“The Fosters” Episode 116 Recap: Brandon and His Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Judgement

The episode opens with sunny skies and I think this means something, like maybe all the darkness of the previous episodes is lifting or Spring is coming and my kids’ school will remain open for five days a week for a change. It’s Callie’s last group at Girls United and Rita wants all the girls to tell Callie what they learned from her and, during this entire scene that suggests deep connection between these characters, I wonder, “How long has she been there? Is Fosters’ time like dog years?” Kiara says that Callie taught her to listen. Nope, didn’t see that. Gabby learned about addiction. Nope, missed that. Cole says, “I learned that you’re my friend.” Well, at least we saw a little of that. Then, Callie tells them all that they taught her what courage is and Rita of Oz pins a medal to her chest and she sings about rainbows.

Goodbye Girls United, hello Fosters’ home. Everyone welcomes Callie back but Jesus (who is at wrestling practice) and Jude (who is being distant and weird). Brandon sidles up to Callie and tells her he’s glad she’s back and that he moved in with his dad so they would have some space. This is a solid decision and I feel hopeful about Brandon.

There's no place like the Fosters' home.

There’s no place like the Fosters’ home.

Stef, Lena and Callie meet in the kitchen as Callie finishes the dishes. The  moms lay out the new rules and give her a phone but it has no internet access. Dishes! No internet access! It’s like Lesbian Mom Gulag! Callie tells them she understands she has to earn their trust and then heads upstairs to look longingly into Brandon’s empty bedroom. She goes to her own room and finds Mariana helping Jude with his homework. He leaves the room with a,”See you in the morning,” to Callie and it’s weird. They were all joy and cuddles at the end of the last episode so I’m confused.

The next morning, everyone is talking over each other in the kitchen while they eat generically named, non-product placement corn flakes. They make a big deal about Jesus still getting ready and then Lena reminds Stef to take him to acupuncture and Stef says he says it isn’t working and Lena is all “That’s part of the deal and he’s not meditating either!”

Digression 1: I decided to try meditation so I downloaded the Calm app and closed the door to my room and began the program. You start out slowly, mediating for 7 minutes at a time. Well, it’s been a few weeks and I am no calmer or more enlightened than I was a few weeks ago. I gave it 14 minutes of my life! I think Jesus ran away from home to avoid needles and meditation and I don’t blame him.

It’s Mariana’s first day of school after her suspension and she’s nervous about what people are saying about her and Jude wonders what people are saying about Callie but Callie doesn’t care which makes Mariana say she doesn’t care either and, coincidentally, I don’t care either. While they are all busy not caring, Jude reaches in his backpack and takes out a thing with a ribbon on it and a tag that says “And…” Was it a witch? A nesting doll? A rutabaga? What was that thing?

Stef answers the door and is served with a summons to testify about the shooting. Stef tells Lena who wonders why when she was unconscious and Stef tells her she wasn’t unconscious but said she was so that she wouldn’t contradict Mike’s story. She says it was a judgement call and Lena says, “It was a terrible judgement call.”

What would this show be without everyone's dramatically bad  judgment?

What would this show be without everyone’s dramatically bad judgment?

Digression 2: Deborah emailed and said Lena has no room to judge – doctoring test scores, sneaking prenatal vitamins, trying to make gaybies without her gay lady. I agree but I liked the scene anyway because it felt real. Sometimes, when you’ve been with someone a long time, you get right to the point, like “Don’t wear those sweatpants to pick up the kids at school. It looks like you’ve given up.”

Stef says that if she tells the truth, she could lose her job.

Brandon is getting ready to leave for school and some woman in a plaid nightshirt wanders into the living room . At first I thought it was Perky Wrestler Emma and I was like “WHAT?!” but this young woman’s name is Dani and she’s Mike’s “sober buddy.” She compliments Brandon on his jacket but says his collar’s messed up and then fixes it while saying, “Men just aren’t good at dressing themselves.” She’s very touchy feely and my notes say, “Ew!” which is funny because Deborah felt “Ew!” was the theme of this episode. Mike comes out of the bedroom and Dani leaves to get ready for Pilates so she can keep things “high and tight” and Mike offers Brandon money for piano but Brandon says he is taking a break.

Callie and Mariana enter school together and see Chase and Kelsey chatting intimately by the lockers and Callie tells Mariana to ignore them. Mariana says, “I have no intentions of acknowledging her miserable existence or her questionable choice in leggings.” When did Mariana become my favorite? Zach the theater nerd asks Mariana if she’s going to the cast party and she says she thinks it would be weird and he invites her to a movie instead. Mariana is as blind as a bat when it comes to love.

"If only your social perception were as good as your fashion perception!"

“Why isn’t your social perception as good as your fashion perception?”

Digression 3: I hate that bats can’t see well because if they get into your house, they can’t find their way out so you have to call your ex-girlfriend at 3 a.m. to come over and help you catch them. Then you trap them in a laundry basket and then somehow transfer them to a tupperware container, which you then put into your refrigerator until you can take it to be tested for rabies, and then you have to explain to your kids why there is a bat in the fridge next to their lunches.

Jude finds a candy bar in his locker with the word “All” tied to it and I worry this will end badly as so many things on this show do.

Mike calls Brandon’s piano teacher to see what’s up.

Brandon sulks on the beach and then gets hit by an errant boomerang. A guy runs over to grab it and Brandon is a jerk about it. Boomerang Guy sits down and offers Brandon some marijuana (which I like to pronounce marry-hwana). The guy is pretty nice and I think they’d make a cute couple. Years later, I imagine them saying, “We met on the beach. He hit me with his boomerang — a real boomerang.” Boomerang Guy can tell that Brandon needs to relax so he shows him his fake ID and tells him he’s bringing booze to a party later that night and invites him along. A date! I’m pulling for you two!

Jude and Connor are at lunch and Jude gets two cupcakes that say “Was” and “In” and Jude mentions that his birthday is the next day but it’s a secret. His birthday is recorded as a different date in the foster care system but he and Callie always kept the real one between the two of them. Connor is all, “INTERESTING, I WANT CUPCAKE!” Meanwhile, Mariana joins Brandon at his lunch table and she asks about the case against Mike. He tells her it will be okay because they only have Anna’s testimony. Mariana feels guilty because Stef got shot trying to fix her mess and wonders if she should talk to Anna. Brandon tells her to stay away and my hope for Brandon grows against the odds, like a Chia Pet in the depths of winter.

Maybe that boomerang knocked some sense into Brandon.

Maybe that boomerang knocked some sense into Brandon.

Brandon shows up at the Charming Craftsman to get his hidden piano money and runs into Stef who has to change clothes before testifying. Downstairs, Jude and Connor find more clues and try to figure out the message and their efforts are so poor we can only hope that our national security never depends on either of them decoding a message.

Back at school, Mariana approaches Chase and apologizes for the stolen fedora and he tells her he missed her smile and Mariana falls for that line and says she’ll see him at the cast party later.

We see Stef taking the oath and I wonder if she’ll tell the truth. If she doesn’t, is she swearing on a copy of Moby Dick? It worked for Idgie. The DA asks if she was unconscious and she says, “No, I was not unconscious. I lied. I was awake.” She tells the truth and I am relieved.

Digression 4: I hate lies. Have I mentioned that I lied to my mother only once and got caught? It’s true. Because I can’t lie. I told my mom I was going to a late movie and went to a party instead. I thought I got away with it but the next morning, I awoke to a note that said, “Call me at work.” I knew then I’d been caught. She told me that she couldn’t trust me anymore and I had to stay with my dad while she was out of the town for the weekend which was the 1980’s equivalent of Divorced Straight Parent Gulag.

Next, we see Anna in a coffee shop and I think, “Dammit, Mariana!” but it’s Brandon. Remember all the hope I had for him? My hope is Humpty Dumpty and all the kings horses and all the kings lesbians will never put my hope for this character back together again. Anna asks about Jesus and Mariana and Brandon says they were upset about the shooting and Anna asks him to tell them she’s sorry. He asks her why she’s lying if she’s so sorry and she says she’s not lying. Then, he behaves in the most reprehensible way imaginable. He tells her that she must be lying because otherwise, it would mean she left Stef dying to go get money from Jesus and that would be unforgivable. He says, “They’d hate you, right?” She says, “Right. I wouldn’t do that.” Then, he says that maybe someday she can be a part of their lives but only if she tells the “truth” about that night. She mentions being afraid of losing her food stamps and he takes out his big wad of piano money and gives it to her and says, “I just want you to feel safe to do what’s right.”

Digression 5: The only comment I wrote down about this scene was “Fucker.” I have long thought Brandon was the most entitled character on this show but to play on this woman’s desire to be a part of her children’s lives and to use his economic privilege to manipulate her is completely unforgivable. This character cannot be redeemed in my eyes.

Mariana asks Lena if she can go to the party and Lena is all “You got drunk last time…” and I say, “You were just suspended and your moms didn’t give you any consequences as far as I could tell so you are not going to the party! Go to your room!” Mariana says she’ll take Callie as her chaperone and Callie isn’t a big fan of the idea but Lena says she’ll talk to Stef.

Repeating the same behaviors and hoping for a different result?Why not?

Repeating the same behaviors and hoping for a different result? Why not?

Stef and Lena talk about the possibility of Stef losing her job and Lena says they’ll figure it out and says, “Like I won’t have a baby.” Stef says, “I don’t want to be the reason you don’t have a baby.” The language of this scene is all wrong. Talk about babies should involve the word “we”. Mariana interrupts to ask about the party and Mike comes in all smiles to say that Anna changed her story. Yay! I love it when the system works against poor women with mental health and/or chemical dependency issues! Brandon comes in wondering what all the excitement is about and I hate his smug little weasel face. His phone rings before I can throw a boomerang at him and it’s his piano teacher telling him he better tell his dad he quit.

Callie, Zach and Mariana show up at the cast party and the Boomerang Guy comes in with booze. Small world. Mariana  talks to Chase and asks him about acting and he says, “I knew I wanted to change lives…” and Mariana says, “And you do every night.”

Digression 6: I know 15 was a very long time ago for me but I am certain I never said anything that stupid. Of course, I was pre-gay which may explain it. I did say things like, “I bet I can stuff this whole piece of pizza in my mouth.” Is there a Pre-gay Girl to Straight Girl Google translate thing? Maybe serious pizza eating is equivalent to changing lives.

Kelsey brings Chase a beer and tells Mariana she didn’t get her one because she projectile vomited at the last party, which is not true. Chase walks off and Kelsey and Mariana bicker and Zach comes up and says “Blah blah blah hashtag cat fight” and he really needs some coaching on girls.

Brandon shows up at the party and sees his Boomerang Lover talking to Callie who explains that she came with Mariana. Callie leaves and Brandon tells Boomerang that he wants a fake ID so he can make money selling liquor to minors. Boomerang tells him they should go into a fake ID business to make the big bucks and says that Brandon has access to all student records because of his mom. This seems like a great idea, Brandon! You should do this and go to prison! You’d be a big hit playing piano in the rec room.

"I'll make you an offer you should refuse..."

“I’ll make you an offer you should refuse…”

Talya shows up and hugs Mariana and tells her to make a bold move with Chase. She suggests taking off her panties and putting them in his pocket. Mariana says, “That’s a thing?” and I say, “No, Mariana! That is not a thing!” This never would have happened if I were her mother. She would be at home in her room with her underwear on playing Minecraft. Talya goes to the kitchen and tells him he’s like a puppy following Callie around and he tells her they kissed and then she calls Callie a “two-faced whore” in front of everyone and I want to point out that Callie doesn’t stuff her underwear in guys’ pockets.

Then, Mariana puts her panties in Chase’s pocket.

Back at the Charming Craftsman where all lesbians have their panties and chastity belts on, the Captain visits Stef and tells her that she received her deposition and couldn’t seem to open it on her computer. Stef thanks her and the Captain tells her that Internal Affairs will be watching closely so she better behave herself.

Mariana is in a random bedroom waiting for Chase when Zach appears and she’s all, “I didn’t put my panties in your pocket!” He’s about to tell her he likes her when Chase walks in and tells Zach to get lost. Mariana and Chase start making out and then he starts taking his pants off and Mariana is all “What’s happening?” and he’s like “The sex.” and she’s like “I was flirting.” and he’s all “Give me a hand job” and she’s all “Ew.”

Callie is outside crying. Brandon comes out seething, Mariana comes out disgusted.

And a good time was had by no one.

And a good time was had by no one.

The next morning, Callie jumps on Jude’s bed and gives him his present — Hansel and Gretel. Not the actual characters…the book. Their mom used to read it to them. He opens the book and reads, “Then all anxiety was at an end and they lived together in perfect happiness.” He said he never got the word “happiness” and she tells him it’s downstairs. When he gets down there, everyone yells “SURPRISE!” Except for Jesus. He’s probably somewhere in the TV either watching baby Angelica for Bette and Tina. Jude is surprised that Callie told them about his secret birthday and she says, “We don’t have to keep secrets anymore. We have a family.”

Meanwhile, Brandon is in the kitchen stealing Lena’s office keys. Ah…family…

Overall Impression: Jude’s birthday was predictable but cute.

Best Line: Callie: “We don’t have to keep secrets anymore. We have a family.” Because I like irony.

Really?: Brandon continues to be the worst.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Vikki Reich

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. This: “but it’s Brandon. Remember all the hope I had for him? My hope is Humpty Dumpty and all the kings horses and all the kings lesbians will never put my hope for this character back together again.” IS MY FAVORITE THING AND I AM GOING TO STEAL IT. Thanks.

    Also, I think you kinda glossed over Chase being a GIANT TOOL in that sex-no-sex scene. Just a horrid human being, with the pressuring and dickish sulking about “wasting his time.” UGH. I did end up feeling proud of Mariana for standing up for herself. That was awesome.

    • Yes. Chase was gross. More than anything, I was relieved that Mariana was like “no way” because it could have gone down any number of bad paths.

      • I was so afraid that scene would turn into Something of sexual abuse or coercion and it didn’t and I was so happy and relieved

  2. “Digression 3: I hate that bats can’t see well because if they get into your house, they can’t find their way out so you have to call your ex-girlfriend at 3 a.m. to come over and help you catch them. Then you trap them in a laundry basket and then somehow transfer them to a tupperware container, which you then put into your refrigerator until you can take it to be tested for rabies, and then you have to explain to your kids why there is a bat in the fridge next to their lunches.”

    This is a thing? Huh…

    • lol i read that and i thought she was joking and i realized she wasn’t and now i have all these questions. like was it dead when you put it in the fridge? how many times do you have this problem that that is the solution?did the bat have rabies? were does one go to get a bat tested for rabies and finally what the hell?

    • Yes. This is a thing. If you ever wake up to a bat in your room, you should try to capture it (without doing damage to the head) and put it in the fridge (not the freezer) and take it to to be tested. They test the brain so it needs to be intact. Freezing destroys the brain tissue. Most health departments could direct you to the nearest place. Ours was the University of Minnesota. I knew the bat protocol because my partner worked for the health department and did some on call hours for the rabies hotline.

      I have encountered bats inside three times. Once was the one described here during which I awoke to find the bat circling my bed. My son had had a nightmare so was sleeping with me (he was about 5). It was also December so I knew this was unusual bat behavior which was concerning. So, I knocked it out of the air with a hoodie and got the kid out of the room and called my ex (my partner was out of town) to help me catch it. Yes, it was alive in the fridge though dying because it didn’t have enough oxygen in the container. It did not have rabies.

      The other two times occurred at our friends cabin but we were awake so we didn’t try to catch it – just tried to get it out.

      • One last thing, you wouldn’t feel a bat bite you while sleeping and the mark may not be visible. That’s why you need to have it tested if you awake to a bat in the room.

        • not knowing that a bat has bitten you and possibly infected you with rabies is the most frightening thing I’ve ever heard of. autostraddle, were one comes to find entertainment and life saving info. thanks for answering my questions and I’m glad that your family is safe, awkward exes and all.

  3. Loved loved loved Mariana calling out the sexist comment. She is 200% redeemed from being The Worst, that title is Brandon’s now.
    Also, Boomerang Guy is the wrestler that gave Jesus a shiner last episode

    • I didn’t even notice who boomerang guy was! Thank you for pointing that out. Now, I think he and Brandon deserve each other.

  4. Why is Brandon THE WORST? Seriously, I know this happens on television all the time because it’s television, but this kid just committed an actual crime that really wasn’t any of his business to be involved in, doesn’t he want to go to college? Obviously the next thing that will happen is he will get out of going to jail because somebody will take the fall for him, because it’s television but UGH I just want to punch that kid in the throat.

    Also this recap was perfect.

      • BUT if they have scenes in prison though where they go visit him in the desolate prison yard at the picnic tables and he looks really gaunt and horrible and afterwards [whoever] feels sad about it and cries then i will DIE

  5. I really and truly thought that all the presents were from Judes little boy friend. I was hoping they would become cute puppy love little gay boys. But it was stupid Callie. Needless to say it was NOT predictable to me :( boo

  6. I actually really loved the whole Jude-Callie present thing. I mean, of course it was predictable, but I love how they write their relationship together. It’s complicated and they fight, but no matter what, they have each other’s backs and love each other, and the fact that Callie told the rest of the fam about his real birthday made my heart all warm and fuzzy. I actually would’ve been kinda annoyed (as cute as it would’ve been) if the presents had been from his boyfriend. Callie being super adorable and not giving Jude a hard time for being kinda avoid-y at the beginning… I loved the whole thing.

    This was actually one of my favourite episodes so far because (A) Callie and Jude are adorable and (B) they’re actually showing the fact that Brandon is a total asshole instead of implying that we’re supposed to be rooting for him and Callie to be together.

    Although I could’ve done without the extremely random non-explanations for Jesus’ absence.

    • Another thing: I found Jude being distant and avoid-y anything but weird. I totally get it. Having three siblings, I totally get what it’s like to be so super excited at the though of being around them when you’ve been apart for a while, but then the reality shows up and because of drama that has happened you’re not exactly sure how to interact. It doesn’t mean you’re not thrilled that they’re there. You just don’t know how to deal with the reality of it.

      I think that’s why I’m such a sucker for all the Jude-Callie feels though: I totally relate to complicated but always loving sibling relationships.

      But that’s just my digression. Love your recaps, Vikki!

  7. Great recap! As happy as I am that Stef gets to keep her job, I’m a little uneasy over the fact that she gets to get away with her lying/abuse of power.

    The baby talk makes me a little uncomfortable. I predict that they may eventually ask Mike to be the sperm donor, which makes me even more uncomfortable. Why must they make lesbians on television always have a baby?

    • I was concerned the second they announced Sherri Saum is pregnant with twins. There are a million ways they could have worked around her pregnancy, but alas, here we are. And the worst is that if we are spared babies (which ruin good shows routinely), then we get a miscarriage. Probably. Which I also don’t want to see, especially played by a pregnant actress.

  8. As disgusting as Chase was, I liked that it was a scene where she knew she could say no instead of letting him pressure her into sex, and that he took the no as a no, even if he was mad about it.

Comments are closed.