Monday, August 5, 2013

'The Fosters' Review - 1.10 I Do

        On the summer finale of ABC Family's The Fosters, Stef and Lena's parents descend on the Foster home for the wedding; Stef confronts her father; Callie must make a difficult decision in her case against Liam; Callie and Jude get some good news from the Foster family; and Callie and Brandon connect in a way that could destroy any chance of her having happiness.

        Episodes nine and ten of The Fosters' first season were its two big event episodes. Episode nine was about the tragedy and fear of loss that brings a family together. Episode ten was about the celebration of life and love that makes this family's union even stronger. They were the perfect ways to end a very up-and-down first half of a season. They were both very solid and a good indicator of what the show is truly capable of when it's firing on all cylinders.
        As I noted last week, the Lena and Stef relationship is the best romantic one on the show and the true grounding force for the entire series. Their love for one another is truly refreshing and everlasting. I never feel like a fight between the two is one that could seriously jeopardize their relationship. They have created this strong family unit and have an open dynamic with all of their individual interactions. Now, the show has them get married as a commitment to how strong this core dynamic is. From about Stef's confrontation with her father to their vows is a beautiful sequence. I've grown attached to these characters and don't care that the show is simultaneously making a political statement. They never fall into a predictable pattern and that makes me interested in them. When Lena learns about Stef going back to work, she is not angry at her. She needs to feel the bullet wound in order to come to accept it.
        Callie has been the most rewarding teenage character on the show because she has a strong moral code but trouble stuff keeps happening to her. She finds content and happiness with Wyatt but at the same time has support from Brandon and the entire Foster family to do something about her past with Liam. Brandon's pining after her was different from her trust in him. And yet, that was something she wanted to happen too. Wyatt gave her the freedom to chase her dream and when she succumbed to it she immediately faces the consequences. The show made it a point to make this romance illicit and thus the two needed to face the repercussions of their actions. Sure, it could have been fun to see the two sneak around and hide their relationship for a little while. But it feels much better for them to give in for a moment and then be caught. And for that moment to work it needed to be someone who would be effected from that relationship. The show set it up to be Talya but if that would have been so it would have just been a retread of what happened earlier in the season. No, it had to be Jude. And the pain on his face made this plot all worth it. He loves this new family and is so overjoyed when they ask him and Callie to become a permanent part of their family. He knows this will all ruin it. And Callie knows this too. That's why she leaves in the end. Because she wants to give Jude his best chance at happiness. It's a truly selfless act and a perfect capper for the season so far.

Some more thoughts:
  • Last week, ABC Family ordered more episodes of The Fosters to air in early 2014. Even though, I don't love everything about the show quite yet, I'm happy that the show will have the chance to produce more episodes and get even better.
  • Lena and Stef were always going to get married in this finale according to the series creators. This episode was in production when the Supreme Court actually made its decision on the issue.
  • Stephen Collins, Annie Potts, Sam McMurray and Lorraine Toussaint are all perfectly fine as the parents of Lena and Stef. But they are roles that we have seen them all in before.
  • The Jesus/Lexi plot peaked in the episode where she ran away and learned of her illegal status. That was the episode that made her unlikable. In the past handful of episodes, the show did not know what to do with that story and so now it is just trying to distance itself from it by writing it out very perfunctory.
  • Also, Mariana is a pure afterthought in the finale. Of the characters, she is the least meaningfully developed and thusly her large absence isn't wholly unwelcome.
  • Finally, Mike is also just tacked on. The fallout from the shooting is dealt with somewhat but not very deeply.