The Fosters Roundtable: Hostile Acts (Episode 3)

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isotretinoin without a rx Spoiler alert-o-rama!  These weekly Roundtables are your place for smart lesbofamily banter about the new ABC Family show The Fosters, and they’re chock-a-block with SPOILERY content.  You’ve been warned! If you haven’t yet, watch it (ABCFamily is making the episodes available), and then come right back and join in!

Cast of Characters
Stef Foster – mother (police officer)
Lena Adams – mother (vice principal)
Brandon Foster – son, 16 yrs old (bio kid of Stef’s from a previous marriage)
Jesus Foster – son, 14 yrs old (adoptive, twin to Mariana)
Mariana Foster – daughter, 14  yrs old (adoptive, twin to Jesus)
Callie – “temporary” foster placement, 16 yrs old
Jude – Callie’s brother, 12 yrs old
Mike Foster  – ex-husband to Stef (police officer)

Episode Synopsis:  Mike invites Brandon to move in with him, which leads to an argument between Stef and Brandon. Meanwhile, Mariana objects to Jesus dating Lexi, and Callie’s journal assignment sparks memories of a dark secret from her past. First aired: Jun 17, 2013

This week at the table: N and Sandra!

N: So, before we get into this week’s episode – last week I was poking about the ABCFamily website and realized something. When Stef and Mike broke up, not only did Stef keep Mike’s last name, but she gave it to the twins.

Maybe I’m overly sensitive to this issue, given my own background with divorced parents, but to me that feels like not only a giant slap in the face to Lena, but it’s either a very serious implication or very serious oversight on the part of the showrunners.

Sandra: Agreed. It’s very confusing. I feel like the list of things I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt about with hopes that there will be a good explanation for is growing.

I can’t really think of how that came to be. I can see Brandon keeping Mike’s last name obviously. It seems strange that Stef would – but ok, maybe for logistical reasons (career, family fluidity…). Still, now that she’s with Lena it seems very strange. And the twins taking the name…I just can’t even fathom why that would be.

N: Right. Absolutely, I get Brandon keeping it. Stef… well, I know of people who’ve done that, especially if it was a relatively peaceful separation, but it’s rare, for sure. But then, even if she did, and even IF she didn’t change her own name when she got together with Lena, how could she justify giving the twins Mike’s last name? (Note: Lena did NOT take her name, so everybody – including Mike – is a foster BUT her.)

I’m good at giving the benefit of the doubt in general, and doubly so in regards ABC Family shows, but this is rubbing me the wrong way for sure.

Sandra: Well, on the subject of things that get under your skin – How could Mike NOT have talked to Stef before inviting Brandon to move in?!?

N: Oh god. I would’ve gone ballistic. Especially since Stef is right – it’s not Brandon’s choice. Yeah, she overreacted there, and (in my opinion) the child’s preferences (especially when the “child” is 16) should be taken into account, but parents are parents, and in the end it’s a decision to be made between Mike and Stef and (sorry Lena – you are a mom, but you are a step-mom for Brandon) nobody else.

Sandra: In a perfect world everyone would keep their cool during disagreements – but I don’t know if she over reacted. That was a pretty intense argument and it must have been hurtful when Brandon threw out the two-moms low blow. I was just glad to see Stef standing up for Lena.

N: True. Perhaps overreacted isn’t the right word – could have handled it better, would be a better way of saying it. (But who am I to speak, I could handle 90% of my interactions with my 3 year old better, let alone a legitimately upset 16 year old.)

I was glad to see her standing up for Lena, too, and I was glad that, even if it was off-screen, Lena was able to talk her down and help her come to a good place with it so that when Brandon returned, she was able to deal with how he acted inappropriately, and not reacting emotionally to the things he said.

Which led, of course, to Brandon saying that he DID love having two moms.
An important reminder that, when any of us are upset, including our kids, we’ll say things to lash out that we know will hurt people. Even if they’re not necessarily true…

Sandra: Yes, I was glad to see that – both the lashing out and the remorse. To contrast that interaction I think Stef *under-reacted* with Mike – but yes, I suppose that was very mature. I wouldn’t have been able to work through that so calmly. That conversation also clued us in to the fact that Stef left the marriage because of realizing that she is a lesbian – which we had been wondering about.

N: She under-reacted, perhaps, but she was, I think, at work at the time. Which goes back to my anger about how inappropriate it was of him to request her as a partner. Go back to the newbies, Stef!

But yes, I’m glad that we finally found out the circumstances of the break-up, as well as her own self-identification.

I’d imagine that that part of it played into Mike’s feelings of resentment towards Lena. Though I can’t picture him not having resentment towards his ex’s new partner, even if it wasn’t a woman.

Sandra: Mike, for all his infuriating and frustrating actions, it a good character. His feelings and mistakes are very human and I did feel sympathy for him (and Brandon’s desire to take care of him) in this episode.

N: The scene where Brandon went to tell him that he wasn’t moving in gutted me. I confess that, until that point, I’d rather been doubting his motives (even after he told Stef that it’s regret, not payback).

Even having him echo Stef’s words about being happy, I was skeptical. But the piano made me tear up a bit, it’s true.

Sandra: Ahhh, being a parent is hard.

N: I feel like we ought to take a moment to both cheer and be horrified by Lena cheating for Jude. I get why she did it, but man, that’s going to come back and bite her in the ass later. (And really? They were going to kick him out if he didn’t score that? They couldn’t just have him move back a grade?)

Sandra: Oh GOODNESS! Yes. I knew there was something else I wanted to touch on.
Same feelings. Totally torn about it, but I would have done the same.

N: Exactly. The parent in me absolutely would’ve done that, but the sane voice in the back of my head was yelling, “no, Lena, don’t!!”

Sandra: We mostly focus on the adult end, obviously – but for the kids’ storylines, it sounds like things are really going to escalate next week. I’m excited to see the quinceanera, I’m SO intrigued about who Liam is, and I hate Talya with a fiery wrath.

N: You’re not alone. Until next week!


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  1. Do you think Mike took Stef’s name when they got married & that’s why she didn’t change it back?

  2. If nothing else, I appreciate the fights and the reactions are very real. No, they are not perfect. But they are truthful. I wish I had a writer who could write or rewrite my fights. I don’t and for that I like the awkward saying the wrong thing. And I appreciate the fixing it (most of the time) afterwards.

  3. I appreciate how human the adults are, in particular. The dialogue always feels real to me.

    And Talya is the WORST.

  4. And for that one or two of you who may not know to what fabu recaps Selkie is referring, Vikki is doing not-to-be-missed blow-by-blows of each episode over at Autostraddle. Here’s the one for Episode 3. You decide which order in which to read: Recap-to-Roundtable, or Roundtable-to-Recap. I can see a good argument for either one. 🙂

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