Previously on The Fosters, Brandon and Callie had a heart-to-heart, the Matiana deep freeze began to thaw, and the Jonnor ship hit an iceberg. In The Fosters 3×19, the family experiences some real-life Shakespearian twists and turns as R + J: A Romeo & Juliet Tale hits the stage. Read on for our recap of The Fosters 3×19, “The Show.”
First, a note: In a recent interview with Pop City Life, executive producer Bradley Bredeweg described R + J as “the through-line and the centerpiece for the episode,” making the structure of The Fosters 3×19 different to the show’s usual format. Most of the offstage happenings are shown as flashbacks, with the exception of Stef’s storyline, which unfolds in real time as the R + J production progresses. To reflect that deviation, the format of this recap is a little different as well. And with that, on with “The Show”…
The Fosters 3×19 begins with Brandon giving a pre-show speech to the R + J actors, who include High School Musical alum Corbin Bleu and several cast members from Romeo & Juliet: Love Is A Battlefield, a Shakespeare-meets-Pat Benatar musical co-written by Bradley Bredeweg that ran in LA last year. (Fun fact: Ashley Argota, who plays Lou – Brandon and Mat’s bandmate from Someone’s Little Sister – was in both Love Is A Battlefield and R + J.) Nick arrives with flowers for Mariana, and as she hugs him, she catches sight of Mat and Zoey exchanging gifts. When Cort shows up with a gift for Brandon, he’s surprised to see her – there’s clearly tension between the two, but we don’t know why just yet. Callie interrupts to ask Brandon if it’s OK to start letting in the audience, because if there’s one thing the Brandon/Cort situation needed, it was more awkwardness.
Meanwhile, Officer Stef is out on a domestic violence call and may not be able to make it to the show. When she arrives at the house in question, she gets a shock: It’s Callie and Jude’s previous foster home, the one belonging to the abusive, gun-toting foster father from The Fosters 1×01. Stef and her colleagues (not to mention the worried neighbors who called the cops in the first place) think the man’s wife is inside the house and could be in danger.
R + J kicks off with a heavily guylinered Brandon at a piano, singing the play’s opening lines. (“He looks ridiculous – is he just singing Shakespeare?” Pop City Life’s Noelle wonders in the first few moments. Thankfully, there’s a lot more to The Fosters 3×19 than that.)
At the rest of the cast waits in the wings, Zoey notices Mariana smiling at Mat and comments, “It’s kind of ironic that I’m playing the nurse when I’m really Mat’s Juliet.” Me-ow. Out in the audience, Cort glances at Callie, who’s watching Brandon intently.
Flashback: “If Romeo and Juliet just told somebody they were in love … maybe they could’ve worked it out,” Mariana tells Callie as she studies her script. “Secrets are like, the worst.” Yup, and doesn’t Callie know it.
Onstage: Chad Danforth – I mean Corbin Bleu – dramatically climbs the scaffolding part of the set in his role as Mercutio. It’s very RENT. The cast subsequently floods the stage while singing about being unbreakable, and the lyrics strike a chord with Jude.
Flashback: As Jude cries in bed, Jack, who’s been staying at the Fosters’ since his group home got shut down, says he’s sorry about what happened with Connor and he knows what it’s like to be alone. “They’re gonna find you a good home,” Jude assures him, “and until then, I’m happy you’re here.”
Onstage: Romeo (Mat) confides in Benvolio (Lou) about his one-sided love for Rosaline. Benvolio advises him to “forget to think of her,” but Romeo protests that it’s not that easy.
Flashback: Brandon and Cort are arguing about the way Brandon vehemently told a stranger that he wasn’t Mason’s father. Cort asks him to be honest about how much he can handle – not just in terms of dating a mother, but also getting over Callie… or not. “If you’re not done with Callie, then I have to be done with this,” Cort tells him firmly. And we all know he’s not done with Callie.
Onstage: Juliet (Mariana) meets Romeo at a masquerade ball, and the two quickly fall for each other. It’s not until they take off their masks that they realize they come from feuding families. During the infamous balcony scene, Romeo sings “What we have, there’s no controlling it.” Brandon makes eye contact with Callie, who’s standing in the audience.
Flashback: Brandon’s in the family garage late at night, running through the song we just saw Mat and Mariana performing onstage. When Callie comes in, he asks her to wake Mariana, but Callie doesn’t want to “unleash the beast.” Brandon asks Callie to take on Juliet’s part instead, and Callie reluctantly agrees. Together, they sing a song with lyrics that include “This love could be great but they say it would be wrong – I don’t care, I’d be lost without you, “We’ll never need their rules to guide the way,” and “What’s in a name? I’m ready to risk the blame.” After that kind of setup, you can hardly blame Callie for what she says when the final notes of the song fade out.
“It’s funny – I was talking to Mariana earlier and she was saying how if Romeo and Juliet had just told their parents, maybe their ending wouldn’t have been so tragic. Do you ever think what might have happened if we just told?”
Onstage: After walking in on Romeo and Juliet kissing, the nurse (Zoey) is pissed – and so is Zoey herself, because she can see the sparks between Mat and Mariana a mile away. The nurse warns Juliet to guard her heart and not take risks, and Jude frowns in the audience.
Flashback: Jack and Jude are venting their frustrations by jumping around to music (and, especially in Jude’s case, hilariously headbanging). After engaging in a primal scream, Jude ends up sobbing. Jack comforts him, and the two share a kiss.
Onstage: Just as the nurse is about to drag Juliet away, Romeo sings, “When I look in your eyes, I see the one that I want for all time,” and Juliet runs back to him. As Mat and Mariana sing “Every song I sing, it’s you; every laugh I laugh, it’s you,” Nick watches jealously from the audience. Meanwhile, Brandon imagines an alternate version of the song in which he’s singing to Cortney, who becomes Callie mid-song. See, told you he wasn’t done with Callie.
Backstage: A tearful Mariana tells Mat she still loves him. Mat’s confused – if she feels that way, why didn’t she answer his letter? Turns out he slipped his own declaration of love into her bag during rehearsal, but the note must have been intercepted before Mariana saw it. If you’ve read or watched Romeo & Juliet, you’ll recognize the undelivered letter theme, and if not, wait 20 minutes and R + J will get there. Just then, Nick appears to tell Mariana she’s doing great. She hugs him and guiltily meets Mat’s eyes. Later, as Mariana and Zoey are touching up their makeup, an insecure Zoey takes another jab at Mariana.
“Romeo and Juliet were never gonna make it as a couple. I don’t even think they ever consummated their relationship. Everybody knows sex is where the real bonding happens, like with me and Mat. When we had sex, it really took things to the next level. You know, it really brought us so much closer. I knew I could trust him. He’s not the kind of guy who would just have sex with a girl and then dump her. Anyway, see you out there!”
Onstage: Tybalt kills Mercutio, and Romeo kills Tybalt. In the audience, Lena grows increasingly worried about Stef – who, it turns out, is in the midst of her own violent encounter with Jude and Callie’s former foster father. Meanwhile, Callie watches as Benvolio advises Romeo to flee Verona.
Flashback: Jack admits to Callie that he kissed Jude to make him feel better, but only likes him as a friend. Callie advises him to tell Jude the truth.
Onstage: The friar (Brandon) comes up with a plan to help Juliet escape with Romeo, and gives Juliet a potion to fake her own death. He promises to explain the plan in a letter to Romeo, who has already taken Benvolio’s advice and fled. As Juliet prepares to “die,” she resolves to be brave. In the audience, Jude smiles sadly.
Flashback: Jack is nervously packing his belongings to take to his new foster home, but Jude’s optimistic. “Maybe this’ll be your last foster home,” he suggests prophetically, although what ends up happening in The Fosters 3×19 is far from what he has in mind. When Jack admits he shouldn’t have kissed Jude, Jude says he’s glad the kiss happened because it made him realize that although he isn’t over Connor, he can get over him. Jude proceeds to give Jack a pay-as-you-go phone so the two of them can keep in touch. Flash forward to Jude in the audience. He texts Jack to see how he’s doing, but doesn’t get a response.
Onstage: Juliet drinks the potion and collapses after singing a reprise of the song Brandon and Callie practiced together in the garage.
Flashback: We pick up where the previous Brallie flashback left off – with Brandon thrown for a loop by Callie’s question about what would happen if they “just told.” An impetuous Brandon leads Callie out of the garage and across the yard so they can come clean to their moms, but Callie stops him, protesting that they can’t. “It’s too late,” Brandon says finally. Callie says she knows.
Onstage: The friar gives Benvolio the letter for Romeo. In the audience, Nick watches uncomfortably.
Flashback: Nick is alone in the rehearsal space, and Mat’s letter is conspicuously sticking out of Mariana’s bag…
Onstage: Romeo, who never received the letter, discovers Juliet lying “dead.”
Elsewhere: After Stef neutralizes the threat of Callie and Jude’s former foster father by non-fatally shooting him, one of her colleagues finds a body in the house. Stef approaches the body and almost steps on a familiar-looking pair of glasses.
Onstage: Believing Juliet is truly dead, Romeo stabs himself. In the audience, Mike glances at a tearful Ana, then takes her hand. (Jesus and Mariana’s cousin totally called this like a month ago.) Back onstage, Juliet wakes up, discovers Romeo’s body, and sings, “We are nothing without each other” before taking her own life. The rest of the cast sings the final lines of the musical, and Mat and Mariana hold hands. With Callie watching sadly, Brandon delivers the last lines of the play: “For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”
Elsewhere: As The Fosters 3×19 draws to a close, Stef lifts the sheet draped over the body, and her fears are confirmed: The victim is Jack.
Pop City Life recently chatted with The Fosters 3×19 director Bradley Bredeweg, who’s also the show’s co-creator and executive producer, and actress Cierra Ramirez, who plays Mariana. Bradley spoke about his love for live theater and what went into the decision-making behind Jack’s death, while Cierra discussed her theatrical aspirations and revealed what’s next in the Mariana/Mat/Nick love triangle.
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