Another incredibly intense cliffhanger for the midseason finale of The Fosters and we’ve come to expect nothing less. These first nine episodes of the fifth season have explored some pretty important topics. Everything from the sexism in gaming, to a healthy and realistic relationship between a trans boy and a cisgender girl, to the chaotic political climate affecting the immigrant community was central to the characters and their stories in these last few episodes.
The majority of the night takes place during a “rebel” prom Mariana throws when Drew cancels the school prom; a prom put together in the wake of uncertainty surrounding whether ABCC will lose their charter. Mariana spends the entire prom caught up in finding a fake boyfriend to convince a girl she’s not trying to steal hers. With how great of a character Mariana is, it’s a shame she gets so little in this finale. The only good to come out of it is the reunion she has with Matt, her ex and one true love. The set-up for next season seems to be that the two will find each other again, and at least that is pretty exciting.
Brandon’s growing relationship with Grace seems to be coming to a standstill with the shocking revelation that Grace has leukemia. Brandon tries to give her the best prom and the best night with the knowledge that their love will surely be tested. It’s heartbreaking to imagine that she won’t survive, but the writers have broken our hearts before.
The main focus of this finale is on Ximena’s story as an undocumented immigrant. Getting to know her in art class, Callie comes to admire all that Ximena stands for. The episode begins with the friends together at a protest on their university campus, a protest against a woman known for spreading xenophobic hate speech. The protest gets heated and people get arrested, a sight our country has seen too much of lately. Things come to a head when Ximena’s DACA status and her attendance at the protest allow ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) easy access to her whereabouts. Attempting to help keep her safe if only for a while longer, Stef arrests Ximena. The situation escalates as Callie and AJ help Ximena escape, finding sanctuary in a church where ICE won’t take her.
The episode ends on that monumental cliffhanger of what will happen when they are finally able to walk out of that church. Deportation is only one part of the difficult journey Ximena has ahead of her. It is hard not to think about the recent political decisions affecting DACA students like Ximena. Although this is a show with fictional characters, these are not fictional stories. It is more important now than ever before to show the country these stories, stories of young people like any of us whose values are being diminished to a piece of paper. This piece of paper is something that in no way determines who they are. Thank you to the creators of The Fosters for shining a light on these kids.