Thursday, January 11, 2018

Review: The Fosters 5x10 "Sanctuary"

Ahhh, finally the 5B premiere!  Tara and I were cautiously optimistic for this one, and for the most part we were not disappointed.  While there is much that needs to be rectified in the coming episodes, we really noticed a difference with how illness and disability were portrayed.  Read on for more of our thoughts. 




JESUS, MARIANA AND EMMA - GETTING IN THE LIMO AFTER PROM

Jesus: [grooving; to Emma]  You should've danced like that in there. I would've been like oh, oh, hey!

Mariana:  Why are we dancing in the parking lot?  Come on.  Let's go.

Tara: We are dancing in the parking lot because some of us did not get to dance at prom, Mariana. ;)

[Jesus and Emma get in the limo with Poppy, Logan, Olivia and Mariana]

Jesus: [to Emma]  You are so pretty, you know that?  [They kiss; Emma's still really drunk]





Lena: [Drives by.  Beeps her horn.]

Mariana:  What are you doing here?

Lena:  Mariana, get Poppy.  I need to talk to her.  Right now.

Mariana: Uh, yeah.  Poppy.  My mom's here.  She wants to talk to you.

Poppy: Oh.  [To Lena]  What's going on?

Jesus: [Gets out of the limo, walks closer]

Lena:  So, immigration came looking for Ximena.  She's fine.  She made her way to a church and she's claiming sanctuary.  

Poppy:  Oh my God...

Mariana: Are you kidding?

Jesus:  So messed up...

Poppy:  Oh, God, my phone's dead!

Mariana:  Here. Use mine.

Lena:  So, Ximena said she tried calling your parents but she didn't get an answer.  Do you have any idea where they might be?

Poppy: [shakes her head no]  They weren't going out tonight or anything.

Lena:  Okay, um, can we take you home?  Should we take you home?

Poppy: Yeah.  Please.

Lena:  Okay.

Jesus: [Looks at Poppy, then at Mariana]

Mariana: [to Jesus]  It's okay.  I'll go with her.

Tonia:  I noticed this moment last night (which you can see at the end of the clip above).  What do you make of it, Tara?

Tara:  I notice that Mariana accepted Jesus's nonverbal communication here. She did not condescend to him; she did not insist he talk to her.  Moving in the right direction, show.

Lena:  [to Jesus]  You go on home.  We'll meet you there as soon as we can.  Okay? 

Jesus: [turns back to the limo]

Tara: There is a night and day difference in Lena's tone with Jesus.  She is matter-of-fact.  She does not insist on talking to one of the other nondisabled kids in lieu of Jesus.  This is basic human stuff, obviously.  But as it has been sorely missing, it bears pointing out.




GRACE AND BRANDON - GRACE'S APARTMENT AFTER PROM

Brandon:  [wakes up and finds the bed empty.  Hears the toilet flush]  Grace?  [Gets up.  Knocks at the bathroom door]  Grace?  You okay?

[BATHROOM DOOR OPENS]

Brandon:  Grace.  Whoa.  Hey.

Grace:  Hi.

Brandon:  You okay?  Do you feel all right?

Grace:  No, I feel like I have a cold or a flu or something.  Come back to bed. [Grace has sprawled across the bed.  She's feverish and exhausted.]

Tonia:  Remember that at this point, Grace's mother has outed Grace's leukemia diagnosis to Brandon without her knowledge or consent.  Brandon has more information than Grace knows at this point...

Tara:  And Grace is not ready to be Sick in front of Brandon.  A cold or flu is an acceptable cover.

[GRACE'S MOM, SUSAN, ARRIVES]

Susan: [softly] Is she okay?

Brandon: Yeah.

Grace:  [moans]  What's going on?

Brandon:  I was worried, Grace.

Susan: [sits down on the bed.  Feels Grace's forehead]  Oh, my God.  You're burning up.

Grace: [Swatting her mom's hand away, annoyed]  Brandon, I'm fine.  Honestly.

Tonia:  I was so here for Grace having none of her mom fussing over her.

Tara: I loved everything about Grace this episode.

Susan:  Honey, where is your thermometor?

Grace: In the bathroom.

[SUSAN LEAVES TO FIND IT]

Grace: [to Brandon]  Why did you call my mom?

Brandon:  [Can't look her in the eye.  Doesn't answer.]

Tonia:  Oh, Brandon.  Come on.  I know you just told her you were worried, but tell her again.  Or maybe you could even tell her the truth: that her mom told you.

Tara: Pull it together, Brandon.  Respect your person.

[A LITTLE LATER, THERMOMETER BEEPS]

Susan: A hundred and two.  We gotta get you to the hospital.

Grace:  No, Mom.  You're overreacting.

Susan:  Grace--

Grace: It's just a cold.

Susan:  I'm not doing this with you.

Grace:  [Losing patience] Mom, I'm not a child.  I'm an adult.

Susan: Then stop acting like--

Tonia:  Oh, Susan, don't you dare say what I think you're about to say.  Your daughter's a grown woman with the right to make her own medical decisions.  You can advise.  But you cannot make them for her.  And you should not attempt to control her by telling her that making a decision that's different than you would is equivalent to her acting like a child.

Tara: Susan does not have a leg to stand on here, and I'm sure that is terrifying for her.  As far as we know, Grace is still in control of her own healthcare decisions.  But insinuating that she is acting like a child will not get Susan anywhere.

Grace: Please don't fight in front of Brandon.

Brandon:  Grace, I think you should listen to your mom.

Tonia:  Oh no you did not, Brandon.

Tara: I feel like what Brandon said was still in-bounds.  He offered an opinion, saying "I think you should..."  Not "Grace, you need to..."

Grace:  What?  Why are you on her side?  Why are you saying that?  

Brandon: [Doesn't answer]

Grace:  [Looks at her mom]  Did you tell him?  

Susan: [Doesn't answer]

Grace: [Looks at Brandon] Do you know?

Brandon: [nods]

Grace:  So that's what last night was all about.  The limo.  The tiara.  Some pity prom for the poor, sick girl, huh?

Brandon:  That wasn't it at all, Grace.

Grace: [not looking at Brandon]  Get out.

Susan:  Grace, don't--

Brandon:  I wasn't trying to--

Grace:  Get...out.  Please.

Tonia:  My God.  Grace's reaction to this was everything.  She was not kept in the dark indefinitely.  She figured out that they were lying to her and called them out.  She called out the pity prom.  Her telling Brandon to get out made my life, because we so rarely get to see disabled / chronically ill people get legitimately angry over things we have a right to be angry about.

Tara: Grace's anger was so beautiful.  And yeah, what she said.^




JESUS, EMMA, OLIVIA, LOGAN, NOAH AND JUDE - KITCHEN

Noah: My mom said immigration is still there.  They're stuck in the church for now.

Jude:  I don't understand.  Why can't Callie and AJ leave?

Emma: [still drunk, cuddling/sleeping on Jesus's lap]  What was AJ even doing there?

Olivia:  Who's AJ?

Jesus:  Uh, he's Callie's ex.  [To Jude, who's been eating cereal out of the box]  Yo, can you pass the O's?

[THE CEREAL GETS PASSED FROM ONE TO THE OTHER UNTIL IT GETS TO JESUS]

Olivia:  So, what happened to her boyfriend?  Adam or Aaron?

Logan:  I don't know.  Maybe they broke up.  People breakin' up at prom all the time.

Jesus: [to Emma, smiling] And getting back together.

Emma:  [happily] Mmm. 

Jesus: [kisses Emma's forehead]

Olivia:  [to Emma]  So, why were you all up on Mariana?  That was just an act, right?  There was never any ex boyfriend or girlfriend, was there?  

Emma:  Yeah...no, there was never an ex anything.  

Olivia: [to Logan] See?  I told you!

Jesus and Emma: [groan]

Logan:  Yeah, but why would she do that?

Emma:  Well, she was freaked out by that nasty DM Olivia sent her.  So she made it up.

Logan: [to Olivia]  What DM?

Tonia:  Love getting to see Jesus just hang out with his fam and friends tonight.  While it's not usual circumstances and things are tense, he's able to just be one of the kids.  He asks for cereal and does not get ignored.

[LATER]

Lena:  Yes.  Hi.  I'm trying to find out where a girl was, um...  A girl was brought into CPS tonight.  We're trying to find out where she was taken.  Poppy Sinfuego.

Jude: [Whispering, while Lena's on the phone]  Monte came over tonight.  

Jesus:  What?  Why?

Jude:  Because she got another job.  She's leaving Anchor Beach.

Mariana:  Are you serious?

Jesus:  No way...

Tonia:  Again, I noticed Jude interacting with Jesus here.  Previously they had almost no moments together, and the one they had, Jude spoke to Jesus like he was a toddler.  This was a welcome change.  Good job, family.

Tara: I do have to wonder, though, how hard Jesus is working at passing right now?  (With an invisible disability, it is possible to pass as nondisabled at times - as Grace has been able to successfully do with Brandon.)  I've heard from some who have seen the episode, "I forgot that Jesus had a TBI," and "It was like the old show again."

What we don't see is how much Jesus may be repressing his now naturally disfluent speech.  Tamping down on the urge to stutter or use verbal fillers such as um, uh, or you know.  We don't know how much of Jesus's cognitive workload is being utilized in order to be seen by his family and friends as nondisabled.  According to Mariana's phone, the time is 11:43 p.m.  Even if Jesus has spent the last 6 hours sitting at a table, it is late.  And with fatigue, aphasia can worsen.

However, if Jesus can successfully pass?  He is rewarded with respectful interactions.  Family and friends who treat him as nondisabled.  Sometimes, the pull of that is too enticing.  So, sometimes we exhaust ourselves by trying to pass.  Some days, we can expend the energy.  And some days, we cannot.  And the difference in treatment can be shocking.

Emma:  My God.  If she leaves, does that mean we lose her vote?  

Jude:  And that's not even the worst part.  Mama might be going with her.

Mariana [to Lena]  Did you find her?

Lena:  No.  Nobody knows anything.  I doubt we're going to get any answers until tomorrow.  

Mariana:  Okay.  I'll text Callie and let Ximena know.  

Lena:  Thank you, honey.

[MARIANA CHECKS HER PHONE.  THE SCREEN READS: I can help you save Anchor Beach.  Mariana's reply reads:  Then tell me who you are.  The newest reply reads:  It's Nick.]

Mariana: [looks shaken]

Emma:  What?

Mariana:  Oh, uh...  Nothing.

Tonia:  Just your ex that burned a warehouse to the ground, brought a gun to school, then sneaked into your house and hid there til he could get you alone and hold you (and himself) at gunpoint.  Just the guy that punched Jesus and knocked him out, essentially causing his TBI.  Mariana's got a PTSD diagnosis from all that happened with Nick (and her history of being abandoned and neglected.)  Don't forget that as we move forward.

[BRANDON ARRIVES HOME]

Brandon:  Hey, what's going on?

Jesus:  You got no idea, man...

Jude: A lot.

Mariana:  Callie's live on Facebook.

Jesus:  Mmm?  What?  [To Emma] Can you hand me my phone?

Tonia:  Even small moments like this: Jesus asking Emma to hand him his phone, are significant.  Because the stress level is low enough for him that he can ask the question.  And people have been treating him like an actual human for a few hours.  Look how much more at ease he is.

Tara: This is true too - lower stress does usually equal less symptoms.  Lower stress also makes it that much easier to pass.

[THE FAMILY WATCHES CALLIE DOCUMENTING XIMENA HAVING CLAIMED SANCTUARY AT THE LOCAL CHURCH.]




BRANDON AND LENA - BRANDON'S ROOM

Lena: [knocks briefly and we can see that Brandon's door has been patched over with what looks like duct tape and cardboard]  Hey bud.  Kinda surprised you're home.  You okay?  How was prom?

Brandon: Um...it was great.  Until it wasn't.  

Lena: [Comes to sit on Brandon's bed]  What happened?

Brandon:  Grace has leukemia.  

Lena:  Oh my God.

Brandon:  Yeah.  Apparently, she's having some sort of relapse or whatever they call it.

Lena:  Oh no...

Brandon:  She didn't want me to know.  But her mom told me.  And tonight she got a fever, and I didn't know what to do, so I called her mom and made her come over.

Lena: [touching Brandon's shoulder]  Honey, you did the right thing.  You know that, right?  

Brandon:  Why didn't she want me to know?

Lena:  Uh. I don't know.  She's probably a little embarrassed and scared?  Doesn't want you to see her so vulnerable, maybe?

Brandon:  But that doesn't change how I feel about her.  I mean, I still love her.  

Lena:  Well, she might not trust that.  Maybe you need to show her.  [Hugs Brandon.  Kisses his shoulder.]

Tonia:  This scene was notable for a couple reasons:

1) Lena noticed that Brandon was out of sorts and followed him to check and and be sure he was okay.  She was warm with him, touching his shoulder, hugging and kissing him to reassure him.  (You have no idea how much I need to see Moms have this level of warmth and involvement with Jesus.  I need it.  Like air.)

2) Lena speaks about Grace not as a poor tragic cancer diagnosis that makes Susan's life miserable.  She speaks about Grace as a fellow woman.  Hypothesizing respectful and human reasons Grace may not have wanted Brandon to know about her diagnosis.  She doesn't speak for Grace, though, which is important.

Tara: Let's talk about Brandon's "I still love her."  I find statements like this contain an unspoken "despite."  "I still love her [despite the fact that she has cancer.]" To qualify love is to cheapen it, in my opinion.

JESUS AND EMMA - MAKING OUT OUTSIDE MARIANA'S ROOM

Emma: [squeals]

Jesus: [laughs]

Mariana:  Okay, enough!  I'm not trying to see that.

Jesus:  [softly]  ...Rude...

Lena:  Okay.  All right.  Get moving.

Jesus:  Sorry. [Makes his way past Mama awkwardly in the crowded doorway.]

Tonia:  Almost didn't notice the soft comments that Jesus is making here, but what leapt out at me in particular was his apology to Mama.  Even though she is quite lightly breaking up their makeout session, and Jesus is apologizing in a similar tone, the existence of the apology is noteworthy as Jesus is (by now) so used to being reprimanded for everything that comes out of his mouth.

Tara: For existing!

Tonia: And now, even a lighthearted reprimand still brings an apology out of him.  Still trying very hard to Be Good, IMO, so that Moms will have no reason to send him away.

Tara: I agree with this.

Lena: [Inside Mariana's room]  Emma?  You got everything you need?

Emma:  Mm-hmm.  Thank you.

Mariana:  So, are you really leaving ABCC?  Jude told me.

Lena:  I don't know.  I might not have a choice.  I mean, there might not even BE an Anchor Beach to come back TO.  Or they might fire me.  I have to keep my options open.

Mariana:  What?  So, you're just gonna abandon us?

Lena:  No, Mariana.  I'm going to make sure I can still provide for this family.  I hardly think that's abandoning anyone.  Can we talk about this later?  

[LENA LEAVES]

Tonia:  There's a lot of talk in the episode (though not necessarily in this review) about how much Callie is coming to trust Moms.  How huge this is.  And it is.  But then you see, almost back to back, the twins are still on such precarious ground in terms of their own trust in their parents.  Jesus seems to be walking on eggshells in an attempt to not get anyone mad, as mentioned earlier.

And Mariana is dealing with Nick getting in touch, so she's feeling super unsafe, which of course would bring up feelings of abandonment, especially when talking about the possibility of Mama leaving their school and no longer being assistant principal.  With trauma, sometimes it feels like all the trauma you have experienced intermingles.  Bother one part, and another part wakes up and gets bothered too.  Then you're dealing with this confusing mass of trauma stuff.

Just because Mariana asks Mama in a way that is not "nice" or "polite" is no reason for Mama to brush her off as she did.  I get that it was like 2 AM.  But she made time for Brandon, and it wasn't much earlier than that.

Mariana: [turns out the light]

Emma:  What did you see on  your phone earlier?  

Mariana:  You mean, like, Callie's livestream?

Emma:  No.  In the kitchen.  Earlier.  You looked at your phone and...you got a weird look on your face.

Mariana: [Checks to make sure Mama's out of earshot]  I got a text from Nick.

Emma:  Mariana!

Mariana:  He told me that he knows who destroyed the model [of the school] and he can help us save Anchor Beach.  

Emma:  Wait.  You don't believe him, do you?  Maybe he just wants an excuse to get back in touch with you.  I mean, come on.  He is so manipulative.

Mariana:  I know.  It's just, look, I mean you heard my mom.  What if we can't save the school?

Emma:  Okay.  Well we don't know what's going to happen.  Not yet, anyway.  So, don't go doing anything stupid.

Mariana: I won't. Don't worry.  I know who Nick is.

Tonia:  Glad that Emma is paying attention and catching these subtle things with Mariana.  Glad they can talk to each other and Emma can remind Mari of just how manipulative Nick is.  I love the window into Mariana's head, where she sees every bad thing (losing ABCC, Mama as AP) ten steps down the road, and Emma's there to kind of remind her of what's happening now, and that she doesn't need to panic yet.

I love how Mariana says, "I know who Nick is," because I believe that she, maybe more than anyone else, has seen the real Nick.




GRACE AND SUSAN - AT THE HOSPITAL AS BRANDON ARRIVES

Brandon:  Hey.

Susan:  Hey.  [Turns to wake Grace]  Grace.  Grace.  I'm gonna grab a coffee and let you guys talk.  Okay?

Tonia:  In order to get to Grace's room, Brandon needed to call.  Normally, he'd need to call the hospital's front desk, but as Susan is there, he likely called her, instead.  Susan gave him a heads up about where Grace's room was.  And likely (as Grace is sleeping) Susan is the one that told Brandon he could come in.

Though I hope that, since Susan and Grace had a conversation in the interim, perhaps Grace consented to seeing Brandon again before she fell asleep and it just happened that he arrived while she was resting.  (Because that's also the only reason I can see for why her mom would wake her sick daughter in the middle of the night instead of letting her sleep...)

Grace: [sits up in bed independently.  The bed is still reclined.]  My mom told me she made you promise not to tell me you knew.

Tonia:  Grace sitting up in bed and leaving the bed reclined looked a little awkward.  But maybe she wants to put on a brave / strong face for Brandon and sit up on her own.

Brandon:  Still, I'm sorry.

Grace: It's okay.  I would've done the same thing.

Brandon: Just so you know?  That's not the reason I wanted you to have an awesome prom.  I mean I was planning all of that way before.  Ever since you said you never got to go to one.  

Tonia:  I'm side-eyeing this.  While it might be true that Brandon wanted to take Grace to the prom prior to knowing about her cancer diagnosis, the timing of it seems super suspicious.  All those last touches - the tiara and the limo - did seem last minute to me.  And he did tell Callie at the prom that he was trying to make sure Grace had a prom she would never forget.

Tara: Yup.  He's trying to backtrack now.

Brandon:  Why didn't you tell me, though?

Grace:  Uh, um...  I was diagnosed with leukemia when I was nine.  And I barely remember a time when I wasn't "the sick girl."  "The one with cancer."  The one that everyone looked at with a pitiful shake of the head.  And you never looked at me like that, which is one of my favorite things about us.  I didn't wanna change what we have.

Tonia:  I really appreciated that Grace spoke for herself here.  That this explanation came from her and it felt real and genuine.

Tara:  Disclosing an invisible disability is a balancing act.  Passing is a privilege - you get a taste of unmitigated respect, being able to have people see you as a human being instead of a diagnosis.  (Because while my disabilities are an unquestionable part of my identity, they are not all of me.)  And these things are intoxicating.  Belonging is intoxicating.

However, you realize that you cannot pass forever.  Your condition worsens, your symptoms out you, or you end up needing accommodations which require you to "come out" as disabled.

There are those you can brush off or tell a white lie to - the person behind you in line at the store who asks "What's wrong with you?" -  but the truth is, the longer you know a person, the more likely it is that you will eventually disclose.  Because, as I spoke of earlier with Jesus, the art of passing is denial.  Denying your body, denying your pain, denying your fatigue, denying your natural inclinations to speak and move and breathe.  And denial is exhausting.

So, you disclose.  And with disclosure comes ableism.  You know you've been the same person the entire time.  But now, you have to deal with the biases and perceptions of the person you disclosed to.  The shift is seamless - immediate.  They can't unknow, and they will not unlearn harmful disability attitudes without wanting to, without self-awareness, and without a lot of hard work.  And the truth is, you're not worth that work to most people.  It's easier to do as they have always done.  They will deny seeing you differently - I don't even see you as disabled - but you feel the shift.  (As Jesus did.  As Grace with Brandon feels now.)

Tonia:  Not sure if this is particularly relevent, but I feel it bears stating that there is inherent privilege in passing.  Some of us, like myself, have never been able to successfully pass, not even for a moment.  The idea that the ableism I experience on the daily might - even for a second - fade is intoxicating indeed, but ultimately unrealistic for those of us with a visible disability.

Brandon:  But it doesn't.  Nothing can.

Tara: It already has.  

Tonia:  Yes, it did the moment Susan told Brandon about Grace's diagnosis and he started seeing her with pity instead of respect.

Grace:  Thank you.  But I mean, we both know I need to go home.  And you have your whole life here.  

Brandon:  Yeah, we can figure it out though.

Grace:  At least have enough respect for me to admit the truth.  That we need to say goodbye. 

Tonia:  I love that Grace just keeps calling Brandon out and demanding that he have respect for her. 

Tara: I wonder at Grace's quick retreat here. Cancer - and her mother's loose tongue - forced her hand. She does not seem to want to make the relationship work post-disclosure.  Passing Grace was in the relationship, not Sick Grace.

Tonia:  Ooh, this is such a good point.  I feel like Grace did not intend for Brandon to ever know, so that she could be the version of herself that would be most respected and most seen and most valued for who she is, rather than pitied for what she has.

THE NEXT MORNING

Dr. Choi:  Good morning.

[GRACE, SUSAN AND BRANDON STIR AND WAKE]

Dr. Choi:  I'm Dr. Choi.  

Susan:  Hi, I'm Susan.  I'm Grace's mom.

Dr. Choi: Well, it's nice to meet you both.  Grace, how are you feeling?

Grace: Pretty good,  I guess.

Dr. Choi:  Well, it's good you came in.  We'll get you stronger, and hopefully you can go home in a few days.  But there's something I'd like to talk to you about.  I just had a nice long talk with your oncologist in Marin.  We both agree.  There is a new treatment we offer here for recurrent adolescent leukemia just approved by the FDA that you are the perfect candidate for.  

Grace:  Really?  What is it?

Dr. Choi:  Gene therapy.

Susan: Gene therapy?  What is that?

Dr. Choi [to Grace] Well, we alter some of your cells and then reinsert them into your body to attack the cancer.  Basically it supercharges your immune system to fight the disease, and we have been seeing incredible results.  More than eighty percent of people go into remission.

Tonia:  I noticed that even though Grace's mom asked the question about gene therapy, Dr. Choi addressed Grace herself when she answered it.  There were no hushed conversations off to the side out of Grace's earshot.

Tara: Yes, yay!

Brandon:  Wow.  That sounds amazing.  

Dr. Choi:  It is.  Of course, there can be potential side effects.  Fever, blood pressure problems, lung congestion, some of which can be life-threatening themselves.  

Brandon: [to Grace] Even so...  What do you think?

Susan:  Brandon.  This doesn't concern you.

Tonia:  Susan, if Grace did not want Brandon to be in the room for this conversation, he would not be in the room.  And him asking for her input is what you should be doing.  So that he does not have to.

Tara: ^Exactly.

Grace: Mom.  I wanna do it.  

Susan:  Grace, you heard what she said.  The side effects alone could be life-threatening.  

Grace:  Yes, and this disease is also life-threatening.  And a jillion rounds of chemo haven't worked.

Susan: Grace, we need to talk about this.

Grace:  No, we don't.

Brandon: With all due respect, if it's what she wants, isn't it up to her?

Grace:  Yeah.  Mom, I'm doing this whether you like it or not, and if you don't approve, you can just go home without me.

Tonia:  I loved Brandon using his privilege and speaking up for Grace here.  I loved that Brandon was shown to change how he was with Grace.  Not making decisions for her, but instead checking to see what she wanted to do.  So important.  And it goes without saying that I loved (LOVED) seeing Grace repeatedly advocate for herself and what she wanted.  She never wavered.  And you could see the doctor took Grace's word, not her mom's, nodding at Grace with a smile, before Susan even said a word.

Tara: Nice use of your privilege, Brandon.

BRANDON AND SUSAN - HOSPITAL HALLWAY

Brandon: I know that she doesn't want you to leave, okay?  She needs you.

Susan:  I'm not leaving, it's just--

Brandon: --Scary as hell.

Susan:  I mean, we went through this before.  It's just so hard, you have no idea.  Her father's completely unreliable.  He's got a new family of his own.  We have no help here.  There's no support system.  

Brandon:  Yes, you do.  Me.  

Tonia:  I loved this scene.  Because it was not Susan lamenting how terrible a burden Grace's cancer was on her.  It was her talking about the lack of support, which is a major problem for families of people with disability or chronic illness.  Though Brandon is only eighteen, he is legally an adult and can also choose to be here for Grace.

JESUS, WAITING WITH FAMILY OUTSIDE THE CHURCH FOR CALLIE TO COME OUT

Jesus:  [is the first of his siblings to embrace Callie.  He's smiling and so happy to see her.]

Mariana [to Callie]  You went viral!

Jude: [hugging Callie] Happy you're safe.

Tonia:  I loved seeing Jesus hugging Callie here!  These moments are beyond important, in representing brain injury survivors and the disabled population as human, not as symptoms that are difficult to manage, at best.

Tara: Yes, the TBI is not gone in this scene.  Jesus is in the scene and so is TBI in a million little ways that an observer would never know or see.

MARIANA AND LENA - KITCHEN

Lena:  [On the phone]  Yeah, I can come by and see the school next week.  When?  Okay, anytime after two is fine.  Okay, well then we can just say 3:30.  That's fine.  Yep, I know where that is.  Okay.  Great.  Got it.

Mariana: [On her way upstairs; texts Nick]  So, what do you know?

Tonia:  Oh, Mari.  Things just got to real for you, didn't they?  Sounds like Mama's leaving.  Imagine how desperate she has to be to rectify this situation that she would talk to Nick....  (And it's honestly a really crappy thing for Nick to do, after everything he's done already.  Leave her alone.)

CALLIE - KITCHEN, VIDEO CHATTING WITH XIMENA (WHO IS STILL CLAIMING SANCTUARY IN THE CHURCH.  SHE IS WEARING ONE OF CALLIE'S SHIRTS) - THAT NIGHT:

Callie:  Hey.  How you doin'?

Ximena: I'm definitely gonna get a little stir crazy in here.  But uh, I'm doing okay for now.  

Callie:  Good.  So, I've been working on, like, a profile of you, just using the footage that we shot last night and then the video that Mariana took of Poppy and your parents.  I'm editing something together for people to pass along, so that people know your story.  I just wanted to make sure that's cool with you.

Ximena:  No, yeah, of course!  Thank you!  Have you found Poppy?  I mean, do we know if she's okay?

Callie:  Why don't you ask her yourself?  

[POPPY MOVES INTO THE FRAME, SMILING]

Ximena:  Oh, my God...

Poppy:  Hey!  I just got here.

Ximena:  [crying] Hi, Poppy!

Callie: She's going to be staying with us, until you get out.  We're fostering her.

Ximena:  Oh, my God...

Callie:  It's okay.  You don't have to say anything.  Just...you won't be going through this alone.  I promise.  You have all of us.

[CALLIE LIFTS HER CAMERA TO SHOW HER FAMILY BEHIND HER, GATHERED ON THE WINDOW SEAT]

Adams Fosters:  Hi, Ximena!

Stef:  Hang in there, girl.

Callie:  I'm gonna come by later with some food and some stuff for you to do.

Mariana:  Ooh!  And I'll bring your roller skates!

Jesus:  And I got you on the fidget spinners...

Tonia:  I loved this scene so much, too.  I loved seeing a return of the Adams Fosters actually fostering!  I loved seeing Jesus on the window seat with his family, making sure Ximena has plenty of fidget spinners to occupy her. <3

I do hope that in the coming episodes we will see some of the hideous stuff Moms are doing, saying and looking into (shock therapy, threatening institutionalization and treating Jesus like he is a burden, to name a few) will be addressed.

Tara: Yes, this was largely good representation.  But particularly in Jesus's case, this appears to be because he either hid his symptoms or had a "good" span of hours.  (This episode spanned less than 24 hours, from what I can gather.)  It will be interesting to see what the rest of the series brings.

For more: Disability on The Fosters

6 comments:

  1. Great review ladies. I see improvement in the show as you do. Your comments on disclosing are very interesting. I’m in the same situation as Tonia. I can’t “pass” so I can’t choose whether or not to disclose really. The Grace scenes add to the story. And yes I hope the writers depict Jesus this way and include more of how the TBI effects him.

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  2. Great review ladies. I’m attempting to repost my thoughts. I see improvement in the show as you do. They are having regular interaction with Jesus instead of the contrived lines they had before. Grace’s plot line adds to the story. Your thoughts on discloser are very interesting. Like Tonia I have no choice but to disclose since my disability is very obvious so I often don’t understand the mental process people with invisible disabilities go through in terms of talking about the disability or illness. So thanks for that insight. I think there are people who if they know you long enough they embrace the disability and it helps the friendship grow. “Change” or “different” doesn’t always mean “bad” in these situations as people do change over the course of knowing each other anyway. I get what you mean by “despite” though. Not thrilled with how characters have to be called out in this show to tell the truth most of the time. Surprised Nick has contacted Mariana. Hope he stays away from the family!

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  3. Great review ladies. I’m attempting to repost my thoughts. I see improvement in the show as you do. They are having regular interaction with Jesus instead of the contrived lines they had before. Grace’s plot line adds to the story. Your thoughts on discloser are very interesting. Like Tonia I have no choice but to disclose since my disability is very obvious so I often don’t understand the mental process people with invisible disabilities go through in terms of talking about the disability or illness. So thanks for that insight. I think there are people who if they know you long enough they embrace the disability and it helps the friendship grow. “Change” or “different” doesn’t always mean “bad” in these situations as people do change over the course of knowing each other anyway. I totally get what you mean by “despite” and "still" in this instance though. Not thrilled with how characters have to be called out in this show to tell the truth most of the time. Surprised Nick has contacted Mariana. Hope he stays away from the family!

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    1. Thanks, Margot. We do see improvement, too, which is something. I loved reading Tara's thoughts on disclosure. And yes, the characters should not need to be confronted in order to tell the truth to Jesus, Grace, etc. I am really scared for Mariana. I do hope Nick leaves them all alone...

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    2. You're welcome! Totally agree! In a way the "still" part can imply something about the cancer makes Grace unlovable. Thanks Tonia!

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    3. Yes, Tara's thoughts on "still" are spot on, IMO!

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