Let us never say The Fosters doesn't know how to do a cliffhanger. Those last few moments of “Kingdom Come” made me actually gasp — twice. And both of those gasps had to do with things I normally don't care much about: the next step in Callie and Brandon's relationship and Terrible Nick. Terrible Nick made me gasp! I'll be eating my feelings about the ramifications of this until The Fosters returns this summer.
So, we started season three, way back when, with a literal car crash. We end it with the figurative one that is Callie's life.
Callie is rightfully fuming that a man like Pearson could be given another foster kid after his well-documented pattern of abuse. How does Jack end up in the home of a man like that? Justina offers little to no comfort when she tells Callie to blame it on the system and focus on the big Fost and Found launch coming up. They need to use the app launch to convince people to pass that bill Justina's been hawking.
If I'm being honest with myself, I was 100 percent hoping that Rosie O'Donnell's Rita would come barreling in from the ocean to tackle Justina and force Callie to get out of this relationship once and for all. We're all counting on you, Rita! Alas, not even a pesky seagull swings by to give Justina some trouble. We were counting on you, too, seagulls!
Turns out, Callie doesn't need Rita's help to finally see Justina for who she really is. Stef alerts Callie to the fact that Jack was placed in Pearson's home due to a weird and terrifying loophole scam that has private, for-profit foster care companies using non-profit companies as a front in order to place more kids, and in turn, make more money. It's disgusting.
The for-profit company in question here is called Arbiter, and as soon as Callie mentions it to Justina (who feigns ignorance), Daphne, who started her job as Justina's assistant, recognizes the name. Wouldn't you know it? There's an envelope from Arbiter sitting in Justina's pile of mail, and when Daphne and Callie open it, they find a big ol' check addressed to Justina in there. Justina's working for Arbiter, and now Callie finally knows what the audience has been hip to for some time: Justina Marks is bad, bad news.
Callie doesn't take to this betrayal well. When she gets up to give her big speech at the event in front of politicos, donors, and THE MEDIA, she wastes no time in outing Justina as one of the despicable people sending foster kids to unsafe homes simply for money. She goes on to denounce the foster-care bill (finally!). Callie does not mince words.
Justina doesn't either. She makes sure Callie knows that she's just made a very powerful enemy. Justina's horribleness hits a new low when Callie is accosted by a reporter with a tip that Callie made up accusations against Justina because Justina had discovered that Callie was sleeping with her foster brother, Brandon. Not cool, Marks.
In a particularly tough scene to watch, the mamas argue in front of Callie as to how to handle the situation, while Callie just sits by stunned into tears. Stef wants to sue Justina for libel, but Callie finally tells her moms that they can't sue ... because Justina's allegations are true. The big secret is out.
Gasp (number one).
Though I in no way ever want Brandon and Callie to get together, maybe finally having this out in the open will get us one step closer to closure. Yes, it means we'll be talking about Brallie once again when the show returns, but at least we won't have to watch these two dummies longingly look at each other, lamenting all of the “secrets” they have to keep. Just kidding, I'm sure there'll be plenty of that!
Speaking of Brandon, he is being The Actual Worst here. And that's saying something since, you know, Justina Marks exists.
B and Cortney get caught post-coital in Cort's bed by evil (ex?) husband Eddie. He promptly kicks Cortney out of the house, most likely because he heard Brandon make that nauseating comment about how “this little engine thinks he could go again.” You guys, that's not even why Brandon is The Worst (but it's close). When Brandon realizes Cortney is now homeless and bankrupt — Evil Eddie cleaned out their joint bank account — he uses the settlement money from his hand injury that his moms have gifted him for his birthday to put towards Juilliard, to rent Cortney a new house. What? Why? Who? NO.
Things get even more boneheaded than that. When Hot Dad Mike tries to dole out dating advice to his son, B sasses back that he can date whomever he wants because he can actually stand up to Stef, unlike Mike. B needs to learn to respect Hot Dads. If nothing else, B's rudeness compels Mike to finally out his and Ana's budding relationship to his ex-wife, who is not thrilled.
You guys: That's still not the reason Brandon is The Worst at the moment.
Brandon hatches a plan with Terrible Nick to keep R & J going and start charging admission. When he catches wind that Mat and Mariana are still very much in love, he confronts his sister and pretty much tells her that if she breaks up with Nick she's a selfish, terrible person because she'll have ruined B's play. Are you kidding me, Brandon? He slips in some obnoxious reference to his unrequited love with Callie to drive his point home, and so again I ask, ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
B has his moments, but after tonight, I can't wait for the dude to get to Juilliard.
His comments to Mariana only add to the guilt she's feeling for betraying Terrible Nick. After much deliberation, Mat and Mariana decide to stay with their respective partners thanks to some faulty logic and a misplaced sense of duty. Oh, youths!
Unfortunately, Terrible Nick happens upon M & M Music Factory saying their final goodbyes, and misinterprets it as Mariana cheating on him. That discovery, coupled with recently being berated by his Terrible Dad, puts Terrible Nick in a bad way. To him, there is more and more evidence that his dad's accusation of being “nothing special” was spot on. Terrible Nick channels this pain first by BURNING DOWN THE R & J WAREHOUSE and then by pulling up to Anchor Beach WITH A GUN IN HIS GLOVE COMPARTMENT.
Gasp (number two).
Okay, Terrible Nick. I'm invested now.
The final moments of the finale do their job — I'm all in on a season four — but overall the episode felt a little overstuffed in its attempt to tie up loose ends. I haven't even touched on Jude questioning his sexuality, because after losing the two boys who he's kissed, he believes God may not want him to be gay. I know, it's heavy. On top of that, the Sally-kissed-Monte story line gets resolved only to lead Lena into another problem with the educational board: They discover she knowingly let a sex offender help build sets for a school play.
With so much going on, there was no way every story line would get its due. It's a forgivable offense though, since there's something interesting about each one (save for the Cortney stuff), and also the gasping. A good gasp can save almost any hour of television.
Terrible Choice of the Week: This is how we're leaving Gabe and Jesus? With a murky explanation of how Jesus's well-meaning visit to Gabe's parole officer (he would've found out what Gabe was doing and where he was doing it regardless, right?) is going to land the newest initiate of the Hot Dads Club back in prison? The Gabe plot seems to be the most underserviced of season 3B.
Great Choice of the Week: The number of times Stef and Lena referred to Callie as their daughter was a nice reminder of how far these three ladies have come. Let's focus on that for now, shall we? I imagine the next time we see Stef, Lena, and Callie in the same room, there will be nothing nice about it.