BRANDON AND EMMA - PLANNED PARENTHOOD (WHERE EMMA'S WAITING TO GET AN ABORTION):
Emma: What if this were yours? How would you feel?
Brandon: I think I would support your right to make your own decision.
Emma: And how would you feel?
Brandon: I would feel bad. For you. For doing this. And I would feel sad, too. I know I'm not...ready to be a father.
Emma: Do you think that's how Jesus would feel if he knew?
Brandon: I do.
Emma: Am I horrible for not telling Jesus before I do it?
Brandon: It's gonna be a while...until he's well. And it's not like you can...wait.
Planned Parenthood Employee: Emma? Why don't you come on back? We're going to go in the office and talk for a bit before you see the doctor.
Tonia: I am still of the belief that Jesus should be told. If I were him, I would feel beyond betrayed knowing that my brother took my girlfriend to abort our baby before she even told me about it. I don’t know if Jesus would ever get over that…
Tara: I get that Emma is worried about telling Jesus. And the bottom line is, it is up to her who she tells and when. However, I do feel as though ableism is influencing her decision not to tell him.
FAMILY DINNER - KITCHEN - THAT NIGHT:
Jesus: Hey. Did you see Emma today?
Brandon: Yeah. At school.
Jesus: Did she look...okay? Did she go home...sick?
Tara: While I am happy to see Jesus at family dinner, this is super chaotic. (Expected in a large family, but not helpful for those with filtering issues. To this day, when I have dinner with my similarly large family, I am largely silent. Not because I don’t want to add to the conversation, but because it is all I can do to attempt to follow the various strains of discussions. And inevitably, I end up in an empty room by myself just trying to decompress.) So, I’m impressed that Jesus is able to speak at all in this instance.
Lena: [while cutting Jesus's food] Honey, she's been here every day since you got home. She must've been feeling pretty funky.
Tara: We also see that Lena is not only cutting her own food, but Jesus’s as well. These “little” moments eat away at your sense of self-worth. I wonder if there was ever a conversation about this, or if Lena just does it for him to save time or to not have to see him struggle? Either way, Jesus is looking pretty exhausted and/or demoralized here.
Brandon: I'm pretty sure she'll be here tomorrow.
Tara: Brandon is a terrible liar. Jesus can totally tell he is not getting the full story, and it has got to be frustrating.
Mariana: [to Stef] So...if you can buy your way out of jail. does that mean Nick's going to get out? ...What if he does? I have no way of protecting myself.
Tonia: Oh Mariana. Totally missed this comment with all the cross-conversation going on. I’m glad Mariana feels like she can share these concerns now.
Stef: Maybe you should take a self-defense class.
Tonia: I love that Stef hears Mariana’s concerns and offers to help her follow through on something that will make her feel more empowered.
Brandon: You know, I was thinking, since Jesus can manage the steps, why doesn't he take my room for a little bit?
Jesus: For real?
Brandon: Yeah. I mean, the hospital bed's too big for your room.
Tara: Given that this is said on the heels of the whole Emma thing, Brandon’s offer of his room could be viewed as a sort of guilt gift on his part.
Tonia: I definitely agree with that. Brandon seems desperate to throw off any of Jesus's suspicions about Emma. Offering up his room would definitely work as a distraction. But...Jesus is literally sitting right next to Brandon. Why doesn't he ask Jesus directly? The fact that he announces it to the family at dinner makes me think that part of his motivation is to put himself in the best light possible. (Also, for the record? I'm still super skeptical at Jesus's magical ability to suddenly climb stairs. Exhausting himself climbing them does not mean he can manage them, IMO.)
Stef: Well, that's very nice of you, B.
Mariana: Yeah. Who are you and what have you done with my brother?
Tara: But is it very nice? Really? Seriously, lets consider this. Jesus had to crash in the living room for a time, but now that he is able to climb stairs, the lack of privacy as well as being so cut off from the family makes it an untenable long-term solution.
Brandon switching rooms with Jesus, so that the hospital bed could fit upstairs? To me, that is under the umbrella of reasonable accommodations and something that Moms should have considered. We saw Moms make similar accommodations when it was clear that Callie and Jude were staying long-term - Jesus and Mariana were expected to share their rooms.
But instead of being expected to switch rooms now that Jesus can climb stairs, Brandon magnanimously gives up his room for Jesus. It is not as if he will be roomless in the meantime. But Brandon is still being portrayed as a Super Brother, sacrificing greatly for Jesus. And the expectation is now placed on Jesus to be grateful for the fulfillment of a basic need. Because Jesus’s needs are now seen as Special instead of Reasonable. And accommodating him is not an expectation, but a very nice sacrifice. More on this later.
Tonia: For more on the Super Brother / Super Sib / Super Parent phenomenon check out number 5 under Common Inspiration P*rn Themes.
MARIANA AND STEF - BACKYARD FOR SELF DEFENSE TRAINING - THAT NIGHT:
Mariana: [Tweets from her anonymous Twitter account: "About to slay some self defense training. #notavictim"] Okay, I'm here. I'm ready.
Stef: Really, Mariana? Heels?
Mariana: What? You can't call a timeout for a wardrobe change when you're getting attacked.
Stef: Fair enough. Okay. Here we go. You ready. First rule of thumb: If you feel like you are in danger, stay around lots of people, and avoid isolated areas. Which you did not do at BayFest.
Tonia: Oh, Mom, come on. Mariana has a lot of guilt around that already. It's not her fault that Nick found her. That's on Nick.
Mariana: Okay. Check.
Stef: Second: If you're being followed, you yell, "LEAVE ME ALONE!" or "STOP FOLLOWING ME!" You wanna make people around you aware of your problem.
Mariana: You do realize that I'm the loudest in a family of seven?
Stef: Yes, I'm well aware. So you shouldn't have any problem with your most important tool, which is screaming.
Mariana: Got it.
Stef: Okay. Let her rip! Let's hear one!
Mariana: Right now? It's night time. The neighbors are gonna think that someone's getting murdered.
Stef: Okay, sweetheart. I know that it's uncomfortable. As women, we are conditioned to be passive and polite, and not to raise our voices, but sometimes you've gotta push on through.
Mariana: Okay. Fine. [shrieks softly]
Stef: I know you can do better than that.
Mariana: Okay. Look. I know how to scream, okay? Can we get to the part where I actually learn how to defend myself?
Stef: Screaming is your best defense, love. It--
Tonia: I LOVE THIS. I love that Stef wants Mariana to practice screaming before she actually needs to do it. I remember when Elizabeth Smart’s dad was on Oprah with her. They shared a story of how she was followed into a bathroom at church and trapped in there by someone who was harassing her about having been kidnapped and would not let her out. Someone else either came inside or the guy let her out eventually, but when she got home and told her family, Dad took both daughters aside and had them practice screaming because, like Stef says, it is their best defense, if someone will not let them go, and does not have a weapon.
[Mariana's phone chimes. She checks it]
Mariana: Sorry. I just need to reply to this real quick.
Stef: [scoffs] If and when you are ready to take this seriously, go ahead and let me know. Otherwise just please don't waste my time. [Walks back into the house, sighing]
Mariana: [glances up] Hey. Where'd you go? I hope you remember you gave up when you're identifying my body in a morgue.
Tonia: Mariana's comments here speak so much to just how vulnerable she is feeling. And that, to her, her mom is giving up on teaching Mariana how to protect herself. :(
LENA - HER OFFICE AT ANCHOR BEACH - THE NEXT DAY:
Monte: Lena! What are you doing here?
Lena: Well, Stef is with Jesus, so I came by to talk to some of his teachers.
Tonia: Glad to see Jesus is not being rushed back into school, and that Lena’s thinking ahead and talking to his teachers.
BRANDON - GRACE'S MUSIC THERAPY CLASS - OUTPATIENT REHAB:
Brandon: I hope this is okay.
Grace: I said you could come anytime.
Brandon: You know, I was doing some of this stuff with my brother, and it seems to be really helping him.
Grace: That's great!
Brandon: Yeah. So, are these kids...?
Grace: They have autism.
Brandon: And music helps them?
Grace: Well, music is a nonverbal language. So, the kids make music and I can connect with them by answering back musically.
Brandon: That's really cool.
Brandon: Is there anything I can do to help?
Grace: It would be a huge help if you can put away any loose instruments.
Brandon: Sure. [Picks up one instrument and puts it away. Sits down in front of Ollie with a toy drum and tries to replicate an exercise he saw Grace doing. He speaks while keeping time according to the syllables in each word] This is my pat-tern. Play it back to me. [He offers the drum to Ollie.]
Brandon: Go. You can do it. [Takes Ollie's hand to try to force compliance]
Ollie: [screams, afraid]
Grace: Hey, hey, hey. Ollie, it's okay? Do you want some time? Do you want your fidget?
Grace: Yeah? [hands Ollie a koosh ball] There you go. Good job, Ollie.
Grace: [takes Brandon aside. Whispers, angrily] You don't touch a child with autism!
Brandon: I didn't know.
Grace: Exactly. You're here to observe, and if you can't do that--
Brandon: I'm sorry. Maybe I shouldn't be here at all.
Tonia: Grace, we have to talk. First, the autistic community largely prefers the term ‘autistic’. But let’s talk about the bigger issue here, because when you reprimanded Brandon, your sentence was missing some key words:
You don’t touch a child without their consent. Autistic children included. You don’t just get in a child’s space as a stranger and put your hands on them. Ollie responded just right. (Because as Stef taught Mariana, screaming is your best defense, and Ollie got Grace’s attention.)
But to imply that autistic children cannot ever be touched is just plain false and it feeds some damaging stereotypes. I did like that Ollie was shown stimming, though. (One small step for respectful representation. But several giant steps back. Bad form.)
JESUS AND EMMA - CUDDLING IN JESUS'S BED WHICH IS NOW IN BRANDON'S ROOM - AFTERNOON:
Jesus: I finally got my own room. I should've nailed myself in the head sooner. [laughs softly]
Emma: [smiles] Not funny.
Jesus: You know what is funny? Brandon having to share a room with Jude.
Emma: I think it's very sweet that he gave you his room. You might be a little grateful.
Tara: And here we are again with Brandon’s grand sacrifice, and Emma forcing gratitude on Jesus. By saying “You might be a little grateful,” she is implying that he is not grateful enough to have what every other family member is entitled to by default. It’s just plain gross.
Jesus: Okay. [Starts making out with Emma]
Emma: Slow your roll, there, Foster.
Jesus: [stops] You wanna...help me with some...physical...therapy?
Emma: I don't know if you're up for that.
Jesus: Oh, no, no, no. I'm up. You wanna see?
Emma: Not what I meant. Are you sure it's safe?
Tara: Emma is rejecting Jesus on the basis of his “safety.” This feeds into the notion that disabled people are fragile. That disabled people cannot have sex. That a nondisabled person knows a disabled person’s body better than the disabled person himself does. Because when Jesus attempts to reassure her, Emma will not hear it.
Jesus: Uh, yeah. Yeah. I'll wear my helmet. [Takes his helmet from nearby]
Tara: Now, this is where that secret is going to make things tricky. Emma is and always has been exceedingly clear about her boundaries, and declining sex is well within her right. But to say that she does not think that Jesus is ready and able? And dismissing him when he assures her that he is, and that he will even wear his helmet? That does nothing but reinforce Jesus’s feelings of intense inadequacy.
Emma: Your family's here. I don't want anybody walking in on us. Are you hungry? Why don't I make you a sandwich?
Tara: Patronize him a little more, Emma. These microaggressions like not even waiting for Jesus to respond to your question are making life so much more difficult.
EMMA AND BRANDON - KITCHEN - EMMA'S MAKING THAT SANDWICH FOR JESUS:
Brandon: Oh. Hey.
Brandon: How're you feeling?
Emma: I'm okay.
Brandon: Yeah? You sure?
Emma: Yeah. You're brother wants to...
Emma: [raises her eyebrows]
Emma: I told him he's probably not well enough.
Brandon: No. Of course.
Emma: Sorry. It's just... Nobody else knows.
Brandon: Uh, well, that's okay. You know, um, I'm not exactly like qualified or anything but if you ever, you know, need to talk about it or anything? I'm always--
Emma: [sighs] Thanks.
Emma: [phone vibrates] Jesus. [Reads a text from him that asks "What are you doing?"]
Tara: Okay, wow. The lines have officially been crossed when you talk to your boyfriend’s brother about your physical relationship. Why couldn’t Emma just say that she still did not feel well from the other day?
JESUS - HIS ROOM - WAITING FOR EMMA TO COME BACK:
Jesus [activates Voice to Text]
Siri [reads] Emma sent: "Was just talking to Brandon. Be right up." Would you like to reply?
Tara: I love that Jesus is using voice-to-text. Way to adapt. However, you can’t tell me though that no one at therapy has noticed Jesus’s unwillingness to read. I’m sure that trained professionals would know to look deeper into that.
MARIANA - BACKYARD FOR MORE SELF DEFENSE TRAINING - AFTERNOON:
Mariana: [texts Mom] Where are you?
Stef: [jumps out from behind a tree] Hey!
Mariana: [screams and jumps up] Are you crazy?!
Stef: Exactly the scream I'm talking about! Right there!
Mariana: [walks away into the house]
Stef: Mariana, where are you going?
Lena: What is going on?
Stef: What? Nothing! I'm just trying to get her to take this a little bit more seriously.
Lena: Why did she scream?
Stef: Because I jumped out from behind the tree.
Lena: You scared her?
Stef: Yeah! She's been giving me a lot of attitude. A little resistance.
Lena: Go talk to her. Say you're sorry.
Stef: Oh, come on. She's being silly!
Lena: She's not you, okay? She didn't play with G.I. Joe's. She grew up wearing princess dresses and wanting to live in a castle.
Stef: Okay, well, I find that a little sexist, Lena. Even princesses can learn to fight.
Lena: Agreed. But you don't teach them the same way you teach a Marine.
Stef: That--! Fine. No problem. I'll go talk to her. Happy? [Mutters under her breath walking away] Stupid princesses...
Tonia: This is so terrible! I have such a bad startle reflex and I hate to be scared the way Stef scares Mariana, especially given Mariana’s background. I love that Lena gets in on it and insists that Stef go talk to Mariana and explains that you don’t teach a princess the same way you teach a Marine. Honestly, too? I’m more than a little uncomfortable with Stef’s underlying upset toward Mariana.
Calling her stupid (to her face or not) and calling her momentary distraction and reluctance to scream "an attitude" and "resistance" makes me keenly aware that Stef is a cop and Mariana is a person of color with a recently diagnosed mental health condition and that cops are not trained to work with people of color with disabilities. I don't know if the writers were intending to show this, but it shows here.
MARIANA AND STEF - MARIANA'S ROOM:
Stef: Over, please [sits next to Mariana on her bed, takes out an earbud] I'm sorry that I scared you.
Mariana: No, you're not.
Stef: Yes, I am. I'm not sorry that I made you scream...
Mariana: Yeah? Well, screaming's awful. It's really upsetting. What's the point?
Stef: The point is to scare your attacker, love. To draw attention to him so hopefully he runs away.
Mariana: So, should I have screamed when Nick was in my bedroom?
Stef: [stunned] No. In that situation, no. And you know, I think the way you handled it was pretty brilliant. I do.
Mariana: I wasn't handling it.
Stef: What do you mean?
Mariana: I was so scared that I was frozen.
Stef: Maybe at first. But you were the one who talked him out of hurting you and himself. You got him to put that gun down.
Mariana: I just don't want to relive it at all.
Tonia: So glad Mariana’s able to open up to Stef about why she didn’t want to scream. Because she “doesn’t want to relive it at all.” And I’m so glad that Stef was able to reassure her that she handled the situation with Nick right, so that she can hopefully keep gaining confidence that she did the right thing.
Stef: I hear you, baby. I hear you. And I understand that, but listen to me, you know, fear sometimes is a good thing. When we can use that adrenaline to fight or take flight. You can't freeze when someone grabs you, and you're certainly not going to be able to talk your way out of an attack.
Tonia: From what I understand, freezing is a legitimate third type of reaction that people have when they are threatened. It isn't a choice Mariana would be making. It would be her instinct. Which is truly all that you have in those moments.
Stef: It's like if Snow White was in the forest and the dwarves were nearby but they weren't keeping their eyes on her. And the witch, just, she --
Mariana: The evil queen.
Stef: It's the evil queen? Okay. The evil queen just kind of jumps out of nowhere and grabs her--
Mariana: Okay, wait. Why are we talking about a Disney princess?
Stef: Well, she's badass--
Mariana: [screams playfully]
Mariana: Like that?
Stef: [still wincing] Yes, Mariana. Like that. Now that I'm deaf in one ear.
Stef: Oh, you think you're funny?
Mariana: Oh, I know I'm funny.
Stef: Oh, you know you're funny? You're a little punk is what you are...
Tonia: While it is a good idea to have kids practice survival skills at home, I think there's something to be said about honoring a kid's hesitance. And working up to something like screaming over a little bit of time, especially if it makes them uncomfortable and has them remembering a past trauma. Mariana does scream here, because she knows Stef will not let it go, and I don't like the fact that she was pushed into doing something she wasn't comfortable with. And I still feel like there's a lot of hostility on Stef's part toward Mariana.
BRANDON AND GRACE - GRACE'S MUSIC THERAPY CLASS - OUTPATIENT REHAB:
Brandon: Uh, so, listen. I'm sorry. I overstepped last time. And I'm here to observe. If you'll have me. And I promise I'll hang back. You won't even know I'm here.
Grace: Sounds good.
Brandon: [Knocks over a bunch of music stands and a tambourine]
Tonia: Yeah, overstepping is one way to put it, Brandon. Let’s hope that this time you can sit and observe without putting your hands on kids. Also, my gut says that in real life if he had knocked over a whole music stand in a room full of autistic kids, their reaction would not be to sit quietly and/or laugh. (Though some might.) Some have really sensitive hearing, so a crash like that would be more likely to be upsetting than funny.
BRANDON AND GRACE - AFTER MUSIC THERAPY:
Brandon: So, clearly, I'm a disaster and the universe is telling me that this is not my thing.
Grace: Come on.
Ollie's mom: How did Ollie do today?
Grace: He had a really big breakthrough. He laughed.
Ollie's mom: He did?
Grace: And you can thank Brandon. He's the one that made it happen.
Ollie's mom: Thank you [hugs Brandon] so much. Come on, Ollie.
Grace: Bye, Ollie. See you later.
Tonia: Okay. This just feels gross. A nondisabled person crediting another nondisabled person with a disabled child’s emotional response. The truth is, we don’t know if Ollie was laughing at Brandon or at something else entirely. The fact that Grace is so quick to make it about Brandon and give him the credit for something Ollie naturally did (because he’s a human being with a full emotional spectrum) is all kinds of repulsive to me.
Not to mention that Ollie is literally standing right there while his mom is hugging Brandon for making Ollie laugh. While the three of them are talking about what a big breakthrough moment he had by laughing. How totally ostracizing. (And do we notice that Ollie is fine when his mom touches him on the shoulder? Further proof that autistic kids can be touched, just not by strangers without their consent.)
I can’t say enough how gross this whole scene made me feel. Tara said it last week: Our existence as disabled people is often about how we make nondisabled people feel. And it even extends to this: to nondisabled people taking credit for the most natural and human responses given by an autistic child. Seriously, if a neurotypical child were sitting in that beanbag, and Brandon knocked down the music stand and he laughed? Would anybody be crediting Brandon for that? Or would they talk about what happened in music class with that kid? Instead, they talk about Ollie, like he is not even in the room, except at the very end when Grace says goodbye to him.
Grace: The real goal when working with kids with autism is to connect with them. But to also help them connect with their feelings. And that's what you did for Ollie. You should feel really good about that.
Tonia: You know what, Grace? You should recognize that Ollie is a human being. And that he connects to people in his own way. And that he has all the feelings everybody else has. As Vilissa at Ramp Your Voice has said: “Your feel-good does not supersede my personhood!”
Grace: But you can't just bail every single time you get embarrassed or have a bad session with a patient. Because there are plenty of those days, too. Trust me. Oh, and you should also watch where you're going.
Tonia: Also, we've seen Brandon come to Grace's music therapy class twice in one episode, but we haven't seen a reason for him being there. Is he still bringing Jesus to therapy? If so, how is that going? It's not just The Brandon Show. It's Jesus's injury, after all...
JESUS AND EMMA - LIVING ROOM - AT THE PIANO:
Jesus: [plays the end of Row Row Row Your Boat]
Emma: That's great! You're doing better than me. Let's try again. Okay?
Brandon: [walks in] Hey!
Emma: Why aren't you at the Open House?
Brandon: I made an appearance. Just a very brief one. You know what? Let's try to change the key this time. G Major. [Brandon reaches between Jesus and Emma to play the chord.] So it's still just all white keys for this song.
Tara: Brandon literally gets between Jesus and Emma in these piano scenes. How annoying. And in my opinion, Brandon is overstepping with the whole “music as therapy” thing. He has no training. Randomly deciding to change keys reeks of someone on a power trip after being told that he helped a kid have a feeling, as Tonia mentioned.
Brandon has no regard for what an arbitrary change like this might mean for Jesus. He can play the song in one key. He is still playing piano, still using his right hand. And then, he is told to do it differently. Change needs to be introduced gradually, as anything outside of the ordinary will have Jesus’s brain spinning in an effort to catch up. We know he gets easily overwhelmed for that reason.
Jesus: I'm done. Piano's too hard. [Gets up and walks away from the piano]
Tonia: Here's another moment when "I'm done" re-emerges. For Jesus, this is aphasia-specific. It's restricted speech that presents when he is overwhelmed or fatigued. Here, he is likely both.
Brandon: Come on. Everything's hard when you're first learning it.
Emma: Yeah. That's not an excuse to give up.
Tara: And once again, neither Brandon or Emma take Jesus seriously when he says he is done.
Tonia: Jesus isn't giving you an excuse, Emma, he's telling you what's real for him. And telling him that "everything's hard when you're first learning it" does nothing but dismiss Jesus's legitimate struggle here, due to his brain injury.
Jesus: Why don't you two just get a room, huh?
Emma: What are you talking about?
Jesus: What? Do you think I'm stupid? You're screwing my brother!
Brandon: No, she's not!
Emma: That is not true!
Jesus: That's why...you don't want...sex with me!
Jesus: Of course you want Brandon. I mean, he's smart. Right?
Brandon: You gotta calm down or else you're gonna have a SEIZURE, man.
Jesus: [swipes a glass onto the floor where it shatters. Brandon and Emma jump back]
Tara: Jesus breaks a glass after Brandon says this. Why? Because it is an attempt to placate Jesus’s legitimate anger. Brandon is patronizing him, treating him like a child in front of his girlfriend. AGGRESSION is communication the family takes seriously.
Stef: Hey, hey, hey! What is going on in here?
Jesus: You and...Mama know! [Shakes her hand off his arm]
Jesus: You want...Brandon to have her--
Jesus: --because you always...want...Brandon...to have EVERYTHING!
Stef: [Steps in front of Jesus. Holds onto him] Hey, hey, hey. Enough. Brandon, Mariana, upstairs, please, now. Come on. Let's go. [To Jesus] Hey. Look at me. Look at me. Hey, Emma, sweetheart? I think that Jesus needs a little rest, so why don't you head home for a bit, my baby?
Tonia: Stef is clearing everyone else out here, which is needed, but when she talks to Jesus, we don’t see his face. We see Mariana’s face. We see Brandon’s face. We see Emma’s face. We don’t see Jesus connecting, or not connecting with Stef, and I would have loved to see that moment. We haven’t seen anybody ride out these moments with Jesus. Usually, he breaks something and they look horrified or Lena leaves. In a moment that, to me, is so clearly about them connecting, to not get to see them connect just feels like a real opportunity was missed here.
Jesus: [is watching Brandon leave the living room]
Emma: Yeah. Right. Of course. [Gathers her things and leaves]
Stef: [To Jesus] Hey. Calm down, okay? Calm down, love.
[The door closes at Emma's back and Jesus sits down suddenly on the step in the living room]
Tara: Jesus is so overwrought and/or exhausted here that he is literally using every ounce of his strength to remain standing. He clings to his anger like a shield while tracking Emma’s progress out the door. And when she (and the rest) leave him? He physically collapses and breaks down.
Stef: Are you okay? Jesus? You okay? Jesus?
Tonia: It has been a day or so and I just watched this scene again. What struck me this time was how much I love the Adams Foster moms’ way of handling it when one of their adopted kiddos are out of sorts. In any other home, I feel like it would be standard to send the overwrought kid to their room to cool off. But kids who have been in the foster system and/or who have been adopted at an older age can view being sent to their room as another rejection: Mom doesn’t want to see me. Mom doesn’t want to deal with me. Mom doesn’t want me.
So, I love that instead, Stef clears everyone else out and gives Jesus privacy here. I love that she stays with him. That she touches him and asks for eye contact. She doesn’t let his upset deter her from being physically close to him. She shows him, via her reaction, that she is capable of handling whatever he is feeling. I think it’s a combination of all these factors (privacy, eye contact, and physical contact) that let Jesus feel safe enough to break down.
Stef: Oh, my baby. Talk to me.
Jesus: [whispers] I don't know...
Stef: Oh, baby...
Tara: I do appreciate how Stef clears the rest of the kids out of the room before attempting to speak with him further. But Stef chooses this moment to pause and listen, when Jesus is overwhelmed past the point of words, and it’s just heartbreaking.
Tonia: And Stef says talk to me, but we don’t hear what he has to say. We only see Jesus fall apart because that’s pitiful. That’s sad. That’s expected. The show has made clear thus far that how Jesus is actually feeling and why is irrelevant because what matters is how Jesus’s feelings affect Stef, and Brandon, and Mariana and Emma. (Lena, apparently is so overwhelmed by Jesus that she was not seen with him at all this episode, except at dinner, when she sat by him and cut his meat.)
BRANDON AND MARIANA - JESUS AND JUDE'S ROOM:
Mariana: Is it true?
Mariana: I saw the way that you guys were looking at each other. Something's going on!
Brandon: There's nothing going on.
Mariana: I don't believe you. Maybe Mom can get it out of you.
Brandon: Mariana, no! It's none of your business! For once in your life just stay out of it!
Tonia: I cannot say enough how much I love and appreciate that every time we see Mariana’s reactions to Jesus, they are not, “He’s freaking out because of the brain injury” but some variation of “His feelings are valid.” His reactions are never overblown to her, because she sees the same things he does, and to her, Jesus’s feelings are always legitimate.
Mariana: Oh, my God. She's pregnant, isn't she? That's it. She's pregnant.
Brandon: Shh. No! She isn't pregnant. Anymore.
Tonia: Oh, wonderful. So glad now Mariana knows about this, too, and Jesus still doesn’t :( <--- Sarcasm
Tara: Yes, and notice that the show made the choice to follow Brandon and Mariana here, instead of staying with Jesus and Stef.
For more: Disability on The Fosters
For more: Disability on The Fosters