Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Fosters

The Fosters
Episode 5: The Morning After
Episode 6: Saturday
By: Carlos Uribe

The Fosters is a show about an interracial married lesbian couple that raises their biological son and adopted kids.

Spoilers Ahoy!

The Morning After:

The Morning After takes place after the events of QuinceaƱera. Callie is now “hanging” out with Wyatt which basically means their dating. Their just not calling it that yet. They do run into two different relationship obstacles that threaten to get in their way. The first obstacle is that Wyatt makes the mistake of breaking and entering into a nice house as part of their first date. When Callie finds out, she justifiably panics because she's on probation. She could have gone straight back to juvie if they had been caught. He had jeopardized her freedom because he wasn't thinking about the consequences. When he realizes his mistake, he makes it up to her by apologizing. It's a plot I liked for a primary reason. I liked how the show used how reckless teenage behavior can be different between the two characters. It's no big deal for Wyatt because he has no record. He's just having fun and he doesn't think anything will happen to him. It's different for Callie because she has a record and she knows that life doesn't always work out. She knows they could have been caught and she would have been separated from her brother again. It's a bit cheesy that he broke into a nice house to impress her but it worked because of how the show used it to highlight the differences in the way they see the same action. The second obstacle is Brandon because he has feelings for Callie. Only she refuses to get involved with him because the last time they were in a good home she was seduced by Liam (presumably). Only when his parents found out, he claimed that it was all Callie's fault. This seems to answer the question of who Liam is but why is he such a villain? A forbidden romance doesn't seem like that big of a deal as long as she's learned her lesson and it looks like she has. It feels like there is still more to this story than we know.

The Lexi and Jesus plot takes a very interesting turn when the two of them have unprotected sex. Lexi starts to get scared that she might be pregnant. Her parents are religiously conservative and they wouldn't be happy if they found out she was having sex before marriage. She's not only afraid of how they'll react but what will happen to her life if she's carrying child. The content of the plot contains a lot more depth beyond whether or not Mariana approves of their relationship (she doesn't) which makes it more compelling. While I didn't really care how this affected their relationship, I was interested to see whether or not Stef would give the kids the morning after pill. The main dilemma over the pill was if they had any right to do so. Lena thinks that Lexi's parents have a right to know but Stef is afraid that their conservative views would force the two teenagers to get married if she was pregnant. It's a strong crisis as it relates not only to the pregnancy scare for the girl but over how this affects parental relations with their children. In the end, Stef decides to give them the morning after pill because she had to look out for her son and she thought it was the right thing to do. Lena wasn't happy this was done behind her back but she has no choice but to back her partner. This pregnancy scare was a lot stronger material for the Lexi and Jesus relationship so it's sad that is' over so quickly but the good news is that the two of them having sex might become an obstacle if her parents ever found out. As a final note on this plot: I like how Lena was disappointed that she did everything by the book on how to handle the sex topic and yet Jesus still didn't use a condom. Just a small nudge that child professionals don't know everything and how their recommendations that every child is unigue.

There were two other major plots this week. The first is giving Mariana a new “love” interest, Garret. I put love in quotation marks because Garret has a lisp which makes me think he might be gay. This is television after all. That's not why this plot is interesting-it's because of how different Mariana and Garret are. Mariana is a normal philistine teenage girl but Garret is a really cultured guy who likes artsy movies and participating in poetry slams. Since Mariana is interested in him, she tries to get into the poetry slam but doesn't make it because she's not edgy enough. Mariana responds by piercing her nose to prove how real she is. Parents freak out but she gets to keep it even if there is a hints that it got infected. The dynamic between the two is an interesting reflection of two people with different tastes and one of them trying to change herself for the other. The other major plot is where Jude decides to wear nail polish to school. He gets bullied at school but he does make a new friend, Connor, who paints his nails at the end to show his support. It's a good plot in showing how being different can have it's challenges.

Overall: The Morning After is a really strong episode of the Fosters where every plot, even Lexi and Jesus, worked well.

Characters can be complicated. Take Callie's decision to be with Wyatt. There's no doubt that there's a part of her that actually likes him but there's also a part of her that's only dating him to avoid Brandon. She's hoping that if she's with someone else then Brandon will be discouraged and move on. This doesn't mean that Wyatt is just a plot device who doesn't have much depth as this week develops him a lot. His house is getting foreclosed so he throws a party meant at vandalizing the place. Callie doesn't understand this as she thinks that he doesn't care that he's losing the house he grew up in. He does care. He's having people vandalize it because he's angry. He does break down later in the party when he's alone with Callie. He admits that he's not happy he's losing his childhood home and Callie has to calm him down. She manages to make him feel better, he takes a piece of his house with him, and the two leave the party. It's a really strong plot because it once again showcases the difference between the two characters. Wyatt is losing his childhood home, the first time the status quo in his life has really been upset. Callie has never been in a home for a significant period of time as she has little stability in her life. The way they perceived the situation was thus influenced by these two different backgrounds to create some great dialogue. It's simply smart. There are a few key moments that also happen at the party that are important: Mariana finds out that Jesus had sex with Lexi and Liam shows up at the end of the party. I'll cover the former in a bit but the latter basically got me excited because we've had so much build-up towards Liam. His first impression isn't a strong one as he merely threatens Callie to stay away from his family but then he makes up for it when he implies he knows where she lives. Creepy! I'm hoping we learn more about him because I'm interested to know more about their story considering how big of a deal the writers made him out to be. As for the former, Mariana finding out Jesus had sex with Lexi messes up their relationship.

I'd have to say I'm pleasantly surprised how great the Lexi-Jesus relationship turned out once you took Mariana out of the picture. The two had sex, they had a great pregnancy scare that tested Stef on what to do, and now it's used a vehicle to explore homosexuality. You see, Jesus wants to go to Church camp because Lexi is going. He doesn't really care about what they teach, he just wants to be with her. Only the Catholic Church doesn't have a great history accepting gay couples so Stef is worried about allowing Jesus to go. Making matters more complicated is that we meet her dad this week and learn that he hasn't accepted that she's a lesbian. He might treat the kids as family but he has yet to approve of his daughter's lifestyle. This is partially because of his religious faith but also because he refuses to accept it on a personal level. This all explodes at dinner when Lexi's family comes to eat at Stef's house and Stef's dad crashes. It suddenly becomes a discussion about whether or not homosexuality is alright with the Church. To the surprise of Stef, she finds out that Lexi's parents are actually okay with it because there's nothing more Christian than family. I disagree with that assertion but I understand their point. Stef's dad does apologize for turning his daughter away from religion but he refuses to change his mind about whether her lifestyle is acceptable or not. It's all pretty great drama that explores the differing views of homosexuality amongst religious people in a fair way. It's pretty obvious where the Fosters stands on the issue (overwhelming support) but it's at least willing to give both sides a fair shake. The dinner ends in a big reveal when a drunk Marianna reveals to Lexi's parents that Lexi has had sex with Jesus. It's implied in a few scenes that she's managed to break them up due to that outburst.

The final major plot of the episode has to do with Brandon and Mike. Brandon has a pretty major audition he has to attend in order to get a personal class with the best piano teacher (in the state). He's pretty good, practices a lot, but he places himself under a lot of pressure. When his dad is late, it messes him up as he can't help but think it's going to be a disaster. He becomes a nervous wreck and screws up the audition. His dad, realizing his son didn't make it, fights for the teacher to give Brandon another chance. The teacher agrees and Brandon manages to ace the audition. He gets the class but not the scholarship. At first Brandon is willing to turn it down, but Mike insists on finding a way to pay the large fee. It's a great plot that explores the father-son bonding the two have been sharing while at the same time giving Mike a good chance to shine. I do like how Mike is stepping up to the plate. He's finally able to do something for his son that matters to him. It's a strong moment for the character. It's also nice that Brandon gets to succeed rather than fail. It's good to let your characters have a win every now and then.

Saturday is a pretty great episode of the Fosters that touches the tricky subject of faith and homosexuality in a great way. Every other plot worked as well.

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