The Fosters celebrated an incredible milestone with its 100th episode.
What better way to celebrate it than with incredible highs and devastating lows, tears, smiles, hugs, happy endings, and painful goodbyes. There were transitions and growth, momentous occasions and callbacks to the past.
The Fosters Season 5 Episode 18 and The Fosters Season 5 Episode 19 were quintessentially The Fosters, but also, quintessentially life as we know it. The two-hour installment was an emotional ride. It left us marinating in every conceivable feeling we could possibly have.
It's been an emotional journey, and the finale respected that. It carried us right on through it until the full-circle parting scene between Lena and Stef.
While this is not the series finale yet, there will be a three-part event in the summer that will serve as the official series finale, these installments felt like the goodbye. It felt like the last that we'll see the series in this capacity, balanced with the necessary focus on Stef, Lena, and their family unit.
Based on how things ended, and those gorgeous behind the scenes shots at the Turks and Caicos, the official series finale will consist of another big celebration, possibly Brandon's wedding.
This is the last that we will see the Fosters the same way again, and while it was beautiful, it's also incredibly sad.
No one wants to say goodbye to such a beloved series, especially a family series like this that has been a trailblazer and groundbreaking in its own right.
The characters feel like home. They feel like your family, and you feel like you're a part of theirs.
I wasn't a teen when The Fosters came onto the scene, but the kids felt like my younger siblings, and the graduation compilation scene knocked the wind out of me.
They all grew up so damn fast. Judi-corn!
The Fosters is special because the characters and their experiences are relatable. Someone or something will always resonate with each viewer.
For me, Stef is special because she reminds me of my own mum, who happens to be my best friend. So, I adore Stef and have loved every second of her journey.
Whereas Brandon is the kid who resonated with me most. For better and sometimes for worse, I saw myself in Brandon. I saw my adolescence experiences or quirks, flaws, strengths and insecurities of the guy. He's cherished for that very reason.
Foster fanatics of all ages can say the same about one or many of the characters. Their journey mirrored some of our own. Their personalities reminded us of ourselves.
We all knew Grace would die. The writing was on the wall a long time ago, and it has been the longest swan song of a sweet character ever.
Knowing her death was imminent did not make it any easier to watch her slowly die. Nor did it brace us for Brandon's reaction when he found out her T-cells weren't working.
They spent the perfect day together in Hollywood. Grace went out of her way to make sure the time they spent there was fantastic. The goofy display on the walk of fame was cute, and their moment on the beach was sweet.
In the end, Grace couldn't bring herself to tell him until he took her to her mother's house.
I loved that Grace reiterated what Stef had said to him. When Stef had another beautiful heart-to-heart finally addressing that Brandon is a caretaker who prioritizes others, primarily women, ahead of taking care of himself, it was like the heavens opened and the angels sang.
It was the truth, and Brandon was long overdue for someone to remind him to take care of himself.
I just want you to know, your worth in a relationship is not as a caretaker. You don't have to rescue someone to be worthy of their love.Stef
He's so accustomed to putting his life on hold for other people, and it kept him from pursuing his dreams or taking his own journey.
That's why it was also great that they rectified that pesky issue of Brandon being Grace's proxy. He didn't need that type of pressure and responsibility placed on him.
The show exceeded at putting his two most important and influential relationships at the forefront during his arc. Stef and Brandon had a few moments that tugged at the heartstrings. I adored the scene when she was dropped off at Grace's so she could ride back home with him while he processed the news.
Then, of course, there was that special scene between Brandon and Callie. Their relationship has forever been one of the best on the show. Setting aside the romantic nature of it in the early days, the two have always connected with one another in a deep way.
Brandon: I hope that she knew how much I loved her.
Callie: Of course, she did.
Brandon: What makes you so sure?
Callie: Because I've been loved by you, Brandon, and it's a pretty powerful thing. Thank you for that.
Their friendship has always been one of the strongest of the series, and when it progressed to a deep sibling bond, it was even better. Callie was the perfect person to console him.
Thankfully, she convinced him to get back to their graduation in time. Honestly, she just had to propose it right. Graduations are every bit for the sake of your parents and loved ones as they are for you.
Dearest Brandon and his penchant for people-pleasing could never deprive all three of his parents the experience of seeing him graduate.
Brandon and tragedy often go hand in hand, but thankfully, he gets a happier ending.
It's safe to say he no longer had to deal with the caveat of being banned from applying to schools for a full year because he got into that film score program.
He's found some success, and he apparently met a great girl. Eliza was similar to Talia, but he must have found peace at some point and met this woman he adores enough to marry.
Hopefully, she's not the type of girl who needed saving, and he learned to take care of himself too.
Stef and Lena
While moms were finally able to work on their marriage and make a breakthrough, it felt like the focus was more on Stef.
In some ways, that's a bit unfortunate only because Lena has always been the selfless nurturer who puts her family ahead of herself.
Even in her relationship with Stef, a notoriously avoidant Stef's issues were prioritized any time moms actually had issues that were about them, which was not nearly enough.
The finale prioritized Stef, and Stef and Lena's relationship, over Lena having a "thing" that was hers and hers alone.
Despite that observation, I loved every second of their couples retreat. Stef resolving her issues with her father was a long time coming.
She was so resistant to the process, and I can't say I blamed her at times. The goat, you guys. Goat yoga? What?
She was irritated that the retreat was geared towards straight people, and since most of her unresolved issues were rooted in her internalized homophobia and shame, her hackles were raised at any slip-up.
Regardless of that poor joke one of the guys made, it doesn't matter if you're gay, straight, black or white, relationship issues are all the same.
Everyone who spoke at the group session was grappling with eerily similar issues as Stef and Lena.
The talk Stef had with the ghost of her father was so necessary. It was the breakthrough she finally needed. She could learn to move past her shame and it made her bond with Lena stronger.
Stef: When Tess moved in next door, um, it brought up this shame that I carry around with me that keeps me from being completely vulnerable with you. That sometimes, when we make love, it makes me feel like what we're doing is not right. That I am not right. I love you, and I am so proud of our family, and yet I carry around this fear that it can be taken away from us -- our right to love each other because we're not normal. But you know, I just power on through and act like I'm stronger than I know I am. Because I'm afraid to hurt you or scare you. I'm afraid you'll reject me because I'm not enough.
Lena: My love can show you that you're enough because to me you're everything.
Stef, you're my everything.
It felt so great watching moms reconnect with one another and reminding one another how much they love each other.
They've had their ups and downs over the years. They've fought through Tess, Monte, cancer, and a miscarriage, but they're the ultimate couple goals.
They have, or rather had, one of the best marriages on television. The fact that it transcended gender, sexuality, and race isn't lost on anyone.
Lena feared what it would be like when all the kids were gone, and it was just them. Funny thing, they're as solid as ever, but it doesn't seem like that will ever actually happen.
It's social worker Bill. He has a kid who needs a home. What should I tell him?Lena
Our resident problem child probably should've had fewer "happy endings." No matter how passionate and well-meaning Callie is, even when she's staying on a decent path, not everything turns out OK.
I get that Callie has been through a lot and happy outcomes were on the agenda, but ICE bending to her will because they didn't want any more trouble or poor coverage was unrealistic.
Yes, Lexie and her family didn't get the happy ending when they were deported years ago, but Ximena and her parents being able to stay in the country, in the end, was too quaint.
So was the fortuitous law program result. There was no real reason why Callie couldn't wait out the year before changing her major and joining the program. Other people had to do it.
Callie got her way, but is it wrong that I didn't want her to get nearly everything she wanted? It was too neat and nice of an ending.
But at least she didn't get Aaron in the end. Their relationship was extraordinary, and that will never change, but Aaron should have stayed with Amanda.
It was the best and most mature outcome. It's beneficial to both of them that they move on from this. They're great as friends.
That means, as far as we know, Callie is finally, blessedly single.
Lena: If someone would have told me that day I picked you up outside of juvie, that this where you would end up...
Stef: You're a fighter. You always have been, and now that you've started fighting for yourself, look at what happened?
Callie: Um, you told me when I first got here, you said that I wasn't disposable. That meant so much, but what means even more, is how you made me feel that way every day since. I live you moms.
Callie's moment with the moms was one of the best of the finale. She has come a long way from where she started.
It was Callie's journey we were following as the series largely centered around her. Callie's growth has been a long, exasperating, inspirational, heartbreaking, remarkable journey.
She seems happier in the flash forward and established. She found her passion.
Jude didn't appear in the 100th episode, but he had a nice portion of screentime in the finale.
We also got to see Noah again. His absence was felt.
Jude lost himself in his gaming with Declan. That's to be expected for a young teen trying to figure out his identity.Declan is an asshole though, so thank goodness Jude finally realized that.
The callback to Connor with Jude painting his nails blue (and Lena helping him) hit me in the feels.
Lena gave Jude another moving talk, and it was a sweet reminder of how close of a relationship the two of them have always had.
Jude's graduation was the most emotional of them all. He's the baby, you know? He was such a small bean when the show began, and now he's, uh, he's an adult.
There was something unsatisfying about the fact that Mariana never fully took responsibility for stealing Emma's idea. It was brushed aside once Callie her reminded her of the importance of sisterhood.
She went on to help Emma, but there was no accountability outside of that. The only worthwhile aspect of it was that she didn't get the internship.
That was fair. She didn't deserve it because she didn't put the work in.
Her relationship situation was sort of whatever. She let Mat go, and they were friends. Logan must have disappeared along the way. By her graduation, she was still seeing Wyatt, but by Jude's graduation, she must have reconnected with Mat while she was away at school.
I suppose we'll learn more about her journey in the spinoff.
They sort of casually threw in that Jesus failed Junior year, but then they took it back just as fast.
I loved seeing everyone there to help him build his treehouse, especially Gabe; I have a soft spot for him. Though it was strange that he was missing during the twins' graduation.
Other than that, I suppose we're to believe Jesus earned enough credits to graduate on time due to the treehouse project.There was little to glean as far as his relationship with Emma or what became of Jesus after graduation.
Is it weird to say that Jesus felt like an afterthought in this? Because he did.
While Switched at Birth dropped the ball with a lackluster series finale for a show that was unlike any other on television, The Fosters made it work.
I swear, it's like they need you more in their twenties.Lena
It's meant to set up things for the series finale event and spinoff. The way they did it with the graduation scenes was decent. My feelings were mixed, but I enjoyed the scene.
A four- to five-year time-jump puts all the kids at an age where they no longer need to be living with moms. They're adults who can forge their own path.
The aging of Stef and Lena made me inexplicably emotional.
The flash-forward put Callie in her final year of law school and closer to fighting with the proper credentials.
My family is my world, and they have made this ride so joyful, and so beautiful, and so crazy, and messy, and perfect. So, thank you all. Thank you all so much for taking this journey with us all, and remember, it's not where you come from, it's where you belong, and no matter where this life takes you next, always know you have a home here at Anchor Beach.Lena
Brandon gets to start a new chapter of his life. There's no reaction there because we don't know anything about Eliza.
Then, there is that final call to see if Stef and Lena can do it all over again. They have the room and the experience. But would it be the same when all the kids are gone now?
I can only speculate that the series finale will give us the closure we need most, as we learn who these characters are as adults.
- When moms were away at the retreat they put Callie in charge. Callie! I nearly fell out of my seat.
- Lena's words at graduation, I could hear the theme song playing in my head while she was speaking, and I wanted to cry.
- There was a Daphne spotting at Callie's graduation. It would have been cool if there were more members of Girl's United like Cole, or Rita. Where exactly was AJ? He's practically family, but he also should have been graduating with Callie and Brandon. What gives?
- Why didn't Noah graduate with Taylor and Jude? Shouldn't he have been there too? Where did he go in the years since they last showed him?
- It's also strange that Gabe didn't show up for the twins' graduation.
- The finale needed at least one mention of baby Frankie. There was also no Timothy.
- I missed all of the grandparents for the kids' special day. Did Stef still keep her job as a detective? She had to confess her wrongdoing to take down Grey, but we never heard anything else about it.
Are you curled up in a ball sobbing yet, Foster Fanatics? Was the finale everything you hoped it would be? What are your thoughts on the time jump? Please, let's discuss it below. I need to talk through my feels with other fans of this beloved series.
If you want to experience one of the greatest family dramas that ever appeared on the screen and touched our hearts, please, watch The Fosters online right here via TV Fanatic.
Jasmine Blu is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.