While it’s as mom-centric as its name suggests, The Fosters 5×15 still included some surprise components. From the resurgence of long-buried themes to the reappearance of long-dormant characters, here are 4 things to know about The Fosters 5×15, “Mother’s Day.”
1. Stef and Sharon find common ground.
Episodes featuring the delightful Annie Potts as Stef’s quirky mom are among the liveliest of the series, and The Fosters 5×15 is no exception. “Mother’s Day” sees Sharon wingwoman-ing for Tess at a lesbian bar, throwing an impromptu post-brunch dance party… and coaching Stef through a panic attack. She even reveals her own history of experiencing anxiety during perimenopause. Their bonding moment is a heartening change from the exasperation and disconnection that’s tended to characterize their relationship, especially when both take the opportunity to vocalize long-festering points of contention. For instance, we learn that Stef never got over her parents’ lack of support while she was figuring out her sexuality and ending her first marriage, which makes it especially hard for her to see Sharon supporting Tess.
As Stef’s therapist explains, “Unlike guilt, which is the feeling of doing something wrong, shame is the feeling of being something wrong. This assault on the self can cause deep depression and severe anxiety.” And this situation isn’t unique to Stef. In fact, members of the LGBTQ+ community are disproportionately likely to experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions, plus alcoholism and substance abuse.
2. Brandon puts Grace before himself.
Speaking of complex mother-daughter relationships, Susan learns that Brandon is Grace’s medical proxy – and interrupts the family brunch to yell at him. Grace tells Brandon that she fears her mom won’t respect her choice to end treatment if the experimental trial doesn’t work, while Susan counters that the longer Grace perseveres with treatment, the greater the potential for medical advances. However, as Grace explains to Susan toward the end of The Fosters 5×15, she doesn’t want to burden her mom with any more responsibility and pressure. Although Brandon is initially doubtful about accepting Grace’s nomination, overhearing her conversation with Susan inspires him to put his girlfriend’s needs first, and he eventually agrees to honor her wishes. Now let’s hope he’s never actually called upon to do so…
3. Jesus and Lena tackle misogyny.
Since Jesus’ original paraprofessional didn’t work out, Lena’s been filling in – but now that she’s principal, something has to give. Enter Priya, who’s not only more qualified than David, but significantly more attractive. Needless to say, that last part doesn’t escape the notice of Jesus and his classmates, and Lena soon catches wind of an objectifying exchange that Jesus is eager to write off as “guy talk.” Stef and Lena, however, aren’t as willing to let it go. “We shouldn’t just raise our daughters to be feminists, we should raise our sons to be feminists,” Stef asserts. “If we’re complicit in this behavior, if we just say ‘Boys will be boys,’ then you know what? We’re misogynists too.”
As The Fosters 5×15 continues, Lena admits she initially chose David because of concerns that Priya’s appearance would be distracting. She tells Jesus that the onus is on him to respect his para, and if he can’t do that, he’ll need to explain himself to Priya directly.
I was wrong to assume that you couldn’t rise above locker room talk and be the man we raised you to be. A man who has the courage to stand up to his friend and say no, it’s not OK to sexually harass women physically or verbally, to their faces or behind their backs. But you’re a man who not only respects his moms and his sisters and his girlfriend, but all women. That’s who I believe you are. That’s who I hope you are.
While there’s no guarantee what Jesus will do going forward, early indicators are positive. At brunch, he even shares part of an essay about his “strong, beautiful, brilliant moms” and how he wants to be the man they raised him to be.
4. Callie’s letting go but not forgetting.
When Jude asks Callie if they can visit their mom’s grave on Mother’s Day, Callie initially says no. She thinks they should focus on their adopted moms instead – but her actions don’t exactly match her words. For instance, she refuses to wear any necklace other than her mom’s locket, and even has a dream in which her mom asks her why. Ultimately, she and Jude head to the cemetery after all, where Jude concludes that her initial stance was correct. “Cemeteries are for the living,” he observes sagely, then notes that visiting the grave every day would be “like a constant reminder that she’s gone – kind of like wearing Mom’s necklace every day.” It’s been a while since sweet, perceptive Judicorn has graced us with his presence, and I sure did miss him.
While Callie and Jude are at the cemetery, their father Donald shows up and offers his own perspective on Callie’s dream. He points out that dreams can be a way to tell ourselves things that our conscious minds refuse to address, and thinks Callie may be looking for permission not to wear the locket. Once she’s back home, Callie thoughtfully takes off the locket and dons a necklace gifted to her by Ximena instead. (Calmena shippers, don’t think I didn’t notice that.) At the end of The Fosters 5×15, she tells Stef and Lena, “I think we’ve all been sad long enough. I can remember my mom without literally wearing my grief around my neck.” Oh, and one more thing? Callie and Jude make dinner plans with Donald and his new girlfriend! Moving forward, indeed.