Remember the foster reform bill Justina was championing in The Fosters season 3, with Callie as poster girl? We haven’t heard much about it since Callie exposed the connection between Justina’s organization and for-profit company Arbiter in the season 3 finale, but the story line resurfaces in The Fosters 4×10. In fact, you could say it’s the linchpin of the episode. Justina’s bill is now a ballot measure, and a counter-bill called Jack’s Law has been created to stop people from voting in its favor. The only problem is that Jack’s Law needs 500,000 signatures of support to get on the state ballot, so the Fosters set up a booth at local music festival BayFest to help out. Needless to say, drama ensues. Read on for our recap of The Fosters 4×10, “Collateral Damage.”
An issue of integrity
As the family prepares for BayFest, Brandon gets some exciting news: He’s been accepted to Juilliard! Now Stef and Lena just need to figure out how to pay for his tuition. At least with Stef applying to be a detective, it should be a little easier to make ends meet. One thing Stef definitely won’t miss is the uniform – although Lena may want to resurrect it in the bedroom every once in a while, as she does in The Fosters 4×10.
During Stef’s interview for the position, she learns that she’s received an unlikely recommendation from Detective Gray, a.k.a. the guy who framed Callie’s former foster brother Kyle for murder. “Does he think that he can just buy me? Buy my silence? That I’m just gonna owe him? Be his bitch?” Stef seethes to Mike. “He obviously doesn’t know you very well,” Mike retorts. Indeed. On the contrary, Stef wants to expose Gray for making Kyle’s alibi witness recant his story – and burying a lewd conduct with a minor charge in the process. Unsurprisingly, Gray’s not thrilled by this plan. He threatens to go to Internal Affairs with allegations that Stef covered for Mike way back in The Fosters season 1, when Mike shot Ana’s unarmed boyfriend. As Lena notes, now it’s not just Stef’s promotion that’s on the line, but her job as well.
Lena: “Honey, you don’t have to make detective. That’s fine. We’re gonna be fine. But if you lose your job… You have to let this go.”
Stef: “Hey, listen, there’s a child molester still out on the streets thanks to Detective Gray. And an innocent kid is rotting his life away in jail. How am I supposed to walk away from that? … This is an issue of integrity for me, Lena. Why can’t you see that?”
Lena: “You’re the one who’s always saying that we can’t save them all. And you know what? Sometimes you have to compromise your integrity. It sucks, but it’s true. You do what you have to do for the sake of your family.”
Undeterred, Stef leaves a voicemail for her captain, telling him she wants to talk to Internal Affairs.
Aaron vs. AJ
Speaking of the Kyle situation, Callie piggybacks off the #JusticeForJack booth to solicit donations to free him. Things get pretty awkward when Troy Johnson, the grandson of the woman Kyle allegedly killed, stops by the booth and firmly asserts that the right man is behind bars. Well, the DNA test on the toothbrush Callie stole from suspect Doug’s house in last week’s episode should give them an answer one way or another. In the meantime, collecting signatures is the priority – and there’s no shortage of people ready to help out. The Foster family is out in full force, plus Emma, AJ, Aaron, and Callie’s half-sister, Sophia.
When Mike asks if there’s anything going on between Callie and Aaron, AJ gets defensive. He says if Mike has a problem with their relationship, he will move out of Mike’s house and move on with his life. Mike assures AJ that he always has a home with him – but the fireworks aren’t over yet, as it certainly seems AJ feels threatened by Aaron’s flirtatious behavior. “You’re about half my size on a good day, little man, and I will break you, so watch your damn mouth,” AJ warns.
Callie and AJ step aside to talk, and when Callie reveals Aaron is trans, AJ says he wouldn’t have got so jealous if he’d known. “That’s a very ignorant thing to say,” Callie points out. “Aaron’s no less of a man than you are. Just because he’s trans, that would never stop me from seeing him.” While I love that Callie’s calling AJ on his ignorance, that last part wasn’t exactly the best thing for an already jealous AJ to hear. Callie clarifies that she doesn’t want to date Aaron, but she would consider it if she weren’t seeing AJ. “Well, maybe you shouldn’t be [seeing me] then,” AJ retorts.
The right thing
Guess who else is at the festival? Doug, the guy whose toothbrush Callie stole. Doug watches Callie from afar and eventually corners her in a bathroom, asking why she broke into his house. There’s just one small issue: The girl he accosts is actually Sophia. (Granted, Sophia strongly resembles Callie, plus the sisters are both wearing jeans and #JusticeForJack T-shirts.) Who knows what Doug would’ve done to Sophia if someone hadn’t walked in and interrupted?
On the topic of unwelcome festival attendees, turns out representatives of Justina’s Foster Care Reform Bill are also soliciting signatures. One rep seeks out Callie and passes on a threatening message from Justina. An overwhelmed Callie is cracking under the pressure of trying to do the right thing, which dovetails with Stef’s present circumstances.
Callie: “I can’t do this. Any of it. I can’t. I keep trying to help people, and to just have it blow up in my face again – I can’t.”
Stef: “It’s hard to help people sometimes. You know, it’s hard to do the right thing, and sometimes people get hurt. Sometimes YOU get hurt. But that’s no excuse, though. You’ve gotta keep doing what you’re doing, and you’re doing a great job.”
Buoyed by Stef’s words, Callie decides she won’t back down. In fact, she goes onstage with Someone’s Little Sister and makes a speech about the #JusticeForJack cause.
Bad decisions and repercussions
After Callie leaves the stage, Someone’s Little Sister frontwoman Lou welcomes Brandon back as a fill-in for the band’s regular keyboardist. She announces that Brandon recently got into Juilliard, prompting a round of applause from the audience. However, while Brandon and the band are performing, Lena receives a sobering call from Anchor Beach principal Monte. Remember when Brandon took the SATs for fellow student Tristan in exchange for $1,000? Apparently Tristan confessed the whole thing to the College Board. Long story short, Brandon’s no longer going to Juilliard. An emotional Brandon can only manage a single word – “OK” – before sobbing in Lena’s arms.
Elsewhere, another of Lena and Stef’s kids is also facing a crisis. In last week’s episode, we learned that an increasingly overwhelmed Mariana started taking her brother’s ADHD pills again. In The Fosters 4×10, her stress is exacerbated by a bad grade on an English essay, the bombshell that Mat may be going to college on the East Coast, and the news that Nick has been released on parole for the weekend. Nick’s on house arrest with an ankle bracelet, so he asks Mariana to visit him, a prospect that terrifies her.
Jesus takes matters into his own hands and breaks up with Nick for his sister, much to her horror. Distraught, Mariana breaks away into the festival crowd, suffers pill-induced hallucinations of Nick, and calls Jesus in a panic. Jesus calls Nick, who’s right where he’s legally supposed to be: at home. However, once he hears Mariana’s missing, that quickly changes. Nick allows his concern for the girl he loves to overrule his common sense, cuts his ankle bracelet, and heads out to find her. This is bound to end well…
Jesus and Emma raise the alarm, and pretty soon, the whole family is looking for Mariana. Nick finds her first, and they have an emotional confrontation. When Nick tries to calm her, Mariana yells, “You don’t get to touch me – you hurt me, you scared me, you made me afraid in my own bedroom! You don’t get to do something like that and then just be with me! I never want to see you again!”
Meanwhile, Callie runs into Troy, who says he saw Mariana get into a car a few minutes earlier. He invites Callie to hop in his car so they can catch up with Mariana, and she accepts. Soon after, she receives a call from Aaron, who says the DNA results came through. Doug’s in the clear, but the DNA on the murder weapon belongs to a male relative of the victim. Could it be the guy sitting next to Callie at this very moment?!
As The Fosters 4×10 enters its final scene, Mariana is sitting with Nick, who says he understands that she doesn’t want to see him anymore and apologizes for scaring her. The situation seems to have calmed down, at least until Jesus and Emma catch sight of them and hurry over. Jesus attacks Nick, and Nick retaliates by punching Jesus in the forehead – right where the nail punctured his skull in The Fosters 4×07. Jesus drops to the ground, unconscious, and The Fosters season 4A ends with Stef and Mariana trying to revive him as Emma calls 911.
If you’re as shell-shocked by that ending as we are, check out our post-episode interview with The Fosters 4×10 co-writer, director, and co-executive producer Peter Paige. We asked what those closing scenes mean for Jesus, Callie, and Nick, as well as what to expect from The Fosters season 4B when the show returns to Freeform next year. Also, if you were wondering how the idea of Jesus nail-gunning himself in the head came about in the first place, Peter answers that question, too!