“The Fosters” Episode 117 Recap: Much Ado About Panties

This episode begins as much of lesbian mom life does – with a Prius chock full o’ kids. Lena complains about how long it takes everyone to get ready in the morning and Jude says, “I’m always ready!” and Lena says, “I know, honey. That’s why you’re my favorite.” I love that response even though I can’t make that joke because my kids have elaborate conspiracy theories as to which one of them is my favorite. Callie asks Lena if she can go over to Daphne’s later and I have Recapper’s Dementia because I don’t remember who Daphne is and can only think of Scooby Daphne and then I start wondering what happens when Scooby Daphne takes that headband out of her hair. Have we ever seen her without it? I’m dragged from my headband reverie when Lena says something about Daphne’s apartment and then I remember Daphne from Girls United who definitely does not wear headbands. Lena suggests that Callie invite Daphne over to the house instead.

Jesus has returned but was only missing for one day this time, not three. Emma taunts him with a scone and mentions the weigh in the next day. Mariana watches Jesus and Emma frolic in the halls like scone-loving puppies and then reminds him he has a girlfriend.

Digression 1: Which puppy would be most likely to love a good scone? I was thinking an Airdale Terrier but then I looked them up to see if they were known scone eaters and found they were originally bred to hunt otters so no scones for you Airdale Terriers. You otter be ashamed as should I for the otterly ridiculous pun.

The Principal walks into Lena’s office complaining about all the paperwork she has to do for Callie’s probation officer. She is pleased with her attendance but thinks she should join a club. Lena says, “Not every kid is a joiner” and the Principal says, “Not every kid is a runaway.” Good points all around. Then, the Principal basically says what I’ve been saying for weeks – Lena, your family is a bit of a mess. This heartwarming tête à tête is interrupted by a fire drill. During the confusion, Brandon gives Lena’s key to the Boomerang Wrestler, Vico, who sneaks into her office. Afterwards, Brandon asks Vico if he got it and he’s all, “COP!” as Stef walks up to give Brandon cuddles and be generally adorably embarrassing. Vico dashes and Stef invites Brandon to dinner but he says he’s having dinner with Mike and Dani.

Stef and Lena have lunch while perusing sperm donors online as you do.

Why aren't they looking for donors on a Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader?

Why aren’t they looking for donors on a Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader?

Digression 2: I remember looking at donors online and being like “He’s got a Master’s degree!” and “This one is a star athlete!” and “This one saves otters from Airdale Terriers!” In the end, we made the final decision over lunch at Chipotle when we compared the two extended profiles we’d requested and saw that one of them had a nose like Gonzo. Yes, our donor won by a nose.

Stef is also taking this opportunity to complain about Mike’s endless stream of girls and Lena corrects that there is only one and she is a woman. Stef says, “Remember the pet psychic? She said our cat used to be Cleopatra in a former life.”  I laughed out loud because…

Digression 3: We once used a pet psychic to “talk” to our dog who was freaking out every time we left the house. We gave her $50 and a picture of our dog and she did her thing. She told us some things about our living situation that – to this day – we still don’t know how she knew. It didn’t fix the situation with our dog but it was worth the money for the story.

Lena points out an African-American donor who is a poet and loves dogs. Stef says she wants someone that resembles her and Lena wants an African-American donor because she’s half-white and doesn’t want the kid to be white and look nothing like her and Stef immediately backs down. Deborah was annoyed Stef caved so quickly but I think Stef gives Lena whatever she wants most of the time.

Callie and Brandon run into each other at lunch and call each other “friend” and “pal” and it’s awkward and they realize it so they part after a little fist bump and the scene is so light and endearing that I almost forgot the horror of the previous episodes. Mariana complains to Callie that Kelsey got all the friends in the break up. I hate to rub salt and all that but did Mariana really have any friends? She also mentions that Zach is mad and Callie points out that she put her panties in another guy’s pocket when she and Zach were kinda on a date.

Finally, a friendly, healthy moment in their relationship!

Finally, a friendly, healthy moment in their relationship!

Mariana apologizes to Zach and he says he knows they weren’t on a date but she still ditched him to “hook up with some no talent toolbox” which seems like a generous assessment of Chase the Life Saver. He then tells her that they don’t need to be friends and leaves. Then, a bunch of guys walk past with red panties in their back right pockets and when you flag red panties right, it means you like to be fisted. Maybe this show will finally become The Fisters and all my typos will have been foreshadowing.

Kiara and Daphne show up at the Charming Craftsman and Daphne says she hasn’t been able to get a job. Kiara is getting placed with a foster family because the picture Callie took of her was amazing. Callie says she is supposed to be making friends at school but doesn’t have anything in common with anyone there and Daphne says she doesn’t have much in common with them but they’re all friends. I like Kiara and Daphne and Callie and friendship and can the writers keep on keeping on with this? Stef bounds into the kitchen looking all coppy which cuts the girl talk short.

Brandon and Vico head to the Rusty Barge Tavern to engage in some underage drankin’. Vico orders a Rusty Nail which sounds like it should come with a tetanus shot and Brandon orders a Cosmopolitan probably because he has gay moms.

Back at the Charming Craftsman, Stef and Lena are drying dishes and Lena tells Stef the Principal said they have their hands full and Stef says, “Well, we do…” because Stef has use of all of her senses and all of those senses point to the fact that their family is crazy. Lena says the Principal wants Callie to join a club and make friends and Stef says that she agrees and that maybe she shouldn’t hang out with juvenile delinquents either. Lena says, “They’re good girls.” I’m with Lena on this one though it pains me to side against Stef when she’s in uniform. Callie pops in and tells them about her photograph of Kiara helping her get placed and says she wants to help other foster kids by taking their pictures and helping them stand out on the website. Lena suggests enlisting the help of people at school but Callie says that Kiara and Daphne are going to help her.

Their family situation might be crazy, but at least the house is always clean.

Their family situation might be crazy, but at least the house is always clean.

Back at the bar, Vico tries to get Brandon to tell him why he needs the money but Brandon won’t give specifics because even a two bit thug like Vico might take issue with bribing a witness in a criminal trial. Vico then flirts with a blonde at a table and says he’s going to get Brandon laid.

Digression 4: Deborah questions whether that “waving over” thing ever happens. She remembers sitting in bars looking longingly at ladies and never being waved over. I was once waved over. I was at a gay country bar so different rules might apply.

When they get to the table, Brandon sees Supposedly Sober Dani doing tequila shots.

Digression 5: I have only done tequila shots twice in my life. Once in a dingy bar in Iowa with the rugby team and the night ended with all of us running down the street in our bras. Once, last fall, with Deborah and Riese and a bunch of other people. We remained clothed but stayed up way too late.

The next morning, Brandon asks Mike how long Dani has been sober and he says five years. They talk about piano and blah blah blah. I would say more about this scene but I was bored and distracted by the polka dots on Brandon’s shirt.

At school, Lena glides down the hallway and Timothy the English teacher gives her a baked good of some sort as a bribe to let him borrow costumes from the theater for his nursing home production of Coral Anus. Well, that’s what I heard but it turns out he said Coriolanus.

Mariana is still freaking about people talking about her and Callie is giving her some tough love and then Mariana opens her locker and a bunch of underwear fall out and Chase and his gaggle of nondescript friends laugh. Mariana scoops them all up and starts stuffing them in a nearby trashcan and Lena is all, “Great! Now we have an underwear hoarder too!”

"I know this family is a lightning rod for social issues but please,please don't lecture me!"

“I know this family is a lightning rod for social issues but please,please don’t lecture me!”

Back at the house, Stef and Lena talk to Mariana about the “right” way to get a boy’s attention and Mariana is embarrassed and doesn’t want to talk to her moms about boys. She says that no one will ever notice her and Lena says, “One day soon – much too soon for us – the right boy is going to want to be with you.” Mariana says, “That’s what everybody old says.” Stef says, “Yes and you should listen to them because they are wise and, by the way, not that old.”  This show is so good when they just deal with the everyday family stuff. After Mariana leaves, Stef says, “Whatever happened to ‘Do you like me? Circle yes or no’?” I’m sure there’s an app for that. Stef mentions that she invited Mike, Dani and Brandon over for dinner and Lena is all, “Whaaaaat?” and Stef says she told her yesterday and Lena says, “No, honey. Just because you think something doesn’t mean you ever said it out loud.” YES. This happens in my house and my partner is Stef and I am Lena and I DON’T READ MINDS. Lena invited Timothy over and there can only be one reason for this – she wants to discuss jizness. Stef tells Lena to uninvite him and Lena won’t so Stef says, “Then we’re having a dinner party! Break out the hummus!” The combination of lesbians and hummus is always funny to me. I’m easy.

At the weigh in, Jesus dropped a class and Emma went up a class and they have to wrestle. The team gathers around and chants, “Two men enter. One man leaves.” This sounds like A) the beginning of a story problem or 2) an introduction to gay sex. Jesus and Emma wrestle and then exchange awkward eye contact and then Emma wins. Emma is mad and Jesus thinks she should be happy she won but she says she only won because things got weird. She says, “On that mat, I’m not a girl.” He says, “Fine. You’re not a girl.” Then, she kisses him. I’m going to try that line tonight and see how far I get.

It’s dinner party time at the Charming Craftsman! Timothy arrives with a bottle of wine and I really wish he’d shave and use a different hair product, one that makes his hair look less greasy. Shine is good but slick is not as desirable. Lena introduces him to Stef as her “brilliant blah blah blah” and yep – I was right. Sperm donor. Dani and Mike show up and then Stef and Lena bicker about who is going to sit where and there is not enough hummus in the world to bring peace.

All we are saying is give (chick)peas a chance.

All we are saying is give (chick)peas a chance.

Meanwhile, Callie and Jude are at school setting up the photo shoot. Cole comes in wearing a dapper queer argyle sweater and there are lots of hugs and Cole seems happy and I like it when he’s happy. Daphne comes in judging the wealth of the school and asks, “They give you a piña colada with your homework?” Do you like piña coladas? And getting caught in the rain?

Brandon shows up at the dinner party and I use the word “party” loosely because Stef and Lena have competing motives for this little shindig. Lena gives a verbal accounting of Timothy’s Curriculum Vitae while Stef tries to see if Dani is fit to visit her boyfriend while Brandon is living there. When they head to the kitchen to bring out the next round of food, Stef asks Lena why she is being a big weirdo for Timothy and Lena says she wants to ask him to be their donor. Stef says she should have asked before the “trip to awesometimothyfacts.com” because she’s not comfortable with it.  There is no such site, by the way. Timothy comes in and asks if he can help and they stare at him like lesbian guppies and I’m pretty sure he was just talking about dessert.

Mike went to the bathroom which means Brandon and Dani are alone in the dining room. She says she saw him at the bar and he says it was a one time thing and she says hers was too and that she slipped. She tells him not to tell his dad because she doesn’t know that no one in this show can keep a secret.

The next day, Timothy visits Lena in her office and she apologizes for the awkward dinner and he says, “If you’re interested in using me as – you know – sperm donor, I’m in.” Ugh. No. That baby will come out with 5 o’clock shadow! The Principal needs to talk to Lena so Timothy and his sperm take their leave. She tells Lena that, during Callie’s photo shoot, someone stole a bunch of “Kindle Paperwhite e-readers” and Lena says, “And someone stole this show’s subtlety.”

Mariana reads the review of Chase in the play and he gets skewered. The review was written by Zach who wanted him to pay for how he treated Mariana. She says they’re friends and he says he was just “righting a wrong” like Batman. Sorry folks – I’m all out of bat stories. I used those up last week.

If only Batman's vigilante justice involved this much sass...

If only Batman’s vigilante justice involved this much sass…

Lena and Callie meet with the Principal and Callie says she never gave Lena’s keys to anyone but she did – she gave them to Daphne. Then, we see Callie and Daphne on the beach and Callie asks her if she took the Kindle Paperwhite e-readers. Daphne says she didn’t and that she saw Brandon lurking about. Callie goes to Brandon and asks if he was at the school and he says he wasn’t.

Jesus apologizes to Emma for offending her and then kisses her. She asks about Lexi and says, “I don’t do cheating.” Thank you, Emma. Jesus says, “I know. Me either.” A break-up is coming.

Vico gives Brandon a wad of money and Brandon asks if he stole the e-readers. He did. Brandon tells him to put them back.

Callie tells Stef and Lena that she gave Daphne the keys. Then, while upstairs looking through pictures from the photoshoot with Jude, Callie notices a shot of a window and through that window is Brandon’s car. She knows he lied!

There's a mystery afoot! Those meddling kids...

There’s a mystery afoot! Those meddling kids…

Overall Impression: I like this show when they focus on the drama in day to day life without the major crises.

Best Line: Lena, “No, honey. Just because you think something doesn’t mean you ever said it out loud.” Because that is some real life right there.

Really?: They really, really, really better not make Daphne take the fall for the Kindle Paperwhite e-readers.

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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. brandon man, he has two parents who are cops and a third who’s his vice principal and he’s slowly working his way up the felony pole. digression, told my friends about the whole bats can eat you up in your sleep and i learnt that mice can too. kenyan superstition/adage that mice blow on your feet while they nibble on your toes so that you don’t feel anything

    • Well, I definitely don’t like thinking about that. On the upside, rodents have a very low incidence of rabies.

  2. Great recap! Seriously though, how didn’t you mention that shirt Callie wore for half of the episode (maybe the entire episode? idk, i’m usually oblivious to this stuff). It just screamed baby dyke. I hope she knows what she’s in for.

  3. “Fedora Outperforms Actor Wearing It”

    That is such a great line. And so true. That actor really is a block of wood. He’s Zac Efron’s untalented doppleganger.

    • I liked the two of them talking about donors just because it’s interesting to see it handled seriously on regular old TV but it will get old fast and I wish they weren’t going this route.

  4. Great recap, Vikki, but I just can’t watch this show anymore. I actually felt frustrated and disgusted watching this episode, and Stef in her hot glasses couldn’t overcome that.

    I was WTFing at my screen for the whole hour, but the worst is the pregnancy storyline. Is there some kind of law that says all lesbians on TV must eventually sleep with a man and/or get pregnant? And always with a friend or coworker so he’ll never leave the picture. I was pleasantly surprised that Stef didn’t sleep with Mike in season 1A, so there was one trope sidestepped, but here comes the second.

    My main beef is that pregnancy desexualizes characters, and they’re already sleeping two time zones apart in that bed. We already had the “having no sex” story in 1A, why are we having it again in 1B? I quit watching Grey’s Anatomy over this issue, and it looks like more of the same.

    I remember Vikki’s comments about the lack of sexytimes in 1A; 1B makes 1A look like The L Word, and Lena isn’t even pregnant yet! I know SS is expecting, but she doesn’t seem to be showing, so that shouldn’t be a factor. I’ve often wondered if showrunners like to have desexualized gay characters so they can please the execs/advertisers while seeming like they care about diversity. Now I see that having gay people as producers/writers doesn’t change the dynamic at all.

    • While I still love the show and will most definitely keep watching, I definitely think they are way off on the whole pregnancy storyline. Especially because there was literally no actual conversation between Stef and Lena about it. Like, they fight and scowl for half a second, and then Stef gives in but basically just keeps referring to any potential pregnancy as Lena’s, not theirs.

      And, for serious, Lena wanting to get knocked up is not a good enough reason, with everything/everyone else going on, to actually go through with it!

      Ok, rant over. ;-)

      • The lack of conversation, the feeling that this is Lena’s thing, Stef seemingly just going along – it’s a terrible depiction of two women having a baby.

    • Yes, this storyline desexualizes the characters further and, yes, desexualized lesbians are less threatening/scary/controversial. Absolutely. In between jokes about flannel and hummus, this has been my point all along.

      As for Sherri Saum being pregnant in real life, why couldn’t they just make her carry grocery bags for 9 months like they did with Bette in The L Word? Ha.

  5. I still like this show and I look forward to your weekly recaps!

    Answer to Digression #1: Airedales do like scones, along with fried raisins and white chocolate (milk and dark chocolate is bad) – but not necessarily in that order. Actually, my Airedale will eat pretty much anything that is “edible”.

    • This is good to know! I will not fault Airedales because of their sketchy beginnings.

  6. I just have an awesome image of Focus on the Family or some such BS protesting this show because it promotes a hidden Fisting agenda.

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