Where’s Mike on The Fosters? What happened with AJ? Through the first three episodes of season 5, there were some understandable questions given the focus of the series being cast elsewhere. We were missing many familiar faces as the story navigated in different directions.
Well, on Tuesday night’s installment we saw many of these characters return, but we cannot say that many of these said reunions brought much peace or understanding.
Let’s begin here with Callie and AJ, who basically formed the tensest agreement possible when it comes to the downfall of their relationship: They are both at fault for what happened in one way or another. When it comes to Callie, she did have feelings for Aaron and created at one point her own escape fantasy with him in the middle of her relationship. Meanwhile, AJ cheated. The two were checked out from each other and everything caved in. It’s probably good for them to realize it and just stop playing the blame game. It’s only then that everyone can start to move on a little bit. They’re both flawed, and they should each move forward.
Meanwhile, the return of Cole also put Callie in a strange position where she tried to use him, a young trans man who previously had feelings for her, to give her some advice as to how to please sexually her young trans boyfriend in Aaron. She took this advice at face value, not realizing that the needs of one person are not the same as the needs of others. Callie was well-intentioned here, but in the heat of her argument with Aaron about communicating and being ready for intimacy she took everything far too personally. This wasn’t about her as much as it was Aaron’s own desire to take things slow. Sometimes, she doesn’t see the solution that’s right in front of her face.
Eventually, Callie and Aaron did work it out, and while they are not moving into a sexual relationship at the moment, there are still opportunities to dive into that further down the road.
Cortney’s also back…
We weren’t altogether sure that we would see Brandon’s ex again on the show, but over this episode she served a great use as we had a chance to see him continued to be tethered more to the life he had with her — even though there was no superficial reason for him to be.
Like with Callie, Brandon does carry with him this hero complex where he feels the need to save people. That’s what he did by letting Cortney and her son Mason stay at Gabe’s while he is out of town. If he gets too attached, that’s not going to be good for him since he already showed once that this may not be a responsibility he’s ready for full-time. For now, he should just show his new love interest Grace that he’s ready for something with her, given that he’s been rather cagey on almost everything when it comes to being with her. It’s almost like he’s veering into the opposite direction following things with Cortney.
What does make Cortney an interesting character is how conflicted she is. She knows that it’s wrong to take advantage of her ex’s kindness and naiveté, but she’s also desperate and at a certain point, you do have to care for your kid first.
Mariana and Jesus’ journeys
While Jude was almost a non-entity in this episode, the other kids had their hands full taking on a few different challenges of their own. For Jesus, it was trying to get himself in a position where all of his relationships were repaired, and that was not easy since he continued to go off and Brandon and Emma basically echoed what Jesus overheard Lena saying previously: She was scared to be around him. That’s why she was blowing him off. He wants to get the right medications to make life easier, but they won’t cure his problems entirely.
Meanwhile, for Mariana, she’s trying to cover up the fact that she’s competing in roller derby to various degrees of success. Lena saw one of her injuries, but hasn’t figured out where it came from. (For the record, we still don’t understand where Mariana’s desire to hide this is coming from — while Lena wouldn’t be thrilled about the danger of the sport, she probably does recognize the merits of this as an outlet for Mariana and wouldn’t be all that upset over it. There just needs to be the right people around to help in the event something goes wrong.)
The final verdict
We do still get frustrated about the depiction of Callie every now and then as selfish. She’s willing to put her freedom on the line sometimes to help other people, but then also gets a little bit too defensive when it comes to her relationships with AJ and Aaron. Meanwhile, it’d be great to see some more substantial process with Jesus, even if we understand that his condition is not going to be getting better overnight.
All in all, though, this proved to be a good hour of TV that brought us back to some established characters who almost feel like old friends at this point. We didn’t even send congratulations to Mike and Ana on moving into the next phase of their lives! Grade: B.
Want to see what’s next?
If you do head over here, you can get some further news and insight! We’re going to have a preview for the next new episode of the show there, as well.. (Photo: Freeform.)