The Fosters CHRISTMAS EPISODE RECAP: Have a Holly, Jolly, Tension-Filled Christmas!

One of the TV shows I am currently addicted to is The Fosters on ABC Family. The Fosters centers on an interracial lesbian couple who are raising a mix of biological, adopted, and foster teenagers and all the drama that comes with it. So it’s kinda like Full House, if Full House admitted that Danny, Jesse, and Joey were gay men raising three daughters and the annoying next door neighbor. Okay, so here’s a quick refresher since most of you don’t know the storylines involved. See this chick? fosters 2.11 callie This is Callie. She’s broken and angry because her life has been so tough—in and out of foster homes, in and out of juvie as she took care of her younger brother Jude, and currently dealing with some PTSD relating to her last foster family, where one of the biological sons raped her. You can already hear that twinkly piano music from Full House, can’t you? And this is Brandon. fosters 2.11 brandon He is Stef’s biological son from her first marriage before she realized, “Hey! This penis thing? Not really doing it for me!” and married Lena. He is a gifted piano player and immediately formed a crush on Callie when the Fosters took them in. Yep, he formed a crush on his foster sister. I don’t think Danny would have had words of advice for this one. Anyway, season 1 was full of drama over whether or not Callie and Brandon would get together as the possibility of Callie and Jude being adopted by this super cool and politically correct lesbian couple increased. Season 2 was the exact same thing except now things are even more complicated because 1) Jude was officially adopted by the Fosters but not Callie and 2) Callie met her biological father, who introduced her to his super rich family and her half-sister who was weirdly obsessed with Callie.

Anyway, where we last left off, Callie finally got her bio dad to sign those papers and Brandon finally had a girlfriend who would definitely never ever be related to him so all those 12 year olds on the message boards who have no concept of incest were bummed out. But then: Callie’s crazy half-sister ripped up the adoption papers and Callie’s bio dad was like, “Eh…Kinda don’t want to sign those again.” So in her despair, Callie tried to make out with Brandon and then that was the end of the episode.

And here we are now at The Fosters’ Christmas special. My only wish for Santa this year is that we don’t try to lift that taboo on incest. I mean, I know technically Callie isn’t related to Brandon by blood, but her half-brother is legally Brandon’s sibling and the whole family wants Callie to be included in their family so it’s kinda awkward. Anyway, so Callie is kissing Brandon and he pushes her away. Callie is confused as to why Brandon is no longer into their Flowers in the Attic love and reminds him that she’s not going to be adopted anyway. “I’m starting to realize how gross this is,” he says. “Apologies to all the twelve year olds on the message boards who think this is the next Twilight.”

“If loving you is wrong, then I'm really not right. Sorry, Callie.”

“If loving you is wrong, then I’m really not right. Sorry, Callie.”

Brandon ditches her and sits on a curb to think about where his life went wrong. And then all of a sudden it’s Christmas. I’m not joking. Brandon and Callie are helping decorate the tree with a suspicious lack of sexual tension. Lena and Stef, the moms, give Callie and Jude personalized Christmas tree ornaments to welcome them into the family. Jesus, one of the adopted twins, complains how the Fosters need to step up their game if they want to win the house decorating contest in the neighborhood. Stef’s mother, Grandma Sharon, offers to buy more decorations, but Stef puts her foot down. Jesus points out that Stef isn’t the boss of their grandma, but she shoots back, “But I am the boss of you!”

THE FOSTERS CHRISTMAS EPISODE RECAP: Have a Holly, Jolly, Tension-Filled Christmas!

“You don’t want to mess with an angry lesbian mom, kid.”

Mariana, the other twin, brings up the annual family Secret Santa and hopes that she doesn’t get Jesus again. Apparently, last year he gave her a vibrating toothbrush, and Brandon makes a joke how maybe it wasn’t a toothbrush, if you know what I mean. Grandma Sharon thinks Secret Santas are for poor people and promises to spend tons of money on presents for the kids, but Stef insists that they focus on the non-material stuff. Is this going to be one of those Christmas specials where someone learns that the real present is family? Because we learn that lesson every episode in this show. A lady from a local charity drops by to give Callie a present. “We hope you find a forever family very soon,” the lady tells Callie, right in front of a room full of people who are biologically or legally related to each other.

Wow. What a low blow, lady.

Wow. What a low blow, lady.

Stef and Lena gossip about Grandma Sharon as they clean out Stef’s father’s old stuff. Lena complains how her mother decided to spend Christmas with her half-brother Nathan. Stef sees a bank statement that says her father had $150,000 in a savings account before his death. Stef didn’t receive that money and there’s only one other person he might have given the money to—and who has been dropping an awful lot of cash lately… They go to confront Grandma Sharon, who is standing proudly in front of the tree with a boat load of gifts. “How do you like the tree now?” she asks.

Approval denied.

Approval denied.

Callie, Brandon, and Jude go shopping for Secret Santa gifts with a totally neutral, brother-sister vibe amongst all of them. Wait, is Brandon imagining how life would have been if he never tried to bang his foster sister? Nope, because he brings up a time they made out so this definitely isn’t a fantasy. Jude sees an expensive bracelet that Callie likes and holds it a little too long in his hand before putting it back. Uh-oh…hope he doesn’t try to steal it or anything? Back at the Foster Home, Stef is still mad that her dad gave all of his money to his ex-wife and not her. “I’ve got five multicultural kids to put through college!” she cries. “Do you think I get paid to be this liberal?”

Is my coffee bitter? Nope, it’s just Stef.

Is my coffee bitter? Nope, it’s just Stef.

Callie visits her friend Daphne, who was also in foster care, at the restaurant Daphne works. Callie complains about the charity gift, and Daphne quickly shuts her down. “So you’re going to feel sorry for yourself because somebody gave you a present?” says Daphne.  Daphne has real problems, ya’ll! She’s not allowed to see her daughter so she took the address of her daughter’s foster family from her social worker and she’s been stalking her. Callie points out that is a dangerous move and urges Daphne to be patient, but Daphne is unconvinced. As someone on a different show with different Daphne used to say: “Ruh-oh!” Jesus asks Mariana for help on the house decorating contest, and she agrees under certain conditions and terms. In writing. Mariana don’t play. Stef can’t stop bitching about the will so Lena calls her petty. Stef points out that Lena doesn’t like her own half-brother, which causes Lena to exclaim that half-siblings aren’t the same as full-siblings. Man, who would be the worst person to eavesdrop on this conversation?

Oh yeah. The kid with the half-sister.

Oh yeah. The kid with the half-sister.

Jude storms off and Stef sees him. She tells Lena to think twice about the stuff she says about family in house filled with adopted children. “I meant ‘full sibling’ as in who you grew up with,” explains Lena. “I barely knew Nathan!” Plus, Lena is still mad on the account that Nathan once called their mom the n-word to her face. Stef uses this opportunity to preach about Love™ and Tolerance™ and Being An Angelic Saint in The Face Of Homophobic/Racist People™. “I’ve have people call me a dyke to my face when I know in their hearts they’re not homophobic,” shrugs Stef.

It kinda does mean that they are, though.

It kinda does mean that they are, though.

Jesus and Mariana are decorating the house, and their rival, Mr. Nesbitt, confronts them and accuses them of sabotaging his decorations. He warns that he’ll be watching them and has a baseball bat if they try to mess with him. “I might want to renegotiate my contract. You know, for hazard pay,” says Mariana as she watches Mr. Nesbitt hobble off. Lena visits Jude’s room, and he shows her the expensive bracelet that he shoplifted bought from the store. Lena apologizes for her comment about half-siblings and assures him that he and Callie are just as good as “full siblings.” She also vaguely mentions that Nathan treated her mother badly so Jude suggests that maybe Nathan was just jealous. Lena realizes that she was also being jealous and not totally valid for being mad at her brother for using a racial slur. She tells Jude that he doesn’t have to buy Callie expensive presents to make up for her not being his full sibling. Man, we already learned two lessons and we’re only twenty minutes in. Jude goes back to the store and pretends to have accidentally taken the bracelet and is just returning it. The shop girl allows him to have it for his $40 budget.

Man, what a great day to be Jude.

Man, what a great day to be Jude.

Callie calls Daphne to invite her over for Christmas. Hey, remember when Callie told Daphne, “Don’t do the thing?” Well turns out Daphne is all, “I’m gonna do the thing,” and is stalking her daughter again. She even calls out to her daughter at the park. Ruh-oh, Daphne. The Fosters have their Christmas dinner, and Lena gives Stef a pair of diamond earrings, which upsets Stef. Grandma Sharon tells her daughter to stop being a cheapskate, which sends Stef on a rant about her mother’s extravagant spending. She complains about the bed that Grandma Sharon gave them and how she hates the memory fun and how it ruined her sex life— Whoa, Nelly.

Callie is all, “Oh man, I am so glad I’m not a legally permanent part of this family right now.”

Callie is all, “Oh man, I am so glad I’m not a legally permanent part of this family right now.”

Stef tries to make the analogy that her mother wouldn’t like it if Stef bought her a bunch of thongs, and Grandma Sharon makes the comment that maybe Stef’s sex life would be improved if Stef bought some thongs. Lena burns the lasagna and screams/cries how she just wanted a happy holiday. Stef apologizes but insists that she was worried about how the money was going to be spent. Grandma Sharon reveals that she spent the $150,000 on college funds for the kids. “You didn’t think I was going to spend all that money on myself, did you?” she asks. Plus, she has her own money from investing in stocks and stuff so she’s not the airhead Stef thinks she is. She admits that she feels like an idiot. “Well, every village has one,” quips Grandma Sharon. Oh man, that was such a good burn, I need an ice pack for myself. Callie gets a call from Daphne and meets her at the restaurant. She and Brandon arrive, where they find Daphne with her kidnapped daughter.

“I made a huge mistake.”

“I made a huge mistake.”

Callie, Daphne, and Brandon debate their options. They can’t just drop the kid off anywhere since cameras will see them and Daphne will definitely get in trouble for kidnapping. Eventually, they decide to drop off Daphne’s kid off at her house and pretend that Tasha somehow found her way home. She’s a two year old, guys. Not a dog. But whatever, the plan works. Yeah, the kid’s foster parents aren’t even upset that she was wandering off by herself. They literally act like somehow the dog just found its way home. Was there no Amber Alert issued for this child? Jesus sleeps outside, and he and Mr. Nesbitt catch some teenage vandals together and bond. Mr. Nesbitt tells Jesus how Awesome™ it is that he has an adopted family in case there is any doubt of how Awesome™ it is to be in a family like the Fosters. Look, I’m not saying that it’s not awesome—families are amazing, no matter what shape or form they are in—but does ABC Family have to beat us over the head with this? Seriously, I may have a concussion. Then Mr. Nesbitt gives a sob story about how his kids don’t visit him and winning the contest is his only source of joy so Jesus decides to back out of the competition. I bet Mr. Nesbitt made up that whole backstory to make Jesus back off. He’ll be damned if he breaks his winning streak. On Christmas Day, the family all open their gifts. Lena, overcome with the Christmas spirit, decides to call Nathan and forgives him. Brandon gets jealous that Callie’s on-off boyfriend gave her a present so he goes to sulk somewhere alone. She finds him and gives him his Secret Santa present: a metronome so he doesn’t give up playing the piano. They promise to never let the other one give up on their dreams.

Hopefully neither of their dreams involve incest.

Hopefully neither of their dreams involve incest.

Thus ends this flashback/flashforward/whatever this was supposed to be. Callie joins Brandon on the curb, but then an ambulance passes them on its way to the house of her bio dad. They run after it and that’s where the episode ends.

Want more The Fosters recaps? Leave a comment and let us know!

For other shows, check  out the HNTP recap library.  

Susan Velazquez

Susan is a recent college grad and writer who enjoys all things from the 1980s, snarking on dumb television, and reveling in celebrity gossip. Oh, and she has serious interests like reading historical fiction, getting involved in social issues, and consuming French fries.

You may also like...