The Fosters Recap: It’s Never Too Late

The Fosters

Season 5 Episode 8
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Adam Rose/Freeform

The Fosters is coming for your feelings. All of them. Mike and Ana’s engagement party is upon us and although there may not be booze flowing (Stef, you can only blame yourself), the tears sure are. So many tears!

Many of these tears are tied to Jesus’s relentless pushing of Gabe to reunite with Ana. Hot Dad Gabe, why are you taking relationship advice from a 16-year old with a traumatic brain injury who just proposed to his high-school girlfriend? You may be handsome, but you are being real dumb today. Jesus and his birth father have a chat in which Jesus warns Gabe that Ana and Mike are getting married in a month — which means he has 30 days to tell Ana he still loves her, or forever hold his peace. Jesus thinks the big engagement party might be a great venue for Gabe to express his feelings. Ana only invited Gabe to prove to him that this marriage is really happening, right?

Gabe has enough sense to, at least initially, tell Jesus he’s being ridiculous. However, a few things go down that make Gabe rethink his play. First, the toasts. When it comes time to lavish the happy couple with love, the best man, Brandon, gets up there first. He sings a song he wrote for Mike and honestly, I could watch Mike’s reaction to his son’s song about hoping to be like his father on a loop. It is that good. Have we ever seen Mike so moved? Of course, that wonderful moment is soon ruined by Jesus, who also gives a toast. It starts out genuinely affecting, as he talks about never expecting to celebrate his birth mother’s engagement. But then he goes and drags Gabe into it, and tosses in phrases like, “It’s never too late.” Brandon, who’s been suspicious of Ana and Gabe sneaking behind Mike’s back ever since he saw them having an emotional conversation in the backyard, knows exactly what his brother is up to. B rightly takes Jesus to task. He’s at Ana and Mike’s engagement party, show some respect!

Another factor influencing Gabe is, surprisingly, Ana’s parents. They get a good look at Gabe, Ana, and the twins taking a photo together and begin to wonder if they made a big mistake all those years ago when they fought to put Gabe in prison. The family portrait is so overwhelming for them, they walk over to Gabe and apologize for ruining what might’ve been.

Those two moments, mixed with a whole lot of wine that Gabe’s been sneaking to make it through what must be the most awkward party of his life, give Gabe the courage to ask for a one-on-one with Ana. To add to the intensity of the moment, Brandon watches them walk away together and listens in on the whole thing. This party could become a brawl very, very easily.

Thankfully, it doesn’t. Instead, Gabe and Ana share a very emotionally charged conversation — kudos to Brandon Quinn and Alexandra Baretto for infusing this exchange with such believable history — that ends with Ana telling Gabe that for a long time she wished he had come back for her, but it’s too late now. She loves Mike. She can’t wait to marry the guy. And Brandon gets to hear all of that. B is so happy for his dad! The big hug he gives Ana after realizing she really has his dad’s back melts all the icicles on my heart. Considering Brandon’s past history with ruining completely fine situations thanks to misinformation, I thought this was all going to blow up in his face. I’m glad the writers opted for such a lovely and relatively not-so-messy ending. Jesus and his matchmaking can go stick it!

That kid is striking out all over the place, sadly. His other problem? Emma. Jesus has it in his head that he and Emma are legitimately engaged. When she shows up at the party not sporting the wood ring, Jesus makes her put it on. During the toasts, Jesus makes an awkward comment about their own future engagement party. Poor Emma is about to crack under all the pressure of keeping Jesus happy. Thankfully, the mamas are there to intervene. They’ve been indulging Jesus so as to not set him off, but once Lena sees what’s going on with Emma, she knows they can’t play into Jesus’s fantasies anymore.

Lena assures Emma that Jesus’s recovery isn’t her responsibility. She is just a kid! Emma loves Jesus and wants him to get better, but this engagement thing needs to get shut down. When she talks to Jesus herself, it goes about as well as you’d expect, which is to say, it goes terribly. Emma gives the ring back to Jesus, saying she doesn’t want to wear it because it means two different things to them. Jesus assumes she’s breaking up with him and things escalate. Emma tries to explain that she loves him, but engagement is a bridge too far. Jesus yells at her: “If you don’t want me forever, then I don’t want you at all!” Yeah. It’s pretty bad.

The only positive to come out of this screaming match is that it looks like Emma and Mariana finally make up. Mariana sticks up for Emma during the fight and reminds Jesus just how dumb he’s being by letting such a supportive girlfriend go. As Emma cries outside, Mariana holds her friend close. She misses the old Jesus, too. Great! Now I need a Mariana to hold me!

Clearly, Jesus has a rough road ahead. Not only did he just spurn the best thing he had going for him, the mamas are instating a new world order. They’re not going to be afraid of Jesus’s outbursts any longer. It’s time to show the kid some tough love. The first step is to punish him by taking the treehouse project away. Jesus sees Stef and Lena have what looks to be a pretty tough conversation with Gabe outside. It’s obvious they’re delivering the news.

Later, Jesus finds Gabe’s room completely empty, and just a note left behind. It seems the one-two punch of his unrequited love for Ana and the tree-house project ending was enough to signal to Gabe that he’s overstayed his welcome.

I know I’ve been a big proponent of more Adams Foster parties, but after this one, I am spent.

In Other Family News …

• I’ve never connected with a fictional character more deeply than I did when Stef rolled her eyes after hearing about promposals. “I’m so glad I’m not in high school.” Same, Stef. SAME.

• The Grace Reveal is imminent: Her mom is in town, and after walking in on Brandon handcuffed to her daughter’s bed (blame the promposal), she very ominously says that Grace has “no business” having a boyfriend. Well, this is nerve-wracking and I fear the worst.

• Ximena has been such a lovely addition to the season. The scene where she talks about her family plan if she or her parents get deported pulls at the ol’ heartstrings long after it ends. Since the campus protest looks to get pretty heated by episode’s end, Ximena may have some more problems coming her way. Great, more things to worry about!

• Something I’m not worried about? Jude’s story line. He tries to get out of lying to Taylor about the gaming job by telling her he totally won’t do it if she doesn’t want him to — and as it turns out, she doesn’t want him to. That’s not how he thought things were going to go down.

• A.J. is back to being Mr. Wonderful. Callie starts considering a different major in order to get accepted to UCSD, and Aaron (sort of) agrees with the plan. Social work might make it easier to get in and could help Callie on her quest to change the world more effectively. When A.J. finds out that Callie’s questioning her pursuit of art (because he’s applying to the same program), he says the exact opposite: Art is powerful, art spreads awareness, art moves mountains — basically a whole bunch of swoony things about art saving the world.

• When A.J. also shows up at the campus protest to take a stand against hate speech, Callie is happy for the backup. Ximena is happy for the eye candy. (“You’re pretty jacked.”) Aaron, lurking by a nearby tree, is not happy. He is supposed to leave for an internship in New York soon and he is not happy at all.

The Fosters Recap: It’s Never Too Late