After Callie dropped her bombshell about wanting to live with birth father Robert at the end of The Fosters 2×16, Stef and Lena understandably had some questions, which is where the next episode begins.
Read on for our recap of The Fosters 2×17.
When Stef and Lena press Callie about the motivation behind her decision, Callie tells them she’s “tired of fighting” when Robert will eventually get custody anyway. She agrees not to share her decision with the Quinns yet – but, given that this is The Fosters, who wants to place bets on how long the secret will stay under wraps? Lena believes Callie’s sick of living in limbo, but Stef thinks there’s something more going on and maintains that Callie would never leave Jude.
Speaking of Jude, Callie breaks the news to him during a beach walk, explaining, “I’m going to be living with Robert, but I’m always going to be a part of the Fosters. It’s just like Stef and Lena always say: We don’t need a piece of paper to be a family.” (Side note: When did Hayden Byerly get to be as tall as Maia Mitchell?)
Classroom & dance floor politics
At Anchor Beach, the tension between new principal Monte and unorthodox English teacher Timothy reaches a boiling point when Monte tells Timothy he’s “welcome to resign” if he doesn’t want to abide by the required curriculum. He asks what he should do differently, and she tells him to teach more critical thinking and nonfiction. Hmm. If that seemed suspiciously easy to you, you’re right – later in the episode, Lena finds out that Timothy disseminated an article to his students titled “Charter schools and the corporate takeover of public education: What’s at stake?” Unsurprisingly, Timothy is summarily fired – but not before delivering a stirring farewell speech to his class about how Anchor Beach is their school and not the administration’s, which inspires a mass walk-out.
Speaking of walking out, remember April, who was thrown off the school dance team for being drunk at the house party held at Stef and Lena’s house while the couple were away on their babymoon in The Fosters 2×03? She auditions for the dance team Mariana started with Tia, and although both girls want to accept her, Mariana wants to take a “mean girl” approach, rationalizing, “If April thinks that we want her, she won’t want us.” When they tell her she made the team, April reveals that rival dance captain Kaitlyn asked her to rejoin her team. Mariana takes the rivalry to the next level by forwarding some nasty texts to April, as penned by Kaitlyn, but ultimately, her effort to out-mean Kaitlyn backfires and April decides not to join either team.
After Jesus spoke to a scout from an all-boys, sports-focused boarding school and spoke to his moms about accepting the scholarship in the previous episode, Stef and Lena give him an answer in The Fosters 2×17 – and it’s a no.
Jesus takes out his rage on Brandon, and the brothers get into a physical fight that Stef breaks up. Remember my theory that Jake T. Austin has a certain amount of shirtless screen time written into his contract? The Fosters 2×17 adds more credence to that when Jesus stops (shirtlessly) jumping rope in the garage just long enough to tell Brandon how he’s feeling: He’s bitter that their moms won’t let him to go to boarding school, but Brandon as “golden boy” is still allowed to go on tour. After speaking with Brandon, Stef tells Jesus that she’s open to having the scout over for dinner. Could Jesus be going off to boarding school after all?
Mike and Ana and baby – oh my?
Every once in a while, this show likes to remind us that Stef has a job, and The Fosters 2×17 is one of those episodes. At work, Mike tells Stef she got what she wanted: The twins’ pregnant birth mother, Ana, got a minimum-wage job and is moving out, and he’s worried because she’ll be a newly sober, single mom living alone. Stef breaks the news about Ana asking the Fosters to adopt her baby. When Mike confronts Ana, telling her “We can do this,” she retorts, “There is no ‘we.'” Later, he admits to Lena that he’s considering adopting the baby himself. Lena reminds him that he already has a child to look after, but his efforts to reach out to Brandon aren’t exactly met warmly. When he tells Brandon that Ana is moving out, Brandon says his overtures make sense.
“Whenever you’re not seeing someone – no, whenever you’re not saving someone, you dump everything on me. All of your feelings, your loneliness, everything, and it makes me feel suffocated, so I don’t want to see you, Dad.”
Mike promises he’ll work on the problem, but he expects Brandon to put in some effort and open up. Brandon promptly reveals the news about his Idyllwild scholarship, which he hasn’t told Stef or Lena about because he doesn’t want to be pressured – and because he’s afraid he won’t be able to play classical music the way he used to before his injury. Mike says it’s his choice whether to go, but he shouldn’t let his fear stop him.
The Quinn/Foster/Daphne triangle
With everything else going on in The Fosters 2×17, it’s easy to forget about the main plot line – but not for long. Daphne pulls Callie aside and reveals she was visited by the cops, who told her that she could go to jail for 11 years for kidnapping, and Callie consoles her, claiming Robert’s lawyers will look out for them both and that Robert will do what she says. Well, I think we just found her motivation for wanting to live with the Quinns, if that wasn’t clear already. She explains that she can’t ‘fess up to Stef and Lena because that would mean selling out Brandon and Daphne as well as jeopardizing her own future, so Robert is her only solution.
Speaking of the Quinns, Jude visits Robert’s wife, Jill, unexpectedly, and tells her Callie’s only coming to live with them because she’s “scared of getting yanked out of the house again” (which is, after all, what Callie told him on the beach). He talks about what he and his sister went through while they were in the system, and says even though they finally found a home with Stef and Lena, Callie still doesn’t feel safe. Jill assures him that she and Robert aren’t trying to take Callie away from Jude, and that they will consider Jude part of the family if Callie does come to live with them. Could The Fosters 2×17 signify the beginning of a detente between the Fosters and the Quinns?
With the cat out of the bag, Robert drives Jude to the burger joint. He asks Callie if she’s really coming to live with him and then embraces her while Jude looks on sadly. On the way back to the Fosters’, Robert makes a pit stop at the new – and currently under construction – Girls United house so Callie and Jude can look around. Familiar face Rita greets them and explains that the money from the fundraiser, plus a little extra from Robert, made the whole thing possible. Callie reveals she’s moving in with Robert but is worried about hurting Stef and Lena, and Rita responds, “Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.”
Later, Stef visits the new Girls United house, but her tour doesn’t go as smoothly. In fact, she accuses Rita of exploiting Callie to get funding, and the conversation spirals downhill from there.
Rita: Callie didn’t even know this house existed until today. Robert didn’t want it to seem –
Stef: Like exactly what it is?
Rita: Stef, I realize that you and Lena are very disappointed…
Stef: We’re not disappointed, Rita, we’re devastated. She’s our daughter and she’s doing this out of obligation or fear, because she does not want to be taken out of our house again.
Rita: Or that’s what she’s telling you so you won’t get hurt.
Stef: Well, we’re already hurt.
Rita: Yes, I can see that, but wouldn’t you be even more hurt if she told you she did feel a connection with Robert because he is her birth father?
Courthouses & confessions
Back at home and with Rita’s words weighing on her mind, Stef tells Callie that it’s OK if she wants to live with Robert because he’s her birth father, and assures her that she shouldn’t feel as if she’s letting anyone down. Lena adds that they’ll stand beside her if this is what she truly wants.
As Lena, Stef, Robert and Jill head to the courthouse to officially register Callie’s change of heart, Daphne heads somewhere too – the new Girls United house, where she tells Rita about the kidnapping and later relays the story to the cops, claiming she acted alone.
As if there were any doubt that next week’s episode would be any less drama-filled than The Fosters 2×17, allow this preview to put that uncertainty to rest: