The Fosters Episode 315 Recap: You’re What Makes Me Feel Better

Previously on The Fosters, Stef and Lena went skinny-dipping in their neighbors pool (the stakes of which were: Last one in has to be on top tonight!) to celebrate the life they’ve built together and the love they share together and to take Stef’s mind off her cancer. The Foster Adams kids did their various hijinks, as Callie moved into the “Order of the Phoenix phase” of being adopted. And Jude kind of disappeared.

Ms. Polonius, the foster care “advocate,” has big plans for Callie. Big plans! There’s this commercial, see, advocating for new foster care legislation in the California state House and Callie is the spokesperson for it. Oh, and you know what else? A trip to the White House! Callie psyched to be doing some good in the world, stoked Ms. Polonius is taking her places. Stef and Lena are happy that she’s happy, but also they would like her to slow her roll. She hasn’t read the legislation, for one thing. Stef and Lena don’t know shit about Ms. Polonius, for another. And plus, Callie hasn’t even started her senior thesis yet. Brandon’s been working on his Romeo and Juliet rock opera for ten entire days now; catch up, Callie!

Callie is, of course, furious that they won’t just let her dive into this thing with her eyes closed.


Callie is sponsering Bellamy Blake over Bellamy Young in the Who’s The Best Bellamy Twitter poll.


Get out of my house.

It’s nice, actually. Callie is acting like a real teenager for a change. Next she goes to visit Rita to see if she can profile her for this senior thesis business, and Rita’s all for it. Callie whines a little bit about Stef and Lena not letting her do whatever she wants, and always having her best interest at heart, and helping her make decisions with their fully formed adult brains and decades of lived experience. Rita agrees that it’s funny and also wonderful to hear Callie talk like this. Until Callie explains about the commercial and the bill Ms. Polonius wants her to be the face of. Turns out one of its main tenants is giving 50 percent of the entire state foster care budget to companies that will privatize the system. Rita’s been alive long enough to know how the world works, and also she’s seen the most recent season of Orange Is the New Black. She cautions Callie against supporting it.

And so then Callie goes back to Ms. Polonius and hollers at her about the lies.

Ms. Polonius: Think about it like this. When a kid gets messed up in foster care and the state is in charge, what happens?
Callie: Nothing, most of the time.
Ms. Polonius: Okay, but when an enormous company fucks up—wait, have you ever read the news?
Callie: No.
Ms. Polonius: Okay, awesome. When an enormous company fucks up, the CEO is held accountable for it.
Callie: Oh, wow.
Ms. Polonius: And that is the truth. It’s exactly like Jesus said: “Whosoever believeth in unregulated capitalism shall have eternal life.”


I’m doing an investigative report on whether or not Doris was actually gay in A League of Their Own.

Callie goes back to Rita and explains to her about Jesus dying for the one percent, and Rita sighs and yells a little, because this is a lesson Callie’s going to have to learn the very hard way.

AJ pops by the Adams Foster house to apologize for running away with Ty. He says he didn’t realize Ty was the one who caused the season two finale accident, and he’s very ashamed of himself for dipping out on people who were so kind to him and also missing his grandmother’s funeral. After he apologizes, Mike asks Stef if maybe she can find it in her heart to testify on Ty’s behalf at his trial, because he’s facing five years for grand theft auto and hit and run and driving without insurance and a whole host of other things. Stef thinks no, not so much, not really, sorry, but no. This guy smashed into her kids and almost killed them, and the scales of justice aren’t exactly accurate when a mama bear is doing the weighing.


I’m a mother first and a cop second and a misandrist third.

Callie’s mad about that too, so Stef gets her hands on AJ’s police record and it keeps her up all night. He’s a black foster kid who threw a rock in a window when he was 11 years old and has been stuck in the system ever since. Minor stuff. Stuff that would never in one hundred billion years land a middle class white dude in jail. And Stef knows it and she’s a mama bear, yes, but she’s Chaotic Good, not Lawful Good, despite the badge and the gun. She testifies for Ty and asks for leniency. He gets 18 months, which is still a lot, but not as much as the five years the DA was after.

Mariana has quite a day! She’s still feuding with Lexi because of the lie everyone tells girls about how one woman’s success is another woman’s failure, and so Mariana’s feeling doubly dejected that Lexi won student body president. Despite that, she ends up on a double date with Lexi and Jesus and Nick because Jesus worked some weird dark magic to convince Nick that the only way he could get Mariana to like him would be to bring Jesus and Mariana’s best friend to a restaurant for carnivores only (despite the fact that Mariana has been a vegetarian since she was about seven years old). It’s not a great date, but it’s charming in its way — until they get in the car to go home and Jesus ends up goading Nick into drag racing.


Let’s pretend this is Emily Fields’ porch. I’ll be Emily . You can be whichever besotted lesbian just rolled into town.

The whole time Nick is driving like a maniac down the strip and running red lights and Jesus is screaming like a banshee about whatever dudebro thing, Mariana is countering it by telling Nick to stop and pull over and also she is going to murder him. When he finally does slam on the breaks and zoom over to the sidewalk, she hops right the fuck out of that car and Lexi follows her and slams the door. Mariana yells over her shoulder about how if they want to kill some people, it’s not going to be them! And then she and Lexi go home and sit on the porch and talk about how actually they are each other’s soul mates and maybe they should dial back the competition and just treasure each other. And they kiss.

Just kidding. But Lexi looks at Mariana like she wants to kiss her.

The day’s not a total bust for Jesus. Mariana dimes him out for tracking down their birth dad, and also tells their moms about how that guy is a registered sex offender. So Ana drops by to explain that she was 15 when she got pregnant with them and their dad was an adult and was dealing weed, and so when the cops came to arrest him, they also charged him with statutory rape. She always told them he was a one-night stand because she wanted them to believe in a better story than one where their mom was an addict and their dad was a dealer. Oh, Ana! You beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk ox!

Brandon goes to work and plays the piano and meets his new girlfriend’s kid and babysits him for a minute and kisses his new girlfriend on the mouth. He also sings a song called “Surf Girl” like he’s the first person to ever put music to such a concept. In addition to Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein, I guess Brandon has also never heard of The Beach Boys.


I lied in court today. I’m definitely rank my misandry above my job, in terms of my identity.


As it should be, darling.

Oh hey, by the way, Stef had her double mastectomy. It’s been a couple of weeks. She grimaces once or twice to let us know she’s still in a little bit of pain, but her main struggle right now is that Lena keeps getting dressed and undressed behind the wardrobe doors. Stef asks her a couple of different times what the heck is going on, and Lena says nothing, everything’s good, just the usual stresses of working with teenagers all day at school and living with teenagers all night at home. And Monty undermining her authority. Stef finally, and possibly for the first time ever, tells Lena to stop what she’s doing and to sit down and talk about her feelings.


the root of the root and the bud of the bud


and the sky of the sky of a tree called life


i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Lena says she’s feeling guilty that Stef had to have that double mastectomy and that Lena never had to have anything like that, and so she doesn’t want to make Stef feel weird by walking around naked and everything. Stef says it’s actually weird if Lena doesn’t walk around naked in front of her. And then the most beautiful thing: Stef pats the bed beside her and Lena scoots up close. Stef said earlier that she couldn’t really feel anything on her chest, but she takes Lena’s hand and she gently pushes it into her shirt says she can feel Lena right there. It’s not all numb anymore and this one spot, the one right here next to her heart, Lena’s touch is registering. Lena closes her eyes and swallows hard and Stef says, “For the record, you don’t make me feel worse. You’re what makes me feel better.”

She kisses Lena’s head and Lena nuzzles her back and they are perfect and I love them.

Next week: I don’t know! My DVR didn’t record the promo! I hope it’s more snuggling and smooching from the mamas!

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. I suppose it’s realistic that Callie is so easily manipulated, but it’s still painful to watch.

    I’m still skipping the Brandon scenes, but I did get a glimpse of the kid.

    Where was Jude???

    Mariana and Lexi should ditch they guys even if they’re not in lesbians with each other. They can just be the very best of friends who don’t care about stupid boys. Emma and Mariana on the other hand… I wish Emma was in more episodes.

    Lena and Stef are just so fucking beautiful. (Sorry about the swearing.)

  2. Thanks for this awesome recap! Every week I say that because it is true!

    * I was legit scared for the Juniors in that fancy car! They should have learned their lessons, they almost died before, Jesus! Jesus even had that head transplant!
    * Am pretty anxious how the whole Fost and Found Bill thing would come back at Callie
    * LOLed at the Doris reference :D
    * Knew the case was because of Ana being underaged not because of sumfin else
    * And I like this version of Stef – talking about her feelings – it’s giving us feelings, making us feel feelings ^_^
    * I love that E E Cummings quote, for years I have been planning it to be my next tattoo ^_^

  3. idgi are we just ignoring the fact that brandon’s new girlfriend is 21 yrs old minimum and brandon is in HIGH SCHOOL. and then there’s the weird monty thing too. between that and the gabe storyline they are obviously trying to make a point about age [in]appropriateness here

    (also that was ty’s police record, not aj’s)

  4. I know Callie is only sixteen, and it’s realistic that she’s this easily manipulated, but oh my god she drove me CRAZY this episode! Like, after everything Rita has done for her and taught her, how could she believe this random woman who showed up in her life five minutes ago over her!? Did she seriously just try to explain the foster care system to Rita!? I hope Jude comes back from Out of Town next week and knocks some sense into her.

    Everyone was pissing me off this week. Lena was being silly, Jesus and Nick were being stupid, and Brandon was, well, being Brandon. AKA, thinking that he, a 17 year old who’s had everything in life handed to him on a silver platter, knows what’s best for people who’s lives are way more difficult and complicated than his own. Ughhhh to this whole storyline. This line cracked me up though: “In addition to Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein, I guess Brandon has also never heard of The Beach Boys.” Brilliant!

    Except Mariana, of course, because Mariana is perfect. I was totally cheering after her line about how if they want to kill some people, it’s not going to be them.

  5. Ok maybe it was just me but I felt like the whole surgery thing happened super quick. (unless I missed an episode?) I’m not unhappy about having to bypass possible death door knocking, but all of a sudden two weeks has past, surgery has been had and all the teens continue with their normal random teen life issues.
    Love Lena and Stef more every episode!!! Best couple on TV (… although CLEXA … hmm)

      • Agreed. The end of last week’s episode was so great when they integrated the kids into what was going on with Stef, and I would’ve liked to see more of that but instead it was just all the kids jettisoned back into their isolated storylines.

  6. That last scene with Stef and Lena warmed even the very edges of my heart and soul – the cold, hard outer edges that keep everything out. They just warmed and melted right into an “I love Stef and Lena” pile of goo.

  7. You see, what I love about Stef is that she is usually this tightly wound ball of emotion that she swallows down because she thinks she has to in order to better protect and serve her family.

    But, you see, WHAT I REALLY REALLY LOVE about Stef is when she opens herself right up and let’s everyone see her heart right there on the table. As she did time and again this episode. ???

    I know we usually say she “Stefs something up” when she’s unwilling or emotionally unable to talk about something, causing it snowball into a bigger problem. But starting today, I’m going to start using “Stef something up” to mean when I get something just right and in balance and when I’m willing to be vulnerable for my loved ones.

    Good job, Stef. A thousand points to Gryffindor!!!!!!


    – C’mon Callie!! I don’t know what it is about this season, but I am super not enjoying the personality transplants that Callie and Jude are going through. Is it because they are now safe and adopted, so they can feel secure enough to behave like “normal” bratty teenagers? Perhaps, and if so then I am happy that they can feel safe. But it’s a bummer to watch!

    – So what’s the deal with Jesus’ friend really? I was convinced for like half the episode that he was going to turn out to be their father’s son (making him the Twins’ half brother). Something is definitely up there, I just can’t place it.

    – The moms are really just brining their A+ acting game this season! The love between Stef and Lena has never felt more tender or more palpable. Even their most fragile moments- you feel them there for each other.

    -Welcome back, Rosie O’Donell! More Rosie on my tv always.


    “I lied in court today. I definitely rank my misandry above my job, in terms of my identity.” this is my very favorite.

  9. I love your recaps.

    Most of your recaps.

    I think maybe it would be good to rethink the privilege dynamic RE: the Bellamy Blake jokes in these things.

  10. I really wish they hadn’t skipped Stef’s surgery! I think it would’ve been cool to get some scenes of her in the hospital, how Lena and the kids were affected, etc. Everything in this episode was basically normal, just with Stef wincing occasionally.

    I loved the scene where Mariana and Lexi ditched Nick and Jesus. That was a definite highlight for me. Also the scene with Stef and Lena cuddling, of course.

    Going to try to articulate this but probably won’t do a very good job – sometimes I feel like Stef and Lena act really weird for people who have been together as long as they have? Like some of their conversations and insecurities strike me as odd, or as things a couple that’s been together for 10+ years would know how to navigate already or would feel more comfortable talking about. Obviously every relationship is different, and Stef can be pretty closed off, but that’s just my two cents. Thinking about it re: Lena feeling weird about changing in front of Stef (like why wouldn’t she mention her feelings to Stef instead?), the time Stef faked orgasm a couple seasons ago, other weird miscommunications. Some of their relationship problems and conflicts aren’t believable to me because they’re things that a couple like the two of them would know how to deal with.

  11. I’m a little sad that they completely skipped over any potential surgery storyline, but I’m also relieved. I was imagining the writers making it into a huge thing where they find more cancer or Stef somehow flatlines briefly during the operation.

    Ms. Polonius: Okay, but when an enormous company fucks up—wait, have you ever read the news?
    Callie: No.
    Ms. Polonius: Okay, awesome. When an enormous company fucks up, the CEO is held accountable for it.
    Callie: Oh, wow.
    Ms. Polonius: And that is the truth. It’s exactly like Jesus said: “Whosoever believeth in unregulated capitalism shall have eternal life.”

    I laughed out loud. It was frustrating to see Callie get so upset at Rita, but this Polonius woman has been really building her up and it seems like Callie doesn’t want to believe that she’s being had.

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