Monday, June 23, 2014

Another New TV Addiction - The Fosters

Okay, I'm a sucker for a good drama; I've loved Grey's Anatomy since the first episode, Chicago Fire hooked me on the premise alone, and Pretty Little Liars is my not-so-secret guilty watch. A few weeks ago, I finally decided to check out The Fosters. I'd heard the hype when this show first premiered, and it was on my to-watch list, but I guess I always had plenty of other shows to keep me entertained. Since everything is off-season now, and all my favorite shows are on hiatus, I needed something to fill in the gaps between the few shows I watch at this time of year like Rookie Blue, The Night Shift, (an awesome new show) Pretty Little Liars, Teen Wolf, True Blood, etc.
So I decided to give the Fosters a go, and from pretty much the first episode, I totally become a Brallie shipper.
For those of you who don't know anything about this show, its based on a new-normal type of family. Stef Foster and Lena Adams are a long-term gay couple with teenage children. The oldest is Brandon, Stef's natural son from a marriage before she came out. Stef and Lena later became foster parents to twins Mariana and Jesus, eventually adopting them. At the beginning of the first episode, Lena is asked to foster another teenager, Callie, who has just been released from Juvenile Detention. Lena is hesitant about it, not wanting to bring a high-risk teenager into their stable home, but as its only meant to be over night, decides to go with it, especially considering Callie's appearance after getting beaten up in juvie before being released.
From the first scene where Callie was sitting in the kitchen, and Brandon walked in to sit next to her at the large table, the chemistry between them sparked to life.
The family did their best to welcome Callie, though she was quiet and withdrawn, and obviously finding it hard to trust anyone. However, with Brandon, she seemed to make a connection and gravitate naturally toward him. On the first day of school, Callie is obviously uncertain and uncomfortable, so Brandon takes her up to the music room to hang out with him while he practices piano. That music room ends up being the location of a few significant moments between them over the season.
Later in the day, Brandon sees Callie leaving the school grounds and follows her, obviously feeling somewhat responsible for her, but also not wanting her to go off by herself, even though she won't tell him what she's up to. They take a bus across town, and Callie belatedly realizes that by going with her, Brandon has missed an important audition. He tells her it doesn't matter, and this is the first of many sweet scenes between the two.
The ending of this episode had an awesome action climax rarely scene in pilot episodes of any show. Callie finally tells Brandon they're going to see if her younger brother is safe, however since her ex-foster father was the one who had her sent her to juvie, knew that she wouldn't just be able to walk up and knock on the door.
They devise a plan for Brandon to distract the man at the front door, while Callie sneaks in the back to find her brother. The plan quickly goes bad when the man spots Callie and gets angry, pulling a gun out of a nearby draw. Luckily by this stage, Stef (who is also a police officer) and Lena had worked out Brandon was missing, and track his cell phone, turning up in time to defuse the situation.
Stef and Lena make the decision to take Callie's brother Jude home with them, and after hearing the pair's story, decide to keep them until a more stable home can be found. 
After this, as the episodes of the season unfold, it quickly becomes apparent that Brandon was developing feelings for Callie, despite the fact he had a girlfriend. But when the gf starts acting jealous, Brandon soon breaks up with her, and doesn't seem too broken up about it.
Meanwhile, on Callie's side of the equation, she seems more steadfast against her attraction to Brandon. She's well aware of the rules when it comes to foster siblings, and explains to Brandon the consequences for her if they become too close. Little does Brandon know, Callie has already had a bad experience with a foster brother in the past.
During this time, Callie has also become close to another boy at school, Wyatt, though interestingly enough, Brandon is the one she goes to, and the one she really opens up to again and again.
After facing some of her own issues, with Brandon there for her every step of the way, Callie finally relaxes a little toward Brandon, resulting in a first kiss that will definitely be going on the revised edition of my top TV kisses if I ever get around to doing it.
However, everything isn't all roses and sunshine. Stef and Lena have decided they're going to adopt Callie and Jude, which means Callie and Brandon will be brother and sister. Despite the fact they didn't grow up together and don't share any DNA, it still obviously means they can't be together.
Jude sees Callie and Brandon kissing, and then accuses Callie of ruining everything, so Callie makes the extremely bad decision to run away. From there, things just go down hill for Callie.
When she inevitably gets brought home, she and Brandon refuse to give up on each other. She gets put in a group home (for the worst offenders in the foster system, most of whom are ex-juvie inmates), and then considers applying for the independent living program. However, as Callie works through her emotions and problems, she comes to realize she needs a family more than a boyfriend.
By this point, Brandon has come to the same realization, and the scene where they 'break up' (though technically, I wouldn't call it that) was done brilliantly by the writers and actors.
For the remainder of the season, the two struggle with finding a place in the new family dynamic, and wrestle with the feelings they have for one another. Brandon wants to find a way for him and Callie to be together, but Callie is set on being adopted, and keeps up her walls against him.
Unfortunately, the adoption process doesn't go smoothly for Callie, with the revelation that her father isn't really her father, and another man will have to be tracked down in order to hand over parental rights to Stef and Lena.
Meanwhile, Brandon is making his own not-so-good choices, getting involved with one of the school bad-guys in a money making scheme that goes wrong when Brandon realizes he can't go through with it. This turns his once business partner into an enemy. Aside from this, Brandon also gets drunk one night and ends up in bed with his dad's girlfriend... okay, that sounds totally skeevy, but Dani is portrayed as a fair bit younger than Brandon's father, Mike.
So the season ends with Jude getting adopted, but not Callie. Brandon tells Callie he still loves her, but she says they can't go there again, and tells him an outright lie about sleeping with Wyatt to get Brandon to back off. Brandon's enemy had decided to hurt Callie to get at him, and when it looks like she could go back to juvie,
Brandon swoops in to take the fall for her. After seeing Brandon do this, Callie comes clean about her lie, leaving the shippers with some hope that the pair will find their way back together. But the writers weren't done with us yet. The season closes on Brandon getting bashed by his enemy and a couple of other guys, completing the viscous act by slamming Brandon's hand in a car door, no doubt breaking more than a few bones in the talented pianist's hand.
Phew! So much drama packed into 20-odd episodes.
Season two has just started back, and has begun by showing us what happened to Brandon after the attack, but brought up more angst and issues we'll be dealing with in the coming episode.
And I've been doing some thinking and plotting (which I quite enjoy when I get uber-obsessed with a TV show) so here's what I'd like to see happen this season:

1) I already know that they've tracked down Callie's real father and he's interested in finding out about her. I hope (for the sake of us Brallie shippers, because Brandon and Callie CANNOT become brother and sister) that Callie's biological father decides he wants to get to know her before making a decision, and when he finally does have to make the choice about whether or not to sign away his parental rights, he'll choose not to, giving Callie a real father and second family, leaving the way open for Brandon and Callie to eventually get together. Callie will continue to live with Stef and Lena, though, because that's where Jude is.

2) Callie is back with Wyatt, which Brandon is obviously not impressed about, however I think Brandon will probably get his own girl to distract him. However, its not going to fix what he feels for Callie, and by the end of the season (even if its not until the very last episode) he and Callie will find their way back to each other, or at least be taking steps in that direction.

3) Though Mike had broken up with Dani, she was back in the first episode. She called up Brandon to let him know she was moving in with his dad, and that Mike could never find out about what happened between them. Brandon wanted to tell his dad the truth, and even went over to have the conversation, but lost his nerve at the last minute. Now, I have a really bad feeling about Dani. She's going to cause some serious problems. I'm thinking something along the lines of finding out she's pregnant and naming Brandon as the father. And then telling Brandon she's going to pass the baby off as Mike's. And at some point Mike and Dani will probably get engaged. But of course because we don't want want Brandon to be a teenage father, Dani will lose the baby, but the damage will be done.

4) Whatever goes down with Dani (and something will, there's no doubt about that) Callie will be the one who is there for Brandon, and they will continue turning to each other in the darker times, when needing to sort through various issues. 

5) I'd like something really angsty and dramatic to happen, that will remind Brandon and Callie of their feelings for one another, even though they're staying apart. Some kind of situation where one of them is in serious danger, or at risk of being killed. Perhaps something like a school shooting. While I know this subject isn't something to be taken lightly, it is a relevant and realistic issue at American high schools. Glee did an episode touching on this, though the whole thing turned out to be kind of a non-dangerous misunderstanding. I would be interested to see The Fosters go there, simply because all of the dynamics would be amazing, with Lena being the substitute principal (because the last one apparently got fired) and Stef being a police officer, and all of their kids at the school.

6) One kiss. At least ONE! Brandon and Callie are definitely apart at the moment, and look to be getting further apart as the season progresses onwards, but would it be too much to ask for one measly, spur of the moment, doesn't-mean-anything-has-changed kiss between the two of them? I hope not, because I'll be totally tormented by the lack of Brallie action by the end of the season if not.