The Fosters Season 2 Review “Say Something”

The Fosters Season 2 Episode 4 Say Something (6)

The definition of family varies depending on who you ask. For some people, family is all about blood bonds and genetics. For others, family is something you carve out for yourself, finding people along the way whom you cannot imagine life without. Still, for others family is a mixture of both: the family they are born with and the family they make. The Fosters has never been about the traditional, nuclear family. Stef and Lena both have their biological families, for better and worse, and they also have the beautiful family they made together. This family extends further than the kids. It’s not just Stef, Lena, Brandon, Mariana, Jesus, Callie and Jude. It’s also Lena and Stef’s headstrong biological mothers. It’s Mike, who is a father figure not only to Brandon, but to all of the kids, and who would be lost without the Foster clan.

“Say Something” continued to push the boundaries of what makes a family and what threatens a family. Timothy, who had second thoughts about signing over his parental rights to Lena and Stef’s unborn daughter, appeared to be the bad guy for most of the episode. We do not know much about Timothy’s background, but a further examination of his actions–bringing up Lena’s pregnancy during her interview for the principal position and telling her he was involving a lawyer in his custody case–can be viewed as either calculating or, as he claimed, as innocent gestures meant to prepare Lena instead of having her sideswiped later. When he did ultimately sign over his parental rights, it was Stef who decided having him in the baby’s life, in all of their lives, could be a positive thing.

Love is what makes a family whole, but there is a drive in most people to understand where they came from, biologically speaking. Stef watched this play out first hand as Callie sat with her father, Robert, and half-sister Sophia. Robert’s wife was clearly threatened by Callie. Her own definition of family clearly begins and ends with her husband and their daughter. Knowing that Robert never would have left Callie’s mother had he known she was pregnant only added insult to her list of insecurities. Here is a woman who sees her husband full of longing for a life not lived, and her daughter clearly enamored with her new found big sister. Her family is built on much more fragile ground that the Fosters– it is built on money, prestige and pedigree. Callie’s presence could upset Mrs. Quinn’s tidy world in ways she may not be able to deal with.

On Callie’s part, meeting a part of her family she never knew is a positive experience. Callie does not spend much time with Robert, but for a girl who called on the man she thought was her biological father when she had no one else to turn to last season, suddenly having a father in her life who desperately wants to be in her life (even if he has not said those words yet) is a substantial turn of events. Likewise, little Sophia, sheltered and under so much stress, absolutely falls for Callie.

The trouble is Callie has always been part of a family of two. It has been Callie and Jude against the world since they lost their mother. Now Jude sees Callie reaching out to a family he is not part of and it terrifies him so much he shuts down. The episode ended with the reveal that Jude has retreated inside himself and stopped talking. Callie is and always will be his primary lifeline. Losing her is his biggest fear. For two kids who have been bounced around from home to home, it only makes sense that Jude’s definition of family can be summed up by saying Callie.

Now Callie is in between these two worlds. The Fosters and Jude are her home, but Robert could pose a real threat to her family. The question becomes can Robert, Sophia and his wife become another branch of the Foster family tree or will Robert fight to bring Callie into his home? The ramifications of such a fight could have enormous repercussions for Jude and the rest of the Fosters. However, for the series, the storyline is another way to expand and test the limits of one family’s devotion as they navigate life with a nuclear family where money often guides decisions more than love.

Follow me on Twitter @sljbowman