The timeliness of The Fosters season 5B continued in The Fosters 5×12, which aired the day after Senate Democrats voted to end the federal government shutdown following a Republican promise to consider DACA legislation. Read on for 4 things to know about The Fosters 5×12, #IWasMadeInAmerica.
1. Callie stands up, fights back, gets kissed.
The Fosters 5×12 begins with Callie, Ximena, Aaron, and student activist Sean planning to infiltrate a local conservative anti-immigration rally. Turns out our old friend Shiloh McCullen is in town for the second time this season. Although Ximena can’t leave Noah’s mom’s church until either her DACA status is decided or she’s granted a stay, Callie and the others still want to raise awareness of her plight. At the event, Callie publicly calls out Shiloh for citing false statistics that appear to tie together crime and immigration:
“You’re implying that DACA puts our nation at risk of crime? That’s not true. You can’t get DACA if you have any significant criminal record. Out of 800,000 DACA recipients, less than 1% have lost their permits because of criminal activity.”
As Aaron, Poppy, Sean, and Mariana display signs made from Poppy’s family photos, Callie asks Shiloh, “What is an American? What makes you an American and me an American but not Ximena?” While visiting Ximena at the church following the demonstration, Callie gets a text from Sean – Ximena’s story was picked up by The Huffington Post! After the two friends share a joyous hug, Ximena kisses Callie. And rather than pulling away or freaking out, Callie simply looks thoughtful as Ximena bounds off to call Poppy. (Fellow #Calmena shippers, I hope you were sitting down.)
2. Lena confirms she’s a superhero.
The Fosters 5×12 may have been Lena’s busiest and most productive episode to date. Here are just some of her accomplishments:
- She saves the school. With assistance from Nick and Mariana, Lena exposes the true motive behind the push to privatize Anchor Beach. In a plot twist reminiscent of Riverdale‘s Lodges, we learn that Craig Stratos was planning to build luxury condos on the Anchor Beach land. Although he claims the condos were a contingency plan to ensure Anchor Beach Academy was fully funded, the revelation is enough to sway the board in favor of maintaining the school’s charter designation.
- She recognizes Nick is both a victim and a perpetrator of toxic masculinity. More specifically, she holds Nick accountable for contacting Mariana – which, in addition to violating his parole and her restraining order, also went against Mariana’s clearly expressed wishes – and also acknowledges Nick is being negatively affected by Craig’s bullying and abusive ways. As well as defending her daughter (“You completely traumatized her, and you keep traumatizing her; if you were truly sorry, you would stop trying to contact her”), Lena ensures Nick is removed from his father’s care.
- She stands up for herself professionally. Stef phrases it best when she describes Drew becoming principal over Lena as “unconscionable,” and toward the end of the episode, Lena makes her feelings known to the board. Backed up by a teacher-signed petition, she delivers a stirring speech: “I have given this school my heart and soul. I have led with integrity since the beginning, and I am tired of being overlooked and taken for granted. … I need to be given the job that I’ve earned – which is principal of this school – or I’ll leave, and so will nearly every teacher at Anchor Beach.”
- She admits her ableism… then defines the term so the rest of the family can call themselves out. That said, she still has work to do in this regard. One thing’s for sure: Agreeing to serve as Jesus’ hybridized parent/teacher/paraprofessional is not the solution.
- She helps throw a birthday party for Stef and family friend Jenna. Because the Adams Fosters don’t already have enough going on, am I right? What’s more, Lena – along with Brandon – is perceptive enough to see through Stef’s insistence that everything’s fine, although she doesn’t directly confront the issue until she awakens to Stef having a middle-of-the-night panic attack…
3. Mariana’s standing her ground.
In last week’s episode, Emma described Mariana as “the Bachelorette” – and for good reason. But although Wyatt, Mat, and Logan are all interested in being her one and only, Mariana doesn’t want to decide between her three suitors just yet. When her ill-conceived plan to date them all behind their backs doesn’t work out, she explains she isn’t ready to get serious. But although Wyatt and Logan agree to non-exclusive dating on the spot, Mat isn’t so sure. However, following a one-on-one conversation in which he and Mariana both state where they’re coming from, he eventually acquiesces as well. The takeaway from this plot line seems to be that casual dating is fine as long as everyone involved is aware of the situation – a laudable message to promote at the height of cuffing season.
4. Make way for #Declude?
Now that big-name ga(y)mer Declan got Eminent Power to sign Taylor as well as Jude, Taylor is worried about being a third wheel. Surprisingly, though, it’s Jude who feels left out when Girl & Gay Guy & Other Gay Guy record their inaugural live stream. He shares his feelings with Noah, who advises him to be more aggressive in seeking Declan’s attention. What could possibly go wrong? This episode circumvents a couple of well-worn plots (e.g. Mariana not telling her moms about Nick’s texts, Mariana choosing Mat over Wyatt and Logan), so it’s only fair that things unfold entirely predictably for Jude. When Noah confronts Jude about flirting with Declan during the trio’s second live stream, Jude accuses Noah of overreacting, and Noah ends their video chat. So, is Joah really over? Tune in next Tuesday at 8/9c to find out.