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 The Fosters 'House and Home' Recap: Flowers in the Group Home 

The Fosters 'House and Home' Recap: Flowers in the Group Home

 The Fosters 'House and Home' Recap: Flowers in the Group Home

Callie pines for Brandon from the second floor of her group home while Mariana gets her thespian on.

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The Fosters has certainly hit the ground running since its winter premiere last week, and in yesterday’s episode no time was wasted before the drama went down. After her defiant candy bar eating/technically stealing at the drug store last week, runaway Callie has returned to juvie for the second time. She insists that she ran away because at 16 she doesn’t need to get adopted and can’t go back to the Adams Fosters, even if it means staying in juvie. She’s still only saying these things to protect Jude, of course, because Callie is secretly a troubled martyr, but this is getting a little excessive.

At the Adams Fosters house, the family tries to enjoy one of their nice, banter-y meals, but Jude wants to find out more about Callie’s juvie situation. Lena and Stef tell him that tomorrow a judge will decide whether she stays locked up or gets more probation. They also express that, even though they want to adopt Callie, it’s possible she really doesn’t want to be adopted since they still can’t find a reason she’d run away.

Brandon finally takes this opportunity to tell the family he kissed her. I watched Flowers in the Attic this week, so I’m totally like, “You can make this work, guys!” but the Adams Foster family isn’t entirely on board. “Did you expect we would adopt her and the two of you would date?” Stef asks as she rails on her bumbling, slightly less-clean-cut than last season son. Brandon tries to explain that everything was consensual and he has real feelings for Callie, but guys, you’re going to be brother and sister, and as far as I can tell ABC Family is not that different a kind of family yet.

Jesus and Mariana attack Brandon over his romantic choices/kinda ruining Callie’s life, and Brandon takes this as an opportunity to attack Mariana’s constant lack of love life. A) not the time, bro and B) this is a constant theme in tonight’s episode (sorry Mariana). Brandon turns to Jesus, thinking he may understand because of how he feels about Lexi. “We weren’t going to adopt Lexi,” Jesus says, shutting that alliance right down. Brandon believes that now the family knows why Callie left they might bring her back. Brandon apparently does not understand sibling dynamics. Jude, who does, asks Stef and Lena if they’ll still adopt Callie and they insist they won’t give up on either one of them. In court, however, they announce that even though they love Callie and will give her another chance, they’re not prepared for her to come back home.

Just as the drama is almost too much (I, for one, cannot handle the heartbreak of Maia Mitchell’s crying face), we get a little subplot gem featuring Garret Clayton as Chase, a heartthrob senior acting student who recruits Mariana to help with the school play. I’m sure by now you’ve all watched Teen Beach Movie on Netflix (also starring the even-more-adorable-when-she’s-singing Maia Mitchell), and thus are incredibly excited to see that Tanner, the leader of the surfers, is now gracing The Fosters with his gleaming smile and almost eerie Zac Efroniness.

Brandon is not as excited for The Glass Menagerie as Chase is, and his line running session with girlfriend Talya quickly turns into a half-assed break up. She knows it’s because of Callie, and he finally admits to it. It’s a shame, because Talya has actually increased in like ability 5000% since the first few episodes, and it’d be nice to keep her around.

Mariana takes Chase up on his offer and shows up to play rehearsal, along with every other girl in school who also clearly enjoyed Garret Clayton in Teen Beach Movie. She volunteers to do costumes and ends up getting paired with Kelsey, her ne’er do well bestie from the earlier episodes who ended up going to rehab after sniffing ADHD meds that Mariana sold her. After Kelsey blamed Callie for selling her the drugs, she and Mariana fell out, so of course they are now forced to spend time together.

Brandon comes home from school and immediately demands to know when Callie is coming home. She’s not, Lena and Stef tell him. At least for now. She’s going to a group home until she can learn better coping skills and the family can figure out how Brandon and her can both co-exist in the same household.

Brandon rants about them being in love and that they can’t keep them apart. Congrats on achieving the opposite of your goal, Brandon. Not quite the way to get your future sister back in the house.

Callie moves in to the group home, Girls United, led by always-welcome guest star Rosie O’Donnell.

Girls United is a trust-based, not-super-awful group home, but there are rules. Callie then meets the girls (the gender used to describe the group, despite there being a transman in the house as well). Immediately the group circles up to do a names/rap sheet go-round that mostly deals with drugs and violence. If you’re a perceptive Fosters viewer, you’ll notice that one of the girls, Daphne, beat Callie up in the pilot episode. From the moment Rosie explains that there’s a zero-tolerance policy for violence, we know things are going to get violent soon. Callie feels she’s a little out of place here for only stealing a sandwich, but the point seems to be that from theft to shooting drugs into your neck, nobody really feels like they deserve to be here. Everyone’s going to be hugging and singing "Kumbaya" by the end of this episode, I can feel it! (I don’t feel it at all).

Back in subplot land, Stef basically insinuates Mariana can’t handle costuming a production, and Jesus has some sort of medical attack while playing basketball. The family believes it may be his ADHD medication that is caused the attack. Mike thinks the medication is a bad idea, and that there are better ways to handle ADHD, specifically wrestling. Duh. Jesus decides to take on this wrestling subplot (but not before a couple jabs at wrestling vs. masculinity are made), though at his first practice he’s brought down by the only girl on the team, Emma. Hey Jesus, remember that promise you made to Lexi to wait until she came back from Honduras? Yeah, LOL.

Callie struggles to make it work with the Girls United folks, but they’re all pretty much busy struggling with each other. One of the girls, Becca, attacks trans housemate Cole over his birth gender, and he kindly explains, “I’m a transgender male. Look it up, bitch.” “It’s not his fault he was born in the wrong body,” one of the more tolerant members of the house explains in a moment that is almost a little too teach-y for natural dialogue. But an actual representation of a teen trans person is rare and I’m happy Cole’s here, spelled-out gender identity lessons aside. The group even has a chat about the importance of gender pronouns, although they still constantly refer to the whole as “girls.” Well, the intention was there and that’s a start.

Outside, Daphne tries to apologize to Callie for beating her up in juvie, but Callie won’t accept. Callie later learns a little more about Girls United, the most important nugget o’ knowledge being that you earn privileges including family visits with good behavior. The other members of the house decide on this though, so Callie will need to play nice.

Mike tries to talk to Brandon about Callie using the approach of, ‘She’s cute, I get it dude,’ and also suggests that maybe Callie really did run away to live with Wyatt. Brandon responds with a whiney fit of jealousy. This dude has really gone downhill since his days of competitive piano. Meanwhile, Mariana and Kelsey attempt to shop for costumes for Laura in the Glass Menagerie. “I’m not into reading,” Kelsey explains when Mariana tries to explain who exactly Laura is, and Kelsey turns her description of “insecure, crippled, virgin,” into an attack on Mariana’s singleness. This poor girl can’t catch a break. Don’t worry, Mariana! Next week will be better for you! As Mariana tries on the drab dress they found for Laura, Kelsey sneaks a fedora for Chase into Mariana’s bag. They almost get caught but are able to make it out unscathed. Lucky for them, as I somehow get the feeling Mariana wouldn’t do too well in juvie.

The teens of Girls United do another in-depth go-round where Becca breaks down about her drug addiction and the massive presence of it in her life. It’s a nice breath of fresh, angsty air to have all these new characters with new stories introduced so naturally at this point in the show. I love the recurring characters dearly, don’t get me wrong, but this plot fits well and keeps things interesting. When it’s Callie’s turn, she explains her Brandon situation and her honesty earns her family visiting privileges. They are immediately rescinded, however ,after she walks in on Cole wrapping his chest and the two end up getting in a shoving fight that ends in a smashed mirror. She and Cole try to cover it up by saying it was an accident, but the damage is done. 

And because of the altercation, the two will now be room mates. Jude, in his little, adorable suit, also has his heart crushed when he learns Callie’s privileges were taken away and he can’t see her. Apparently no one is allowed to be happy. Hey, at least it can’t get much worse.

As the Girls United families visit, lonely and visitor-less Callie stares pensively out her window. Her brooding is interrupted when she sees Brandon outside and she runs out to hug him while everyone in the house watches.

Don’t hug too hard, Callie- next week it seems Brandon’s undying dedication may turn into a restraining order. Chase will kiss Mariana though, so at least someone’s life won’t suck! Thanks for another great week, Fosters! I’d tell you to keep ‘em coming, but I know you’re totally already on it. 

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Preston Max Allen