This toxic, incestuous back-and-forth has gone on long enough, people. From the moment Callie and Brandon became foster siblings, they have been SIBLINGS. I totally get that teenagers are severely emotional beings who may not be able to process everything they're feeling, and I recognize that Brandon was there for Callie during many intense situations but … NO.
I cannot abide Brandon telling Callie he's uncomfortable when she brings the boy she's dating over to the house. I cannot abide her appeasing him by ignoring AJ at family functions. And I certainly cannot abide them running into each other with their new significant others, then making everyone feel awkward because their feelings are showing.
I thought Brandon and Callie being in healthy relationships meant we were past all of this. Okay, I'll admit it: I couldn't care less about Brandon and Cortney. That relationship is a trainwreck waiting to happen. I've never felt more strongly about this than when Cortney equated the weirdness of Brandon being in love with his sister to her still living with her ex. She also calls Brandon mature, and I know she spends most of her time with a toddler, but come on, sister.
I do, however, care about Callie and AJ. I care about them very much. Callie is finally in a good place emotionally, and their shared foster-care system experience means AJ understands Callie in a way that Brandon never can. Also, AJ's the cutest. He loves his grandmother, he understands calculus, and he respects her decision when she tells him she doesn't want to have sex yet. This guy is what we call a Keeper. Please do not break his heart, Callie Adams Foster. I'm begging you.
Callie does have a redeeming moment to offset the Brandon of it all, which involves Jude, of course. He's been gone for the past few episodes, and I've missed me some Callie-Jude time. In "Sixteen," he experiences a teenage right of passage: Dude gets his first dick pic! He's excited to go see Connor in L.A., and as Jesus points out after he mistakenly picks up Jude's phone, well, Connor's really excited about his visit.
Understandably, Jude assumes that sending a photo of one's genitalia to one's boyfriend can only mean their relationship is moving to the next level. Jude panics. He asks Jesus for sex advice, and, God love him, Jesus tells Jude he should watch internet porn. For some totally unknown reason, watching Dirty Dudes Doing It Hard does not assuage any of Jude's fears, so he cancels his trip.
Later, when Jesus fills Callie in on the advice he doled out, Callie wisely decides to have a chat with Jude. She doesn't want to embarrass her brother, so she pretends she's seeking out Jude's advice on a situation of her own. She tells him that she thinks AJ wants to have sex. She went online and looked at porn, but it was aggressive and impersonal. It's nothing like having sex with someone you love and trust — uhh, or so she's been told. She says she's nervous and not sure she even wants to have sex with AJ, even though she cares about him.
When Jude asks Callie why she can't just tell AJ how she's feeling, she emphasizes how right he is. She should just talk to him. Jude's no dummy, so when the whole conversation feels a little too convenient, he asks whether Callie's spoken with Jesus. Too bad he can't argue with her "When do I ever talk to Jesus?" logic.
Jude finally confronts Connor. The video chat starts innocently enough, with Jude questioning Connor's motives for sending the text, but it quickly veers into "this isn't working" territory. Jude wonders if maybe they only got together because they had no other options. I don't necessarily buy that — Connor rightly points out that they were friends first — but I can understand how a long-distance relationship may not be the best thing for such young kids. It's time for both Jude and Connor to do a little exploring.
Thankfully, there's a much more reasonable right of teenage passage on display tonight, too: Mariana and Jesus throw an epic sweet 16 party. Jesus, still in a mood after his disastrous interaction with Gabe, wants a simple, drama-free celebration. Mariana, of course, does not. She wants a dance party blow-out, and Terrible Nick is more than happy to offer up his dad's abandoned warehouse as party central. (Why does everyone act like owning abandoned warehouses is normal?!) It can host both Mariana's dance extravaganza and Jesus's low-key skate session.
Mariana thinks she has the perfect gift to cheer her brother up: As part of a pardon application to remove Gabe from the sex-offender registry, she asks Ana and Ana's parents to write a letter of support. If Gabe's taken off the registry, he can actually, legally attempt to have a relationship with Jesus. Ana's obviously onboard, but her parents are upset she'd even ask. Gabe is trouble.
Mariana and Ana pay Gabe a visit to fill him in on their plan. Gabe, now apparently cool with letting a minor in his home, is apprehensive. Mariana assures him that she's persuasive — she's been told she should be a lawyer one day — and Ana's parents will come around. She leaves her birth parents at Gabe's to reconnect and then heads off to her party, believing she's done her sisterly duty for the day.
Speaking of the party … it's weird. Upstairs, Mariana is having the sparkly bump-and-grind birthday of her dreams. Downstairs, Jesus is left with nothing but pizza crusts and an empty skate park. When Stef comes down to check on him, he snaps at her for always letting Mariana get what she wants. Stef, who just learned that Mariana is trying to have Gabe pardoned, makes sure Jesus knows the lengths Mariana will go on his behalf.
The two proceed to have a lovely conversation about it being okay for Jesus to be curious about a father-son relationship. What worries her isn't that Jesus wants to know Gabe; it's that he hasn't really shown that he can handle the situation. What if Gabe is removed from the registry and still doesn't want to know him? The exchange ends with Jesus reassuring Stef that he loves having two moms. JESUS 2 IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN JESUS 1.
Mariana interrupts with a crisis. Ana's arrived at the party and she's out of her mind high (or drunk?). She yells at her parents for turning Gabe in, ruining her chances of ever having a family. She yells at Stef for taking her babies. Before it gets too out of hand, Stef and Jesus pull Ana from the party.
It's upsetting for the twins to see their birth mother like this, and Mariana instantly blames herself for leaving Ana with Gabe when she saw Gabe drinking a beer. Ana's parents chalk it all up to another example of Gabe being bad news, and refuse to write any letter of support.
Once again, I think people are being quick to blame Gabe. Ana could've easily gotten high on her own after spending time with Gabe. He's a trigger. And really, could a guy who surprises his estranged kids with a tool belt and a mug that says "Future Lawyer" on it for their birthday be all that bad? He came up with those gifts in the span of one afternoon, you guys. I think Mike and Robert Quinn should start making room in the Hot Dads Clubhouse.
Terrible Choice of the Week: It's a tie between Mariana calling Terrible Nick "major" and the Sally-actually-kissed-Monte reveal. Both rocked me to my core. By which I mean, both made me nauseous.
Great Choice of the Week: I have to believe there are better ways to tell the story of "young girl who is afraid to come out to her overbearing parents" than with a student kissing her principal and lying about it. That being said, I'm glad The Fosters didn't turn Monte into some predatory monster running around the halls of Anchor Beach. Now, let us never speak of this again.