The second episode of this new season of The Fosters begins with the aftermath of the school lockdown. Every member of the family is clearly on edge, as they know Nick still poses a threat because they haven’t been able to find him. Stef is still in cop mode and believes the best option is for the family to stay home as much as possible and doesn’t let the kids use their phones or computers, partly because of Nick and partly because of the “rumors” still circulating the Fost & Found website.
One of the storylines this episode pertains Callie, Mariana, and AJ discussing those rumors and working together to seek revenge on Justina. Mariana and Callie devise a plan to get that check, the one Justina received from Arbetter, online to link her to the events that led to Jack’s death, for which she is largely responsible. Mariana’s coding skills come into play as she finds a way to get back into the Fost & Found website Justina has locked them out of and the team is able to post the picture with the damning evidence.
The other storyline in this episode focuses on how Jack’s death continues to have a profound affect on Jude. Jude has a dream where he sees Jack sitting on his bed, telling him that even after death he has no one to care for him. Stef takes a moment to comfort Jude about this situation and he asks her about how she dealt with the grief when her father died. This event really seems to have pushed Jude onto a spiritual journey of sorts, one where he questions who he is and why his life has taken the path he is on. Jude ends up picking up Jack’s ashes, after finding out that he had no one to give him a proper burial. He leaves Jack with Frankie’s tree, offering him the home he never had.
The biggest question Brandon and Callie dealt with this episode was wondering when their moms were going to address the shocking news they had received. When Stef finds them talking in Brandon’s room, you can say she isn’t happy. Lena, being the optimistic and loving soul that she is, trusts that Brandon and Callie have been honest in what they said about their relationship coming to an end. Stef doesn’t know if she can ever trust them again. When Stef finds Brandon at Courtney’s new place, he confronts her about avoiding the inevitable conversation they need to have. Brandon and Stef butt heads over each being right, Brandon tells her that they feared going to her with the truth, not because he thinks they were in the wrong, but because they know her reactions are always drastic. He tells Stef that she cannot hold him in the house against his will (she wants him to go back to the house with her where she can keep all her kids safe) because he can legally do what he wants, so he decides to move in with Courtney, obviously breaking his mom’s heart. Brandon might be legally considered an adult, but his actions show just how inexperienced and naïve he is. What decision the moms will take about Callie is left up in the air.
The trauma experienced during the lockdown was surely not over in this episode. As we see the family go on a sort of lockdown of their own, as they wait to find out if Nick is found. The creators definitely used tired fear inducing tropes in moments throughout the episode, the audience sure that Nick would be lurking and ready to pounce at any moment. This episode differs in that we do see Nick hiding in the house, versus not seeing him at all during the lockdown: a way to indicate that the search was nearing an end, one way or another. The moment when Nick finally confronts Mariana was the most compelling of all. Louis Hunter did another incredible job with portraying the mental instability and isolation Nick feels from years of abuse at the hands of his father. The pain Nick is in has finally brought him to his breaking point, when he felt that Mariana betrayed him; the emotional disarray palpable through the screen. Mariana is able to convince him to put down the gun and comforts him until Stef gets her to safety. Understanding Nick’s troubles will be an interesting journey to take this season, and why he so desperately clung onto Mariana, one of the few people he felt truly cared for him. It was just as heartbreaking for Jesus to see that his friend was in so much pain. The moment when Jesus comforted his sister was a beautiful act of acknowledgement that what had happened was not her fault.
The Fosters airs Mondays at 8/7 c on FreeForm!