A musical episode is a tall order for any show. Given that The Fosters is already overflowing with drama, a little singing and dancing seems like a real risk. So, it's a good thing everyone within 30 miles of Anchor Beach can sing.
"The Show" mostly pulls it off, even though it rushes to cram in songs, Shakespeare, outside plot, gratuitous shots of people standing around in a warehouse, and guyliner. Also, I could've done with, like, 85 percent less of Callie and Brandon staring longingly at each other during every love song. Nevertheless, there were some great tie-ins between the musical and what was happening with our favorite fam outside of R & J. I may be anti-Brallie, but the use of the fantasy sequence in which Brandon replaces Romeo and Juliet with him and Courtney (and then Callie) was particularly nice.
But let's get to the real tragedy of the night: Foster kid Jack is dead. DEAD. That was wholly unexpected, and I'm still processing. Poor Jack!
Jack's terrible, abusive group home has closed down, and he's staying at the Adams Foster house until he can find new placement. He's there at just the right time, too — his bud Jude is taking his breakup with Connor hard. Jack hears Jude crying in bed and sweetly comforts his friend by letting him know he understands loneliness. Later, Jack gets Jude to try my personal remedy for sadness: Dancing it out to super-loud music. Jack goes for heavy metal and encourages Jude to scream out his feelings, which Jude does until he ends up a sobbing mess. Hayden Byerly, where in the heck did that come from?
Jack hates seeing Jude so upset, so he leans over and kisses him. It's confusing for everyone. Later, before Jack packs up to head to his new foster home, he admits that he isn't gay and was only trying to help Jude. He knows it was wrong. Jude doesn't mind, though; he's thankful. It made him realize that one day, when he is over Connor, there will be someone else out there for him. Judicorn is so wise.
Meanwhile, Stef is missing the R & J extravaganza, because she's out on a very intense domestic-violence call, made only more intense when she realizes she's standing in front of the same house where Callie and Jude used to be fostered. The dude who lives there is bad news. When the cops finally get inside the house, Stef shoots the guy down, but it's too late — the damage was done before they even arrived. Stef lifts a blanket covering something in the kitchen and finds herself staring down at Jack's dead body. She's horrified — and I can only imagine how Jude will take the news.
Not to belittle Jack's death, which is very sad and tells a very important story about problems within the foster-care system, but wouldn't he have told Jude, Lena, or Stef where he was moving? Wouldn't someone put that together? Seems a little too convenient.
On to something less intense: Young love! Mat and Mariana are in love with each other and the world is a better place now that they've admitted it. Stop trying to make us feel bad for Terrible Nick with those shots of him brooding in the corner. I won't stand for it.
Feelings have stirred since last we saw Mat and Mariana "rehearsing" their kissing scene. People have noticed. Namely Zoe, who is competing with Nick for the title of The Worst. She sees Mariana and Mat making eyes at each other from across the stage and takes it upon herself to remind Mariana that she is Mat's Rosaline. It is the nerdiest shade ever thrown.
After my favorite song of the evening, "Forever" — BTW: did you know you can buy all of the R & J songs on iTunes? Bless you, Bradley Bredeweg — Mariana runs off stage crying and Mat follows her. She tells him how hard doing this show is when she's still so in love with him. Mat's confused. If she feels that way, why didn't she respond to the note he left her? HOLD THE PHONE, CUTE MAT. Mariana never saw any letter, but if she had, she would know that he loves her too.
The moment is lovely, so of course, Terrible Nick has to walk in and interrupt. He has a sixth sense for these kinds of things. In a flashback, they make it seem like Nick saw Mat's note and perhaps stole it, but since they never show him actually taking the paper, my money's on Zoe, because …
Zoe is laying the bully act on real thick tonight. After Mariana and Mat have their moment, Zoe sidles up to Mariana and makes sure that she knows Zoe and Mat are having sex and their relationship is stronger than Mariana's ever was. I give up, Zoe. You win the Terrible Crown tonight.
Zoe's rudeness isn't enough to make Mariana rethink her feelings, though. In the final scene of the play, as Mariana and Mat lie next to one another as the late Romeo and Juliet, they clasp hands. You guys, I love a good hand-clasping.
Mariana and Mat aren't the only ones whose feelings are being rekindled thanks to R & J. Brandon and Callie are back at the star-crossed lovers shtick because this storyline will never die. Brandon is on the outs with Courtney after proving he may not be able to handle dating a woman with a son. Which makes sense since, you know, B is 17. She also wants him to confidently say that he's over Callie. He is not.
After Callie happens upon Brandon doing a solo rehearsal in the garage — as one does — he asks her to help him work out the harmonies on one of his songs. Callie obliges and, admittedly, they sound great together. The moment emboldens Callie to bring up Mariana's astute critique of Shakespeare's work: The play is dumb because if Romeo and Juliet had just told their parents, they could've avoided tragedy. Callie wants to know what would happen if she and Brandon told their moms about them. Um, probably a lot of terrible stuff, Callie.
Brandon grabs her arm and hurries her off to go tell Stef and Lena, but he stops. He knows Callie knows why they can never tell anyone. It is too late for them. For someone who isn't aboard S.S. Brallie, it was actually quite a moving scene.
You'd think that would be the end of this tragic romance, but alas, promos for next week's season finale hint at Callie and Brandon being outed, and Callie coming clean to her moms. Okay, but then can it be over?
Great Choice of the Week: Ana and Mike hold hands, you guys! It'd really be great for Hot Dad Mike to fall in love. Of course, this pairing offers up all kinds of complications — the kids, the fact that they're both addicts, Gabe — and maybe that's why I dig it so much.
Terrible Choice of the Week: That's all we get of Corbin Bleu and Ashley Argota? Not fair!