[Warning: The following contains spoilers from The Fosters Season 4 mid-season finale. Read at your own risk!]
That seems to be how we feel at the end of every season of The Fosters, but we're not taking it lightly when we say that we've never felt more sympathy for Callie Adams-Foster (Maia Mitchell) than at the end of the Season 4 finale.
The teenage girl has been fighting all season to prove that she ran away from the car accident in the season premiere to get away from Troy Johnson (Levi Fiehler). The latter finally confessed to killing his grandmother in the finale, giving Callie's lawyers ample argument to say that Callie fled from the scene of the accident to save her life. However, Callie's life is in danger for a completely different set of reasons.
She volunteered to go with Diamond (Hope Olaide Wilson) to her pimp in hopes of protecting the newest member of Girls United. The genius plan was to have Stef (Teri Polo) track her phone and the girls would be returned to safety once the pimp was arrested, but in a sick turn of events Callie got separated from her cell. Stef drove off into the night on a wild goose chase after a van that didn't hold her daughter. Meanwhile, Callie was stranded in a motel room with a pimp who had already shown he has absolutely no regard for the safety of the girls he employs.
Meanwhile, Jesus (Noah Centineo) finally pieced it together that Emma (Amanda Leighton) was pregnant and had an abortion. However, he accused Emma of sleeping with Brandon (David Lambert) and stormed off in a rage as Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) led a loud student protest to stop Anchor Beach from becoming a private school.
TVGuide.com talked to The Fosters executive producers Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige about what's next with Callie after this devastating turn, how Jesus will recover from this latest eruption and what we can expect from Mariana next season.
I really thought The Fosters couldn't up the ante from Callie being stuck in a car with a potential murderer in your last season finale, but now she's accidentally gotten herself a pimp and is in a very weird situation. Usually, she ends up in these places because she made a bad impulsive decision with her back against the wall. In this case, she was trying to help Diamond and Christina — what made you want to go so dark with this storyline?
As we learned about human trafficking in Stef's story, we reacted to a lot of the horrors that kids face in this world. Foster and LGBT kids in particular are targeted and exploited in ways that really resonated with us emotionally. We found a natural intersection between Callie's need to help others, even at her own expense, and the work Stef is now doing. It's dark, most definitely, but it's very Callie to face this kind of danger head on and be a shield for others.
What can you tease about how Callie going missing will affect her trial?
Not only are we worried for her safety, but of course this will add another layer to her legal trouble. So much of her disadvantage in court is how her moral character is perceived by the system — foster or legal — and the trouble that causes for Callie when she can't help but help others. This is the most complicated version of that deep need of hers we've seen and we're not sure she'll survive this time. It's a moment of reconciling with her need to help others at any cost and protecting herself — a balance that Callie has never really mastered.
For the past few episodes it seemed like Jesus was on the fast track to recovery with his TBI, but then he had a big setback in the finale. What kind of help is he going to need to deal with his irrational outbursts?
We've always known that Jesus' recovery wouldn't be easy. The moms were warned that even when progress was made, they'd be facing considerable setbacks and that's a big part of what's going on with him, even this far out from the injury. One of the frustrating aspects of his situation is that, even with the best professional and familial support, sometimes there's still nothing you can do to channel or fix these kinds of outbursts. The brain is a complicated beast and situations like this can alter people permanently. So we'll be seeing the repercussions for a while, even as they become less physically apparent and instead affect his relationships, his schooling and his personality. The family — and Lena in particular — are doing their best to listen, to adapt, to support and to give him all the love they can, while hoping for the best.
Emma has tried really hard to be there for Jesus despite going through her own intense experience. What can you say about how this last outburst will affect their relationship going forward?
Watching someone you love go through something this complicated will definitely weigh on Emma and her relationship with Jesus. On top of the TBI, Jesus was the last to know about Emma's abortion and the place they find themselves is one where Jesus isn't mad at what she did, he's mad that he wasn't told. There wasn't really a way for her to tell him, but that doesn't mean that he's not wrestling with it . They're in a very difficult situation and sometimes there's just no easy way forward.
Is there any truth to Jesus' belief that Brandon and Emma have feelings for each other?
Insomuch that Brandon was there for Emma while she made a very difficult decision and had few other people she could turn to. The bigger issue here is the compartmentalization of information and Jesus trying to reconcile being absent when Emma needed him and allowing that Brandon could step into that position with good intentions. His TBI has made processing a lot of these complex emotional situations very difficult — to the point of confusing dreams with reality.
Mariana has really come into her own this season after everything she went through with Nick. How will we continue to see that next season? Is she potentially reaching a point of going too far?
Mariana has always been an over-achiever, and one of the ways she deals with adversity is to dive in even deeper. But part of growing up is finding ways to channel your mistakes and your insecurities and using those to your advantage. Mariana is going to be getting into some very exciting things in the coming season — one world in particular that we're excited to explore for her as she continues to grow and become the strong, passionate and exceptionally smart woman we know her to be.
Having Callie and Aaron declare their feelings for each other and enter a romantic relationship was another breakthrough moment for the show this season. What can we expect from those two when the show returns?
Callie and Aaron have had a strong connection from the beginning. As they start another chapter — from friendship to relationship — we'll see them elate in that move, question how to build and support their relationship and each other and just connect in the way that two people this in-sync can connect. When the labels and stigma all fall away, we see two people who care about each other and are excited to be together.
The Fosters returns Tuesday, July 11 at 8/7c on Freeform.