It’s the morning after the wedding and Lena and Stef are still basking in the glow of being newlyweds, even though their honeymoon (which will be spent at home) might not be as glamorous as they might have liked. Luckily, they have Stef’s mom around to help undo the DIY wedding decorations, as she gets an early start before her flight and manages to get the tables uploaded into the SUV and has her sights now on the glasses and chairs. Lexi is supposed to come over that day to work on an important English project with Mariana and the latter clashes with Jesus over how much time he’s been spending with her best friend; Mariana might be okay with Jesus dating Lexi, but the two need to make progress on their project since Lexi will be gone to Honduras for the next couple of weeks.
Mike comes in and the adults tries to figure out how they’re going to get all the rented wedding material back to where it belongs, especially with the tables loaded into the SUV rather than Mike’s vehicle, which was the original plan. While several members of the Adams Foster household go outside to help unload and reload what they need to, Sharon questions whether Stef is making the right decision in choosing to adopt two children with troubled pasts when she has three of her own already in the household. Just as Stef assures her mother that she’s considered everything about the situation and that she thinks she’s making the right decision, Callie and Wyatt make it to a gas station near the California border. When she comes back from paying, he acts as if he’s going to pull off without her; she catches him and he tells her to fill him in on what’s going on, why she decided to come with him in the first place. She explains that it wasn’t working out, that she was going to be placed in a new foster home, and that she wanted to be in charge of her own life for once. Callie does admit, though, to doing something bad, which seems to be enough for Wyatt, since he drives off with her and onward toward Indiana.
Jude and Brandon fold the wedding napkins together and the latter mentions how he hadn’t heard from Callie and wanted to make sure that the former was cool. However, Jude knows that Brandon only wanted to check and see if he was going to tell Lena and Stef about the kiss; he then goes off on his foster brother about how the relationship with Callie cannot happen, not when it could get the two of them sent out of the house and into another foster home. He thinks that Brandon is no better than Liam and Brandon reacts strongly, claiming that the main difference is that he loves Callie, surprising even himself. Jude leaves and heads upstairs, where he finds Sharon putting the finishing touches on the new beds she bought for Lena and Stef – pushed together twins with a remote to adjust the head and foot of each mattress. The two bond over Sharon staying with her boyfriend for his mattress and Jude telling her to dump him and buy herself a bed before playing around with the mattresses themselves. Meanwhile, Jesus barges in on Lexi and Mariana working on their project and tries to pull his girlfriend away for some alone time. She almost goes until she sees how upset Mariana is and backs out, getting her friend to confess to feeling left out every time she comes to visit. The reason Mariana’s so defensive? In Lexi’s mind, it’s because she’s never been in love and doesn’t truly understand the relationship with Jesus.
Callie and Wyatt make it to Area 51 where they get shaved ice and talk about Wyatt’s belief in ghosts and time traveling. Callie says that if she were a time traveler, she would jump five years into the future – she would be 21, Jude would be nearing 18, and the two wouldn’t have to deal with foster families or CPS anymore. When Wyatt inquires about Jude, she simply acknowledges that he’s better off without her and keeps eating her ice. That doesn’t prove to be true, though, because Jude soon finds the guitar in the living room, meaning that Callie wasn’t at her Sunday lesson, and rushes up to Mariana’s room to check the closet and drawers for Callie’s things. Being that everything Callie owns is gone, Jude knows that his sister ran away and he tells Jesus, Mariana, and Brandon as such.
Once Lena and Stef are made aware of Callie’s disappearance, they struggle with whether to call her probation officer and where she could have gone in the time since she was last seen. While staying at a motel, Wyatt receives a worried voicemail from Lena, calling to see if he had heard anything from Callie and encouraging to call if he knew anything, which he deletes. Stef is soon joined by Sharon in her bedroom and receives encouragement to keep Jude, regardless of what happens with Callie. When Stef starts crying, overwhelmed at everything that’s happening, Sharon tells her that teenagers are, by the very nature, confusing and frustrating and brings about a smile when she starts playing with the remote for the bed Stef’s sitting on. Meanwhile, Wyatt asks Callie if she’s going to call Lena and Stef, which she won’t due to violating her probation and not wanting to risk ruining things for Jude, and bluntly mentions that he doesn’t know what his grandparents would think about him bringing a random girl to Indiana to live with them. She thinks that she’s going to go, get a job, earn her GED, and find a place to live, since people dumber than her do it every day, yet Wyatt brings up the topic of her father and whether he might be looking for her.
The two sleep in the same bed that night, yet Wyatt grows noticeably uncomfortable when Callie tries to snuggle with him and doesn’t go back to sleep once she latches on. He tries to hurry them along the following morning, claiming that they have a lot of miles to cover, and runs into Lena and Stef outside the motel. Before they can get in to see Callie, though, she bolts from the room and ends up hitching a ride with a trucker, leaving them to talk to the local sheriff and get what information they can from Wyatt. With Lena and Stef gone, Mike steps up and goes into Mr. Mom mode, holding down the Adams Foster fort until they can return home. However, one morning with the kids is very frazzling, with special dietary requests, little time to spare, and a car that won’t start, and Brandon privately grills Mariana about what Callie’s relationship with Wyatt was like at the time of her disappearance, worried that she ran away specifically to be with him.
While Mariana learns from her English teacher that Lexi will be moving to Honduras and that she’ll need a new partner for the project, Callie walks by herself to a nearby diner, where she applies to be a waitress. Unfortunately, she doesn’t fill out much of the applications, lies about where she’s staying, and doesn’t have any idea, leading the owner to tell her to go home, as he knows she’s a young girl out on her own. The next best option for Lena and Stef, at least in Stef’s mind, is to drive around looking for Callie, but Lena isn’t exactly thrilled at not having something more concrete and proactive in place to help find Callie. The two argue about how Stef’s impulsiveness and lack of planning has gotten them into trouble in the past (i.e. Ana’s house) and Stef pulls over to unload the glasses from the backseat, leaving them on the side of the road and pulling off to stop the annoying clanging that she had been dealing with.
Jesus arrives home and finds out that truth from Mariana about Lexi’s home situation. Mariana make some food and decorated the backyard so that he and Lexi could have a little going away party of their own and when she leaves, Lexi explains that her father’s job found out about his immigration status and fired him, hence the move. But she’s going to find a way to come back, likely through a student visa for college, and she doesn’t want Jesus to wait on her or say things he doesn’t mean right now. He tells her he loves her, though, and says that he’ll wait as long as he needs to for her. That evening, Mike receives a call from Stef that informs him of Callie running away on her own this time, news that causes Jude to leave the table. Lena and Stef sit parked outside the motel they were at earlier and talk about their differences and how they might have been wrong about Callie, while Brandon goes to Jude’s room and takes the place for Callie leaving, as he realized that she wasn’t running away with Wyatt – she was running away from him. Jude fills him in on what he told Callie after he caught the kiss and Brandon comforts him.
Callie manages to catch a bus and rides it through the end of its road, as the driver forces her off at the end of the night. She makes it to a liquor store that happens to be a hot spot for prostitutes and one of the girls chats her up, asking if everything’s okay and if she wanted to know where the shelter was. Callie rejects the offer to crash at her place, though, only to ask for a phone to make a call. She looks up Lompoc Federal Prison and calls in hopes of getting to talk to her dad. However, it turns out that he was released a year ago, so she goes into the liquor store, takes a bit of some food, and grabs something to drink. As the cashier threatens to call the police if she takes another bite, a tearful Callie takes a bite of her candy bar.
Additional thoughts and observations:
-Although I loved this episode and think it might be the best one the show’s produced, I kind of wanted an entire episode dedicated to just Callie and Wyatt, since their scenes at the gas station and Area 51 were so strong in pretty much every aspect. It helps that there’s always been an ease and understanding to their interactions, but the on-location shooting in the desert was beautiful and their dialogue pulled at some interesting psychological threads that I hope get explored during the winter season.
-Annie Potts makes everything better. Please hurry back.
-Let’s talk about how absolutely devastating the final few minutes of this episode were. The Fosters is, of course, a emotional (and hopeful) show and plays on real life issues in a heightened enough manner to where it’s easy to cry at what the characters are being put through. But seeing Callie, someone who had been so strong and so determined for the duration of the time we’ve known her, give up once she found out that her father hadn’t tried to look for her was some heartbreaking stuff. She was already hanging by a thread after realizing that making it in the real world isn’t quite as easy as she thought and realizing that the one person who, in the back of her mind, she hoped was going to be there for her wasn’t just pushed her over the edge and back into a life that she thought she left behind. It’s darker material than what I figured The Fosters would be up for portraying, so to see that the show isn’t going to shy away from making rough choices and from having its characters fall is extremely encouraging going forward.
-I was a little annoyed that every bit of Brandon’s questioning was focused on Callie’s relationship with Wyatt and what its status was when she left, but thankfully, the show explained it away well enough to where it made sense and was in character. I don’t mind Callie and Brandon’s tension and the delicateness of their relationship; I just want everything surrounding them to be organic and in service of the show’s goals rather than false and consumptive of something with so much potential.
-Do I think Jesus and Lexi love one another? No, I think they’re very much in the throes of hormonal infatuation. But I’d be lying if I said that her telling him not to wait for her wasn’t touching.
-You can’t get a job without a place to live and you can’t get a place to live without a job. You can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job. Discuss.
-We meet again, hot English teacher. We meet again.
-Would that I had the metabolism of Jesus. If I did, I would have all the ham sandwiches in the world.
-There was a particularly gorgeous shot of Maia Mitchell (who is obviously beautiful in any light) when she and Wyatt first wake up and he tries to hurry her out the door. He leaves and there’s something about the way the light was coming in through the window that made her look especially stunning. With that and the desert landscapes, this was a well-directed episode, even for a show with pretty uniformly strong direction.
-Really smart of Callie not to take her phone on the road trip. If nothing else, she’s a smart, resourceful kid who’s been around the block enough to know how to handle herself within a certain structure. It’s when she’s forced out into the wild that she realizes that she really has no idea about the world as a whole.
-Another thing that may or may not have made me choked up: Wyatt telling Callie that she just assumes that everyone gives up on her. Maybe because that hit close to home, but it was something that I felt pretty deeply when he said it.
-I was also hoping for a Roswell crossover when Wyatt and Callie were in the desert. Alas.
-Next week on The Fosters: Callie meets a woman who works in the foster care system, while Brandon comes clean, Mariana volunteers to help out with the school play, and Jesus deals with the concerning side effects of his meds.