Last year, the residents of Girls United were featured in their own webseries, and The Fosters 2×08 makes it easy to see why. The characters, overseen by Rosie O’Donnell’s Rita, are well-developed with their own personalities and struggles, some of which came to the forefront in this episode. Here’s our recap of “Girls Reunited”:
The Fosters 2×08 begins with Jesus and Mariana trying to persuade Stef to let them hold a dinner party with their respective dates, Hayley and Matt. If that sounds like a recipe for disaster, that’s because it is. More on that later.
Gay for the stay
Meanwhile, at a Girls United group session, Becka has news. When we first met this character, she had a nasty drug problem and a history of being abused by her mom’s boyfriends, but it seems things are finally turning around: Her mom has a new apartment where there’s a room waiting for her.
There’s more good news. Cole, who’s transgender and has been campaigning to get moved to an LGBT group home since he came to Girls United, finally got a placement – but he doesn’t seem that excited.
The rest of the girls seem genuinely pleased for Becka and Cole, including Callie, who came back for the weekend to help out with something called Community Day. Rita, who organized the event to neutralize neighborhood concerns about the group home and defuse a campaign against letting Girls United extend its lease, asks if Callie’s visit is OK with everyone. Most of the group is enthusiastic, but Kiara acts underwhelmed and new girl Dev is outright hostile.
Because she used to share a room with Cole when she lived at Girls United, Callie figures their sleeping arrangements will be just like old times – until she walks in on Cole kissing Dev. Looks like she’s bunking with Becka. Later, Kiara tells her that Dev is only “gay for the stay.” Remember how the twins’ dinner party seemed like a recipe for disaster? So does Cole’s relationship.
Kiara and Callie’s conversation quickly turns into an argument when Callie brings up that Kiara’s foster family fell through. “I can’t find one family that wants me; you’ve got two,” Kiara says bitterly, referring to the Fosters and the Quinns.
The circle of life
Back at home, Stef’s holding down the fort alone as Lena‘s away chaperoning Jude‘s 7th-grade camping trip. I feel like she interrupts Brandon at least once an episode when he’s lying on his bed listening to music, and The Fosters 8×07 is no exception. Stef asks if Brandon’s spoken to his father, then says nobody blames him for what happened with Dani and that he shouldn’t blame himself either. She suggests he consider seeing a therapist.
She also sits down with Jesus to make sure he’s being “respectful and honest” with Hayley, and expresses her concern that he’s getting in over his head. He assures her everything’s fine. After he leaves the room, she sorts through the mail and finds a letter from the twins’ mother, Ana, who’s newly sober and wants to see her kids to make amends.
During a video chat with Lena, Stef says she won’t allow Ana anywhere near the family, but later she rereads the letter and seems less sure of her decision.
Lena gets minimal screen time during this episode, but her chat with Stef offers a glimpse into how she’s continuing to deal with the loss of her baby. She says being out in nature has been beneficial for her.
It’s a good reminder, you know? Of the circle of life, how nothing’s permanent, not the trees, not the mountains, not us, not even our sadness. I keep thinking about the fact that no matter what happens during the night, every morning the sun comes up, again and again.
A date with disaster
For the twins’ double dinner date, Hayley makes vichyssoise. Despite the fancy menu, the evening soon devolves into bickering. Not knowing that Mariana had previously told Hayley she didn’t know her birth mom, Jesus reveals that Ana was a drug addict. Hayley accuses Mariana of being a liar, then Mariana calls out Hayley for pretending her parents had just announced their divorce to keep Jesus from going to a gathering that his ex-girlfriend Emma was attending. Hayley storms off and Jesus goes after her, leaving Mariana alone with Matt. Matt admits that his father walked out on him when he was a kid, and Mariana says they should have just gone out alone. They kiss.
Meanwhile, Someone’s Little Sister lead singer Lou stops by with a record for Brandon. She plays it for him, and sings along to her favorite part. The #BrandonAndLou hashtag pops up onscreen in case we have any doubt about where this is going. Sure enough, they almost kiss – but then the record stops, Brandon pulls away, and Lou takes off.
Outside, Jesus and Hayley talk. Hayley admits that she feels threatened by Emma, and Jesus says she doesn’t need to worry. She suggests Jesus plan a date for the next night, and Jesus says he has to study. When she guilt-trips him, he reconsiders. After Hayley leaves, Stef suggests that Jesus is being manipulated and says she doesn’t want to see him “sacrificing things that are important to [him] in order to take care of a girl.”
Things get heated
Back at Girls United, Callie is startled when a guy runs past her and out of the yard. Dev claims Cole is back on street hormones and urges her not to tell Rita.
At Community Day, Rita does damage control with the neighbors and Callie tells her story to a woman who’s worried about gang activity and drive-bys. Becka’s mom tells Becka she met a guy, but things will be different this time. Later, in group, Dev says she resents Callie for showing up as a success story when she never had any real problems. Kiara jumps to Callie’s defense, despite their issues.
When Callie approaches Kiara after to thank her, Kiara asks how things are going with Wyatt. Callie explains that they’re on a break and says she thought she was over being raped, but she isn’t. Kiara, a fellow victim, wisely notes that “You ain’t over it till you’re over it” and urges her to get some real help, rather than avoiding the situation by hiding out at Girls United. Just then, Dev bursts in and asks where the packet of drugs is – turns out it wasn’t street hormones but crystal meth… and it’s missing.
Callie figures out that Cole and Dev are planning to run away so they can be together. She tries to make Cole see that Dev’s using him for drugs, but he says he loves her. When Callie protests that Dev’s not gay, Cole says “Neither am I. That’s why I have to get out of this place, because no one here treats me like a man.” Callie says at the new home, he’ll get the counseling and hormone treatment he needs, and if Dev really loves him, she’ll wait for him.
Cole ends up telling Dev he wants to go to the LGBT home rather than running away. Dev angrily tells him he’ll never be a “real boy,” and that the plan to run away was just so she could reconnect with her real boyfriend. After she leaves, Cole cries in Callie’s arms.
Later, Callie comes into Cole’s room and finds him despondent. In a weird parallel with Nicky and Morello from “Orange is the New Black,” Cole asks “Will anyone ever love me?” and Callie responds “I do.”
Cole: “You know what I mean. Will anyone ever love a freak?”
Callie: “You’re not a freak, you just know who you are and you have the courage to go through with what you have to to make yourself the person you want to be. That’s more than a lot of us can say.”
When Callie goes back to Becka’s room and asks if she’s OK because she’s been quiet, Becka claims she’s just tired. She says she needs to go to the bathroom but instead heads down to the basement, where we see her with a glass pipe and a lit match.
Next thing we know, smoke is slowly seeping out of the vents in everyone’s bedrooms. Rita finds Becka unconscious in the basement and pulls her out with Callie’s help. Becka’s rushed to the hospital, where she’s treated for smoke inhalation. Once the fire is extinguished, the girls (plus Cole) are instructed to pack their stuff – they’re going back to juvie until they can find other group homes. Rita chastises Callie for trying to be a hero, then says even though Callie doesn’t think so, she is a success story and she’s come too far to give up now. The Fosters 2×08 concludes with Stef coming to pick up Callie from the smoldering Girls United house.
Check out this sneak peek of next week’s episode: Will the Brandon/Callie/Wyatt love triangle make a comeback?