‘The Fosters’ S5 E7: “Chasing Waterfalls”

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This week’s episode of The Fosters features a scene that breaks so much ground in on screen LGBT land that it’s nearly impossible to focus on anything else that happened to the other members of the fam, but I’ll do by best here. We’ll save the good stuff for last.

Family dinner is underway as we meet up with the Fosters, and Brandon is discussing his upcoming best man duties. Mariana mentions the possibility of throwing Mike and Anna an engagement party at their house, but Stef scoffs at the suggestion of celebrating her ex husband’s marriage at her home.

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Lena’s parents are coming over to visit, and Stef has prepared for some bonding time with her in-laws by asking Dean to help her research the options for removing Lena’s father from the title of their home to prevent another sticky financial scare that almost cost them the house last time. During dinner with the in-laws the next evening, Lena attempts to bring up the topic of the house with her mother, only to be pressured into paying them back plus interest for the money gifted to Lena and Stef to buy the house to begin with.

As Lena and her mother are discussing dollars and cents, Stef has a separate discussion with Lena’s father about her experience coming out to her parents. It turns out the sudden wedge between Stef and Tess back in the day was due to her father’s reaction to them snuggling on the couch. Stef’s dad forced her into church counseling, creating a sense of shame and embarrassment that led her to avoid both Tess and her own sexuality. During the chat, Stef realized that her father-in-law might be having some trouble with his health, specifically with his memories and mental awareness.

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Just when the financial discussion begins to reach a head, Stuart shows up with a new car for the kids, claiming he has an upcoming bonus from work. His wife gently reminds him that he’s retired, which finally sparks a real discussion about the dementia, which it turns out Lena’s mom has known about for over a year.

After the family discusses the finances and care for Stuart, Stef heads over to fill in Dean and finally explain to Tess why their friendship abruptly fizzled out all those years ago. Alas, instead of providing comfort to her old friend over what she went through in coming to terms with her own identity, Tess instead makes sure Stef knows that those feelings were not reciprocated. Way to kick a girl while she’s down.

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