The Fosters is back into its Monday night groove – complete with runaway teens, Brallie angst, and secrets that range from romantic trysts to serious health issues. Read on for our recap of The Fosters 3×12.
‘Callie, is it true?’
So remember that time Callie and Brandon slept together? If the cliffhanger of last week’s episode of The Fosters was any indication, someone posting on the message board of Callie’s Fost & Found site sure seems to. Even though the poster deleted the thread, Callie still feels she has to talk to Brandon about it. Between his new job playing piano at the restaurant and his impending Juilliard audition, it’s hard to catch him at a free moment, so Callie interrupts one of his Juilliard practice sessions to ask if he ever shared their secret. He didn’t, but she admits she did – and he’s mad about it. Callie heads to Girls United to get the 411 from Daphne, who promises she didn’t tell anyone and manages to come up with an alternative interpretation: Maybe the post was referring to Liam. After all, it didn’t name names; it merely said “Callie, is it true you had sex with your foster brother?”
Speaking of cliffhangers from The Fosters 3×11, Lena goes into research mode following Stef’s diagnosis of “stage zero cancer” (which Stef describes as “I don’t have [cancer], but I could get it – it’s kinda confusing”). Stef’s head is spinning, so Lena backs off, telling her she’s not alone and they can discuss things whenever she’s ready. Way to rein in the pushiness and amplify the supportiveness, Lena. Unfortunately, that only lasts until breakfast the following morning, when Lena and Stef’s mother Sharon argue about the best course of action to take. Sharon (who’s still at the Fosters’ house… along with her boyfriend, Will… for some reason I’ve yet to discern…) is even postponing her vacation until she knows what Stef plans to do. Talk about pressure. Will may have a solution, though: cannabis oil. “I’m a cop,” Stef tells him frostily. You tried, Will. You tried. Ultimately, Stef commits to making a decision once Ty gets arrested at his grandmother’s funeral. Just one small issue with that: He and brother AJ have already fled to Phoenix. After the funeral, Stef shares her diagnosis with Mike, who’s the first person to ask her what SHE wants to do. Hmm, there’s a lesson here.
& the winner is…
Over at Anchor Beach, Mariana’s ex-boyfriend Mat is lamenting his situation to possibly the worst person ever.
Mat: “I mean, do you have any idea what it’s like trying to get over someone when you have to see them every day?”
Brandon: “Yeah, that must be… hard.”
To his credit, Brandon’s at least trying to get over Callie. Turns out that Cortney, the girl who got him the job at the restaurant, surfs at the beach next to the school – and she looks decent in a bikini, to boot. He meets up with her for a surf lesson, and although sparks fly, she’s reticent to take the next step, telling Brandon, “I’m just… kind of… getting out of something, you know?” Oh, girl, trust me, he does know. In fact, he opens up a little about the situation with Callie (not naming names, of course), and Cortney declares he and Callie to be star-cross’d lovers. That’s not the only time Shakespeare crops up in this episode, so someone on the writing team was obviously feeling inspired by the Bard. Cortney goes on to share that she copes with her problems by surfing, and asks Brandon what in his life makes him feel that way. “My music,” he says because he’s 1) a cliche and 2) kind of adorable.
In case anyone forgot, Jesus is back – he just looks a little different now that Noah Centineo is playing the character instead of Jake T. Austin. When Jesus 2.0 asked his moms for a new wrestling uniform “because I don’t fit the old one anymore,” I had to laugh. Yep, Noah’s built just a tad differently than Jake. Anyway, the point’s moot, because according to Stef and Lena, he won’t be wrestling this year on account of his brush with steroids at boarding school. As Lena puts it, his actions have to have consequences. Sharon wonders aloud whether it may do more harm than good to take away something Jesus loves, but as Stef points out, “It’s not a consequence if it’s not something he loves.” Hmm, wonder how he’ll fill that void…
Speaking of lost love, Jude is despondent over Connor moving to Los Angeles – and his new Shakespeare class isn’t helping. Sharon shares that she and Stef’s late father, Frank, had to maintain a three-year long-distance relationship while he was in the Navy, and then she tells Jude that sometimes distance truly does make the heart grow fonder. She urges him to focus on how good it’ll be when he and Connor are reunited, not how bad it feels right now.
Meanwhile, the BFF vs. BFF battle between Mariana and Lexi heats up in The Fosters 3×12 as junior class president elections draw closer. Mariana charms new kid Nick, Lexi steals campaign ideas, and Jesus gives Lexi a boost – literally – while she’s hanging “Lexi for Prexi” posters. He may be changing his vote sooner rather than later, though: His ex-girlfriend, Hayley, is Lexi’s campaign manager. Mariana wants Lexi to go down sooner rather than later, so she proposes a presidential debate, which is a great idea in theory but quickly devolves into a fight. And the winner is… neither of them. Later, they apologize to each other and Lexi admits she doesn’t even really want to be class president. All hail President Foster?
Although Mariana loves the spotlight, that’s a trait Callie doesn’t share, which is why she’s still struggling with Justina’s characterization of her as a role model for foster kids. Daphne gives her a modified version of AJ’s “SOMETIMES IT’S MEANT TO BE, SUPER CALLIE!” speech, but it doesn’t do the trick. The truth is that even though the Fost & Found post was likely referring to Liam, Callie is still carrying around the knowledge of what happened with Brandon.
Callie: “I have this huge secret. How am I supposed to think that I’m some kind of role model?
Brandon: “Because you are! You are – Callie, you survived the system, and you’ve helped a lot of people. I think you’re just afraid to be more than the poor foster girl with the sad story and the hard life, but that’s not who you are anymore. You have the chance to be so much more. To be happy and to go out and shine in the world. The only thing holding you back is you. And you’re holding me back too.”
Callie: “I’m sorry; I thought we were in this together.”
Brandon: ‘We can’t be in this together. Not if we want to move on.”
And the award for the most simultaneously uplifting and crushing conversation goes to Brallie. Everybody give ’em a big round of applause, because good grief.
As part of the whole “role model” schtick, Justina sets up a photo shoot for Callie, complete with a professional photographer, a bright white background, and one of those umbrella-looking things that do something with light. “You’re not just an inspiration, you’re an aspiration for foster kids everywhere,” Justina tells Callie. “If they can see it, they can be it, so let’s show them all they can be.” Just one problem: By the time Callie’s hair and makeup is done, she… well, here’s how Brandon phrases it:
Callie’s not going to let that one slide – she follows him into the garage and lays the smackdown.
“You don’t get to do that. You don’t get to tell me to go out and shine in the world and then make me feel bad. You hold me back too, Brandon – it’s not just on me. You like me as the poor foster girl who needs you to save her, so if you want to move on, if you want me to move on, do not drag me back down.”
Brandon retreats to his happy place – i.e. his keyboard – and promptly put the part of “Romeo & Juliet” about star-cross’d lovers to music. Told ya Shakespeare would be a theme in The Fosters 3×12. Here’s a little more information: He’s writing a SHAKESPEARE-BASED ROCK OPERA for his senior project, and he wants Mat to work on it with him. Mat’s skeptical at first, but then Brandon says, “This’ll give you a chance to pour all that heartbreak into it,” and he’s sold.
‘You look Super Callie’
Back to New Kid Nick for a second. He has a sweet ride, Jesus has a whole lot of adrenaline that he’s unable to burn off wrestling, and there’s an old factory road begging to be driven down in the aforementioned sweet ride at 100 miles per hour. Bad idea? Oh, horrible. Rad idea? If you’re Jesus, totally. Long story short, they almost crash into a truck and Jesus gets a flashback of the car crash that ended season 2. This kid really has to stop giving in to peer pressure, man.
Meanwhile, Callie’s texts to AJ are going unanswered, and when Stef tells her why, she’s shocked. However, after the images from her photo shoot go live on Fost & Found, a comment suggests that he may not be completely gone after all. “You look Super Callie,” the commenter writes, and Callie reaches out to him or her through the site’s Instant Messenger function, asking if it’s AJ.
As The Fosters 3×12 draws to a close, Stef tells her mother that she’s decided to have a lumpectomy – a choice her mother doesn’t accept. After Sharon leaves, Stef opens a piece of mail containing test results that reveal a “significant mutation” associated with an increased risk of developing invasive breast and ovarian cancer… and hides it from Lena.