Tuesday, January 31, 2017

REVIEW: 'The Fosters' - Everyone Rushes to the Hospital Following Jesus' Injury in 'Insult to Injury'

Freeform's The Fosters - Episode 4.11 "Insult to Injury"

In the aftermath of Jesus' fight with Nick over Mariana, Jesus is knocked out. On the way to the hospital, things take a turn for the worse, leaving him fighting for his life. Callie finds herself in a dangerous situation over taking a ride with Troy. Mariana is guilt-ridden over the fact that her actions led to Jesus' current condition.

There is so much drama happening on The Fosters at the moment. It's almost a little too much. Every single one of the kids has gotten into some kind of trouble. They range in seriousness of course. Jesus is literally clinging to life after being punched by Nick. That's the main focus for this return episode. And yet, the show doesn't always give it the amount of attention and focus that it probably deserves. That's entirely because it has to spend a ton of time on all the other trouble the rest of the kids are getting into. Mariana and Callie are in some life-or-death situations as well. They may not actually be in hospital beds but their safety is definitely in question. Meanwhile, Brandon's college plan has completely exploded because of a foolish mistake while Jude is still seeing and getting high with Noah. The best moments of this hour come when the show digs deep into the emotions of the situation with Jesus in the hospital. It's incredibly moving when Stef is trying to comfort and protect him in the ambulance and emergency room. It's also so powerful when Lena is praying to God to not take her son away from her and Stef is there to support her. That relationship is so great.

Lena and Stef also understand the severity of the situation. They are the ones really worried about his health. They worry what surgery means for him. When Jesus is conscious and smells gasoline, that means he's about to have another seizure. That's a very serious and uncertain moment. It's traumatizing to Stef. But she also learns that that's the sign to look out for. She's being his mother and protecting him when he needs it the most. Of course, it's up to the doctors to actually save him from this trauma. But it's so powerful watching Stef and Lena handle all of this on top of all the other drama going on with the family. They know to prioritize Jesus because he could be dying. It's ironic at the end when Stef asks the family for no more drama until they know what's going on with Jesus. She doesn't even know most of what's going on with the kids. But that's largely just a concern for the future and a way to justify the kids not coming to them with their problems and mistakes. And even though Jesus isn't out of the woods yet, the show is already setting up his arc for this season. In the very end, Stef notes that this injury could result in some severe memory issues and personality changes. That could be an interesting arc this season.

Of course, the only reason Jesus is in the hospital in the first place is because of Mariana. Emma is completely in the right when she calls Mariana out for always needing Jesus' protection when she gets into trouble. It was very stupid and reckless of her to take his ADHD pills. Emma is right to tell Lena the truth. And yet, the severity of the situation isn't fully hitting Mariana yet. She was hallucinating that Nick was still stalking her. That's a pretty severe side effect of taking the pills. It's because of that paranoia that she ran off and made everyone else afraid for her safety. She caused all of this. That led to Jesus being her protective brother. That's a role he has always easily fit in. It makes sense because they have always needed to protect each other. But now, Jesus can't be the kind of man running into situations and starting fights. That could literally kill him. He can no longer be that person. But more importantly, Mariana will have to stop counting on him as that person. She needed Jesus' protection to cover up her own mistakes. And now, she's still lying about it. Lena makes her get checked out at the hospital as well. But she lies about how many pills she took. She also lies to Matt about the circumstances that led to this moment. She does tell him the truth about the pills. But it's also clear that Mariana is not healthy enough right now to be in a serious relationship. Matt is a great guy to be dating. But if the show maintains this relationship now, it's only going to end badly.

Brandon is still counting on his relationship as a form of stability as well. His dynamic with Courtney and Mason was a key motivation for him committing academic fraud in the first place. That's what ultimately costs him his spot at Juilliard. After learning that devastating news, he still tries to go back to her. She is absolutely right to call him out for seeing her and Mason as his backup plan. Something that he can fall back on when his dreams don't work out. It's frustrating to see the two of them have sex again. Brandon really did hurt her. It made no sense for him to mail that breakup letter when he was in New York. And yet, it now becomes clear motivation for Courtney to break up with him. She sees things very clearly with him. She was right in the first place that he couldn't handle all of the responsibilities that came from dating her. He's still too immature in a ton of ways. And now, that immaturity has cost him his dream of going to Juilliard. Courtney won't be there to help pick up the pieces. She's there for him throughout this episode. But she does the smart thing in the end for herself and Mason. A clear break may finally get Brandon to realize just how dumb he has been acting. That will have major consequences for him as his future is a complete unknown.

And finally, Callie's obsession with the Martha Johnson case has put her in a very dangerous situation. It's not a story that always worked for the first half of the season. It was just something she became obsessed with - often at the expense of everything else in her life. She's not a police officer like Stef is. And yet, she has the confidence to pursue this case even though it could ultimately come back to hurt her in some major ways. She's able to get out of the car with Martha's grandson who may be the new prime suspect in her murder. But it's still a complicated story about a car accident and whether or not Callie should make a statement to the police. This is a time when she could really use the support and advice of her moms. But they can't give it to her right now because of Jesus. She does the right thing by coming forward to give the police details of the accident. And yet, the sketchy detective from the Martha Johnson case is there and makes an ominous tease that she could be charged with a felony for leaving the scene of a crime. That's perhaps a melodramatic plot beat too far. It's the big cliffhanger for the episode. It ultimately distracts more from the rest of the hour then sets up an interesting premise for the next one.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Insult to Injury" was written by Bradley Bredeweg & Peter Paige and directed by Rob Morrow.
  • Jude's troublemaking is perhaps the most innocent of the kids' problems. And yet, he's still seeing Noah after Lena and Stef told him not to. Plus, he's moved up to actually smoking marijuana instead of just eating it.
  • The show is seemingly taking a very anti-marijuana stance with Jude's story as well. It's being framed as the thing that ultimately makes him comfortable with breaking into a boat and almost having sex with Noah. So, this relationship doesn't seem like it's going to be a healthy thing for him.
  • Aaron has every right to be upset with Callie as well for telling AJ that he's trans. That's a very personal subject for him. It's up to him to tell people. AJ having that knowledge completely changes his perception of Aaron. That's not something that Aaron wants. Callie at least understands the mistake she's made though.
  • It's nice that the show recognizes that people in relationships say stupid things all the time but that isn't a reason to break up. It just feels like the end of things when the two people dating are teenagers - like Callie and AJ.
  • The police are also investigating Jesus for assaulting Nick. Yes, the situation is complicated with Nick cutting off his ankle monitor. But Jesus technically did throw the first punch even though Mariana wasn't in any danger. That could be problematic in the future.