“The Fosters” Episode 119 Recap: Buy One Dad Storyline, Get Two Free

This episode opens with Callie standing in the doorway of her dad’s apartment. Her dad is wearing a dirty mechanic’s shirt with the name “Donald” on it which is great because I don’t keep track of characters’ names very well. He invites her in but she just wants to know what he’s going to say to Jude. He says he wanted to get his life together and she says, “Before you could talk to us?” and he says, “Before I could get you back.” He wants a second chance and Callie says he’s too late.

What do you mean, this is still technically season 1?

What do you mean, “this is still technically season 1”?

Callie, Stef, and Stef’s blazer arrive home and Lena asks how group was and Callie says she didn’t go and I think, “Thank god/the universe/non-denominational deity of choice! She’s going to tell them the truth!” Then, Callie tells them she sat in the lobby and didn’t go to group because she had a bad day. A recent study showed that 96% of this show’s plot lines could be avoided if people told the truth. Callie awkwardly hugs a surprised Stef and then awkwardly hugs a smiling Lena and then  dashes upstairs. Stef and Lena — giddy from all the hugging — exchange smiles that say, “She trusts us and loves us and we are the best mothers ever.” Lena says she wishes Callie would talk about things and Stef says, “Not all of us are like you with the relentless need to process things the second they happen.” My partner will probably steal that line so she can stop saying, “Do we have to talk about this now?” which is much less flashy. Lena smiles the smile of a person who always gets her way.

patent pending

patent pending

Jesus is moving his things into Brandon’s room and Mariana is having none of that. They argue and Stef asks what’s going on. Jesus says he can’t concentrate and Mariana says, “Duh. You have ADHD.” Stef looks horrified because moms have to look like that in those situations but, inside, we are all, “Ha! Good one! High five!” Or maybe that’s just me. Stef sends Mariana to her room and tells Jesus he can’t have Brandon’s room. Jesus says, “Fine. Don’t blame me when I fail algebra!” and Stef says, “Really?” in this perfect tone of annoyance and amusement.

This is also MY algebra face.

This is also MY algebra face.

Digression 1: I hated Algebra when I was a teen and thought I’d never have to deal with it after I graduated and then I had kids and now I have to live through algebra two more times. Algebra could be used to promote abstinence.

Callie is having a late dinner and Jude joins her and she asks if he’s sure he wants to see their dad. He says he is. She asks him what he’ll do if their dad wants them back and he says, “I don’t know. He’s our dad.”

Dani serves up some breakfast for Brandon who thanks her for the money. Brandon is wearing a shirt that has teddy bears in suits all over it. Or maybe they are pigs in overalls. Bold choice, Brandon.

Someone should tell him it's hard to look moody with that shirt on.

Someone should tell him it’s hard to look moody when he’s wearing that shirt.

Digression 2: I used to wear shirts with bold prints — purple and navy blue snowflakes, ducks in flight, etc. And then, a friend, reflecting on a lecture we’d just had in art history said, “Your shirt is an example of bad taste.” I would have stopped speaking to her but she made the best popcorn.

Brandon tells Dani he’ll pay her back but she says it was a gift and giving makes her happy, happy, happy! Then, she says she has one request and I don’t want to know what it is. I pause the show, eat Skittles and consider quitting the recapping life. I close my eyes and push play and Dani says she wants him to start playing the piano again. Like right then. So, he does. Mike can’t believe Dani got him to play and she says, “I’m a good influence.” Mike and his eyebrows tell her he’s thought about what she said and thinks Brandon deserves his undivided attention so she shouldn’t move in with him. This is not the answer Dani wanted.


No YOU ask him what that pattern is supposed to be

Mariana texts Zach and he tells her he is home sick. Brandon is all, “Hey Mariana!Do you miss me? How can you live without me?” and Mariana tells him they are all doing well and asks how life in the “man cave” is. He says it’s good but it’s not permanent. Mariana tells him that Jesus is trying to get his room.

Jesus is in algebra class squinting at the board. Little known fact: ADHD causes blindness. Emma asks if he’s ok and he says he doesn’t understand and asks her to study with him. She says she can’t.

We gotta get outta here, I think the Pretty Little Liars girls have to confront Ezra in here soon

We gotta get outta here, I think the Pretty Little Liars girls have to confront Ezra in here soon

Over lunch, Jesus offers to do Mariana’s chores for a week if she’ll convince “moms” to let him have Brandon’s room. Mariana is a tough negotiator and he finally agrees to two months. Just then, Finn Hudson’s mom comes over to the table. Hi Carol! She’s looked so good since Kurt gave her that makeover. Jesus leaves Mariana to her fate. Zach’s mom says, “You’re Mariana, right?” and squints at her so we must assume she has ADHD-induced blindness.

Digression 3: Have you ever read Blindness by José Saramago? So good in that whole “the human race is doomed” way which is the same feeling I have when I read comments on YouTube.

Mariana asks if Zach is ok and his mom says he’s “love sick” and I am so confused right now.

So be warned: If you are not giving this everything you've got, I WILL go all Lima Heights on your sorry ass.

So be warned: If you are not giving this everything you’ve got, I WILL go all Lima Heights on your sorry ass.

Stef, Lena and Timothy are having lunch and talking sperm. Timothy says he just had a physical and Stef says, “What? This is just a primal need to spread your seed?” Way to cut to the chase, Stef. Lena is horrified and yanks on Stef’s leash. Timothy gives a speech about how great Stef and Lena are for taking in all the kids — especially the high risk ones — and is all smooch smooch smooch on those fine asses. Then, he says, “You’re the kind of parents that should be bringing kids into this world.” I so was horrified that an English teacher would use “that” rather than “who” that I nearly missed this week’s public service announcement! Stef and I aren’t buying it but Lena says, “Good answer.”


Mariana sees Stef leaving school and asks her what’s up. Stef says she was visiting “your beautiful mama.” Mariana says, “Romance during lunch — nice. Way to up your game.” Stef says, “I don’t need more game.” Mariana raises an eyebrow and Stef says, “I got plenty of game.” And she’s cute but not convincing. Mariana asks if she can go to Zach’s for dinner but Stef says she’s inviting Brandon over and Mariana tells her Brandon is grounded.


Callie is at a burger joint and Daphne cleans tables. Callie is all “I want to be your friend!” and Daphne is all “You think I’m a thief!” Callie begs and Daphne is immune until Callie tells her that she saw her dad which is the key to Daphne’s heart.

Stef shows up at Mike’s because she’s mad he didn’t tell her about about Brandon. Mike says he knows what it feels like to be out of the loop and asks her to trust him. Stef says he loves turning the tables on her.


Look, you got custody of the kid, and I got custody of the model biplane. That’s just how it is.

Digression 4: When I think of turning tables I always think of Lazy Susans and no one knows why they are called Lazy Susans. Obviously, some Susan was lazy but who am I to point fingers. Also, my mother had a Lazy Susan and I liked to spin it really fast but things would fly off and she’d get mad.

Mike says he is not interested in Lazy Susans and Stef tells him she has custody and must be consulted on every decision. After Stef leaves, Dani comes out of her lair to say, “I thought you handled that really well.” Then, she suggests Brandon move out sooner than later but Mike says they are bonding and Brandon trusts him and fatherhood blah blah blah. Dani says he’s right because Dani is a robot.

Terminator 6: Passive Aggression

Terminator 6: Passive Aggression

Stef ends her Tour of Homes at the Charming Craftsman where Lena announces that she’s ovulating! Stef and I both say, “Wow.” Stef brings up the contract and Lena brings up her biological clock and Jesus interrupts to say Mariana is fine with him taking Brandon’s room. Stef is under siege! Lena can see Stef is stressed and says they should wait until next month but Stef says, “You always put everyone first. Let’s not wait.” Well played, Lena. Then, Stef says there shouldn’t be a problem as long as the contract is signed before the baby is born which lets us know what the next big plot line will be.

Callie tells Daphne what Donald said and Daphne understands his perspective. Callie says she doesn’t want him to confuse Jude and Daphne says, “Confused, you are.”

The best part of this scene is that the ACTRESS doesn't even look interested anymore.

The best part of this scene is that the ACTRESS doesn’t even look interested anymore.

Mariana arrives at Zach’s house with flowers and I think, “She brought him flowers? Weird.” Zach opens the door and says with a sneer, “You brought me flowers?” Mariana says, “No, no…” and then Zach’s mom appears. I think her name is Amanda. I wish she’d get a monogrammed shirt. Mariana gives her the flowers and she’s thrilled and invites her in. They sit down to dinner and it’s awkward and Mariana says the food looks delicious and then Amanda hears a song on the radio and jumps up and turns it up. She asks Zach to dance with her and whoever picked “mental illness” in last week’s betting pool wins! Amanda sees he’s embarrassed and sits back down. She says, “This looks delicious. Who made this?” Zach says, “You did, mom.”

Wes Anderson, guest director

Wes Anderson, guest director

Jude asks Jesus, “Do you ever wish you had a dad?” and Jesus says, “Everyone has a dad. I just haven’t met mine.”

Digression 5: I hate this line because it reminds me of something a priest said to my son when we were at the marriage equality rally at the capitol last May. He said, “You have a dad, too. You just don’t know him.”

Jesus tells Jude to be careful and reminds him of the mess with Ana.

Shout out to the empty fish tank

Shout out to the empty fish tank

Callie goes to see Donald again and asks why he stopped writing them. He says he was ashamed because he murdered their mother. Callie takes issue with that word and he says, “I got drunk. Got behind the wheel. She’s dead.”

Amanda pours Zach a glass of wine and Mariana says she shouldn’t. Amanda pours her a glass anyway and says, “In Europe, everyone lets their kids have a little sip or two now and then.” This is true but I don’t think a 1 sip = 1 glass but I was never good at algebra.

Digression 6: My partner is European and I know her general feelings about this issue but a full glass seemed way out there to me. She is currently in South Africa so I texted her.


Mariana is 15, so, I guess by wacky European standards this isn’t so far off.

Amanda wants to make a toast. She says it’s the second anniversary of Zach’s dad walking out on her which was the best thing that ever happened to her. Zach says, “Mom, dad left 10 years ago.” She says, “I know but it feels like two. Son of a bitch! Good riddance!” and then she leaves. Zach turns to Mariana and says, “Well, now you know.” Mariana says she doesn’t care and she likes “kooky” and then they kiss.

Speaking of kooky, Dani is painting shades of blue on the wall in Brandon’s room at Mike’s. She says she knows he likes blue. Then, he sees a Weepies poster and she says she knows he likes the Weepies. How does she know all this stuff?! Brandon says it’s nice of her to do all this but he won’t be there long. She thinks the whole Callie thing was handled poorly and she’s not really his sister and he should totes tap that. He says his dad wouldn’t like that and she says, “Honey, leave him to me.” Congratulations Brandon! You’re no longer the worst character on this show!

Have you ever seen The Stepford Wives, Brandon?

Have you ever seen The Stepford Wives, Brandon?

Back at Donald’s, Callie tells him that she and Jude have been in six different foster homes and she’s been in juvie twice. He says he failed her but, “I’m here for you now.” He says he’ll tell Jude whatever she wants him to and she says, “Tell him the truth.”

Over breakfast, the moms and the kids talk about Jude and Callie’s impending visit. Once Callie’s alone with the moms, she says, “I just want you to know how much Jude and I love you.” Lena smiles and says, “We know.” Stef smiles and says, “We love you too.” It’s sweet. It would be sweeter if Callie wasn’t a big fat liar.

I admire Stef's dedication to plaid, honestly

I admire Stef’s dedication to plaid, honestly

Brandon asks Callie how she feels about seeing her dad and she tells him she’s already seen him. She says he wants them back and Brandon berates her for considering it, reminding me that he is still awful.

Stef and Lena are looking at speculums and reading insemination instructions and Stef says, “This is worse than when we built that volcano for Mariana.” Then, she sees the “Playpen” magazines on the bed and ogles the half-naked ladies and says, “Well hello…” Lena says, “Those are not for us!” Stef says, “Oh, come on! He gets to have all the fun!” Lena says, “And we get to have the baby.” Yeah. I’m with Stef. Ogle the ladies and forget the baby.

This isn't what it was like on The L Word AT ALL.

This isn’t what it was like on The L Word AT ALL.

Jesus looks into his pill bottle and sees he’s out of meds which shouldn’t be surprising since he took the last two at the wrestling match last week. Emma offers to study with him over lunch but he says he forgot something at home.

Timothy arrives at the house to spread his seed. As he heads upstairs to read the articles in “Playpen”, Lena and Stef giggle and go to the backyard and start making out. For real.



Jesus gets home and looks for meds in the Wicker Basket of Medications and doesn’t find what he’s looking for so he heads up to the bathroom where he meets Timothy. Jesus asks what he is doing there and he says he had a parent/teacher conference with the moms. Jesus goes into the bathroom and sees the magazines and the cup and screams, “MOMS!” He appears truly terrified and it’s funny.


Suddenly, all the children are there and the moms tell the kids they are trying to have a baby. Mariana says, “We’ve never had one of those!” and, with that, cements her place in my heart. They explain that Lena wants to carry the baby and they want everyone on board. Stef says, “It’s really important to mama.” For fucks sake, Stef. I am fond of you but you are such a dolt. I take that back — the writers are dolts.

Brandon says Jesus can have his room and Stef gives the ok. As Brandon gets ready to leave, he and Stef hug and when Stef tries to step away, Brandon says, “No. Not yet. Don’t let go.”

Brandon "Enigma Face" Foster

Brandon “Enigma Face” Foster

Digression: Here’s the thing — I cried a little bit because I am having a lot of feelings about mothers and sons right now.

Mariana and Zach talk on the phone and neither wants to hang up and it’s very sweet and I’m happy for Mariana. After they finally hang up, her phone rings again and she’s all “Okay you cute little love muffin, five more minutes!” but it’s Zach’s mom who says, “Shut up, you little whore!” Mariana says, “Amanda…” and Amanda says, “Don’t ‘Amanda’ me!” and then threatens her. Why can’t Mariana have nice things?

Callie, Jude, Stef and Lena are sitting in the living room and the doorbell rings. Callie answers and she and Donald pretend they haven’t seen each other every night this week. Stef and Lena introduce themselves and then leave the room. Donald tells them he terminated his parental rights. He said he loves them but he’s never raised kids and Stef and Lena are giving them things he never could. Jude says, “Can I give you a hug?” They hug and Donald says, “I’m so sorry for everything.” Callie walks him out. Once outside, Callie says, “Thank you for saying those things and signing the papers.” He says, “I said I’d do whatever you wanted.” She tells him this is what she wants. He says he thought about fighting for them but realized, “I’ll always be your dad. I’m just not a parent.” There we go. I can live with that closure on the theme. He says, “Take care of each other.” She says, “We always do.”

I like to imagine these were also their faces when they originally read this week's script

I like to imagine these were also their faces when they originally read this week’s script

Best Line: I’m going to give it to Donald, “I’ll always be your dad. I’m just not a parent.” First runner up is Stef with when she says, “This is worse than when we built that volcano for Mariana.”

Really?: Dani freaks me out. Amanda freaks me out. My cat growling at a weird noise in the wall freaks me out…but that’s a different story.

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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. I wish I could like your recaps because they are for real my favourite! I also have to say, Lena is really getting on my nerves lately.

  2. So I finally started watching this show because the recaps are so good, and I’ve gotta say the entire baby storyline concerns me. Not only does Stef seem not that enthused about adding a new human to the family, but Timothy just gives me a weird vibe. Like, he’s weirdly enthusiastic and maybe has a thing for Lena and the writers have shoehorned in so many references to “the contract” that it feels like they’re setting up some kind of baby ownership dispute? Idk, it just feels really… off.

    • Actress Sherri Saum (Lena) is pregnant, so the writers had to take this pregnancy route (or conceal her pregnancy during her second trimester). I wonder what their (Stef/Lena) storyline would be in season 1b had Sherri and her husband not conceived. Don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying Sherri and her husband should’ve waited to procreate… I’m saying, Sherri’s pregnancy may have changed the direction of the series.

      • Incorporating a pregnancy storyline makes sense if an actress is pregnant, but I don’t think they’re handling it well…

  3. Dani is super weird. I still haven’t figured out what she wants, is it moving in with Mike or not? (maybe even she doesn’t know) She gives weird vibes.

    And I loved the whole Europeans and alcohol bit. The legal drinking age when I was a teenager was 16 (for all types of alcohol) which I thought was super great, but now that my sister is 15 I am glad the spirits got changed to 18. As for drinking at home yeah, she has tried some things, but never drinks a whole glass of wine for dinner.

  4. The fact that I don’t understand Dani’s endgame, but I KNOW it isn’t good, has easily made her the most challenging person to watch in the show. And when it comes to Timothy, I think that time will tell that he will want to be part of that baby’s life. I just hate that this pregnancy is happening and it so clearly isn’t something everyone wants. I don’t know what I dislike more–Stef going along with the pregnancy when she is clearly not on board or Lena pretending everyone’s on board when Stef clearly isn’t. Why can’t the adults just tell the truth?!

    Why can’t this show just be breakfast, beaches, and babes?!?!?!

    • +1. I dislike Stef going along to get along with Lena more than Lena pretending everyone’s on board when she even senses Stef isn’t. Stef wants Lena to be happy and is ignoring her bad vibes about Timothy. Stef & Lena’s biggest problem is honest communication.

  5. my how mariana has grown on us well me at least. how long had they been in a relationship before stef knew that lena had always wanted to get married? that lena had reconciled herself to the fact that stef was completely against it. and now lena doesn’t know that stef is a reluctant passenger on the baby addition journey. they don’t really talk to each do they, i mean really talk about stuff. like when ever helpful timothy thought stef might have been hurt and lena was terrified, lena deciding to go ahead with the pregnancy, stef lying about the shooting. i think because the writers cover so many different topics some moments aren’t shown, thats my only gripe with this show

    • You’re right… Stef & Lena don’t really communicate with each other, specifically about important things. The tables have turned in season 1b… now Stef is in Lena’s shoes, accepting Lena wanting to be biological mother like Lena accepted Stef not wanting to be married.

  6. So much hilarity in this recap, brava!

    Dani creeps me out. Her fixation on Brandon leads me to believe she’s more into him than his dad.

    Way too much foreshadowing regarding the contract between the moms and Timothy. I liked him before, but it’s gonna be super annoying when they go down that track. Almost as annoying as Brandon and Callie, Callie and her web of lies, Jesus and his terrible acting, and, of course, the “it’s really important to mama (BUT NOT TO ME)” storyline.

  7. I really truly think Zach’s mom is bipolar or Something of that nature. Which he has nothing to be ashamed about and neither does she as long as it is handled properly.

  8. Wait wait wait IS DANI AMBER FROM CLUELESS?????

    Also, I chortled merrily at the Stef ogling the Playpen magazines. Nice to see they’re showing at least some sexuality in these moms.

  9. It really bothers me when people speak of “Europe” as if it were one country or at least one culture. Where I live you definitely do not drink with 14. Might be the case in some countries, but yeah, Europe = many different countries.
    It’s like saying “In America they have Communism”.

  10. So I don’t know if any of you all watch Switched at Birth, but they’ve done a similar side-character’s-mom-is-mentally-ill storyline recently so it’s making me wonder if ABC Family just gets together as a network and decides that all of its shows must address certain issues in very heavy handed ways (e.g. Spencer’s drug issues in PLL and Jesus’ drug issues here).

    I like several of their shows, and I do like when they address some issues in subtle ways, but when each show because its own mini, rotating PSA, it gets kinda annoying.

  11. I’m always late to reading recaps. But the first thing I thought when I read “Stef brings up the contract and Lena brings up her biological clock and Jesus interrupts to say”… “you need to drop this storyline ASAP” cause I thought you were talking about Jesus you know the religious kind of Jesus and I’m sure that’s what he would say.

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