Warning: The following contains spoilers for Wednesday’s Good Trouble. Proceed at your own risk!
Good Trouble‘s goodbye bash for Brandon and Eliza was a big Fosters family affair, with one very unexpected person on the guest list: Jude’s first boyfriend Connor (played by Gavin MacIntosh), who was last seen during a 2016 episode of The Fosters.
Jude was stunned to spot his ex working as a server at the party, and of course, their reunion took place in front of his current boyfriend, Carter. Jude and Connor apologized to each other for the abrupt way their relationship ended and agreed to be friends… after which they kissed! Carter, who was contemplating transferring schools to L.A., spotted the smooch and broke down in his father’s arms, coming out in the process to his conservative dad. Jude later revealed to Carter that the kiss was a goodbye one and that he wants to be exclusive with him, even though he thinks they should stay at their respective universities to have their own college experiences.
Below, executive producer Joanna Johnson reveals how the unexpected return came together and who else from The Fosters might come back.
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TVLINE | How did the idea come up for Connor to return in this episode?
Gavin and Hayden [Byerly] are friends. Hayden said, “It would be fun to bring Connor back at some point,” and we were all like, “Oh, my god, it would be fun!” and this seemed like the perfect episode to do it in. It’s really for the fans of The Fosters. I know there are people that have watched Good Trouble that didn’t watch The Fosters. It’s for our fans that came over to Good Trouble from The Fosters. We love giving them little Easter eggs and little moments that call back to The Fosters. Everybody loved Connor in that storyline so much. It was an iconic story. It was the youngest gay kiss ever on television. People really adored them, and so we just thought it would be a really nice thing for the fans. And it also made for a good story.
TVLINE | What was Gavin’s reaction? It’s been so long since he was in the universe of the shows.
I think he was excited. He was lovely, as always, and really game to do it. It was fun for all of us.
TVLINE | Did the storyline let you get some closure on Jude and Connor that you were maybe craving in the writers’ room?
Yeah, I think we did. We really always felt like he went up to go live with his [mother], and it broke Jude’s heart. Then Jude saw on Facebook that he’d kind of moved on with a new guy. They never really got to have that closure together after that. So it was fun to be able to give that to them and to the story.
TVLINE | Jude and Connor shared a kiss, but Jude did tell Carter that he wants to be exclusive with him. Was there any debate about how much you should revisit the Jude and Connor relationship versus Jude and Carter?
Well, you always want to try to find the conflict in stories. Otherwise, why are we watching? It really worked well with Carter’s story of wanting to transfer to be at the same college as Jude and not have to do the long distance thing. Then here comes an ex that they run into in this random way, and it makes [Carter] start to question, “Does Jude not really want me to transfer schools? Does Jude not really want me in his life at all? Is he going to dump me?” For Connor, it was like a kiss goodbye that he impulsively gives Jude. It just makes for good TV.
TVLINE | The scene between Carter and his dad was so lovely and really emotional. Can you talk about crafting that and what you wanted to convey in that moment?
It reminded me of a moment that I had with my own father. My father had not been very supportive of me necessarily being gay, and I remember calling him one time because my heart was broken by somebody, and he was so sweet. He was so nice to me and supportive in that moment. When you see your child heartbroken, these issues you might have with their sexuality or what you think they should be or shouldn’t be can just basically melt away, because you don’t want to see your child hurt, and you know what heartbreak’s like. I think it makes you realize, “Oh, a gay relationship, you’ve got the same issues and the same heartbreak as you could have in a heterosexual relationship,” and it really sort of softens you and humanizes you and makes you realize that you’re making these judgments that maybe aren’t fair. So having had that experience with my own father, I thought that would be a nice experience.
TVLINE | Obviously, this is Good Trouble, and it’s Mariana and Callie’s story. But how much of Jude and Carter are you hoping to explore as you move forward?
We love having the family come together, and with Brandon being married to Eliza, we’re always going to have excuses for our Fosters and Hunters to get together. Now that everyone is aware that their sons are dating, too, and there’s always the Callie/Jamie of it all, there’s a lot of opportunity to come together for family events or other things. We really just like keeping them alive. It’s a well we can go to, and there are a lot of fun dynamics that we’ve created along the way.
TVLINE | One of the benefits of having such a deep history with The Fosters is that you have all these characters that you can refer to and bring back. Are there any other deep callbacks that you would like to make? Any people you’d like to revisit?
We don’t have any right now. We brought Emma back for the Christmas episode, and had her and Jesus be engaged. So you never know.
TVLINE | At this point, Jesus might be the deep callback, because Noah Centineo is so busy.
I know, I know. It’s really hard. Noah’s career has exploded, and I’m so excited for him. But it’s very hard for him to find time for us right now. Hopefully, we can get him back.
Good Trouble/Fosters fans, what did you think of Connor’s return? And who would you like to see come back?