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‘The Fosters’ Recap: “Sex Ed”

Em Earley ‘20 / Emertainment Monthly TV Section Staff Writer

This week’s The Fosters starts with a sweeping overhead shot of Callie’s (Maia Mitchell) senior project.  She has finally stuck with an idea, this time choosing to replicate the cell she spent a day and a half of solitary confinement in.  Its walls are plastered with papers from her file, highlighting the twisted picture the justice system has painted of her character.  They only show her actions and not the reasons or context behind them.

Meanwhile, Brandon (David Lambert) and Emma (Amanda Leighton) are at the doctor’s office.  He is still the only person who knows about her pregnancy.  Jesus (Noah Centineo) is in the dark because of his injury.  Keeping it from him makes sense for now because extreme emotion can damage a recovering brain.  No matter how long they try to hide it, her secret will eventually find an explosive reveal.  Knowing the show, it is going to happen right as Jesus has a breakthrough and is finally settling into life in the house.

Jude (Hayden Byerly) is back, after a conspicuous absence last episode.  While his carelessness drags at times, he also has one of the more intriguing storylines to counteract it. Despite the sadness of his breakup with Connor (Gavin McIntosh), he is hopeful again since Noah became part of his life.  His newfound sense of security doesn’t last long.  The dreaded sex education unit is currently happening in school, which is daunting for anyone, let alone a gay student.  The teacher starts off with something along the lines of “When a man and a woman..” and his attention fades soon after.  

Hayden Byerly as Jude in "The Fosters". Photo Credit: Freeform.
Hayden Byerly as Jude in The Fosters episode “Sex Ed.” Photo Credit: Freeform.

This moment is the crux of his actions for the episode.  Afterwards he realizes how little he knows, and begins research on his own which can’t end well. At home he turns to the internet, which proved disastrous when he was with Connor.  It might even have been the final breaking point for them.  In an equally as risky move as turning to porn, he downloads what is the show’s equivalent to Grindr.

The parents aren’t left out of trouble either.  As Mike (Danny Nucci) developed a seemingly ordinary routine with Ana (Alexandra Barreto) and Isabella, Stef (Teri Polo) upended his plans in the last episode by pointing out that he can’t live with Ana, a convicted felon, while fostering AJ (Tom Williamson).  Knowing this, he sets himself up for fallout by proposing that they live together nonetheless.  She eventually realizes what is up as he moves from suggesting the three bedroom in their building to a separate one room across the hall.

Following through with plotlines is one of the show’s most notable strengths. It’s why actions surrounding Jude stood out this week.  Though he nearly ends up in a dangerous sexualized situation, he finds a way out.  Beyond that, his mothers address its possible repercussions and don’t just drop the matter.  Another positive of his storyline is its topical relevance.  The Fosters consistently finds a way to work in current issues.  With the recent retraction of LGBT protections, members of the community now more than ever need to feel safe, valued, and represented.  Jude is allowed all of those things, hopefully without significant upsets in upcoming installments.

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