After all the drama of the two-part season 4 premiere, our favorite Freeform family is due for a break, no? But who are we kidding? This is The Fosters, so it’s hardly surprising that the third episode was… well, not exactly restful. Read on for our recap of The Fosters 4×03, “Trust.”
Just like juvie
The Fosters 4×03 kicks off with a bombshell: Stef and Lena tell Callie they’re reversing her adoption. Yup, the night Callie spent with Brandon at Idyllwild and the weeks of lying that followed are finally catching up with her. No way would Stef and Lena actually do that, right? Sure enough, Callie bolts awake at 3 a.m. and realizes it’s just a bad dream. The next morning, Stef and Lena ask to speak with Callie in private as the rest of the kids leave for school, but it turns out they just want to remind her not to rise to the bait if any of her classmates bring up the Brallie rumors.
Speaking of school, the kids arrive at Anchor Beach to find metal detectors, security guards, and a hyper-safety-conscious Lena going through students’ bags. “It’s like juvie,” Mariana comments to Callie, and, hey, maybe her sense of tact is somewhere in those bags Lena’s searching.
Elsewhere, Daria approaches Jude and Taylor to apologize for accusing Jude of looking for attention by cozying up to Taylor during the lockdown. “I guess I just didn’t want to see Taylor get hurt like I did,” she admits. (If you’ll recall, Connor was dating Daria when he realized he’d rather be dating Jude.) “That was cool,” Jude says in his wide-eyed Judicorn way, and Taylor promptly invites him to come to church with her. I’m thinking either this girl really likes to go on tangents, or she’s still holding a candle for him and wants to help pray away the gay.
Over at Casa Crandon (a.k.a. the house Brandon moved into with Cortney and her son), Brandon has a problem. He needs to get to school, but since Stef took his car, he’s forced to ask Cortney for a ride. When he finally arrives at his destination, he confronts his mom – who’s on duty as part of the escalated security presence – about taking back her property after he moved out of her house. (Yes, his outburst is as bratty and ill-timed as my paraphrasing is making it sound.)
What’s more, he’s not done being ridiculous. When Callie tells him to come home, he responds with “Seriously? You’re one to talk. You’re, like, the queen of running away.” Wow, he’s burning bridges all over the place in The Fosters 4×03. He proceeds to rationalize his decision by saying it’s easier for him and Callie not to live under the same roof, but Callie’s not buying it.
Callie: “Whatever. Do what you want, Brandon, OK? I just hope you know how much you’re hurting moms.”
Brandon: “Well, I’m not the one who told them.”
Oy with the bridges and the burning, already.
As soon as Brandon walks away, some kid approaches Callie with a question: “Do you only bang your brother, or do I have a shot?” All of Stef and Lena’s warnings fly straight out of Callie’s head as she turns around and hits the guy.
Needless to say, Lena suspends Callie, but no sooner does Callie leave her office, Stef volunteers, “I probably would’ve punched him too.” With Lena so wound-up right now, it’s really not the best time to say something like that, but, hey, I laughed.
Meanwhile, Mariana’s classmates start blaming her for the whole Nick debacle, and someone leaves her a note calling her a “cheating whore.” Jesus, who blows up in defense of his sister, is rewarded for his loyalty by a kiss from Emma. At the end of The Fosters 4×01, Emma made it clear to Jesus that she wasn’t looking for a relationship, but in The Fosters 4×03, she’s proposing a friends-with-benefits type deal. Jesus looks down, makes a cringe-worthy “Let me ask my friend” joke, and happily agrees, oblivious to the stares and whispers being directed at his sister further down the hallway.
Faking it versus facing reality
Banished from school, Callie sets up camp at a coffee shop, where she meets law student Aaron and tells him a tall tale about being an NYU photography student named Cameron. (If Aaron looks familiar, that’s likely because actor Elliot Fletcher was on Faking It – you’re welcome.) Anyway, Callie ends up on the back of the guy’s motorcycle, because it’s totally fine to ride off into the distance with someone you just met, especially when you don’t know the destination. (Guys. It’s not. Don’t do that.)
Luckily, Aaron doesn’t seem to be an ax murderer, so they end up at the beach instead of, like, a dark alley. Callie uses a trick she picked up from street photographer Helen Levitt to snap photos of him without him knowing, and he’s impressed by the way they turn out. “You look really handsome,” Callie tells him, and they kiss as the waves crash against the rocks in the background. See, now I’m regretting never getting suspended from high school. Damn my lily-white youth.
Cut to Jude at Taylor’s church’s youth group. The theme of their meeting is trust (ah, so that explains the title of The Fosters 4×03), and the leader asks how the attendees’ trust in God has affected their lives. The pastor’s son, Noah, talks about how even though he was dumped over the summer, he knows “God’s gonna send me the boyfriend I want when the time is right.” Whoaaaa, curve ball. Turns out I’m an asshole for making that pray-away-the-gay assumption earlier. When it comes time to pair up for a trust exercise, Taylor encourages Jude to work with Noah, but the experience is too intense for Jude and he balks. Outside, Jude accuses Taylor of trying to set him up with Noah, and Taylor basically admits he’s right.
Jude: “You don’t know me, OK?”
Taylor: “I knew you liked Connor before YOU did. I just thought you might like Noah, or at least you could make another friend.”
Jude: “I don’t need any more friends.”
Elsewhere, Jesus and Emma are about to exercise a different kind of trust: sex without a condom. But Emma’s on the pill, so it’s cool, right? (WRONG. W R O N G, because the pill doesn’t protect you from STIs, OK, got it, awesome.) Thankfully, Emma actually stops to think for a second, and after she and Jesus both admit they’ve slept around, she decides it’s probably a good idea to get tested. Long story short, they lucked out this time, but they agree to be exclusive friends with benefits because it’s safer that way. This logic… I can’t even.
So remember Aaron and Callie – I mean Cameron’s – little jaunt to the beach? Their next destination is somewhere a little more serious: The house where Callie lived as a child until her mom died. This is kind of a lot for Aaron to deal with given that they only met a couple of hours before, but to his credit, he takes it all in stride as Callie snaps a photo.
Speaking of coming home, Stef arrives to find Brandon practicing for Juilliard at the family piano. At Lena’s urging, the prodigal son has returned, albeit temporarily – and against all odds, Brandon finally removes his head from his ass. “Thank you for the millions of miles that you drove to take me to lessons and contests and everything else,” he tells Stef. “I don’t say that enough.” Stef asks him to stay for dinner, but even though he just moved out, he’s already caught between two lives. He turns down Stef’s invitation, instead choosing to honor his promise to babysit Cortney’s son.
The last stop on Cameron’s Magical Mystery Tour is the Foster house. Callie shoots down Aaron’s request to meet again by saying she has a boyfriend, then watches him drive off down the street. Of course, Foster’s Law comes into play, as Lena just so happens to be driving home at the same time. “Who’s the organ donor?” she asks tightly. Given how over-the-top she’s been about safety since the lockdown, this is bound to be a fun conversation… and sure enough:
Lena: “You’re hitting kids at school, you’re deliberately disobeying us. What is going on with you? What are you thinking?”
Callie: “I don’t know – what are YOU thinking?
Stef: “Excuse me?”
Callie: “Are you gonna undo my adoption? Because if you are, just do it.”
Stef: “…What are you talking about?”
Callie: “I looked into it. You totally can.”
Stef: “Callie, we would never undo your adoption. … We’re family. We’re family forever. I get it, you know, you’ve been in and out of so many homes, and I have no idea how that must have felt, but somehow you’ve got to trust us. Trust this, that no matter how tough things get, that we’re never going anywhere. Never. I promise you that.”
I’m just about to get all misty-eyed when Jude ruins the moment in The Fosters 4×03 by arriving home and answering Stef’s query about where he’s been with one word: “Church.” Lena and Stef look at each other in confusion, and Callie explains, “He thinks God doesn’t want him to be gay.” With a deep sigh, Stef says measuredly, “OK; I got this one.” Never a dull moment in the Foster house, I tell ya.
All in this together
Later that evening, Lena checks in on Callie, who has some news: She’s decided on a new senior project.
“It’s like a photo essay with all the houses that Jude and I were in. So I’ll take pictures and then, like, write about my experiences in each house. What happened to me, what happened to Jude, and how we found our way to our family.”
I really love this idea, but I hope she at least gets Jude’s consent before putting it all out there. I mean, we found out in the pilot episode that Jude was beaten for wearing one of his then-foster-father’s ex-wife’s dresses, and I’m sure that not the only horrible footnote in his young history.
Callie goes on to admit that she put up a lot of walls in a misguided attempt to stop herself from getting hurt, a sentiment that resonates so deeply with Lena that she brings it up during a school assembly the next day.
“My daughter said something very wise last night. She said walls don’t keep you safe. … It got me thinking: What kind of school do we want? Do we want an armored fortress? A monument to fear? Or do we want an open, inclusive space where our kids can come and learn and explore and create? Let’s be honest – no fence is going to keep all dangers out.”
When one of the girls who’s been talking badly about Mariana says she doesn’t mind the extra security because she wants to feel safe, Mariana stands up and confronts her, saying she wants to feel safe too but can’t when her peers are calling her names and blaming her for Nick’s actions. After the applause following Mariana’s speech dies down, Lena presents the idea that the only way for parents to truly keep their kids safe is to be “aware and present and proactive, by being better parents.” Next, she makes a pretty on-point observation about the state of the nation – not just in the world of The Fosters, but also in real life.
“How is it that school shootings have become something to expect and prepare for? As a country, as a community, we’ve accepted this as normal. Why? This isn’t normal. This shouldn’t be normal. We’re all in this together, and that’s the only way we’re gonna get through it.”
As they walk out of the assembly hall, Stef brings up the church situation with Jude, asking if someone there made him feel badly about himself. “They didn’t have to,” he says miserably, and to co-opt a Scream quote, I weep for the Jude. Luckily, he has a kick-ass mom on his side who’s totally not going to let him get away with saying that. “OK, listen to me,” Stef tells him. “You know that I’m not a church person, but I believe that if there is a God, I’d be willing to bet a great deal of money that she thinks you’re just as amazing and wonderful and delicious and squishy and adorable as I do.”
As The Fosters 4×03 winds down, Jude shows his face at the church rummage sale and is greeted by Noah. Elsewhere, Mat and Mariana walk out of Anchor Beach together, Mariana says she wants to pretend the whole Nick fiasco never happened, Mat agrees, and they kiss. So is the Matiana ship setting out on the open ocean again? Something tells me there won’t be smooth sailing for this couple just yet – in the last few moments of the episode, Mariana receives a call from Nick, who says he misses her and asks when she’s coming to visit him. Well… yikes.