The Fosters Recap: The Battle for Anchor Beach

The Fosters

Season 5 Episode 12
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Eric McCandless/Freeform

Though many of us are still puddles sitting outside that TBI support-group room, unable to gather ourselves together after one of the most moving scenes from The Fosters to date, Lena Adams Foster is not. She is no puddle, she is a woman of action. Lena Adams Foster is coming for what’s hers, so all the clowns — Drew, mostly — can get out of the way.

So, Lena’s son feels broken and she and her wife realize they’ve been going about his care all wrong. What now? Lena isn’t going to cry about it. She’s going to have a family meeting about ableism and she’s going to fire that terrible paraprofessional David. (Seriously, though, does he even like his job?) Per Jesus’s not totally thought-out request, Lena will become his in-class aide, which, you know, seems immediately problematic and maybe in this instance Lena should have thought on it rather than just acting. I never said being a woman of action came without issues!

Aside from revamping her plan for Jesus, Lena has several other things on her plate. You guys, the big Anchor Beach privatization vote is finally here. All of our dreams are coming true.

As we are painfully aware, the cards are stacked against Anchor Beach remaining as the lovely, inclusive charter school it is, since Monte was forced to resign early and give her vote to Terrible Person Drew. All hope is not lost, though! Last week, we left Lena on the doorstep of one Nick Stratos, claiming to have important information regarding his father’s plans for the private school. Angel Person Lena lays into Nick for continuing to contact her daughter, violating his parole and their restraining order against him, bringing a gun to school, bringing a gun to the Adams Foster home, and generally traumatizing everyone he comes into contact with. She also suggests that Nick report his emotionally abusive father to Nick’s parole officer and see if he can figure out a healthier living situation, because Lena cannot help herself when it comes to helping troubled children. (See aforementioned Angel Person moniker.)

Anyway, Lena also gets what she came for: information to win the vote. As it so happens, Mr. Stratos wants to buy Anchor Beach and move the campus elsewhere, so he can build luxury condos on the beach. Or maybe (probably) he’ll just close the school down altogether. The shady move is enough to turn Drew. Anchor Beach remains a charter school!

Lest you think this change of heart and his lackluster apology to Lena mean that Drew is cool now, you should know that once it is decided he’s staying as principal, his first two moves are to put Lena in her place and introduce merit-based bonuses for teachers. Both are highly frowned-upon. Also, he’s still a dick.

All of this is why Timothy, good ol’ almost-sperm-donor Timothy, arrives at Lena’s house for a private chat. First, he is there on behalf of the rest of the faculty who believe Lena stepped over the line a bit by sitting in class with Jesus, handing his teachers a bunch of folders full of info to go over, and calling them with problems. They wouldn’t let a parent do this, and boundaries are getting blurred here since Lena is their boss. Lena simply won’t stop advocating for her son. (Wait until she hears Jesus doesn’t want her help!) That’s when Timothy launches into a speech about how Lena should be principal and the faculty would back her candidacy. The sentiment is great, but this seems very different from the conversation he showed up to have.

Regardless, the faculty support gives Lena confidence to storm into the morning board meeting, like the badass she is, and demand that Drew be fired and Head of the Board Lauren step down, otherwise she is leaving and she’s taking most of the teachers with her. She is a founding member of Anchor Beach and she’s tired of being overlooked and taken for granted. This is her school now, bitches! Okay, Lena would never say that last part, but that is the general feeling in the room as the faculty walk into the meeting and stand behind Lena. Nothing but respect for their principal.

You’d think dealing with both Jesus and the end of the Anchor Beach drama would be enough, but Lena has one more crisis to tackle: Stef.

Oh, Stef! Whatever is wrong with her — let’s call it anxiety for now — is only getting worse. She’s vigorously washing dishes that don’t need to be washed, she is reaming out her kooky friend Jenna after she uses their joint birthday party to hit on Tess in front of Tess’s husband, she almost breaks down in Brandon’s arms when he gives her a hug. What in the world is going on with Stef? By the end of the episode, she’s up in the middle of the night, once again short of breath, and this time she wakes up her wife. She doesn’t know what’s wrong with her, but something is most definitely wrong. All Lena can do in the moment is hold her wife. And maybe hold us, too, because this is really scary!

Meanwhile, Lena isn’t the only Adams Foster who gives a rousing speech about injustice in this episode. Callie and friends are still trying to get people to pay attention to Ximena’s story. They want to gain enough publicity to put pressure on Immigration to allow Ximena a special hearing, enabling her to leave the church without being detained while her DACA status is still in question. They decide to take her story on the road and hold a peaceful protest during a Shiloh McCullen event. You remember Shiloh, the anti-immigration woman who came to speak at UCSD a few episodes ago? Well, she’s anti-DACA and pro-wall.

It’s during the Q&A portion of the event that Callie makes her move. She has a question: What makes Ximena, a person who came to the U.S. when she was 2, graduated from school, works, pays taxes, and loves this country any less of an American than Shiloh or Callie herself? The group turns and faces the crowd while holding up some moving posters Callie made, showing how Ximena is as American as anyone else in the room. The crowd, full of Shiloh supporters, don’t appreciate the demonstration, but that’s exactly what Callie wants.

The protest becomes newsworthy and gets picked up by the Huffington Post. Ximena’s story has gone national. It doesn’t mean all of Ximena’s problems are solved, but it is a step in the right direction. Callie and Ximena celebrate, which ends with Ximena planting a big ol’ kiss on Callie. It is an … interesting way to take this story. Callie doesn’t get any time to react, but I suspect we’ll be discussing what the heck this is all about next week.

In Other Family News …

• As most of us could see coming, Jude’s video-game gig has blown up in his face. Since, like, the whole point of the streaming thing is that the public can watch, obviously Noah tunes in and sees Jude and Declan hardcore flirting. He is not thrilled.

• Brandon’s birthday present to Stef is one hour of piano time, since he remembers doing the same for her when he was little and Stef was stressed out. The fact that B can sense something is off with his mother is very mature of him, no? The real present, though, is the shot of Stef lying on the sofa silently crying while Brandon plays for her. Stef!

• The Bachelorette: Mariana Adams Foster Edition continues. Through a series of technological mishaps and scheduling snafus, Mariana is forced to tell Mat, Wyatt, and Logan that she has decided not to decide — she would like to date all three of them. Mat is the only one uncomfortable with this idea, since he already knows he loves Mariana. It’s why, I suspect, he goes along with it after Mariana puts her foot down. They’re nonexclusive or they’re nothing.

• Wyatt is the gift that keeps on giving. He teaches pilates. On his calendar, he has scheduled in days for “saving the dolphins” and “fixing climate change.” I know Mat is clearly the best choice for Mariana, but I do hope that one day Wyatt, a true man of mystery, finds love.

• Wait, remember when Callie and Wyatt dated? Doesn’t that seem completely bonkers now?

The Fosters Recap: The Battle for Anchor Beach