Stef’s mom Sharon is back in town, and it really couldn’t be better timing. Things have been heavy on The Fosters as of late, so when Sharon and her boy toy Will show up, it is a welcome breath of fresh air.
Not that Sharon doesn’t pull up in her RV with — surprise! — her own drama. She and Will are engaged, but she wants to get out of it. Nevertheless, Annie Potts brings a certain sparkle to every scene she’s in. There’s a much-needed lightness in Sharon’s interactions with the Adams-Fosters. She has an easy chemistry with the whole troupe (I adore any scene she has with the kids), and it is most on display in the Sharon–Stef scenes. They form a perfect mother-daughter pair. More than anything, an episode like “The Long Haul” gives us a chance to bask in the glow of Teri Polo’s comedic timing. The girl does a lot of great dramatic work on The Fosters, but never forget how funny she is. One well-timed eye roll can be devastating.
You have to believe that, when she discovers Sharon has enlisted her daughter to tell Will the wedding is off, Stef’s doing double time with those patented eye rolls. Sharon loves Will and loves their relationship, but she doesn’t want to ruin it with promises they can’t keep. When Will asks for Stef’s permission, Sharon wants her daughter to refuse. Stef reminds Sharon that she is a grown woman (“kind of”), and that if Sharon wants to call off the wedding, she owes it to Will to do it herself.
Apparently, it’s not so easy. Sharon definitely can’t do it after Will seduces her in their RV. Likewise before the big dinner he’s cooking — he already bought the ingredients. After that dinner, in front of the entire family, when he tells Sharon that she has “given this wandering heart a home,” how can she not marry the guy? The wedding is back on!
This gives Sharon some time to tend to her grandkids for a bit, mainly Jesus. She happens upon him getting frustrated looking at a letter from Emma. As we all know, he can’t read, but he tells his grandma that he has a headache and she offers to read it aloud for him. It’s all very sweet, until Sharon gets to the part about the pregnancy. Instead of embarrassing or upsetting her grandson, Sharon skips over that part. Once she’s done, she tells him that he’ll want to read that letter when he feels better.
When Sharon runs into Emma later, she has the teen come help with her wedding gown in order to get a little alone time. Emma, after getting a reassuring text from Jesus, thinks that all is well — so she’s dismayed to learn that Sharon didn’t pass along the full message. Sharon supports Emma’s decision, understands why it might be hard to talk to Jesus at the moment, and wants to make sure she’s okay. Emma cries as the ladies hug, but it is mostly relief that spreads over her face. Relief that someone — someone much more reassuring than Brandon — knows the whole story.
How long is everyone going to be okay with flat-out lying to Jesus? Now that Emma’s figured out he can’t read, maybe she’ll be more apt to speak to him face-to-face about it. Who am I kidding? Jesus is definitely going to find out in some type of scarring way. A family meal. Brandon letting it slip. Someone save this kid!
Sharon may be able to offer Emma a comforting hug, but that doesn’t mean she’s feeling any better about her impending wedding. With a storm rolling in, it’s time to get this party started before Mariana’s head explodes. Unfortunately, the bride is hiding out in the bathroom.
Sharon tells Stef and Lena that no matter how hard she tries, she just doesn’t want to get married. And it has nothing to do with Will, who she loves. It’s all about Stef’s father. She doesn’t want to offend Stef, but, like, she spent most of her marriage dreaming up ways to kill the guy. Marriage ruined their love and she can’t go through that again. It’s all fine and good, but Stef tells her, once again, that she should be saying this to Will.
Sharon finally does, in a lovely scene on the bed, and Will is very understanding. He never wanted marriage to become a contract. He promises to love her, never take her for granted, and always remember they are best friends, too. Seriously: HOW CAN SHE NOT MARRY THIS MAN?
Meanwhile, Stef and Lena are trapped in the bathroom while Sharon works out her issues. It gives the two time to chat. By some cruel coincidence (TV!), they received their divorce papers just that morning. You remember their plan for a sham divorce, yes? Something about freezing assets and keeping the house and creating false dramatic tension for promos. Anyway, that thing has come through and Stef and Lena are officially no longer married. Stef is worried that Lena doesn’t seem interested in getting remarried. Lena’s had it with weddings (we get it), and to her, they’re already married. But, in a reversal of the last time they broached the subject of marriage, it is Stef who wants that piece of paper. She thinks it’s important to have their marriage be recognized and to have the same rights as straight couples. That piece of paper represents more than just their own marriage. So, she asks her ex-wife/wife: “If I were to ask you today for the first time, would you marry me?”
You get where this is all headed, right? The wedding begins and Sharon and Will dance down the aisle, but take a seat before getting to the officiant. This is no longer their wedding — but don’t worry, they are still totally in love. No, right behind those two hippies trot Stef and Lena. Apparently, Lena’s answer to Stef’s question was a resounding “Yes!”
As the storm rolls in, and Sharon and Will’s RV-friend-turned-officiant has to improv a little, Lena and Stef profess their undying love to each other once again. Even with all the trouble they’ve faced this year, they love each other more and more. And then they kiss. And then it starts to pour. Everyone else runs inside the house, but Stef and Lena stay outside, making out in the rain, like two newlyweds are wont to do. Their first wedding was gorgeous, but nothing beats a romantic, thunderstorm make-out sesh.
In Other Family News
• A round of applause for dear A.J., who finally says the things we’ve been thinking for, well, seasons. Callie drags him along to find more evidence that Troy Johnson is a lying creep and probable murderer (his girlfriend is his alibi! Escándolo!). They get into it with Troy at his place of employment. A.J. tells Callie that she just can’t help herself and that she’s her own worst enemy. Listen to A.J. when he tells you to stay away from crazy, Callie.
• All Callie thinks about is Callie. A.J. reminds her that he’s a black man in America with a record. If he gets in trouble because of her scheme, he doesn’t have a rich dad to get rid of the charges. He’ll face real consequences. A.J. is so good for Callie, but sometimes I think the boy deserves a simple relationship with that flirty basketball player who is super into his buns.
• Music therapy student Grace helps Brandon out with the music at the wedding, teaches him about doing one thing a day that scares you (today, hers is horrible stand-up comedy), and then seals it all with a little kiss. She seems nice and all, but choose yourself, Brandon. CHOOSE YOURSELF.
• Lena’s LGBT sex-ed class is more popular than she thought it would be. The big problem? Most of the kids who show up did not submit Monte’s requested parental-permission slip … because most of the kids aren’t out to their parents, which means they need this class the most. Surely, this will come back to bite Lena.
• Jude and Noah finally have an honest conversation about their sex life. Noah isn’t as experienced as Jude once thought, and both admit that they aren’t ready to do the deed — but are definitely into trying some other fun activities. If only Jude had talked to his boyfriend about this before that whole Pump debacle. Would’ve saved us all a lot of stress!
• “Did you know it was going to rain?” “Yeah. It’s why I planned an outdoor wedding.” Mariana is the Adams-Foster I’d most like to go to brunch with.