TV Review: The Fosters (4×04) “Now For Then”

THE FOSTERS - "Now for Then" - As Callie begins working on her senior project photographing her former foster homes, each visit brings new perspective on her past on an all-new episode of "The Fosters," airing MONDAY, JULY 18 (8:00 - 9:00 p.m. EDT), on Freeform. (Freeform/Eric McCandless) CYRINA FIALLO, DENYSE TONTZ, MAIA MITCHELL, CIERRA RAMIREZWelcome back to another week of family drama! This episode of The Fosters showed, once again, the emotional dynamic between the family members and how compelling everyday life can really be. “Now for Then” began with the moms waking up with Mariana in bed with them. Besides this being a super sweet moment between the moms and their daughter, it showed more of how Mariana is dealing with the trauma that occurred with Nick, she is obviously still afraid of him. I really loved that the show continued to demonstrate how the events with Nick continue to affect Mariana, and that they didn’t just ignore how a real person would actually deal with the emotions of surviving a situation like that. The episode took great advantage of using the family dynamic to blend storylines; it was Callie’s photo essay project that inspired Marianna to want to visit Nick. The scene in which Mariana visits Nick at the treatment center used the spatial distance and frame of the shot to show that emotional distance that Nick has created, and how he has taken away the last bit of hope his relationship with Mariana had. Although Nick seems to be getting better, it is with the desire that he will have Mariana by his side when he gets out of treatment. I was surprised to see that Mariana didn’t have the courage to tell Nick that her feelings are no longer what he believes they are, and I was surprised to see that Nick would think that after what happened Mariana would so easily move past it. Nick clearly has a lot of healing to do, and I’m curious to see how that plays out in the rest of the season.

Brandon’s storyline this season is really starting to annoy me. He actually goes to his moms’ house because he’s running low on things, Brandon grow up please. I loved Stef’s reaction when she sees him, “this is a house B, not a Target”, hilarious! Lena still thinks that Stef is being hard on Brandon but I have to agree with Stef here, if he thinks he’s old enough to leave home, he has to accept the responsibilities that come with that. Brandon seems to finally realize just how overwhelming being an actual adult will be; let’s hope he makes the smart decision sooner or later. I’m not sure how things with Courtney will go, especially with her son’s father suing for custody; expect some future drama there. Also, an awkward house party with the rest of the Adams-Foster kids and Courtney’s friends; Stef (aka momma cop) spying was also really funny.

Finally! The situation with Gabe and his impending trial are addressed this episode, I was waiting for that moment. Although, I do have to say that I felt the situation was rushed. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to see more bonding between Jesus and his birth dad, but I just felt that Gabe’s internal struggle with the life he’s had to live and not wanting to accept help from anyone could have been explored with more depth over the course of the season. I loved seeing that everyone; Stef and Lena, Ana and Mike came together to get Gabe off of the list, but I don’t think the emotional development was portrayed realistically. He went from not even wanting to talk to Stef and Lena, then accepting on Ana’s insistence, to rejecting their offer to pay for his legal fees, to being convinced by Jesus, to finally seeing him have his day in court all in one episode; I just wanted to see it play out with more detail. Although I have to say that the performances from Noah Centineo and Brandon Quinn as Jesus and Gabe were heartbreaking and incredible to watch all at once. I can’t wait to see those two continue to work together.

Last but certainly not least, the Callie plotline was probably one of the best I’ve seen for her in the entire show. Callie begins her photo essay senior project with the help of AJ; I love those two together, they are great for each other! Moving on though, Callie’s project seems to be a form of self-reflection as she goes to each of the seven foster houses she lived in before being adopted by her moms, realizing the difficulty that has caused her in being able to trust and facing those who made her feel powerless. When Callie arrives at the house where she lived with Liam, the foster-brother that raped her, she summons the courage to go into her old room after her old foster-mother invites her inside just to blame her for putting Liam in jail. First, I’d like to say how honest this show is for continuing to discuss what happened to Callie and how she continues to deal with the pain, day by day. Also, the interspersed shots of Callie’s photos were a great use of cinematography that allowed us to see what Callie sees, through her lens.

Another great storyline I’m excited to see is the one where Callie enlists Aaron’s help (remember him, just that boy she kissed and lied to) to investigate what happened to an old foster-brother that was wrongfully imprisoned, that was in one of the few good homes Callie spent time in. This episode was definitely jammed packed with storylines but I thought they all gelled nicely (for the most part) and explored all the character developments in interesting ways. Next week’s 70’s themed birthday party for Lena will surely be a treat; so get excited for that!

Rating: 8.5/10

The Fosters airs Mondays at 8/7 c on FreeForm!

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.