In The Fosters 3×15, Stef recovered from surgery, the twins learned more about their birth father, Callie struggled to form her own opinion about a polarizing issue, and Brandon stepped up. Read on for our recap of The Fosters 3×15, “Minor Offenses.”
Family is everything
The Fosters 3×15 begins 10 days after Stef’s surgery, with Stef, Lena, Justina, and Callie watching a PSA that features Callie urging people to vote for Senate Bill 3301. Stef and Lena are unsure if they want Callie being the poster child for a piece of legislation – especially when neither they nor Callie have actually read the bill – but Callie’s work with foster care advocate Justina could go a lot further than that, as she and Justina have been invited to the White House for an upcoming symposium. It’s huge news, but Stef and Lena are concerned about Callie being distracted from her schoolwork. Callie’s upset, but before she and her moms can discuss the issue any further, Mike shows up with AJ in tow. AJ apologizes for running away and not turning his brother in when he found out Ty was behind the wheel of the car that hit Mariana, Jesus, and birth mom Ana. “We get it, AJ; family is everything,” Mariana tells him.
When Callie tries to speak with AJ alone, the conversation is short and awkward – not unlike the one Jesus has with birth father Gabriel the following day, in which he returns the tool belt Gabriel gave him and says he doesn’t want anything to do with him. Why the sudden change? In last week’s episode, Gabriel told Jesus he wasn’t legally allowed to be around him, and Mariana discovered Gabriel’s name on the Sex Offender Registry in connection with lewd or lascivious acts with a minor.
So we all know about Brandon’s senior project (the Romeo & Juliet rock opera he’s working on with Mat), but what’s Callie’s? She doesn’t know yet and time is ticking, but she eventually gets the idea to focus on Rita and Girls United, and visits Rita to see if she’d be up for it. Rita’s interested, which is great news for viewers because that means more Rosie O’Donnell on our screens (in my opinion, never a bad thing). Their conversation soon changes course to Callie’s White House invitation and her moms’ disappointing reaction.
Rita: “They’re just being your moms. That’s their job. But you know they’re really proud of you, right?”
Callie: “I guess, they’re just so annoying.”
Rita: “Oh, it’s funny to hear you sound like a normal teenager.”
Protective moms aside, it does sound like the bill has some issues. Rita – who has actually read it – explains that it allocates more than half of state funds to privatized foster homes, which confuses Callie because she thought Justina was against privatization. Callie confronts Justina, who talks about sidestepping the system’s buck-passing and assigning accountability, and manages to change Callie’s mind. When Callie regurgitates Justina’s words to Rita, Rita asks if she’s actually thinking about what she’s saying or simply repeating what Justina told her. Callie gets defensive and accuses Rita of wanting to keep things the same to protect her job, which (understandably) offends Rita. So much for seeing a lot more of Rosie O’Donnell…
Over at the Smoke House, Brandon catches up with young mom and bartender Cortney for the first time since Brandon saw the car seat in the back of Cortney’s car. Cortney admits she’d assumed Brandon decided he was too young to date a woman with a kid, but a feisty Brandon shoots back, “Don’t tell me what I think.” Cut to him singing an equal parts endearing and embarrassing song named, I presume, Surf Girl, given the fact that the phrase seems to come up every few words. She’s charmed but still hesitant to go out with him, claiming that among other things, she simply doesn’t have the time. When Brandon offers to help her find it, she responds, “That makes even less sense than the song you just made up.” Zing.
Brandon sets a private table for Cortney to enjoy during her 15-minute break, which is very sweet, but has he really thought about how much Cortney has going on? As they’re about to kiss, the door bursts open – it’s Cortney’s son, Mason, and his father, Eddie. Well, that’s a rude awakening. Not to be intimidated, Brandon rises to the challenge and offers to watch Mason. At the end of the night, he gets his kiss from Cortney after all – and when she tells him “This is a bad idea,” he counters, “I got lots of those.” Seriously, when did Brandon Foster get game?
Back at the Fosters’, Mariana spills the beans about Jesus tracking down their birth father, and Stef and Lena are horrified when they find out his name is on the Sex Offender Registry. In no uncertain terms, Stef warns them to stay away.
“Listen to me, the two of you: You are never to go near this man again, do you hear me? You have no idea who you are dealing with. He could be very, very dangerous, and this is not me overreacting. This is not me giving you a parental warning that you can just ignore because you think that I’m being ridiculous. This could be very serious, you understand me? I want to hear you say yes.”
Of course, as with most things in the world of The Fosters, things aren’t exactly what they seem. Later, Ana explains to Jesus and Mariana that Gabriel was on the registry because she was 15 and he was 18 when they started dating, and her parents reported him to the cops.
So remember how Nick asked Mariana out in last week’s episode? When he comes to the door to pick up Mariana in The Fosters 3×15, Stef casually informs him that she’s a cop, she knows all the cops in town, and she’s bound to hear about it if he goes over the speed limit. Before Nick has time to let that sink in, Jesus drops a bombshell on Mariana: He’s coming on their date too, and he’s bringing Lexi. Great, right? Well, not so much considering that things between Lexi and Mariana have been strained since the class presidency debacle. Lexi and Mariana may not bond much with each other at first, but they do spend some quality time talking to their dates. More specifically, Lexi and Jesus begin to rekindle their season 1 romance, while Nick opens up a little to Mariana about his less than perfect childhood. Of course, Nick has to ruin the night by being an idiot and driving way too fast, so in the end, Mariana and Lexi end up united after all as they storm away from the car and walk home together. Sitting on the Fosters’ front steps, Mariana admits that Lexi’s success in the election made her feel like a failure, and Lexi reveals that she’s struggling to keep up with student council.
A fair shake
Back to the Ty situation. Because Ty was driving his friend’s father’s car when he got into the accident, he’s being charged with grand theft auto as well as felony hit and run. Mike asks Stef to speak on Ty’s behalf to reduce his sentence, and Stef doesn’t exactly react well. Callie overhears because the Foster house has zero walls, and she asks Stef point blank, “When I first came to live here, you told me that I wasn’t disposable, so why is Ty?” Later that night, with Callie’s words echoing in her head, Stef reads the file on Ty that Mike left her. The following day, she asks for a reduced sentence in court.
“Tyrone Hensdale has just really never been given a fair shake. While I’m not prepared to say that I forgive him, I most certainly do understand why he did what he did. That is why I’m asking the court for lenience.”
As a result of Stef sharing her case notes and arguing that grand theft auto shouldn’t enter into the equation, it’s removed from the charges, but Ty still gets 18 months.
After almost an entire episode of referring to Stef’s surgery in the context of other storylines, there’s finally a scene that focuses on how Stef (and Lena) are handling the aftermath of the mastectomy. Stef is slowly regaining feeling in her chest, and Lena realizes her shyness about not changing in front of her wife is silly once Stef tells her, “For the record, you’re not what makes me feel worse, you’re what makes me feel better.”
To close The Fosters 3×15, Callie and AJ visit AJ’s grandmother’s grave. Callie asks AJ to forgive her for telling Stef where to find him and Ty when they were on the run, and AJ says there’s nothing to forgive. He explains he wouldn’t let her visit him in juvie because he was embarrassed, not mad, and says he regrets leaving town just as their relationship was deepening. Judging by the kiss Callie gives him, she’s not mad either. Cut to Jesus, whose apology to Gabriel doesn’t go nearly as well. “I’m not your father and I never will be,” Gabriel tells him. Can this show ever have a happy ending?!