The Fosters Episode 318 Recap: I’d Have Sex With You Right Now If You Wanted To

Previously on The Fosters, Stef had a double mastectomy to prevent her inclusion on this list. Callie got caught in a cycle of being perpetually hoodwinked by the foster care advocate who bankrolled Fost & Found. Mariana started dating a Degrassi-looking fella named Nick whose main draw is that his dad owns a warehouse that can be used for birthday parties and Shakespearean rock operas. Writing that second thing is what Brandon has been doing all season, of course. Jude broke up with Connor over Skype, and also disappeared and reappeared in random intervals with nary an explanation. And Jesus met his birth dad; he’s on the sex offenders list for sleeping with Ana when she was 15 and he was 18, and that’s how the twins got born.

This is a delightfully Stef and Lena-centric episode, setting up for next week’s R AND J ROCK OPERA FINALE, so let’s just get the teenage angst out of the way real quick.

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It makes me so angry that you don’t understand what a good white ally I am! Where is my cookie? Where is my statue?

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I’m happy to bury you in cement. How about you, Mariana?

Mat and Zoey are making out at R and J practice, and so are Mariana and Nick. When Brandon calls them all to order, Mariana and Mat start squabbling about how the other one shouldn’t be able to do any kissing with any other people in this warehouse, or date cast members, or date the people whose parents own this space, or generally just date people. Mat slips to slut-shaming so easily it’s nauseating, disparaging whatever pop star comes to mind that landed on the madonna side of the madonna-whore dichotomy the music industry pushes every woman into. Nick jumps to Mariana’s defense, and when both Mat and Mariana stomp away, Zoey explains that Mariana deserved all the name-calling because one time she cheated on Mat.

Nick cannot believe such a thing! Cheating! CHEATING? Mariana goes to Brandon for advice and he tells her one thing about sex is sometimes you wish you hadn’t done it, but you can’t let it dog you forever; you’ve got to channel your inner Elsa and let it go into the frozen tundra of regrets and recriminations. He’s had an experience he’s not really fond of either. Callie overhears him say this and assumes he’s talking about her. (He’s not. He’s talking about his dad’s ex-girlfriend.) So Mariana tells Nick that she did cheat on Mat, and she’s not proud of it, and she doesn’t intend to make it a pattern. He’s cool with her explanation, so long as she promises to just tell him when she’s into Mat again instead of ghosting on him. It’s a deal.

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J and R

About three second later, Mat and Mariana are smooching smoochily, pretending to be R and J, while Brandon stands over them and applauds that finally his superior directorial skills have broken though the barrier of their thespian limitations and pulled this performance out of them. Why, they really seem like they’re in love, thanks to Brandon! Maybe after writing this musical about Romeo and Juliet like no one’s ever done before, he’ll write a musical about a Founding Father. He knows just the guy: Alexander Hamilton!

Before marching off to accept his Tony Award, however, Brandon canoodles for one minute too long with Courtney the bartender and Stef sees him, which means she and Lena have to give him a talk about being careful and also not having sex until he’s 18 because Courtney’s 21 and that’s an issue. Brandon protests that Stef and Lena are three years apart and they pat his wittle head because he doesn’t yet understand the difference between teenage years and adult years.

Jesus spends most of the day hanging out with Gabe at the R and J warehouse; he’s helping them build a set, which he’s legally allowed to do as long as there’s an adult chaperone around. At the end of the day, though, he accidentally ends up there alone with Mariana and the police bust up into the joint like a SWAT raid because someone accidentally tripped the alarm. Mariana tries everything to keep them from forcing Gabe to share his ID, but they won’t relent and ultimately end up arresting him for being alone with a minor.

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I just feel like what Supergirl is lacking is more stories that center on Winn, you know?

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Callie, as usual, has a much more traumatic day. She’s trying to help Daphne regain custody of her daughter, but the judge is leaning toward giving her foster parents full adoption rights if Daphne can’t get a job that will allow her to support herself and her child without government assistance, which is the biggest bunch of bullshit I have ever heard in my life. She’s a single woman of color whose earning power has been completely stunted by getting trapped in the foster care system and she has two weeks to find a job that will allow her to pay rent, bills, childcare, healthcare, and living expenses without assistance from the government that failed her in the first place? Fuck your bootstrap Republican bullshit, fictional judge!

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Dang, I wanted to be upset about the gender pay gap and the ramifications of rape culture.

whitefeminism2

Callie turns to her good pal Justina. Callie’s interviewing her for her senior project, during which Justina weaves this yarn about how her parents were fostering a child that was like a sister to her, but then one night the state came and took her away and wouldn’t even let her take her favorite doll. Later that night Callie comes across a video of Justina telling an audience the same story, except for she’s the one getting carted away in the night with no doll, and not a foster sister. Callie confronts her about it and Justina says it doesn’t matter that she’s clearly a pathological liar; what matters is she can get Daphne a good-paying job and she can get her daughter back if Callie will just keep on marching to the beat Justina’s banging. Callie agrees.

STEF AND LENA STEF AND LENA.

So.

Stef and Lena.

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I won’t allow someone else dictate my own imagination to me!

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We’ll write some resurrection Clexa fic tonight, love. I promise.

Stef is annoyed as heck about all the doctors visits she’s having to go on to prep for her reconstructive surgery. She doesn’t know why she didn’t just let them do it when she was having the mastectomy, but Lena reminds her that her body was already going through a lot and she needed time to heal. In fact, as far as Lena’s concerned, Stef doesn’t need to put her body through anything else. She can cancel the reconstructive surgery and go flat and be done with it. Stef’s worries are that a flat chest will make her look even more butch (Lena: “What’s wrong with that?”) and that Lena won’t find her attractive (Lena: “I’ll have sex with you right now if you want to.”) Stef jokes and deflects but Lena is serious. She’s in love with Stef, wholly committed to Stef, attracted to her through and through. Her breasts don’t even factor into the equation.

If it’s hard to believe thats’s a conversation two lesbians are having on TV, wait’ll you get a load of this: Lena talks to a couple of her friends at school who had breast cancer. One had implants done and the other did not. They’re happy to talk to Stef about all of her options, and their own thought processes about what was right for their bodies. The only thing Stef hates more than talking about her feelings is talking about her feelings with someone who isn’t Lena, but Lena nudges her to do it because she wants to support Stef but doesn’t have the experience to do it.

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And then they lived happily ever after in a cottage by the sea. Write it down, Stef! That’s how the story ends!

Stef agrees and Lena’s two friends come over and get almost immediately topless in their kitchen. It is easily one of best scenes in this show’s history and one of my favorite TV scenes of all-time. One of the women opted for the surgery because she just likes having boobs, the other didn’t but got nipples tattooed on and also a peacock because they symbolize self-expression and confidence and immortality, and because life is a turn on. They offer to let Stef examine their chests and Stef looks at Lena like “Are you for real?” And Lena nods back that she is, indeed, for real. It’s very hilarious. It’s also breathtaking. These four women in this kitchen completely unashamed of their bodies and not bending an inch to what the patriarchy says is acceptable or sexy.

Jesus comes trotting in and sees his moms in there with the naked ladies and is mortified. Lena awkwardly yells out, “IT’S A MEDICAL THING FOR MOM!” But I don’t think it helps.

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Nice bake, even distribution of fruit.

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Three distinct layers.

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Sheer perfection.

The next day Stef comes home from work and when Lena turns around from doing the dishes, her wife is standing there with sexy new hairs on her beautiful head. She says she wants to get the surgery because she likes having breasts, but she’s done allowing internalized homophobia and the fear of the word “dyke” or “butch” having any power over her. She’s a lesbian who wears a lot of plaid button ups and has short hair and that’s what it means, to her, to be a peacock.

Lena basically drags her upstairs to bed. She loves her hair. She loves her body. She loves her spirit. She loves their life.

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I knew A-Camp was going to be good for you!

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You were right. It offered me soul sustenance and an alternative lifestyle haircut.

Next week: *snap* *snap* *snap* *snap* (That was my interpretation of Westside Story.)

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle managing editor 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 824 articles for us.

48 Comments

  1. Oh good when I saw that the Terri Polo had cut her hair I was really hoping it wasn’t going to be because of a long drawn out chemo-bald-cap situation that we honestly just can’t take right now

    I’m glad Stef just cut it for the funz and self-expression 😀

  2. So, right, the minute I saw this episode I knew that you were the only people I wanted to talk about it with! This recap was glorious. That episode was glorious. All of it was just glorious.

    Here’s my deal: 2 of my aunts (but really though, my second mothers and models of how I came to understand womanhood) had breast cancer within a short time of each other. They both survived, thankfully. They also, much like the women in Lena’s kitchen, took opposite approaches to getting/not getting the reconstructive surgery.

    The aunt that I am *closest* *closest* to opted not to get the surgery. Instead choosing to be (in her words) “the one tit wonder”. She wears a prosthetic if the event or clothing requires it, but largely is fine with being flat on one side. She’s a super radical feminist lesbian and, you know, f*ck the patriarchy, etc.

    Here’s the other thing, I’m a woman with large breasts. I say that because, I’ve had a very love/hate relationship with my breasts, but they came in when I was 9 or 10 years old- long before the other bodily changes of puberty hit me. So, for better or worst I think of my breasts as the largest physical marker tied to my femininity. My aunt also had large breasts. We were the only two in the family. I always thought of that physical trait as something special that bonded us (along with, much later, our mutual queerness). When I was an embarrassed pre-teen with angst about bodily changes, she filled me up with feminist magazines and body positivity. And so I thought of us, and our breasts, as kind of kindred spirits, you know? She was lighting my way.

    This is when this gets hard for me- it was hard nearly a decade ago when it happened and it was REALLY triggered for me last night when I was watching the fosters. When my aunt decided to go flat on one side, I wasn’t supportive of her decision. I felt hurt in ways that I was too young and inarticulate to explain. I couldn’t even look at her without the prosthetic for a long time. It felt like somehow her scar was a marker for not only her, but for me. That something was taken from our relationship and we couldn’t go back. I’m still very ashamed of how I handled it.

    Anyway, long story short- we eventually DID get over it. And she has this freaking amazing reconstructive tattoo of a spring tree blooming incorporated into her scar and it’s now been 10 years and everything is beautiful. But man, last night took me all the way back to that scary place when I thought I was going to lose my aunts to cancer at the same time. And when I wasn’t brave enough or empathetic enough or able to love maturely enough to stand with my aunt when she made that super difficult choice.

    So I cried a lot. And thought about her a lot. And talked to her on the phone today for a super long time.

    HAHA (awkward laugh) Anywaaaaaaaaay, thanks for letting me vent my feelings! I appreciate that I can bring all my way to passionate teevee feelings somewhere and not be chastised 🙂

  3. Ok,so I haven’t seen the Fosters in a long while cuz I just have time for any TV shows right now (but of course I still read these recaps because I love this show and Heather is the goddess of all things written), but reading about how Stef wasn’t going to let internalised homophobia dictate how she expresses herself anymore really resonated with me. I’m just really glad that this show exists, and I’m really glad to be living in a time where I can see more and more of my/our stories being told. <3

  4. Stef Foster may just be one of my favourite television characters of all time. That speech! I was literally caressing her face on my laptop screen. My poor baby!

    In other news – total coincidence, but the actress who plays Karen (the art teacher who got the reconstruction) is the same actress who played Ronna the lesbian on The West Wing, who I was just talking about over in the “Lesbians Who Lived Happily Ever After on TV” thread!

  5. – I know we saw it awhile ago but What a great alternative lifestyle haircut! Stef looks so hot! Also also also I’m glad that she didn’t get the haircut for a chemo related reason
    – Callie talks about living with a biological parent if she had them but she chose the AdamsFosters over Jack McPhee
    – Callie trying to find Lizzie for Justina. Bless your heart, Callie.
    – Teri Polo killed it with the facial expressions during the boobs scene! So funny
    – Come back to us, Jude

  6. That episode was perfect !

    – the scene between Mariana and Brandon was very sweet
    – I know I’m not supposed to love him, but Brandon is so realistically teenager, I want to hug him and give him a lesson about life.
    – Steff, steff, steff.
    – This show gave me life. I’ve spend years pushing back my attraction to girl, because I want a lot of kids, a house with a garden, etc… and I thought (thanks to TV) that if I was a lesbian, I would have to live an alternative lifestyle or something like that. I’ve got nothing against alternative lifestyle ! Just, not for me. I can’t imagine what my life would be if this show had aired earlier.

    but :
    – Brandon needs a girlfriend, his age, with no drama (well, some drama because this is the fosters, but you see my point). He needs to see a therapist to speak about Dany, and who can’t be attracted to, not because the Gods are against you, but because it’s bad for you.
    – Callie needs peace 🙁
    – I want a movie about Steff and Lena in their retirement years
    – and a movie about their first years together

    More seriously, I would like to write to the writers of the show. I’m not good at googling and I don’t have social media. Does someone know how to do it ?

  7. This sounds almost too good to be true. I’m not watching the show, just following the recaps. But that they would address these sorts of real issues in a mainstream US show?! I had breast cancer a few years ago, had one-sided mastectomy and lost my hair in chemotherapy. Before that I always had long hair, mainly because I was used to it and didn’t have the courage to try something else. Now I have short hair and one (small) boob and I have to say I have never felt so comfortable in my body ever. Of course this happiness rests heavily on the fact that I am healthy now, but also I feel that one-sidedness and the scar fit well with my (queer) identity. I tried wearing prosthesis for a few weeks, but it just didn’t feel right to me. There are so many things involved in these decisions – such as well-meaning people who are so concerned about your “womanhood” and femininity that it may confuse you, even if you are not a particularly feminine person – and it seems that this show got so much of it right.

  8. Oh my lord the amount of tears i cried when Stef described never having felt more feminine and letting go of others perception of what a woman is… I’m gonna cry now! I could relate so much. I love this show!

  9. tw rape mention
    ALSO—Callie finally figuring out that Justina is not a Perfect Role Model but actually a lying creepy person? Callie and Brandon having a conversation about them both being raped and Callie emphasizing that Brandon was in fact raped by Dani!!!! So many great/important developments this episode!!

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