Episode 9 begins with the final scene of Episode 8 – Mike and Stef knock on the door of the crack house with the dirty kitchen that gives me social work flashbacks. They go in – guns drawn – and go room to room searching and then Mike goes into one room and Stef goes into another and splitting up is a very bad idea if you ask me and I’m going to assume you are asking me because I am the boss of this recap.
Mike goes in, sees Stef on the floor and gives the last three BANGS to the greasy drug guy.
In another part of the city, Ana and Jesus meet up in front of a women’s shelter and Jesus tells her they have a bed for her. Ana thanks him and then asks him for money just like Marianna said she would. He gives her whatever he has in his wallet and she hugs him and says she is sorry. They part and I shake my Magic 8 ball and it says, “No way in hell she’s actually staying in that shelter.”
In the Great Lesbian Kitchen, Lena wants to know why Marianna met with Ana behind their backs but before Marianna can answer, the phone rings. Saved by the ring tone! It’s Jesus and Lena asks where he is and he lies and she knows he’s a big fat liar and he finally admits he is downtown. Lena gets her keys and goes to pick him up.
She goes to the doctor. She goes to the mountain. She looks for the children. She drinks from a fountain. Finally, Lena finds Jesus. Lena, Marianna and Jesus are in the car and before Lena can yell at Jesus, her phone rings and it’s Mike. Saved by the ring tone again! She asks, “What’s wrong?” and cue intro montage and music!
Brandon gets home and Callie is the only one there. She says the house was empty when she got home. They chit chat about what they did and then there is a knock at the door. They should get a doorbell. Maybe that would break their streak of bad luck associated with knocking.
Digression 1: Our house was built in 1913 and had this old doorbell, the kind with the metal bell that gets hit with the tiny metal mallet when someone pushes the button. I decided that the bell and mallet needed to be cleaned and I scrubbed them and – oh how they shined! The doorbell never worked again. So, my advice is don’t clean your doorbell innards.
Stef is in the ER and George Clooney says that she might have a pneumothorax which is a very serious condition in which a Lorax gets into one of your lungs and roots around for Truffula seeds. Meanwhile, Lena enters the waiting room and sees the Captain and Tennille. I mean the Captain and Mike who are definitely not singing Muskrat Love unless the lyrics of that duet go something like, “Why were you in that house and why did you shoot that greasy guy?” and “We were looking for love in all the wrong places, looking for love in too many places and the guy had a gun.” A nurse interrupts their song to talk to Mike. He asks how Stef is and the nurse says, “Your wife’s condition is critical.” Ugh. Mike explains that Stef is his ex-wife and Lena says, “I’m her domestic partner” and that language has never sounded as dumb and inadequate as it does right in that moment. It’s like saying, “I’m her Certified Public Accountant.” Stef does have a pneumolorax.
Marianna wants to know if Ana was there but Jesus tells her that Ana was with him. She tells him none of this would have happened if he had just texted her back and told her where he was. Brandon and Callie arrive which means everyone is there, right? NO. Where the hell is Jude?
A nurse tells them Stef is stable and they can see her. Mike asks if he can come and the nurse says, “Only the significant other” and I say aloud, “Thank god!” because they finally avoided some clichéd angst! Lena heads back and the Captain tells Mike he can’t see her until they’ve both given statements to internal affairs anyway.
Lena sees Stef and tells her that the kids are all right and they’re all there and she is much more composed than I would be. I am very good in a crisis but she is alone with Stef and Stef is out because of her Lorax and I would probably lose it just a bit.
Then something magical happens – we get a flashback!
Stef and Lena meet for the first time when Brandon is entering kindergarten and Stef tours Lena’s school. Stef has bangs and 80’s clothes. As far as fashion goes, Lena gets the better deal in this flashback. Stef looks pearl-clutching straight and Lena asks if they should wait for her husband and Stef says he couldn’t make it.
After the magical carpet ride, Lena goes to the waiting room and tells everyone that Stef is doing well. A nurse interrupts and says she needs “Mrs. Fosters’ insurance information” and Lena says “It’s Ms.” and then jumps over the counter and throttles the nurse and that’s her back story when we first see her in Orange Is The New Black.
Brandon asks Mike why Stef wasn’t wearing a vest. Geez Brandon! Not all lesbians wear vests! But then I realize he means “bulletproof vest” and let this slide. Mike says they didn’t expect this and Brandon says the point is to always be prepared because they are all like Boy Scouts but queer and queer-adjacent. Mike gets called away to talk to internal affairs and Brandon confronts Marianna and Jesus and blames them for Ana and the greasy guy and the Lorax. He says, “We took you in when no one else wanted you!” Low blow.
Digression 2: I have an older brother and we have the same mother but different fathers. He was often mean to me and, after some offense I don’t even remember, I told my mom, “He’s not my real brother anyway!” Let’s just say that Brandon is lucky my mom didn’t hear him.
Mike is in the hall with the internal affairs guys and they ask why they were at the house and Mike says they were looking for Stef’s son and saw the drugs. Internal Affair Guy 1 suggests they went there to intimidate the birth mother so she wouldn’t ask to see her kids. Way to be cynical, IAG1! Mike says Stef and her partner adopted the kids and IAG1 says, “Your wife is a lesbian?” This is so stupid and inappropriate that I’m just going to move on.
Brandon and Lena are in the waiting room and he admits that he knew that Marianna had gotten in touch with Ana but didn’t know it was an ongoing thing. Lena asks if he knew that Marianna was selling Jesus’ drugs and he says he wasn’t thinking and Lena says, “This is what happens when people don’t think.” Harsh.
Digression 3: This past weekend, I wasn’t thinking and left my iPhone in a cab in Chicago. Nobody got at a pneumolorax from it.
Marianna asks Callie where Jude is and she says that he’s at the Connors which I find hard to believe since Mrs. Connor gets migraines when people visit and Jude’s been gone for days! Poor Mrs. Connor.
Jesus asks Mike if the police found Ana and Mike says that she didn’t stay in the shelter and my Magic 8 Ball was right! Jesus asks Mike if he shot the greasy guy and Mike says, “Yeah.” Jesus says, “Is he dead?” and Mike says, “Yeah.” Jesus says, “Good” and Mike says, “Hey. When someone gets killed, it’s never good no matter what they did.” Preach, Mike.
The doctor tells the family that no other vital organs were damaged but the bullet fragments are near her spine and she’ll have to have surgery. They can see her before surgery and everyone heads back except for Callie and Mike.
Stef who is still out and Lena says, “Honey, we are all here.” A little kudos to Cierra Ramirez (Marianna) in this scene because she has no lines but looks so convincingly small and fragile that I just want to give her a big hug. Lena asks Brandon to take everyone home and then returns to Stef’s bedside and says, “Brandon took the twins home. I’m trying really hard to forgive them. I’m sorry I’m not doing a better job.” Lena – I’m trying really hard to forgive you for blaming them. I’m sorry I’m not doing a better job.
Another magical carpet ride! We see the twins as little kids and Stef meets them in the police station. Stef asks a cop why they’re there and he says, “Armed robbery.” Stef and I laugh. He says they are waiting for Child Protective Services. Stef approaches them and says in this high voice, “Hey guys. My name is Stef. What’s yours?” Jesus introduces them. Stef says, “Are you brother and sister or is this your wife?” Both kids smile as do I. Oh Stef. You’re such a charmer.
Back at the Charming Craftsman, Marianna is going through boxes of mementos and runs across this framed keepsake that says, “Though we didn’t give you the gift of life, life gave us the gift of you.” Marianna asks, “What if they don’t want us anymore?” And I answer, “They’ll give lesbian moms a bad name.”
Upstairs, Brandon is looking at Stef’s uniforms in the closet and Callie offers to help him find clothes to take to Lena. Callie tells him that he doesn’t know what it’s like to wonder why the people who were supposed to love you, didn’t. Then, she tells him, “Don’t be a jackass.” Callie should be wearing a cape because she is the superhero saving us from schmaltz.
Brandon goes to the living room where Jesus and Marianna are still looking through boxes, picks up a voice changing megaphone and says, “I’m sorry I’m an ass” and Jesus takes it from him and says, “I’m sorry you’re an ass too.” Before we can enjoy this sweet little scene too much, there is a knock at the door! They shouldn’t answer it because a) it’s the middle of the night and b) nothing good ever comes from the door knocks. They do answer it though and it’s Jude – as if asking about him summoned him from the ether! He says he couldn’t sleep and wants to know what’s happening with Stef and how does he even know what happened? Anyway, they all fall asleep in the living room like a pile of puppies and Jude asks Callie if Stef is going to die. She says, “No. This family’s not like ours. They’re lucky.” That is so ouchy.
The next morning, Callie is in the kitchen making biscuits and gravy. She is kneading the dough as Brandon enters and she kneads it while they talk and I make biscuits often and I can tell you that she has already overworked that dough. She tells him that biscuits and gravy is comfort food and her mom used to make it and he asks how she ended up in the system. She says her father was driving while drunk and hit another car. Her mom died as did the people in the other car and her father went to prison for manslaughter. Damn. Now I need biscuits and gravy. Wyatt looks through the window and sees Brandon standing close to Callie and then he knocks on the door and enters. He brought donuts!
Digression 4: My notes say “Phone rings – taking mom into sugary.” That is the power of donuts.
Everybody is in the waiting room. Wyatt and Callie leave to “get some air.”
Digression 5: I use that phrase too but I find it as odd as those gas station signs that say “Free Air.” It’s air. It’s everywhere. You can get it in the house. You can get it with a mouse. You can get it in a box. You can get it with a fox.
Jude moves to sit by Lena and hold her hand. It should be sweet but there is just something about the way the actor acts that gives me a weird vibe. How’s that for a critical analysis of technique?
The Captain motions for Tennille to join her in the hallway to sing Love Will Keep Us Together. Actually, she tells Mike that he and Stef may be suspended for a day or two for not calling for back up but there will be no other consequences. Then, she confronts him about his drinking and he says he hasn’t had a drink on the job and she tells him that his after hours drinking is affecting his job performance. He says, “I’ll take care of it.” That’s that that! All better.
With that, we get a flashback with Mike. He is sitting at a coffee shop and Stef comes over and he gets up and kisses her and she makes an uncomfortable “ew” face that he doesn’t see. He says the separation has been good and he realizes that he hasn’t been present and he is willing to try counseling and she says, “Counseling can’t fix what’s wrong with us.” BECAUSE SHE’S GAY. I wish she’d said carpet muncher because that would have gone better with my magical carpet ride theme. She says it’s taken her awhile to accept it and say it and he asks her why she’s saying it now and she says, “Because I met someone.”
The flashback ends and we find Modern Mike sitting in his car pouring whiskey in his coffee cup.
Wyatt and Callie are sitting outside the hospital getting air and Wyatt accuses Callie of using him. He says that she has feelings for Brandon and he knows that it’s against the rules to act on them but she should “Go for it. Be happy.” Wyatt should never have an advice column. Callie gives him a kiss on the cheek and goes to find Brandon so that she can carpe diem the hell out of that inappropriate relationship but sees Talya hugging Brandon which throws a monkey wrench in her plans.
Digression 6: I wish the saying was throwing monkeys rather than monkey wrenches. Sounds so much more fun! Let’s make it happen.
Callie goes back to the waiting room and they all sit around doing nothing when they could be figuring out how to get past level 151 on Candy Crush. For me. The Fosters are so selfish with their waiting room time. The doctor comes in and tells them they got all the fragments and then everyone hugs. When Mike hugs Brandon, Brandon smells liquor on his breath.
Lena enters Stef’s room and kisses her on the forehead and we get another flashback.
Stef is leaning against a car wearing some serious mom jeans. Lena comes over and says, “I’m not doing this. I’m not getting involved with a married woman.” She goes on to say something like “You’re just passing through gay town but I own a condo here and I grow my own tomatoes for gayzpacho.” Stef says, “I told Mike and I told my dad and I told most of my friends. I told them I’m gay. I even used the word lesbian.” Lena stares blankly at Stef and I think she’s trying to figure out if those mom jeans are also acid washed. Stef gives the hard sell, “I told them I met the woman I can’t live without. I belong with you Lena.” More staring. Stef adds nervously, “If you’ll have me…” and Lena wakes from her acid washed trance and says, “You had me at lesbian.”
Back in real time, Stef starts to wake and Lena says, “Don’t talk” and Stef takes off her oxygen masks and says, “Will you marry me?” Lena says, “I thought you’d never ask.” Stef says, “Neither did I.” Neither did Gretchen the bitchy ex.
Marianna is outside sucking up all the free air she can get and Lena sits down next to her. She tells Marianna that she understood why she went behind their backs, that she knows that Marianna wanted a relationship with her mother – not a supervised visit. She says that she doesn’t understand why their mom chose drugs over them and adds, “All I know is we chose you and you chose us. DNA doesn’t make a family. Love does. We love you and that is never going to change.” Love makes a family. The bumper sticker moment of this episode.
Mike’s getting a bottled water because he hates the earth and the Captain tells him the police picked up Ana and Ana claims she was there at the time of the shooting. She is a possible witness and now they have to take her statement.
Brandon confronts Mike about drinking while Stef was in surgery and says it’s alcoholic behavior. Brandon is right and would be a better advice columnist than Wyatt. Brandon tries to walk away but Mike grabs his arm and Brandon pushes him away. Lena walks in just at that moment and Brandon says to Mike, “I’m done with you.” Brandon goes one way. Mike goes another way. I wonder who will pay for those expensive piano lessons now.
Lena is leaving the hospital with the kids and sees the police leading Ana into the hospital to identify her boyfriend’s body. Lena marches over and says, “If you ever go near my kids again, it’s the last thing you’ll do.” It’s always good to threaten someone’s life with two police officers as witnesses.
Mike visits Stef and she tells him it wasn’t his fault. He says, “Wish it had been me.” And Stef says, “Me too.” Even with a Lorax, Stef is funny! Mike tells her that Ana saw the shooting and says “It was a clean shoot” for the 67th time this episode. You know what happens when they make declarations on this show.
We then get our closing musical montage. All the Fosters and fosters are in their rooms. Marianna crawls into bed with Lena. Jesus crumples up the brochure from the women’s shelter. Jude looks at an old family picture. Mike walks down a hall and into an AA meeting. Stef lies in her bed alone and flashes back to the shooting.
I had to watch the flashback of the shooting six times to understand what happened and why Stef looked so concerned. I know that getting shot is troubling but there was something else. So, here’s what I pieced together from the shooting:
Stef entered the room and the guy shot her. He dropped his gun and it discharged when it hit the floor. That was the second shot. This means that the greasy guy was unarmed when Mike entered and shot him three times.
I am not a police officer but this was not a clean shoot.
p.s. While I was writing this, they announced that The Fosters was picked up for a second season that will start in January 2014.
Overall impression: This may be an unpopular opinion but I thought the episode was more melodramatic than dramatic.
Favorite line: “Are you guys brother and sister or is this your wife?” ~ Flashback Stef
Really? Did they have to do that?: Brandon and Callie. Callie and Brandon. It’s happening, y’all.