Season five of everyone’s favorite family drama about crazy teens, The Fosters, premieres tonight on Freeform. It’s about time, too, because season four ended with a finale that put every one of the Adams Foster teens in some kind of trouble: Mariana and Jude got involved in an escalating school protest over privatization; Jesus and his traumatic brain injury ran off into the rain because he thought that his foster brother, Brandon, was sleeping around with his girlfriend, Emma, before she had a secret abortion; and, oh, yeah, Callie volunteered to become a teen prostitute in order to save another innocent girl from being forced into that life.
Let’s be honest: When you read all of that in one place, it seems like season four really went off the rails. It wasn’t always that way. The Fosters initially endeared itself to audiences for tackling tough subject matter with heart and thoughtfulness, presenting teen drama in ways that feel fresh and true to life — and also because Lena and Stef Adams Foster are the absolute best. Although the back half of season four had sprinklings of those elements — see: Emma’s abortion story line, or any scene with Callie’s transgender friend Aaron — much of it was bogged down with Callie’s never-ending legal troubles and her ridiculous decision to put herself in harm’s way yet again. But with every new beginning, there is hope that wrongs can be righted. With that in mind, Vulture has a wish list for what we’d like to see in this fifth season with the Adams Foster clan. Hold us, Lena and Stef!
1. Callie needs to finally get it together
I mean, did you read what happened in season four? Callie spent her time chasing after a murder suspect, getting involved in a hit-and-run, landing in solitary confinement while in juvy, waiting to be tried for that hit-and-run as an adult, and then finally getting involved in a teenage prostitute ring. Can someone please assist this girl in getting a grip? It’s true, many of the hardships she has faced in her short life have been outside of her control, but she’s also made her fair share of destructive decisions. It seems as if she never learns any lessons. Can this please be her rock bottom? It would be great to see Callie finally turn a corner in season five. Get her into some therapy. Let her have some deep bonding moments with both Stef (their car chats are highlights of any episode) and Lena. Have her realize that she is allowed some good in her life. Drama will always befall Callie Adams Foster, but we could do without so much of the trauma.
2. Let Brandon do the right thing
Oh, Brandon. For all of Callie’s pain and suffering, Brandon is easily the most frustrating Adams Foster of the bunch. All of his problems are brought on by himself, and it doesn’t help that he’s generally an ass to anyone who tries to help out. Being a friend to Emma while she dealt with her decision to have an abortion was a good start, but even that ended up getting bungled: Now Jesus thinks that his brother slept with his girlfriend! It’s just no fun watching a kid like Brandon screw up over and over again, even if he does deserve it. He’s been knocked down so many times, let’s give him a win as a confidence booster. Making his stint in music therapy more than just a dalliance would be a great way to do this, especially if it continues to explore his relationship with Jesus as he recovers from his TBI … as long as it also has nothing to do with yet another ill-fated relationship. This one is a pipe dream, but Oprah says if you put your wishes and dreams out into the world, they will come back to you. THIS IS ALL ON YOU, OPRAH.
3. More Aaron, please
In a slew of episodes bogged down with tragedy, Aaron’s story was a breath of fresh air. From the way he was introduced (he didn’t come out as trans right away) to our glimpse into his home life, Aaron’s story line is a prime example of The Fosters at its best. The matter-of-factness about the issue — as well as the acknowledgement of its emotional complexity — was moving in a way only this show can be. Plus, even though Callie’s ex A.J. has proven that he is the best boyfriend a teenage girl could ever ask for, moving Callie and Aaron’s friendship out of the friend zone into something romantic was an excellent choice. Of all the story lines that await us in season five, Aaron and Callie’s relationship is definitely the most exciting.
4. Let’s have some fun!
Yes, we come for the drama, the tears, and the mamas telling us we are good enough, but wouldn’t it be nice to see the Adams Fosters enjoy being a family unit too? In the 20 episodes of season four, we saw the most fabulously costumed disco-themed birthday party, and one of the most romantic TV weddings in history when Stef and Lena got remarried after their fake-out divorce and then had a hardcore make out sesh in the rain. But even those lighter occasions were surrounded by dark times for the family. Once Callie escapes the evil clutches of that pimp, how about the whole crew goes on a family vacation where Stef and Lena drink too many margaritas and the kids get into some old-fashioned teenage shenanigans? You know, the kind where no one ends up in prison or in a coma. I’ll pack the sunscreen!
5. We need a Lena and Stef check-in
And I don’t mean in regards to their marriage. Not that I don’t love watching them evolve as a couple, of course. But in season five, it would be great to see Lena and Stef face some challenges as a unit — as a beautiful, smart, loving team against the world. Mainly, I’d like to know how they’re feeling with all these biological parents back in the picture. The Fosters does an excellent job delving into how the kids deal with (or struggle to deal with) their biological parents, and we know Stef and Lena throw a Father’s Day brunch for the guys most important to their children, but it would be interesting to see how they really feel about the situation. Their relationship with each bio parent is so individual and complex, which means The Fosters has so much to mine from each one. Two of them are now dating! One is living in the backyard! Robert Quinn does stuff, too! Okay, maybe I’m just begging for Stef and Lena to go on a double date with Mike and Ana. But c’mon: Who wouldn’t want to see that?