Why can't a Foster party ever go according to plan?
After some of the events that transpired on The Fosters Season 5 Episode 8, moms and Gabe weren't the only ones who needed a stiff drink. Fortunately, there were some sweet moments as well.
There were also a few hints at conflicts and tension that may appear down the road. If anything, the hour's sole purpose was to set up whatever is to come for the midseason finale and second half of the season.
Many questions needed to be answered at the awkward engagement party from hell.
For example, why did Brandon throw a party and not have alcohol? Sure, Ana and Mike can't drink, but dammit, everyone else needed a little something just to make it through that thing. He's used fake ID's before, so being underaged was just a cop out.
Why do Brandon and Grace feel compelled to perform together at any and every shindig? They both have great voices individually; they don't sound terrible together, but it has gotten old.
On a more serious note, why has it taken this long to rein in Jesus? It's easy to feel sympathetic and frustrated with him the majority of the time. Jesus' TBI has not only taken its toll on him but also on most of his family.
It's expected that his mothers, siblings, and Emma would face the brunt of it. What's interesting is how it has affected Gabe, Ana, and Mike.
Did anyone else want to reach through the screen and steer him away from all the aforementioned people? How about snatching the microphone from his hand before he made a speech, anyone?
Ana: He has this crazy idea that you and I can still be together.
Gabe: What if we could?
It's not so much that he had this false hope that he could somehow reunite his birth family at the expense of his own family and Mike. It's that he was dangerously close to ruining everything because he was so successful at meddling.
Jesus and Brandon just made up not too long ago, and Jesus was dangerously close to ruining their relationship all over again. Brandon saw right through Jesus' intentions, and he sure as hell didn't want to see his father hurt.
Can you blame him? Mike is a decent guy who rarely catches a break, and this is the first time in the entire series where he has been this happy and this stable. It hurt watching him obliviously wander around ignorant to the fact that Jesus was planting seeds.
The whole backyard was like a minefield, and Mike was narrowly escaping situations that would leave him deflated. If he had overheard half of the things that were said during that party, he probably would have run for the hills or second-guessed everything.
Ana's parents genuinely like Mike. They were congratulatory and welcomed him on sight. Then Mariana's cousin called for a picture with only the biological family.
Did you catch the look on Mike, Lena, and Stef's faces when that was said? Yikes! It was infinitely worse, however, when Brandon overheard the Guiterrez's make that comment about how things could have been had they not interfered. Who says that out loud at a party filled with mostly Fosters?
While it was decent of them to apologize to Gabe and befriend him after all of the things they put him through, it shouldn't have come at the expense of Mike.
Being messy and meddlesome must be in the Guiterrez's bloodline, and that's where Jesus and Mariana get it.
Mike had my sympathies, but so did Gabe. He's a lost, messy, unstable character, but he's endearing, and it's hard to watch him suffer.
It in no way came across that Gabe still had feelings for Ana until Jesus got in his head. Even now, I don't believe Gabe is still in love with Ana. He's just in love with the idea of what could have been.
Mariana's cousin: Let's have a birth family photo.
Mr. Guiterrez: They are a beautiful family.
Mrs. Guiterrez: You ever think maybe we made a mistake pushing Gabe out of her life?
Ana was his first and only love, and the guy spent a significant amount of time in jail or living life as a man wrongly placed on a sex offender registration. Both hindered him in the romance department. He never had the opportunity to be in a serious relationship with anyone after her.
Jesus tapped into Gabe's loneliness and messed with the guy's mind. He ended up putting himself out there, at the expense of Ana, Mike, and their relationship, only to be rejected. How humiliating and confusing.
Gabe is a decent guy and an interesting character, so watching him struggle to find his place and get shut down in so many ways has been awful. He could have easily had a storyline that delved deeper into his battle with depression instead.
He has so much potential and endless possibilities, so it sucks that he has mostly been used as a plot device. Why not develop his relationship with Mariana, or have him learn to embrace his new stigma-free life that includes people who actually care about him?
As a Gabe fan, it would be nice if he evolves along the lines of Ana. I'd like to see the guy happy.
Ana has come a long way, and while she has not always been a prominent figure, her character has developed quite nicely in the background. I loved when she finally told Gabe the truth. She does still wonder about how things could have been with him, but she's in love with Mike and happy.
I also like that her devotion to Mike in a scene that easily could have slipped into a "moment of weakness" situation, was exactly what it took for Brandon to squash any reservations he had about her. Their hug was so sweet.
Gabe embarrassed himself, got rejected, and fled. Jesus lost him and their project, and he pushed Emma away.
That was a cringe-worthy conversation Lena initially had with Emma. Talk about putting a ridiculous amount of pressure on the girl. How did everyone miss her reluctance over this engagement?
Lena: Honey, are you alright?
Emma: I really want Jesus to get better and go back to school, but I'm not ready to be engaged.
Lena: Jesus' recovery is not your responsibility. It's his, and it's mine, and it's Stef's, and I'm so sorry I didn't think about the burden I was putting on you.
"The engagement" is all in Jesus' head. Emma can be a hit or miss character, but she has faced far more stress than someone her age should have, and she has handled it all remarkably well.
Emma and Jesus' relationship was less than ideal long before Jesus' TBI. Now, it's not healthy at all. Emma shouldn't feel obligated to stay with him because of what he's going through. It's not fair to either of them being together right now.
Lena and Stef's attempts to figure out Jesus and Emma's relationship status were amusing, but their discussion about what to do next with Jesus was an emotional moment, especially as Emma and Mariana's scene paralleled theirs. Everyone just wants Jesus back.
Old Callie is slipping back in, too. The great aspects of her and the not so great ones. She's still struggling with her insecurities.
AJ: There's a lot of ways you make a difference.
Callie: Maybe there's an easier way for me.
AJ: Don't do that. Don't give up on what you really want just because it's easier. Do what makes you happy, what inspires you.
It was interesting to see the juxtaposition of her relationship with AJ and his response to her future compared to Aaron. She and Aaron are serious, and in many ways, it's her most serious relationship to date.
Aaron is pragmatic and a realist. He's good for grounding Callie in many ways, but he can't always find the right thing to say to her when it comes to certain issues. One of them being her artistic aspirations.
Callie was so discouraged by the college administrator's suggestion that she enroll under a less competitive major. Aaron agreeing with the sentiment had Callie doubting herself even more.
Aaron: I'm all for art, but is that the best way for you to change the world?
Callie: Why do I have to change the world? Why can't I just be me?
Aaron: From what I've seen, changing the world is you.
Aaron isn't an artist, so he doesn't understand how important this is for Callie, but AJ does. Art is something Callie and AJ have in common and one of the reasons they connected so well as friends.
That's where they are now. They're finally back to being friends, and it's pretty darn great because that means more Tom Williamson on our screens, and who would complain about that? No one.
As someone who didn't care for how everything went down in that messy love triangle of theirs, Aaron's jealousy over Callie making amends and hanging out with her ex is entertaining.
The irony isn't lost on me that he's possibly concerned about what could happen between the two of them. Did you see his reaction to Callie and AJ at the protest? Art isn't the only thing Callie and AJ have in common, they have similar beliefs on social justice issues too.
The protest felt all too real, probably because it's not unlike any of the protests that we have the fortune or misfortune of seeing every other week, right down the signs.
Stef was right to be concerned. It's not about whether Callie or her group of protesters get violent or not, there are people who come just to agitate things until they get out of hand.
The lone guy who broke free from the crowd to counter-protest the protesters and spit at Ximena is all it'll take for things to escalate. That's sure to happen, right? No way this much time and focus has been put into this without something big or bad happening.
Hopefully, it won't impact Ximena. They set up the events of the protest nicely by having Ximena explain the family plan her father has in place.
Mariana: What's going on?
Ximena: My dad, he's trying to update the family plan.
Mariana: For Cell Phones?
Ximena: Like if any of us get deported.
Ximena: I know we've had this plan for years now, but with the current political situation, he's putting everything in my name; and I'm going to be Poppy's legal guardian now. if anything happens to them, they already told us no matter what they want us to stay here without them.
Living every single day in fear that the rug will be pulled from beneath your feet, and your family will be taken from you has to be terrifying. Ximena isn't even twenty years old, and she already has the weight of her entire family on her shoulders.
- Noah's advice crashed and burned. Jude is not going to want to turn down this offer, and Taylor is not going to be happy about it.
- Are Mariana and Emma back to being friends again? They had a comfort session on the porch, and that's usually where they make up. Is Emma's mean girl streak over now?
- Did Jesus destroy the Anchor Beach Academy model, or did someone else? Drew hates Lena's kids, and it wouldn't surprise me if Jesus was set up this time around.
- What was in that letter Gabe left Jesus? Gabe is coming back, right? He has to come back!
Where's Gabe? Should Aaron be jealous of Callie? Who is responsible for destroying the model? What would you like to see in the finale? Sound off below!
There's still time to catch up on the season. You can watch The Fosters online right here at TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.