“The Fosters” recap (1.18): “Love Seat”

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The moms walk in and find seats on the bleachers. Callie is texting with Daphne and then gets a lesson she doesn’t need in the way the system is bullshit when Stef and Lena tell her not to hang out with Kiara and Daphne until the adoption goes through. Callie lets them know that it probably was one of the privileged dillholes at Anchors Aweigh who stole the kindles but she stops short of telling them that it was their son. Stop protecting him, Callie. She leaves to sit with the paragons of good decision-making, Mariana and Lexi.

Lexi waves to Jesus while Emma gives him the side-eye. The coach asks Jesus if he’s nervous before telling him to focus. Yeah, the starving kid who is off his ADHD meds is going to be a master class in how to focus. He pops a couple of the Adderall he cribbed from Spencer’s stash.  While Vico wrestles, Mariana does her best Hermione impression and fills us in on all the wrestling rules. Lexi texts Mariana to start flirting, Callie still has no messages back from Daphne, and Brandon joins the group.

While she watches Vico and another dude chuck each other around, Lena starts wondering if maybe wrestling wasn’t such a good idea. Stef says it’s been good for Jesus but Lena noticed how jumpy he was that morning. Lena, you surprised him with his girlfriend. She hopes he knows there’s no shame in going back on his meds if he needs them. In walks Timothy and I can only hope his pants are too tight to let his little swimmers swim anywhere but off with this storyline. But alas, it’s not to be. Stef asks if Timothy is kind. Lena says yes and then rattles off all his good qualities. Like, did you know that he published a novel, plays the sitar, and was a Rhodes Scholar? Everyone knew the last one. Stef smiles and they hold hands and just like that they’ve got a sperm donor.

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Last night while we were watching this scene my wife asks “what exactly is your problem with this storyline?” I’ve been thinking about it and have come up with this. It’s boring. In its eighteen episodes we have seen interesting takes on more issues than I can count. This is the first show where I have seen same-sex parents being parents. They fight and make up with the simple shorthand old married couples develop. Stef and Lena have become our Coach and Tami. There have been scenes on this show I haven’t seen on my television before, like Stef’s scenes with her father. So, I think, this baby/sperm donor storyline is just boring. We’ve been here. We’ve seen this. This is where shows that don’t know what to do with lesbians do with their lesbian characters. So, for a show that has stretched in a lot of really amazing ways with writers who do know what to do with lesbians, this feels disappointing.

Anyway, back to wrestling. Vico wins his match and tells Jesus not to screw it up by losing his. Emma tells him to stay off his back and he’ll be fine. Lexi blows him a kiss and Emma looks like she might vomit. The Fosters clan hold up their “Jesus” signs and the match starts. Jesus’ vision goes blurry and the coach calls a time out. When you haven’t eaten all week and then take stimulants it’s weird that you might have a small issue. Jesus shakes it off and pins his opponent with his chemically enhanced focus. The moms bounce around and cheer and Stef pulls a classic mom move and blows Jesus an awkward and embarrassing kiss. Lexi tries to send her parents a picture of her sweaty, barely clothed, boyfriend but can’t until she deletes some of her email. Ruh roh. She finds his break-up email.

Brandon tells Callie that he bought back all the IDs he could and destroyed them. He fills her in on how he stole money from his dad by ditching piano lessons. She wants to know why and he tells her that everything he does is for her. He would do anything for her (except leave her alone when she told him to). He says she knows who he is (except for the bit about menacing Ana and paying her off).

Emma congratulates Jesus and he thanks her because she’s the only one who actually understands the wrestling rules. He says he really likes Emma but he loves Lexi and told her he would wait. This has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Lexi is available for post-match sex. His moms give him a hug and then he tells Lexi he has a place they can be alone.

Outside, Zach says he has to go and Mariana starts playing Charades to try to get him to understand that she would like to date him. There’s an easier way! Use your words, children. He checks his pockets for underwear and then kisses her. Just as they are planning to go on a real date, Regina George shows up and says “get in, loser, we’re going home.” Mariana is confused when Zach hops in the Lezbaru with his mom and she peels out of the parking lot.

Behind the school, Vico throws Brandon against a fence and threatens to kick his ass for telling everyone the IDs don’t work. Brandon says he changed his mind. Vico threatens to screw Brandon over. While Brandon skips away Vico sends a picture of Callie to his ID hook-up. It’s so refreshing to see Brandon feeling the true consequences of his actions.

Over at Mike’s house of unsupervised teenage stupidity, Lexi and Jesus are making out. She stops him and lies about having kissed a boy in Honduras. They break-up because forever to a 15-year-old is how long it takes to order pizza and waiting is hard, man. Back at the house Lexi starts packing so she can leave immediately. Mariana is like “you broke up with Jesus, not with me! Can’t we cuddle all week, at least?”

Brandon is sitting at the table at Mike’s when Dani bops in with groceries and promises of homemade lasagna. He wants to talk to his dad alone and she asks if she can help. She’s a cool wanna be step mom, she wants them to be friends. Inappropriate boundaries Dani! Stop being such a Fitz. He blurts out “I owe my dad $900.” In the Rosewood Hunger Games, Brandon would have been dead before the first bundt was cooked.

Zach is standing on the front porch but he can’t stay long. He doesn’t have time for a girlfriend right now. In fact, he’s so busy he doesn’t even have time for this conversation. Mariana is confused because he sure had time to kiss her in the parking lot. He swears it has nothing to do with his mom, or the donuts she did in the parking lot. He’s just busy, so don’t ask any more questions, okay?

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Jude is sitting, doing homework and a little knife play at the kitchen table. He asks about the initials on the knife his dad gave him. Turns out it belonged to their grandfather. Callie apologizes for not telling Jude their dad isn’t locked up any more. She thought knowing would make him hurt more and he says that not knowing sucks. They agree that they are better off without him. The moms walks in and say they found Donald. Callie says she doesn’t want to see him but Jude does.

Brandon tells his dad about the money and then forks over 900 bucks in cash. Creepily bonding with your boyfriend’s son by giving him money? Dani you seem super shady. Mike can’t believe Brandon did “this.” Well, Mike, “this” is not actually what he did. What he actually did kept you out of trouble but could put him away for a good long time. Dani says she’s surprised Brandon never acted out before, what with the lesbians always bringing home spare siblings for him. Right. Sure, by all means make excuses for Brandon. Anything to keep him from ever experiencing actual consequences. Dani says this is precisely why Brandon needs to be with the sober buddies permanently. Way to insert yourself into this family, Dani.

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Back at the Adams Foster’s house, Stef and Lena are sitting on the couch wondering if they should be worried about Jude seeing his dad. Lena is talking herself into why this is a good idea for both Jude and Callie to get closure. They settle in and Lena asks “am I crazy?” Stef is smart enough to know a trap and asks “is this a trick question?” Stef assures Lena that soon all the kids will go off to college and it will be nice to have a baby padding around. Know what’s also nice? Peace and quiet and time to have sex everywhere. Stef says that if Lena wants to use Timothy’s sperm they should all sit down together to talk about it. Lena jumps on Stef and says “baby, you had me at sperm,” because nothing makes lesbians hotter than thinking about sperm. Stef says “time check” and it turns out they have an hour before they have to pick Callie up. Plenty of time to get busy on the couch.

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When left alone, things fall apart. In high school, I had a physics teacher who told us to remember entropy by thinking of a cold, messy room. Without work, without added energy, things go cold, things get messy. I think it works that way in relationships too. There are at least a dozen reasons at all times why love should go cold and things should get too messy. But, for some people, they don’t. Some people call it a spark, or chemistry, or love. For some couples, the embers continue to smolder even if they don’t manage to flame all the time. Sometimes it’s work or money or having five teenagers in the house that keeps them apart. But for all those forces, all those things pushing them toward cold and messy, there is something pulling them back together. Under all the mess Stef and Lena have that spark, that chemistry, that love. This show gets that. I have gnashed my teeth and screamed about the lack of Stef and Lena sexy times. That probably won’t change. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the way this show has captured the ebbs and flows of these two and the ways they find to push back against all that cold messiness.

Meanwhile, Callie is not at group, she’s at her dad’s house. He opens the door and says “wow you look just like your mom.” Looks like somebody wants closure after all.

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