“The Fosters” Episode 313 Recap: The Mama Bear’s Mama Bear

Back inside.

Mike: So it turns out my foster kid, A.J., his brother is the one who smashed into y’all and nearly killed you to death.
Ana: Oh wow, that’s a—
Brandon [creepin’]: What did you just say?
Mike: You heard me whispering that just now but did not hear the brass band playing a song about your mom’s cancer earlier? Sure, that checks out.
Brandon: Listen, don’t be too hard on A.J. I’d honestly be in the same position as him if it weren’t for the fact that I’m a straight white guy whose parents are both cops.
Mike: Are you … checking your own privilege?
Brandon: Don’t worry, I’ll use this information later by lording it over Callie’s head to fuel my feelings of superiority in every way.
Mike: Oh okay, good. Still Brandon, then!


I just wish there was a way I could be validated for being a male feminist, you know?


You can hear yourself when you talk, right?

It’s election day at Anchor Beach. After canvassing tirelessly and even handing out homemade buttons (I want one of those buttons!), Mariana loses the election to Lexi, after all. She consoles herself by trying out for Brandon and Mat’s rock opera. The first audition is for Talya and she sounds good, like a Disney channel star. Hang on, I want to tell you some lyrics to this song. They’re so gloriously teenagery and exactly the kind of takeaway a 17-year-old would have of Romeo and Juliet. Okay: This love would be great, but they say it would be wrong! I don’t care ’cause I’d be lost without you! We live because we love, we love ’cause we belong, oh, I swear, you heal the scars and never fail to wound! 

One thing I love about this show is how really, really right it gets teenage romance. It does feel that overwrought and fatal and profound. I still remember what it feels like and I am a hundred thousand years old.

Anyway, Mariana auditions next and she’s better than Talya. Mat shoots her down, but Brandon chooses her, and so Mat acquiesces. Mariana’s gonna be Mat’s Juliet, and whooo wee, Emma will not be happy about this! I’m picturing her training for the track team and listening to the Indigo Girls’ cover of Dire Straits Romeo and Juliet on her iPod and huffing and puffing and shouting into the wind.


Clexa swore FEALTY to each other, okay? Fealty, Callie! 

After school, Callie goes to meet up with A.J. on the sly in a coffee shop, but he doesn’t show. Instead that guy who fired her at the foster care resource center, he’s there and telling her how great Fost and Found is and he’s so proud of her and blah blah blah. Callie’s not trying to hear it. She jets out onto the street to look for A.J., but he’s definitely not there. He calls her when she gets home, though, and explains about being in Arizona. Then how come his IP address is in San Diego? He doesn’t know what she’s talking about. He hasn’t been chatting her on Fost and Found at all.

Callie does right and tells Stef about A.J. being in Arizona. She gives her the number of the landline A.J. called from, and so Stef whooshes off into the night to go arrest everyone who ever hurt one of her kids. As she’s zipping out the door, Brandon’s over there in the corner clucking his tongue about how he knows more and better than Callie, for now and for always, and she is 16 going on 17, and he is 17 going on 18, and she needs someone older and wiser telling her what to do. She’s like, “What the fuck are you even talking about?” And he tells her about the stolen car and the accident and Jesus having to get a new head and all that because of A.J.’s brother.


Do you want to play some more video games?


It just bums me out that you can’t shoot the cats in Fallout 4. Or the kids in Skyrim. What’s Bethesda’s DEAL?

Meanwhile, Jude is trying to make friends with that kid Jack who accosted Callie a couple of weeks ago when she was giving her speech on Fost and Found and ripped into her about how she hadn’t completely dismantled the foster care system and rebuilt it as an adoption utopia. Jude doesn’t like him because he’s “too weird.” See, and Callie thinks that’s kind of rude. Just because he doesn’t blink when he plays video games for a hundred hours at a time and falls asleep in Stef and Lena’s bed, those things don’t make him unlovable. But what Jude is having trouble articulating is that his unicorn senses are telling him something’s off about this guy, in an “I want to wear Callie’s skin as my own skin” kind of way.

And in fact that is exactly what he wants. After Stef goes to Arizona and arrests Ty (and tells A.J. she knows he was just hanging out with his brother and had no idea Ty was wanted on felony charges, so don’t say otherwise!), Callie gets a new message on Fost and Found from “A.J.” and actually it is Jack, hanging out in Jude’s room, weirding him out while Jude tries to figure out how to love him.

While all of this is going on, Jesus wanders down to the construction site where his dad is working and gets a job assisting him with building a house. What ultimately made him decide to do it was Grandma Annie’s boyfriend asked him to pass him a screwdriver and Jesus couldn’t identify such a thing in the tool box. When he thought about it more, he realized he didn’t know how to shave or drive a car or grill a hunk of meet or drink a Coors Light. He can’t do a single one of those things men are always doing in NFL commercials!


Oh, honey. A Bellarke fan fiction? I’m sorry.


I think Callie’s straight, mom.

And Stef. Stef, Stef, Stef. She teleports home from Arizona and finally tells Lena that she got a letter in the mail the other day with cancer in it and now she’s infected and she thinks that Grandma Annie is probably right and she should have that double mastectomy. She tells Grandma Annie that too, sitting on the steps of her RV, and asks her not to go. And she doesn’t. Because she’s a mama bear’s mama bear and she was never going leave anyway.

Next week: I’d normally try to make up something funny, but I don’t need to today because this is for real what’s happening next week.


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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior writer who lives in New York City with her partner, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1107 articles for us.


  1. Terrific write up. Thanks so much. Nothing much to add other than a desire for a major countdown for the next episode.

    Maybe we can prove that AdamsFoster gets more viewers than Brallie for the hundredth time?

  2. Holy crap I haven’t been keeping up with the Fosters (but I still read everything you write) so I had no idea about the cancer thing.
    FEELINGS. I have so many. Mostly about mastectomy and the fact that there’s an actual conversation in the show about what to do about it. It’s beautiful, you guys. My mother and my aunt went through breast cancer, and this was 10 and 20-ish years ago, and there was no discussion at the time, especially not in France where the authority of the Doctor reigns supreme.
    Cancer meant a death sentence and chopping off bits + chemo + radiotherapy was the only way to make sure you would make it, it seemed. I never actually questioned this logic, but the recent discourse both in the media (about early screening possibly being bad, because it makes you treat cancers 5 years earlier than necessary for example with the same mortality down the line) AND in the mouth of my mom (who has become quite critical of how little conversation was actually allowed between herself and the doctors at the time) has made me reconsider so many things, mostly what I’ll do if (but most likely when) I get it.

    I guess I need to get caught up on the Fosters now ! Yay gay shows.

  3. Heather, I have resurrected myself from the death that I died when I saw next week’s preview, if only to send you some love for this line, which made me cackle:

    “And Stef. Stef, Stef, Stef. She teleports home from Arizona and finally tells Lena that she got a letter in the mail the other day with cancer in it and now she’s infected…”

    The fact that none of those damn kids have any clue what’s going on re: cancer is too unbelievable to make me even feel sad or anxious for them.

    • just, like, ok: I have learned a lot of things via the mail, and I also have a LOT of experience finding out cancer-related news, and the two just DO NOT OVERLAP. The venn diagram for mail and cancer is two separate circles. They should be waiting with baited breath for the phone to ring re: test results, jumping at every sudden movement.

      Cancer just doesn’t arrive in the mail. Right?? I am right, right?? Someone tell me if I’m wrong and sometimes it does.

      Ok, clearly I’m having feelings about this now. Neat.

      • Maybe she both got a result from the lab + a call from the doctor ? (that’s how it happens in France: they sent lab results to both patient and doctor, and if there’s anything significant, the doctor’s practice calls you to tell you to come in). So she already got the call and just hid the lab results ? IDK IDK. I JUST WANT HER TO BE OKAY.

        • maybe she was afraid the kids would pick up the phone. UGH.

          thank you for your input, happy buttered roll! sending you good healthy vibes, and i wish you’d never had to wait for results in the mail OR from the phone in the first place <3

  4. I spent at least ten minutes laughing at the comments about everyone who could hear the kitchen conversation. I’m glad Stef told Lena about her chances of getting cancer and I loved the goodby scene. The fact that no one spoke when the RV was wouldn’t crank up but all had these crazy looks on their faces made my day. I’m glad they solved the AJ and Ty issue it was beginning to annoy me. And I have nothing to say about creepy kid wonder. I knew from the beginning that it was him Callie was messaging. He can go, he is just yet another crazy man Callie has to deal with.

  5. For me, the one saving grace of this cancer plotline is that Stef’s cancer is progressing very differently from my mom’s, so at least I’m not overwhelmed with the parallels. But they seriously need to tell the kids ASAP.

    Brandon checking his privilege threw me for a loop – I’m almost glad he turned it around so fast. Not hating Brandon would be so weird for me!

    Also, I know this is not a The 100 recap but OMG CLEXA I NEED TO TALK ABOUT THIS WEEK’S EPISODE. Any Bellarke shippers who still exist after Lexa basically proposed marriage to Clarke need to check themselves, basically. Gotta say though, I kind of love watching all the heteros freak out about the fact that for ONCE the gay ship is canon and the hetero ship has to survive on fanfiction alone. It’s like when McDreamy died – now they all know how WE FEEL. :D

  6. As the final minutes of The Fosters was winding down, I remember thinking to myself- “This felt a lot more serious and weighty than I’ve come to expect from this show. Usually, almost everyone’s happy by the concluding minutes. But there is no happiness on the horizon here”

    THEN I saw the preview for next week and Lena carrying Stef and now I want to curl myself up into a ball. I can’t handle this.

    So glad that at least Annie Potts is hanging around. She is such a talent. That scene with Stef- my goodness. Wow.

    I hate all catfishing plots, but at least this is going better than when Glee did it? Ryan Murphy has given me low standards.

    I refuse to believe that any child of Stef’s couldn’t properly identify the necessary tool out of a tool box. So, that made the entire catalyst for the Jesus plot feel forced for me. I’m still hoping it’s not the last of AJ, I really like him for some reason.

    They have to tell the kids about the cancer next week. This can’t continue.

  7. Also, didn’t Jesus construct an entire light up Christmas Village on the front lawn and roof of the house a few seasons back?? He knows the basics of tools!

    This whole “I don’t know how to do the ‘man things’ because I have two moms! Woe is me!” is coded and quite frankly, gross. I expect more from this show.

    You want Jesus to meet his dad? Fine. But find another way.

    • Totally gross and coded, completely agree! Stef knows how to use tools – if Jesus doesn’t know, it’s because he never cared to learn before. If he’d told his mom’s he wanted to learn, Stef would have taught him, or Lena would have signed him up for shop class at school or something. That whole thing with his dad was forced, and pretty sexist, and also a total rehash of the season 1 Anna subplot. Ughhh. I don’t like new Jesus (or his jock friend) at allll.

    • I agree! Ditto!!

      Also, are they not able to find a more age-appropriate looking friend for him? Altho he *acts* like a kid, alright.

      More thoughts:
      – What’s Jack’s deal? I don’t like his face haha I’m not sure I am glad Callie is having yet another boy problem to handle / deal with. Plus Jude can do better than that, he can find a better friend! LOL
      – At first I was like “yeah Brandon how many times does Matt need to tell you to suck it up?” – I was enjoying it because goddammit Brandon you privileged boy, but then not even 10mins later, it is him who tells Matt to suck it up.
      – I really wish at the end it’ll turn out that Mariana won! #MarianaSings – more like #MarianaSlays! *Loved Lena’s remark on “cocky versus confident”!!* #crushdoublestandards
      – While Ty was being arrested I legit thought “come on I just want AJ to be home safe and sound” and just then the song went “saaaafe aaand sound” so there’s that!

      Thanks for another awesome recap!!! ^_^

    • also it’s hilarious that they basically let a random person on a construction site. Seriously site manager ? No induction ? (Are hard hats not a thing on construction sites in the US?) No signing paperwork for insurance purposes in case something goes wrong ? You just let ANYONE use tools ?!

  8. I know it turned out Jack is probably a creep, but when Jude found him in Stef and Lena’s bed his reaction was way off. Jude is the magical unicorn of empathy and kindness, remember? Or he used to be. I understand he can’t be perfect, but right now he doesn’t even feel like the same person.

    It makes sense that Mariana can sing better than anyone else. She can do anything.

  9. I get sooo nervous whenever Stef and Lena start talking about the cancer. It’s been a while since Jude overheard something he shouldn’t have, right? My money’s on Jude overhearing first.

    I have a lot of sad feelings about Jack and I feel like his storyline is bound to end in tragedy. When Callie said, “People used to think we were weird too, Jude. Remember that?” it killed me in the heart.

    I agree with everyone else about Jesus meeting his dad feeling forced (if that even is his dad. I have my doubts!). I feel like there should have been a lot more build-up to that moment, but it went directly from, “Do you ever think about your birth dad?” to Jesus literally building a house with him. Come on, Freeform.

  10. Ugh at the whole Brandon/Mat/Ex-Girlfriend stuff! Like Brandon’s comparing his mutually ended relationship with a girl he barely liked to Mat being cheated on by the girl he was in love with and who is still upset about the breakup. “Suck it up, Mat.”

  11. UGH When Callie told Brandon that she told Steph about AJ and he says, “Oh, so you made that decision for him?” I wanted to punch a hole in my laptop screen. Of course, if I did that every time Brandon said something awful I would need to replace my laptop screen several times per episode, but that was such a particularly cringe-worthy Brandon moment. This kid thinks he has the fucking weight of the world on his shoulders. The look on his face after Talya auditioned was just ridiculous. WOE IS YOU BRANDON now please like get rejected from Julliard and self-righteously join the Peace Corps or something and disappear from the show forever.

    I love Steph and she’s going through a lot…but arresting AJ? A black foster kid in his late teens? Yeah that’s realllllly going to keep him out of trouble in the long run. I also hated how the excuse initially was that he should be arrested because he was helping his brother escape. He is years younger than his brother, and a minor. How on earth is he helping? And like, it’s easy to say “Oh, well the judge will understand the extenuating circumstances and AJ will be fine because I told him to be quiet about his brother.” But obviously the system is horribly broken and his chance of getting a break is basically zero. The court IRL would be happy to send him to juvie so that they don’t have to try to figure out where to place him anymore. And like, gooodbyyyye budding support system he had with Mike, Callie and the rest of the Fosters. Because you know, kids with a record and no family always make an easy transition from foster care to independence when they age out. Hmmm…

    Anyway, my point is Steph KNOWS THIS and she should use her magical empathy cop powers to forsee how this will all go down, and then prevent it from happening by making sure he ISN’T arrested. I’m just tired of watching AJ’s life get shittier and sadder. I really like him and I want to see him thrive, not languish in the system forevermore while his remaining family members die or are put in jail.

    I’m also so sad that Mariana didn’t win class president! She deserved it. But props to her for immediately seizing the next opportunity on her to-do list. I wish I had her ambition!

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