Put down your Kleenex and unfasten your seatbelts! Time to unpack the emotional rollercoaster ride that was this episode!
It's impossible for The Fosters to not squeeze every ounce of emotion out of the darkest recesses of your soul. The Fosters Season 4 Episode 9 was no exception. They really brought it, with an installment that was far from slow paced or lagging.
With an hour titled "New York," the presumption was that it would mostly revolve around Brandon's excursion to the concrete jungle for the audition of the lifetime. Fortunately, that was only a fraction of the episode, as so many other plots dominated.
The kids don't like it when the Moms fight, this "kid" in particular!
Let's exhale a collective sigh of relief that Stef and Lena aren't really divorcing. That was such a cruel, cruel opening, starting an installment off with something like that and making us sit through the entire thing wondering at what point did it really go wrong. I didn't get that upset when my own parents divorced!
The Moms have had their rough patches over the years but nothing that would ever lead me to believe that they would consider not being together. Nevertheless, the fear that they could have been divorcing still felt real. This is The Fosters, after all.
Knock, knock! Is everyone decent? One of your brood told me I could come right up.Realtor
Stef and Lena's realtor was positively loathsome. Sure, she had a job to do, but she didn't have to be so inconsiderate. The family barely had enough time to pack up a decade's worth of their lives as was. Parading around the couple and discussing renovation plans while the Moms were trying to gather their things was unbelievably thoughtless.
Then that flashback happened.
I love when The Fosters gives us background on the pre-series days for the Moms. Lena was so excited about the house and having enough room for Brandon and the twins. They did everything they could to have the perfect home, only be faced with it being ripped away from them.
Stef was clearly in "shut down" mode. She wanted to get everything packed up or sold off and just find a place that they could exist until they found another home. Lena wanted to find another perfect home again, but their limited time frame didn't give them that luxury.
Stef's pragmatism was bound to clash with Lena's idealism during such a stressful time. I could understand why a frustrated Stef took Mike up on his suggestion and put a down payment on the open apartment in his building. They just needed something.
Stef: What does that mean?
Lena: We don't have to sell the house.
Stef: Yeah but we already have!
As I said in my review for The Fosters Season 4 Episode 8, it would have been hard to imagine the show without the family home. The house is like it's very own character. It's fantastic that they figured out a loophole just in the nick of time, but that's a hell of a lot of work to undo! Also, what are they going to do about the down payment Stef made?
Holy. Crap! Callie is a pain in the butt. There's no getting around that. But I wanted to reach through the screen and cover her ears so she didn't have to overhear the awful things Mike was saying about her!
It left me so torn, because on one hand it's amazing that he already considers AJ to be his son. AJ needs that type of support and structure, and their relationship is something the show could explore more. On the other hand, Mike spoke about Callie as if she was some teen Siren intentionally and maliciously destroying the lives of every boy she came into contact with.
Stef: That's enough. You're talking about my daughter right now.
Mike: I'm sorry. I just don't want to see another one of my sons get hurt.
It was gross, sexist, and fundamentally untrue. It also wasn't fair to paint Callie as if she is always the problem in every scenario. Brandon and Callie's Shakespearean love affair was a joint effort. They were both equally responsible and destructive.
Callie and AJ are completely different than Callie and Brandon. I agree with Mike in the sense, that I don't want to see AJ hurt as a result of hurricane Callie either. Callie doesn't need to be in a relationship with anyone right now.
But Mike doesn't know anything about Callie and her relationship with Aaron. Aaron isn't a victim caught in Callie's web. At least not romantically. The very implication made Mike's mini-rant about Callie so much worse.
I'm glad that Callie was finally honest with AJ about the situation with Aaron. It's awful that she was compelled to explain and defend herself because of Mike. Unfortunately it was the only decent thing she did the entire episode.
There was other DNA on the murder weapon besides Martha Johnson's and Kyle's.Callie
Why is it so hard for Callie to follow directions? She can be so infuriating! For the umpteenth time she disregarded everything the Moms told her and went and put her damn life in jeopardy again. How many times must we be subjected to her impulsivity?
Callie's stubbornness isn't endearing anymore. It's stupidity through and through. What happened to letting the detectives do the detective work? She has all of the gumption of a Veronica Mars but none of the common sense and decent execution.
Jesus: It's not a big deal.
Mariana: She didn't want to adopt us. How is that not a big deal?
It's hard to keep up with all the issues they toss at Mariana. You would think a recent addiction to prescription drugs and the Nick trauma was enough. Nope. They had to throw in that Lena didn't initially want her and Jesus.
One of the best things about the show is that they never lose sight of the ongoing struggles of members in a blended foster/adopted family. Lena not being blood related to anyone like the others, Brandon feeling like he was not enough, the others feeling like they aren't the "real" kids are all examples. Those aren't storylines that can be wrapped up in a pretty bow or feelings that just go away.
I realized in that moment that this sweet, sweet little girl was sent to me. She was sent to me to heal my little girl inside. And I realized that she was meant to my daughter, and I was meant to be her mother.Lena
The heart to heart between Mariana and Lena was one of the best scenes of the night. They have such a fantastic bond and have some of the best one on one moments in the series. Their dynamic is always a unique one compared to the others.
Who didn't reach for a tissue or two after Lena basically told Mariana the exact moment when she fell in love with her and became a mom? Such a heartfelt scene! Lena even picked up on Mariana's reservations about remaining in the house. Nick still has Mariana scared and I'm surprised that the Moms haven't picked up that maybe Mariana needs therapy.
Ari: You can't go into the audition feeling like you're obligated to fail. Because you will.
Brandon: What do I do? Break up with her? Over the phone?
God I loved Ari! She was like an audience stand-in telling Brandon everything many of us have probably been screaming at the television since the beginning of the season! After Stef, Lena, Mike, his siblings, hell, probably even the paperboy and the barista who makes his coffee, all told Brandon that his relationship with Courtney was a huge mistake, a pretty blond dancer in New York finally got through to him!
I wanted to kiss the screen! Thank you Ari! Brandon can't put his life or his dreams on hold for a relationship that won't do him or Courtney any good in the long run.
He has his future ahead of him, and as Ari pointed out, Juilliard requires him putting his all into the program and he won't have any time or anything else to spare for anyone or anything outside of his craft.
Brandon having a come to Jesus moment, made up for the fact that what should have been a huge ordeal wasn't. All this time they have been building up to this Juilliard audition and this life changing moment, and it fell flat because it got swallowed up by everything else in the episode.
Callie: Are you still mad me about, Noah? Jude, I don't deserve this.
Jude: What do you deserve, Callie? Seeing as the only secrets you can keep are your own.
Remember when Jude was the sweet old soul who rarely did anything wrong? What happened to that kid? He is taking the teen angst and rebellion and running with it. Jeez, that flashback of tiny, sweet Judi-corn was a reminder of just how much he's grown up!
Jude being annoyed with Callie is understandable but how long is he going to hold a grudge? He's really lashing out at her and he's not getting anywhere with it at all. There is so much anger that is so unexpected coming from him.
As a budding couple Noah and Jude are cute but problematic. It would be unfair to blame Noah for Jude's change of character. Jude has become a totally different person with the drugs, sex, and the attitude. That person is far from likeable.
So what did you guys think about the episode? Were you ever concerned that the Moms would get divorced? Were you surprised that they were able to save their house? How happy are you that Brandon finally came to his senses and ended things with a Dear John letter? Do you miss old Jude?
Hit up the comments and tell us what you though about the episode! Don't forget you can watch The Fosters online and catch up on the season before the season finale!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.