The way I like to watch The Fosters is while I’m riding my stationary bike, so I get sweaty and on a good endorphin high, and then I cry for like 45 minutes while I’m pedaling and pedaling. It’s very cathartic. It’s almost as good as therapy. Better, actually, some weeks. Like time machine therapy, healing the wounds of growing up closeted and gay in the deep south. Maddie and I were talking about it yesterday and she said, “WHAT IF I had seen THIS instead of The L Word, ten years ago, when I was thirteen? WHAT IF?” Same-same (only I was in my 20s). This episode is a doozy, so get some Kleenexes, kittens.
Stef and Lena call a family meeting to let everyone know that Callie has decided to go live with Robert, and everyone handles it exactly like you think they will. Mariana flat loses it. If one more person she loves abandons her, her super smart science brain is going to explode inside her beautiful head. Brandon think it has something to do with him. (Callie assures him it does not.) Jude refuses to take anyone’s side because he is a wizard of love and everyone in this room is his family. And Jesus’ tries to process what it means while filtering through the six thousand other stimuli fighting for his attention. (ADD, man. I feel you, Jesus.)
Of course as soon as the meeting is over, Daphne calls to tell Callie she came clean to the police, but told them she kidnapped Tasha by herself without help from anyone, especially without help from Callie and Brandon. She’s going to stay at Girls United for a while, and Callie can stay with Stef and Lena. Daphne hangs up real fast and Callie is just like, “Are you effing kidding me?”
The next morning, Mariana refuses to go to school. In case you’ve forgotten, Timothy got himself fired for refusing to work with the administration to find a teaching strategy that encourages free and critical thinking, and also prepares students to succeed on standardized tests, so Anchor Beach can get the funding it needs to stay open. I can’t stop thinking about it. I have this running mental list of Straight White Dudes On TV That Are Pissin’ Me Off, and somehow Timothy has managed to leapfrog his way over freaking President Fitzgerald Grant (Scandal) and land right behind Fucking Johnny (Pretty Little Liars) this season. Lena doesn’t explain to Mariana that if they’d rewarded Timothy’s obstinance and belligerence and plain stupidity by letting him keep his job, Anchor Beach wouldn’t have been able to stay open next year, and then everyone would have been out of a job, including half the people who provide her with a roof to live under and food to eat.
Turns out only Jude is going to school today, basically, which means everyone has time to nose around in everyone else’s business. Brandon, for example, asks Jude about his new girlfriend. He’s like, “I could not be more serious when I say to you that she is literally just my friend.” But Brandon does not believe him. Stef noses in on the way Callie is shoving her eggs around on her plate, dejectedly, but you know she’s not giving anyone any hints about what the heck is actually going on inside her brain and heart.
Lena pulls Stef into another room and goes HAM about the kids not going to school, and then she has the best and most hilarious idea. It makes her grin like the Grinch. She packs up all the kids’ tablets, phones, laptops, DVRs, televisions, and even the wireless router into a wheely suitcase and marches out the door with it. It’s a very funny scene. All the kids grimace and look away when she roughhouses the suitcase around. “Our whole lives are in there!” Jesus says. Finally, Stef swoops in and helps her gently carry the suitcase to the car. She wants to support Lena, but she also wants the DVR to stay in one piece so they can watch their shows.
Mariana says probably my favorite line of dialogue on this show ever: “You’re obstructing our attempt to organize, Mama!”
At Anchor Beach, Monty is feeling the pressure of half the student body staying out of school and the media coming in on Monday, so she tells Lena to pass along the word to everyone that if any kids stay out of school after the weekend without a valid excuse, they’re getting suspended. Lena thinks maybe that’s a little harsh since academics aren’t cutthroat businesses, so maybe they could have some kind of discussion with the students? Some kind of high minded forum? Monty is like, “These kids are just looking for an excuse to have some vacation days, let’s be honest. This is high school, not Harvard.”
Valid, Monty. But keep your eyes and hands off of Lena, you hear me?
Connor is making out with his new girlfriend and Jude is about to vomit all over the place. His new adorable friend Taylor says she deals with all their pawing by pretending she’s watching a documentary called The Mating Habits of Meerkats. Taylor, I like you. You can stay.
Taylor: Do you want to go to the fair this weekend?
Jude: Yeah, cool.
Daria: We’re going to the pier.
Connor: Naw, girl. Let’s go to the fair. We can go to the pier any time.
Jude: Oh, I forgot, I’ve got plans with my family on Saturday.
Connor: We can go Sunday.
Jude: I have plans Sunday too.
Connor: We can go next weekend.
Jude: We’re moving… to Europe.
Connor: My aunt lives in London.
Jude: Europa. We’re moving to Europa. Jupiter’s moon, Europa. So. I can’t go to the fair. Or anywhere with you ever again.
My 15-year-old self is watching this with eyes as wide as a Tarsier. Sweet Jude. We feel you. We have all been there.
Callie hangs out at Girls United with Daphne and Carmen(!). Hey, Carmen! They debrief Callie’s situation about awful Robert, and then Carmen says she saw Kiara working as a prostitute in a really dangerous part of town. Callie wants Rita to pack them up in her car right damn now and go rescue Kiara, but Rita says that it’s not their responsibility to save her. Rita says a very hard fact about life: You always have a choice, even if it’s a choice between two shitty things. Kiara has to come to them, not the other way around.
At the Foster Adams House of Pancakes and Unconditional Love, Lu tells Brandon to sell his autographed Tony Gwynn baseball to get the cash to come on tour, where they will be able to play music and have sex nonstop for one whole summer. And then she has sex with him, to illustrate her argument. Brandon is delirious with lust when he walks Lu out later, and finds Mariana on the porch trying to poach the neighbor’s wi-fi on her e-reader so she can hack Facebook and check in on the protests for Timothy. It’s the only thing she can do to distract herself from thinking about losing her sister. She knows they’re all going to college soon, but she’s not ready to let go yet.
So, to recap. Today:
Mariana reconfigured her Kindle and hacked into her neighbor’s wi-fi to be a (admittedly misguided) social justice warrior.
Jude watched the boy he loves make out with a girl right in front of his face.
Callie grappled with the fact that she is losing her family, and found out one of her best friends is working as a prostitute.
Brandon got laid.
When Jude stops by Lena’s office that afternoon for a ride home, Connor is sitting on the couch. Turns out his dad got trapped out of town on a business trip and so Connor will be spending the weekend with them.
Connor: I can help you guys pack for your move to Europa.
Connor: [Raises his eyebrows in Jude’s direction]
Jude: [Sighs and follows Connor out the door]