“The Fosters” (1.5) recap: “I already hurt”

Previously on The Fosters, Lena tried to sooth her own childhood wounds with a balm made of money she doesn’t have and bandages shaped like a bedazzled quinceanera dress fit for a spoiled princess. All she wanted to do, dammit, was offer her latina daughter the authentic experience of being latina despite growing up in a family with a biracial mom, a white mom, a brother named Ross Gellar, and a twin brother less interested in a fancy party than the party he was planning Lexi’s pants. Mama Adams ruined everything by making her biracial daughter feel bad about being biracial. Oh moms, you always know that special way to make us feel like shit. Stef gave Brandon the talk. No, not that one, the one about “thou shalt not sleep with your foster sister” because you wear your granddad’s cardigans and frankly act older than your Dad who might have a teensy drinking problem. Oh yeah, and you know, foster sibling rules or something. Montagues, Capulets, to your corners.

The episode starts, per usual, in the kitchen. Lena forgot to pick up Stef favorite guacamole for their big lesbian potluck. Seriously, there are more alternative lifestyle haircuts on display than at the Women’s World Cup and Final Four combined. Stef feigns anger and asks Lena “do you remember when you used to love me?” Oh look who else is at the party Ms. Foreshadowing, welcome, thank you for bringing a theme to the party. So glad it’s vegan.

stef guac
Jesus and Lexi are hoping all the lesbians will distract the moms from the fact that they are trying to sneak upstairs to play “video games.” When Stef tells Jesus that he knows the rules and that there are no girls in his room unless a mom is upstairs he whines and says it’s not fair that they have to be stuck with all these lame old lesbians. He particularly objects to Cindy, who gave him a quick lesson in DIY plumbing. Stef smiles and hands him a garbage bag and tells him he can collect all the dirty plates from their “lame, old” friends. Oh moms, they do get mad but they also get even.

Mariana snipes at Jesus and Lexi as she saunters over to Lena. Lena tells Mariana that she needs to cool it because Lexi is Jesus’ girlfriend and until twenty minutes ago, Mariana’s best friend. Friends are like family, Lena says, we love even when we fight. Mariana says “even when they lie to your face?” without a hint of irony because she’s a teenager and the teenage bubble is impervious to the effects of irony.

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Mariana sees Garret walk in with his two moms and he asks Mariana what’s going on with her since they last saw each other a year ago. Oh, bud, your gay is showing because no one else gives a shit about what Mariana has been up to. But it’s cool, Christian, because she’s about to fall for you like a regular Cher Horowitz and we’ll be here to laugh our asses off.

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Garret’s moms, Jenna and Kelly, are in the kitchen dropping off their vegan, lentil, taste-free casserole that everyone will put on their plates to be polite and Jesus will be scraping into the trash later. Kelly says all the credit for the healthy cooking goes to her wife before asking where Stef is. Lena says she’s out “womaning” the grill and off goes Kelly to behold the wonder of Stef in a tank top. As soon as she’s gone, Jenna tells Lena that there’s trouble in paradise and that they are thinking about splitting up. Lena is aghast and asks what happened to this couple that has been together for twenty years. The answer is nothing. Nothing happened while they were busy paying the bills and raising kids and making sure they kept their job. It’s nothing that they forgot the guacamole and nothing that they postponed date night. It was nothing when they felt bad about those things and it was nothing when they stopped feeling bad about it. Then a day came when all that nothing added up to another nothing, nothing holding the two of them together other than the routine of each day, of lunches made, of kisses doled out one chaste peck at a time, and nights spent reading a book in bed instead reading each other’s eyes. It didn’t seem like anything until all that was left was nothing.

Mariana is sitting on the porch with Garrett pretending to have a clue when he says things like Kerouac, Ginsberg, and On the Road. Mariana says “Oh I love Ruth Bader. You down with RBG? Yeah, you know me.” Fine, not really. He asks her to go see “On the Road” with him and she has no earthly idea what he’s talking about but it sounds like a date so she agrees. Does noone watch Clueless anymore? I think it would be very educational for Mariana.

Ross is talking to Rachel when Paolo walks in and he can’t believe it. Callie says she invited Wyatt and Brandon sulks for the rest of the night. Wyatt is making a good impression by drying all the dishes in the house. Lena suggests that they should go to Garret’s poetry slam competition if he makes it to the performance round. Jude is in, Jesus mocks it, and Callie says it’s not her thing. Once everything is put away Wyatt leaves but not before winning over everyone but glowering Brandon.

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After Callie walks Wyatt to the door Brandon turns up to warn her about ginger locks. Callie says that Wyatt is the only person at their school who doesn’t treat her like a freak.

Brandon tells her that Wyatt dated Talya, slept with her, and then broke up with her the next day. Callie’s listening but not sure if she can buy what Brandon is saying when it’s dripping with so much jealousy.

Up in the Foster-Adams fluff and fold, the moms are doing some laundry because, apparently, Jesus turned Lena’s white linen pants into pink capris. Oldest trick in the book, do a shitty job and you will be relieved of chore duty forever. While they fold laundry Lena drops the news that Jenna and Kelly might be splitting up. Apparently the ladies haven’t had sex in a year and Stef says “that’s a long time to let it go” like someone who knows what it’s like to “let it go” for a while. Lena asks how long it’s been for them and as Stef fumbles around in her memory bank of hot sex scenes she co-starred in with her wife. Lena pronounces that if you need to think about it, it’s been too long. See this is where A would be useful. How about a handy text saying, “it was three weeks ago Tuesday, bitches.” Put some of your creepy stalkering to use, is all I’m saying.

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Stef starts to get defensive and Lena says she knows their lives are busy but they should have a date night with cocktails and dinner and other stuff. Stef says that’s all lovely but they don’t have time for that so they grab their phones and cut right to scheduling the “other stuff.” Ladies, Imma let you finish your Joan Holloway role play here, but might I suggest that you two have time right now for some of that other stuff? They agree to meet up the next day for some afternoon delight. Ladies, repeat after me, there is no time like the present.

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Taking my advice to heart is Jesus who is fooling around with Lexi in her parent-free house in Rosewood. He tells her he needs a cold shower but Lexi says she doesn’t want to stop so looks like someone is getting laid.

Mariana is painting her nails blue because she thinks that’s the kind of girl Garret likes. Five years from now, Jude will be the kind of girl Garret likes. Jude tells her the nail polish is pretty and Mariana offers to paint his while they chat about Connor, who is in Jude’s math class and who seems really nice. Callie tells Jude not to wear the polish to school and Mariana tells him that he doesn’t always have to do what Callie says. Man, nothing squeezes my heart harder than a tiny baby gay who just wants to be himself.

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Callie confronts Wyatt about sleeping with Talya with all the subtlety of Spencer Hastings leaping over a table to kill Mona. He dodges with the fact that after they had sex Talya got weird and controlling and then seals it by saying that while everyone thinks Talyaa is sweet she’s really Satan. Callie stops him and says “you had me a crazy.” He says she can make it up to him by coming out with him. She says she’ll have to ask the moms and he lets her in on his evil genius plan to charm the moms through manual labor. He bought a date, one washed dish at a time. Well played.

Jude is talking to Connor about going fishing when a Crabbe and Goyle walk up and start hassling Jude about his nail polish. When Jude tells them to grow up they throw him against a locker. A teacher shows up immediately and takes the miscreants to the principal. In Rosewood, they would have dissected Jude and hung his brain in Mona’s locker all without the slightest hint of faculty intervention. Connor watches the whole thing with a confused look and Jude walks away unsure of whether Connor will want to take him fishing anymore.

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Jesus brings Lexi a brownie from the cafeteria because he learned from his mentor Ezra Fitz that the way to someone’s heart it via baked good. Lexi is flipping out because her parents will kill her if they find out she had sex and what if she’s pregnant. Jesus! Your moms buy condoms for your older brother. They have throw pillows embroidered with “no glove, no love” on them. They are of course referring to the lesbian proviso that if you can’t play catcher on the diamond you um, won’t be playing catcher anywhere else either. Stef is at the pharmacy buying “massage oil” that looks a lot like hairspray and picking up a prescription for Jesus because Mariana sold all his pills at school. In front of her a woman buys the morning after pill and when Stef gets outside the lady his handing the pill over to Jesus.

Stef drags Jesus home and calls to Lena with a warning that she’s there with Jesus. Dude, you just cockblocked mom sexy time because you were too stupid to use a condom. Lena walks down the stairs looking like heaven in a short robe and her hair doing that thing it does. Lena asks what’s going on and Jesus says that he and Lexi had sex, without protection, and that they needed someone to buy them the morning after pill because neither of them has the ID necessary to buy it. Lena asks why in the world he didn’t come to them with the problem and he says because he didn’t want to deal with precisely this situation. They send him to his room so they can talk about what to do next.

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Lena doesn’t see how they can give Lexi the pill without telling her parents because if it were Mariana they sure as hell would want to know. Stef says they have to give it to her because if Lexi gets pregnant her religious parents won’t let her have an abortion and they’ll want the two idiot fifteen year olds get married. Lena gets flustered when she remembers that she also has a responsibility to Lexi as her vice-principal. So apparently they saw this episode of Friday Night Lights. Stef says she’s not Lexi’s anything and Lena runs upstairs to get dressed. Apparently, you can’t make decisions like this half naked. Honestly, I am impressed that Stef can keep a thought in her head looking at Lena looking like that.

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Mariana and Garret are back from their “date” and she’s pretending that she liked On the Road. She invites Garret in to watch some TV and he says he doesn’t like TV and that he has to go help a friend who is getting ready for the poetry competition. Mariana, he’s even wearing Christian’s hat from Clueless, I don’t know how to make this any easier for you to understand. Mariana goes and whines to Callie who reassures her that if Garret wants to go date alternative, poetry “girls” she should let him. That’s nice advice Callie about being true to yourself, just wondering where it was when you were talking to Jude.

Jude is playing video games and Lena pulls up a stool and checks in on the little guy. Callie asks what’s up and Lena says that some of the guys at school were hassling him for wearing nail polish. Callie snaps at him and tells him to take off the nail polish. Jude storms out to a chorus of “you’re not the boss of me.” Lena tells Callie that Jude’s a special kid but Callie cuts her off and says the things that make Jude special are the things that get him thrown into dumpsters. Jude may be safe in their house but Callie says they aren’t going to be there forever and he can’t go around thinking the Foster-Adams family is an accurate reflection of the rest of the world. Katniss, I know you would volunteer as tribute six times a week and twice on Sunday if it meant protecting Prim, but you might be better served by helping Prim learn to protect herself (or not. I’m still pissed about Mockingjay).

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Wyatt shows up and Lena hands Callie a cell phone and a curfew. Be home by 10 or the tracking in the cell phone will lead them right to you, Callie. You know how this works. On her way up the stairs Lena bumps into Brandon who harrumphs at the idea that Callie has a date with Wyatt. Wyatt has taken Callie to his parents’ beach house that they totally never use during the week and where it will not be at all illegal for them to sit and watch the meteor shower. Callie, for a girl whose spidey sense is always tingling I would think you would see through the semi-beautiful hobo having a beach house.

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Here’s the scene that slayed me this episode. Like every Glee scene between Kurt and Burt, this feels like a note from the writers to their younger selves. Jude is sitting on the lid of the toilet scrubbing and scrubbing his tiny fingernails in hopes that maybe if he scrubs hard enough he can wipe away a bit of his difference along with the blue nail polish. Lena comes in, pulls up a stool and some cotton balls and shows him how it’s done. She tells him that when they are at home she and Stef hold hands and kiss. He says, “bitch please, I’ve never seen you do either.” She says they’ve been busy lately and he’s confused about what being busy has to do with holding hands. Yoda strikes again.

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Lena tells him that when she and Stef go out to a new neighborhood or are walking back to their car late at night they don’t hold hands because there are people in the world who fear things that are different and sometimes they want to hurt people like Stef and Lena. But every time she wants to hold Stef’s hand but doesn’t she gets angry at those who want to hurt her and mad at herself for not standing up to them. If you are taught to hide what makes you different, you learn to feel shame about who you are, she tells him. There is nothing wrong with him for wearing nail polish and there is nothing wrong with her for wanting to hold Stef’s hand, what’s wrong is the people who make them feel unsafe.

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She’s not telling Jude to change who he is. She’s not even telling him to hide. She recognizes the toll that comes from pretending, from smoothing out the edges, of using a code, a special look, a shorthand to say “I love you” when you’re out in public. Sure things are a lot different from 1942 but sometimes we’re all Betty McRae holding Teresa’s hand in that theater so no one can see. It hurts. Just like allowing the little things to slip in your marriage can chip away at it until there is nothing left, pretending not to be who you are and not to love who you love can hollow you out, it can leave you filled with fear and pain. But, Lena assures us, it’s not because there is something wrong with us, there is something wrong with the world and we don’t have to feel ashamed of ourselves because our love, our difference, scares other people. Lena, where were you when I was in middle school?

Callie and Wyatt are staring at a bunch of clouds and he apologizes for the meteor shower being a bust because this dope seems to have a god complex. He makes his move by telling her she has an eye booger and kissing her. Before they get any further, someone comes into the beach house and, surprise! it’s not his parents. They run for it and hide from the cops and Callie starts developing a picture in her head of the kind of guy who will take a girl on probation for a little breaking and entering before some light, over the sweater petting. She’s pissed and not just because she’s crouching behind a dumpster. Wonderboy’s car is behind the police barricade so she calls Ross to come pick her up. He sighs, puts away his keyboard’s helicopter sounds, and rides to her rescue in his Volvo.

Baby walks into the party, sees Johnny and tells him “I carried a watermelon.” Nope, that would have been less awkward than Mariana coming into the poetry slam, getting introduced by Garrett as “a friend of my family,” and telling him she was going to perform. This did not quite reach the Jan and Michael dinner party debacle (“three hours from now or three hours from earlier, like 4:00”) but it was bad.

Jesus tromps into the kitchen and reminds Stef that the morning after pill only works the morning after-ish and that Lexi is going to turn back into a pumpkin soon. A big, pregnant pumpkin. Mariana is doing her poem and it’s as bad as Jan playing “That One Night” over and over. Garret wins the honor of closing the show the next night and his friend who is a girl, but so not his girlfriend, is also picked. Mariana, who has never gotten anything short of “outstanding” on any of her O.W.L.S. doesn’t understand why she wasn’t chosen and asks the guy in charge of the clipboard to explain. To his credit he cheers her on and tells her with experience she’ll do better.

Back at home Brandon tells Callie that he doesn’t want her dating Wyatt because he doesn’t want her dating anyone but him. She shuts him down by telling him the story of Liam. Liam lived in the best foster house she and Jude were in before coming to this one. Liam was nice to her but when his parents found out that he was hanging out with a muggle-born she and Jude got unceremoniously moved out the next day. Brandon says he would never do that, that he would never claim that she came on to him, or try to have her kicked out. It doesn’t matter she says, because it still ends with she and Jude getting sent back to the Dursleys and she won’t let that happen.

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The next day Wyatt is blabbering on and on about being sorry and regretting doing something so stupid and Callie isn’t really buying it until she sees Brandon. Suddenly she lets Wyatt kiss her and looks pleased when she sees Brandon disappear from the hall. Maybe if you just stake him in the heart you can put an end to all this more easily. God you two. I don’t ship you for a second but good lord, teenagers are absurd.

jude lunch

Jude walks through the lunch tables until he finds a spot. As he sits down two people get up and leave him alone, looking impossibly small, with his crinkled, brown bag lunch. Someone comes and sits down next to him and it’s Connor, the cute boy who didn’t say anything to the bullies the day before. He smiles at Jude and reaches for his sandwich. Holy heart shattering cuteness, he’s wearing blue nail polish, too. Being brave is never easy, that’s sort of the point. But man, being brave is a whole lot easier when you have someone who sees you, really sees you, and sits at your lunch table because of what he sees, not in spite of it.

connor nails

Lexi and Jesus are walking on the beach as you do at your fancy charter school. He asks how she’s feeling and she says she’s feeling OK but that they have to cool it with the unprotected sex and the pregnancy scares because that’s typically season four shenanigans not episode five mischief. Jesus says he’s fine with that because he was raised by two moms to respect a woman for more than just her tight embrace.

Callie is telling Jude not to get too comfortable because this isn’t their home and this isn’t their family. He tells her that he’s not taking off the nail polish and that he likes these people and there’s nothing wrong with not building a wall and digging a moat and keeping everyone far away for his tiny heart. She tells him not to get his hopes up because he’ll get hurt and he says “I already hurt” before walking away. Callie it’s time to listen to listen to your Aunt Dory “Well, you can’t never let anything happen to him, then nothing would ever happen to him. Not very fun for little Harpo.” Listen to the fish.

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Lexi stops by to talk to Lena and to explain that she could never tell her mom that Stef and Lena gave her the pill because then her mom would be really mad. Lena says “she’s not the only one,” and I believe Stef is in trouble. Again. Stef, come on. You and Lena watched this episode of Friday Night Lights. Mrs. Cafferty is a nightmare and it didn’t end well for Tami.

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Stef pulls on her leather jacket as she zips down the stairs to see Lena standing full frame with a face like thunder. Lena must be mad because not even the sight of Stef in that coat with her hair like that can stop her from asking “were you even going to tell me?” Stef explains that she doesn’t have any of the complicated obligations Lena does and she knew that if they waited the decision would be made for them and could make Jesus a father. Hopefully, one round of speed fighting and processing is enough because it’s time for the poetry slam. But where’s Mariana, oh dear, she’s spent the afternoon piercing her nose. For Pete’s sake can we have a day without a twin sticking something somewhere without taking the proper precautions? Jude asks if it hurt and Stef says “of course it hurt, she punched a hole in her face!” Callie decides to come after all and they trundle off like a real family, half of them pissed with the other, to go pretend to enjoy themselves at a cultural event.

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Remember when they used to have bands come on your favorite shows and they couldn’t think of something to do with them other than have them play a song? Like on 90210 you got stuck listening to Donna’s abusive boyfriend sing “How do you talk to an angel” while wishing he would shut up already? Yeah, it’s usually awkward and forced. So kudos for this show for finding a way to use an incredible performer and a piece of his performance in the story. Instead of rolling my eyes and wishing the awkward would stop, I nearly jumped out of my seat when Noah St. John fired up his award winning performance. After the performance, when Garret tells Mariana she was pretty great before the nose ring and that she doesn’t need to try so hard it works because he’s one of those kids with an old soul who sees things. He knows his moms are breaking up just the way he knows that even Mariana doesn’t need to pretend to be someone else.

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Stef and Lena sit in the car after their kids have piled out. Stef can’t believe that Jenna and Kelly are getting a divorce. She apologizes for the pill thing and Lena apologizes for the guacamole and that’s all you need to know about their life together. Stef calls Lena a saint, and a hot one at that and because there’s no aphrodisiac like the uncertainty of knowing that relationships can be impermanent, that people and togetherness are breakable entities, they head to the back seat for the sex they apparently can’t manage to have with five teenagers in the house.

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Next week, guess who’s coming to dinner? Lexi’s parents. Until then, what did you think about this week? Are you wearing blue nail polish?

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