TV Review: ‘The Fosters’ 3 x 12 “Mixed Messages”

THE FOSTERS - "Mixed Messages" - Callie and Brandon worry their secret has gotten out in an all-new episode of “The Fosters” airing MONDAY, FEBRUARY 1 (8:00 – 9:00 p.m. EST) on Freeform, the new name for ABC Family. (Freeform/Eric McCandless) DAVID LAMBERT, MAIA MITCHELL

(Freeform/Eric McCandless)

This week’s episode of The Fosters picked up with the same intensity that last week’s premiere delivered. As the episode progressed, more focus was given to each storyline to create another solid and compelling episode. The show begins with a shot of a somber Stef, looking into the bathroom mirror; her expression showing the confusion she feels about the cancer diagnosis. Stef and Lena aren’t short of troubles for their marriage this season, as we see a comforting Lena being pushed away by Stef. Their mother, Sharon, continue to butt heads over the different options Stef has in terms of getting a mastectomy to prevent the cancer from growing. Stef makes the difficult decision to go ahead with the surgery, despite Lena’s warnings about the psychological traumas that can occur. No matter how you look at it, the decision is not easy.

Brandon and Callie also find themselves reliving their past when they come across a post on Fost and Found that talks about her having had sex with her foster brother, they later figure that the post is in regard to the experience with Liam. However, this exchange reveals the struggles Brandon and Callie are having with moving on. Callie’s new found role as a poster child for surviving the foster care system doesn’t quite fit; she realizes that it is Brandon’s perspective of her as a poor foster kid needing saving that is holding her back as well, they have to let each other go. Callie will have trouble accepting her new life and new role, but it will be great to see her journey and coming to terms with loving herself.

Mariana and Lexi continue their race for the junior class presidency. Their heated debate leads to discussion of serious school issues they would like to address, but also issues with their friendship and what is actually dividing the pair. In the end, Lexi reveals that her run to take the presidency from Mariana is an act of jealousy because she feels she has come back to a school where she has lost a boyfriend and a best friend.

It was great to see Brandon explore new sides of himself in this episode! Not only helping to create some distance between him and Callie but also trying something he has never done before. Brandon gets to know his new coworker by taking surfing lessons from her, the chemistry apparent. What will grow between them is yet to be seen. In searching for ideas for his senior class project, Brandon propositions writing a Shakespearean rock musical with Matt, a way for both of them to let their past relationships go through the creative expression of their music. Can’t wait to hear what they come up with!

Finally, we see a little more of Noah Centineo as Jesus. He spunky attitude flows beautifully with the others, molding the old Jesus we all know with new layers he brings to the character, as if he had been there from the very beginning. It was great to see him interact with ex-girlfriends and create a tense but comical moment as they all see each other in the halls of Anchor Beach. Jesus also finds himself in some compromising situations, always the one to find himself in trouble. Hanging out with the new kid, Nick, Jesus finds himself behind the wheel and at racing speeds. As the two race down an empty alleyway they find themselves inches from hitting an oncoming truck, Jesus quickly brakes as he flashes back to the moment of the accident that almost killed his sister and birth mom; showing us that he has yet to come to grips with it and that he will continue to deal with it as the season progresses.

Another wonderful episode of The Fosters that continued to explore the complex storylines of this loving yet complicated family.

Melissa is a 22-year-old English major at Florida International University in Miami. She has been passionate about storytelling for as long as she can remember. She loves literature, film, and television; any great story that can make her cry really. Her dreams include working in film or publishing in order to get great stories told. She is an unashamed and unapologetic fangirl of way too many fictional characters and is still waiting for her Hogwarts acceptance letter to arrive in the mail.