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'The Fosters' fan recap: System malfunction

Season 2 | Episode 13 | “Stay” | Aired Jan 26, 2015

The Fosters has never shied away from acknowledging the problems inherent in the foster care system. But perhaps those problems have never been addressed so plainly as they were on the show’s latest outing, “Stay.”

Callie Jacobs is angry. The system has failed her time and time again. She’s had to endure terrible foster homes, stints in jail, being ripped away from her brother, and now, just when she thought she had found a way out of that system and into a stable, loving home, she’s pulled back in by way of Robert Quinn.

To add insult to injury, Callie is informed that some of her credits from previous schools won’t transfer over and she may not be able to graduate. The girl can’t catch a break. Callie is frustrated. Stef is frustrated. We’re all frustrated.

More problems arise for Callie when she gets an urgent call in the middle of the night from her Girls United pal Kiara (Cherinda Kincherlow). Kiara’s foster parents have let a drug addict into the house, and he’s holding them at knife point. Callie quickly gets Stef up to speed, and Stef, backed by the San Diego police, diffuses the situation and gets Kiara to safety for the evening.

Later, Lena and Stef have a powwow with Kiara’s case worker, who pretty much tells them what they already know: No, Kiara’s placement isn’t ideal, but there’s nowhere else to put her—Kiara has to go back. Stef calls out the case worker, and Child Protective Services in general, for approving unqualified foster parents solely for monetary incentives. Sadly, there’s nothing to be done—it’s just how the system works.

Well, now Stef is angry, too.

Stef makes it her mission to get Kiara’s foster house shut down. First, she and Mike pay the couple a visit at home to get them to admit they’re dealing drugs; it backfires and Stef’s anger almost gets her and Mike in trouble. When Stef regroups, she realizes she can attack the couple from a different angle: their landlord. Stef and Mike alert him to some of the illegal activities going on in his tenant’s house and wave their shiny badges around for good measure. This seems to do the trick: The couple is evicted and the foster house shut down. Stef and Mike! Partners (please say yes, Lena!) getting things done!

Callie (Maia Mitchell) takes on the foster care system on ABC Family

While Stef is fighting the system with the tools she has at her disposal, Callie is attempting the same. To prevent Kiara from simply taking off, Callie brings her to the center where she attends group therapy, a place that also provides legal aid and counseling for foster kids. Unfortunately, Callie’s plan to get Kiara removed from an unsafe home is stopped before it can even really begin. Kiara’s paperwork will take weeks; she’ll be placed on a waiting list, basically. There is nothing they can do for her in the immediate future.

So, yeah, we’re all still frustrated. If Callie were a cartoon character, her beautiful little head would completely explode.

Speaking of beautiful little heads, Wyatt’s back! He’s still nursing a little heartache, but does offer Callie a way out when she downloads all of her recent troubles: run away with him (again).

We all know in our heart of hearts that Callie won’t actually run, but she does indeed show up to see Wyatt before he drags that glorious head of hair out of town for good. She has two parting gifts for him: first, the drawing from his parent’s house he had given to her, and second, an empowered speech about only having two choices in life—give up or keep trying. Callie isn’t one to give up and neither should Wyatt; he should stay and finish school.

Perhaps Callie should have given Kiara that same speech. It turns out both Stef’s and Callie’s attempts to help Kiara were all for naught: Kiara decides it would be better to take her chances as a homeless runaway than in another foster home—she’s gone.

The episode, thankfully, doesn’t end on that sad note. Callie meant it when she said she would keep trying. She takes her anger and frustration and decides to do something good with it—volunteer at the center in order to make up her school credits and graduate on time.

The Callie we met in episode one never would have made such a positive choice. She’s growing up, y’all!

In other family news:

  • The Brothers Adams-Foster are politely forced to attend an Alateen meeting by their mothers because, let’s face it, they could use it. The two make a quick detour for pizza and bonding: Jesus reveals his hellacious “Hayley” tattoo to B, who does what older brothers do best—first makes fun of him (as B should) and then assuages Jesus’ fears by admitting he’s done worse (but stays mum on the fact that “worse” = sex with his father’s crazytown girlfriend—NEVER FORGET.).
  • Turns out Mariana is top of her class in math, but she worries that if Mat finds out how smart she is, he’ll get scared off. Luckily, Lena intervenes and reminds Mariana that she should never have to dumb herself down for a guy. (DO YOU HEAR THAT, TEENAGE GIRLS?!) Mariana finally comes clean to Mat, who is totally cool with it.
  • Rejoice! Teacher Timothy has returned and is making amends with Lena. Looks like the renewed friendship may be short-lived, though: The principal (seriously, we’re still going with Monty??) wants Lena to fire Timothy if he doesn’t cooperate with the administration and make changes to his curriculum.
  • Oh, and Hayley is totally going to tell Mariana about Ana because Hayley is undoubtedly THE WORST.

Looks like next week we’re going camping (or glamping!) with the whole fam! I, for one, am hoping for a little lightheartedness after two intensely sad episodes. Who’s with me?

The Fosters airs Mondays at 8/7C on ABC Family.

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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