The Fosters (S05E03) "Contact"

Review:
The latest episode of The Fosters, titled “Contact”, saw some characters take two steps forward, and others two steps back. Opening on slow motion images of a roller derby competition, we soon find out that Mariana (Cierra Ramirez), has unknowingly crashed what Aaron believed to be a date with Callie (Maia Mitchell). Talk about miscommunication, but nonetheless it encourages some sassy banter between the trio while they watch in awe as Ximena tears up the opposing team. Mariana rejects Aaron’s suggestion of participating in roller derby, as she’s hard at work organizing the new underground newspaper at Anchor Beach. At the same time, realizing it isn’t a date, Aaron asks Callie out for the following night, insisting he’ll make the plan. Afterwards, the three congratulate Ximena on her game with Mariana undoubtedly impressed that her team is all Latina. Not to mention, we see a little bit of intrigue when Mariana realizes there is a junior team she could possibly join. As they go to leave, Ximena is quick to remind Callie that her self-portrait is due soon, a concept that instantly has Callie looking so nervous.
 
Back at the house, we are treated to one hell of a family dinner with Aaron attending also. The conversation flows effortlessly, and it is these ensemble scenes that showcase just the chemistry this cast has. The Mama’s question Jesus (Noah Centineo) as to whether he has heard from Emma but before he can reply, Mariana interrupts to respond that they made it to the second round. Jesus, obviously having not heard from Emma himself, is immediately hurt but his sister’s comment. Meanwhile, Jude (Hayden Byerly) sits at the end of the table, deeply distracted and glued to his phone. It isn’t until the entire family yells Jude, that he puts his phone away and returns to the present. Callie informs the family the she’s required to do a self-portrait for art class but expresses how out of her depth she feels. Mariana suggests taking a selfie, however, this isn’t necessarily doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. It inspires Callie’s concept of everyone else taking photos of her; the catch though is that she won’t know when, or where, they’ll be taking them. They’ll be candid. This way she’ll be able to discover who sees her the same way she sees herself.
 
The conversation takes on a different light, when Stef (Teri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum) inform the children that the neighbors will be coming over for diner the following night. Mariana doesn’t seem to mind, as she finds Logan super hot while Callie and Aaron won’t be attending as they have dinner and movie plans – a fact Callie is surprised by. However, the most hilarious moment comes when Lena reveals to the group of children that Tess was Stef’s first, high school girlfriend. Between Sherri and Teri’s unparalleled chemistry during both emotional and comedic scenes, to the family’s just undeniable shock in the face of this revelation the scene is entertainment gold. As the dinner ends on this hilarious yet uncomfortable moment, Brandon finds himself at Grace’s apartment, and with not a moment to waste in her bed.
 
Shortly after the kids disperse, Lena and Stef take the quiet time to discuss Jesus and his recent behaviour. The topic of conversation is changed quickly however, when Stef asks what they should cook for dinner tomorrow night. There is no doubt about it, that when the script calls for Lena and Stef to tease one another, Sherri and Teri are more themselves then ever before. Stef is uncomfortable with the subject matter, ensuring Lena that Tess was unaware of Stef’s crush on her and that it wasn’t at all reciprocated. She also reassures her wife that she was never straight, repressed maybe, but never straight. A fact Lena is so happy about; so happy in fact, she straddles her wife, as the two share an intimately passionate moment. Stef is distracted (briefly) by shadows in the garage; she believes it to be Gabe entertaining but we soon discover that Mariana is holding a super secret meeting for the underground newspaper. With Jude and Noah both there, they are all scheming on how to release it anonymously, without Drew catching on. The idea is to put it in the lockers before school starts the next morning, however when they arrive, handy-men installing security cameras welcome them. Even with a little push back from Lena about the installation doesn’t help the students’ cause; Drew isn’t backing down from this new security measure.
 
Meanwhile, we settle back on Brandon and Grace, where she questions whether she is good in bed. Brandon, surprised by this question answers with “of course” because we all know if he says anything else there could be drama. This prompts him to ask her the same question and she says yes also. The entire exchange is a little awkward, with insecurities from both sides coming to light. Admitting to not having too much experience, Grace reveals something’s about herself the audience and Brandon had yet to learn. Brandon also admits to struggling with Jesus, and after telling Grace he no longer plays for him she suggests a jam session to which he avoids with more sex. The situation with Drew continues to become increasingly tense, as the district board stands behind Monte and notes that Drew’s vote is invalid. Yet with all this positivity, the school board continues to stand behind Drew; bringing to light the LGBTQ sexual education class that Monte signed off on, the school board isn’t letting this one go.
 
As the family continues to try and snag photos of an unaware Callie – Jesus sneaking up on her and Lena hiding in the bathroom – she becomes more stressed with the reality of her with Aaron. Dressed in a suit to pick her up, it seems like he’s going all out for her. Speaking of all out, Stef is dressed up; so much so, Lena and Brandon both give her a little bit of lip about showing off for Tess. It’s nice to see the family be carefree like this, allowing a little bit of fun and lightness enter their lives even if Stef insists she always looks like this. The dinner scene was everything and more; equal parts hilarious and awkward. Not to mention there was the obvious heat and attraction between Mariana and Logan, but also the jealous heat pouring from Lena. Stef updates Tess on her parents, while Mariana innocently (not so) asks Tess if her mom was always straight. It’s safe to say that Mariana is always the one to lighten the mood. We also learn that Tess and Stef stole a car when they were younger, much to the shock of everyone at the table. Meanwhile, the dinner between Aaron and Callie isn’t going much better. He seems to be taking control a little too much, ordering for her while she sits in complete confusion as to what her role is. To make it even worse, he snaps a random photo of her which is later called her “resting bitch face” side.
Back at the house, the conversation has turned to football, which sparks an interesting yet heated debate about whether girls should be allowed to play contact sports. Lena questions Tess and Dean about their concerns regarding possible risk of concussion for Logan, meanwhile Jesus becomes more agitated at the topic. Mariana and he exchange opinions, sexist on his part, which sees his anger become overwhelm and lead to an outburst. Again, The Fosters writers have found a way to start a conversation about sexism, in all parts of life, through the topic of adolescent sports. The tension after this dinner conversation could be cut with a knife as Jesus is excused from the table. Keeping with tension, Brandon arrives at Grace’ thinking, “jam” meant sex, where in fact it actually meant jam session. Unimpressed with his assumption, Grace becomes upset and encourages Brandon to leave. With a quick cut back the Adams Foster residence, the parents are now having an open discussion about Jesus’ health. Tess, being a doctor, has opinions about Jesus’ condition that Stef seems to agree with however Lena knows all of the medical facts and recommendations already. Seemingly offended and a little hurt by Stef’s behavior, their neighbors pick up on the signals and put an end to the night. Sherri Saum is heartbreaking in this scene, obviously at her wit’s end with Jesus and feeling helpless, Lena doesn’t need someone else (especially Stef’s ex-girlfriend) inputting her opinion.
 
In other news, Aaron and Callie have an awkward end to their date when Callie pretty much ends it in silence and with nothing but a kiss on the cheek. Aaron, thinking he did all the right things, is at a loss when she ends the night to abruptly. Entering the house, Callie and Brandon seem to be the only one’s awake and share a sweet sibling moment as both continue to struggle with their significant others. Not only that they encourage one another to push through the struggle; Callie pushes Brandon to stop beating himself up about Julliard, that giving up on music isn’t an option. He goes further, and explains that she is more than what people see and regardless of what they photograph, each image shows a different side. The next day, the district doesn’t find any wrongdoing from Monte regarding the off-campus LGBTQ group meeting yet even with this ruling the school board continues to push for Monte to resign. She’s not going to do that; but the school board is ruthless, going so far to threaten Monte and now Lena’s reputation. To make matters a little worse, Mariana found a way to disperse the underground newspaper. How you ask? With a little help from her former STEAM team members, they use a drone to release the newspaper.
 
Unfortunately, the excitement is short-lived when the drone crashes into a nearby tree and Drew finds it. Agitated, he questions who was behind it but thankfully has no luck when finding the culprit. Elsewhere, Brandon apologizes to Grace through song with her responding in the same way. He assures her that he doesn’t just want her for sex, although soon after this conversation they again, have sex. Callie and Aaron clear the air, with Callie explaining that she doesn’t need to be taken care of, and that she doesn’t like surprises so in future she’d love to know the plan. It’s a quick fix as they share a cute make out moment on the front porch. Inside, Stef and Lena have a conversation about Jesus (overheard by him), specifically if Lena had given anymore thought to what Tess had said. She’s hurt again, and feels a little betrayed that Stef has put more stock in what Tess thinks, than listening to her own wife. Sherri Saum, again, beautifully exhibits Lena’s inner turmoil over what do about Jesus. It’s understandable after the current events with Jesus, yet her motherly instinct and love for her son makes the situation so much harder. Struggling with her feelings, tears welling in her eyes while she stares at her hands, Lena admits to being afraid of Jesus. That is unpredictability has become too much for her. This admission breaks her; Sherri Saum fearless in delivering a mother’s hardest truth. What makes it even more heartbreaking is Jesus listening on.
 
Other Key Notes:

  • Mariana forges Lena’s signature so she can join roller derby
  • Jesus overhears Lena admit to being afraid of him
  • Monte remains Principal but is put on leave
  • Noah and Jude make a deal – Noah isn’t to smoke pot for a week, while Jude is to abstain from playing video games. He lasts all of one day, when he gives in and starts playing before he goes to bed.