In The Fosters 4×04, Mariana faces her demons, Gabe takes a leap of faith, and Super Callie flies again. Read on for our recap of The Fosters 4×04, “Now for Then.”
In the opening scene of The Fosters 4×04, Stef and Lena are in bed talking about the fact that their first wedding anniversary is rapidly approaching. Stef wants to know if this means they’ll stop celebrating their first kiss anniversary, and Lena answers with a resounding “Absolutely not.” Hashtag couple goals, am I right? Well, minus the fact that Mariana’s in bed beside them because she hasn’t felt safe sleeping in her own room since the Nick debacle.
So remember how Brandon has been all “I’m 18! I’m an adult! I’m gonna buy a house and live in it with my girlfriend and her son because I’m 18 and I’m an adult!”? A consequence of this is that his morning begins much like his moms’ does – in a double bed meant for a couple that actually contains a couple and a kid. However, Cortney will be Mason-less over the weekend because her ex is taking him for the night. She and Brandon are going to throw a party, and she’s planning on taking full advantage of her night off from parenting duties.
Meanwhile, there’s a new face at Anchor Beach. As Mike explains to Ana, some parents pulled their kids from school after the lockdown, so a space opened up for AJ. Callie greets him with a kiss, so I guess she’s keeping that one-time magical mystery tour filled with beach-smooching, bike-riding and that random coffee house dude on the DL.
Apparently AJ and Callie are still an item, but what about Mike and Ana? The night of the R + J premiere, the couple held hands, but at the after-party, Ana showed up intoxicated following a less-than-stellar interaction with her ex (Mariana and Jesus’ birth father, Gabe). Frankly, Mike thinks Gabe’s a trigger that could endanger Ana’s sobriety, and Ana agrees not to see him again.
Speaking of dangerous people, Mariana thinks she knows what will make her feel safe again: visiting Nick at the treatment facility. When she tells Stef and Lena, their faces are priceless.
Back on the topic of triggers, Callie’s moving ahead with the senior project she came up with in last week’s episode – creating a photo essay based on the seven houses where she lived while in the system, pairing the images of each house with a description of her experience there. When AJ pushes her to explain her motivation, she admits, “I guess the reason is to figure out why it’s hard for me to trust anything is permanent.” It’s a nice tie-back to the conversation Callie had with Stef and Lena toward the end of The Fosters 4×03, in which they reassured her, “We’re never going anywhere. Never.”
There’s something weird about the first house she photographs, though. Callie recalls that the people were nice and she felt safe there, but she and Jude were abruptly removed by Social Services without being told why.
At the next house, she takes photos of the exterior, then hops the fence for a closer look.
AJ: “You didn’t say anything about breaking and entering.”
Callie: “I’m not breaking and entering, I’m trespassing.”
Oh, OK, then – carry on. (Please picture the eyeroll emoji at this juncture.)
Against his better judgment, AJ follows her. Ummm, does he not recall being racially profiled and almost arrested in The Fosters 3×05? I guess love makes you do stupid things. Anyway, when AJ asks about the story behind this house, Callie says succinctly, “I was raped by my foster brother” – and then a car enters the driveway.
Good news & bad news
Here’s the good news: Callie’s former foster mom doesn’t call the cops on her. The bad news is that she proceeds to blame Callie for bravely naming and shaming her former foster brother, Liam, as a rapist in seasons 1 and 2 of The Fosters.
“I’m at an age when you tend to reflect back on the mistakes you’ve made in life. The mistakes that haunted me the most are the ones I made with you, Callie. You have no idea how sorry I am. Sorry we ever brought you into this house and allowed you to destroy our lives. My son is not a rapist or a thief, but his life is in ruins and so is mine. So, take your pictures of the house that’s no longer a home because of you.”
Hey, does this lady remind you of anyone?
Laudably, Callie maintains her poise. “Sorry you brought me into this house too,” she tells her former foster mother before heading upstairs to take photos of the room where Liam raped her.
A house, not a Target
Cut to Brandon stealing toilet paper from the Foster house so he doesn’t have to buy his own. The juxtaposition of Callie’s somber, heavy storyline and this hilarity makes his whole “I’M AN ADULT NOW!” charade seem even more comical, and I’m so glad Stef arrives home in time to confront him with some of her trademark sass (“This is a house, B, not a Target“).
When Lena takes pity on him and drops off some essentials at Casa Crandon, Brandon lets slip that he and Cortney are planning “a gathering.” Later, we see Stef and Lena sitting outside in one of the family’s cars, engaging in what Lena calls spying and Stef calls “checking on him.” Lena’s trying to persuade Stef to go home so they can enjoy their anniversary, but then they realize the other family car is parked outside the house as well. Stef sneaks over to the house and peers through the window, while Lena eats leftovers from their anniversary dinner out of a swan-shaped aluminum foil container. I’m willing to bet this wasn’t exactly the anniversary night she had in mind.
Inside, Cortney’s 20-something-year-old friend Gabby is awkwardly mingling with Mariana and Callie (“What do you guys do?” “School.” “College?” “High school…”). Elsewhere, Jesus clogs the toilet and Brandon’s stuck with plunging duty because “plumbers cost money.” Gabby teases Cortney about “cougaring out” and asks if Brandon prematurely ejaculates, and Brandon picks the perfect time to reappear from the bathroom and tell everyone, “Thanks for coming.” Wow, the dialogue in The Fosters 4×04 is getting a little racy. However, things get serious when Mariana asks what it’s like being a dad and Brandon quickly corrects her, saying “I’m not a dad – Mason’s not my kid” just as Cortney walks into the room. Awk… ward.
In fact, there are a lot of serious conversations going on considering this is a house party with no adult supervision. In one corner, Callie talks to AJ about her senior project, while in another, Mariana reveals to Mat that she’s planning to visit Nick. To further liven up the atmosphere, Cortney gets served – her soon-to-be ex-husband is suing for full custody, claiming she’s an unfit mother.
“You don’t need all this,” Cortney tells Brandon, and she’s absolutely correct. “I want it,” Brandon affirms, but does he really mean it, or is he just trying to do the right thing?
Super Callie to the rescue
Back to Callie. After her experience with Liam’s mom, she decides taking photos of the houses from the outside isn’t enough. Rather, she needs to go inside and face her former foster parents. First on the list is Sheila, who still inhabits the first house Callie photographed with AJ. Sheila warmly welcomes her, and Callie finally finds out why she and Jude weren’t adopted along with Kyle, the other foster kid they lived with. Because Kyle had special needs, the state wouldn’t allow Sheila and her late husband to adopt all three kids.
Callie also learns that Kyle is currently being held in a juvenile detention facility – and once he turns 18, he’ll be moved to prison, where he’ll serve a life sentence for murder. According to Sheila, the case against him is thin, and prejudice played a large role in his conviction. “They just saw this former foster kid, a minority with developmental issues, and assumed he did it,” she tells Callie. Apparently there’s even an alibi witness the police never spoke to.
Callie is horrified, and you can see the wheels turning in her head. Super Callie to the rescue? AJ sees it too. “I know you’re Super Callie, but this Kyle business is not your problem,” he reminds her. She says she knows – but will she really be able to leave it alone? If you know Callie, you already know the answer to that.
Remember Aaron, Callie’s partner on last episode’s magical mystery tour during which she claimed to be an NYU student named Cameron? He’s a law student who works at the Juvenile Justice Center, so she meets up with him at the coffee house again to come clean about her true identity and ask if he knows anything about Kyle’s case.
May the odds be ever in Gabe’s favor
In addition to dealing with all the drama surrounding their children, Stef and Lena are also grappling with Lena’s impending termination from her job. Surprisingly, it’s not connected to anything that happened with Nick, nor to the allegations of an inappropriate relationship with Monte. Rather, it’s for letting Gabe build sets for R + J despite being on the Sex Offender Registry. There has to be something they can do, Stef protests. There is, but it’ll cost them – Monte knows an attorney who can help get Gabe off the list for a “discount rate” of $20,000. When Lena suggests they use a line of credit on the house, Stef counters that that’s for emergencies – but when you think about it, Lena losing her job (and her income) is a pretty big emergency in light of the fact that they have 50,000 kids living under their roof, plus a toothpaste-stealing former resident.
Lena, Stef, Ana, and Gabe gather as the lawyer, Mr. Pargrave, explains that the legal term for what they’re trying to do is nunc pro tunc (Latin for “now for then”). Well, now we know where the title of The Fosters 4×04 came from. Essentially, this means the case will be re-tried, with the goal of getting Gabe’s record expunged. If that happens, it’ll mean Lena didn’t do anything wrong in letting him help out with the R + J sets, and thus she won’t get fired. Stef and Lena tell Gabe they’re willing to cover his legal costs, but he declines. Apparently he’s been offered a deal: no time behind bars if he pleads guilty and moves out of state.
Gabe: “Can you guarantee you can get me off the list?”
Mr. Pargrave: “No, I can’t, but I believe the odds are definitely in your favor.”
Gabe: “Well, I’ve never been a lucky person, and this plea deal is guaranteed.”
Sounds like Gabe doesn’t want to volunteer as tribute, which means Lena’s job is on the line. However, an emotional heart-to-heart with Jesus makes him reconsider. This is great news for Gabe and Lena, but not so much for Mike, who’s annoyed that Ana is getting involved despite promising to stay away from Gabe. Damn, this is where Brandon gets it from, isn’t it? Not everything’s about you, Mike.
Mike and Ana’s conversation quickly veers off down a “Does Ana still have feelings for Gabe?” path, and he’s missing the point here: If Gabe’s record is wiped clean, Lena would keep her job, Gabe would lose the sex offender label, and the twins would keep their birth father around. That is, if the judge rules in Gabe’s favor…
There’s a shady moment in The Fosters 4×04 when Mike places a phone call to the ADA on the case. I have to admit, I thought he was going to discourage Gabe’s removal from the list, but it turned out he did just the opposite. The following morning, Ana and Gabe show up at the Foster house, and Gabe delivers the good news.
Truth & lies
Outside the Foster house, AJ sits down with Callie for a serious talk after finding out she was raped by her foster brother. In short, he doesn’t know how to go about being physically intimate with Callie – or even if he should at all. What follows is a sensitive, respectful conversation that was written beautifully and makes some important points.
AJ: “So I don’t know if I should be careful because of what happened to you or if, like, there are things that don’t feel good…”
Callie: “Hey, thank you for asking, but you don’t have to. I don’t want you to treat me like a victim or whatever.”
AJ: “I don’t… OK.”
Callie: “‘Cause rape isn’t sex.”
AJ: “I know. I just wanted to know if you need anything from me.”
Callie: “If I do, I will tell you.”
Four for you, writers. Seriously, nice job.
As The Fosters 4×04 wraps up, Mariana visits Nick at the treatment facility. It’s time to break the news that everything she said to stop him from shooting himself wasn’t true. He’s heartbreakingly happy to see her, and admits he would have killed himself that day in her bedroom if she hadn’t told him she loved him. He calls her his reason for living, and says that as long as he has her, he’s confident he can get better. “I do have you, right?” he confirms, and Mariana doesn’t know what else to say other than “Yes, you do.” Uh-oh…
What did you think of The Fosters 4×04?