The Fosters (ABC Family) Review “The Honeymoon”

The Fosters Episode 11 The Honeymoon (13)

The Fosters returned with a blockbuster episode, picking up the morning after Lena and Stef’s wedding. For a short time, the family is completely unaware that someone is missing from their brood and they go about the day as normal: eating breakfast, cleaning up after the festivities, making plans for the day– then Jude finds Callie’s guitar left behind when she is supposed to be at a lesson and the normalcy is shattered. The rush of terror that accompanies a family member missing is visceral, and the fact that everyone aside from Jude is clueless as to why Callie ran makes their pain all the more heartbreaking.

It’s Callie herself (as portrayed with a quiet grace by Maia Mitchell) that steals this hour. We watch Brandon at home wallowing in his own petulance, assuming Callie left because she’s still into Wyatt, and it draws his privilege and naivety into sharp focus. At one point Wyatt asks Callie, “Why do you think everyone will abandon you?” And the harsh answer is because so far in her life, everyone has. She knows the damage a kiss can do and as a survivor of sexual assault, she caries guilt for upending Jude’s life before, when being victimized meant losing a home. In a raw moment of anger, Jude compares Brandon to Liam, and while Brandon would never force himself on Callie, his insistence that he loves her rings false. It’s not young romance that Callie needs, it’s a place where she can be safe, which is exactly what Brandon put in jeopardy.

Watching the first leg of Callie’s journey with Wyatt, we see her verbalize her need to take control of her own life, but she is a slave to the system. She dreams of getting a job, a home of her own, of being free, but as a teenager none of those things are available to her. When Wyatt ultimately calls Callie’s moms, he knows she will see it as a betrayal, but in his heart, it was surely an act of pure love. He wanted Callie to see not everyone gives up on her, but she runs again. Without Wyatt, Callie is utterly alone, but still stubborn. She tries and fails to make her dream happen by getting a job at a diner, but the owner sees through her act and tells her what he would want someone to tell his own daughter if she were alone on the streets: go home. Still, Callie meanders, sleeping on the bus and wandering the streets until she meets a prostitute not much older than she is. The girl offers her a place to say and Callie sees first hand that she has two choices: live on the streets, embracing everything that means, or go back even if it means she can’t go home. Even then she doesn’t give up, Callie asks the girl if she can borrow her phone, but it’s not her Lena and Stef that she calls, it’s the prison where her father is incarcerated. She hopes that maybe he might finally want to be her father, or at least offer guidance, but she gets the news that he was released a year ago.

Then The Fosters offered up an ending so heartbreaking and beautiful it could become a defining moment for the series, the moment it went from being good television to richly important television. Callie takes control the only way she knows how, she walks into a convenience store and begins eating food she can’t pay for, making it clear to the man behind the counter that she has no intention of stopping. When he tells her if she takes one more bite, he will call the cops, she does so, bravely and defiantly, not giving into the inevitable, but making a conscience choice.

Elsewhere, the episode was padded out with nice, domestic moments as Mike stepped in to care for the kids as Stef and Lena searched for Callie. We were also given a much needed moment of Brandon realizing the weight of what he had done and consoling Jude. Meanwhile, the twins said their goodbye to Lexi (and Jesus made the earnest promise of a 15-year-old boy with no idea how real life works).

It was all background noise in the end, extremely watchable background noise, but nothing compared to Callie standing in the center of that convenience store taking a bite of a candy bar knowing that just because she is backed into a corner that doesn’t mean she has to wait to be found. She had control, if only for a moment.

Follow me on Twitter @sljbowman