The Fosters are getting ready for Mariana’s Quinceanera this coming weekend by taking her for a final dress fitting. The bubblegum pink ensemble has a plain bodice that isn’t suiting the birthday girl or Lexi, so they decide to get some jewel work done on it – for a little extra money. Things are made slightly awkward by the tailor asking what color Mariana’s father’s tie will be, assuming that she’ll be dancing with a male during the traditional quince father-daughter dance; however, Lexi explains that Mariana has two mothers and would most likely be dancing with them rather than, say, her godfather or a family friend. While Lexi wishes she could have a quince, Mariana hates hearing people telling her “bueno” when they find out she has two mothers.
That evening before dinner, the playlist for the party is being compiled and both Talya and Lexi are invited to stay for dinner. Also receiving an invitation is Callie, who Mariana invites to replace Kelsey in her quince court. Callie reluctantly accepts and finds out that not only does she have to wear a gown, there’ll be a waltz and she’ll have to walk in with Brandon, much to Talya’s chagrin. When they’re alone, Stef reminds Brandon that foster siblings can’t hook up, since there was noticeable tension when Mariana mentioned that he’s paired with Callie, and he assures her that there’s nothing going on. Meanwhile, Lena is stressed out by the impending arrival of her overly critical mother Dana, as well as Mariana’s potential embarrassment at having to dance with both her and Stef at the party.
While Lena and Stef are busy talking, Lexi and Mariana are planning out which traditional ceremonies they’ll keep and which they’ll dump (shoes, dolls, Mariachi) for the latter’s party. However, Lexi spots Jesus through the doorway and makes her way to the bathroom, where the two make out – until they’re interrupted by Jude, thanks to Jesus not locking the door. Lexi slinks back to Mariana’s room to avoid drawing suspicion, but not before confirming to Jesus that they’re not to tell his sister of their relationship until after her party.
At school, Wyatt goes to sit with Callie at lunch, as she’s eating in the middle of the hallway rather than braving the table politics outside. He flirts with her pretty heavily and ends up inviting her to a party/hang out on the beach on Saturday. She declines and he tells her that when her thing gets boring, she should stop by. The preparation for the party kicks into overdrive during the final few days before the party, with Mariana’s court participating in waltz lessons from a friend of Stef and Lena’s for the big Viennese number they’ll put on (most notably, it ratchets up the tension between Brandon and Callie, given the closeness of the number) and Dana arriving with presents for the children and nitpicks for her daughter.
The day of the party, Lena can’t relax, despite Stef trying to reassure her that the work was over, while Brandon is taken aback by how Callie looks in her court dress. However, Talya isn’t quite as complimentary and uses the brief time alone with Callie to inform her that she’s the one who read the journal and knows about what happened with Liam. The family arrives at the quince and Mike gives a reluctant Stef a gift for Mariana, since he knows how much the festivities are costing them; she then tells him that he has to do something else for her. Mariana has requested to do the father-daughter dance with him rather than Stef and Lena, which upsets Jesus and sends Mike running to the bar for a little liquid courage.
In the dressing room, Lexi tries to help curb Mariana’s nervousness by giving her a present: a framed collage featuring photos and momentos of their friendship thus far. Included in the lovingly created project is a photo of Mariana in a yellow princess dress, the same one she wore for a month when she first moved in with Lena and Stef. It holds a special place in her friendship with Lexi, since she fell at school one day and ripped it, as well as skinned her knee, and Lexi was the only one who didn’t laugh, opting to help her to the nurse instead. Shortly after the two hug over their memories, Lena comes into the room to give Mariana another present: an expensive tiara, another quince tradition.
However, bringing Mariana down from her quince high are Lexi and Jesus, who she overhears talking about her decision not to dance with her mothers and how they’re not ending their relationship for her, not when she’s still in contact with her birth mother and not when she’s acting as selfish as she has been. But there’s no time for them to hash things out, since the quince is starting. Callie fudges the lineup by opting to walk in with Sam and make Brandon pair with Lexi, something the DJ wasn’t prepared for, before telling him during the father-daughter dance that Talya thinks they have a thing for each other. During the waltz, though, she apologizes and he assures her that she doesn’t have anything to be sorry for, while Mariana fills Jesus in on the fact that she knows about him and Lexi and that it ruined her party.
After the ceremonies are over, Talya approaches Brandon and Callie as they dance and sends the latter walking into another direction. Brandon then takes Talya into a nearby hallway and yells at her for what she did to Callie, breaking up with her in the process. Meanwhile, Mariana and Lexi have a confrontation in the dressing room and the former accuses her best friend of lying to her and not defending her when Jesus was saying bad things about her before storming out. Not to be outdone, the tension between Lena and Dana comes to a head when the latter worries out loud about the cost of the party and how it could financially affect Lena and Stef when they have two more mouths to feed. Lena tells her that the party is more about allowing Mariana to get in touch with her Latin heritage and her place within the Latino community, which Dana doesn’t think the young girl even has. The subject quickly turns to Lena’s upbringing and how Dana tends to classify blackness due to skin tone; she feels that, as a dark-skinned black woman, she’s had a much rougher time than lighter-skinned Lena, who never felt accepted by the black or white communities due to being biracial. After telling her daughter that her skin tone has afforded her more opportunities, Dana says that Lena will never know what it’s like to be a black woman in America, causing her to leave the table in frustration.
Lexi wants to leave the party now that she and Mariana had it out, only Jesus won’t let her go since it’s his birthday as well, while Lena goes outside to have a moment to herself. Only, Stef won’t allow it and brings her a glass of wine and a shoulder to lean on after what her mother said. The two manage to pull it together long enough to close out the party with a special thank you to their friends and family for coming, a touching slideshow featuring photos and videos from the eight years Mariana and Jesus have spent with her and Lena, and a family photos capped off with a Mariachi band and the birthday candles being blown out. They also surprise Jesus with a new skateboard, as they didn’t want him to feel left out and that all the attention was being placed on Mariana during their birthday.
Brandon takes Callie outside and informs her that he broke up with Talya – not just over what she did to Callie, but because of a multitude of stupid things she had done recently. He tells her that he knows everything he needs to know about her and just when it seems like he was going to go in for a kiss, she bails, leaving him to drive his (completely plastered) father home. While walking out to the car, Brandon sees Callie’s shoes abandoned right by the beach, as she made it to Wyatt’s thing after all. Inside the hall, Mariana apologizes profusely for not dancing with her mothers during the quince and the three close the episode by dancing around the dance floor, with the bubble machine working overtime.
Additional thoughts and observations:
-So, Kelsey’s in rehab. Do you think we’ll see her again sometime this season? I’m not sure of the timeline the show has used thus far, but the events in the first half of the season have seemed pretty bunched together, meaning that a 30-day stint might push her to a (currently theoretical) winter/spring return.
-I’m really glad that Mariana apologized to Lena and Stef because her likability was pretty low this episode. Completely believable behavior/attitudes for a 15-year-old girl, especially the spiel about Lexi not defending her and the passive aggressiveness with which she treated Callie’s involvement, but not especially likable.
-We got our first extensive dose of Wyatt this episode and I still don’t know what to make of him. Charming, yes, but there’s something off.
-Was it just me or did Callie bear a striking resemblance to The Lying Game‘s Alexandra Chando in her quince dress?
-I thought that quince courts were usually bigger than two couples? Another thing that took me out: Lena not pinning Mariana’s tiara so that it’d stay still. Also, why would Stef, super conservative parent that she is, agree to having a bar at a party for 15-year-olds?
-I really appreciated that the show “went there” with Lena/Dana and gave motivation as to why Lena would want to foster, let alone foster minority children.
-Next week on The Fosters: Jesus and Lexi face consequences for their actions, while Callie gets closer to Wyatt, Stef and Lena try to inject a little romance into their relationship, and Mariana is desperate to fit in with a new crowd.