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


“More than one woman talking about something other than a man? Check!”

Lena is tutoring Jude when Talya arrives to see Brandon. She’s just in time for game night at the Fosters. Stef is thrilled and tells Lena that she is going to lose, but it’s the sexiest trash talk around. We’ll have to imagine the delicious price of losing. By the time Brandon gets back, everyone is around the table ready to start Monopoly. Brandon demonstrates that the buzzkill gene is found on the Y chromosome in this family by announcing that he’s moving in with his dad. Talya looks mighty stoked and Stef excuses herself to get some tea. By “tea” she means bourbon and a good cry.

Callie tries to return the guitar Brandon let her borrow and he tells her that it’s a gift and that she just has to promise that she’ll use it. While Brandon is packing Jesus comes in and starts measuring the room for everything he will need for his swank new Don Draper-inspired bachelor pad. Brandon says it will still be his room. Jesus wants to know how he will survive without Brandon in a house full of women, and Jude. Brandon tells Jesus to stay out of trouble and Jesus comes clean about covering for his dumbass twin sister. Jesus says it’s all worth it because now Mariana knows that their birth mother is a loser and Brandon reminds him that, at some point, Mariana has to fend for herself. Preferably right now, maybe in Jurassic Park.

Callie is yelling at Mariana because she thinks the lying thief is also reading her journal. Mariana denies it and Lena comes running to mediate the dispute. Lena hasn’t learned her lesson in trusting Callie from the whole drug stealing fiasco of–what, two days ago?– and seems to believe Mariana over Callie. Stupid. Callie tells Lena that maybe she doesn’t know her daughter as well as she should. Before Callie spills the beans, Jude walks in and she lets the subject drop. He wants to know why Callie won’t just get along and when she shows him what’s in the journal he understands. He’s surprised that she wrote about Liam. Any chance that in a fit of sadness after the death of her mother Callie murdered Liam, like something out of The Stranger?

Jesus hops onto Mariana’s computer and sees that she’s been chatting with their birth mom again and making plans to meet up. Wow, maybe that detention isn’t looking quite so worth it now, is it bucko?

“Throwing shit in the trash, or as Caleb calls it, a beautiful hobo first date.”

Callie’s in the courtyard of the school and rips out all the pages from her journal and throws them away. Wyatt joins her in committing this act of writerly hostility. How about them apples, Timmy? Jude is finishing up his test. Lena tells him that no matter what, she’s proud of him but that’s not really the point, is it? The point is that he needs 65 on the test to stay. Lena, pulls a Scalia and scoffs at the notion of recusing herself, and grades the sucker. She’s momentarily devastated when Jude falls short but oh her pencil is just so near and, jeez, it’s just so easy to make that answer into the right one and bingo, he gets a 65. Talk about guilt, Lena. You are going to be journalling and journalling to get over this one.

While a song about breaking walls and crossing lines and the things we do for others plays, Jesus and Lexi stare at each other and he ambushes her in the girls bathroom for an impromptu make-out session amid the scent of imitation Pine Sol. Nothing says sexy like making out in a bathroom.

Lena is folding laundry on her bed when she hears the bouncing of a basketball in the night. It’s Brandon who is hitting all the high notes of The L Word athletic association with an awkward shot that screams, “music is my life!” Stef scoffs at the notion that Brandon is feeling badly about leaving them. Lena sets aside the laundry and tells Coach that she’s got to be the bigger person and that she has to put aside whatever her own hurt feeling are and go help her son. Stef nearly says “but I don’t wanna” but Lena put on her aviators and Tami Taylors the hell out of this scene. Parents put their kids first she says, so suck it up and get out there and help your son. Lena knows Stef, she knows her heart and her mind (and we can imagine every inch of her body). She knows when to offer two words in a soft voice and and when Stef needs a verbal kick in the pants to be the kind of parent she has to be. If you are lucky enough to find that right person and they stick around long enough to learn every piece of you, they know how to pick a moment, they know every tool they have to make you the kind of person or parent or cop or teacher than you want to be. They know how to make you rise to those challenges.

First challenge is to show the boy how to shoot a freaking basketball. Yikes buddy. Stef makes a couple of shots as they talk. Brandon wonders what happened to him with two athletic parents and Stef tells him that he got all the important stuff like being funny, smart, kind, and knowing who he is and what makes him happy. Yeah, seems like Stef might have a guilty spot there with not knowing who she was for a long time. She tells him, while focusing intently on the ball and the basket and anything that is not her son’s face, that he doesn’t have to look after her or his dad or Lena. It’s their job to look out for him.

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