The back half of The Fosters season four has been extremely uneven. Some story lines have really shined: Jesus’s TBI, Emma’s abortion, the development of Aaron’s character, Mariana dealing with the effects of the Nick incident, anything with A.J. Not to mention the mamas getting remarried — that episode alone is enough to overlook some other less-than-exciting elements (I’m looking at you, Brandon meets a music therapist).
However, there have been two major story lines that have bogged down the entire Adams Foster operation: Obviously, the first is the never-ending “Troy Johnson is a murderer and that’s why I fled the scene of an accident” litigation. The other is Stef’s new job “busting pimps” and attempting to save a girl named Diamond. The latter is so riddled with clichés it almost hurts to watch, but I’ve let it slide because it was mostly a background-player plot, Stef is the best, and I figured it couldn’t get much worse. Oh, if only I had been right.
The season finale takes those two story lines and merges them together, leaving Callie in the clutches of a dangerous pimp … because Callie just can’t seem to help herself. Or any of us for that matter. You guys! I’m so angry that this is where we were headed the whole time.
Because the D.A. now has the video of Callie breaking into Doug Harvey’s house, their strategy of painting Callie as innocent and naïve is completely scrapped. If she goes to trial, she’ll lose. Her lawyers want her to consider taking a plea deal of three years in prison. It’s terrible, and everyone knows it, but it’s the only option. They have 24 hours to decide.
Callie assumes it’s all over, but Stef doesn’t want to give up just yet. She enlists Mike to do some more digging into the case.
First up is Doug Harvey, who, based on the serial-killer stalker board he had in his house, must know more about Martha Johnson than he was letting on. It’s true: He was working outside of Martha’s house the day she was killed … and he saw Troy there. So Mike brings in Troy’s alibi, his now ex-girlfriend. She doesn’t budge on her previous statement, but Troy doesn’t know that. They bring Troy in, make it seem like his girlfriend turned on him, and hey, wouldn’t it be a relief to get everything off his chest? Man, Mike should really get a promotion because after all we’ve been through with this guy, Troy confesses. It was sort-of an accident, but Callie was right all along — Troy killed his grandmother and Kyle was wrongly imprisoned.
I have questions.
If Troy really did commit this crime and wanted to get away with it, why would he not take Robert’s settlement money to make the entire Callie problem go away? Instead, he forces the case to go further along toward trial, leaving more possibility for people to figure out he’s been lying. This makes zero sense.
More importantly, I thought The Fosters had done something so brilliant in having Kyle turn out to be the one lying to Callie this whole time. It was a great twist that would’ve had a real emotional consequences for Callie. To see Callie deal with the fallout of being manipulated like that would have been an interesting season-five journey. Troy’s guilt erases all that. So this is the point in the finale where I started getting angry. Anyone else?
With Troy’s confession, there’s enough to prove that Callie was fearful for her life in that car, and the whole thing will be dismissed. Stef is relieved. But, as is typical with Callie, that relief lasts about one minute.
Daphne rolls up in Callie’s car, without Callie. While Callie and Daphne were out, they caught Diamond and Christina fleeing Girls United to find Diamond’s pimp, Russell. They try to convince Diamond to come back with them, but she fears for her life. She has to go back to Russell and she has to bring him a new girl. Callie decides that since she’s headed to prison, she has nothing left to lose: She’ll take Christina’s place. Hey, Callie, remember not too long ago when you told Jude how you always make terrible choices? This is one of those times. The plan is to have Callie go with Diamond, Daphne can tell Stef to track Callie’s phone, and Stef will be able to bring a whole slew of cops to stop Russell. Surely, there are hundreds of other options the girls could have tried before “pretend to work for a pimp.” That this would be plan A is a little ridiculous.
Because nothing ever works out for Callie, her plan to have Stef track her phone fails. The phone ends up in a bag that Russell tosses into a different car, sending Stef nowhere near the shady motel Russell takes Callie and Diamond. Things get terrible pretty fast, and Russell makes Callie call him “daddy” and has her sing to him while he “gets to know her.” I’m still trying to wash all the ickiness off.
And this is where Callie’s season-four story ends. She’s out of legal trouble, but is now alone in a motel room with a gun-wielding pimp. Aside from the sheer incredulity of the plot (I love melodrama, but this is a bridge too far), Callie’s story is just painful to watch. And I don’t mean that in an emotionally engaging way. It’s frustrating to watch a character make bad choice after bad choice with no reprieve. She never seems to learn anything, and it’s no fun seeing someone get beaten down by life over and over. Callie needs some real teenage story lines (love triangles! college applications! that thing where the outsider somehow gets voted prom queen!). She needs some real wins. Okay, first she needs someone to save her from a pimp, but then she needs a win.
Lest you think the entire finale was a flop, The Fosters continues to handle Emma’s abortion with a thoughtfulness that’s missing from the episode’s other story lines. Thanks to Mariana’s “anonymous” Twitter account and a follow-up call to his grandma about that letter she read him, Jesus knows that Emma was pregnant and had an abortion. You know the first thing that sweet boy does? He goes and tells his moms. WHAT A GOOD BOY. They ask him how he’s doing and he’s very honest: He’s conflicted. He’s adopted and knows Ana could’ve had an abortion. But also, it’s Emma’s body and it’s her choice. He only wishes she would’ve confided in him. It’s all very mature and wonderful.
He’s a bit less mature when he finds out that Brandon knew from the beginning and he confronts both Emma and Brandon in the middle of the Anchor Beach board-meeting protest. Also, it’s raining. Why is it raining? Actually, I don’t care — it makes this big argument much more dramatic and I am here for that.
Jesus, understandably, wants to know why Emma could tell Brandon but not her own boyfriend. B tries to explain that he figured it out and was just being a friend to Emma, but Jesus once again jumps to his greatest fear — that Brandon and Emma have something going on, and the baby was Brandon’s. Before they can convince Jesus otherwise, he runs off into the dark and stormy night and Brandon runs after him. Dramatic, right?
In Other Family News:
• Did the Anchor Beach private-school story line just get very interesting? How wonderful for the show to circle back to Mariana once again being made to feel helpless at the hands of a Stratos man. Her small scene standing up to Craig as he marched in to take away her school is moving.
• Lena’s speech to the board about good education being a right, not a privilege is stirring, but it still can’t dissuade the board from voting for a state-of-the-art facility courtesy of Craig’s deep pockets. This fight is far from over.
• So Drew is a dick, huh?
• Okay, okay. Callie’s good-bye to Jude did make me tear up a little. They’ve been together since the beginning!
• You guys, did Aaron seriously text his new girlfriend who was finding out if she was going to prison or not the word “lawyerz” when asking for a trial update? LAWYERZ? It doesn’t even shorten the word! You’re supposed to be the best of us, Aaron.