The Fosters Winter-Premiere Recap: Take Me to Church

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Photo: Ron Tom/Freeform
The Fosters

The Fosters

Sanctuary Season 5 Episode 10
Editor's Rating 4 stars

Welcome to 2018, dear Fosters fam! It’s a time of new beginnings! And fresh starts! The world is filled with hope once again!

Just kidding, The Fosters has been canceled and everything is crap.

Okay, it isn’t that dire. We still have the back half of season five to get through, and a three-episode summer finale to wrap things up, and yes, there is a spinoff (if you’re into Callie and Mariana tackling the wilds of L.A.). But still, soon we will have to say good-bye to this lovely little show and that is very, very sad. If you need to take a day to lie in your bed, put on Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” and stare at your ceiling for a while, your Fosters fam understands.

What would the Mamas say? Lena would probably tell us that change is hard, but necessary. Stef would probably roll her eyes and tell us to GET A GRIP. So, that’s what I’ll attempt to do. (It’s so hard!) Let’s dive in to the final season of The Fosters, shall we?

We’re picking up exactly where we left off. Mariana and Jesus are still dealing with prom shenanigans, Jude is still reeling from the news that Lena may abandon the Anchor Beach cause, and Callie is still helping Ximena hide out from immigration officers by claiming sanctuary in Noah’s mom’s church.

The greatest part of this excellent episode is that Stef and Lena freely admit that their parenting scale on which to judge Callie’s actions is completely ridiculous. After Callie, Ximena, and AJ get tucked into their sleeping bags on the floor of the church, Stef calls Lena to fill her in on the details about how their daughter is on the run from ICE and possibly the FBI. “At least she didn’t put her life in jeopardy,” says Lena. Oh, sweet Lena. Only she could find the most insane silver lining in the history of silver linings. Stef laughs at the sentiment BECAUSE HOW COULD YOU NOT, but even she seems resigned to the fact that this is their life now. Making sure their teenage daughter doesn’t get tossed in jail or die every time she leaves the house. Even Jude gets on the “this is just how life with Callie is” bandwagon. When Noah tries to comfort Jude by telling him that everything will be okay, he responds with, “You don’t know Callie.” Don’t we, Jude? DON’T WE?

Callie’s latest crisis is much more complicated than an impromptu church sleepover. And I’m not even talking about how AJ pours his sweet little heart out and tells his ex that he isn’t over her and doesn’t necessarily want to be either. You guys! AJ is the best and Callie responds by not responding. I mean, I know she’s unsure where things stand with Aaron and also the whole “ICE is waiting for us outside” thing, but acknowledge the boy! Then again, boyfriend problems are small potatoes compared to the rest of what Callie is dealing with.

Thanks to Lena and Mariana, Callie learns that Ximena’s parents, who are undocumented, have been plucked from their home and Ximena’s little sister Poppy has to go to Child Protective Services — not even Lena can convince the ICE officers to let Poppy stay with her. Callie has the unenviable job of relaying this news to Ximena. The girl is beside herself, since the plan was always for Ximena to become Poppy’s guardian if something happened to their parents. I know I’ve said this before, but Ximena (and Lisseth Chavez) is such a great addition to the world of The Fosters. Anyway, in case you haven’t guessed, I’m crying.

For the first time in all of history, Callie listens to her mother: Regardless of what’s happening to Ximena’s family and the fact that ICE has called the local police to arrest the kids, she has everyone stay put. The safest place for Ximena, and for Callie and AJ at this point (transporting a fugitive isn’t great), is in that church. Stef and Mike persuade the local police to leave pretty easily because Stef is a boss and also the immigration officers are being ridiculous. However, Ximena’s lawyer, who pops in to let Ximena know that her DACA renewal status is still up in the air, informs Stef and Mike that ICE is probably hanging around because they are waiting for the FBI to show up with warrants to arrest Callie and AJ. ICE is super chill.

The kids are in for at least one night at the church, and the best thing they can do is get Ximena and her story some exposure. Callie goes live on Facebook and by the next morning, there are people protesting outside of the church in support of Ximena and her right to speak out against U.S. immigration policy. People love the First Amendment! The good news continues: The FBI isn’t going to mess with the situation, so Callie and AJ can go home. Callie, of course, wants to stay with Ximena until her DACA status is sorted out, but even though her moms are very proud of how much their daughter cares about other people, there is no way in hell Callie is staying in that church and neglecting her life. In a surprising twist, Callie listens. You guys, Callie has listened to her moms twice in one episode. What is this glorious world? It feels like Callie is finally growing as a person and developing as a character and I am very much here for that.

Case in point, after Callie gets home, she has a very honest discussion with Aaron about their relationship. (Has he even apologized for being a complete ass at prom?) Since they both have some obvious trust issues, Callie thinks it is best to start from the beginning … as friends. Does this mean there’s hope for AJ? Honestly, Callie should just spend some time alone for once. Choose yourself, Callie!

The romantic drama takes a backseat to the more pertinent exploration of immigration issues, and “Sanctuary” ends on a hopeful note: Callie video-chats with Ximena, still waiting things out in the church, and lets her friend know that she’s making a video about her story and what’s happening to the Sinfuego family. More important, though, Callie springs some excellent news on her pal: Poppy is being fostered by the Adams Fosters! Ximena is so happy she can’t even speak. This fight isn’t over, but the gang will take their wins where they can get them. And now I’m crying again.

In Other Family News…

• The tragic romance of Brandon and Grace continues. Grace gets sick post-prom, Brandon calls her mom, and they end up at the hospital. All the good will I felt toward Brandon for making such a mature decision as to involve Grace’s mom immediately melts away when he begins butting in on health-related convos at the hospital. Grace decides to participate in a new gene therapy treatment right there in San Diego. It has an 80 percent success rate, but there’s no way Grace is making it out of this show alive, right?

• Jude and Noah are in love! Although I highly doubt Lena would let Noah sleep over in Jude’s room, those two are still so stinkin’ cute.

• Mariana learns that Monte is giving up on Anchor Beach and Lena might be next. She tells Emma about the text she got from Nick Stratos — he knows who destroyed the building model and can help save the school — and Emma reminds her that Nick is The Worst and not to trust him. Obviously, Mariana texts him back anyway.

• Drunk Emma has no time for Logan’s catty girlfriend, Olivia. Emma shuts Olivia down by letting everyone — including Logan — know that Olivia started all of Mariana’s prom shenanigans by sending her a nasty DM marking her territory.

• Once again, The Fosters proves that a young adult coming out doesn’t always call for a Very Special Episode. Ximena is gay, didn’t she mention that before? Callie and Ximena do giggle over the fact that she came out to her in a church. It’s a very sweet moment, but also it’s no big deal … which kind of makes it a big deal?

• What. Is. Happening. To. Stef?! She “forgets to breathe” twice in the episode. What is this? Panic attacks? A sign of something life-threatening? Normal anxiety related to the fact that she has five children who cannot get their shit together? Do not hurt Stef, The Fosters! She deserves a happy ending. We all do.

The Fosters Winter-Premiere Recap: Take Me to Church