Ever since her boyfriend Nick (Louis Hunter) threatened to kill himself in the second episode of the season, Mariana has struggled to keep herself above water. She's tried to distract herself with school work and by becoming the first female captain of the robotics team, but succeeding academically while trying to keep her unstable ex from doing self-harm without anyone finding out has pushed her to the limit.
"Mariana is probably in the worst shape. These stories have been building for 10, 20 or more episodes, and they are all just coming to a head at the same time, but I, personally, am more worried about Mariana than anyone else," confesses The Fosters executive producer Peter Paige. "Mariana is a mess right now. She is one of those overachiever kids who is on the verge of a real profound meltdown."
The middle Adams-Foster daughter began taking her brother Jesus' (Noah Centineo) ADHD medication to help her stay on top of everything, but now that's developed into an addiction that will come to haunt her in the summer finale.
"She's a kid who really believes that this year of school is everything, and it's going to define her whole future. She's put so much pressure on herself. She's just exhausted and at the end of her rope. She sees the ADHD meds as a way of lengthening her rope," Paige explains.
However, now that Nick has been allowed home from the psychiatric facility where he was being treated, everything will become too much for Mariana to deal with and lead to disastrous results.
"We all know it's just fraying her rope, but that's not how she feels. [The pills] keep her awake and keep her focused. it helps her get more work done in a shorter amount of time," Paige continues. "But all of that comes at a great price, which we're going to see in the finale."
The Fosters summer finale airs Monday, Aug. 29 at 8/7c on Freeform.