The Fosters: Idyllwild
Otherwise known as: THE ONE IN WHICH I HAVE TO SCRUB MY BRAIN WITH STEEL WOOL BECAUSE I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO UNSEE THAT.
In case you missed it, basically on last night's episode Brandon got rewarded for being a self-pitying egomaniac by winning a big competition he should have been disqualified from and then immediately got to fuck his little sister.
But let's put a pin in that for just a second so my eyes can stop bleeding and review a couple of other enjoyable, dramatic, and not-revolting or infuriating things that happened in the episode. Because as hard as it is to remember, those things did happen, too.
- I kind of lost the thread of the hit-and-run subplot because the show did, too, for much of the half-season, so I couldn't really tell what was going on with that at first. But ultimately, Mike figured out that Ty's friend (by the way, Ty is AJ's brother, for those of us having trouble keeping track of the only-sometimes stories) was the dude in the surveillance video that had something to do with the hit-and-run, which also means that Ty could have been involved. Mike swiped Ty's prints from a pen at the nursing home where his grandmother just had a stroke, so I'm sure AJ and Mike will do great together after this!
- Jude was not in this episode. So that sucks, as always. There seemed to be even less of an explanation than usual. I think at this point the subtext is, "Listen, audience, you know this is just TV and Hayden Byerly is just not going to work his childhood away so that you people can swoon over him and Connor and call him Judicorn, okay?" FINE, SHOW. I'll go with that. But something tells me you're about to lose all my good faith. Okay no, no, I'm not going to talk about that yet.
- Mat turned back up and he and Mariana started to get romantic. He confessed that he had staved off sexytimes with her because he's actually a virgin and he wants their first time to be special. Because Mariana does have a conscience and a pretty big-hearted one at that, she realized she had to come clean to him that she's not a virgin. And she did. And told him she cheated on him. Poor Mat.
- Lena and Stef and Jenna and Monte planned a weekend away together (what could go wrong?) since Jenna's friend conveniently has a cabin right near Idyllwild, where everyone's going to go see Brandon get rewarded for his woe-is-me, special-snowflake complex...
...and of course Jenna and Stef had emergencies back home and Monte and Lena had to have a wine dinner while sitting next to a crackling fireplace in the middle of the summer with romantic piano music in the background.
No big deal, right? During their intimate fireside wine chat (though major props to the props: both of them brought an actual six-pack of wine!) we learn that Monte loves having ladysex and is all about the lesbians, just not that particular lesbian. She later breaks up with Jenna (because that's a polite thing to do under the circumstances...like, she couldn't wait till they were back home??) and even tells her about the kiss with Lena. Jenna later breaks this bit of news to Stef, which, ouch.
That, too, couldn't have waited till everyone was back from their weekend away? Timing, people! But of course all this drama served mostly to turn a full cabin into an almost-empty cabin save for one sadly sleeping Mariana and two horny de facto siblings BUT WE'LL GET TO THAT. Back at home, Stef confronts Lena, who of course denies everything until confronted with the kiss, which she admits to, but admits only to be a victim of. That kiss was nothing, Lena insists.
Stef: If it was nothing I think you would've told me.
Oof. I'd be really sad and engaged in all of this if I thought I'd continue being a viewer of this show. Because I love Stef and Lena.
- And now we'll get down to it. They threw another big contrived wrench into Callie's adoption to clear the way for two teenage bozos to bump uglies, since that blatantly takes priority over a lifelong family.
Here's how it broke down:
Back at Girls United, Brooke hit Carmen. They both lied and said it was Rita who hit Carmen; Brooke did this to save her own ass from the consequences, and Carmen did this to avoid the truth coming out about why she got hit (she'd taken Brooke's drugs). Callie recorded Carmen telling the truth, but Carmen followed up by threatening that if Callie came forward, Carmen would rat her out for having carried on with Brandon the entire time she was living at Girls United. This would, of course, impede her adoption and make it virtually impossible since the only remaining adoption-blockage is the fact that Social Services is inexplicably obsessed with Callie and Brandon's past flirtations (much like, apparently, the showrunners and a large chunk of the audience) (and whoever the hell in the PR department decides on the show's hashtags). Callie thinks it's more important to save Rita, so she emails the recording of Carmen's confession to Rita. I need to point out here that that's all she does. Rita doesn't use this recording (I don't even know if she could by law), nor does Carmen tell anyone what she threatened to tell. These are all just things that might happen at some point in the future. But none of this matters, because none of this really had to make sense since the story wasn't because it was a good story, it was because of what it pretended to open the door for.
Meanwhile, Brandon's pianist hasn't had as much pain and whiteboyangst as Brandon has in his hard, hard, horrible life and therefore cannot bring the correct passion to Brandon's composition. So Brandon, who was already kicked out of Idyllwild and readmitted (and let's not forget the assist from the idiot teacher who literally came right out and told Brandon he has a massive ego and to EMBRACE THAT), breaks the rules and plays the piece himself. And he wins. Of course he wins. Because he's Brandon.
Oh and did I mention it turns out Brandon was stalking Callie by driving by Girls United a couple of nights before? HOT HOT HOT! The sexual foster sibling tension cannot be ignored!
These two events, I suppose, meant to set Callie up to be really vulnerable and Brandon up to feel really invincible and celebratory. She filled him in on what was going on with Rita and the adoption and they really subtly nudged us by plastering a #Bralliesfuture hashtag up on the screen, so I was already trying to keep the bile down at this point.
And then, well, you know. Tween girls with dreams of sleeping with their mothers' son got everything they wanted, I guess? Also, a rape victim lost her virginity (with total confidence and aplomb in the middle of a life-altering crisis) to only the second foster brother of hers she'd hooked up with in the past month! And her rapist in the past? FORMER FOSTER BROTHER! Seems healthy. This is just a great hot teen romance! Fosters siblings boned!
Just in case you're in denial and thinking it was just implied, let me bring you briefly into my vortex of pain:
Yeah, so. No getting around it. Wait, let's check just once more:
Well, guys, I came here for this show because it was about a somewhat unconventional family, but um... this is not what I meant.
I saw a lot of sad (and grossed out) people on Twitter last night, feeling really betrayed by this show that claims to be about how "love makes a family," but now they're suggesting that... not really! Because she's not legally adopted, they're not family at all so they can totally bone! And I agree completely with feeling that betrayal. And I don't need to hear stories of adoptive siblings who met as adults and fell in love or step-siblings who lived apart and eventually had a relationship or any of that, because that is not the story they've been telling. That is not this. For three years (I realize on show-time it's all less than a year, but I'm talking about our years) there has been a driving plot of trying to get Callie adopted into this family. Because it's what she wants, it's what her brother wants, it's what the family wants, and it's the goal. And I'm sorry, you can't have it both ways. And no, it's not "no big deal" for her to just go live with her bio-dad now, because that is also not the story they've been telling. And no, nothing about it could be okay because this is a relationship between teenagers. It will end, and it will damage the family, regardless of what the legal and living arrangements end up being. Hell, look at all the repercussions it's already had!
Honestly, I know this is just a TV show, but I'm really sad. I really loved this show and had faith that its priorities were ultimately in the right place. I've spent my free time on these recaps even though I'm sure only a handful of people read them and I get nothing in return because this was a sweet little show I believed in and wanted to promote in my own little way, and I had this small forum available and, okay, it seemed appropriate because of the various daytime soap crossovers (Joanna Johnson, Sherri Saum).
This was always a component that bugged me, but I could've happily and joyfully just mocked Brandon every week but now I'm simply bummed. And really, really grossed out.
One of the showrunners claims next week will make everyone happy on both sides of the equation, but I can't see how if it's not a dream. And because their damn promos are so spoilerific it's pretty clear that's not the case. (Plus how would that make the #Brallie4ever crowd happy?) Again, can't have it both ways. I cannot fathom a set-up in which they're going to make "both sides" happy here.
I'll watch the season finale next week, mostly just to see what's up with Lena and Steff and Mariana and Jude, but I think that might have to be it for me.
Sorry to be so histrionic, you guys. I'm just really, really disappointed.