Friday, March 2, 2018

Review: The Fosters 5x16 "Giving Up the Ghost"

This episode was a little Jesus-light.  But we will cover his scenes as well as a relevent scene of Stef's and give an overview of what is happening with Grace:






JESUS AT DERBY PRACTICE WATCHING AND CHEERING ON THE SIDELINES

[MARIANA, POPPY AND EMMA ALL MAKE THE TEAM AND ARE TOLD TO COME BACK FOR POSITION-TRYOUTS]


Poppy: [to Emma]  Congratulations!


Jesus:  You were awesome!


Mariana: [Clears her throat]


Jesus:  You, too.


Poppy:  Hey, so, we're all gonna get some pizza to celebrate.  


Mariana:  Cool.


Emma:  I wish I could.  I gotta work on my robot.


Mariana:  For what?


Emma:  This STEAM internship over the summer.  It's for the Bandt Foundation.  It's super competitive.  They only accept 25 students all over the country.  


Jesus:  I mean, do you really wanna spend the entire summer in LA, though?  


Emma:  It's in Venice Beach.  And uh...yeah!  If I get into this program, I can pretty much get into any college I want.  


Jesus:  When do I get to see your 'bot?


Tonia: This whole time (until transcribing) I honestly thought Jesus was asking Emma "When do I get to see your butt?"  LOL.  No wonder Emma's response is so calm!


Emma:  Tomorrow after school?


Jesus:  Okay.  


Asst Coach:  Ladies, let's get measurements for your jerseys.


[MARIANA AND EMMA GO TO GET MEASURED]


[JESUS MOVES OUT OF THE WAY AND EXTENDS AN ARM FOR THEM TO PASS HIM IN A 'LADIES FIRST' FASHION]


Poppy: [to Jesus]  Hey uh...


Jesus:  Hmm.


Poppy:  Do you think you could work with me on my jammer tryout?


Jesus:  Yeah.  Sure.  But you and Mariana are the best contenders we got.


Poppy: [Laughs nervously]  Yeah, I just...I want it so much.  And Ximena's not convinced that I'm jammer material so I really gotta kill it.


Jesus:  Okay.  I'll work with you, but don't worry.  You got this.


Tonia:  Glad Poppy is reaching out to Jesus and wanting his help prepping for tryouts.  (Though the tryouts that we see later are pretty physical, and we know Jesus would be at risk if he hit his head again.  I guess he could coach her verbally just as well...)


Tara: That's what's cool - coaches generally do not have to do the thing.  They need an understanding of how to do the thing.  They need to know how to communicate or show someone else how to do the thing. 

I love that Jesus is being portrayed as knowledgable and someone Poppy would look up to and look to for assistance due to his understanding.  

JESUS OVERHEARS MARIANA AND EMMA FIGHTING - MARIANA'S ROOM - THE NEXT NIGHT


[MARIANA HAS DECIDED TO APPLY FOR THE SAME STEAM INTERNSHIP AS EMMA BECAUSE MARIANA'S BEEN TOLD SHE NEEDS MORE STEAM STUFF ON HER COLLEGE APPLICATIONS TO BE COMPETITIVE]


Jesus:  Hey.


Emma:  What happened to you today?


Jesus: [confused]  Um--


Emma:  You were supposed to come over to look at my robot?  


Jesus:  Oh!  Damn it.  I'm sorry.  I was-- I was--helping Poppy get ready for her jammer tryout.  I totally spaced.


Tonia:  Again, it's great that Jesus is being singled out for a strength that he has.  But I would have loved to get to see him actually helping Poppy with this, rather than it just being referenced.  I want to know how he coached her.  What worked for her.  What didn't.  Did they take breaks?  Did they adapt anything so that Jesus could better assist Poppy?


Kinda feel like a broken record, but it does feel like another missed opportunity to really show Jesus excelling at something, rather than just telling the audience that he did something off camera.

Tara: ^This is true, but I get that this is not The Jesus Show.  I'm okay with a reference to this.

Emma:  Yeah, well, I needed your help today, too.  But I guess I'm not a priority anymore.  Got it.  [Shoulders Jesus on her way out.]


Tonia:  Emma, I get that you're feeling left out.  Jesus gets it, too.  He's sorry.  If you wanna be sure he remembers to show up, maybe give him a call ahead of time.  Also perhaps you could be more clear about needing help?  Because I know I definitely didn't get that from your previous conversation with him...)





JESUS WITH MARIANA, POPPY, XIMENA AND EMMA - AT DERBY PRACTICE - THE NEXT MORNING:

Ximena:  All right!  Who's trying out for jammer?

Poppy: [to Jesus]  Wish me luck?


Jesus:  Ah, good luck.  Okay?  But you don't need it, remember?  You put in the work.  You got this. [Squeezes her hand supportively]


Tonia:  Might just be me, but I ADORE Poppy's clear communication.  Especially when juxtaposed against Emma apparently just waiting at her house feeling sad and then getting after Jesus for it later.


[EMMA, BEHIND THEM, LOOKS ON, CLEARLY JEALOUS]


Tonia:  Emma, seriously.  They are living as brother and sister.  Siblings support each other.  Settle down, please.


[POPPY JOINS MARIANA FOR TRYOUTS]


Ximena:  That's it?  We only have two slots.  If no one else wants it, we don't have to have tryouts, I guess.  


Emma: [angrily] I'll give it a shot.


Ximena: All right, Newbie.  I like your attitude.  


[EMMA JOINS MARIANA AND POPPY]


Mariana:  What are you doing?


Emma:  It's not fair for you to say I can't try out for something just because you are. [Referring to an earlier conversatin where Mariana told Emma how hard she and Poppy had been working for these spots, and Emma agreed not to try out for jammer.]


Poppy: [Looks nervously to Jesus]


Jesus: [Mouths] You've got this.


Tonia:  Love seeing Jesus support Poppy and Mariana here.


LATER...


Jesus: [Cheers on Mariana as she jams through 5 blockers, including Emma]


[IT'S POPPY'S TURN TO JAM THROUGH THE BLOCKERS.  SHE STRUGGLES.  JESUS COACHES FROM THE SIDELINES]


Jesus:  Stay on your feet!  Stay on your feet!


[MARIANA BARELY BLOCKS POPPY AND POPPY'S ANGRY ABOUT IT]


[IT'S EMMA'S TURN TO JAM THROUGH THE BLOCKERS.  SHE STRUGGLES PARTWAY THROUGH BUT IS MORE AGGRESSIVE.  MARIANA'S HER LAST BLOCKER AND EMMA HIP-CHECKS HER TO THE GROUND.  THEY BOTH FALL.]


Mariana:  What the hell, Emma?!


[MARIANA AND EMMA ARE NAMED TO THE TEAM.  POPPY LOSES BY A ONE-SECOND MARGIN]


Tonia:  Tara, didn't you say Jesus didn't even clap when Emma got named jammer?


Tara: He didn't. 

Mariana: [to Poppy] I'm so sorry.


Poppy: [Disappointed]  It's fine.


LATER...


Jesus: [Sets equipment down on a table.  Still bummed that Poppy lost]


Emma:  Hey.  Are you mad at me?


Jesus:  Why'd you try out for jammer?  Is it 'cause you're pissed at...Mariana for applying to your stupid internship?  


Emma:  It's not stupid.  And why shouldn't I go out for jammer if she's gonna go for what she wants?


Jesus:  [Hushed]  Because!  It's not about Mariana, Emma!  It's about Poppy.  Who you just royally screwed over.  I mean, after everything that she's been through with her parents?  She needed this.  


Tonia:  Love that Jesus has zero time for this petty stuff.  He knows what's important and can relate to what Poppy's going through (at least the foster care part of it.)


Emma:  What about what I need?


Jesus:  What?  You need to be JAMMER?


Tonia:  YES!  CALL HER OUT, JESUS!


Emma:  [Hurt]  No.  [Skates over to Ximena]  I don't wanna be jammer.  


Ximena:  Why not?


Emma:  I want Poppy to have it.


Tonia:  Doesn't feel too good realizing you're exploding all your closest relationships because you're jealous, does it, Emma?


Ximena:  She's not gonna want something she didn't earn.  That's not how this team works.  Okay?  We compete against ourselves.  Not each other.  We empower our sister to do her best.  Even if her best is better than ours.  'Cause we're badasses here.  You have nothing to feel bad about.


[XIMENA TOUCHES EMMA'S SHOULDER; WALKS AWAY]


Tonia:  I love that Ximena told Emma Poppy's not going to want something she didn't earn.  It's about respect.  Jesus can be a brother to Poppy and a brother to Mariana and a boyfriend to you, Emma.  You just have to realize that sometimes family takes priority.


[POPPY WALKS IN EMMA'S DIRECTION]


Emma:  I'm sorry.  


Poppy: [Still upset, but strong]  Don't be.  You earned it.


Tonia:  Poppy's got some major class...


[MARIANA SKATES BY]


Emma: Apply for the internship.  It's cool.


Tonia:  Trying to give everyone 'permission' to do the things they have the right to do, and worked hard for, is not the same as respecting them in their own pursuits, Emma.


STEF AND LENA - LIVING ROOM




[LENA'S IN TEARS AND STRESSED, HAVING JUST WARNED TESS TO STAY AWAY FROM MARIANA - WHOM SHE THREATENED - AND STEF - WHOM SHE KEEPS TRYING TO INVOLVE IN HER LIFE]


Lena:  You--  You have feelings for her?


Stef:  No.  I don't.  I have [sighs]  I have feelings about her about me.  


Lena:  What about?  What--What about?


Stef:  About everything.  My life.  


Lena: [Sighs, still crying]  Are you not happy with our life?


Stef:  That's not it.  I'm unhappy with me.  Let's just go away.  Let's do the couple's thing--the retreat that my mother got us.  [Sighs.  Holds Lena's hand]  Please?


Tonia:  This was a super important followup to an earlier scene in the episode where Stef continued to balk at the idea of going on the retreat from her mom.  It's also notable that she is finally starting to open up to Lena, and it's about time.  But this ending felt abrupt to me?


(Plus, you have two foster kids at home.  They have to be with someone cleared while you are gone, they cannot just stay home alone.)

WHAT ABOUT GRACE?


Tonia:  Grace had the scenes most tied to the title.  She and Brandon look forward to spending the weekend together, rehearsing (as her mom went out of town.)  But Grace informs Brandon that "her ghost is back."  Brandon makes light of this revelation and shuts Grace down in the process.  He makes fun of the idea that there is a ghost, and a picture falls of Grace's wall.  Brandon listens a bit more to Grace, who admits that the ghost only comes around when she is sick.  So she's worried the ghost is back because her treatment is not working.  This sobers Brandon and he takes her seriously, talking about how maybe Grace's ghost is here because she's getting well, and he needs permission to move on.  This is a cute scene they have, where they do some "very legitimate" research to try and make the ghost leave:



Eventually, Brandon has convinced Grace that she is getting better.

I find myself wishing that he would take Grace seriously and listen to her concerns.  She knows herself and her own body.  She's had experience with this 'presence' before.  And I get Brandon's concern, and desire for her to be well, but she just ends up having to kind of play along, for Brandon's own comfort by the end of the episode.  Which is disheartening.

Tara: My take from Grace and Brandon's scenes was that he was initially dismissive of her.  This speaks to a larger issue of nondisabled loved ones dismissing a disabled/chronically ill person's experiences or symptoms. 

I appreciated seeing the storyline progress in that Brandon eventually came alongside Grace in helping her with her ghost.  He acknowledged its realness and took steps to alleviate her stress.  Because Brandon did these things, it allowed Grace the opportunity to consider the possibility that the treatment may work.  I did not get the feeling that she was saying this for his benefit.  It felt as if Grace was allowing herself to hope for a positive outcome.  

3 comments:

  1. Wonderful review ladies. Not much to say about this one. except Emma is kind of a jerk here. “She’s not gonna want something she did not earn” Thank you Fosters writers for that line!

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    1. Emma's been not my fav for quite a while now (which is sad because she definitely used to be a character I liked.) But yes! Loved Ximena's line about that Poppy is not going to want something she didn't earn." So good!

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  2. Great post. A good timing for me to read it when I have just started my blog a couple of days before. Keep sharing the tips :)
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