The Fosters (ABC Family) Review “Us Against the World”

The Fosters Episode 16 Us Against The World (3)

“Then all anxiety was at an end, and they lived together in perfect happiness.”

The Fosters has officially usurped Parenthood as the series most likely to provoke the audience to tears on a week to week basis. The second half of the season continued its consistent run of exemplary episodes with “Us Against the World,” which gave us the gifts of Callie coming home and Judicorn having his entire family celebrate his secret (true) birthday. A secret Callie and Jude no longer have to keep because they have the Fosters.

The lead up to Jude’s birthday party was a sweet reminder of how much of a mother figure Callie has been to Jude. The elaborate scavenger hunt spoke to the depth of their connection; Callie obviously always finds a way to make the day special for Jude. Giving him the gift of a home as represented by Hansel and Gretel finding their way out of the woods to be safe and happy was beautiful. It wasn’t just a gift, it was a promise that Callie is committed to staying and trusts that she and Jude have found a real home at last.

As for the perfect happiness part, that is surely too much to ask. The adults in the family– Stef, Lena and Mike –were in turmoil over the fallout from Mike shooting an unarmed man when he saw Stef had been shot. With Stef’s job on the line and Mike facing possible jail time, Brandon stepped up for his family in a way that will likely prove to be very stupid even though his actions came from a desire to protect his parents. Remember how he stopped taking his piano lessons, but continued taking Mike’s money? Well, instead of investing it in his and Callie’s future love nest, he decides to give it to Jesus and Mariana’s biological mother in exchange for her recanting her story. His plan works, and Stef and Mike are in the clear, but Brandon is not on a good path.

Never mind adjusting to the idea Callie will soon be his sister, Brandon also has to earn back the cash he gave to the twins’ biological mother. Given his current angst-ridden state of mind, he lets a fellow classmate convince him that the best way to make money is by selling fake IDs. I predict this is step one in Brandon spiraling out of control. He’s also living with Mike now, drinking to ease his pain and in close proximity to his dad’s much younger girlfriend. He is so not coming out of this teen drama unscathed.

Finally, I have to talk about Mariana. She is consistently one of my favorite characters to watch simply because she is so normal and she takes so much flack for not growing up as fast as her other siblings. Her flirtation with Chase escalated at the cast party that Callie and Brandon also attended. She sadly took advice from Talia who urged Mariana to put her underwear in Chase’s pocket and tell him to meet her upstairs. Mariana wants to embrace the role of this idealized sexy, modern woman, but at the end of the day, she is fifteen and she doesn’t want to have sex yet. She wants to flirt and kiss, but Chase is looking for a hookup. Seeing Mariana’s fantasy of Chase crumble was crushing (appropriately so), but hopefully this means she can move on to Zach, who at least appreciates Mariana for all of the things that make her special: her quirkiness, her talent, her heart…as first boyfriends go, Zach is a better option than Chase by far.

“Us Against the World” wasn’t a flashy episode. In fact, aside from Stef and Mike’s situation it was a relatively straight forward tale of teenagers learning, growing and making mistakes. That’s what I love the most about The Fosters though; every week doesn’t have to be a huge affair to be touching. Sometimes something as small as Callie telling Rita she respected her before leaving the group home or seeing the look on Jude’s face when Callie handed him a balloon that read happiness can be genuine enough to make an entire episode sing.

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