The Fosters #2.19 (Justify the Means) recap: Mercury in retrograde

Stef hatches a secret plan to keep Callie a part of the Adams Foster family. In doing so, she creates a folder on her computer called MY SECRET PLAN. Then she hangs a neon sign that reads CALLIE’S MY DAUGHTER, and hires a skywriter to write SUCK IT, ROBERT across the beautiful San Diego skies. Stef is so covert, the FBI’s looking to recruit her, I’m sure.

Stef’s secret plan – which, okay, she does manage to keep slightly more under wraps that I’ve suggested – involves getting Callie emancipated (behind the backs of both Robert and the family court judge), so that she’ll be free of the Quinns and her adoption by the Adams Fosters will be able to go through. Oh, and it also involves Stef blackmailing Robert after hiring an investigator to dig up dirt on him.


The dirt on Mr Quinn, by the way, includes the fact that his company is named Quinn Windows and Home Construction. Why is this so hilarious to me? Why do the windows get top billing over the rest of the home? Why pick a company name that’s like Ambien in word form? I literally cannot read that company name without my eyes glazing over.

I’m sure you’ll also be shocked – shocked! – to learn that Robert has a mistress. She looks a little like Callie’s mom, too, if you enjoy reading too much into things, which of course I do. I wonder if Ms Mistress is also a kitchen wench?


Either way, Stef’s plan seems like it might be a success. For now, Callie gets to stay at the Adams Fosters for a while longer, provided she spends every other weekend with Robert.

However, Stef’s secret plotting brings up old issues in her marriage. Once again, she’s acted rashly – and shut Lena out of her decision-making completely. That said, Lena’s not doing so well at sharing her thoughts and feelings, either… at least not with Stef. With Monte, on the other hand? She’s happy to open up.

In fact, Lena seems to be barrelling headlong into an emotional affair with Monte. When Monte comes over to the house for dinner, not only does she casually reveal to Stef just how close she’s gotten to Lena, she also praises their “gorgeous” home and “amazing” kids.

Monte’s practically scoping out their life, wondering if she could just slot herself in as Stef’s replacement. Maybe the right-wing pressure groups are right. Stef and Lena provide an advertisement for lesbianism that’s just too tempting. Monte’s like, GIMME A LADY WIFE NOW. It’s the homosexual agenda in action. *sad shake of the head*


Dinner with New Mama Monte does have one advantage, however. Mariana persuades Monte that Timothy is the Best Teacher Ever, leading to his reinstatement.



While I am extremely happy to have Timothy back, I call bullshit on Mariana’s extremely mature and well-reasoned explanation for why he’s her favourite teacher. Mostly, I’m just remembering the fact that, when I was 15, I, too, had a favourite teacher. He was Canadian. That was literally the whole reason he was my favourite teacher. Canadian. I’m gonna go ahead and assume that Timothy is really Mariana’s favourite teacher because he’s English. English. (…CANADIAN!)


There was clearly some kind of screw-up in this episode, because Callie’s Misery Cage was accidentally left unlocked and she stumbled out into bright sunshine and ended up in a light-hearted subplot.

To show her support for Mariana, Callie goes along to her dance team auditions (the 78th round of dance team auditions, if I’m counting correctly). Despite the fact that Callie dances, uh, about as enthusiastically as you’d guess she would, Mariana’s so stoked at the idea of dancing alongside her sister that she ignores Tia’s (exquisite) WTF face and selects Callie for the team.

Despite some coaching from Mariana’s on how to pull the perfect sexyface, Callie’s horror at all things dance cannot be concealed. They finally come clean to one other – and Callie agrees to quit the dance team, while Mariana agrees to never aim that laser-strength, truly-terrifying sexyface in Callie’s direction ever again.

After their fraught scenes last week, this was a nice piece of closure for Callie and Mariana. It’s hard to believe the Callie of season one, who frowned her way through the Quinceañera waltzes, would have willingly put herself in this position. And Mariana is so visibly thrilled to involve Callie in her life that it’s really touching to watch. They seem closer than ever to being sisters, rather than “like” sisters.

This storyline also gets the thumbs up from me, because we finally got some Emma backstory. It turns out she was a cheerleader in Junior High, but got sick of being on the sidelines and (it’s implied) being emotionally pummelled by mean girls.

Emma turns out to be a secret weapon for Mariana’s dance team. And, hopefully, this is the beginning of Emma Learning To Love Herself and finding some nice gal pals to gal-pal around with. (Speaking of which, Emma and Callie actually had a conversation in this episode, which was Very!!! Exciting!!! for me, since I’ve been saying since last season that they should be best friends.)

# BrallieSubtextWatch

Meanwhile, the thrilling saga of whether Brandon will go on tour or take up a classical music scholarship grinds on. (Yawn.) Despite letting his original scholarship lapse, Idyllwild have agreed to let Brandon audition for another spot on the summer program. THAT’S CONVENIENT.

Everything’s falling into place, especially since he figures that, after all his petty criminal activity, the moms won’t let him go on tour anyway. Au contraire! In this episode, Lena and Stef do everything short of taking bong hits and saying, Whatever, dude! Go on tour! Live life on the edge, man!

Brandon finally has to break it to Lou that, yeah, he is allowed to go on tour, but no, he doesn’t want to anymore, because classical music is where his heart lies. This scene is kind of weird and I don’t know if the CLASSICAL MUSIC = CALLIE subtext is supposed to be quite so glaring, but, regardless, Lou storms out like Brandon just called her fat.

Anyway, from now on, I’m just gonna mentally replace any reference to classical music with ‘Callie’.

Scene: Brandon, caught up the rapture of classical music CALLIE, lightly strokes his fingers across the piano keys CALLIE and pumps his feet hard on the pedals CALLIE, building to a heart-stopping musical climax CALLIE.

The music is Callie, you guys.

In this episode, the real Brandon and Callie – rather than the clumsy metaphor Brandon and Callie – skate a weird line between siblings and married couple. For some reason, all their scenes take place in the bathroom. It’s so… domestic. Yet, whether we’re supposed to read these scenes as familial or romantic, the two of them are undeniably in-synch. They practically speak with one voice in their scene with Jesus and Mariana, and later, they’re the ones to call each other out (about Callie lying to Mariana about the dance team, and about Brandon lying to Lou about the tour).


When he’s not playing some metaphorical piano, Brandon finds time to commit a bit of low-level mail fraud. I’m pretty sure stealing other people’s letters is a crime… but Brandon does it anyway and, while he’s at his dad’s house, he fishes Ana’s mail out of the trash.

He finds out that Ana’s been trying to contact her parents (Jesus and Mariana’s grandparents), which gives him a Great Idea to shove the baby in the direction of these two people he’s never met. And, truly, we have reached new heights of weirdness in this game of Baby Hot Potato. Will it go to Ana? Will it go to Mike? Will it go to the Random Grandparents? Will it go to—

Ooh, the music just stopped and, ding ding ding! the hot potato landed with Stef and Lena, who suddenly announce they will adopt the baby, after all. Oh…kay.


Now for another edition of Jude and Connor: Secret Boyfriends!

At school, Jude and Connor bro around, just like any other pair of resolutely heterosexual bros, making plans to hang out later and do “homework”. Riiight. Homework. Jude and Connor are just two buds – buds who occasionally play footsie – looking for a place to be alone. To do. Homework. Right.

However, there’s same-sex attraction on the breeze. The audience smells it. Taylor smells it. Everyone smells it. But, in order to throw his dad off the scent, Connor’s still seeing Daria.

This leads to yet another group date – and some casual vandalism. Jude sneaks out to join Connor, Daria and Taylor in TP’ing a girl’s house, because “it’s her birthday” and “she hates her parents”. (Um. Okay. Now, in addition to wishing we got more of Jude and Connor’s storyline, I’m wishing we got more of Taylor and Daria’s storyline. Whatever madness goes on in their circle of friends sounds at least more interesting than dance purgatory or the wrestling team…)

Jude spends this episode walking an uneasy line between happiness at being with Connor in a way that’s honest (at least between the two of them) and reluctance at being Connor’s “secret”. There’s something heart-breaking in the fact that, after so much hiding, Jude is trying so hard to be himself, while the situation with Connor simply won’t allow it. More than once, we see Jude try to extricate himself from Connor, but each time, Jude’s feelings seem to override everything else.

When Taylor dangles before him a chance to “get drunk and make out”, Jude can’t resist – especially when Connor smiles at him like this:

Unfortunately, when the foursome break into Taylor’s house for the aforementioned drunkenness/makeouts, they get more than they bargained for. Her dad wakes up, mistakes them for burglars, and chases them with a gun.

Well, that’s what you get for underage drinking, kids.

Other notes and sundry:

Line of the episode goes to Drummer Jasper, whose excuse for being late for band practice is: “Mercury’s in retrograde, man.” Jasper’s my new favourite character, ever since I remembered his name and all.

Child of Chaos: I know some people are reading Taylor’s “get drunk and make out” plan as being her the best wing(wo)man ever and enabling Jude and Connor smoochies, but my own memories of being a 13-year-old girl make me more inclined to think she was just trying to cause chaos and fuck over her best frienemy, Daria. Either way, let’s have the next Fosters spin-off novel be all about Taylor. (Has anyone actually read The Fosters novel? I’ll admit, I’m morbidly fascinated…)

Wardrobe notes:

Brandon and Callie spend most of this episode in co-ordinating (if not completely matchy-matchy) outfits, which reflects how in-synch they seem in this episode.

Brandon also continues his new trend of wearing patterned shirts. PATTERNED SHIRTS. Is this your thing now, Brandon? What does this say about your psychological state?

My favourite thing about the Callie-the-dancer subplot is that Callie does her whole dance audition and rehearsal in a plaid shirt and jeans. You’re not even trying to pretend that you’re into this, Callie.

Jude and Connor continue their established pattern of Jude wearing blue while Connor wears green (green being Jude’s colour). But – danger, danger – when they show up for their nighttime breaking and entering jaunt, Jude wears a blue sweater underneath his fleece while Connor wears a red one.

Red for either Jude or Connor is definitely registering with me as inner turmoil this season. But maybe I read too much into things.


2 thoughts on “The Fosters #2.19 (Justify the Means) recap: Mercury in retrograde

  1. My friend didn’t get the fact that I was excited about Jude and Connor doing ‘homework’ and I’m so glad that you did. By the way I love your reviews and read them weekly.

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