Callie’s probation officer meets with Lena and Stef after he learns about her relationship with Brandon, something that will drastically impact her probation status and whether she’ll be able to leave Girls United sooner rather than later. While he tells Lena and Stef that Brandon being around her could have hinder her progress in the group home, Jude watches from the kitchen, noticeably worried about what his sister’s probation officer could mean for his changes in seeing her again soon. Over at Girls United, meanwhile, Callie gets chewed out by Rita over leaving the home to give Brandon a hug and reminded that she is to have zero contact with him while she’s here. Rita also tells her that there are to be no more accidents like what happened with Cole, as she’s on thin ice right now as far as her standing in the home.
Mike, Lena, and Stef meet with Brandon and issue him a restraining order that says if he comes within 100 feet of Callie, he’ll be arrested, which he reacts about as defensively and angrily as one might expect. But Lena and Stef have no time to hash this out with Brandon since it’s the latter’s first day back at work following the shooting and her subsequent recovery; since Lena is worried about Callie possibly thinking that Brandon is the only member of the family who cares about her, Stef promises to call at lunch, which will also serve as a way to ease Lena’s mind about Stef being out on patrol again. While Callie is forced to hose off the recycling bins as punishment for her behavior at Family Day, though she ends up sneaking and getting the cell phone she hid outside, Jesus finds that he and Emma run on the same beach and she races him to school after she finds out the reason he got into wrestling in the first place.
Stef arrives at work and learns that she’s been partnered with a cop who never had a female partner and who insists on driving, but Captain Roberts won’t let her out of the arrangement. Meanwhile, Kelsey arrives late to play preparation due to having a Twitter war and watches as Mariana gets called over by Chase, who drops his pants in front of her and asks her to run lines with him that evening. At school, Jude gets invited to a movie at the planetarium by Connor and mentions that he might not be around long enough to go see it, since there’s no guarantee that he would be allowed to stay with Lena and Stef, while Lena calls Stef during her lunch break and only gets her voicemail, causing the worry to begin bubbling up.
Mariana and Zach find themselves stuck when it comes to costumes due to the sewing machine pedal being jammed; although Zach is a tech wunderkind who knows everything about everything, even he’s unsure of how to fix the machine. The two bond over their love of Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead until Mariana gets pulled away by an annoyed Kelsey, upset that Mariana moved in on the guy she has a crush on. Kelsey brings up the drug dealing again and how she kept Mariana’s nefarious activities a secret, while Callie and the rest of Girls United go on a field trip to a local botanical center where they take a guided tour of the trees and plants that grow within the center’s confines. Callie wanders off from the group and runs into Brandon, who she texted the previous night, in one of the center’s buildings. The two kiss and she’s not sure why he’s risking being arrested by showing up there; he brings up the possibility of her getting emancipated, which she can’t due to being unable to afford a lawyer, and he gets shooed away by Daphne just as a panicked Rita finds Callie after searching the grounds of the center. Daphne covers for her and says that now, things are settled.
Kelsey and Mariana make up in the hallway and agree to not let a boy come between their friendship, only for Mariana to tell Chase that she can’t run lines with him and Kelsey to swoop in and tell him that she’s free and can do it. Back at the center, Cole gets hassled in line at the men’s room and soon enough, security comes over and a scuffle breaks out between Cole, Kiara, and a guy in line, which causes everyone from Girls United to leave before any more trouble can occur. In English, Mariana comes down on Kelsey for playing her like that with Chase, but she ends up getting the last laugh, as Kelsey got her third tardy that day and had to stay for detention, thereby missing play practice. While Lena runs into the English teacher in the hallway and learns of shots being fired during a police chase downtown, getting Stef’s voicemail when she tries to call again, the wrestling team is doing spar matches meant to build up the weaker wrestlers. Jesus takes on a guy who’s very much out of his weight class and by all accounts, holds his own, even drawing praise from the coach.
Brandon arrives back home from school and has it out with Mike in the driveway over the restraining order, bringing up the multiple alcohol-related incidents that Mike had before disgustedly calling his father a drunk and going into the house alone. Back at play practice, Zach got the pedal to work and Chase comes looking for Kelsey; Mariana, however, volunteers her services to help him go through his part. Jesus receives an organic cookie from Emma as a reward for doing so well in the match and gets forced to do the Tunnel of Love, a hazing ritual where he runs down the middle of two lines of his teammates and gets punched in the face at the end. He goes to Lena’s office after practice and she panics, storming back down to where practice was held and informing the coach that if the ritual continues, he would be kissing his job goodbye.
Mariana and Chase go on stage and run lines together, including a section where he seemingly addresses Mariana (inferiority complex, wanting to build her up), moves her hair on one side, and kisses her – while Zach and Kelsey watch from off-stage. Over at Girls United, everyone’s arguing over what happened at the center, with Kiara and Gabi saying that Cole makes things harder for himself and that legally, he wasn’t supposed to go into the men’s room, since it wasn’t on school grounds and the field trip wasn’t affiliated with a school. Gabi mentions how angry of a person Cole is, and this is before the hormones that will come when he begins transitioning, while Callie defends Cole by saying that what Gabi is more upset about is Cole making things more difficult for her, not himself. Jesus runs up to his room when he gets home, embarrassed by what happened with Lena, and sees a heavy stream of ants crawling on the wall and on the floor. The source of the ants? Food that Jude had been storing away, thinking that he would be sent to another, less generous foster home soon enough. Lena talks to him, though, about how he can’t let fear run his life and how she can’t promise there won’t be any surprises, due to how predictable life is.
Stef pops by Girls United and inquires about Callie’s progress; while she won’t be allowed to see Callie due to the visit being unannounced, Rita assures Stef that the girl’s doing fine and offers her the advice of letting Callie come to her when she’s ready. As Stef leaves, Callie does see her drive off, meaning that she might realize that the family as a whole misses her. Kelsey goes to Principal Sanchez and throws Mariana under the bus by accusing her of stealing the hat and selling her Jesus’ pills; later, Lena and Stef come down on Mariana for taking the hat, selling the pills, and getting herself suspended in the process by pulling her out of any and all extracurricular activities. Gabi and Cole have a brief altercation in the hallway at Girls United and Daphne confides in Callie her plans once she gets out of the home – she was approved for the Independent Living Program, where you can get your own apartment and have your living expenses taken care of (something especially interesting to Callie); she wants to finish high school rather than get her GED; and she plans to take parenting classes in order to get her daughter Tasha out of the system.
Callie goes outside to get her phone and Cole comes out to threaten her, saying that if she doesn’t give up the phone, he would go and tell Michelle about it. He reminds her that she won’t be able to do the things she wants to do if she gets caught with the phone and he takes it inside, just as Brandon apologizes to Mike for blowing up earlier that day. Mike empathizes with Brandon not being able to be around the one person you want to see, as their relationship has grown more distant with each passing year, even though Mike calls his son the love of his life. When Mike gives Brandon the money for his piano lessons, which comes from his paid vacation, Brandon waits for him to leave and calls his teacher to quit, citing money issues. He then texts Callie, but it turns out that Cole has her phone and texts back that they’re through.
Additional thoughts and observations:
-Apologies for no recap last week. Some personal matters got in the way.
–The Fosters is getting a web series centered on Girls United.
-I would praise the show for pulling Brandon out of the tailspin he’s been in for the past three episodes, which turned one of the most level-headed, sensitive portrayals of a teenage boy on television today into a lovesick brat, by having him quit his piano teacher for the sake of his father’s finances. I would, that is, if I didn’t think that he was going to blow that money on Callie.
-Didn’t Rita specifically tell Callie last week that the choice to leave was hers? So why is she now cracking down on her for breaking a rule that doesn’t exist? Especially since one of the final shots of the last episode was Rita being touched at the hug between Callie and Brandon.
-I kind of wish they didn’t have Jesus jump right back into the dating/love interest pool so soon after Lexi. I mean, I like Emma, but I hope that they become great friends rather than develop a romantic relationship since the show is already threatening to be swallowed by romantic angst.
-So, Cole’s kind of an awful person, right? He’s got such a chip on his shoulder and while I empathize with the personal struggles he’s been through in formulating his identity, you can’t go through life always with your dukes up looking to fight. No one gets anywhere like that and as much as it sucks that he can’t live life the way he wants to, there’s no way he can make the change he needs to by himself with this kind of attitude. Plus, he’s already instigated two violent altercations (one with Callie, one at the center), stolen Callie’s phone, and pretended to be her while talking to Brandon; I’m glad they’re not writing him as a saint, but can he be somewhat of a redeemable character?
-Another episode of people taking turns dumping on Mariana. As annoying as she can be sometimes, the girl is so lonely and such a sad character that it’s hard to watch her deal with so much, kiss from Chase or not. I mean, she tried to be friends with Kelsey after Kelsey’s been nothing but horrible to her, so you know how badly she must’ve been hurting for companionship and someone to spend time with.
-Chase looks so much like a younger Zac Efron that it’s almost distracting.
-The Jude storyline didn’t connect as much with me this time. He’s had some tremendous stuff in the past, and Hayden Byerly is always good, but the thing with the food felt like something that would have happened when he first got there and something that was a little inorganic – I could feel the writer’s manipulation in the plotting and it just came across as a retread from the summer season, particularly the conversation with Lena.
-Although it might not be the time, it would be nice to have a Jude plot that’s not meant to be horrendously sad. Whenever he gets screen time, you know it’s going to be the downer-est of downers and while that can be quite effective sometimes, he could stand a few lighter plots sometime during the winter season.
-That was some horrible product placement. I know it’s a necessity of the TV business these days and all, but why couldn’t they have shown one of the characters using it instead of having Lena and Timothy, who have never shared a scene to my knowledge, discuss the joys of the Kindle e-reader? Also, Timothy telling her about the police chase and ending it with “but I didn’t want you to worry” was unintentionally hilarious.
-Another unintentionally hilarious scene: Mariana’s overwrought kiss with Chase, which I was mostly okay with up until it panned out to show both Kelsey and Zach watching from different areas backstage. There was something about the way that was filmed that was so silly and I swear to anything and everything, I will be so annoyed if they write Zach as having a crush on Mariana. They already tried the “Mariana likes a gay guy” during the summer with the poet and it’s still a really, really bad storyline for them to pursue. I’d much rather they be besties and talk about movies than watch him angst over her and Chase.
-But seriously, Brandon was the craziest crazy person at the asylum the way he unloaded on Mike outside the house. I get that he’s upset about not being able to see Callie, but oh my goodness, take a breath.
-I do like how they’re writing Daphne, though, and how they’re showing that someone who does bad things doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad person and how doing something bad and regretting it can leave you in a world of psychological pain.
-Next week on The Fosters: Things get awkward between Callie and Brandon during a family visit, while Jude has to decide if he wants to proceed with the adoption and Lena wants Stef to begin making amends with Frank.