“The Fosters” recap (1.10): “She Keeps Me Warm”


I have scars all over my body.  Some I know exactly where they came from: a hot glue gun, a dog bite, hockey gloves, surgery, countless falls from a bike. But I have a scar on my hand, right near the base of the palm and I have no earthly idea where it came from. There are wounds that we don’t even know we have. We’ve had them so long that our bodies have grown over them, around them, enveloped them like a tree that grows around a rock. We don’t think of them until the damage becomes apparent. Stef thinks of her dad causing wounds by sending her to a priest. We’ve know about that one. But she doesn’t even realize damage caused by years of being ridiculed and thought less of until she starts parroting his language to the woman she loves.  These wounds stay with us. Sometimes we don’t realize how present they are until we’re driving down the road, telling a story about our past and find tears running down our cheeks.

Everything about Stef’s posture in this scene screams kid. She slouches, she shoves her hands in her pockets, she’s entirely devoid of the chest out, head high, swagger we see when she’s in uniform. With her dad, she’s a kid. She’s a kid who has to tell her dad that he’s not welcome at her wedding because he hurt her so badly that it left more than a scar. It left a place that hurts so much that she had to cover it with her smartass mouth. Take it from someone who knows, being a smartass to cover your hurt is a great way to cope in middle school. It might even get you through high school, and if you’re good you can stretch it into college. But someday you are going to meet someone and your usual bullshit isn’t going to work. She’s going to look at you and when you shoot your mouth off, when you say nasty things, or tell a harsh joke to cover the fact that you care so much it makes it hard to breath, she’s going to see past the bluster, she’s going to see the hurt.  If you’re lucky she’s going to see that nasty broken place and love you anyway. But that doesn’t mean you get to sit in your bedroom and tell her that marrying her is stupid and get away with it. She loves you, she might even want to spend the rest of her life with your sorry ass, but that doesn’t mean she’ll tolerate you falling back into your old habits. Not with her. She knows where you hurt, she sees your broken places and she, through some miracle of the universe, loves you anyway. That’s a thing that makes it worth standing in your father’s kitchen and telling him he’s not welcome at your wedding. Because she might love you, broken places and all, but that doesn’t mean you have to allow the person who broke you once to come near the places she stitched back together.

Stef returns home in the dark and tells her mom she’s sorry that she’s not the daughter she dreamed of having but she’s can’t wear a dress to the wedding. Her mom apologizes for getting wrapped up in the wedding insanity and tells Stef she doesn’t care what she wears, overall, a flak jacket, a bikini, or an Aria Montgomery original. She tells Stef she’s right, she’s not the daughter she dreamed of, she’s better.

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The Stef Foster apology tour makes its next stop in her bedroom. Lena is reading in bed because Stef’s smart enough to fall in love with a woman who loves books. Stef kneels next to the bed and tries to get Lena to take her eyes off the pages. When she finally looks, Stef says “of course I want to marry you, have you seen you? I’d be an idiot if I didn’t.” Lena throws her book across the room and pulls Stef up from the floor. Stef ninja rolls underneath Lena and holds on with both hands. The next morning our gorgeous moms are naked in bed chatting about whether they are sure about something and Lena says they want to tell them immediately so no one comes to the wedding not knowing.

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In the living room Stef and Lena ask Callie and Jude if they would like to be a permanent part of their family. Callie asks the other kids and Brandon assures her “there’s enough to go around” and it’s supposed to be sweet but he kind of squicks me out because he says “there’s enough to go around” with a look that says that by enough he means his penis. Ick.

The brain trust, Jesus and Lexi are talking in his room. He calls her “dummy” like he’s Dennis and she’s Liz and it’s almost more than I can take. Why didn’t she didn’t say anything about going to Honduras? Oh because I didn’t want you to worry, Jesus. I thought you were supposed to Jesus your troubles, or did I do Sunday school wrong? He says he can’t promise not to worry but that he’ll be waiting for her when she gets back.  You never forget the first girl you get caught having a stranger buy the morning after pill for.

Outside everything is pretty for the wedding and Callie steals Brandon for a quick chat.  Brandon follows Callie to some weird ivy covered back alley where she thanks him for believing in her when she didn’t believe in herself.  She says she didn’t get the trial outcome she wanted but, thanks to Mr. Fitz, she remembers who she is and she knows now what she deserves. He says “do ya?” and proceeds to tell her how smart and beautiful and funny and kind and amazing she is while inching closer to her until they start making out. He better be worth being homeless for, Callie! And you, Mister, stop it! They cut to Talya chatting with Sharon and asking where Brandon is so we’ll worry that she’s the one who will catch them kissing but it’s a thousand times worse because it’s Judicorn. Jude throws some Chinese food, kicks a trashcan, and rides his bike off into the thunderstorm. Maybe if Jude was A he could just have Brandon maimed or sent to an all-boys boarding school in Siberia.  Callie follows Jude and Talya shows up to pull Brandon in the other direction.

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Callie chases after Jude and he lets her have it for always ruining everything. She says it will never happen again and he tells her of course it will because this is what she does. I gotta say Jude, she’s being stupid with Brandon but if you are adding Liam raping her to this to equal always, you need to take a good hard look at your math. He tells her that she’s selfish and never thinks of him even though they are a package deal and when she screws up he pays the price too. He stomps off leaving her looking very Joey Potter in the middle of some weird side street-back alley in her fancy dress.

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