The Fosters Season 4 Episode 1 Review: Potential Energy

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Well that was a truly harrowing hour!

Choosing to air an episode centered around gun violence just a week after a real mass shooting, could not have been an easy decision.

I commend the show for handling The Fosters Season 4 Episode 1 with respect and grace. The PSA that aired before the episode was especially touching. 

The premiere pickes up right where the finale left off, with Nick in the School parking lot reeling over Mariana and Matt. Even though he's clearly distraught, it's no less surprising when he tucks the gun away in his backpack before heading into school.

Up until that moment there is hope that he maybe will back out and not pursue whatever he planned any further, but every moment with Nick after that is chilling. The show wastes no time building the suspense and making every time he appears onscreen more terrifying than the last. 

You said you weren't going to surprise me.


When Nick briefly sits behind Matt in class, the malice he directs towards him is palpable. His exchange with Jesus, where he thanks him for being a good friend, is so heavy and ominous that even Jesus, who typically comes across aloof, takes notice. By the time Nick confronts Mariana, he comes across unhinged.

Mariana''s explanation is useless as he paces around her like a predator ready to pounce on his prey. I genuinely fear for Mariana's life when he raises his voice and reaches for the gun.

Fortunately, a janitor interrupts them and tells them to get back to class, but then Nick disappears again and his absence is just as nerve-wracking as his presence.

Stef and Lena barely have the chance to process Callie confessing that she had sex with Brandon, and that everyone is on the brink of knowing about it, when the situation with Nick escalates.

In a matter of minutes, Stef and Mike go from suspecting him of burning down his father's warehouse, to figuring out that he stole his father's gun, much to his father's dismay, and is armed and dangerous and somewhere in the school!

The "Code Blue" announcement and the sirens are absolutely terrifying and yet remind me of the drills most schools have post-Columbine.

It's one thing knowing something is a drill. It's another knowing that it is actually happening. It is gut-wrenching seeing all of those teenagers barricading doors and huddling together on the floor.

Brandon and Callie are stuck with a substitute teacher who doesn't know any of the protocol and is incapable of taking charge. Thankfully Brandon is familiar with taking the lead.

He is able to do the mandatory roll call, communicate with Stef in another room, save a girl going into diabetic shock, and have a nice heart to heart with Callie about their secret being out. 

The moment that made my heart stop is when the sole gunshot rang out.

It was easy to assume that Mariana could have been on the receiving end of a bullet, with Nick being so upset with her and her being all alone, seeking cover in a bathroom stall. Stef assumes the worst too, as she defies orders and runs into the building in hopes of finding her daughter.

I didn't expect the gunshot to come from the ineffective substitute teacher. Where did he even get a gun? Why would he be wielding a gun in front of kids? I was so grateful when the S.W.A.T. come in and escort everyone out safely.

The reunion that takes place amongst the Foster family is so satisfying, because the fear that one of them could perish is genuine. I just didn't expect it to be so short-lived.

When we learn that Nick not only eluded the authorities at the school, but he also eluded Stef's sweeping her home after he was eerily wandering around Mariana's room, it is unsettling.

Nick is out there somewhere, and he is unhinged and holding a grudge. I'm genuinely afraid of what this could mean for the Fosters. I cannot wait to see what happens next!

What did you think of the premiere? Am I the only one who thinks Jude might move on from Connor to the girl in his class? How will Stef and Lena deal with the Brallie revelation? 

Don't forget, you can catch up on the show and watch The Fosters online! We'd love to hear what your thoughts were on this timely and intense episode!

Potential Energy Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (36 Votes)

Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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The Fosters Season 4 Episode 1 Quotes

So I take it you're the girl? The one who has been messing with my son?

Mr. Stratos

You said you weren't going to surprise me.