The Fosters Moves Out: Saying Goodbye To TV's Most Temperate Family Drama

Photo: Courtesy of Freeform.
The Fosters could go on forever, just pouring out characters and storylines that exemplify the world’s ills, and I’d like to think there’s a universe where it does. The final series finale — the last of three parts which easily could have been one more concise part, grumble grumble — feels like more of a launching point than an ending. It ends at the Adams-Fosters’ home, the place where it all began. The home, as foreshadowed in the previous episodes, is on the market. Lena needs to live in another district in order to run for assembly, so it’s bye-bye house and bye-bye Fosters. All the members of the Adams-Foster family are, for the most part, at ease. Mariana is headed to San Francisco, Callie is headed to Los Angeles, Brandon is scoring movies, Jesus is going to Europe (with Mariana), and Jude is going back to school, where he’ll communicate more frequently when he’s overwhelmed.
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I like to think of The Fosters as a comfy, orthopedic shoe. This show was never graceful, nor was it all that clean. It replaced an actor midway through the series and gleefully swapped couple pairings without consequence. The troubles of the Adams-Foster family ranged from concussions to sex trafficking to charter schools. But most things in The Fosters land with ease — clunky as it is, there’s a foundation of support that ensures things are never going to fall to pieces. Even in the finale, which makes a half-hearted grab for drama, stability feels inevitable. The boat may rock, but it’s on land anyway, and there are no storms brewing.
That said, some tiny ripples happen. We’ll move couple by couple.
Emma & Jesus
In the final bits of The Fosters, Emma and Jesus enacted a small romantic comedy. At the end of last episode, Emma knocked on Brandon’s door, having just landed in Turks and Caicos. She’s there to get her man back. But, things aren’t that simple. Jesus slept with Jaden that very night and, according to Jaden, the sex was “amazing.” (She later rescinds this compliment.)
The Fosters takes the hard way out with this couple: They break up. Even after Emma flew to a destination wedding. Even after Jesus declares his love for her. Emma makes the call, even though she’s the one who flew out. After finding out he slept with Jaden — they were on a break! — Emma points out that they’ve been together for five years. That’s a long time to have spent with someone. And maybe, just maybe, after some time apart, they’ll find their way back to one another.
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“I need to figure out who we are without each other,” Emma tells Jesus. “And if we’re truly meant to be, we’ll find our way back.” Look, it worked for Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik.
Eliza & Brandon
This show really wanted us to think it would end with a canceled wedding. There are a lot of reasons why the wedding, by TV’s past predilections, should have been canceled. For starters, Eliza is an entirely new character, and why should we, the audience, care about her well-being? By all rights, the wedding should be canceled, and Eliza should go home in tears as Brandon finally confesses his undying love for Callie.
That’s not what happens here.
“I’ve seen the way you look at Eliza. I know that look,” Callie tells Brandon during a late night meeting. “You love her.” Thank you, Fosters, for telling us what the show didn’t have time to show us.
Brandon, worried that he’s losing himself in this marriage, seeks the advice of his dad. Mike! Good to have you back. Mike tells Brandon that the only way to “have” Eliza is for Brandon to make sure he “has” himself. Take care of yourself, Brandon. All the rest will fall into place.
He apologizes to Eliza; they kiss, and then stand up to Eliza’s parents. Stef and Lena will be performing the ceremony, and Mariana and Callie won’t have to wear those “uptight” bridesmaid dresses. Brava, new couple!
Stef & Lena
The comic relief of the episode! They escape the hotel room for some late-night skinny-dipping. At this point, it is a rule that characters who skinny-dip are required to lose their clothes somehow. In this case, a hotel worker fetches their robes from the beach, and Stef and Lena run around covering themselves with leaves for half of the episode. It’s not often Stef and Lena get to do cutesy couple things like this. Plus, the kids are moving out soon, so, more time for swimming naked!
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Callie & Brandon
The will-they-or-won’t-they who truly, truly, won’t-theyed. Callie and Brandon, after five seasons of tension, didn’t end up together. They did what would happen in the real world: They moved on. At the wedding, the show flashes through Callie and Brandon’s love affair. Which, admittedly, was brief. They never dated! They longed for each other, mostly, and at one point, they had sex. (Even though, as Callie said with a pained voice, “We can’t!”) Revisiting it is almost pointless. Years have passed, and Brandon is deeply in love with a cellist. Plus, there’s always…
Callie & Jamie
Will Callie fall for the corporate lawyer? My hope is that, after she moves to Los Angeles for her clerkship under a conservative judge, she finds some strange boy who is not Beau Mirchoff masquerading as a suave lawyer. But, for the moment, Callie has to end up with a man. She grabs his face and kisses it after he essentially asks her to move to Los Angeles. At least she’s the agent of this romance.
Mat & Mariana
Over! Mat, that fedora-wearing bassist, makes a meal of the situation by kissing Ashley at the wedding just as Mariana decided she would tour Europe with him over the summer. Mariana, emboldened by his douchery, decides then that she’ll take Jesus with her on her travels. After all, this show is about family, not bassists.
Jude & Carter
Carter tells Jude that his father saw them together the night before. He’s distressed.
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“I don’t have a family like yours. I can’t be whatever I want to be,” he says. This knot doesn’t resolve itself in this episode, probably because, in the larger Fosters scheme, Carter doesn’t matter. But also, in the larger ‘verse, there are a million Carters, kids who can’t talk to their families about their emotional turmoil. There are kids who don’t have Adams-Foster families. The shoe is mostly stable — that’s why it’s so good at pointing at everything that’s not stable.
The final scenes of the show wrap up the loose ends: Jude tells his parents about his grades, and Cory goes home to his mother. The Adams-Fosters promise to stay in his life.
And with that, the family strolls out of the house and into the great wide world.
It’s Not Where You Come From…
— It's all the very excellent matte lipsticks in this finale.
— It's the very silly plot called "How Did Eliza Find Out About Brandon And Callie?"
— It's the strange moment when Eliza's parents request "polite discourse" when it comes to politics.
— It's when Lena says that she wants to run for assembly because more women need to run for office.
It's where you beeeeloooong.
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