In the winter premiere of The Fosters season 3, titled “First Impressions,” Callie’s “Fost and Found” idea starts taking off, and she questions whether she’d really be a good role model. Meanwhile, Stef learns something about her health and about a past incident involving their whole family. Plus, Lexi’s back, but is that a good thing?

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Juilliard or Bust

This episode of The Fosters opens on Brandon performing at Disney Hall, which is very exciting for everyone. And as it turns out, he does a really good job because a professor from Juilliard is in the audience and he invites Brandon to the school for callbacks. When he tells Callie this later, she’s happy for him and insists that he tells “Moms.”

But Brandon is unsure whether it’s really fair to ask his parents to come up with the money he needs to go to school there, so he turns to his grandmother, Sharon, for help with investing some of the money he got in a settlement for his hand injury so he can come up with more himself. He does this in private, but of course Stef’s mother tells her and Lena anyway. But later at a family dinner, Lena reassures him that if he gets in, they’ll make it work. I mean, that’s nice and all, but they do have a bunch of other kids to worry about getting through college, and student loans are no joke.

Callie’s Newfound Fame

Callie gives a speech on her project, Fost and Found, at some sort of festival, and it’s well-received. However, afterwards, several kids come up to her to tell her about their problems in their own foster situations. It’s all a bit overwhelming to her, but a woman, Justina Marks, “rescues” her by pulling her aside to talk.

As it turns out, Ms. Marks wants to invest $50,000 in Callie’s idea, as she is a foster card advocate and wants to help the idea grow. She later talks with Callie and her moms about it, and Callie brings up one case in particular, that of Jack Downey, who is stuck in a privatized foster home. Ms. Marks warns her that as much as she’s sure it’s tough for Callie to hear all those stories, she has to be careful what she believes and who she trusts. But she promises to make a phone call, which she does after she leaves their meeting.

However, after Jack comes over to hang out with Jude, he goes to the Fosters again and tells Callie he got removed from the home he was in and stuck in a group home he doesn’t like. When Callie asks Justina if she looked into it, she says she never made the call. Can Ms. Marks be trusted? Well, Callie goes ahead and has Mariana make Justina an admin of Fost and Found, so I guess she, and the viewers, will figure that out soon enough.

And in a conversation with A.J. during this episode of The Fosters, Callie shares that she’s not sure she can be a role model the way she’ll be expected to with the success of Fost and Found. But A.J. reassures her that she’s Super Callie, and why shouldn’t she be a role model? 

The Secret’s Out

Speaking of A.J., unfortunately at some point off screen, his grandmother died, so he and his brother Ty deal with that during this episode. Mike helps them clean out her room and insists on covering any of the funeral expenses her insurance doesn’t, which is awfully nice of him. I’m impressed with how much he’s stepped up for A.J., really.

When Mike is bringing some of their grandmother’s stuff out to his car while the boys have a moment inside, he takes the time to call the guy he asked to run the prints on the pen he knew Ty used and leaves a message telling him not to do it after all. If I recall correctly, he suspected Ty of being involved in the crash that hurt some of the Fosters, but now he clearly doesn’t want to break up the brothers when each other is all they have left.

But as it turns out, the guy ran the prints anyway, and at a later time, he gives them to Stef at the station right before Mike shows up. They are, in fact, a match, and in the face of Stef’s anger, Mike spills the beans about Ty. But he begs her to wait to do anything about it until after the funeral, and although she’s still clearly mad at him for trying to bury the information, she agrees to wait.

However, Stef and Mike aren’t the only ones who have figured the whole thing out. Later, while Mike is in another room talking to a funeral director, Ty tells A.J. that he has to leave ASAP. When A.J. asks why, Ty explains briefly that he was involved in an accident and that police have been sniffing around, and after getting a little more information from his brother, A.J. figures out that the accident Ty was in and the one the Fosters were in are one and the same. 

Ty gives A.J. an ultimatum: go with him that night or he’ll never see his brother again. I’m not sure why he can’t wait at least until their grandmother is buried, but either way, yikes. That’s harsh. Ultimately, A.J. shows up at the bus station his brother is waiting at later, and the two get on a bus together. Is that the last we’ll see of A.J.?

The Campaign Heats Up

Remember how Mariana is running for president of the junior class at her school? Well, in this episode of The Fosters, she and Emma are hard at work making posters for her campaign when Lexi randomly shows up at the Foster home! Mariana is totally shocked, and Lexi explains that her family was able to get visas, so they’re back for good! 

But whether this is really a good thing for both Mariana and Jesus remains to be seen. Later, Lexi and Emma clash over the way Mariana should present herself in the campaign, and Emma leaves. Mariana tells Lexi she’s going to stick with Emma’s ideas, and Lexi is clearly put off by it. She also tries to put the moves on Jesus at one point, but he deflects. Interesting.

And later, Mariana goes to school with her posters, only to find Lexi putting up posters to run a Junior Class President campaign of her own. Is there trouble on the horizon for these long-time best friends?

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Brallie or Whatever

Then there’s the elephant in the room: Callie and Brandon. They’re both being kinda awkward with each other in this episode, which makes sense since they had sex and then Callie became an official member of the Foster family. That’d be weird for anybody. To be honest, I’m not a Brallie fan, so I wish they’d just move on already, but that’s not the ABC Family — I mean, Freeform — way, so the drama with the two of them will surely continue.

Anyway, at one point, Brandon asks Callie to agree that if either of them is seeing someone, that’s fine, but that they should tell the other if that is the case. She agrees, it’s sufficiently weird, etc. etc.

So later, Callie lets Brandon know that A.J. invited her to go with him to a comic convention, and she’s unsure whether it’s just a “friend” thing or not. After this reveal and after she leaves, he looks bummed, but I mean, it doesn’t really matter since A.J. left anyway, right?

The End of Jude and Connor?

Connor is officially moving away to live with his mother, and Jude is officially sad about it. Connor reminds him that he’ll be back to visit in a month and that Jude is welcome anytime, but Jude knows it won’t be the same. Connor tells him he’s sorry, but he’s convinced his dad will never change, so he can’t stay.

Later, Lena gets Jude to explain the whole thing with Connor’s dad not “getting it,” so she takes matters into her own hands, though she admits it’s probably not her place to do so. She goes to Connor’s house and tells his dad not to give up on Connor, but Mr. Stevens swears he didn’t and that it was Connor who wanted to go. She amends her statement to say instead that he shouldn’t let Connor give up on him, and he seems to take that to heart.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough. Mr. Stevens goes to Anchor Beach the next day to get Connor’s transcripts, and he tells Lena it was too late to convince Connor. He later sees Jude in the hallway and says that he’s sorry for not “getting it,” and the two cry together for a bit and hug before going their separate ways. Poor Judicorn.

Stef’s Scare

The drama with Monte ends quickly when she offers to resign from Anchor Beach, but Stef and Lena instead decide it would be best if she stays. But that’s not the only drama the Foster mamas are dealing with, of course.

As it turns out, their insurance won’t cover Stef getting a second mammogram to be absolutely sure she doesn’t have breast cancer. But her mama gets involved, and she uses some cunning to try to get Stef’s film another look by another doctor anyway. Stef is convinced that the inconclusive results are just a way for physicians to make more money, but Lena later convinces her to get a second look anyway.

That turns out to be a good move because, as the couple and Sharon find out, Stef does in fact have stage zero breast cancer. Treatment is of course recommended, but Stef is totally floored by the diagnosis. Will the fierce Foster mama make it through this in one piece?

More Revelations

There’s also a new character in the form of Sharon’s boyfriend, Will, who is not only younger than her but a bit of an anarchist. He isn’t a big fan of police, for starters, which could cause some tension in the Foster family.

Jesus also lies for half of the episode about why he left the boarding school he was at, but Mariana eventually tells her parents the truth and they confront their son over doing badly in school. However, Lena reveals that she called the school and he’s actually doing really well there, so they know that’s not the real reason he left.

Jesus explains that there’s a culture of steroid-usage on his wrestling team, and he was pressured into trying the drug. But he didn’t like how it made him feel and he stopped, but now he can’t handle either being on the team or ratting his teammates out. At first, there’s a problem with getting him back into Anchor Beach since there’s a waiting list, but Monte pulls rank and he’s admitted. That’s one way to save on sets and filming locations.

Finally, when Callie checks the Fost and Found message boards one night, she finds that someone posted a topic asking whether she had sex with her foster brother. She’s clearly shaken, but the episode ends on that, so we don’t yet know how this latest drama in her life will turn out!

Tune in to The Fosters every Monday night at 8pm on Freeform.

(Image courtesy of Freeform)

Josie Cook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV