And so it ends.
The Fosters Season 5 Episode 22 was the final hour of one of the best family dramas in the history of television, and it'll take a while for that to resonate.
I'm eternally grateful that Freeform gave us a proper sendoff, especially when so many other series abruptly say goodbye depriving fans of the much-needed closure. There is also a spinoff coming out of this, and that will ease the transition, for some people.
Now that you've taken a moment to sob your eyes out let's set aside the tissue box and discuss the hour.
You know what reduced me to a puddle of feels first? The opening credits. I've mentioned it before, but opening credits and theme songs are a lost art for television series these days, and I'm hard-pressed to find to recall a series that has pulled it off since the 1990's. Outside of The Fosters.
The Fosters opening credits and theme song feels like the perfect Autumn morning. The song sounds like a hug. It conjures up childhood memories, and it gives you the warm and fuzzies. Officially listening to it for the last time in this context was an emotional experience and the meat and potatoes of the hour hadn't even started.
It sets a specific mood, except this time, I couldn't enjoy it nearly as much because I was too upset that I had to say goodbye to such an incredible series. It's like losing a friend or a family member, but it's like watching them grow up and move on with their lives. It's a bittersweet experience.
Brandon's wedding was a bittersweet experience, too. The good thing is the show navigated those complicated Brallie waters well and in a way that appeases those who are still fans of the 'ship despite their status as siblings and those who appreciate their relationship as siblings.
Their feelings are complicated, but it's smart that the show didn't make Brandon's wedding doubts about Callie specifically. What is unfortunate is that Brandon and Eliza's love isn't believable.
From the second they introduced Eliza on The Fosters Season 5 Episode 19, and from all of the time we spent with her from that point forward, I could not buy into their love.
I tried to see it. It's difficult introducing a new character after a time-jump and trying to convince the audience to adore this relationship that has taken place offscreen. Brandon and Eliza didn't have any chemistry.
Based on their relationship alone, I wasn't motivated to root for this couple or their wedding because I didn't experience their relationship, and once Eliza's parents came into the picture, there was no way this wedding would have gotten approval.
There was this disconnect in the Eliza that we experienced, and the one Brandon supposedly fell in love with, but at least Brandon's Eliza made an appearance in this installment when she stood up to her parents.
By then, it felt too little too late and too neatly wrapped up. Eyes may have rolled, to be honest, but she showed up and was back to being likable, which is something she wasn't on The Fosters Season 5 Episode 21.
It's terrible, but I sighed when Brandon and Eliza went through with their wedding. The series opted to wave away most of Brandon and Eliza's issues, and the outcome didn't feel organic. Did the couple never talk about their life together and plans leading up to the big day? What gives?
It's odd that Callie, ironically, had to tell Brandon (and us) that he was in love with Eliza enough to marry her. Mike, who was inexplicably underused and only had about three minutes worth of screentime, gave Brandon a pep talk that at best came across as indifferent and non-committal to the whole thing.
Mike: Look, B. The only person who can keep you from achieving what you want in life is you. If you can't trust yourself to stand up to Eliza and her parents then maybe you're not mature enough to be getting married.
Brandon: I don't want to lose her.
Mike: Then you're going to have to grow up really fast because the only way you can have her is to choose yourself. If you can do that, but if you can't, you're going to have to call it off.
I did love the father-son chat because Brandon needed that moment with his father. Callie couldn't be the only person whom he shared his feelings. I wish Brandon and Mike had more moments in this finale event.
Mike's advice was unusual. He mentioned that Brandon should mature and put Eliza first, but Brandon has always been the more mature kid of the bunch. He is an old soul, to a fault, and puts other people's needs ahead of his own.
On the flip side, he also made it seem like Brandon had to do his own thing and stand up for himself which seemed to contradict. I don't know, but whatever it was Mike was getting at, it led to Brandon talking to Eliza and them confronting her parents.
Eliza: Mom. Dad. Brandon's moms are going to marry us on the beach like we wanted, and my bridesmaids are going to wear dresses that aren't so uptight. No offense, mom. And there's one more thing. [Rips up prenup].
Brandon: Eliza ...
Eliza: I trust Brandon, and if you guys don't, then you can take me out of the will.
They're not taking the condo. Eliza ripped up the prenup, and moms got to officiate their wedding. Oh, happy day!
None of that changes the fact that it still comes across like Brandon is marrying Eliza for everyone else and not himself. I never felt that he loved her enough to marry her rather than marrying her because he feels like he's supposed to do it.
It's also still irksome that their families clash so much and are incompatible. If the series ended and Brandon called off the wedding and went backpacking around Europe with the twins or something, I wouldn't have minded.
At least the wedding looked like how a beach wedding is supposed to once Eliza demanded that her parents lose those hideous bridesmaids dresses. The wedding just happened in the middle of the hour, so the build-up to it felt pointless, but it was pretty.
Brallie managed to outshine the wedding business. I enjoyed their scenes, not because I 'ship the two but because the series did a fantastic job capturing their deep bond and friendship.
Their scene toward the end where they acknowledged that they made the right choice choosing the family over being with one another was a great way of ending their chapter for good.
They're best friends. They always were best friends, and that's what made their bond so special.
Brandon: We made the right choice.
Callie: I know. If we would have chosen each other over the family, who knows what would have happened?
Brandon: We probably would have flamed out.
Brandon: And you know, who knows if we would even be in each other's lives anymore? This way I get to have you forever. You're my best friend.
Callie: You too. Don't tell Mariana.
Plus, Callie has a new adventure waiting for her in LA. Jamie has a positive effect on Callie, and I wouldn't be surprised if he makes an appearance on Good Trouble. She appeared to let go and finally kissed the guy, but I don't see anything long-term happening for them.
Jamie's argument for why Callie should move to LA and take the job with the conservative judge instead of moving to San Francisco was convincing and made me love him even more. Jamie knows how to see the bigger picture. I like that he helps Callie consider views outside of her own.
He seems like a genuinely decent guy, and that's remarkable considering who his parents are. I'm sorry, but I'm still not feeling anything positive for Jim and Diane. Diane finally came around and asked Stef about that tattoo she was so enthralled by earlier.
The woman is incapable of saying anything without it coming across as offensive, and that must be her way. Jim is a bit subtler in comparison, but not by much. He took it upon himself to ask Lena about her initial plans to run for state assembly.
He's right about people who disagree engaging in polite discourse. He and his wife need to work on the "polite" part though because at best they have been condescending and inauthentic, and at worst they've been rude. Once Lena explained her position, Jim was damn near shocked that he agreed so much.
He went so far as to crack a joke in response to Lena's "gay agenda" wisecrack, but it would have landed better if we didn't already know there was some truth to it. Homosexuality makes him uncomfortable.
Jim: So Lena, if you do run for state assembly, what's your agenda going to be? More government spending and social welfare?
Diane: Jim, let's not discuss politics.
Jim: No, no, no. We need to be able to have polite discourse in this country.
Lena: No, I agree. I think my agenda would be to make sure less government didn't mean less access to equal healthcare, equal education, or more segregation by income and race. Then, of course, there's my gay agenda.
Jim: OK, you had me until gay agenda.
Diane: He's kidding.
It's a pity that he can't come to grips with his son being gay. Carter is struggling and needs support, but he doesn't feel like he can go to any of his family members. I can only imagine what Jim said or did when he confronted Carter after seeing Jude leave the guy's room in the morning.
We're supposed to conclude that Diane and Jim aren't terrible people. We're supposed to accept that they have different views, and this hour was meant to portray that. Jim and Diane conceded to Eliza's wishes by the end, and they also offered to help Lena with Democratic donors for her campaign.
We're supposed to hope that now that their new ties to the Fosters will loosen them up and open their minds. I get the silver-lining thinking there, especially as it relates to poor Carter who has to be the one member of that family suffering the most.
That is a hell of a lot to put on one family's shoulders though. Is it possible that they overdid it with Diane and Jim's stuffiness and what have you? Their "nicer" actions didn't appease me by the end. I still never saw anything likable about them, so there was no redemption or growth there.
According to Mariana, there has been some growth on her part. She was hurt when Callie assumed she told Eliza the truth about Brallie. She was also reeling from Jesus lashing out at her too. Mariana had a rough go of it in the Turks & Caicos.
Callie wasn't wrong to assume Mariana spilled the beans because Mariana still has a bad habit of doing that. Jesus had a right to be annoyed by Mariana butting in because she never minds her business. She does it because she cares, though.
Jesus slept with Jayden, and he did wind up feeling like he made a mistake. Mariana was right in that regard, but she was wrong to think that Jesus and Emma should get back together.
It turns out Emma was the one knocking on Brandon's door looking for Jesus. I loved that reminder of how close Emma and Brandon became after her abortion situation. She trusts Brandon and considers him a friend.
Emma was committing to all of those weird Friends parallels that have been happening with some of the relationships during this finale event. She jumped on a plane and was acting like a crazy woman in love.
Emma: Hey, did you have sex with that girl?
Jesus: It didn't mean anything. It felt so weird being with someone who wasn't you. I'm sorry. I don't know what to say ...
Emma: Hey, I get it. I mean, of course, you're going to have sex with somebody the minute we broke up. I think our problem is that we've been together since we were 15-16, and maybe we need time apart to have other relationships and sex with other people.
Jesus: I don't want that. I do not want that.
Emma: I know. I don't want that either. That's why I flew down here. I'm terrified of being in the world without you.
Jesus: Why do we have to?
Emma: I think we need to figure out who we are without each other, and if we're truly meant to be, then we'll find a way back.
Emma has always been a mature young lady, and her reaction to Jesus sleeping with Jayden is proof that she has maintained that maturity. Everything she told him before breaking up with him was spot-on. They're young, and they need to figure out who they are without one another.
They have been together since they were teenagers. They need to experience new things; they need to experience new people.
They are not a Cory and Topanga, and they have never been. Their love story was more complicated than that. They're romantically incompatible, and that's OK. It's preferable that they part ways romantically and remain close friends.
What's thrilling is the idea of the twins backpacking around Europe together. That was the best outcome from their fallout. They fight like hell, and it can get ugly, but they always have one another's backs.
Mariana didn't need Mat, who inexplicably and uncharacteristically turned out to be a such a slimeball, and she didn't need to make a reckless mistake with Jamie or rehash something with Wyatt. All Mariana needs is her brother.
Lena and Stef are #MarriageGoals. The flashbacks to everything they overcame throughout their marriage were a nice touch. Moms going skinny-dipping in the ocean reminded me of when they did the same thing in the pool. It was so adorable and funny, especially when someone took their towels.
They are still this loving, supportive couple who loves the hell out of their kids and want what's best for them, and I wish I could be on the receiving end of one of their "mama sandwiches" because they are the best.
Corey: So, I think ...
Stef: We know, bud. We know. It's ok. Of course, you want to be with your mom.
Lena: We're still going to be part of your life forever if you want us to be.
Corey: Of course I do. I love you guys.
Stef: We love you too, buddy.
That's why it breaks my heart into a million pieces that they won't have Corey with them anymore. Unlike Eliza, Corey was proof that the series could introduce a new character for these last three installments and make us fall in love with them as if we had known them the whole time.
Corey had less screen time than most of the characters. It didn't stop anyone from being invested in everything about him and his storyline. He genuinely loves Stef and Lena and they love him back, so it sucks that he's going to live with his mom.
I also hate that we missed out on a tearful Corey and Jesus goodbye. Corey made the best decision for himself, and that's all you can expect out of such a young kid. I'm glad we got to know him, and it frees up Stef and Lena to move.
Corey's departure didn't mean moms didn't have anyone to parent anymore because Jude finally sat down and had a talk with them about school. It turns out Jude wasn't ready to attend college so far away from home. He needed them and their family.
The distance both physical and emotional has been killing Jude on the inside, and he didn't want to admit it to anyone. It must've made him feel weak. It makes sense though. Jude finally found a safe home filled with love after a rocky childhood. It's perfectly okay if he wasn't ready to leave that yet.
Stef could relate because she's the one who appears to have been feeling that Empty-Nest Syndrome the most. Both moms have reservations about their kids moving on without them.
Jude: I miss everyone being home together before everyone went away.
Stef: I do too, bud I do, too.
Lena: When we were all here together we were bumping into each other, literally. But now we have to work a lot harder to keep in touch, and I'm really sorry that we didn't realize how much you've been struggling, honey.
I'm happy Lena is running for State Assembly, but leaving the house feels so final to me. Shoutout to Jesus who had the perfect response to Lena when she mentioned how much she would miss all of them sitting around that table together. Dammit, they can take the table, too!
The house is it's very own character. We established that when they came close to leaving it before. When I saw the empty house and Stef and Lena holding one another and deciding to leave Frankie's tree behind, I lost it a bit.
The final picture outside of it was emotional as well, and I loved the aerial shot of the house as everyone got in different cars and U-Hauls and pulled away. It's the first time we saw a great deal of the neighborhood.
The beautiful part is that this big, huge family may have parted ways, but they can't help but gravitate to one another. Brandon and Eliza live in LA. Mariana is joining Callie in LA.
Callie told Jude she'll be close to him in LA. Where there is one twin, you're bound to find the other at one point. The door is opened for many of them to make guest-appearances on Good Trouble.
It's not The Fosters, but it's something. I have not exactly been a cheerleader for this spinoff business, but for the first time since the news, I'm not apathetic about it. It's not The Fosters though.
The series finale wasn't perfect. It was clumpy and messy at times. It was a tease at other times. They tried to tie it neatly in a bow. It did give us some closure though.
It was a quiet series finale for a family that was anything but; however, it worked.
So, excuse me, Foster Fanatics. I need to go stew in all of my feelings that I like to pretend I don't possess. I might also rant about this groundbreaking, life-altering family series never winning an Emmy or Peabody.
It has been a pleasure reviewing this series for the past couple of seasons and a beautiful, emotional experience becoming a part of this family for five seasons.
If you're not ready to let go just yet, you can watch The Fosters online here via TV Fanatic. Meanwhile, hit the comments with your thoughts and feelings!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. She is an insomniac who spends late nights and early mornings binge-watching way too many shows and binge-drinking way too much tea. Her eclectic taste makes her an unpredictable viewer with an appreciation for complex characters, diverse representation, dynamic duos, compelling stories, and guilty pleasures. You'll definitely find her obsessively live-tweeting, waxing poetic, and chatting up fellow Fanatics and readers. Follow her on X.