The Fosters (ABC Family) Review “Padre”

The Fosters Episode 15 Padre (1)

Loss effects people in unexpected ways. Everyone grieves differently, everyone goes through the process at their own pace, but if there is a unifying emotion that emerges from loss it is the desire to hold onto those we have left. “Padre” was an ode to family with all of its complications, hiccups and imperfections. It was a story about two daughters who never got to say goodbye to a parent, and how that loss has and will effect them moving forward.

The opening sequence of “Padre,” was stunning. Stef’s dream of her father, of a small moment of reconciliation and snow was haunting. When her eyes opened, the weight of the hurt was visible on her face. Stef, like Callie, wears her strength like an armor. She goes through Frank’s funeral, making sure respects are paid to her father, without allowing herself to crack. The pressure of the day mounted in ways both small (discovering the bakery had given her Cubs cupcakes instead of Padres cupcakes) to large (seeing Lena’s prenatal vitamins in the cabinet), but Stef was unwavering even as the memory of her final words to her father being angry ones lingered.

It was Callie who ultimately gave Stef a way to open up. Throughout the episode, we were given glimpses at Callie and Jude’s history. The night they lost their mother and Callie stubbornly refusing to kiss her goodbye, the siblings walking hand in hand into the church, a social worker promising they would never be separated, and the shocking revelation that after years of believing Jude lost control after their mother’s death, it was actually her– in small bursts, we got to see Callie become the young woman we know today. After temporarily losing her mother’s necklace, Callie’s visceral panic drove her into Stef’s arms. Outside, away from everyone else, Stef told Callie the one thing she needed to hear: “Sometimes, it feels like I have five hearts walking outside my body, and yes, you are one of them.”

Callie finally realized it is a family she needs, not a boyfriend, and Brandon, who has so often seemed petulant since the return from summer break, acknowledged Callie was right. She needs all of the Fosters, not just him. She needs to come home. Watching her tell Jude just that was one of the highlights of the series’ short life. I can’t imagine a more fitting ending to the Callie running away arc.

The rest of the episode was filled with small moments: some pushed the plot along, others were there to honor Frank. On the plot side of thing, Emma and Jesus flirted with the idea of a kiss after Emma answered a video call from Lexi, a Ouija board told Mariana her first boyfriend would be Zach (not dreamboat Chase), and Mike learned that as a result of an article in the local paper, charges would be filled against him for his actions on the night Stef was shot.

For this one night, the grieving outweighed the plot though. What stood out for me was Frank’s ex-wife vowing to keep his coat, Lena finally telling her mother her life is her own, and the last scene when Stef sat in the car her father bought for her and told him she was going to miss him. The cynical side of me thinks the sudden appearance of snow was a bit much, but this episode was built on dreams, memories and spirituality. Hanging over everything was the idea the people who love us never truly leave, and the ones that remain behind are willing to embrace strange bends in the road. For this reason, Stef tells Lena, “So, we’re having a baby?” An act of love so pure and beautiful, born out of the wisdom that life is precious and having people to spend it with only makes it richer.

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