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'The Fosters' Christmas special recap: This I promise you

Season 2 | Episode 11 | “Christmas Past” | Aired Dec 8, 2014

The Fosters Christmas special picks up where the summer finale left off: right in the middle of Brandon and Callie’s big ol’ smooch-fest after she learns that her biological father won’t sign away his parental rights. Callie’s been through one hell of an adoption process, and she’s over sacrificing a relationship with Brandon for an adoption that at the moment seems highly unlikely.

Luckily, B has enough sense to slam on the brakes before they get too ahead of themselves. Brandon wants what’s best for Callie, and this might not be it—he needs to go and have a think on it. It’s in the middle of this epic brood session that Brandon comes across a house decorated with Christmas lights and immediately is transported back to Callie and Jude’s first Christmas with his family.

We’re having a Christmas special, y’all.

Why does Brandon reflect on this specific time? Well, it’s here that he and Callie make a very important promise to one another—but we’ll get to that in a minute.

These events pretty much fit in right around the season 2 premiere: Brandon’s hand is broken, Jude has been adopted but Callie has not, Robert Quinn is almost a thing, Stef’s dad has recently passed, and Callie is dating Wyatt.

Needless to say, B is still pining for Callie. He’s being generally supportive of their decision to split, but can’t quite hide the fact that he misses being with Callie. As the two reminisce about Callie’s independent-living apartment with no furniture, B is quick to remind her how “comfortable” the floor was—and by “comfortable” he means “perfect for making out on.” Callie is not amused.

Honest sidebar: I love how saucy Holiday Brandon is! Making jokes about vibrators, alluding to some good-time make-out sessions—this is my favorite Brandon. However, Pothead Brandon comes in at a close second. Never forget Pothead Brandon. NEVER.

Brandon (David Lambert) takes in a festive holiday dinner during The Fosters Christmas special on ABC Family.

When Callie’s friend Daphne calls on her to help with the minor emergency of, you know, how to fix the fact that she kidnapped her daughter from her foster house because Daphne was being denied visitation rights, Brandon is right there beside her, ever the knight in shining armor. The two help Daphne safely—and anonomously—return her daughter, so they can all enjoy Christmas morning without that drama hanging over them.

Callie had pulled Brandon’s name in the family’s secret Santa, so she brings him his gifts—a cheesy piano-key neck tie and a lovely a lovely metronome. Her message is clear: She doesn’t want Brandon to give up on playing music just because of the minor hand setback. In fact, she believes in him so much that she wants them to make a promise to each other: They’ll never let the other give up on their dreams when obstacles get in the way.

And there it is.

Back in the present, Callie is giving up on her dream of having a family and if she and Brandon get back together, he is breaking his promise to her. Callie has always pushed B to pursue music no matter what, so I doubt Brandon is going to let Callie give up on her dreams without a fight—steamy kisses or not.

Elsewhere in our flashback, Stef and Lena are having a tense holiday. Stef discovers that her late father had $150,000 when he died and he left it to Stef’s mom, Sharon (the hilarious Annie Potts). This is confusing to Stef for several reasons: Her parents were no longer married, her father disapproved of how her mother spent money, Stef has this huge family and could really use the money, etc. Stef is angry—Lena thinks her wife is just being petty and should move on.

During what will heretofore be known as the Dinner from Hell, Lena gives Stef a gorgeous pair of diamond earrings. Instead of accepting the gift like a normal person, Stef starts to get worked up about how expensive they must have been, then finally lays into her mother about her terrible spending habits and how wrong her dad was to leave her the money instead of Stef. It’s pretty uncomfortable for everyone—especially when they get to the bit about thongs.

Annie Potts returns to ABC Family

Sharon has had enough of her daughter’s rant, so she hands Stef an early Christmas gift and the answer to what she could do with all of her ex-husband’s money: It’s a box full of college investment funds for each of the Foster kids. She had wanted it to be a Christmas-morning surprise. Stef admits to being a complete ass. But hey, if you can’t be an ass to your entire family on the holidays, when can you?

In other family news:

  • Let’s talk about that ending! As Callie and Brandon look longingly at one another, an ambulance pulls up to the Quinn house. It must be for Sophia, whom we last saw locking herself in the bathroom, extremely upset after Callie hurled some pretty harsh words her way. Alas, we’ll have to wait until January for some answers.
  • Jude overhears Lena talking crap on her half brother (emphasizing the half), whom she still holds a grudge against for using racial slurs against her mother. When Lena realizes talking about her half brother this way might be insensitive, considering their own family (this seems out of character, right?), she explains herself to Jude and reminds him that he shouldn’t worry about his relationship with Callie. This whole storyline added some nice context to the “Jude goes mute” situation.
  • Jesus and Mariana team up for the annual neighborhood house-decorating contest. Their twin power sets them up for an easy victory, but Jesus withdraws from the competition once he meets his curmudgeonly neighbor—who, from what I understand, has only one reason for living, which is this contest. Jesus doesn’t want to take that away from him. Good man, Jesus. Regardless, it brought us some very endearing twin moments, which I always appreciate. When Mariana cries, I cry, okay?!

Well, Foster fans, did that Christmas special make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? What “past” storyline did you enjoy watching most? Why do you think the ambulance is at the Quinn house? Will you be able to contain yourself until January?

The Fosters returns to ABC Family on Monday, Jan. 19, at 8/7C.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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