that she pulled cats out of trees instead. Then, we see Talya (This is the weird but correct spelling because an obligatory iPhone product placement told me so) asking Brandon if his moms sent Callie back to juvey. Brandon says no and then they make-out because juvey talk is such a turn-on.

The next scene takes place in the Great Lesbian Kitchen with Bill, the foster care guy. He tells the lady lovers that Callie’s mom died when she was 10 and she and Jude have been in and out of foster homes since then. Lena asks if he is looking for a permanent placement for them and he says, “Always,” and then Steph clears her throat and looks out the window and sees a young boy in their tree. At first, I think they have a trespasser but then I realize Steph is looking through a magical window to the past.

Back at school, a teacher brings Lena a note and the only word we are supposed to notice is “PILLS” and Lena says, “Well, you know what that means?” and I say, “Medication” but she means “Locker searches.” As a security officer searches the lockers, Lena looks at Marianna like “I’m sorry for the inconvenience, my innocent cherub.” and Marianna looks back like, “I have nothing to hide and you look great in taupe and did you do something different and fabulous with your hair today?”


all i have in my locker are bird stickers i swear

In the next scene, Mike and Steph are driving around in a police car and Mike brings up the events of the previous night and Steph mentions that they decided not to ground Brandon because he is a good guy who plays a mean concerto and Mike says, “You’re kidding, right?” Steph is not kidding and says, “Lena thought…” and then Mike exhales dramatically and says, “Lena thought…” And I think of that Mr. Morton song from Schoolhouse Rock and think that Lena is the subject of the sentence and what the predicate says, she does. My happy song is interrupted when Mike goes on a tirade in which he refers to Lena as “hippy dippy” and makes light of her “PhD in Child Whatever the Hell It Is” but then Steph gives him a verbal lashing before challenging him to a duel at high noon. Or, you know, says nothing to defend Lena. Steph, Steph, Steph.

There is another series of rapid-fire scenes… Jude gets in a fight defending Marianna’s nice friend, Lexi. Callie checks in on Jude. Jesus is in Lena’s office for fighting and she asks him if he took his pill and he says, “Can’t I just have a bad day?” and Lena sighs and doesn’t call the psychiatrist and I probably wouldn’t have either because I, too, am hippy dippy. Marianna is waiting for Jesus outside of Lena’s office and he tells her that he didn’t take his pill to save her ass and this is such a tangled web, children! The moral of this story – as the moral of every story ever should be – is that you should never lie to your lesbian mothers. Then, Callie is in the music room drinking bottled water without any regard for the environment (which is how we know she’s only lived with lesbians for a few days). Brandon comes in and Callie plays a C chord on the guitar which is the key to her heart and she opens up to Brandon a little bit and he puts his hand on her thigh and Talya sees that through the window and we all know where this is heading.


play “if he tries anything” again, i beg of you

In the next scene, Steph enters the kitchen and says to Lena, “I’m sorry. Mike is right behind me.” Mike enters on cue and things get very deep lez when Steph says, “He feels that blah blah blah” and Lena says, “I hear that but blah blah blah” but then Mike reveals that he is not a lesbian and says, “What you think isn’t really my concern.” and Steph finally wakes up and jumps to Lena’s defense with the ever articulate phrase of “Hey, wait a minute”!” Mike then asserts his role and I worry he is going to lift his leg and mark his territory and there is a lot of bickering about who the parents are and it’s ugly and I want to find Marianna and ask her if she has any more Skittles! Then, Steph makes a grave error. She says, “I think Mike has a point.” Before the parental cage match really gets going, Brandon enters and Mike tells him he is grounded and then Brandon implies Mike has never really cared and leaves and the three parents exchange awkward looks. Mike leaves. Steph sighs. Lena fidgets. Mr. Morton walks.

We then see Jesus in his room and he is typing on his Apple product and listening to music and checking his phone and flipping through skateboarding pics so fast it looks like a flipbook. He’s doing this because he has The ADD…or he is a blogger. I did the exact same things today but the pics were of Lhasa Apsos. Marianna apologizes but Jesus and I are still mad at her. Then, we see Jude doing his homework and Callie helping him by telling him to divide it by the Y and I need Callie to come help my kids because I hate algebra. Math is interrupted by Callie and Jude bantering and then tickling each other and that is interrupted by the Music of Emotional Reflection and Jude asks how long they’ll be staying and Callie says she doesn’t know.

We head down to the kitchen and see a close up of a knife furiously slicing a cucumber.

Digression 3: I don’t think she washed that cucumber. It has that weird matte finish that unwashed cucumbers have and I can’t help but judge Lena for the cucumber hygiene issue.

Steph walks in and I am distracted from the cucumber long enough to wonder if she has to wear that cop radio thing clipped to her shoulder even when she’s at home. Steph apologizes for “ambushing” Lena and that is not a euphemism for surprise sex. Lena chops and clenches her jaw and Steph drops the great lez-exit line, “When you feel like talking, let me know…” and it works like magic! Lena says, “I thought we were on the same page. I thought we agreed.” and she is breathing heavily like “ambushing” wasn’t a euphemism. She adds, “I have never felt like such a stepmother in my life.” and I want to step into the TV and say, “You are a stepmother.” Then, she would wave her knife at me and I would try to disarm her by adding, “But that’s not a bad thing.” and then we would hug and I would burrow into her cardigan to see if she smells like patchouli. She wouldn’t but Mike got in my head with that hippy dippy comment. But I’m not there and Steph just stands there watching Lena wave the knife around and rant hyperbolically about being the “good time step mom from now on” and she says, “You want some candy, Brandon? Sure! Help yourself! Cigarettes? Heroin?” Dramarama lesbian mama – though I do love a good hyperbolic rant. Makes everything more fun – even heroin!


i’m just saying this knife can chop a tomato like nobody’s business

Digression 4: My favorite hyperbolic parenting rant always ends with, “And that’s how they’ll end up in prison!” So, all you kids out there – use your napkins or you’ll end up in prison.

Steph tells Lena to put down the knife and use that cucumber to make her a Pimm’s Cup and I no longer care about anything but the nice definition of Steph’s left bicep. Lena then says, “You humiliated me in front of him.” and Steph says, “What was I supposed to say?” and Lena says, “You lie.” Lying is wrong but Lena is right. See: lesbianism leads to moral ambiguity. Steph reassures Lena and then exits and Lena is relieved because she has to make Pimm’s Cups for 30. Steph then goes to talk to Brandon and says that Mike is a good dad or something equally bland and then says, “By the way, if you ever need heroin, Lena’s happy to help.” Brandon says, “Huh?” and Steph says, “Never mind. It was funnier in my head.” Oh Steph. Heroin jokes are always funnier in your head and most of my jokes are funnier in mine. Sisterhood is powerful.

The show takes us back to the kitchen where Lena is putting a salad on the table and Jude enters and asks for chores because foster families usually enjoy child labor. She asks him to help with the salad forks. They are Salad Fork Lesbians. I am not a salad fork lesbian so I defer to their table setting prowess. We then have our Very Special Gay Moment. Jude asks, “Are you and Steph married?” and Lena says, “Not exactly, not legally, no. We’re married in our hearts, I guess.” Jude nods, “That’s basically the same thing, right?” I want to say, “Hey Jude, don’t make it bad. It is basically the same thing except for legal authority to make decisions for your partner and inherit their salad forks and get their pensions and all that.”


now come back in ten years and we can discuss scissoring

After dinner, the moms call all the kids together in the living room, which continues to be the darkest room in the house.

Digression 5: Have these ladies not heard of Ikea? I know they are on a tight budget with all those kids but Ikea has some cheap and stylish lamps.

The moms inform everyone that Callie and Jude will be staying until a permanent family is found and that Jesus and Jude will be sharing a room and Callie and Marianna will be sharing a room and Greg Brady will get his own room. Typical.

More quickies of the non-ambush variety…Lexi comes over to hang with Marianna and Jesus kisses her. Then, it’s Miss Scarlet in the study with a candlestick – I mean, Callie in the living room with Brandon’s guitar. The next day, Talya chats with Brandon and is obviously jealous of Callie. Steph and Mike are in the cop car and Mike says he wants to be more involved. Kelsey, Marianna’s mean friend with the Skittle problem, implies that Marianna’s home life is like Grand Theft Auto sealing our deep hatred of her and her teal short shorts. Callie joins Talya’s lunch table for awkward conversation and bad school lunches. Lexi and Jesus discuss their kiss.

Then, we head to the Bathroom of Pretty Little Pills where Kelsey is snorting Ritalin in the bathroom stall.

Digression 6: Kelsey is the messiest snorter I’ve ever seen. It’s all over the little metal shelf and her hands and her face. She snorts drugs with the grace of a one year old eating a cupcake.


i’m so excited? i’m so – so – scared…

Lena hears the sniffles and because she has a PhD in Child Whatever the Hell It Is, she assumes drugs while I would assume weeping and she catches Kelsey with drugs on her face. She says to Kelsey, “What is it and who gave it to you?” and I say aloud, “Oh Lena! Do you really want to know?”

Next, Steph and Lena are waiting for the kids to come home and Marianna, Jude and Callie walk in and one of the moms (I can’t remember which one. They all look alike. Heh.) says, “Marianna could you take Jude upstairs. We need to talk to Callie.” My mouth drops open in surprise. Kelsey, I underestimated you and your mean spirit. They ask Callie if she took the drugs and she denies it and they let her go upstairs. Steph! You are a cop! You call that an interrogation?! Steph says, “What should we do?” and Lena says, “I don’t know. Maybe we should call Mike.” Perfect line. Absolutely perfect. Lena is funny which helps me set aside our parenting differences.

We then go through a few more short scenes…Jesus tells Brandon that Talya is insecure. Brandon tells Talya he’ll sneak out to see her that night. Marianna finds Callie sitting under a tree and asks her what happened with the moms. Marianna is surprised Callie didn’t rat her out. Marianna goes to her room and Jesus tells her to tell the moms about the drugs and Marianna says, “The other night, when Ana took all that money from me like I was an ATM or something, not even a person, much less her daughter – I thought ‘Well hey, at least I have 2 moms at home who love me. They’re gonna hate me.” And I want to say, “Come here my precious Lhasa Apso” and give her a big hug but then she goes downstairs to tell the moms the truth and lets Jesus take the fall for her. Yeah.

Lena and Steph go outside to talk to Callie who is still hanging out under that tree like a guitar playing wood nymph and they apologize to her. Then, Steph says, “Trust is something that has to be earned.” and I am outraged that Steph is talking to Callie about trust after the assumptions they made about Callie and then Lena says, “We’d really like to start earning yours.” I actually put my hand to my heart when she said that because I am a sensitive soul and my emotions are easy to manipulate.


we saw you playing ani on that guitar and wonder if you have anything you’d like to tell us

The episode ends with Callie playing guitar and Brandon playing piano and the music accompanies a montage of Jude in his room getting a text from Lexi calling him an idiot for taking the fall for Marianna and Brandon blowing off Talya via text to hang with Callie and Marianna sitting alone with her conscience and Lena and Steph in bed, facing opposite directions but then clasping hands.

Overall impression: There was so much going on in this episode but they actually dealt with things with some depth.

Favorite line: Lena says, “You want some candy, Brandon? Sure! Help yourself! Cigarettes? Heroin?”

Really? Did they have to do that?: What are they doing with Brandon and Callie?

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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.


  1. At this point, I can safely safe that I am madly in love with Steph. All those terms of endearment she uses are just beautiful.
    BUT if Callie and Brandon get all romantic, I’m through with this show. First of all: no. Second of all, no. No, no, no.

  2. Freaking hilarious! “They could each be sitting on the floor on opposite sides of the bed. Who knows?” I totally cracked up at that part. The picture captions were gold too. Awesome recap Vikki!

    My concerns about the Mike situation are still in place and stronger than last week unfortunately.

    • Credit were credit is due: I didn’t do any of the captions this time. I believe that was Grace.

      This episode actually made me feel better about the Mike situation. I think they’ll use him to discuss the complexity of co-parenting which is a worthy topic. Since they are going that route, it’s unlikely they’ll go the affair route.

      • I’ve never been worried about an affair (although anyone who is is justified from so much past TV experience in my opinion). I just want to see two women raise a family with out some guy getting in the way. Like I said last week Hollywood seems to think two women raising a family is too crazy without a man being involved in some capacity.

        • For better or worse, I think it’s an interesting dynamic to explore as long as they don’t go the affair route. Co-parenting is complex and emotions run high and they could do so much with it. I’m going to remain naive and hopeful

      • I am not at all convinced that an affair is off the table. Especially based on the interviews I have read recently pertaining to Mike and Stef’s past relationship and how she met Lena. This episode did nothing but convince me that Mike/Stef/Lena are going to continue to butt heads all seasons with Stef likely not mediating properly between Mike and Lena giving the impression to Lena that she sides with Mike when it comes to Brandon and that’s going to cause problems in their relationship. If this show doesn’t develop some kind of Kids Are All Right type of plot by the finale I would be very pleasantly surprised but my history with watching TV leads me to believe my instincts are right about these things.

  3. OMG Schoolhouse Rock feels:
    I had an elementary school music teacher named Mr. Morton who looked EXACTLY like the animated gent of the same name who walks and talks to his cat.

    I’m starting to quite like this show, because I’m hugely sappy and it had me at the opening credits.

  4. I was looking forward to this recap. I tried watching the show. Couldn’t do it. But the recaps, the recaps I love. And just FYI: I jumped straight to comments after reading “Jesus takes the wheel. No he doesn’t..” just to tell you I love you and forgive you for taking my bean at camp!

  5. Nice recap! I know it’s only the second episode, but I have 2 problems. 1. I cannot figure out the layout of the house and especially the kids’ rooms. (My understanding of this is of course vital to my ability to enjoy the show.). 2. Most of the kids aren’t very likeable to me – I’m looking at you most of all Brandon. Anyone else feel this way?

  6. Oh hey, maybe Reise or someone can answer this, is Lizz going to be recapping the new season of Pretty Little Liars? The scene between Paige and Emily made my heart explode with rainbows and puppies! I love her recaps so much and she’s so funny that I’m really looking forward to them.

  7. Thanks Vikki, on yet another fabulous recap.

    Digressions this episode?
    – Pancakes. Seriously, when you write a lesbian drama you’re going to have to pay attention to the tiniest details. We will.
    – The scene with Mike, Steph & Lena: it becomes apparent from the badges on their cop shirts that Steph hasn’t divorced/reverted back to her maiden name. This bothers me, because it feels like the writers are playing the ‘lesbian-fling’ card.
    – Still no reference system for the mums. Do these kids not address their parents?! +1 ‘lesbian fling’ stance.

  8. ‘Even when I’m saying it, I hate myself for it and, watching this scene play out, I hate it even more. Vikki the Recap Mom got a valuable reminder – sometimes kids are just kids and they do stupid things and we shouldn’t always follow their stupid things with that question’

    Thanks for that, Vikki. I was on Ritalin from when I was 6 until I was 18 and moved out and refused to take it. My mother ALWAYS used to ask me that if I even just TALKED TOO MUCH. It always made me feel like she was doing it out of spite.

    • ADHD and medication is so complicated. My kid was on concerta for a long time and it made him a different person and it broke my heart. I don’t write much about this issue out of respect for my kid but I do sometimes wish that I could. I also feel SO lucky because my kid is very articulate about what goes on in his brain that we can approach the issues as a team, working together to find what works. We’ve always tried to let him lead. That question “Have you taken your pill?” is a horrible knee jerk response that we work on and I was really glad that the show brought it up. I actually thought it was a pretty nuanced issue to address.

      • I felt like a different person on it too. Quieter, zombie-like. It changed my personality. I had ADHD as a kid and no doubt I needed to be medicated, but by the time I was a teen and no longer hyperactive, just typical adult ADD with a lower attention span, I feel like I should have been taken off it.
        Don’t get me wrong, it is still harder for me to concentrate than others. But I’m 27, finished university (with honors), got a teaching job, and all of that without meds for the past 9 years. Sometimes my brain feels like a jungle and I forget things, but I’d rather be me and put 36354 reminders in my phone instead of take pills that change my personality.

  9. So far, this show makes me feel;

    a) all fuzzy inside bc lesbian Mum’s normalising my life for me
    b) uncomfortable bc unidentified floor plans
    c) like I need to re-model my house to make room for a lesbian kitchen with an island.

    Three things that annoyed my happy heart though… the first scene with the cop-mom and her ex in the car… for the love of god can someone please edit that scene properly. It was like my 3yr old was in charge of the “switch camera” button.
    Secondly, Callie, sweetheart, don’t give your brother the homework answers like that. He won’t learn anything. Give a man a fish and all that…
    Lastly, the food these guys manage to put together in time for dinner… NOT REAL LIFE PEOPLE. Two working Mum’s with 5 children? I have a full time job and ONE child… you know what were having for dinner tonight? Probably cereal. Just add milk.


  10. Comment about the show: I need to finish the first episode still but I feel like I could like this show, but I’m not sure my threshold for “teenager problems” is very high lately.

    Comment about Lhasa Apsos: We just put my Lhasa down about three weeks ago (his name was Frasier, he was 15 and had black fur), so seeing “Lhasa Apso” on Autostraddle’s front page the past few days is bittersweet. But I also think that “Lhasa Apso” is the fun kind of hyper-specific nonsense phrase that should be utilized in comedic recaps of television shows more often, and my dog named after a sitcom character would’ve agreed, so kudos.

  11. I don’t like Mariana. At all.
    The fact that the twins were complaining about Jude and Callie moving in bothered me. I was like “seriously? You cannot be not supportive? That was you a few years ago”
    Brandon and Callie. No. Just no.
    But besides that I do like this show. Hope it gets good ratings

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