Warning: The following contains spoilers for Wednesday’s The Fosters series finale.
The Fosters wrapped up its five-season run in a very fitting place: home. As the three-part series finale came to an end, the family said goodbye to their house, which moms Lena and Stef were selling so that Lena could run for State Assembly in a different district.
As for the kids: Brandon and Eliza got married after he finally stood up to her parents; Callie — who took the clerkship job in L.A. to be closer to Jude — and Brandon realized they made the right choice in picking their family over a romance with each other; Mariana’s attempt at a reconciliation with Mat was thwarted when she saw him making out with a bridesmaid, leading her to invite Jesus to go backpacking across Europe; Jesus and Emma decided they needed to be on their own before they could settle down; and Jude confessed he felt lost and alone at UCLA.
Below, executive producer Joanna Johnson talks about the end of “Brallie,” Lena and Stef’s future and whose journey will continue on the upcoming Callie and Mariana-centric spinoff Good Trouble.
TVLINE | What did you want to accomplish in this finale that you didn’t get to do maybe in the Season 5B finale?
What we wanted to do is really introduce all of our kids as being older now, out of college and starting their adult lives, because it was a nice way to jump off into the spinoff. You’re always curious where people end up after high school, so we wanted to give the audience that. What is their next chapter after really leaving home? And what is the moms’ next chapter? It’s a new chapter for them, too, with all the kids out of the house and only one still in college. They sell the house, and now Lena’s going to go run for State Assembly. It’s like they have a new exciting chapter, too. We just really wanted to also give people the feel that it’s not the end for them. It’s just the beginning of a lot of adventures for this family. And hopefully, in an ideal world, we would love to do another special for them.
TVLINE | Are there certain stories that you already know you’re going to revisit in the spinoff?
We’re planning a moms episode really soon. I’m breaking that one. We want to see Brandon and Eliza, and we definitely want to see Jesus. We want to see them all this season, for sure, as long as they’re willing to come.
TVLINE | Are we going to find out if Lena won the election?
I don’t think we’re going to get that far yet, because in our world, it’s kind of around September. We might.
TVLINE | The finale brought up a lot of old Brandon/Callie feelings, but in the end, he got married to Eliza. Why was it important for you to put Brandon and Callie through this journey in the final episodes?
For everyone in the family, it’s like, “Oh, my God, one of us is getting married already!” and for the moms, it’s like, “I can’t believe one of our children is getting married,” but for Callie, it’s a special thing. I don’t know that we had ever completely resolved their feelings in the series, in the sense that once she was adopted, Brandon had to move out for a while and go live with Mike because he still couldn’t quite deal with his feelings… They haven’t been living in the same house now for five years, on and off. They’ve been in college. Did that distance make them feel like, “Maybe we could be together”? They didn’t grow up together, so it’s not like it’s that strange. It could happen.
We really wanted to really end that love story and close that door, but have them really acknowledge how much they care about each other, and how they’d rather have each other in their lives forever than have some romance that could have flamed out. And also, we have “Brallie” fans who really love that story. It was nice to acknowledge that, yes, there is a certain chemistry between these two, but it’s not something they’re going to ever act on again.
TVLINE | Did you always envision this as Brandon and Callie’s ending, even in the early seasons?
Yeah, we decided pretty early on that we didn’t think they should be together, because we liked them better as family. … Also, [we wanted] to respect the rules of foster care. Foster siblings cannot be involved, and we really wanted to make that message clear to people, because we do think that’s the right thing.
TVLINE | Is Callie ready to start dating again now?
Oh yeah! She had a bit of a dry spell while she was in law school, kind of licking her wounds after all of her failed relationships. Now she has a new problem, which is she’s clerking for a federal judge, and is working night and day. So it’s hard, but she’s definitely going to fit romance in, for sure.
TVLINE | Callie and Mariana are going to be roommates in L.A., but during these episodes, there seemed to be some underlying tension between them. It made me wonder what, if anything, happened in that time between the two finales.
I think that Callie has changed a little bit. Callie has gotten maybe a little bit more rigid in some ways. She’s matured quite a bit. Mariana has matured a little bit less, and there’s nothing that rigid about Mariana. So in some ways, Callie loses her patience with her sister, when she thinks she’s being improper or immature. And she still has issues about telling secrets to Mariana, because Mariana’s never been very good at keeping secrets. That hasn’t just gone away after being in college for four years. They’re still very young, the two of them. They love each other dearly, and they are best friends. But they’re also very different. So in the spinoff, as well as in these last episodes, those differences cause them to knock heads.
TVLINE | Neither Mariana and Mat, nor Jesus and Emma, ended up getting back together. Why did you decide to have both couples go their separate ways?
We felt that’s really true to life. Especially Jesus and Emma, they’ve been dating really since they were 15 and 16. They need to go out and have some experiences before they settle down. They need to see other people. They need to have some life. Then if they come back together, they’ll really be ready for each other. But they’re too young to make such a serious commitment. And probably Brandon and Eliza are a little bit young to be making such a serious commitment, but Brandon’s that fall-in-love, romantic guy who wants to get married. But I think that their marriage is going to be tested. As far as Mariana and Mat, we felt like they got back together because they were both in Boston in college, but they really needed to go their separate ways. And of course, we wanted a single Mariana for the spinoff.
TVLINE | Do you see Lena and Stef possibly taking in another child in their new home?
I don’t think so, because they fostered Corey for a year, and then felt like he should be reunited with his mother. I think they’ve closed that chapter in their lives. Now their lives are going to be about: What are they going to do now that they’re not having to raise children full-time? And by the way, kids in their early twenties, they still need you a lot, so our kids are still going to have plenty of problems that they need their moms to help with.
TVLINE | You were in an interesting situation when you were filming the series finale, because you knew there was going to be a spinoff, but the show was technically coming to an end. Was it still emotional?
It was so emotional. I had the pleasure to write and direct the last two episodes. Our last day of shooting was in Turks and Caicos, and it was the scene where Mariana and Mat are singing “Love Will Light the Day” at the rehearsal dinner. It was the last shot. I knew we’d gotten it, I knew we were done, and it was so hard for me to say, “That’s a series wrap.” Incredibly emotional. And the cast, they have really been this family. There’s so much love there, and they’ve really bonded [during] these years of doing these scenes together and being vulnerable with each other, and being good friends. Cierra [Ramirez] and Maia [Mitchell] are very close friends, and a lot of them are close friends. [Teri Polo and Sherri Saum] held each other, hugging and crying probably for a good 15 minutes, and it was really beautiful. And then everybody huddled around them for a big, long hug and cry. It was incredibly emotional and quite beautiful.
Fosters fans, what did you think of the show’s swan song? Grade it below, then hit the comments with your spinoff wish lists!