TV Review: The Fosters “New York” & “Collateral Damage”

THE FOSTERS - "New York" - With Brandon away at his Julliard audition in New York, Stef and Lena reveal some shocking news to the family on an all-new episode of "The Fosters," airing MONDAY, AUGUST 22 (8:00 - 9:00 p.m. EDT), on Freeform, the new name for ABC Family. (Freeform/Giovanni Rufino) ANGELINE APPEL, DAVID LAMBERT

The last two episodes of The Fosters were jam-packed with drama and some of the biggest cliffhangers the show has ever seen; so let’s get right to it! “New York” was another lovely flashback episode, past memories surfacing as the family prepared to move out of the house. As the moms struggle to get everyone to pitch in with the packing, we get a scene of young Stef and Lena discovering the house of their dreams. These scenes could’ve been really cheesy but they actually helped reiterate the love this family has for each other. Which is why I knew that the moms filing for divorce was only a tactic, apparently to save the house. Let’s hope it works!

Brandon’s big moment finally arrives. While in New York for his Juilliard audition, he meets a girl named Ari. The new setting was refreshing to see and so was Ari. Their night in “the city that never sleeps” helped Brandon realize that being selfish and following his dreams is a freedom he cannot give up, it seems he has finally realized that having Courtney in his life is keeping him from those dreams.

Callie and Stef continue to get themselves into murky waters by trying to help others. Detective Gray finds out that Stef is investigating his old case and threatens her. Meanwhile, Callie (once again) puts herself into a dangerous situation by breaking into Doug Harvey’s house because she is certain he’s responsible for the death of Martha Johnson.

The twins end up finding an old journal that belonged to Stef while going through the clutter in the garage. The crazy thing about this storyline was finding out that their mom was initially hesitant about the adoption. What was even more mind-boggling was to hear that it was Lena, not Stef, who was not certain about adopting the twins. How honest, though, to portray those insecurities that every new mom feels, Lena didn’t know if she could be a good mother and it’s been beautiful to see the amazing mom she has become.

The storyline between Jude and Noah has been, to be honest, disappointing. Sure it was great to see a realistic portrayal of teens continuing to explore new relationships but aside from getting high together, I don’t feel like we’ve seen the complexity and the depth that story began with. I hope we see more of them in the second part of the season and more of how Noah has actually helped Jude come out of his shell and move on from the pain of his first heartbreak.

In “Collateral Damage” as with any season finale of The Fosters, the family sees themselves in situations that can have lasting effects on the rest of their lives. When Stef goes into her interview for the detective job, we hear that a veteran detective has given her an esteemed “recommendation”. Of course that comes back to bite her in the ass when Stef’s insistence on investigating Gray’s old case, gets him to dig into her past and threaten her with going to internal affairs about her covering up for Mike and the shooting they were involved in. That will surely come back to haunt them both, will trying to get justice for others jeopardize Stef and Mike’s careers?

We got to see another sweet family moment when Brandon receives his acceptance email from Juilliard. Although, as expected, things aren’t great for long; Lena finds out that the kid who paid Brandon to take his SATs ended up getting caught and dragging Brandon along with him. It was devastating to see him realize that his dreams and his future were shattered so suddenly. Equally devastating was David Lambert and Sherri Saum’s performance as he cried in her arms.

Callie’s storyline this episode revolved around raising awareness in a campaign called Justice for Jack, one to stop Justina’s bill from getting passed. It was great to see Sophia back but kind of disappointing to see her used as a plot device, essentially. The writers had us thinking the bad guy was Harvey, having him corner Sophia because she looked like Callie. While the Fosters ask for signatures on their petition, tensions continue to rise between the guys in Callie’s life. It was great to see Mike show AJ that his concern for him is because they are family but it was also great to see AJ defend Callie and his relationship with her. Although the two end things on bad terms, I think they’ll be okay. But who knows, can her feelings for Aaron grow into something more?

Probably the biggest concern this episode was Mariana continuing to abuse the ADHD medication and the effects it had on her when Nick called her to tell her he’d be home for the weekend. After finding out that Matt will be going away for college and hearing Jesus tell her that Nick knows about her true feelings, Mariana reaches her breaking point. The stress combined with the pills cause her to hallucinate and see Nick and the trauma he has caused her. After a heated confrontation, both Nick and Mariana seem to understand each other and where they are, emotionally and mentally. The circle seems to have finally come to a close. Before they can explain that to Jesus, he starts throwing punches. One thing leads to another and he ends up unconscious. Although it is scary to think what could happen, I’m more than certain Jesus will be okay.

And that shocking cliffhanger? Callie gets in the car with Martha Johnson’s grandson (You don’t even know him Callie) to later receive a phone call from Aaron basically telling her that she is with the murderer! And just like that, another season of The Fosters is over. So many things unresolved and so many unanswered questions will have to wait until season 4B in January, I can’t wait.


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.