TV Review: The Fosters “Highs & Lows” & “Girl Code”

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The last two episodes of The Fosters were definitely intense for the entire family, especially Mariana as she prepared for the upcoming Robotics competition. In “Highs & Lows” Mariana begins to overwork herself and her team for the competition. Perhaps it is the fact that the majority of the team has left and perhaps it is the pressure to work twice as hard for being the first female team leader for Anchor Beach, but the stress starts affecting her ability to work. Because of that stress, Mariana decides to take some of Jesus’ ADHD medication to help stay awake and stay focused on her tasks; not the best decision Mariana. But if her decision shows anything, it is the reality of the difficulties women face in STEM fields. Emma’s encouraging words to her friend, that she doesn’t need pills to show the world how brilliant she is, is an incredible display of the powerful force of female friendship.

The moms had their plate full this episode too, as they looked for solutions to avoid selling their home. After speaking to the IRS and considering second and third jobs, they realized that the only way they will make it out of this mess intact is to sell the house. The moms sit the kids down to semi-explain why they have decided to sell and let’s just say they didn’t take the news well.

So apparently Jude is smoking pot now? I didn’t see that coming. After seeking out someone who sells it at school, it’s apparent that he has no idea what he’s getting himself into. While it does seem like Noah pushed him onto this path, I don’t think that’s what the writers are saying here. Yes Noah gave Jude pot first, but it is clear that Noah has been slowly conditioned to taking it. Jude, on the other hand, is approaching it without responsibility. After he finds out that Callie spoke to Noah and his mom about the situation, he isn’t happy with her. Although he does have a point about Callie meddling where she shouldn’t, he was a little melodramatic with telling her to stay out of his life for good. I mean siblings fight like that all the time, I’m sure they’ll make up soon…I hope.

On to the Courtney of the situation. Yes, I do realize that she has redeeming qualities as a single mother taking care of her child, and that she does care for Brandon, but I have never been able to be on board with the way things have progressed with them. After finding out that Brandon gave his college money to her, Mike decides to talk to Courtney about getting her to convince Brandon to move back home. “That’s the thing about Brandon, he doesn’t have to be asked. He sees a pretty girl in need and he feels like he has to save her.” Couldn’t have said it better myself Mike. To which Courtney replies, “Well I don’t need any saving.” Then why do you keep letting a high school kid give you money for a house and a lawyer Courtney? Courtney gets angry and tells Mike what happened between Callie and Brandon and that he can’t go back home because of it, not your place Courtney.

Gabe has been M.I.A for some days, causing him to delay working on the house. Wanting to cover for him, Jesus hits his head while attempting to use a nail gun. So Jesus collapses and we find out that there’s a nail lodged in his brain, what?! When Gabe shows up at the hospital, Mariana is not happy to see him. Jesus gets out of surgery safely and we get a happy moment with the entire Adams-Foster family. Despite not being present in the majority of the episode, Gabe’s storyline was one of the most compelling for me. When Gabe finally returns to work on the remodel, Stef confronts him about putting her son in danger. Surprisingly, Gabe opens up to her about his struggles after being taken off the list; his realization of everything he’s missed out on and dealing with depression. Gabe has been presented to us as the stereotype of masculinity, the tough and lone wolf that masks any feelings he might have. Telling Stef “It’s stupid for a man to feel this way” is exactly something he would feel and Stef letting him know that getting help is necessary is exactly what he needed to hear. Depression is very real and to feel like your feelings are not valid because you think you need to put up this façade of masculinity is not okay.

“Highs & Lows” ended with Callie confronting Patrick Malloy with his past, something he wasn’t happy to hear. “Girl Code” begins with the cops coming to the Adams-Foster home to tell Callie that Malloy is accusing her of harassment. Stef is very clear with Callie that she needs to stop getting herself into trouble, even if her intentions are good. Of course, Callie doesn’t listen to her moms and goes off to do some more detective work with Aaron. They end up finding the house of a potential suspect in the case against Kyle. Callie finally decides to back away and let the real detectives do the work, good choice Callie. Good thing is that Stef also takes some time to look into Malloy. She ends up talking to Benjamin, the kid that accused Malloy of molestation around the time of the murder investigation. Turns out, the detectives on the case forced him to change his story by threatening to get his parents deported. There are too many things wrong with this case and I hope we’ll see some type of justice for Kyle and for Benjamin.

Brandon continued to focus on his audition for Julliard this episode. Spending more time at home and less with Courtney. He has a really great conversation with Stef about not feeling ready and she takes some of the blame, for pushing him away and making him feel so guilty about Callie. She also reiterates that he shouldn’t hold back at his audition because he feels an obligation to Courtney, thank you Stef! Please take her advice Brandon.

Now to the focus of the episode: the robotics competition. It was really neat to see actual students and the incredible work they did coming up with these robots. Anchor Beach has some trouble during their first round of the competition. The pressure of being the first all girls driving team for Anchor Beach and wanting to prove herself leads Mariana to lash out at her mom and brother. After a slow start, the girls recover full speed ahead for the next round and make it to the very top of the scoreboard. Although their school doesn’t make it to the final round, the girls do help the other all girls team win the competition. It was so empowering to see these incredibly smart and talented girls working together to prove to the world what they are capable of.

We see that the moms have really decided to sell the house because they get a realtor to start showing it. And it just so happens that the first couple that sees it makes a cash offer 10% above the asking price. Okay does that really happen? Regardless, it looks like the family would have to be out of the house by the end of the month. I really didn’t think that the writers would go through with this storyline. Taking away something so central to this family, their home, will surely change the dynamic of the show.

I’m so curious to see how this plays out. The season finale is closely approaching but next week, we get to see Brandon in New York! That’s something I’m sure we’re all looking forward to.

“Highs & Lows”: 9/10

“Girl Code”: 8/10

The Fosters airs Mondays at 8/7c 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.