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'The Fosters' recap: Stronger than blood

Season 2 | Episode 6 | “Mother” | Aired July 21, 2014

Our dear Mama Lena finally got a hefty storyline this season as the focus of the latest hour of The Fosters, “Mother.” So far this season, Lena has mostly just been tending to other members of the family: Brandon on his pot adventure last week, Jude while struggling with his identity and anxiety, and Stef all the time. Though perhaps this was the point.

Lena is supporting them all because that’s who she is—she’s a mother and a wife first and foremost and always. Lena feels insecure and inadequate because she’s the one Foster not related to anyone else by blood. As the audience, we know she’s never been more wrong to feel this way; we’ve been watching her prove love is stronger than blood all season (and series) long.

After a fainting spell, Lena’s health—and the health of the baby—is called into question. After what are quite possibly the least restful few hours of bed rest, Lena winds up back in the hospital to receive some devastating news: She’s suffering from pre-eclampsia, and if she continues with the pregnancy, she’ll be risking her own life.

Honest sidebar: Lady Sybil Crawley-Branson much?! Sister only needed to watch a little Downton Abbey to know going ahead with this kind of pregnancy would not end well. She’d also have learned that one should not sleep around with Turkish diplomats, which is really just a good lesson to keep in your back pocket.

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Lena, understandably, doesn’t want to give up on her unborn daughter (whom they decide to name Frankie, after Stef’s dad—sob), but Stef is scared of losing Lena. Thankfully, the goddess that is Lorraine Toussaint shows up in the form of Lena’s mother, Dana. Lena confides in her mother about her fear that her kids can never truly love her since they aren’t biologically bound together, and that maybe her desire to have a baby was just a way of remedying that. Dana gives an incredibly touching and honest pep talk to her hurting daughter about how all parents fear their children won’t love them the same way back, and that parents have to love their children more in order to be able to put them first, and basically we’re all just crying together.

Dana reminds Lena that she needs her and that parenting means a child’s needs trump a parent’s wants. Lena makes the gut-wrenching choice to prioritize her own safety and loses the baby.

Another honest sidebar: Go hug your mom. No, seriously, go.

As if she didn’t already have enough to deal with, Lena is, like so many of us before her, also adjusting to the new reality that she’s living in a world in which she’ll never unknow the fact that Brandon and Dani had sex. Lena still hasn’t revealed Brandon’s secret to anyone, but when she finds out that Mike and Dani are thinking about starting a family of their own, both she and Brandon realize Mike needs to know the truth and he needs to know it now.

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Speaking of Mike, Stef gets to the bottom of what’s been going on between Mike and Ana. Turns out Mike was, in fact, at the halfway house the night he fell off the wagon. As Mike explains to Stef, he did go see Ana with the intent of killing her, but Dani found him before he could do anything. When he realized just how far the mix of anger and alcohol was about to take him, Mike vowed to help Ana as a way to make amends. He’s been keeping her at the motel in order to get her sober. Mystery solved, I guess. I’m most interested to see how Ana’s new sobriety affects Jesus and Mariana; their relationship was always complex and there’s a lot to be mined there.

In other family news:

  • First, a big ol’ congratulations to the entire team at The Fosters for their Outstanding Youth Programming win at the Television Critics Association Awards this past weekend. Pancakes for everyone!
  • Jude speaks! Or rather, #JudeSpeaks. After Callie reassures Jude that he’ll always have a say in their relationship—and that him not talking is actually hurting the family, and that’s not what Jude does—he opens his mouth and lets that sweet little voice out. Welcome back, Jude!
  • There was some weird storyline about Jesus and Mariana working together to sell Lena and Stef’s bed. Not every Foster needs a full plot every week, and this one seemed a bit out of place. Though it did lead to cute Mat asking Mariana out. I have high hopes for those two.
  • “I know what it’s like to love you.” Guys, I’m not even a Brallie shipper, and that line made me swoon. Sadly, for those who do want to see these two get back together, it seems like Brandon and Callie really are moving on and making a go of it as siblings. It was nice to see Brandon so supportive of Callie in a non-romantic way.
  • After Brandon’s speech about letting people in, Callie finally tells Wyatt that she was raped and that she needs some time to figure out how to move past it. Wyatt assures her that she can take all the time in the world as long as she’s open with him. Is Wyatt possibly the greatest boyfriend ever created? The answer is maybe. Other nominees include: Mr. Darcy, and also James Marsden’s character in The Notebook.

This episode was a tearjerker, Foster fans. How do we think Lena is going to cope with this loss? In happier news, who’s excited for Jack McPhee’s return next week? Will anyone else be employing the use of an air horn the next time they’re sick in bed?

The Fosters, rated TV-14, airs Mondays at 9/8C on ABC Family.

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