“The Fosters” Episode 121 Recap: 10,000 Chickens Come Home to Roost

The episode opens with Mike, Stef and Brandon in the back of the police car after Brandon has confessed all of his crimes. Mike is all “What?!” and Stef tells Brandon he can’t tell anyone and her calm demeanor seems to scare me more than it does Brandon. The parents get out of the car and Mike says “At least no one knows…” and Stef says, “Ana does.” She explains that Ana asked her for $10,000 worth of hush money and Mike tells her she can’t pay it because that’s a crime and then he says he wants to kill Ana which, apparently, wouldn’t be a crime. San Diego law must be a little different than other places. Stef tells him to stay away from Ana and she’ll deal with it. She also says she wants Brandon to move home.

Mike and Dani argue while Brandon packs up his things. Dani tells Mike she was protecting him and worried about his sobriety and Mike tells her to get out, “We’re done!” Dani cries and scuttles away.

Stef gets home and tells Lena that Brandon is coming home. Lena wonders if that’s a good idea and Stef says, “Callie and Jude are being adopted on Monday so he’s gotta get over it.” Yeah, that’s worked so far. Lena wonders why Brandon was selling fake IDs and Stef cleverly avoids answering by saying, “What happened to our son?”

Clearly good decision making does not run in this family.

Clearly good decision making does not run in this family.

Mariana shows up at Zach’s house which looks like it was decorated by Gay Yosemite Sam. Bang bang! Salmon paint! Wagon wheels! Amanda answers the door and is the sweet version of herself and calls for Zach. Mariana asks if she forgets him sometimes and thinks he is his dad sometimes and he says, “Yeah.” Mariana says Amanda needs help and Zach tells her that she has early onset Alzheimer’s Disease and he needs to take care of her. Mariana says, “But who’s going to take care of you?”

Digression 1: I was actually hoping they were going to go the Alzheimer’s route rather than some unspecified mental illness. I was an Adult Protection investigator for 15 years and worked with many people and families dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease. Sadly, the agitation and marked personality changes are true hallmarks of the disease. Obviously, things have been exaggerated here to some degree but it’s actually a fairly true depiction of some of the more extreme cases.

Stef visits Ana and tells her she’ll get her the money and adds, “I’ll get you that $10,000 and I never want to see you again.” I should be focusing on how scary she is but I’m distracted by her jean jacket and then start wondering if I should start wearing a jean jacket again and then I remember my last jean jacket (from the Gap, purchased my last year in high school) and I miss it. That’s right — the characters on this show abusing their power has become so commonplace that I am now desensitized and can only think of denim.

Connor and Jude are playing video games when Mariana comes in smiling and tells Jude he has a call. Connor gets a weird child actor look on his face which means that we can’t read it — jealousy, confusion, gastrointestinal distress? Who knows. Mariana tells Connor it’s a girl.

It's like that game Mystery Date in real life--who is that mysterious character on the phone?

It’s like that game Mystery Date in real life–who is that character on the phone?

Mariana suggests that Jesus give Jude advice on girls and he says, “Emma seems to think I’m more of a jackass than a jack of hearts.” She says that he has been a jerk and suggests that he go back on his medications because she wants her brother back. She shouldn’t worry — she has extra brothers lying around.

Jude goes back to Connor and tells him Maddie asked him to a movie. Connor asks if he likes her and Jude says, “Not like that.” He asks Jude if he is sure and I am certain this is when Connor is going to ask Jude out and instead, he drives a stake through Jude’s heart and mine when he says, “Then is it ok if I ask her out?” Jude says “Sure,” which clearly means, “What? I thought maybe we’d ride off into the video game sunset together!”

Mike goes into Brandon’s room while he’s packing and Brandon says, “I didn’t think…” and Mike says, “No, you didn’t.” He tells him how disappointed he is and then walks out.

Lena meets Timothy to review the donor contract and he tells her he can’t sign it but we all knew he was going to say that, right? He says, “I think it would destroy me.” Lena’s looks is a combination of “I am so disappointed” and “Stef is going to fucking kill me.” Lena goes home and tells Stef who says, “What if you’re already pregnant?!” Lena stopped at Urgent Care on the way home for a blood test like it’s some kind of Kum-N-Go for healthcare. Stef knew they shouldn’t have inseminated before he signed the contract. 1 point Stef! Lena gets defensive and and points out that Stef was the one who said they should go ahead. 1 point Lena! Lena says, “If you don’t want me to have a baby, you need to say it.” Stef tears up and says, “I don’t want you to have a baby, Lena.” Nobody wins.

There's always room for more drama!

There’s always room for more drama!

Brandon is playing the piano when the doorbell rings. He answers the door and Callie is standing there looking like a character from Breaking Amish. She tells him she had a flat on her Amish wagon and, since she was in the neighborhood, she thought she’d tell him the adoption is Monday. She feels like she’s done nothing but mess up his life but, really, he’s been doing that all on his own. She says she wants to be a part of the family more than anything she’s ever wanted but doesn’t want to hurt him. He assures her she isn’t hurting him and then they hug and — because this show has ruined me — I worry they’ll kiss. But they don’t. Whew.

Lena is locked in the bathroom and Stef says, “Lena, honey…” Lena comes out and says, “Well, you’ll be happy to hear I just got my period.”

Digression 2: I spotted for the first 11 weeks of my first pregnancy and, during that time, I thought I miscarried but it turned out that I was just really sick from eating a bad buffalo chicken sandwich. My point is that Lena getting her period is too good to be true and exercise caution when eating buffalo chicken sandwiches.

Stef apologizes and says, “I want you to have everything you have ever wanted, Lena.” Therein lies the problem with Stef, Lena and the inability to be completely honest. But Stef admits that the thought of a baby overwhelms her since the kids are having problems. Lena says they are just teenagers, having teenager problems but I don’t think running away, theft and witness tampering (to name only a few) are typical teenager problems. My biggest problem as a teenager was learning to use a curling iron without burning my forehead. Stef tells Lena about Brandon and Ana and the $10,000 and tells her she’s going to meet with Ana, wear a wire and catch her extorting money from an officer.

Dani goes to Mike’s to get her stuff and finds Brandon drunk on microbrew and potato chips. He tells her about Callie and she takes the bottle from his hand and says she doesn’t want him to ruin his audition for the symphony which is the next day. She leads him to the bedroom and  puts him to bed and sets his alarm for his audition and walks out of the room, apartment, our lives forever. Dream on. Let’s all close our eyes tightly and think kittens and flowers. Don’t think of bunnies. Because you know what bunnies do. They go at it on someone’s big boy bed.

Obligatory picture of Brandon and his questionable life choices.

Obligatory picture of Brandon and his questionable life choices.

The next morning, Brandon’s alarm goes off and he’s in bed alone. Mike never came home and Brandon has a drunk message from him apologizing. Brandon leaves a message for Dani saying he’s worried about his dad.

Maddie asks Jude if he talked to his moms about the movie and he says he can go. Connor overhears and tells Jude he can’t come to the adoption because it’s for good friends and he’s obviously not a good friend. Why can’t anyone on this show ever have good things?!

Brandon is at his audition, waiting his turn, when Dani texts to say she knows where Mike hangs out and she’ll find him. It’s his turn and he plays and Stef walks in to listen which mirrors the first episode of this series which seems like four score and seven years ago.

Jesus tells Emma he is back on his meds and  he wants to wrestle her and they kiss, proving once again that I don’t understand romantic pick up lines.

Vico and Brandon wait outside Principal Sanchez’s office. Vico blames Brandon for the whole mess but says his parents are taking care of it because they are the head of the Parent Teacher Mafia. Brandon says he can’t believe Vico is going to get away with it and Vico gives a sad story about his dad being awful and squashing his dream and I can’t feel sorry for him at all.

Lena gets home and finds Jude painting his nails. He asks her when she knew she was gay and tells her about Maddie and that he got jealous when Connor wanted to go out with her.  He says, “I don’t think I’m jealous about Maddie.” Lena smiles and says that everyone gets jealous and it doesn’t necessarily mean anything but they’ll love him no matter what. It’s a sweet scene that calls back to earlier in the season as well. Circles. All the circles. But not the kind that Papi gave Alice.

Mariana is at Zach’s house and he says Amanda was ironing and he came out of his room and she didn’t know him and she hit him. He has a huge mark on his face. Mariana says, “This is not ok.” He then calls his dad and asks for help and a single tear rolls down Mariana’s cheek and the scene is so sweet and heartbreaking.

At least some characters are growing in response to challenges.

At least some characters are growing in response to challenges.

Stef is at the diner waiting for Ana who is late. Dani calls Brandon and says she found Mike. After she hangs up, she turns and Mike is passed out on the bathroom floor. Stef goes to the halfway house to ask about Ana and a guy tells her that she didn’t come home the night before and, when last seen, she was in a screaming match with a guy. Dani helps Mike off the floor and washes blood off his hands and asks, “What happened? Were you in a fight?” As you can tell, this is all very subtle.

Stef shows up at the courthouse where all the Fosters and Fosters-t0-be are waiting for court. Stef says, “Hi babies.” I’m always a sucker for that. Lena pulls Stef away and says that Principal Sanchez isn’t doing anything about Brandon or Vico and then asks if Stef met with Ana. Stef explains that Ana didn’t show. Stef says, “Are we ok?” Lena says she thought about what Stef said and she’s right — the kids they have need them. Stef gets teary and says, “Really?” and Lena says, “Really.” They clasp hands and I think ,”Wow, I’m surprised they took the less dramatic way out of this storyline. Kudos writers! Let the queer ladies across the land raise their glasses in celebration!” And then Lena says, “It’s just that I heard back from the Urgent Care and I didn’t start my period. It was spotting because I’m pregnant.” Stef tears up again and stumbles over her words and then says, “I feel nothing but love right now, baby!” and gives Lena a big kiss and cries and adds, “Love for you and this beautiful baby we’re gonna have.” I teared up because I am a sap but also because it was very well acted and believable.

Digression 3: I remember the precise moment I decided I wanted a second child. My son was 15 months old and we were talking about animals and babies and I said, “And otters have…” and he said, “Whelpths!” It was such a sweet and perfect moment and I thought, “I want to do this one more time.” We’d never planned to have another and my partner wasn’t sure but, when that pregnancy test turned positive, there was no doubt and I saw a bit of that moment reflected in this scene.

Mariana tells Brandon that Zach has to go live with his dad in Arizona and “I feel like everyone I love ends up leaving.” He puts his arm around her and says it’s not true and for a moment, I remember Brandon as he was in the beginning. Wyatt shows up with the group home peeps and it’s hugs all around. Connor shows up and Jude says he’s sorry about the Maddie situation and Connor just shrugs and suggests a threesome. A movie date kind!

A woman asks to speak to Stef and Lena and then Stef and Lena ask to speak to Jude and Callie and this can’t be good. Turns out there was an issue with Callie’s birth certificate. They only had copies and they needed an original. The original showed she has a different dad, Robert Quinn. So, Jude can get adopted but Callie can’t. She tearfully tells Jude, “Today is your day.” She asks for a moment and goes outside. Rita the Wise follows her and gives a long speech about luck and it’s clunky so I nap. When I wake up, she tells Callie that she has to stick around even when it’s hard.

Stef, Lena and Jude are signing the adoption papers and Mariana puts her head on Callie’s shoulder and the group home kids are all giddy and there are pictures and…I cried. I cried a lot. I cried so hard I had to stop watching.

Part of the happy family.

Part of the happy family.

Digression 4: In my defense, my partner only returned last night after 3 weeks in Africa and I am exhausted and when I’m tired, I cry. However, I also remembered being in a similar courtroom twice — once for each of my kids. I remembered our friends and family being there and holding our kids as the judge asked me to give up my parental rights as their birth mother and then give us both rights as their two legal parents. And I thought about all the things that have been hard about the past 3 weeks —about the arguments over homework and bedtime and soccer practice — and how it is easy to lose perspective. So yeah, I cried because family and love can be messy.

There is a big celebration in the Great Lesbian Kitchen and everyone — including the kids from the group home — is laughing and having snacks and there is a cake that says, “Welcome to the family Callie and Jude.” Lena says to Callie, “It’s still true, ya know.”

Digression 5: My sister threw our first baby shower and while she ran errands for the party, my brother-in-law picked up the cake. We already knew we were having a boy and had already chosen the name Miguel. When my brother-in-law got home, he opened up the cake and called my sister to tell her how beautiful it was and then said, “But is Mandy a nickname for Miguel?” My sister said, “WHAT?” He said, “The cakes says ‘Best Wishes Mandy!'” No joke.

Brandon finds Callie playing guitar and he suggests they play together someday. She asks about his audition and he says, “Oh, I got it.” He leaves as Wyatt enters and Wyatt asks if the adoption falling through changes anything with Brandon and she says, “No, it doesn’t change anything.” I really want to believe her.

Brandon arrives at Mike’s and Vico and friends jump him and then Vico slams Brandon’s hand in the car door.

Thus ends Season 1 of The Fosters!

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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. Aaaand they are still cramming ALL THE ISSUES! into every single blessed episode. Bless.

    Can we also talk about how incredibly fucked up Dani is? Just horribly manipulative and boundary-less. Not to mention the statutory rape. What in the ever-loving fuck. I feel like the show took the typical “it’s not really so bad when it’s an older woman/teen boy” approach, which is so frustrating. Though I hold out some hope that they will address it in a future episode, as one of their ALL THE ISSUES.

  2. I will be the first to say it – I am so over this show. They are all over the place and it’s maddening. They are trying to cram so many issues into the story that even the worst dysfunctional family is saying “WTF?”

    I have to admit that the last three Recaps you have written, I have only popped in for the Digressions. Love them all by the way, couldn’t actually bring myself to actually read about what happened on the show as they are just doing too much! I did download the last three episodes and if I get bored enough I am sure I will watch them, but Damn is it really possible for one family to be dealing with so much crap over, and over, and over, and over?

    TC Out!

    • They have seriously, and possibly irrevocably, veered into Intense Drama For the Sake of Intense Drama territory. It’s those subtle, truthful moments– like that scene between Jude and Lena — that make this show awesome. They don’t need to be so soapy.

      They also don’t need that baby, but I guess they thought it would be easier to write Sherri Saum’s pregnancy in than have her sitting at a desk and carrying grocery bags all the time. Moms who are also vice principals *never* do ANY of those things on a regular basis.

    • I will let you in on a secret…I’m a little bit over it too. The sad thing is that the show doesn’t need all this drama and all these issues to be good. They could have simplified the issue of reconnecting with birth parents. They could have dealt with medication and ADHD without Jesus almost assaulting someone. Etc. In going the route they have, they have completely ruined what could have been a lovely show.

    • At this point, I watch it half because I am a sucker for being thrown a gay bone—terrible family melodrama featuring interracial lesbian couple? OKAY.
      And half because I do love Vikki’s recaps.

  3. will miss the awesome recaps! i think the show had been split into two halves and that during the second half the numbers dropped considerably, i hope the show doesn’t get cancelled.

  4. Nice recap Vikki! The cake story made me laugh so loud I woke up my dog! (She has night time dementia, so this is kind of a problem. But no hard feelings.) I agree with Erin, Dani has no redeeming qualitites. I don’t see why they have to write her as 100% awful. Also, I have never liked Brandon and his cavalcade of bad decisions continues to prove me right.

    • Thanks :) Yeah, Brandon is a mess. Now, we’ll get to see him sulk about his hand all of next season.

  5. Love your reviews. And your digressions, especially!

    Oh, Brandon. Oh, Dani. Oh, gross. And I’m too tired to google the laws in CA or what Brandon’s age is on the show. 17?

    I think they overdo it on the issues (ALL OF THEM!) but I do think they handle them sensitively. They just need to spread it out a lot more. A lot.

    I do hope the Mike thing was a red herring, though, because the “recovering alcoholic falls off the wagon and MURDER!” is too much, even for this show.

  6. I just saw the last 5 episodes and OMG I cried during the adoption, I feel so much for Callie when she said it’s like nothing is going her way even though she works really hard. But hopefully enough of the Brallie thing. And OMG Stef’s acting when Lena said she’s pregnant was like awesome and believable and sweet and needless to say tears were shed, a lot of them, I thought they weren’t going to write Sherri’s real life pregnancy (twins!!), but then they did so can’t wait for season 2!

    Vikki, as usual, your recaps are awesome! Keep up the good work! Altho this show has issues, please stay with us and still be the recapper hehe I read your recaps always! Thank you!

  7. I know I’m late to this, I just watched the episode… but wasn’t what Dani did considered rape if Brandon was drunk and a minor? Wasn’t the whole thing going on with them in the first place a bit manipulative? Lies, money, and all the advice she gave him? Then she gets mad at him for her relationship ending because of something she did, though I know she didn’t stay that way.

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