The Fosters Scores High On The EQ Test

Y'all knew Monte wasn't right. Al Lowe ranks the episode's key moments by emotional intelligence!

This damn show! Is there such a thing as an ocular physical therapist? Because I am going to have to hire one to recover from the natural eye-rolling that comes with watching teenagers do anything, to the tears exploding from my eyes when they so perfectly nail the poignancy and pain of growing up.

When The Fosters is hitting its marks, you really can't beat it, and "EQ" is about 90% on form. There are, however, a few weak spots. Let us use our emotional intelligence to power-rank the key moments from "I'm listening" to "I need anger management."

  1. Biggest bombshell: We saw it coming! (Or did we?)
    Wow. I wish we had been wrong about the Monte/Sally vibe going on the last few weeks. It seemed like Monte was giving the class president special treatment, and according to Sally's breathtaking confession to Lena at the end of the episode, it's been "special" and then some. "Monte kissed me," Sally says, and you can see the breath go out of poor Lena, who will now be faced with solving this scandal -- perhaps even having to reveal that Monte kissed her. But here's the thing: what do we really know about the beautiful Sally? There's that weird tweet that went around accusing the two principals of an affair. Was that Monte, being crazy? Or was it Sally, putting some sort of plot in motion? Does it sound like I'm not believing the victim here? I always hope these things aren't true -- that's how gross it is that a person in power would assault a student like that.

    In any case, I'm looking forward to seeing Lena move into center spotlight and deal with it.

  2. Best example of bringing your real-life to work
    Rita's bad daughter is back and being annoying as shit, as usual, now enrolling Callie in her borderline personality disordered drama because Rita changed her phone number. I know this is a little show on Freeform (ugh) or whatever, but Rosie O'Donnell's unfiltered realness on the struggle of dealing with a mentally ill child...she deserves a lot of attention for it. Those are real tears in her and Maia Mitchell's eyes, and I don't know how they got through any of it, but every scene they share was lovely. Now that Callie has two moms, it would be easy to drop Rita from her circle of influence a little bit, but the show is using her perfectly. Callie's on a path to be a person who helps young people, and watching Rita navigate on personal and professional levels is the best education she can get. Every moment between the two of them is natural and moving.
  3. Realest look into the complexity of adoption
    Does Noah Centineo need to work on some additional facial expressions? Yes. Right now, he only has one, and while Jake T. Austin proved you don't even need that to play Jesus, I continue to believe in the potential of this new kid. First of all, he's maybe the tallest male actor I've seen on TV in years, and it makes me laugh to think that they probably hired him and then he grew six inches in two months. But the essence of the thing is that even with a stable household, moms who love him, a nice relationship with his birth mother and her family, and Mariana by his side, the kid wants to know where he came from. It's normal and it's his right, and it's a bit of genius to have Gabe be a dude on the sex offenders' registry, but still TV-nice and seemingly worthy of getting to know. There's a danger of everything being a little too too: most kids adopted from foster care don't have secret parents out there who look like models and are shouldering the unfair burden of once having been involved in a teen romance that was just a few years outside the law. It's more important to me that Jesus (and Mariana) get to say that they'd like to know some stuff than form any kind of relationship, but I know what they're going for. Stef's harsh real talk about how Jesus needed to pull his shit together and face it is tough to hear, but maybe necessary.
  4. Most accurate vision of the future for parents of teens
    Stef and Lena have hard lives. They have 100 kids, they have very stressful jobs, they are usually dealing with an extreme medical crisis...they live with Brandon....So, if they want a martini at the end of the day, by God they should have one, and make it a double. The hilarious moment they realize that their vodka had been watered down and had to take a moment to mourn the drink they can't have? That's real.
  5. Best slam/Worst resolution
    When Nick tries creeping back in on Mariana with his same old BS, she's having nunzo.

    Nicole Wilder / Freeform

    Nicole Wilder / Freeform

    "Why won't you go out with me?" he pleads. Mariana: "Because. You're a douche." That's my girl. He surprises her by taking her words to heart, though, and attempting to expand his emotional intelligence. And saving Jesus from drowning in a toilet, or whatever. For these two reasons I cautiously accept that kiss at the end. Then again: Hot Mat.

  6. Absentee parenting
    Um, where Jude at? I hate it when they don't even acknowledge that he's not in an episode. Also, every week we don't see Robert and Sofia, I dread their inevitable arrival.
  7. Most embarrassing moment for Shakespeare
    The renaming of Romeo & Juliet to R&J sounds like exactly like something an adult would think a teenager would like. The whole concept is so perfectly Brandon. I also bit my lip over the shenanigans about the play seen through the modern eye as romanticizing suicide. I am hoping that was somehow spearheaded by Monte in a revenge plot to mess with Lena's son because...really, now? I can totally see such protests happening, honestly, our world being what it is these days, and that's really sad on all sides.
  8. Worst wrap up
    I'm fully on board for AJ/Callie, but...after she has endured the trauma of saving Rita's daughter from suicide, working through that mother/daughter relationship and somehow enduring repeated pained glances from Brandon, does it follow that she'd be like "Let's make out" through her tears? I don't know. It probably does. I mean, she had to look right at the guy without his shirt that I think about it, I'm beginning to understand.
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