Originally written: August 3, 2017
BRANDON - ANCHOR BEACH, WATER FOUNTAIN
Emma: [Approaches] Is there a story about Jesus and a baseball bat?
Brandon: Uh, why?
Emma: I saw your door was smashed in. Did he do that?
Tonia: I totally forgot Emma actually asked Brandon this!
Tara: Because, again, we cannot ask Jesus about the things he personally did or experienced.
JESUS, STEF, LENA AND DR. DANVILLE - DR. DANVILLE'S OFFICE
[Close up on Jesus's brain scans]
Dr. Danville: So, as you can see here, we're still seeing a fair amount of neuro inflammation...
Tonia: Okay, those are the scariest brain scans I have ever seen. (From my understanding, healthy brain shows up white on a scan. Dead or damaged brain shows up black. It looks like Jesus’s entire brain is hurt here. Good thing I’m obviously not a professional…because to me it looks like he is doing a heck of a lot better than that scan shows.)
Also who wants to have a CT scan at 7:12 AM??? That sounds awful! (Time code that is somehow on every image of the scan…)
Tara: Yeah, I’m hoping the scans up on the lightboard are not his.
Dr. Danville: ...meaning, he has to stay on his anti-seizure meds.
Jesus: [Groans] Doc, I can't even get it up!
Tonia: I was surprised at this exchange, mostly because it means a doctor visit regarding his anti-seizure meds had not happened yet, even though Moms knew he had stopped taking them because of the “side effects.” I assumed a visit like this would have taken place last season, led by Moms, because they’d know how important it is for Jesus to take his meds and not have to deal with terrible (fake) side effects.
Tara: Last season, I mentioned Moms could be relieved on some level by the “side effects” of Jesus’s medication, and that is why they insisted he stay on them. This is seeming more likely now.
I would be interested to see how Moms would react to any of their other children bringing up legitimate (if made-up-for-TV) side effects of a medication to their doctor. 99% sure it would not be something they would silence. :/
Stef: [To Dr. Danville] As you can see, there's still a little issue of impulse control...
Tonia: Stef, we need to have a conversation. This is totally the correct forum for Jesus to bring up medical concerns. He has to advocate for himself when you and Lena show no inclination to bring up his difficulties on his current medication. When you don’t make it clear to him that he doesn’t have to suffer needlessly with side effects and that getting on another medication is an option.
Tara: This is not an impulse control issue. This is not an impulse control issue. This is not an impulse control issue.
This is a minor child from a marginalized group attempting to get the medical care he needs. Do not minimize this. Just because he is not as eloquent as a nondisabled person in advocating for himself does not mean that his needs are not valid.
Stef: ...there have been emotional outbursts as well.
Jesus: Yeah. They're afraid of me, so...
Tonia: Having been on the receiving end of feedback about all the things I did wrong as a child because of my disability (from professionals to my parents) I can imagine it’s equally hellish to have to sit quietly by while your Moms list everything you’re doing (that would be valid if it was anybody else but because it’s you, it’s a symptom that makes them disappointed and fearful.)
Tara: Instead of “telling on him” to his doctor, what about having a conversation among yourselves asking Jesus what would help minimize his stress?
This is also the second time Jesus has very specifically chosen a “public moment” of sorts to bring up a difficult topic of conversation. (The last time being family dinner when Grandma came to town, and he said he was quitting therapy.) This seems to be so that Moms will have a harder time dismissing his concerns out of hand.
Lena: Why do you say that?
Jesus: Because I heard you telling Mom about what a monster I am.
Tonia: Seriously, Lena. You’re going to deny this now? To his face?
Tara: Because he overheard you. Let’s see you try to get out of this one.
Stef: Wait, wait, wait, wait a minute. That is not what she said.
Tonia: ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?
Tara: Now you’re just splitting hairs. It is what she implied.
Jesus: Yeah, it is what she said.
Stef: No, it's not.
Jesus: She said that she thought that I was dangerous.
Lena: Honey, that's not what I meant.
Tara: But what Lena said was that Jesus was dangerous. And you didn’t correct her, Stef.
Tonia: I’m pretty sure it is, actually, Lena. You’re just afraid to admit it to his face…
Stef: Mama and I are simply concerned about your ability to control your aggression, love.
Jesus: [Ducks his head]
Tonia: So patronizing. Make it stop. Also, Jesus is so humiliated.
Lena: The last time he went off his ADHD medication, he also had some anger issues.
Stef: Do you think it might help if he went back on them?
Tonia: First of all? The last time Jesus went off his ADHD meds he had wrestling as an outlet. Jesus has no outlet right now. This entire time, he’s needed something as an outlet to deal with what he’s feeling.
Secondly? Jesus should have been back on his ADHD meds way earlier than this. To not have him on medication he needs is just neglectful. You can’t tell me it’s the first Dr. Danville is hearing of this.
And can we stop having full on conversations in front of Jesus like he’s not right here in the room with you?
Tara: This is just getting silly now. You can’t ignore one condition to favor another. And hi, the person you’re discussing is in the room with you.
Dr. Danville: I think it's possible. Let's try a low dose.
Tonia: He should have been on a low dose ASAP not two months later…come on. That’s just sloppy.
Jesus: But...what are we gonna do about my...problem?
Stef: [Glares at him]
Tonia: I love how Moms are still all about giving Jesus warning looks for daring to talk about impotence at a doctors’ appointment, when they talk about sex education at the dinner table… <– Sarcasm
Tara: Yes, and Jesus keeps looking to Moms to see if they are going to let him mention his actual medical problem to an actual doctor.
Dr. Danville: We can try other anti-seizure meds that may not have that effect on you.
Jesus: [Smiles] Sweet!
Dr. Danville: We do need some bloodwork, though. Sarah will take you.
Jesus: Okay. Thanks, Doc. [Fist-bumps Dr. Danville on the way out]
Tonia: Like, it’s night and day how much better he feels when someone actually listens to him and takes him seriously. Jesus shouldn’t have to go to the doctor to experience that. (And I love the fist bump!)
Stef: Why isn't this getting any better? Isn't the brain going to heal itself?
Dr. Danville: When brain cells are damaged or destroyed, they don't regenerate. But the brain does reorganize itself.
Tonia: Thank you! Moms needed this reality check. If they’re waiting for Jesus’s brain to ‘heal itself’ that’s not fair to Jesus…
Dr. Danville: We're seeing great improvements in him physically, but emotionally...
Stef: What's wrong, baby?
Lena: Sorry, I got-- I, uh-- I just want our sweet boy back.
Dr. Danville: I know. You just...may have to manage your expectations. And his. 'Cause there's no pill or combination of pills that's gonna make him who he used to be.
Stef: Okay. Thank you.
Tonia: Ugh. Gut punch. The only thing I can be remotely glad for is that Jesus isn’t in the room to hear this… So damaging. (Though I have no doubt he feels Moms’ lack of acceptance. “This [Boy] is Unacceptable,” anyone?)
Tara: Your sweet boy did not go anywhere. This kind of talk is so damaging. He was literally right in front of you - you are choosing not to see him. This is who he is now. Please stop grieving your living child and start accommodating him.
JESUS - VIDEO CHATTING - HIS ROOM
Jesus: So, they're gonna adjust my meds, and then I should be, like, you know, back to normal.
Emma: [Walking through school halls] That's awesome!
Tonia: Oh gosh. No…
Tara: Though, if by "normal," you mean “able to have sex,” then yes.
Jesus: You coming over later?
Emma: I'll try. I'm kinda on east coast time and I have a ton of homework.
Random Kid: Yo, Jesus! What's up, bro?
Jesus: Are we, like...okay?
Emma: Yeah. What do you mean?
Jesus: Come on, Emma. Wh--What's going on?
Emma: Look...Can we talk about this later?
Jesus: No. We can't. You've been blowing me off, since, like, before you left for World's.
Emma: I know what you did to Brandon's door. And to his keyboard. And it scares me that you would do something like that.
Tara: But you didn’t actually ask him about it, which kind of sucks.
Tonia: Clear communication is a good step, but this TBI = AGGRESSION thing needs to be done.
Jesus: You-- You have nothing to be scared of. I would never hurt you or - or anyone.
Tonia: And then watch the next scene to see that Jesus Is Unreliable…because he was almost a dimensional person for a second. So we have to be sure that’s undone ASAP so we can continue with TBI = AGGRESSION.
BRANDON AND GRACE - BACK PATIO
Jesus: [Shouting] Hey! Why can't you keep your mouth shut, man?!
Brandon: Whoa, whoa, dude. Relax.
Jesus: No, you relax! Why would you tell Emma about your stupid little room? Why? So she'd break up with me?
Tonia: It has to be so infuriating to know that everybody’s got their hands in your business because nobody trusts you.
Brandon: She overheard Mama talking.
Jesus: Specifically about your keyboard?! Who told her that?! [Shoves Brandon]
Tonia: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” - Samuel Beckett (at Brandon)
Tara: Seriously, Brandon. The lying, man.
Brandon: [Shoves Jesus]
Lena: [Comes rushing outside] Whoa! Wait! Stop it! Brandon! Stop it!
Jesus: [Comes at Brandon, but Lena steps between them]
Brandon: He started it! He shoved me first!
Lena: Do you want him to fall and hit his head again? He's got a TBI! What is the matter with you?
Tonia: Lena, it doesn’t feel any better when you say it like that…
Tara: Totally a true-to-life Mom reaction here, as annoying as it is.
Lena: [To Jesus] Come on. Let's go back to the house. Come on. [Tries to shepherd Jesus in; Jesus pulls away and keeps walking toward the house] Come on.
Tara: Would you like to hold his hand while you’re at it, Lena? Maybe pick him up and carry him?
BRANDON AND GRACE - ON THE PHONE LATER
Grace: Hey. So, I was wondering...why don't you come and stay with me for a couple nights? You know, until everyone kinda cools off? I mean, if it's cool with your parents.
Grace: You don't have to. It's just I--
Brandon: No! No, I want to. Um. My moms will be cool with it. You know, I think it's a good idea actually. To give Jesus some space.
Grace: I mean, he should be the one giving you space, right?
Brandon: Yeah, well, I shouldn't have pushed him.
Grace: I know, but you're human. You just reacted. I would've done the same thing.
Tara: Why exactly should Jesus be giving Brandon space? He does not get a free pass for all his meddling.
JESUS - MEETING EMMA IN THE HALL AT ABCC AFTER SCHOOL
Emma: [Freaked out] What are you doing here?
Tonia: Wow, Emma. That’s a resounding welcome…
Tara: For someone who cannot “handle” going to school, Jesus sure managed to get there by himself okay.
Jesus: Look, I gotta know. Are we done?
Emma: I don't...think so. I mean, I don't wanna be but--
Jesus: But what? You don't have to be afraid of me, Emma. I'm not mad at you.
Emma: I think you are. I don't think you're mad that Brandon took me to get an abortion, I think you're mad that I had one.
Tara: Or maybe he’s mad because of both things.
Tonia: I’m glad they’re finally talking about this.
Jesus: Yeah. I'm mad that you didn't tell me about it.
Emma: Why? Do you think that would've made a difference?
Jesus: I don't know.
Emma: Mariana told me that you never wanted to be like your birth parents because they abandoned you, and that if you were in their same position, you would be a dad to your kid no matter what. Is that how you feel?
Tonia: I appreciated that Emma asked, “Is that how you feel?” after sharing what she heard from Mariana instead of having Jesus need to articulate it himself. So much easier to just say yes or no.
Jesus: [Softly] I guess. Yeah.
Emma: Then how can you not be mad at me if that's something you really believe?
Emma: If you...really think that you were capable...of taking care of a baby at 16...
Tonia: I'm glad Emma specified "at 16" rather than citing the brain injury as the reason Jesus would not have been capable...even though I can tell it's hanging in the air, unspoken.
Jesus: Okay. Yes. Maybe I am angry that you didn't ask me about how I felt before you did it. And maybe I think that you did it not because of my TBI. But because you didn't wanna hear what I had to say. Because you wouldn't care. Because you didn't care. Because you just would go and do it anyway.
Emma: I would've done it anyway because it's my body.
Tonia: I appreciate that Emma does not hold back here. She says what’s true. Not what she thinks Jesus wants to hear.
Emma: I was on the pill. It was not my fault. I didn't know that some herb could cancel it out. And even if it was my fault, it's my choice. It's my life. And I am not ready to be pregnant. I'm not ready to raise a baby. And I'm not ready to give one up for adoption. And I can't be with you if you feel angry or betrayed by that.
Jesus: [Those words hit him]
Emma: And I also can't be with you if you keep tormenting your brother, because he was only trying to be there for me. He wasn't just trying to help me. He was trying to help you. Because he loves you.
Tara: Brandon’s “help” involved actively shutting Jesus out of knowledge he deserved to have the minute Emma wrote him that letter. Let's not forget that.
Tonia: Also ‘stop tormenting your brother’ makes it sound like Jesus is a toddler….
Jesus: [Softly] Okay. I-- I--
Emma: Don't. Don't say anything. Don't tell me what I wanna hear. Tell me what's true.
Jesus: [He furrows his brow, thinking]
Emma: [Kisses his hand; walks away]
Tonia: Seriously! Can we get ONE episode where Jesus is not silenced. He has the right to say what’s true for him. And it wouldn’t hurt Emma to stick around longer than two seconds after she asks him to tell her what’s true. Give him time to figure out what he wants to say…
Tara: Instead of walking away before he has the chance to say anything.
STEF AND MIKE - ATTIC
Stef: Thanks for helping out with this.
Stef: I would ask Gabe, but he's in Escondido for a few days on a job.
Mike: How is it having him living here?
Stef: It's not ideal but...it's important to Jesus.
Mike: Yeah, Brandon said something about it being tense with Jesus?
Stef: Yeah. He's been taking out a lot on him, but Brandon's being very patient. It's just-- I don't want him to feel like he has to move out every time things get tense at home.
Tonia: Okay. Brandon has not had the Super Sib cape in a while. Better find it in those boxes and dust it off, Stef… <– Sarcasm
Tara: Wow. So, no one is on Jesus’s side here. In Stef’s eyes, withholding information was the right call. Brandon did no wrong. He is being long-suffering and “very patient” in the face of Jesus’s unreasonable anger. Gross.
JESUS AND BRANDON - BRANDON'S ROOM
Jesus: Yo, B! You got a second?
Jesus: [Notices Mason asleep in Brandon's bed]
Jesus: What are you doing?
Brandon: I'm gonna go stay with my dad for a little while.
Jesus: Wait. Is that because of me? Don't do that. Please.
Tonia: I can’t help but think this is a direct result of Jesus’s conversation with Emma. He’s trying to make things right with her, so he’s making things right with Brandon. It’s not wrong, but it does feel like manipulation. When it’s likely Trying to Avoid Abandonment 101.
Tara: ^She’s not wrong.
Jesus: I'm sorry that I keep taking everything out on you. Look, I have been really, really angry because I'm afraid that I'm never gonna be the same again.
Brandon: You're not.
Jesus: [Blinks as the words register. They hit him hard.]
Tonia: Wow, Brandon. Just drop that bomb.
Tara: This is so refreshing. Honesty. Finally.
Brandon: When my hand got smashed, I thought my life was completely over.
Tonia: I appreciate what Brandon’s trying to do here, but it really feels like a conversation Moms should be having with Jesus. Stef’s been shot. She’s had surgery that forever altered her body. Lena had to make the most impossible choice in order to save her own life. Talk to Jesus, Moms. Be real with him. Be honest. So that it doesn’t fall on Brandon’s shoulders to have all these talks about really important stuff with Jesus. He is not the parent. You two are.
Tara: Part of me also thinks, though, that Jesus may be able to hear Brandon better because they’re closer in age. However, he absolutely needs to have these conversations - with as many people as possible, especially Moms - and then have them again, because this kind of thing is not something you just get over.
Brandon: Everything I'd worked for. I thought I'd never play piano again.
Jesus: Yeah, but you did.
Brandon: Yeah, I did. But I had to learn how to play differently. It took a lot of hard work and a lot of time. But if you're patient, you can come back from this.
Tonia: The implication here seems to be that if Jesus works hard enough, he can get back to where he was. That it just might look “a little different.” Brandon means well, but this is ultimately harmful for someone with a disability to hear. Jesus’s recovery is not solely based on how hard he works. Some things he may never get back.
Feel free to chime in here, Tara, I feel like I’m veering into your lane.
Tara: Yes, this is the quintessential Overcoming Disability Speech: Hard Work And Patience Pays Off.
Except the doctor literally just said that brain cells do not regenerate. New pathways are made, but the damage remains no matter how hard Jesus works. Also, telling Jesus to be patient implies that he should not feel angry or sad or frustrated, in my opinion.
Brandon: Just because things won't be the same doesn't mean they won't be okay.
Tonia: Except you kinda just gave Jesus an Overcoming Disability speech. And now you finish with things will be different but they will be okay? Mixed messages galore. My goodness.
Tara: I actually agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment, just not the stuff beforehand.
Jesus: Now I've just gotta convince Emma of that.
Tonia: Still not sure where this is gonna go, but we’ll see.
Brandon: Hey. [Hugs Jesus] It's okay.
Jesus: Yeah? Thanks, man.
Stef and Lena: [Walk by and smile, seeing Brandon and Jesus hugging]
Tonia: Yes, thanks, Brandon. Is that a new Super Brother cape? Oh, it’s just freshly laundered? My bad. It smells amazing. You’re amazing. <– Sarcasm
Also maybe since Moms watched them make up, Lena can calm herself down.
Tara: I’m glad Jesus is getting some reassurance somewhere. And yes, well-timed hug is well-timed.
MARIANA - IN THE BATHROOM, TEXTING - A MASSIVE HANDPRINT BRUISE IS VISIBLE ON HER ARM - WE KNOW THIS IS FROM ROLLER DERBY PRACTICE WHICH SHE IS KEEPING A SECRET
Lena: Hey. Do you guys need some clean towels in here?
Mariana: [Rushes to pull down her sleeve]
Lena: Oh my God. What happened to you?!
Mariana: [Alarmed] What? [Finally spots the massive bruise that Lena sees on the back of her own thigh] Oh! Nothing. I mean, I fell at school. I didn't even know that was there.
Lena: Honey, you've got to be more careful. Let me get you some Arnica for that.
Tonia: Seriously, Lena? Your daughter has a massive bruise on her thigh and you’re going to accept “I fell” as the reason? “I fell” is a textbook coverup answer. Push her on this. (We are also terrified about where Mariana’s mystery bruises might lead…)
Tara: Yes, lets see. We have Mariana coming home with suspicious bruises + a (TBI = AGGRESSION) storyline. What could that equal? I’m seriously freaking out about this. So not funny. So gross. So irresponsible. BUT I will try to withhold judgement……………………..
JESUS, LENA AND STEF - BACK PATIO - NIGHT
Lena: So, we've been looking into what it would take to get you back to school.
Tonia: It’s about time.
Lena: And, well, there are a couple of things. First, you'll need to get an assessment to see where your learning is and how you're retaining information and all that.
Jesus: [Nods] Okay.
Tonia: Jesus is taking this all in, but Lena looks terrified and Stef just seems annoyed at having to have this conversation at all. It’s like they don’t even want to be around him. He’s your son, Moms. Parent him. Be there.
Stef: And then, once we know exactly where you are, you will probably get a--
Lena: --a paraprofessional.
Tonia: Except you literally have no idea yet if Jesus would even require this until he’s assessed! Until the IEP is drawn up and it’s determined what Jesus actually needs. So why bring it up now?
Tara: Yes, I agree. This is jumping the gun, IMO.
Jesus: What-- What is that?
Stef: It's an educational aide who will go with you to all your classes.
Tonia: Also known as a Social Alienator…
Jesus: Wait. Is that like a-- like a babysitter?
Tonia: Yes. It totally is. Mine used to yell at other kids who got too close to me and report back to my Mom if I did or said anything she didn’t like. It felt like I was constantly being spied on.
Tara: It is exactly like a babysitter, Jesus.
Jesus: Oh, no, no, no, no! Come on! No! Absofreakinglutely not! Come on!
Tonia: You and I both, Jesus…
Stef: Jesus, listen. If you would like to go back to school, you really have no other choice.
Tonia: I’m sorry. Did I somehow miss the memo that school was now optional? Also, patronize him a little more Stef. Back him into a corner with “You have no other choice,” and watch what happens.
Just because he has a brain injury now doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve to be heard out when he has concerns about things. And again I really think Moms jumped the gun even talking about the aide at this point. Just because one kid needs one doesn’t mean Jesus necessarily will. I feel like taking things one thing at a time would be a lot better for him.
Tara: Because school is an ultimatum and you’re a psychic, Stef? Jesus has not even been assessed yet - an aide is not a foregone conclusion. Slow down.
Jesus: Okay! Okay, well then, I won't go back to school!
Jesus: No, wait, look. We know that things are never gonna be the same. So I can get my GED--
Jesus: --and I can work construction with Gabe!
Tonia: I mean, Moms, you kinda walked right into that one…
Stef: No! That is not an option.
Jesus: That is an option! I am 16! I can drop out! This is my life!
Stef: Jesus, no!
Tonia: Jesus! Yes!
Tara: Ahhhhhh, I lived for Jesus speaking out when Stef tried to shut him down again! Make them take you seriously. Make them listen.
Jesus: [Grunts, frustrated. Walks into the house. Slams the door.]
Check out Disability on The Fosters for the rest of our recaps, and tune in January 11 for our recap on episode 5x10, which will air on Tues. January 9th on Freeform.