It's been a very traumatic few weeks for the Adams-Foster family on The Fosters.
Jesus (Noah Centineo) woke up from his medically induced coma after a fight with Nick (Louis Hunter) triggered his traumatic brain injury, but it's apparent that the family's middle son has a very long road ahead to recovery. His speech has been affected and he's bedridden until he can learn to walk again, forcing Lena (Sherri Saum) to take a leave of absence from work to take care of him. The final moments of Tuesday's episode also previewed Jesus' extreme mood swings and showed that his road to recovery is going to be littered with obstacles that no one in the family is prepared for.
TVGuide.com talked to Centineo about Jesus' journey and what it'll mean for the family and his other relationships going forward — including adding the possibility Jesus might also be a father into the mix.
Jesus is finally back home, but what is his journey going to be like from here?
Noah Centineo: With physical disability comes physical therapy and also cognitive therapy. You guys are going to see his family deal with Jesus and his evolution of recovery, his progress through recovery. You're also going to witness Jesus going through it. Emotion comes into play here. It's very frustrating when your mind and body aren't working in sync when you've been so accustomed to them working. They're a well-oiled machine. Then all of a sudden one day you wake up and nothing is right.
A side effect of having a [traumatic brain injury] is emotional flares. You get very emotional. It's like resetting your emotional clock to a much younger age. You're prone to tantrums or frustrations or crying or outbreaks of rage or even bi-polar. You can switch on a dime through your emotions. Jesus goes through a lot in this process of trying to recover and his family goes through it with them, watching one of their family members go through such an arduous, difficult experience. There's a lot of stuff to come for sure.
We see one of those tantrums at the end of the episode. It sort of foreshadows a darker Jesus than we've seen before. How are these tantrums going to affect his family and his relationships?
Centineo: It's a lot of strain on the relationships. You have someone who is emotionally unstable. It's a huge test of how much your family members are willing to withstand and take before they snap at you, or they break, or they can't handle you. They could walk away and leave you to handle yourself. It really tests the bond between family members.
What's so difficult about this in particular is that it's not really Jesus' fault. Sure, he got into the fight but he didn't know that what he was doing was going to cause him to get a [traumatic brain injury]. It's not like he's emotionally unstable just because he's a brat. He's emotionally unstable because his brain is just not working correctly. It's going to be a very growing experience for [the family] to learn to deal and cope and have that much understanding and acceptance for someone. It'll test the bond through that of how close they are as a family. In the long run, if they make it out, it could be a very positive thing.
Speaking of fault though, does he hold any hostility towards Mariana considering she's the reason he got into the fight in the first place?
Centineo: He has hostility towards quite a few people this season for rational and irrational reasons. I don't really think that the relationship between Mariana and Jesus gets tested too much. Surprisingly, there's another plotline that comes in down the road and that puts a huge amount of stress [on them]. There's multiple plotlines coming at you guys that will put a lot of stress on the relationship with Mariana and other members of the family that are different from each other but having to do with the same thing.
Something else pretty stressful is this possibility of Emma being pregnant. Is she going to struggle to tell Jesus what's going on considering the emotional state that he's in?
Centineo: She has decisions to make. She's not certain either, at this point. All I can say is that if she is pregnant, she's got a massive decision to make. If she isn't pregnant, she should still 100 percent be telling someone. The fact that Jesus has a traumatic brain injury kind of really messes with that situation. It's such a massive, massive thing to come across a teen pregnancy and be directly involved with something like that. You'll have to see.
What has been the hardest part for you in tackling Jesus and this traumatic brain injury?
Centineo: Research and development, learning what it really is to have to go through such a struggle. That was probably the hardest part. I really, thoroughly enjoyed doing the research on this. Everyone needs a voice and it's an honor to be able to play that voice for somebody who has gone through having a [traumatic brain injury] and for someone who is still going through it.
It's obvious this is not going to be a short road back for Jesus. Will he ever make a full recovery back to the character we knew before?
Centineo: It's case by case, to be completely honest. Some people make full recoveries and some never do. It's yet to be seen, so we wait and we find out.
The Fosters continues Tuesdays at 8/7c on Freeform.