Dinner is the hallmark for any family sitcom or drama.
Of all the heart-wrenching scenes and kooky plots, it's the good old fashioned dinner scenes that are a proper summation of this show. A chaotic but good, loving family coming together, bickering and teasing each other, and talking about their day.
It's the simplicity and normalcy of those innocuous moments that make it both a standard family drama, but also groundbreaking in its own right. The Fosters Season 5 Episode 3 gave us multiple family dinner scenes throughout the hour, and it was positively delightful.
It's particularly great to see them because they're one of a few perfect ways to measure just how far Callie and Jude have come. They're so immersed in this family that it's hard to believe there was a time they weren't officially part of it.
Sassy Jude being such a stereotypical teenager and snarking about being called out for using his phone at the table, despite Stef doing the same, was funny. So was Brandon's sarcastic come back to Jesus.
But the funniest moment of the first dinner scene was Lena teasing Stef about Tess. The kids getting in on the action and teasing their mom about their new neighbor was the cutest.
Lena: Tess was mom's first girlfriend.
Stef: Why would you...?
The family dinner with the Bayfields was a bit more awkward but just as entertaining, and a great opportunity to learn more about Stef. Who would have thought teen Stef stole, well, "borrowed" a car just to go to an Indigo Girls concert?
Stef has always had a strong connection to Callie, but maybe part of that was because she was a bit of a troublemaker of her own. It was hard to say who was more entertained by all this new information about Stef, Lena or the kids.
There has to be more to this storyline, though. Nothing happened between Stef and Tess that we know of it, but no way Tess was oblivious to Stef's crush on her.
All these years later and Stef still struggles with her sexuality. Every time someone mentioned her father, she bristled at the memory of his homophobia. Fortunately, she's found the love of her life, and Lena helps her through all of it.
Stef: I don't want Tess knowing I had a crush on her.
Lena: How do you know Tess never had a crush on you?
Stef: She did not. She's...she's straight.
Lena: You were straight.
Stef: I was not. I was confused and repressed.
Lena: Well, I'm just glad you aren't repressed anymore.
Stef: Well, I might have to take some convincing.
Lena and Stef taking a moment to be flirty and sexy was great. No matter what they go through, they're still head over heels for each other, and that's what makes them one of the best couples on television.
Mariana, of course, was all about impressing the neighbor's teenage son. It was such a Jesus thing to do calling his sister out on "mysteriously" brushing up on football stats. It just sucks that it nearly led to another Jesus outburst.
Yes, Jesus has a TBI, and it is exacerbating his anger and frustration, but Jesus also has ADHD, as well. That combination is doing a number on him, and he has no real outlet.
Part of the reason moms let him join the wrestling team was so that he could work through his ADHD. Now, he can't wrestle, moms haven't allowed him to go back to school, Emma is giving him the cold shoulder, and he's not speaking to most of his siblings.
The only thing he has to keep him busy is his treehouse project, which is always nearly being pulled from underneath him. That is a lot of pent up anger, frustration, and energy that he has and no real way to release it.
Mariana: You smell like french fries.
Brandon: Oh yeah? You would too if you spent five hours chained to a deep fryer.
Jesus: Well, at least you aren't chained to the house all day. Moms, when can I go back to school?
Brandon: I'm sorry, were you actually just talking to me again? Amazing.
Moms are very defensive about how they are taking care of Jesus, to the point where their hackles are raised at any suggestion, but even they have to admit that Gabe had valid points. Tess has valid ones and a medical degree to give her opinion more weight.
Jesus is going stir-crazy; understandably so. Lena's resistance to even put an IEP in place is frustrating. She's resistant to Jesus going back to school, but he will really lose it if he can't become a senior.
It's like there's some level of denial by moms. They tend to simultaneously coddle him and actively avoid addressing the issue unless he's having an outburst. That is not helping anyone.
Stef: I know that you are tense about what's going on at school--
Lena: And at home. I honestly just don't know what to do about Jesus. I mean, we can't be in denial about the fact that he's unpredictable, potentially dangerous, and we don't know if he's going to get better. He could be like this for the rest of his life. To be honest, Stef, sometimes I'm actually afraid of him.
Jesus is already dealing with Emma pulling away. Now, on top of everything else, he overheard his mother admit that she's afraid of him. Surely, he'll piece it together and figure out that Emma probably is as well.
The sad part is, it's natural for them to be afraid of him. It's not his fault, but he's still a tall young man with no impulse control. That's scary for any woman.
Lena is also stressed out about work. Drew and his cohorts continue to be a thorn in Lena and Monte's side. At this point, Monte should consider getting an attorney because that board woman is openly admitting she's grasping at straws to terminate Monte. It is ludicrous.
Mariana's clever way to distribute the secret newspaper she had been working on was pretty darn awesome. It's just sad that she is having yet another project ripped from her.
It's bad enough Jesus has kicked her off their project, Emma isn't talking to her, and she mysteriously stopped partaking in STEAM. Now, she can't even have this newspaper.
Everyone was into it until Drew the douche laid down the hammer and threatened to cancel prom. It's hard not to feel sorry for the girl. She's being ostracized by her twin, her friends, and potentially the rest of the school.
Roller derby may be good for her. No, she in no way should have forged Lena's signature, but she was right about girls being allowed to play contact sports.
Mariana not only needs to feel like she's part of a team, but she needs to feel like she has a purpose. An all Latina roller derby team can benefit her in a multitude of ways. It's commendable that The Fosters never drops the issues each of the characters face.
Nobody wants you on their team, Mariana.STEAM Member
Mariana has always had a bit of a cultural identity problem, more than Jesus ever did, and her gravitating towards a mostly latina team is just one more example of that. Viva the sisterhood that Mariana so desperately needs right now!
Ironically, Brandon and Callie both need the same thing in their respective relationship...better communication. Both characters dealt with some good old fashion teenage angst. Normal teenage drama on a show like The Fosters should be cherished.
Callie's first official date with Aaron was a bit of a disaster, but after a talk, everything turned out okay for them. Callie didn't take too kindly to Aaron telling her what to wear, ordering for her, and picking a pretty terrible date movie. In his defense though, Callie did tell him to take the lead.
The problem is she wanted him to take the lead not take over.
Callie was not fond of her lack of control in the situation, and Aaron was guilty of trying to impress her with the fancy, expensive restaurant, and his suit. Did he seriously wear a suit to go see The Fast and the Furious? Aaron, you dork, what ever will we do with you?
They easily got over their hurdle with a nice talk. I'm still firmly on "Team Single Callie," and I still don't like the fact that Aaron was in pursuit of Callie when she was with AJ. They're an adorable couple though.
Brandon and Grace are quite adorable, too. Brandon should probably take a beat, himself, but if it's imperative that he be with someone, Grace is a fine choice. There needs to be more to their relationship, however.
Grace: So, am I good in bed?
Brandon: Uhh... yeah. Am I?
Grace: I think so.
Brandon: But you're not sure?
Grace: No, what I meant was I haven't had very much experience, so I don't really have very much to compare to it. But I liked it. So, you been with a lot of girls?
Grace tried to seduce him once under the guise of needing help, and she called him over to study when she really meant have sex. It's no wonder Brandon mistook "jam session" as another code for hooking up.
So far, that's what they've mostly done. Even their pillow talk was evidence that they haven't spent a great deal of time actually getting to know each other. They need to work on balancing their relationship, especially since Grace is less romantically and sexually experienced.
This is the first time Brandon has the upper-hand, so to speak, in a relationship by having more experience; therefore, it's on him to reign them in a bit.
Their makeup scene was sappy and cute. Grace has a beautiful voice. Of course, it would have been nice if they started talking instead of immediately hooking up mere seconds after, but they are teenagers.
Why don't you want to play music with me?Grace
Initially, it seemed like Brandon's hesitancy over playing music with Grace had something to do with Callie. Music was always at the heart of their relationship and his relationship with Lou too. It turned out it was about him beating himself up over Juilliard again.
Callie helped him come to that realization. Brandon and Callie have great, authentic moments. They understand one another, and they are not afraid to call each other out. That's what makes their relationship one of the strongest and most rewarding.
Callie was right when she told Brandon that he's an old soul and that he shouldn't keep beating himself up about Juilliard. Brandon was correct in reminding Callie to embrace all aspects of herself because she is multifaceted and complicated. Everyone is.
The self-portrait project was timely, but it had to be difficult for Callie when she's still in such a vulnerable state. She's in the midst of one of many existential crises she'll have in her life, and she's trying to reconcile her past with the present and her future.
We all have a bunch of sides. You're just complicated. In a good way. You have a lot of layers, and that other picture is just you with some of them peeled back.Brandon [To Callie]
A self-portrait meant she would have to look in the mirror and face who she is. That is terrifying for anyone. Asking others to take candids capturing how they see her is just as difficult. She had to reconcile how she viewed herself with how others saw her.
It came as no surprise that fellow artist and best friend, Brandon, managed to capture the best photo of her. She looked so happy in it. Callie needed to see that happiness is a real possibility, and she's on the cusp of it every day.
Jude and Noah got in on some of the relationship drama as well. Their squabble was that of a happy couple who can't help but nitpick over a few annoyances.
Noah abusing his marijuana prescription and being high nearly all the time was tiresome for Jude. Jude's obsession with video games, to the point of tuning everything out, got on Noah's nerves. It looks like Jude was the first one to renege on their little deal.
Random aside, Gabe did Mariana a favor and let her use the garage for her meeting, and Stef and Lena jumped to a conclusion and immediately assumed the worst of him. If that doesn't perfectly describe Stef and Lena's relationship with Gabe, I don't know what does.
The poor guy wasn't even in the episode and still couldn't catch a break.
I'm turning it over to you, Foster Fanatics. Should Jesus return to school? Are Brandon and Grace too focused on sex? Are you shipping Callie and Aaron? Hit up the comments below and let us know what you think.
You can watch The Fosters online here at TV Fanatic!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.