“The Fosters” recap (1.03): Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the guiltiest of all?

 
 

Callie has writers’ block and Mariana asks her if she can just put it away so that Mariana can get some sleep. Callie gives up her shot at having completed homework and turns off the light. Mariana says “you know, I’m not just some selfish bitch” despite everything I have done in the past two minutes and in every minute of every episode of this show. She tells Callie that she sold the drugs to help her birth mother and then is irritated when Callie doesn’t jump out of bed to braid her hair and talk about it. Mariana, the girl couldn’t manage to write a single journal entry, she’s going to need some help with her processing skills.

Stef is sitting in an armchair with a mug. I just assume that unless it is the morning, her mug is probably filled with bourbon. Brandon walks in and Stef tells him that no matter how mad he, is he can’t just walk away. He apologizes and says that he loves having two moms. Stef’s face is almost hard to watch in this scene and Teri Polo does a remarkable job of conveying every emotion with the smallest flicker so we can see everything churning in her mind. When she came out and divorced Mike, she had to have worried about losing Brandon in the process. One of the fears of coming out is all the things you might lose, your friends, your family, your community, and, for Stef, her child. It’s been eleven years and here she is, confronting that fear again as she see Brandon picking his father over her. He may have apologized, he may have taken back what he said, but Stef can’t unhear it, she can’t stop it from feeding the conflicting guilt over exploding her family because she didn’t understand who she was or who she loved. If she had known sooner, she wouldn’t have caused that break but she also wouldn’t have Brandon, which has to add several layers to the parfait of complicated feelings. She buries all of this and tells Brandon that he can choose where he wants to live but her face and the choked sounds escaping from her throat along with the words make my heart ache for her.

Jesus arrives as Stef departs and tells Brandon that the moms will be devastated if he chooses to leave and Brandon counters that his dad will be devastated if he doesn’t. For the first time, we can see the spot Brandon is in with his parents. He can’t win without hurting someone. Jesus looks relieved that it’s not his problem and wishes Brandon good luck.

The next day Brandon is sitting with the devil talking about his choice and Talya says, oh the moms will be fine, they won’t even notice you’re gone. God, she’s terrible. Timothy knows this as he scans their journals to see that they wrote something and notes that he thought Talya would have a lot of guilt. Callie and Wyatt McCutcheon have blank pages and thus they earn a trip to special after class time with Timmy.

Mike and Stef hop out of their cruiser to get some food. The most shocking thing is that Stef let Mike drive. He asks if they are going to talk about the elephant in the car. Stef saunters over to the food truck and helps herself to some coffee. Apparently, her caffeine is on the house. He says that she could have told Brandon no. She’s pissed about being blindsided and tells him that if he does it again she’ll bury him in the DiLaurentis backyard.

He says that it sucks being blindsided and she tells him that if he’s trying to pay her back for figuring out she is gay and leaving him then she’s going to ask their boss for a new partner. He tells her it’s too late for payback and he’s just trying to be a better dad and to be around for his kid before Brandon goes to college. Stef seems satisfied with the response but there’s something weird about the way Stef is with Mike. I’m starting to think that some of it is guilt. She takes a lot of guff from him, and I have to wonder if she doesn’t feel bad for leaving him for Lena or for not realizing she was gay earlier and sparing them both the heartache.

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