It’s been five months since The Fosters season 3A ended, so if you need a refresher before diving into this recap, head here. All caught up? Cool. On with our recap of The Fosters 3×11, “First Impressions,” a.k.a. the first episode of season 3B.
Thicker than water
The Fosters 3×11 opens with Brandon performing his Idyllwild composition at Disney Hall. (Not bad considering he got kicked out of the summer program and had to beg his way back in.) In the audience, Callie looks troubled, and for good reason: Memories of the forbidden night she spent with Brandon are running through her head.
Cue the title sequence – and Fosters newbie Noah Centineo‘s first appearance in it. After actor Jake T. Austin left the show at the end of season 2, Jesus spent season 3A away at boarding school, but now Noah’s on board and Jesus is back. What do we call this phenomenon? The second coming of Jesus, of course.
The day after the concert, Callie’s nervous for her upcoming presentation about her Fost & Found app, and Brandon manages to hold a decent (if slightly awkward) conversation with her about it. He says he felt the same way before his Disney Hall performance, but it ended up going well – so well, in fact, that he got invited to the final callbacks at prestigious New York-based performing arts school Juilliard. There’s only one problem… well, actually, 40,000 problems, and that’s just the cost of tuition. “You can’t worry about that right now,” Callie advises. “If you get in, you never know what will happen.” Aww, Brallie shippers, look, they’re bonding! Except things get weird again about two seconds later when Brandon brings up AJ, a.k.a. the other foster brother Callie kissed. Awk… ward.
Speaking of AJ, his grandmother has died, making his brother Ty his sole remaining blood relative. Mike helps out by covering the funeral expenses, and he even calls the precinct to request that Ty’s prints not be run in connection with the investigation into the hit and run that almost killed Mariana, Jesus and Ana. Unfortunately, Mike’s too late – the results are already in, and Ty’s prints match the ones taken from the SUV involved in the crash. This inconvenient truth puts Mike and Stef in quite a pickle.
Mike: “What about AJ? I’m just getting through to him. He’s starting to trust me. What do you think’s gonna happen if I arrest the only family he’s got left?”
Stef: “What about MY family? OUR family?”
You could say Stef has a lot on her plate in The Fosters 3×11. She and Lena were having a rough time toward the end of season 3A, and the revelation that Monte kissed Lena only added fuel to the fire (read more in our recent interview with Sherri Saum). Stef and Lena had a long-overdue heart to heart about everything after Stef’s health scare in episode 3×10, but now the school year’s starting, and Stef knows Lena and Monte will be working side by side at Anchor Beach all day, every day. Yikes.
As Stef bickers with Lena in the kitchen of the family home, things go from bad to worse: She opens a letter from her insurance company that reveals the second mammogram she had won’t be covered. The worst person to overhear her talking about money problems right now would be Brandon, sooo of course he’s the one who does. He decides not to share his Juilliard news with them and instead confides in Stef’s mom, Sharon – who, of course, goes straight to Stef and Lena anyway. Lena reassures Brandon that if he gets accepted, they’ll figure out the financial aspect.
Three’s a crowd
Speaking of Monte, guess who shows up at the Fosters’ front door? THE SHE-DEVIL HERSELF. (I may have a little lingering resentment toward her.) She apologizes (good!), she says she’s ashamed of herself (as she should be!) and even volunteers to resign from Anchor Beach. Stef seems like she might be considering the offer, but later on, Lena speaks for both of them when she tells Monte they would prefer she stay, even though Stef hasn’t officially made her choice yet. Well, that decision is bound to blow up in Lena’s face at some point. At least she makes it clear to Monte that they are colleagues, not friends, and that they need to “respect appropriate boundaries.” Translation: Stay the eff away from Stef’s lady, Monte.
Meanwhile in The Fosters 3×11, Mariana is busy working on her bid to become junior class president, with Jesus’ old flame Emma as her campaign manager. She’s focused on getting into a good college, which means establishing “a full resume of extracurricular activities.” Rather you than me, girl. Via a conversation between Mariana, Jesus and Emma, we finally learn why Jesus won’t be returning to boarding school: According to Mariana, he’s flunking out, and according to Jesus, “I didn’t flunk out, I was just having kind of a hard time with the classes there.” Mystery solved – or is it? Stef and Lena find out that Jesus’ grades are fine but his wrestling teammates are taking steroids – and so was Jesus, although he doesn’t want to anymore. Monte exercises her power as principal to ensure Jesus skips the waiting list and is able to return to Anchor Beach immediately, which is good news for Jesus but has the potential to make things very awkward for Lena.
On the topic of Jesus’ old flames, guess who’s baaaack? None other than Lexi, who was Mariana’s BFF and Jesus’ girlfriend before she moved out of the country. Now she’s returning to Anchor Beach! Mariana is thrilled, while Jesus is, well, lukewarm at first, and Emma is positively frosty. Just then, a wild Brandon appears.
“It’s like an ex-girlfriend convention in here. Want me to call Hayley? Maybe she can come over.”
So mean, but so funny. The Outlaw’s got jokes in The Fosters 3×11.
Unsurprisingly, it turns out that three’s a crowd – but it’s Mariana, not Jesus, who ends up caught in the middle. Lexi and Emma have different ideas about how she should run her campaign, right down to the picture she should use: Emma nixes a glamour shot and Lexi describes a more serious, studious photo as “boring,” which rubs Emma the wrong way.
“I don’t think that smart is boring. I don’t think that caring about what matters is boring. I don’t think that you need to be silly and stupid to be sexy, but if that’s the kind of campaign that you want to run, then maybe I’m not the girl for the job.”
Mariana ultimately concludes that Emma’s right, which drives a wedge between her and Lexi – so much so that Lexi decides to run for class president herself.
Fost & (things aren’t always how they) sound
Remember that Fost & Found presentation Callie was nervous about earlier in The Fosters 3×11? She delivers it to an audience of foster kids and assorted other onlookers, and it goes pretty well. One kid – Jack – asks Jude if he thinks she’s for real, and Jude responds, “That girl is my sister. Trust me – she’s for real.” (Have I mentioned lately how much I love Jude, because I LOVE JUDE SO MUCH.)
After Callie steps down from the podium, Jack approaches her to talk about his less-than-ideal foster situation, which strikes a chord with Callie because he reminds her of Jude. Next, she meets Justina (guest star Kelli Williams), who introduces herself as a foster care advocate and says she wants to invest $50,000 in the Fost & Found app. Holy money, Batman. Mariana sets her up with administrative access to Fost & Found, and Justina goes as far as to say Callie could be “the spokesperson the foster community has been waiting for.” She even offers to help Jack – but are her motives really as altruistic as they seem? Perhaps not, because after she makes a call about Jack, he gets pulled out of his foster placement and put in a group home.
Even more suspiciously, Justina lies to Callie about making the call at all. Jack blames Callie for the situation, and his burgeoning friendship with Jude screeches to a halt – a development Jude is none too pleased about considering he really needs a friend right now, what with Connor leaving. (Incidentally, if you’re familiar with my recaps at all, you know I’ll be writing a whole lot more about Jonnor in a second).
Later, Callie tells AJ about Justina’s offer. She says she doesn’t think she’s cut out to be a role model, and AJ gives her an ~inspiring speech~.
Why can’t you be a role model? In the comic books, it’s always the people you never think can do it who turn out to be a hero. I mean what if Peter Parker didn’t want to be Spider-Man after he got bit? Too bad! Sometimes it’s meant to be, Super Callie.
Aww, AJ. I forgot about his keen interest in comic books – and in Callie, for that matter. When Callie returns home after visiting him, she tells Brandon where she was, and things get super awkward all over again. “If you and AJ are, like, hanging out… dating… or whatever… that’s – that’s fine,” Brandon says unconvincingly. They agree to let each other know if they’re seeing someone so they don’t have to find out from other people.
Nothing was the same
(Yes, that subheading is Drake-inspired. Fight me.)
OK, back to JUDE WHO I LOVE SO MUCH. The future of the Good Ship Jonnor is achingly uncertain given Connor’s impending relocation to Los Angeles, and the reality of the situation kicks in when Jude visits Connor’s house and finds his boyfriend’s room all packed up and ready for the move. Connor reassures him that he can visit L.A. whenever he wants, but Jude can’t help getting teary. “School’s not going to be the same without you,” he tells Connor. “Nothing is.” Connor tears up too; he admits he wants to stay, but he knows his father’s never going to change.
When Adam visits Anchor Beach to pick up Connor’s school transcripts, he tells Lena that he tried to get Connor to change his mind, but it’s too late. …Well, that’s what happens when you’re a homophobic father with a son in a same-sex relationship, just saying. Afterward, Adam runs into Jude and tells him, “I just wanted to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not getting it.” Jude tearfully hugs him. (I’m fine, I just have some Jonnor in my eye.)
See what actor Hayden Byerly had to say about Connor’s impending move in our recent interview, and check out an excerpt below:
Back to the Ty situation. Although Stef reluctantly agreed to hold off on doing anything with the information about the car accident, Ty’s guilty conscience tells him something’s up. He talks to AJ about what happened, admitting he “almost killed some people,” and AJ quickly puts two and two together, realizing the car his brother crashed into was the Fosters’. Ty decides he has to leave town that night and gives AJ an ultimatum: “Either you come with me or you ain’t never gonna see me again.” Will AJ stay or will he go? And will Callie’s acceptance of his invitation to go to a comic book convention the following weekend have any bearing on his decision?
True to her word, Callie tells Brandon about her plans with AJ, although she’s not sure if they’re going to the convention as friends or something more. Ultimately, the whole thing’s moot, because AJ boards a bus to Phoenix with Ty.
AJ isn’t the only character dealing with dramatic blood relatives in The Fosters 3×11 – Stef didn’t know that her mom sent her mammogram film for a second opinion until she gets a call from the doctor, who wants her to come in for an ultrasound and possibly a biopsy. She’s so annoyed with her mom that she writes off the request as a scam to make money.
Stef: “How did you do that? They can just let anybody send my records around town?!”
Sharon: “No! They have security questions. They wanted to know your mother’s maiden name. Took me a second, but then I remembered.”
The moral of the story? Don’t use your mother’s maiden name as one of your security questions if you have a meddling mom – and, honestly, who doesn’t have a meddling mom? …Basically just avoid using that question altogether, is what I’m saying here.
Oh, also? If a medical professional says you need further testing, maybe getting further testing wouldn’t be a terrible idea. Lena eventually talks Stef into it, which may just have saved Stef’s life. It turns out Stef has abnormal cells in her breast that the doctor refers to as “stage zero cancer” before recommending a lumpectomy and potential radiation. Um, that escalated quickly.
Honestly, that could’ve been the cliffhanger, but there’s one more short scene to go before The Fosters 3×11 ends: Callie logs onto the message board section of Fost & Found and comes across a startling post titled, “Callie, is it true you had sex with your foster brother?” Well, so much for putting that behind her.
What did you think of The Fosters 3×11?