#IWasMadeInAmerica is the best installment since The Fosters' winter return.
The Fosters Season 5 Episode 12 is a prime example of the show when it's at its best. There was strong storytelling, each of the main characters had something of value throughout the hour thus making it perfectly balanced, and yet, it didn't feel overcrowded.
The hour didn't plod through storylines, instead, it wrapped up a few, addressed anything left dangling, and even threw in a few familiar faces.
The focus on Lena and Stef should be praised. Moms can be superheroes, these moms are no exception. We saw it in action with how fierce Lena was, and we also saw that even superheroes reach a breaking point with Stef.
It's very much appreciated that both of moms' individual issues were allowed to breathe for a change, pun unintended. The Anchor Beach saga was resolved, but it circled back to putting Lena at the forefront of it, and Stef's mounting anxiety has been subtly but nicely built up, but now, it's reaching the climax.
Nothing is right in the world when Stef isn't right, and presently, mom isn't alright. It's painful watching her unravel right before our eyes. The obsessive cleaning was rough, but she looked positively miserable at her birthday party.
They brought Jenna and Tess back, and I nearly forgot how exasperating Jenna is. The man-hating lesbian is always game for a good time, but in Stef's current state, Jenna was an overwhelming figure.
Stef had every right to call Jenna out on her disrespectful behavior. She knows first-hand what it feels like to be cheated on, so why would she pursue Tess, a married woman, like that? It was right in front of her husband, too.
She also may know what it's like to sort through sexual identity issues, so why would she want to exploit Tess' confusion?
All Stef wanted and needed was a quiet night in. The only one who picked up on Stef's need for peace was Brandon. That makes sense though. Brandon is the only one in the house who has been around Stef the longest. In many ways, he knows her best.
Recent moments alluded to Stef possibly having a history of anxiety. Mike made that comment about how it had been a long time since he witnessed her forgetting to breathe. Brandon's comments during their one-on-one scenes, especially about playing for her when she's stressed out, confirm it too.
Brandon can be an unpopular character for various reasons, but it's times (and episodes) like this I tend to direct others to when explaining why he's likable and relatable.
He's very intuitive and a caretaker by nature. There was another glimpse of it when he was listening to Jesus and giving him advice, but it was the most prominent with Stef.
Brandon and Stef's relationship is one of the best ones of the show, but there has always been a curious underlying codependency. He's an old soul, a mature kid who is often compelled to look after those he cares about, especially the women in his life.
How much of that is due to those years he spent with Stef and Mike, a recovering alcoholic, or the time he spent alone with Stef before Lena and the twins? Maybe we'll find out more.
LENA: Are you OK?
STEF: I'm not OK. I can't breathe.
LENA: We can go to the hospital. What's wrong?
STEF: I don't know. Just, something's not right.
LENA: What can I do?
STEF: Hold me.
LENA: OK. OK. Come here. OK. I got you.
I for one look forward to it. The final moment between Stef and Lena was incredibly sad. Lena was such a support to Stef in that final scene. She was a warrior all throughout the hour. The discussion with the kids about ableism was fantastic.
It was great the way she checked Nick for contacting Mariana and violating the restraining order. Nick is such a tormented soul, it's hard not to feel sympathy for the kid because he never stood a chance.
Lena chastised him and got to the point regarding the information he had, but she tried to ensure that he was safe too. Lena's goodness and protectiveness when it comes to children is one of the best things about her.
That's why she may have overdone it a bit with Jesus, but that's also why Timothy urged her to stand up for herself.
Craig planned on turning Anchor Beach into oceanfront condominiums, and that was the final nail in the coffin of the privatization of Anchor Beach. But Drew the dick really thought things would just go back to normal with him retaining his position as principal and Lena being reduced to the bare bones in duties.
I forgot how much I like Timothy and his friendship with Lena. He gave her the proper kick in the pants (and the backing along with other teachers) to assert herself and take the role that should have been hers from the beginning, principal.
LENA: I have given this school my heart and soul. I have led with integrity since the beginning, and I am tired of being overlooked and taken for granted. So, Drew needs to be fired, Lauren, you need to resign, and I need to be given the job that I earned, which is principal of this school. Or I'll leave and so will nearly every teacher at Anchor Beach. You don't believe me? You can just ask them.
TIM: Here's a petition signed by nearly three-quarters of this faculty.
Buh-bye Drew and Lauren. You will not be missed.
Neither will this Shiloh woman. Of all the demonstrations Callie and the others have taken part in, especially those regarding Immigration, this was the best most civil one.
Sean the rebel-rouser's restraint and self-control was commendable, and Aaron actually participated in this one too. It was simple, powerful, and it got the attention of Huffington Post.
Callie's speech was powerful too. It was the type that makes the hairs on you stand up because of its poignancy.
What makes someone American? Because Ximena is as American as it gets. She's everything the country is supposed to represent. She's everything that Shiloh's supporters are in a sense. Didn't their ancestors come with the same dreams and plans?
SHILOH: I'm going to ask you one more time before we have you removed. Do you have a question for me?
CALLIE: Yeah, I do.
CALLIE: What is an American? What makes you an American, and me an American, but not Ximena who has lived here her entire life? Gone to school. Graduated. Worked. Paid taxes, and loves this country just as much as anyone who was born here? This [unfolds pic of Ximena] is an American.
There they were on land that used to be Mexico demanding that someone like Ximena, who should be protected, return to a land she doesn't even remember.
Callie is consumed with Ximena's fight, and she keeps putting her art portfolio on hold, but why can't she just kill two birds with one stone and make the work with Ximena part of her portfolio?
All those Ximena and Callie shippers are likely thrilled about that kiss. Whether Ximena kissed her as a platonic thank you or she has developed an interest in Callie, whatever the case may be, Callie didn't mind.
Mariana didn't mind playing the field with Mat, Wyatt, and Logan. Mat does, but he did break up with her, and he will be leaving soon. Mariana not wanting to be tied down makes perfect sense. As long as the guys are OK with it, why can't she have fun, hang out, and keep it casual?
She'll certainly fair better than Jude who has his hands full with Declan and Noah. Jude is adorable because he didn't realize that Declan has been flirting with him since they met. He also didn't pick up on Declan copping a 'tude because of Noah.
Taylor knows she's in the middle of the Declude flirtmance, but Jude went along with the flirting and didn't think about how it came across to Noah. We should expect trouble in paradise.
Do you think there is more to Stef's anxiety? Are you relieved Lena finally stood up for herself? Is there more to that kiss between Ximena and Callie?
Am I just talking to myself? Hit the comments!
If you're in dire need of a feels-fest, you can watch The Fosters online right here at TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.