Last time on The Fosters… Honestly, just read the entire recap, because if there’s one thing this show knows how to do, it’s pack 5,000 minutes of drama into 42 minutes of airtime. However, according to season 4’s opening montage, the most relevant highlights going into The Fosters 4×01 are:
- Nick seeing Mariana and Mat kissing at the R+J after-party.
- Jude admitting to Taylor that he isn’t sure he’s into guys, and Taylor giving him his first kiss from a girl.
- Callie exposing for-profit foster placement company Arbiter’s connection to Justina, who retaliated by telling reporters that Callie slept with Brandon, thereby forcing Callie to admit the truth to her moms.
- A visibly distraught Nick burning down his father’s warehouse and driving to school with a gun in his car.
And now, on with the recap.
The Fosters 4×01 begins where the season 3 finale left off. Nick tucks the gun into his schoolbag and heads into the building, where a shocked Lena and Stef are trying to wrap their heads around the Brallie revelation. Stef’s irate about Rita’s involvement, but Callie insists Rita thought her relationship with Brandon was in the past and says pitifully, “She just wanted me to have a family.”
Elsewhere, Mat’s answering a question in physics class about potential energy, which also happens to be the title of The Fosters 4×01. He remembers the fourth type – nuclear – just as a tear-stained Nick enters the room and glares daggers at Mat’s back. Seems Nick’s going to go nuclear himself sooner rather than later, especially with that gun burning a hole in his bag. In between periods, Nick runs into Jesus and thanks him for being a good friend, then texts Mariana that he saw her kissing Mat. She asks to meet with him so they can talk.
Back in Lena’s office, Stef is beating herself up for not realizing something was going on between Brandon and Callie. Lena tries to keep the peace as Callie continues to explain the questionable logic behind the epic Brallie cover-up.
I didn’t want to destroy the family. As soon as we found out that I could get adopted, we stopped everything right away. We haven’t done anything since. We are family now. I love you both; I want you to be my moms.
Hello & goodbye
In the midst of what I’ve taken to calling the Brallie Summit, Mike bursts into Lena’s office. He reveals Nick’s father’s warehouse burned down in what looks like a case of arson, and asks if Nick is at school. Nick’s not on Lena’s attendance sheet because he missed roll call, but he sure is present – in an isolated area with Mariana. Mariana explains what happened with Mat as Nick circles her creepily like a shark, the gun sticking out of his waistband. She insists she wants to be with Nick, and that the kiss in the garage was just her and Mat saying goodbye. Nick accuses Mariana of stringing him along just to use the warehouse for R+J, but before things get too heated, they’re interrupted and ordered back to class. Mariana heads to Lena’s office, where she reveals she saw Nick and thinks something’s “off” with him.
Speaking of things getting heated in The Fosters 4×01, Nick’s father shows up and demands to talk to Monte and Lena. As we found out in the season 3 finale, Nick lied about his father approving – or even knowing about – the use of the warehouse for R+J, and now Mr. Stratos is threatening to sue the school. Lena insists she spoke with him over the phone to get verbal approval, but whoever she talked to, it apparently wasn’t Nick’s father. Next, Stef and Mariana show up, and Mariana tells the group about Nick’s strange behavior.
After ordering Mariana back to class, the adults head outside to where Nick parked his car earlier that day, but the spot is now empty. This prompts Stef to ask Mr. Stratos if he believes Nick would hurt himself or others, and whether Nick has access to any weapons. Although Mr. Stratos has a gun, he keeps the weapon securely locked in his car, so there’s no way Nick could have taken it. Except, oh, hey, minor issue: Nick did.
Just then, Nick’s car comes roaring into the parking lot. Stef and Mike draw their guns in preparation for a showdown, but it’s just doofy Jesus behind the driver’s seat, telling them their actions are “a little bit over the top for just cutting a class.” (Incidentally, he borrowed the car for a random hookup with Emma, who was eager to get over a recent ex by getting under someone else.)
Inside, Callie finds Brandon in the hallway and drops a bombshell: “Moms know.” Brandon barely has time to process this before a Code Blue alarm rings out across the school. As students follow protocol by heading to the nearest classroom, Jude catches sight of Stef and they tell each other, “I love you.” Break my heart, why don’t you, Judicorn? What a precious unicorn princeling he is.
Of course, Callie and Brandon end up sequestered in a classroom together in The Fosters 4×01, where Brandon proceeds to take my happy Jude-y feelings and turn them into boiling rage.
Callie: “What’s a Code Blue mean?”
Brandon: “It means someone has a gun on campus. Maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll get shot so I don’t have to see moms.”
Callie: “Brandon, what a stupid thing to say.”
Can I slap him? Is anyone opposed to me slapping this fictional character across the face like Cher in Moonstruck? No? OK, cool.
Brandon kind of (emphasis on the “kind of”) makes up for his asinine comment by stepping up when the substitute teacher in the classroom totally drops the ball on Code Blue procedure. He instructs the other (much younger) students to draw the blinds, push a table in front of the door, then hunker down and stay quiet. While Callie comforts a sobbing student, Brandon checks the school’s intranet. There’s an ominous message telling teachers to take roll call and asking if anyone has Nick Stratos in class.
Elsewhere, Mariana’s in the bathroom when the alarm goes off. By the time she gets to the nearest classroom, the door is locked (in accordance with protocol) and the people in the classroom refuse to open it for her (again, in accordance with protocol). Mat wants to make an exception, but teacher Timothy refuses, pointing out, “We don’t know who else is out there. She could be with the shooter. She could be the shooter.”
In another classroom, Jude texts Connor before being rebuked by Daria for using his cellphone. I guess that’s against protocol too? (I went to school in England and all we ever had were fire drills, so this whole thing is bananas to me.) Cut off from Connor, Jude turns to Taylor, who explains that she’s making the sign of the cross on her hand to calm herself down, then shows him how to do it. Does anyone else feel like Jude’s heading for a religious storyline this season? Between this conversation and his season 3 finale admission that he thinks God took away the only two guys he’d ever kissed because He didn’t want Jude to be gay, I’m starting to wonder…
Monte, Lena, Mr. Stratos, Jesus, and Emma are all in Monte’s office when the last roll call comes through from the sub’s classroom, thanks to Callie and Brandon. The sub is being entirely useless, sitting and reading the manual on what to do in the event of a Code Blue (little late there, buddy). The good news is that Callie and Brandon are safe; the bad news is that none of the lists include Mariana. Mike has to physically restrain Lena from leaving the office, telling her, “Nobody’s going out there to be target practice for somebody with a gun.” Lena does the next best thing and radios Stef with the news.
When the SWAT team arrives, Stef explains the plan over the radio: They’re going to evacuate one room at a time and transfer students to a safe area. Jude’s classroom is the first to be evacuated, and Monte’s office follows soon after. A distraught Lena holds Stef close, hysterical over the fact that nobody can find Mariana. Their daughter is, in fact, hiding in the bathroom, and when she hears someone open the door, she’s not sure if it’s a friend or a foe…
With the school in lockdown and a classful of junior-high students around him, Brandon picks an optimal time to ask Callie why she told their moms about Idyllwild, and she tells him she couldn’t lie anymore.
Callie: “I just needed it to be over.”
Brandon: “Well, it is.”
Can they not do this right now? Is that too much to ask?
Just then, the SWAT team bursts in (there has to be a less scary way to do that, no?). The sub, mangling the instructions he hastily read in the Anchor Beach manual, responds by firing a gun of his own. As soon as she hears the shot, Stef runs toward the school despite pretty much everyone yelling at her not to. (Also, hey, look, Anchor Beach has an anime club.)
Callie and Brandon leave with the SWAT guys, much to Lena’s relief, but Lena can’t let herself relax until Stef and Mariana exit the building together moments later. Jesus, Callie, Brandon, and Jude run to their moms and Mariana, and Mat appears as well to give Mariana a huge hug.
Jude finally gets the chance to check his phone, and it turns out Connor replied, asking what was going on. Jude looks at Taylor, who’s sitting in front of him on the bus, and responds, Just sayin hi while looking conflicted. Taylor turns around and apologizes for a comment Daria made earlier about Jude not really being straight and only looking for attention, and Jude says it’s OK. He puts a hand on Taylor’s shoulder for emphasis as he thanks her for calming him while they were in lockdown.
Elsewhere on the bus, Emma sets the record straight with Jesus, telling him their hookup wasn’t a prelude to rekindling their relationship. Jesus acts like he’s totally fine with it, but he’s totally not totally fine with it.
One loose thread
So, all’s well that ends well, right? Except I feel like there’s one small question lingering… oh, yeah, WHERE THE HECK IS NICK? The SWAT team has declared Anchor Beach to be Nick-free, so the official directive is to go home while the search continues off-campus. Sound advice, except guess where Nick is? In Mariana’s bedroom like the creepiest of creeps. In fact, he’s lying on Mariana’s bed when he hears the family’s cars pull up outside. The ever-mindful Stef makes the rest of the family wait on the front lawn while she does a sweep of the house, and Brandon takes the opportunity to apologize to Lena about all the Brallie drama. After Stef checks Mariana’s room and finds nothing out of place, she gives the family the all-clear.
Um, not to repeat myself, but where the heck is Nick? Guess we’ll find out next week when The Fosters returns to Freeform at 8/7c.