This week’s episode of The Fosters delivered a rousing exploration into the ongoing ebb and flow of life and its emotions. As we saw last week, each member of the Adams Foster clan has their own challenges and personal dilemmas occurring. Titled “Highs and Lows”, this week’s installment opened, beautifully directed and edited together with a perfectly suited musical track, with AJ (Tom Williamson) and Callie (Maia Mitchell) in bed, post-sex. The scene is full of flirty banter, their chemistry becoming more potent with every episode, but when they are interrupted by Brandon (David Lambert) and Mike (Danny Nucci) the mood is most certainly killed. Brandon’s jealousy is evident as he notices Callie’s bra on the couch, with feelings still somewhat lingering. AJ and Callie emerge, with Callie not wasting any time before leaving. Talk about awkward.
The rest of the clan have already started dinner when Callie arrives home, with Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) in the middle of a frantic ramble about all things STEAM. She’s attempting to increase Jesus’ (Noah Centineo) commitment to the competition but he would really like to know when he’s meant to sleep between all the work and study. Noah and Cierra have breathed such life into the twin dynamic, with the attitude and shade thrown at one another so typical of sibling relationships. Stef (Teri Polo) continues her stance on Brandon, especially when Jesus questions why family dinner is not compulsory for his older brother anymore. To add to the tension, when Mariana asks to be excused and the Mamas respond with conflicting answers, it seems as though everyone is a little off kilter. Not Jude (Hayden Byerly) though, he seems pretty chilled out while he enjoys potato after potato. What we also learn is that Gabe (Brandon Quinn) has been AWOL from work, and the Mom’s are getting restless/annoyed. Jesus arks up and defends his father, but we soon realize even he doesn’t really know what’s going on.
With the tension from dinner having dissipated, the mood changes with the Mamas discussing the heartbreaking possibility of selling their house. They’re weighing up options – apartments, renting – and it seems to Stef that Lena (Sherri Saum) is okay with all of this. Wrong, she’s heartbroken, she’s not okay with any of it. But with the situation so dire, and her father struggling, Lena sees no other way out. That is, unless they ask Sharon (Annie Potts) for help, to which Stef immediately refuses. Teri Polo and Sherri Saum have been given such depth-defying, human stories over these last four seasons, with this latest one offering a new direction. It hasn’t been about the overt displays of affection, but more so the quieter, more vulnerable moments, where small touches and distressed looks offer the audience insight into their character’s pain. It’s a testament again to the commitment these women have, in telling stories truthfully and elegantly, not to mention illustrating how important communication in a relationship is. Meanwhile, downstairs, Mariana is pulling an all-nighter and with the coffee pot empty she resorts to Jesus’ ADHD medication.
After the run in with Callie and AJ, Brandon has a pretty tough time this week. His living situation with Cortney is becoming increasingly overwhelming especially with his Juilliard audition just around the corner. Forgetting his promise to pick Mason up from pre-school, he has to practice and babysit all at the same time. He eventually is able to practice once Mason is seated comfortably on his play mat, but when he is overcome with the thrill of playing again, he finishes to find Mason missing. Searching the house, he has no luck and when he exits to the backyard, Stef arrives home. Luckily, Mason didn’t go too far, in fact he found the Moms make up and was trying out a never before seen shade of blue. Touché David Lambert and Teri Polo, for again, delivering a simply brilliant piece of comedy.
Mike is heavily featured this week, and after coming home to AJ and Callie, forwards the information onto Stef. He’s surprised when Stef doesn’t seem to mind, she just states that they probably can’t make it stop so it’s better they have a safe place to do it. They both agree to being okay with it, moving on to discuss Brandon. Interestingly, it seems Mike has not been privy to what’s been going on and when Stef informs him about the hand money situation the look on his face is one of complete shock. Elsewhere, Jesus arrives home at lunch to find Gabe still MIA, and not wanting Gabe to lose this opportunity, takes it upon himself to complete some handy work. Back at Anchor Beach, the audience discovers the nature of Jude’s pot use when we watch him, innocently (and probably for the first time), purchase pot. He fumbles over words and is nervous, but the supplier doesn’t seem to worry.
After learning about Brandon’s situation with Cortney, Mike pays her a visit. He ensures her that he’s supportive of the relationship but when he asks her to encourage Brandon to move back home, truths come to light. She’s defensive, and ends up revealing the real reason why he’s living with her – he’s not comfortable living at home after the whole situation with Callie. Mike doesn’t know any of this, and as Cortney continues to speak we begin to see the start of some new drama. Talk about dropping a bomb. This can’t end well for anyone involved, and why do I predict a confrontation between Mike and the Mamas at some point. Back with Jesus, he seems to making good headway with the garage when he gets a text from Mariana. He’s distracted, momentarily, but that is all it takes for him to accidentally fire the nail gun the wrong way. It recoils, hits him in the head and he falls to the ground. He seems okay, but when he returns to school he’s suffering a little bit of headache to which Emma offers him an aspirin. He also admits to what he is doing to save Gabe, and she promises not to mention it to Mariana. I don’t think Mariana would listen anyway, she’s still stressed out of her mind with STEAM and taking Jesus’ pills to concentrate and focus.
Callie is still pursuing Kyle’s case and pays her old foster brother a visit. She gives him the bad news, that Molloy won’t testify, but follows that up with the good news about the missing forensic report page. If anything, Callie’s perseverance and thirst for justice sets her apart from other teenage characters of television. Add to that her unwavering loyalty to those she cares about, and her character evolution continues to strengthen. At Anchor Beach, Stef pays Lena a visit, greeted in a not so happy way by her wife. Polo’s sarcasm as Stef is so laugh out loud worthy, and Saum her response indicative of a partnership so fluid and genuine. Stef went ahead and asked Sharon for help but unfortunately she doesn’t have the cash to give them. She can however sell her condo and move in with Will, an option they both know is not viable. Lena contacted the IRS for more information, and discovered they are able to stay the lien on the house if they pay $2000 a month. This scene is as heartbreaking and as distressing as all the ones they’ve done before; the reality of losing their house is gradually starting to feel like they’re losing their home. Both Saum and Polo communicate the emotion of this situation with a look, such sadness and desperation written within their eyes, an ability Saum and Polo bring out in one another.
At the house, Callie finds Jude munching away on a bag of potato chips looking emptily out over the backyard. She confronts him, questioning him as to whether he’s stoned. Hilariously, he replies that a skunk sprayed him and with that Callie hurriedly ushers him upstairs. Hayden Byerly is doing some of his best work with this new direction for Jude, hilarious, heartwarming and completely rebellious all at once. Luckily Callie did what she did, because soon after the Moms call a family meeting in which they reveal to the kids that they are selling their house. Mariana is upset, while Brandon and Jesus bicker. Callie sits quietly while Jude is very much still stoned out of his mind. The Moms do their best to eschew the fears of their children, but deep down they know how bad the situation is. To make an already tense situation worse, Stef snaps at Brandon recommending Cortney discipline Mason a little bit better. With this statement not going over well, Brandon picks up Mason and leaves. Following this, Jesus, not feeling well, also gets up to leave but doesn’t get too far as he falls to the ground and lies motionless.
Brandon returns home (to Cortney’s) with Mason in tow, doing his best to hide how agitated he is. Mason continues to bash the keyboard and make a mess as Brandon finally reaches breaking point. He yells as Mason, attempting to tell the young boy that his behaviour is not right. This doesn’t go over too well with Cortney, who reacts by telling Brandon it’s not his place to discipline him. That would be okay Cortney if you disciplined him yourself, but you don’t. Ouch. Brandon delivered one hell of a smack down to Cortney and for their first, real fight it was a gripping one. At the hospital, the Adams Fosters, along with Emma wait for news on Jesus. Mariana uses the time to come clean about taking his pills while in the meantime Brandon shows up to offer support. The doctor returns with an update and informs the clan that Jesus has a nail in his frontal lobe, with his speech centre being at risk. Weirdly, the Moms have no idea how this could have happened but when Emma informs them of Jesus’ plight to cover for Gabe, it all makes sense.
While the family waits for Jesus to get out of surgery, Gabe arrives after hearing about the accident from Ana. He isn’t given any room to move or explain by the kids, with Mariana specifically telling him to leave before her Moms see him. Meanwhile, Callie threatens to tell the Moms about Jude’s pot habit unless he comes clean to her about how and why, and he promise not to do it anymore. He does, and tells her that Noah first gave it to him. Callie is super unimpressed and when Noah and his Mom show up at the hospital she goes into protective sister mode. While this was happening, Jesus has successfully made it through surgery with everything in tact, especially his sense of humour, after initially pretending to have a speech impediment. These family scenes are what The Fosters are known for, each character so individual in their own right, but collectively such unit of love, devotion and support. And when Stef proclaims that it doesn’t matter where they live, that home is wherever they are together, the audience is reminded that the love of the Adams Foster family will always prevail.
The episode begins to close when Gabe returns to work on the garage. Stef is understandably angry and disappointed, and has a hard time believing anything Gabe says. But when he admits to struggling, so much so that getting out of bed is a challenge, Stef states that he might be dealing with depression. Please note the line from Gabe where he states that “it’s stupid for men to feel this way” – a preconceived idea and/or stereotype that society has manufactured. In a world where mental illness has often been swept aside, The Fosters in one exchange boldly put the spotlight on an issue so important and relevant across all of society today. Communicating that yes, life may in fact seem great, and you may be making strides towards a better future, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re always going to be happy. That you’re always going to be able to get out of bed. Anxiety, depression, and stress all manifest themselves in different ways for different people, and The Fosters continuously depict this truth through all of their stories. Elsewhere, Callie is hitting her breaking point with Kyle’s case when she confronts Patrick Molloy once again but this time gets into a heated exchange. It borders of becoming physical, but when she states that her Mom is a cop and that they know the truth, Patrick becomes immediately more aggressive. He calls her a bitch before his boss breaks up the altercation. Callie leaves, fuming, while Patrick makes a call to the Detective that covered his crimes up. And from their exchange it seems as though Callie might be in a bit of trouble.
Other Key Notes:
– Jude doesn’t want anything to do with Callie after he finds out she went to Noah’s Mom about the pot
– Emma and Jesus are officially back on
– AJ continues to be wary of Aaron
– Mike does not want AJ and Callie having sex under his roof
– Stef is working toward becoming a Detective