Monday, January 13, 2014

REVIEW: 'The Fosters' Brings Callie to the Forefront & Is Much Better in Doing So in 'The Honeymoon'

ABC Family's The Fosters - Episode 1.11 The Honeymoon

The repercussions of Callie's decision to run away impact every member of the Foster family; Jude and Brandon struggle with their own personal guilt about Callie; and Mariana inadvertently discovers the whole story about Lexi's upcoming trip to Honduras.

In the first episode back in the new year, The Fosters really shakes up its format. So much of "The Honeymoon" is centered around Callie and what her life is like now that she has left the Foster household - which is so odd since the show really takes itself as a family drama. The entire last act of the episode never breaks away from what she's doing. And yet, the amount of time spent on Callie is so completely justifiable because of the strength of the material. It's just inherently interesting because it is a story not often told on television. Callie is basically homeless after having to leave Wyatt. She can't get a job and she can't get a place to live. It's an ironic circle as she realizes. It's a devastating low point for that character. Then she is confronted by the life that she's going to have if she continues down this path. She is forced into a making a decision to continue down this path or take her chances with going back into system.

But the family dynamics aren't completely missing even though a huge chuck of the show has shifted into the Callie universe. The family doesn't even notice she's missing for the first third of the episode. They were too busy getting crunched by mattresses that go up and down. But once the search starts, it leads to some interesting emotional moments especially for Lena, Stef, Brandon and Jude.

And yet, I do think a couple of the moments from the premiere felt shortchanged because they simply didn't have the time to do anything. The Lena-Stef fight felt like it came out of nowhere. Annie Potts was against the family adopting Jude and Callie and then simply wasn't because the plot needed her to have a change of heart. The conflict between Brandon and Jude did feel like it went through an emotional journey but the others were just plots that needed to happen - which is especially strange when the premiere also gave Jesus, Mariana and Lexi another subplot that could have been completely disregarded.

Some more thoughts:
  • Since the last episode, The Fosters has already been picked up for a second season. ABC Family really is betting on this show becoming the next programming tent pole. Based on the ratings growth in the summer, that is a pretty good assumption.
  • Oh Wyatt! When are you and your crazy alien theories gonna come back? Because you were pretty great in this episode by only trying to do what was best for Callie.
  • It's interesting how both Switched at Birth and The Fosters tackled stories of homelessness tonight.
  • Don't know how often I'll be checking in on The Fosters. I will have a post up next week because that's another big episode but it's unlikely that I will be discussing it week-to-week - unless something really big happens.