‘The Fosters’ Say Goodbye With Wedding Vows and Major Life Decisions

There are still corners of television where family dramas end with hugs and weddings, endless job opportunities and last minute confessions. “The Fosters” has all this plus pristine beaches in its three-part series finale. Five seasons the Freeform hit series come to an end with a combination of mush and tension that will be irresistible for longtime fans. In classic primetime tradition, the big finale is the wedding of Brandon (David Lambert) and Eliza (Abigail F. Cowen). Of course weddings on TV mean the perfect opportunity for everyone to come together and say what they couldn’t say before, find new romantic interests and chart the course of their futures.

With wedding bells around the corner the Adamses are getting together to leave for the Turks and Caicos Beaches Resort where Brandon and Eliza will exchange vows. Brandon’s moms, Stef (Teri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum) are excited but also anxious. Eliza’s own parents are wealthy California Republicans, not of the particularly aggressive sort, but brunch conversations can get tense. The rest of the siblings are dealing with their own hassles. Jude (Hayden Byerly) is hiding the fact that he’s not doing so great in college, while releasing tension with random hook ups, Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) is contemplating finally doing things on her own, such as backpacking in Europe, which is mask for her own insecurities, Jesus (Noah Centineo) is also feeling a bit lost without his ex and feels like escaping with a hook up involving a bridesmaid (hooking up is the running theme here it seems), and Corey (Dallas Young) can’t even make it to the wedding because his biological mother makes a move to block him from leaving. Of course the biggest question mark hangs over Callie (Maia Mitchell), who once loved Brandon (they are but adopted after all) and is conflicted about the fact that he’s getting married.

Premiering in 2013, “The Fosters” was groundbreaking by subverting the rules of its feel-good genre. A lesbian couple raising an adopted family was in its own way provocative. But because the show never abandoned the very identity of its format it brilliantly blurred artificial boundaries. TV families are still TV families, it seemed to say, no matter who the parents are, as long as they are parents. Social commentary aside, “The Fosters” right until the end remains the kind of show where a crush and a kiss can mean the end of the world. All three finale episodes feel like one last epic of first world problems. The kids are all grown and their biggest hassles revolve around what great, high-end job to choose. Even Brandon’s great pre-marital conflict is that his in-laws are rich, insist on buying him and Eliza a three-bedroom condo in Santa Monica but insist he sign a prenup. It works because not everything is so rosey and there is a good scene where Brandon and Eliza have a fight at a night club, he being annoyed that she simply skates through life (daddy even got her a spot at the L.A. Philharmonic). Brandon is but a struggling musician, composing scores for shorts going to the Venice Film Festival. The finale does a decent job in exploring the funny class issues that arise from wanting to make your life as a musician, while your spouse’s rich parents wonder if that’s even a career. What the writing has always lacked is any subtly. Everything is simply said and described in long strings. In an early scene Stef and Lena will have a conversation with lines like, “yes, it’s great that he graduated from USC in three years, then achieved his master’s and is now doing this and that, etc., etc.”

As the Adamses languish comfortably in the beach resort, their great conflicts revolve around the temptation to hook up with new acquaintances or avoid tension with exes. Callie spends the three episodes casually flirting but being careful around corporate lawyer Jamie (Beau Mirchoff), who has eloquent lines like, “well I’m off to prove in court what corporations have the same rights as people.” He’s actually not a bad guy, but Callie is of course haunted by the love for her adopted sibling. There is some edgy comic relief from Mariana, who keeps tabs on Jesus while making her own self look odd to everyone else by spreading that her ex gave her crabs (he happens to be around for a few lines, suggesting he still loves her, of course). The best, big decision in the plot is that Lena is seriously considering running for public office, feeling the call to help promote progressive social change. It is the natural culmination of a show that did help promote equality on the mainstream airwaves.

As you can imagine, all ends well with vows exchanged and everyone conveniently agreeing to sell the house, go for those big job offers and be roomies at new apartments. The final moments have the obligatory shot of the Adamses walking out of their now empty home for one last family photo. But you can’t fault “The Fosters” for doing what it is meant to do. It wants to make you feel all tingly inside. These characters are designed to live the lives many viewers wish for after college. We can’t begrudge fiction for crafting our fantasies. “The Fosters” ends with a warm heart, just as promised and delivered.

The Fosters” three-part series finale aired on June 4, June 5,  and June 6 at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.