The familiar scene of the family eating around the kitchen table kicks off The Fosters 3×03, with one noticeable addition: AJ. Read on for our recap of The Fosters 3×03, “Deja Vu.”
As decided at the end of last week’s episode, AJ will be staying with Stef and Lena until Mike gets his foster license… or Stef and Lena find out that he was the reason behind Callie losing her job at the drop-in center. Everyone talks logistics around the table until Mariana drops a bombshell (she got a job working at her maternal grandparents’ bakery) and so does Mike (this is the first Brandon’s heard about him fostering AJ, sooo… that’s awkward). But, hey, it’s not where you come from, it’s where you belong, right? Roll the opening credits.
A dream or a nightmare?
The Fosters 3×03 is titled “Deja Vu,” and it doesn’t take long to find out why.
Lena: I was having deja vu all through dinner about Callie’s first night with us.
Stef: When she asked if we were dykes?
Lena: In comparison, AJ seems like a dream.
Famous last words, Lena. Famous last words.
Speaking of AJ, Callie walks in on him exploring Brandon’s room – particularly his signed Padres baseball. It seems as if AJ is about as thrilled by Brandon’s existence as Brandon is about AJ’s. “The real kid gets his own room?” AJ asks Callie. “We’re all real,” Callie responds. Her answer makes my heart happy, but the warm fuzzies don’t last for long: Callie says she knows AJ wants to run again and reminds him that she lost her job because of him. He urges her to tell Stef and Lena the whole story if she really wants him out of her life – but Brandon interrupts them before she can respond.
Meanwhile, Stef enjoys a night out at a gay bar with her friend Jenna, who’s single and looking for love, but the dating pool is a lot younger than they remember. Stef’s dating advice doubles as arguably the best line of this episode: “You can’t date women who watched ‘Friends’ for the first time on Netflix.” Jenna finally lays eyes on an attractive, age-appropriate option – the only problem is that it’s Monte, a.k.a. Lena’s boss, a.k.a. Lena’s former kissing partner. Stef tells Jenna that she’s straight because she was married to a man, and then Jenna points out that Stef was too…
On the heels of that conversation comes one about stereotyping of a different kind: racial prejudice. AJ asks Lena whether she’s ever fostered a black kid before and says most people aren’t amenable to the idea of letting even one into their houses, let alone two, which was why he and his brother got separated in the system. Lena firmly yet kindly lets him know that’s not how the Adams Fosters operate.
It looks like we’re going for the triple stereotype whammy in The Fosters 3×03: Remember how the bathroom floor/kitchen ceiling caved in at the end of the season 3 premiere? Lena finally got someone to come over and look at it, and he wants to know whether to email the quote to Lena or her husband. Cut to Stef walking into the kitchen. “So, are you two sisters, or…?” Nope, safe to say they’re “or” – and apparently Monte is “or” as well, because as Stef tells Lena, she was on a date with a woman she met online when Stef caught sight of her at the bar – aaand now Jenna wants Lena to set them up. “I am not setting up my boss with one of my friends!” Lena protests. Especially not when she’s kissed said boss, although of course Stef doesn’t know that. Despite Lena’s protests, a double-date between Lena, Stef, Jenna and Monte is soon being arranged. Unsurprisingly, the dinner turns out to be about as awkward as one may have predicted, especially when Stef tells the story of how she thought she was straight until she met Lena.
Guns n’ Churronuts
It’s been a while since Connor was shot (and Jude was shot at), but Jude still seems to be struggling with it in The Fosters 3×03. He flinches when Connor plays a violent video game and later asks Stef whether she was scared to carry a gun after she’d been shot. She tells him it isn’t a bad thing to be afraid of guns and gives him a kiss. It’s nice to see them getting more one-on-one time this season given that he’s historically been closer to Lena. Later that day, he uses the excuse of going to the shooting range to get out of playing a video game with Connor, and Connor asks to come too. Only problem is, Stef and Lena haven’t even given Jude their approval yet. Lena’s firmly against it at first, but Stef doesn’t think it’s a bad idea.
Over at the bakery, business is… not exactly booming. Mariana thinks they need to come up with a trendy dessert, but her grandfather shot down her cousin’s “churronut” idea. Undeterred, Mariana makes it her mission to make some changes. One social media campaign later, and Victor is still opposed, opining that tradition is everything. Mariana throws some numbers at him and is about to quit when he finally caves.
At Mike’s apartment, Brandon runs into some changes of a different kind – unwelcome ones. He’s supposed to be having dinner with his father, but Mike invites AJ as well. AJ just so happens to love sports, which makes the decidedly more musical Brandon feel left out, not to mention suspicious of AJ’s intentions.
Back at home, Brandon goes to Callie with his concerns, and there’s a brief #Brallie resurgence during the course of their conversation.
Brandon: Do you really trust him? I mean, you know the reason he’s here, right?
Callie: Well, did you trust me when I first got here?
Brandon: I don’t know, but you were a lot prettier.
Cut to AJ sneaking into Brandon’s room and stealing the signed baseball that was a gift from Stef’s father. Uh-oh…
‘I want you to be straight’
At school the next day, Monte tells Lena that she and Jenna went out for drinks after dinner and she’s interested in seeing the other woman again – unless Lena doesn’t want her to, which she doesn’t.
Lena: I don’t want you to date any women. What I mean is that… I want you to be straight, because if you’re straight then there’s no reason for me to tell my wife that you tried to kiss me, because it really didn’t mean anything, but if you’re gay, then not telling her is…
Monte: Like a betrayal. … I’m so sorry I put you in this position, but it’s not like you kissed me. It’s just something stupid I did. And if it’s just going to make Stef uncomfortable, is there really any point?
Lena is in such a pickle, but keeping secrets doesn’t seem to work out on The Fosters. Like, ever. I’m guessing the whole situation in The Fosters 3×03 won’t be an exception.
At the shooting range, Jude decides he doesn’t want to learn how to use a gun after all. The heretofore enthusiastic Connor manages once, but gets flashbacks of what happened during the incident with Taylor’s father and quickly bows out. Outside, Connor admits he isn’t as over what happened as he thought, and Jude comforts him. Then Stef emerges and relays a story and some words of wisdom.
You know, it was my dad who took me to the gun range for the first time when I was about your age. I was so excited to shoot a real gun. I walked up to that firing line, aimed my gun for the head, fired, and immediately burst into tears. I was so embarrassed; I knew my dad was going to give me a hard time about it, but you know what? He didn’t. He said he was really proud of me for recognizing that shooting a gun’s not a game. It’s very, very real, with very real consequences. He always told me that his goal as a police officer was to never have to shoot his firearm on the job, and he never did. Never got shot at. But we can’t say that, can we? We can talk about it, though, you know? I know I need to. It’s important.
Fost & Found
After AJ takes a bathroom break during class and never comes back, Mike and Callie look for him at the local park where he and his brother used to meet. Callie finds him sitting on top of a building, worrying that his brother won’t know where to find him if he does come back. Mike gives AJ a phone and watches as he spray-paints the number underneath the superhero sign he and his brother made up. Maybe this whole foster situation will work out after all.
Her experience with AJ gives Callie the idea to create an app called Fost & Found that lets foster kids communicate with each other. Lena says she’s confident the board will approve the project as an independent study and concludes that AJ has been a positive influence. Of course, nobody knows about the baseball AJ stole from Brandon’s room – at least not until Brandon catches him putting it back…
Tune in for the aftermath next Monday at 8/7c on ABC Family!