We interrupt your regularly scheduled Coterie shenanigans to bring you an update on the Adams Foster family. Seriously, bless this episode in all its traditional Dutch costume glory. With its complete focus on the Adams Fosters and the Hunters, “Klompendansen” is very much a new episode of The Fosters tucked away into Good Trouble. If you’re a fan of The Fosters, this is an amazing gift. If you stumbled into Good Trouble without ever having watched the show from which it came, well, first: Still? Really? And second: Initially, you might not be as enthused about spending so much time on story lines for characters who are only peripherally tied to the show, but this stand alone Mariana and Callie episode ends up being a smart move for Good Trouble.
With how intense things tend to get on Good Trouble, “Klompendansen” feels like time for both the audience and for Mariana and Callie to take a breath. Stef and Lena are Mariana and Callie’s moral compass and sometimes the girls, like everyone, need to be reminded that through all the fuck-ups, they are doing just fine. The mamas make everyone feel better, but most especially their daughters. It feels true to life and true to this show that sometimes you need some family time to get your head on straight.
Mariana and Callie arrive at the Hunter family’s ridiculous mansion for a Hunter and Adams Foster family joint good-bye party as Brandon and Eliza head off to Amsterdam for a year (you might recall from season two’s holiday episode that Eliza was offered a position in the orchestra there and it is a huge deal). Now if you’re sitting there thinking, wait a second, Jamie is Eliza’s brother and he will definitely be showing up at this party and won’t that be completely awkward because he and Callie broke up in the most spectacular of fashions not that long ago, well, yeah, you’re right. It’s going to be awkward as hell. Everyone knows the two aren’t together anymore (Callie suspects this is why Jamie’s parents are so welcoming), but no one knows exactly why, which is a small blessing, because yikes is that complicated.
In a true twist, however, it turns out that Callie seeing her ex isn’t actually the most awkward thing to go down at this gathering. When the ladies knock on the door, they’re greeted by Diane Hunter in traditional Dutch garb, clogs and all, and she informs them that in honor of Brandon and Eliza’s big move, this family party will be Dutch-themed, and they all have to wear costumes. Rich people do some really weird shit with their time and money. At one point Diane has them all learn a traditional Dutch folk dance and perform it for … themselves, I guess. Forced participation in group choreography is the stuff of nightmares.
Does the fact that everyone is in costume heighten the awkwardness or ease the tension? It is the greatest mystery of our time. Regardless, when everyone (there’s no sign of Jesus, but Stef and Lena do bring Corey, the kid they fostered at the end of The Fosters until his mother could take him back) sits down to eat some traditional Dutch food, some big reveals come spilling out and no one seems to notice the costumes anymore. Except for maybe Stef. She is not amused by this mandatory theme party.
Staunch conservative Jim Hunter cannot help but poke the politics bear, and this discussion at the table leads to Jamie informing his father he’s recently changed his voter registration from Republican to Independent (if Jim wore pearls, he’d be clutching them at that announcement) and that he recently “quit” his job at the law firm and is now unemployed. He makes up a lie about why he left. This news snowballs into a whole bunch of truths coming out: Callie admits that she quit both her clerkship and her job at legal aid and is now working with a criminal defense attorney; Mariana tells everyone that she also quit her job recently because her app was overrun by white supremacists — white supremacists who also verbally assaulted her; Carter informs his parents he’s transferring to UCLA (conveniently, where his secret boyfriend Jude Adams Foster goes to college); oh, and the whole thing about how Jerod broke into Jamie’s apartment when Callie was there and now he’s in jail and was beaten by guards who took his medication and because he tried to defend himself and struck a guard, he’s been charged with a felony and now Callie is working on his defense, that whole thing comes out, too. All of this over a feast of snert!
The best (worst?!) part of all of this truth-telling is that the four parents at the table had no idea about any of it. Honestly, I’d love a transcript of texts between Mariana, Callie, and their moms from the past few weeks because what the hell have they been talking about all this time? They’re pretty close … and yet!
In a highlight of the episode, one by one all the Adams Foster women — and eventually Brandon, too — end up hiding out in the bathroom, explaining to each new person who walks in that they’re just “taking a break.” The Hunters are exhausting — which is saying a lot coming from the Adams Fosters. This break gives Stef and Lena time to check in with their daughters, who, they have just realized, are leading completely different lives from the ones they believed them to be. For the amount of information they just digested, the mamas seem to be handling it well. Sure, they’re worried their kids are quitters, but as Mariana and Callie open up to them, they realize their daughters were trying to stay true to themselves. Stef and Lena remind the girls of this truth and give them hugs and tell them they’re going to be just fine and honestly it is so nice I would gladly don some clogs to get a reassuring hug from Stef and Lena in a bathroom, and I know that sounds creepy but also I’m not taking it back.
Stef leaves Callie with a real gem of advice and makes sure she knows that when it comes to Jamie, it’s hard being with someone so different from you and you need to figure out what you can and cannot compromise in a relationship. Callie finds Jamie to get some closure, by which obviously I mean hot, hot sex. Afterward, their conversation immediately devolves into rehashing what went wrong. Callie reminds Jamie that he promised their values aligned “where it counted” but the whole situation regarding lying to the tenants counted and if she has to compromise her morals to be with him, that’s not love. Dang, girl! That’s some real cold shit! But also true. Jamie spits back that in reality, Callie always felt like she was “compromising herself to be with [him]” and that “this was a mistake.” He’s definitely referring to the hot sex, but also, maybe, everything? Anyway, not a super great way to leave things.
I can’t believe I’ve come this far and have yet to mention that freaking Connor, yes, Jude’s first love Connor, is a cater waiter at this weird-as-hell family party. Connor! Of course there is a whole lot of tension there since Jude is secretly dating Carter Hunter, who is not out to his family yet, but also there is a lot of wistfulness and it’s nice! Connor ends up kissing Jude, but Jude pulls away and they end up having one of those “you’ll always be my first love” conversations.
Carter gets a glimpse of this kiss and since he’s just decided to transfer to UCLA for the sole purpose of being with Jude, the guy’s a little upset. It ends up being his father who finds him hiding in his room. Earlier in the episode, Jim comes to his wife in a panic wondering if something might be going on between Carter and Jude. Diane responds with, “wow Jim, you are truly the biggest dick.” Oh wait no, sorry, checking my notes, Diane says “would it matter?” and Jim says “Yes, it would matter a lot” and she walks off disgusted, so you get what I’m saying.
We’re all bracing ourselves for the big Carter/Jim conversation (different from the big Jim Carter conversation about how Downton Abbey should have, like, four more seasons) because signs point to it going badly. Then Jim sees how heartbroken his son is and seems to realize his son is hurting and simply needs his father to be there for him and the boys hug and cry and say “I love you.” Jim still has a lot of work to do, but dang, this episode is really coming for our emotions.
In the end, Carter and Jude reaffirm their commitment to each other and Carter decides not to transfer to UCLA for the wrong reasons. We all let out a collective sigh of relief because one should never follow a boy to college! We’ve all seen Felicity! Team Noel forever!
The other emotional high point I should mention is Stef and Lena’s major life decision: They decide to foster another child. They learn that Corey’s 4-year-old half-sister is being put into the system and although Corey never asks them if they can help (this child! an angel!), as soon as they hear what’s happening, they know what they need (and want!) to do. Stef won’t go to Venezuela with the Peace Corps and instead take care of a child who needs her here. As everyone departs one of the wildest family gatherings ever, and Stef and Lena send their daughters back into the world, knowing the Adams Foster nest will be empty no more just feels right. Isn’t it nice and also unbelievably stressful to spend time with family?
• It turns out Eliza isn’t going to be joining the orchestra in Amsterdam after all, but she and Brandon are still moving because B ended up getting a job there and they are going to focus on him for a while. So, I guess the Dutch-themed party still works. Everyone still feels like fools!
• Lena mentions that Callie has quit two jobs “in six months” — is that really how long it’s been, more or less, since Callie and Mariana moved into the Coterie? If so, it’s truly been the wildest six months.
• Mariana coming clean to her moms about dating Evan even though he wouldn’t shut down the Act-ivism app: “I’m not like Callie! I can’t ignore my feelings for my principles!” Mariana continues to be a treasure.
• Couldn’t you see Judicorn moving into the Coterie one day? It feels very on-brand for that kid.
• Every main character on Good Trouble could handle their own standalone episode and I’m down to see more of these deeper dives into people’s lives.
• Every time Stef calls Mariana “Miss Thing,” an angel gets its wings.