The Fosters 1×09, this is not what I wanted at all



Spoilers for The Fosters, 1×09, discussion of police brutality, domestic violence

This police shooting storyline on The Fosters is making my head explode with confusion and why-are-you-doing-this, so this will not be coherent. Argh this is not at all what I wanted from a queer family show. Thoughts, not particularly organized:

1) Is this how they prove they’re not a “liberal" show? Look, we have a cop and cops shooting people, this is our conservative pedigree!

2) There is both no specific, actual reason for Stef and Mike to be barging into houses with guns blazing, and all sorts of vague implications that they “had" to. Stef is afraid for Jesus, Mariana called it a “crack house", and they implied the possibility of domestic violence. Yet Stef and Mike had no actual facts calling for that kind of response? Jesus wasn’t even there, and I don’t think we ever saw evidence of any criminal activity before they rush in. But Ana’s boyfriend just kind of looked like a bad dude though, right? And that house—so messy and dirty and not nice, like Stef and Lena’s house. Clearly shady, right? And of course Ana’s boyfriend shoots Stef, basically giving retroactive narrative justification for Stef and Mike’s response. I can’t figure out how to articulate it but I am so bugged.

3) I guess I’m glad IA is also asking WHY THE HELL THEY JUST BARGED IN? And can someone please ask what Stef was doing charging after her own son with her service weapon, like that’s a recipe for good decisionmaking? And the show at least seems to think it is a bad thing that Mike shot a man who had dropped his weapon? IDK. 

This is not what I wanted, show. 

I am also annoyed because I *did* want Stef/Lena flashbacks but I am fairly meh about the way this all happened. Not for nothing, but I confess that I am uninterested in Mike Foster’s emotional angst? How did we see more about the effect Stef’s realization that she’s gay had on HIM than we saw it had on STEF (or Lena)?

I am very unhappy with the current storyline. And only in part because that their having a shooting lost me one of my favorite correspondents for this show.

I, too, don’t understand that armed entry. I also don’t like how the portrayal of Ana has become flatter and more stereotypical every episode.

And I really didn’t like the flashbacks to early Stef/Lena. Mostly because that was a cheat of what the story should have been: coming out is harder than that, building a relationship with someone who is only just coming out is harder than that, building a relationship with someone who is dismantling a previous relationship is harder than that… Those flashbacks were simple, straightforward, and clichéd. If you’re going to tell that story, tell it. 

…I don’t have a lot of words for my disappointments in the wake of 1×08 and 1×09. There was stuff in this last ep that I loved, but my disappointment is strong enough that I’m not feeling a lot of energy to squee over the squeeful things. :-/

I didn’t realize some of this before, but these are valid criticisms.

The flashbacks I’m mostly okay with, because as with most LGBT shows, my expectations are just so low so I’m glad to got even this much, but in this case I thought they really were framed as the mostly positive past events, showing how they got here, contrasted with the current situation. The Stef-Mike meeting was then about Stef coming out to him and more of his drinking problem. Ideally, I’d wish for oodles more of Stef and Lena but it’s hard to shake the gratitude of just getting this much (not the healthiest attitude, but there it is).

The shooting, though, yeah, there’s absolutely no getting around that. What’s worse, Stef went in first with plainclothes, so all that guy technically shot at was a random home invader with a gun drawn, coming at him in the dark, claiming to be the police. And even if it had been Mike first, a cop in uniform without a warrant during his off duty doesn’t get to bust in either. It’s not as if cops have a history of being so much kinder to people of color in this country.

I hadn’t given these things or Ana’s portrayal much thought, so distracted as I was by everything else, and well, I didn’t really want to see anything bad about it. But I still have an immense love for the show, which is why I want it to be even better. It’s done so many things well but that doesn’t get it a free pass on things it could improve.