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Callie and Brandon aren't doing great either, FYI
The Fostersmid-season finale last year was one for the record books, which means there's a lot to catch up on when the show returns on Tuesday.
The most immediate concern will be Jesus (Noah Centineo) who collapsed after getting into an altercation with Nick (Louis Hunter) to protect Mariana (Cierra Ramirez). However, Callie (Maia Mitchell) also found herself trapped in a car with Mrs. Johnson's real killer at the end of the episode as Brandon (David Lambert) found out that his SAT cheating scam officially disqualified him from going to Juilliard. It was a dramatic hour that put the entire Adams Foster family in various stages of crisis.
Considering how high the stakes were when the series left off, TVGuide.com talked to executive producer Bradley Bredeweg about where the show is going to pick up and what's in store for the family going forward. While the Adams Fosters always find a way to come together, we have to warn fans that the road back to being okay is not going to be as easy as you'd hope. Check out his answers below.
TVGuide.com: What can you tease about Jesus' condition and everyone's reaction to it when The Fosters returns?
Bradley Bredeweg: After the big confrontation with Nick that led to Jesus getting knocked out, we spend the first two episodes in the hospital with Jesus and the Adams Foster family as they rally around him - because Jesus now faces the fight of his life, for his life.
How are Stef and Lena going to react when they find out that Mariana has been abusing ADD medication and that's part of why she wandered off?
Bredeweg: They also rally around their daughter Mariana to figure out how they can best help her through this struggle and abuse of ADD meds. Let's add on top of that, the fact that Mariana feels guilt-ridden because her actions led to Jesus' fight for life and we are left with an intense first half of our season. After some struggle, Mariana finally admits to using the meds to cope with the stresses of young adulthood, and she also admits that she might need some outside help to deal with what she's been feeling. And so our moms will help their daughter get that help.
The Fosters Mega Buzz: Nick's "shocking behavior" continues
We also left Callie in a very dangerous situation. What can you say about how she gets out of that and where that leads and what effect that will have on her for the start of the season?Bradley Bredeweg: The Winter Season picks up immediately after the dramatic cliffhanger Summer finale where we find Callie still in the car with Troy, who she fears is the real killer of Martha Johnson. She does't get out of this situation very easily, I can tell you that. It turns into an even more intense and explosive situation that eventually leads to Callie fighting for her own life, but in very different ways than Jesus. I think this season is Callie's biggest struggle yet as she finds herself smack dab in the middle of the legal and correctional system once more, with the stakes being even higher and even more dangerous than ever before - as Callie's entire future will be at risk.
How is Brandon dealing with the news that he can't go to Juilliard? What are his next steps?Bredeweg: Brandon is of course extremely heartbroken over the loss of Juilliard. He will struggle and come to terms with next steps after making a last minute call and plea to Juilliard. I can tell you that Brandon really grows this season, he comes to terms with several of the mistakes he's made as a young man trying to figure out who he is in this world. He's a more open and honest Brandon in some ways. That's not to say that there won't be secrets this season, but I believe that Brandon makes moves during these next ten episodes from a very good and open-hearted place. Brandon has always been a caretaker, but that need has often led him down some pretty precarious paths. But now, I do believe that Brandon is on a better and more self-less path this season.
The Fosters Mega Buzz: Are Brandon and Courtney really over?
At the end of the last season, the family seemed to be on separate pages, each with their own separate drama. Will the events of the season finale begin to bring them together or are we going to see them splinter even more?
Bredeweg: We always play this push and pull game with the Adams Foster family because after all, I think that's how most families operate. We grow, we push back, we separate, we splinter, but then we always hopefully find ourselves coming back to family, coming back to love, coming back to home. And that will never change on The Fosters. But I can say, the path always does bring each and every Adams Foster back home. Well, except maybe Callie. Ugh, poor Callie. She has such a struggle ahead of her this season. But per usual, the family and our mothers in particular will rally around her as best they can!
Are there any big topics/episodes you're planning to tackle this season like the gun episodes that you can tease for everyone?
Bredeweg: I can say that we do take on several major, important subject matters and stories this season. I'm afraid to give too much away, but I can say that we explore more of Aaron and Callie's relationship and we will learn a lot more about Aaron - where he comes from and what brought him to this place and time in Callie's life. We also explore a lot more of the judicial, legal, and correctional system, which I think is one of the most important subject matters to focus on today. Particularly our correctional system - it's so broken and so imperfect and it needs to be addressed and reformed.
In this post-Trump-elected world, we also continue to emphasize the importance of all families, no matter the shape, size and make up. In the sixth episode of the season, Stef makes a big and beautiful speech about the love between her and Lena - and the great love they feel for their family. So much of us now have this great fear that the rights we have worked so hard for over the last several decades might be taken away from us because of the incoming President-elect and his cabinet made up of mostly rich white men. But in a tearful speech to Lena, Stef promises that no one, no law, no political movement will ever tear their love for each other or their family apart. They are here to stay, dammit!
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What are you most excited for fans to see this season?
Bredeweg: Every episode just builds and builds, ending in one of our biggest and most climactic finales ever. I'm most excited about the overall journey and progression of episodes and stories this season. It's quite a ride and I think the show continues to grow and get more sophisticated as our kids grow and become more sophisticated.
The Fosters returns Tuesday Jan. 31 at 8/7c on Freeform.