The Fosters 4×05 centers on the preparations for – and eventual celebration of – Lena’s 40th birthday, and the episode itself is aptly named “Forty.” Much like most of the shindigs on this show (Mariana’s quinceañera, Callie’s 17th birthday party, the R+J after-party, etc.), this one came loaded with a hefty dollop of drama. In fact, many of the plot lines threaded throughout the episode ended up coming to a head at the party itself, pulling three generations of the family into the mix along with some of their acquaintances, friends, and significant others. Read on for our recap of The Fosters 4×05.
Friction at the Fosters’
At the beginning of The Fosters 4×05, we learn that Lena’s parents are in town for her party – and they don’t seem to be getting along. (Later, we find out Lena’s mom, Dana, is convinced her husband, Stewart, is having an affair. Stewart claims he’s actually busy making a video for Dana’s upcoming retirement party… but is that really the full explanation?)
Anyway, back to breakfast. Brandon is gracing the family with his presence this morning, most likely lured by the promise of free food. This gives his grandparents the impression that he still lives in the family home – at least until Mariana gleefully reveals that he’s actually living with his married girlfriend and her 3-year-old son. “She’s getting a divorce,” Brandon protests lamely, which fails to mollify the intimidatingly disapproving Dana. Honestly, actress Lorraine Toussaint is so good at being intimidatingly disapproving that she should probably list it among the skills on her résumé.
Crisis at Casa Crandon
Speaking of Cortney, Lena urges Stef to invite her to the party. (“Me? Why me?” “I’m pretty sure I’m not the one she’s afraid of.”) Stef reluctantly goes to visit Cortney at Casa Crandon, where she just so happens to catch sight of Brandon’s open checkbook. Turns out Brandon’s bankrolling Cortney’s divorce in the form of a $5,000 check made out to her lawyer. Looks like Stef’s comment to Dana that Cortney’s taking advantage of him may not be too far off the mark.
Needless to say, Brandon’s a little strapped for cash, which means he’s in a prime position to make one of his trademark bad decisions. This time, he agrees to take the SAT under another student’s name in exchange for $1,000. As he’s leaving, Stef and Lena’s friend Jenna catches sight of him. All together now: Uh-oh. It took me a second to remember who Jenna is, so if you found yourself in the same boat, here’s the 411. Way back in The Fosters 1×05, you might recall that Mariana’s slam poet friend Garret performed an emotional poem about his moms’ divorce. The moms in question, Jenna and Kelly, were introduced to viewers as friends of Stef and Lena’s, and a post-divorce Jenna returned to the show in season 3, when she had a brief dalliance with Anchor Beach principal Monte. Yeah, that Jenna.
Speaking of Anchor Beach, the school’s STEM club got a grant, which will be put toward entering the regional robotics competition. The club members split into groups to build robots that can pick up a block and deposit it into a bucket, working toward the incentive that the best robot will be entered into the competition. Unfortunately – yet not unsurprisingly – the three girls in the club are left on the sidelines, so they decide to band together.
During a brainstorming session at the Foster house, Mariana comes up with an out-of-the-box concept: Instead of building a robot to scoop up the block, why not put together a vacuum device that will suck it up? Their first prototype fails, but all is not lost thanks to a modification idea from an unlikely source – Jesus. The girls’ robot ends up kicking ass, beating the boys’ time by a whopping 10 seconds. However, when the club members’ votes are tallied and combined with the overall scoring metric (which factors in speed, design, and creativity), the boys still come out on top. After Mariana protests, asserting that the only way Anchor Beach will beat its competitors is by being different, the teacher who heads the club overturns the decision. Mariana and her team going to the competition after all – but their victory is soured when one of their classmates accuses them of “playing the girl card.”
Callie’s innocence project
So remember that time Callie met a law student in a coffee shop, introduced herself as an NYU photography student named Cameron, rode around on his motorcycle for an afternoon, then revealed her true identity and asked him to look into the case of her (allegedly) wrongfully imprisoned former foster brother, Kyle?
Honestly, I don’t think Aaron would have agreed to pursue the case if it weren’t for their romantic yet forbidden kiss on the beach and the feelings it clearly sparked in him, but the kiss happened and the feelings happened and now he’s accompanying her to visit Kyle in juvie. “So this boyfriend of yours – you don’t talk about him very much. It’s not because he doesn’t actually exist?” he asks Callie as they wait for Kyle to appear. Even after she affirms AJ’s existence, you can hardly blame him for having doubts given her track record.
When Callie reunites with Kyle, he tells her he didn’t commit the murder he was convicted of, and she says she believes him. Armed with the name of an alibi witness Kyle says can put him elsewhere at the time of the murder, Callie and Aaron track the guy down. However, four years have passed and he can’t – or won’t – provide the alibi Kyle needs to give him a shot at freedom. Just to add some more urgency to the situation, it transpires that Kyle turns 18 in a month, at which point he’ll be moved to the fearsome Fulsom Prison…
Open house, open closet
In one of the lighter moments of Callie and Kyle’s conversation, Kyle marvels at the idea that the little kid he remembers as Jude is now taller than Callie herself. Speaking of Judicorn, Stef ropes him into helping with a video editing project for Lena’s birthday, but there’s just one problem – he has zero video editing skills. Luckily, Taylor, who’s inexplicably sitting next to Jude at the Fosters’ kitchen table when Stef makes the request, says she just so happens to know someone who can help. Oh, and that someone just so happens to be Noah, the gay kid Jude met (and fled from) at Taylor’s church group a couple of episodes ago.
Apparently it’s open house week in The Fosters 4×05 because in addition to Dana, Stewart, and Taylor being at the house, Noah drops by to help with the video project. While he’s busy teaching Jude the basics, Taylor browses social media in the background, then drops a bombshell. Apparently Connor is visiting San Diego – and he didn’t tell Jude. Naturally, Noah asks who Connor is. When Jude explains, he comes out to Noah in the process.
Later, Jude does some ill-advised Facebook-stalking (seriously, that is never a good idea) and finds a photo of a smiling Connor with a guy we can only assume to be his new boyfriend. Honestly, upgrading from Jude is, like, impossible, so I’m gonna go ahead and say Connor’s relationship is pretty much doomed.
Now that the metaphorical stage is set with all these powder kegs of plot lines, it’s time to set the literal stage in the Fosters’ backyard. Lena’s party is ’70s-themed, and her friends and family come dressed for the occasion. The birthday girl herself is stunning in a jumpsuit, while Stef looks dapper in a vest, Jude resembles a Beatle, Mariana’s wearing hot pants that I’m surprised her moms didn’t veto, Callie’s in a slinky skintight number, Mike’s lapels are on point, Gabe’s baring his chest (and practically his crotch – yikes), Jesus is wearing a fake mustache, Brandon has a perm, and that’s not even everyone!
In short, the party is insanely over the top, but as Stef tells Lena, “You only turn 40 once, baby.” Lena’s thrilled by the video, but that’s not the only surprise of the night. Stef’s mom Sharon couldn’t be there in person, but she did the next best thing by sending some female strippers dressed as cops to arrest Lena “for being way too hot.” Oh Lord.
All right, time for my favorite part: The powder kegs that make up The Fosters 4×05 start to go off one by one.
- Dana, in whom Stef confided about Brandon funding Cortney’s divorce, confronts a shocked Cortney, who in turn confronts Brandon, who in turn confronts Stef. “It’s my money,” Brandon says firmly. “It was,” Stef responds sagely.
- Jenna mentions to Lena that she saw Brandon coming out of the SATs. Brandon stumbles over his words a little, but manages to cover for himself – for now.
- Aaron appears with a witness statement from four years ago that gives Kyle an alibi after all. When AJ walks in on them hugging, he’s none too pleased about what he sees, especially after Aaron not-so-tactfully comments, “So you do exist.” All AJ wants to do is dance, and all Callie wants to do is talk to Aaron about where to go from here with Kyle’s case. By the time Callie’s finally ready to hit the dance floor, AJ’s pissed.
- Jesus breaks off his friends-with-benefits arrangement with Emma because he’s offended by her offer to tutor him for the SAT – or, more specifically, by the accompanying implication that she thinks he’s dumb.
- Mike gets super-jealous of Gabe’s abs and good looks and general Gabeness. Let me tell you, green is not a good color on him.
- Jude updates his Facebook status to “in a relationship” and posts a photo of himself with Noah to get back at Connor… without telling Noah anything about it.
In this midst of all this, Stef and Lena somehow manage to share a lovely, romantic dance. What’s more, they’re not the only couple for whom love is in the air. After Ana admits to Mariana that she’s in love with Mike, Mariana persuades Mike to ask Ana to dance – and ultimately to reveal he loves Ana too. Meanwhile, although Noah is upset about being pulled into the middle of the Jude/Connor social media warfare, he’s not so upset that he’s cutting off all ties with Jude or anything. In fact, it’s just the opposite…
Noah: “If you’re gonna go around and tell everyone we’re, like, boyfriends or whatever, you should at least ask me out first.”
Jude: “I… I should? Um, OK, um… would you like to go out sometime?”
Noah: “That’s better.”
For anyone frantically trying to come up with a portmanteau for the new couple, Mariana’s got you covered. Which do you like better: Judah or JuNo?
Lien on me
As is often the case with this show, the most explosive twist comes toward the close of the episode, and The Fosters 4×05 doesn’t disappoint in this respect. Remember how Stewart’s sneaking around caused Dana to think he was having an affair? He isn’t – but the truth is arguably worse.
Essentially, Stewart’s in trouble with the IRS. He wants to cover his debts by taking out a line of credit on the house, which is listed among his assets because he’s a co-borrower on the loan. However, Stef and Lena are already tapped out thanks to helping with Gabe’s legal fees in last week’s episode and, as Lena phrases it, “the adoption fees for Callie and Jude, the house repairs, the remodel – just, you know, day-to-day stuff with five kids.” Stewart assures them not to panic because there are a lot of options still on the table, but Dana suspects things are worse than he’s letting on. This time, her intuition is correct: There’s a lien on the house, which means Stef and Lena could lose their home…