Culture / Entertainment

The Fosters: Mother

Rayside-Balfour Why don’t we start with the saddest part of the episode? Let’s get it over with now so we aren’t surprised by it and so that you have an entire recap to prepare. Lena develops severe preeclampsia, and they have to deliver baby girl at 20 weeks knowing that she won’t survive because if they don’t, Lena could be in big danger. There, nothing else happens that is worse than that other than the insufferable predictability laced with painful clichés.

Stef and Lena are in bed, fully clothed of course. They are looking at all the pink linens and clothes they bought for baby girl. Lena wonders if they shouldn’t have gone more gender neutral with their color choices. Stef leans in and makes a move “because the kids are still asleep,” but then we hear a baby crying, and we know that Lena is dreaming – not because the baby has not actually yet been born on the show but because Stef has made a move.

Lena wakes up to the sound of Jesus and Mariana slamming doors and yelling. Lena tries to play referee, but she just grows weary. Mariana spills the beans that Jesus is sleeping with Hayley, and Lena’s first response is, “Are you using condoms?” Subtext: Because I am too young to be a grandmother and because you’re going to make this baby girl and aunt before her first birthday, and that is not a plot line ABC Family can support, and I want to keep my job because the only other offer I’ve received since this show started is playing Rosie Perez in the made for TV version of her autobiography, “Handbook for an Unpredictable Life: How I Survived Sister Renata and My Crazy Mother, and Still Came Out Smiling…”

















All that bickering makes Lena lightheaded. She leaves a message and calls Stef to tell her to hurry home. Stef says she’ll be right there, hangs up and confronts Mike and Ana about whatever it is that they’re doing. Ana says that Mike has been helping her. She’s been sober for 60 days, the longest since she was 15. Stef’s immediate follow up is, “So you were doing drugs when you were pregnant with the twins?” “Low blow,” says Mike. “Shut your pie hole,” says Deborah who thinks Mike is a tool.

Stef and Mike take it outside and Mike explains that he kept his relationship with Ana a secret because he knew Stef wouldn’t approve. “Yes, she’s done horrible things. Because she’s sick. But she’s not a terrible person.” Huh. Just huh. Oh, and Mike is paying for her motel room until she can get a job. Stef wants no part of this, and Mike is perfectly happy for her to mind her own business.

Mariana calls. Lena is at the emergency room because she fainted and was throwing up. Stef runs like the wind in her uniform, and I half expect her to turn into Wonder Woman en route, but there is no breastplate. No tiara. No Lasso of Truth.

Lena is now in bed, and Stef is taking her blood pressure and prescribing eight glasses of water a day. She’d better be leaving a bedpan by her side for the pregnant woman to empty her waters! Stef offers to call Lena’s mother to come help. Lena shoots her down. “I’m supposed to avoid stress, not invite it for the weekend.” Luckily, we all know that her mother died while trying to escape from prison, so she won’t be visiting. Or will she?



Lena is trying to get rid of Stef because she is hovering. She tells her to go out and get her a veggie burger, and Stef agrees but leaves Lena with an emergency horn that she got from the earthquake kit in case she needs any assistance. A demonstration of the horn proves to them both that Stef needs to leave the house.



Wyatt and Brandon seem to be on a date at a coffee shop, but actually Wyatt has asked Brandon to meet him for some advice about Callie. Wyatt asks Brandon if Callie is still into him. “We’re brother and sister,” Brandon reminds him. “Not yet,” says Wyatt. Well, Wyatt is not winning Brandon over, and Brandon has little to offer. “Look, we’re not friends. I can’t be your couples counselor.” Well, that’s a good thing considering he slept with his father’s whore-friend. Wyatt just wants help, but Brandon tells him, “I already helped. I got out of your way.” And sober Brandon is back, and he is unattractive.

Hey. There’s a random family at the door. Mariana is confused. But Jesus appears and explains that he’s helping moms sell their bed for a 10% commission. Mariana wants in, too. “She could sell a dollar for 50 cents,” says Jesus. “The 1950s called. They want their joke back,” says Mariana. And I wonder what old comedians are writing this shlock.



The Kims are now in moms’ bed trying it on for size while Jesus, Mariana and Lena watch them play with the remotes. The adult son translates as the couple asks questions like, “Are they clean?” and “Does she have a husband?” Jesus is at the ready with “Yes, but he’s not home right now. He’s working” because he’ll do anything for the sale and assumes that they will not be fans of the gays no matter how clean they are. Lena is not having it because Lena is always, without fail, the voice of truth. “I have a wife, and the bed was a wedding gift, but the bed doesn’t suit us.” Luckily, Mariana pipes in for a much more entertaining truth. “They’re lesbians! Is that a problem?”



The couple starts arguing, but unless you speak Korean, we don’t know if they have a problem with lesbians or a problem with Latinas with blonde hair.

Callie is outside gardening when Wyatt texts, “C U Today?” She puts the phone away as Jude joins her. They plant together. Jude is still mute. Callie has a few supportive words for him. She tells him that he’s always held it together no matter what bad stuff happened to them and that he’s do for a break. “Don’t let anyone make you feel like you have to talk until you’re ready.” Jude just looks at her like, “Shuddup, Callie. Everything you touch turns to shit.” But Callie can’t read Mute Eyes.

Finally! Stef is back with the veggie burger. She bounds up the stairs. “Ok! Special Delivery for the sexiest…”

“Hi,” says Mr. Kim.



Apparently, Mother Kim wants the bed but Father Kim does not. We don’t know if the lesbians or the blonde Latina have anything to do with it. Adult Son Kim asks if they would sell half the bed, but Jesus is not interested. He hands Jesus his card in case they reconsider selling half a bed.

Mariana: I’m surprised you didn’t string them along in case you couldn’t decide.”

Jesus: Don’t go there.

Jesus walks away, but Mariana has to have the last word.

Mariana: And by the way, I’m still a virgin because I want to be, not because I have to be…

And she walks into the kitchen where Brandon and Mat are listening to her virginal explanations.

While Stef and Lena discuss whether or not to practice attachment parenting, Mariana informs them that Mike and Dani have come over. Dani brought food for the family while Lena is on bed rest. They ask if they can visit with Lena, but Brandon is all uh…er…um…she hardly knows Dani, so… And Dani is all,…um…he’s right. I’ll stay here and make a salad. While Mike is upstairs with Lena, he tells her that he and Dani are talking about having a baby. Time to spill the beans about your whore-friend, she’s thinking.

When Stef walks Mike outside, Mike feels the need to explain how he got tangled up with Ana even though he already told her to mind her own beeswax.

I did go to the halfway house to threaten Ana and then after I drank again, I went back to shut her up – for good. Yelling didn’t make feel better. I was disgusted with myself. Next thing I remember, Dani found me passed out in a parking lot somewhere with blood on my hands. Then when I found out Ana went missing, I went to find her. I was so relieved to find her in a crack house. I vowed to help her – to make amends. I’ll never have another drink.

Dani appears. Mike and Dani exeunt.

Mat finds Mariana doing her homework in the backyard, most likely aroused by her declaration of virginity. They banter.

Mat: Why do you dye your hair?

Mariana: None of your business.

Mat: Don’t move.

Mariana: What?

Mat: Swats at her shoulder. There’s a chip on your shoulder.

Deborah: Groans aloud.

Mat eventually asks her out on a date. Mariana accepts and is immediately giddy, which teaches us that girls just want to be liked even by guys who bug them.

Back at The Fosters House of Sleep, there is a man with a UV light checking the mattress for blood, urine and semen. Ew. Meanwhile, there are quite a few people waiting to see the bed. Mariana negotiates a cut of Jesus’s cut to help manage the prospective buyers.

Later, Stef and Lena are back in bed together, again fully clothed. Stef brings up the fact that they haven’t discussed names. Lena likes the idea of naming her after Stef’s father, Frank. They could name her Francesca and call her Frankie. Stef gets all weepy and approves. That’s the perfect time for Lena to say, “I have something I need to tell you. It’s about Brandon.” Scene change!

Brandon is playing keyboards in the garage when Stef shows up. Uh oh. Stef tells Brandon that Mama told her what happened. Brandon looks a wee bit concerned. Lucky for him, Lena told her about his drug trip, not his whore-trip. And then Stef takes the prim, proper, uptight approach.

I assumer you got pot from one of your bandmates. I just should have warned you that we’re not exactly “pot people.” ‘Course, nobody should be. I freaked out when I tried it, too. Being in a band doesn’t man you have to act like a rock star. If being in this band affects your grades or your judgment again, you’re done.

Hey, Stef! The 1950s called. They want the Beaver’s mom back.

Stef: I don’t like having to be the hard ass, Brandon.

Brandon: Why do you have to be?

Stef: Because someone has to. You’ll understand one day when you have kids of your own. Can’t believe I just said that.

Me neither. And just because you acknowledge that what you say is unproductive, unhelpful, dismissive, and cliché, that doesn’t make it any better.

Jesus is now answering questions of another prospective bed buyer. She asks why they want to get rid of the bed and Stef tells her that the split in the middle of the bed is not good for intimacy. Neither is ABC Family. The woman explains that the lack of intimacy is not an issue for her at her stage of life. Stef agrees the final price, which leaves Jesus with a paltry sum.



The evening ends with a family game of Monopoly, and I suffer PTSD from the take-no-prisoners Monopoly my dad made us play when we were little. He never let us win or waived a rent every so often. Every game lasted for days and ended with tears in the bathroom after going bankrupt. But when Jude lands on Park Place with a hotel on it, Lena says, “Pay me, Sucka!” and there are no tears, and I think they’re not playing it right.


Here it comes, people. Lena’s doctor’s appointment and bad news. Are you ready? Lena isn’t. She wants to have the baby in spite of the dangers. But the doctor does not recommend putting baby’s life in front of Lena’s. We know where this is going.

And Vee isn’t dead after all! She must have faked her death after trying to escape in order to see her daughter Lena. She arrives at the hospital with hugs and words of wisdom. But before we get to those words, Brandon is trying to dispense some wisdom to Callie outside of the hospital. He tells her about his date with Wyatt and how Wyatt was looking for advice and confirmation that Callie was over Brandon. Callie says once and for all that she is, in fact, over Brandon, but that’s she’s not over the rape. Brandon tells her that she should talk to Wyatt about it, but Callie doesn’t want to.

“You never want t talk about things that are hard. Keeping stuff inside doesn’t make it hurt less. You just hurt the people you shout out.” I can’t listen to you, Brandon while your lips are so unnaturally rosy.



I can, however, listen to Lena’s mom who has some wise words to share after Lena admits that she fears not having a biological connection to anyone in her family. She knows that doesn’t make a family, but she worries they won’t love her as much as she loves them when she’s driving them crazy or failing them. What if they slap her with a “You’re not my real mom?” Mom has the perfect response.

Every mother’s afraid their children won’t love us the way we love them. They won’t. Not in the same way. We have to love our children more in order to make the sacrifices it takes to put them first. Love will alwsays be a stronger bond than blood. They need you, and their needs trump your wants. That’s what being a real mother is all about.




Out in the waiting room, Callie holds Jude’s hand and then takes back everything she told him about taking his time and deserving a break and not feeling pressured. She tells him that she knows he’s angry that they don’t have the same birth father and that she has a half sister and that she went to meet her. He’s angry because they didn’t get adopted together and that he feels like he doesn’t have a say over anything. But she says that she’ll never run away again no matter what he says. “You have to talk to me – to the people who love you. You can’t shut us out. That’s selfish. You’re not selfish.” And Jude says, “Ok.” And Deborah says, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

The next morning, Lena is recuperating from delivering her baby girl, and she wakes up to find a young girl carrying a pink unicorn at her bedside, which is totally freaky. Lena seems undisturbed and asks the girl what her name is. It’s Leila. Leila’s mother finds her and starts to take her away when Leila stops to listen to her unicorn. Leila tells her mom that her unicorn wants to stay with Lena, and she places her unicorn next to Lena and walks towards the door.



Lena: What’s the unicorn’s name?

Leila: Frankie

Deborah: Ohfortheloveof…

The family is gathered around a cherry tree sapling that they have planted in honor of Frankie, the baby not the unicorn. Jude reads some words about cherry trees and life and already I’m tired of listening to his voice. Maybe he’ll contract laryngitis by next week.
















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  1. Vikki Reich says:

    Wow. Oh this show…

    My dad and I played Monopoly and I freaked out when I was losing one time and he folded up the game, marched out into the alley and threw it in the trash. I too have PTSD about Monopoly.

    • We taught Asher how to play Monopoly, and now he is obsessed. When we play, I play to lose so that I can get out of it as soon as possible. It’s the only way.

  2. Loved the love is stronger than blood explanation… but so blah about the frankie unicorn.

    Also, Vikki, has Wyatt not won you over yet? I am totally swooning— or I would be if I was my teenage self.

    • That was my favorite part, Clare (not that there were many in the running). Cramming that dead-baby-in-a-unicorn story was too much, and yet unsurprising.

      I know you asked Vikki about her issues with Wyatt, but as long as I’m here… you are far more able to put on your teenaged lenses when you look at Wyatt. While he doesn’t offend me, he definitely doesn’t make me swoon. Shoot, shag, or marry – Brandon, Mike, Wyatt? You go, and then I’ll share.

    • Vikki Reich says:

      Wyatt bugs me but I don’t know exactly why. As with everything Fosters I just blame the writers at this point.

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