EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

'The Fosters' recap: Trigger warning

Season 3 | Episode 16 | “EQ” | Aired Feb 29, 2016

Before this week’s episode of The Fosters began, a warning appeared on screen that the episode contained suicide-related content. In providing this warning, the show also provided us with the solution that should have been employed by its characters this week, but was not.

Brandon has been working on his senior project since The Fosters returned several weeks ago. He is composing a rock opera based on Romeo and Juliet. The project has been approved by the administration and is well underway. When Sally, the senior-class president, approaches Principal Monte and expresses concern over the romanticization of suicide in the play, Monte decides that she has a right to be heard. Rather than explaining the dangers of censorship, or sitting with Sally and deconstructing the play to help her see the ways in which she is misinterpreting the message, Monte allows her to call a student vote. Monte once seemed like an excellent addition to Anchor Beach. She seemed in tune with the needs of the students. Even after the awkwardness with Lena, there was no reason to think she wasn’t going to be able to do her job.

There’s something about this Sally girl, though. Lena was suspicious when Monte got personally involved in securing donations for Sally’s senior project. It was a strange thing to do, but it didn’t highlight the inappropriate lengths Monte was willing to go for Sally. Bringing the Romeo and Juliet issue to the honor board is a different story entirely. As principal, Monte has a responsibility to show Sally why banning material that may be difficult for some is not the answer. The onus of pointing out that the play doesn’t romanticize suicide but actually ends with the notion that there is nothing more tragic shouldn’t fall on Brandon.

Throughout the whole episode, I sat wondering what Monte was doing. Forget the fact that Brandon can’t graduate without this project, and as principal, that should concern her—how could she be so willing to block Shakespeare? How could she take this complaint so seriously? It seemed crazy.

And then it all made sense. There are few things on TV that shock me, but I can honestly say that I didn’t see this coming. The reason Monte went above and beyond for Sally’s senior project is the same reason she gave Sally’s censorship argument so much credence: She has a crush on her. Principal Monte has a crush on one of her students. The revelation comes from Sally herself who comes to Lena in tears to report that Monte kissed her. The moment she said it everything became clear. This has been Monte’s motivation for all the decisions she’s made over the last few weeks. When Monte kissed Lena, it seemed like bad judgment. Now it appears that Monte’s issues are far deeper than that.

The suicide theme extends to more of the episode as Rita’s daughter Chloe resurfaces. Chloe can’t get ahold of Rita but does have Callie’s phone number. She calls her and leaves a message suggesting she may hurt herself. Callie immediately gets in touch with Rita, who dismisses the plea as another ploy designed by Chloe to get money from her mother. Callie is more concerned and berates Rita for being so unwilling to believe that she could ever be wrong. It’s getting exhausting listening to Callie behave as though she’s the only person who knows anything, even about circumstances she knows nothing about.

Callie goes to see Chloe herself and gets a taste of what Rita has been dealing with for years. Clearly Chloe is in need of help, but it isn’t that obvious what exactly can be done for her, and it’s easy to see why Rita no longer responds to Chloe’s histrionics. When Chloe tries to get money from Callie, Callie finally understands what Rita’s been saying. In fact, Callie ignores Chloe’s call later, only to find a message from a drugged Chloe saying she’s done something bad. Callie calls the paramedics, who are able to revive her, though that piece of information was withheld long enough that I thought she didn’t make it. Rita is hopeful that this will be the turning point in Chloe’s life. “Maybe she was trying to get my attention, but I think this time she got her own attention.”

Fost and Found:

  • Mike’s away, and AJ’s staying with the Adams Fosters, prompting Callie to tell her moms that they are dating. AJ’s smile when he realizes their relationship is worth mentioning is the best.
  • Brandon overhears Callie’s news, then gets irritated with her for not telling him sooner before acknowledging that he’s been keeping the Cortney situation from her. He conveniently leaves out the toddler part.
  • Nick has wooed his way back into Mariana’s life. Step up your game, Mat.
  • Jesus has been sneaking vodka and replacing it with water. This might be The Fosters’ most educational moment to date. That move never works.
  • Gabe shows up at the house with a drunk Jesus, begging Stef and Lena to keep him away. Stef acknowledges the issues with the sex-offender registry but also points out that as a cop, she’s required to report Gabe if Jesus gets close to him. On his way out, he bumps into a startled Mariana, leading to a rare and sweet brother/sister moment when Mariana finds Jesus, puts her head on his shoulder and reflects on their biological father’s height.
  • The juxtaposition of Gabe’s predicament and Monte’s behavior did not go unnoticed.
  • Stef’s teaching an emotional-intelligence class to kids who would otherwise have to be in juvie. Ironically, her own emotional intelligence is at an all-time low. Through the class and some wise words from Lena, Stef manages to find her way back.
  • Jude’s absence is getting more and more noticeable.

The Fosters airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.

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

You May Like