This week I’m thrilled they moved the ball down the field on the Jonnor situation, but I am pissed at the show because they robbed us of the chance to witness another milestone in the relationship between Jude and Connor, which is to show us how the two boys got back to being friends after Jude’s clear ultimatum that his friend needed to accept and support him for everything that he is.
The writers seemed to be putting the pieces in place for something momentous — first Connor defying his dad to sneak out and attend the party, then offering to kiss his friend during a game of spin the bottle — then Jude going mute, and Connor feeling so responsible that his feelings caved in on him and he sought out Lena’s help — then Lena telling a tearful Connor that he is not his father — then Lena pointing out to Jude that Connor was as much a victim of his father’s prejudice as Jude was, because Connor had to grow up with that shit. Real lessons for both boys and a chance for viewers to see how even after some rough patches a true friendship can survive and maybe even break through to a whole new level.
So at last Jude started talking again, and we got to see him meet the Quinns and settle the emotions that got him so upset in the first place, but the other part of his crisis — the estrangement from the only kid who’d ever worked his ass off to be as good a friend to him as possible — got totally set aside. For Jonnor it was radio silence while we got scene after scene of dumb shiz like Jesus spazzing over stupid Hayley.
A dozen other teen shows (dramas and comedies) have dealt with boy-girl relationships that are screwed up like the one Jesus has with Hayley. Yeah, The Fosters will certainly put their skillful spin on it and make it another teachable moment, but there are hardly any shows that focus on how two adolescent boys might navigate the strange and startling realization that their relationship somehow matters more to them than just as friends. When Jude froze out Connor, part of his hurt came from feeling betrayed by someone he loves. The road back to their becoming close again would have been complicated. Actually seeing how they got back together would have been tremendously rewarding for the audience, and instructive. Instead it was a big opportunity blown.
Now we have the mystery of the camping trip and what happened between them there - something the boys speak of with hushed tones and furtive glances. The writers are raising the stakes pretty high, tossing this tidbit into the mid-season finale, getting Team Jonnor extra worked up, and all I know is it better not be a red herring. After what Jude told Lena and Stef at the fund-raiser I feel pretty sure it won’t be a fake-out, but the huge blunder of not showing us the Jonnor reconciliation does make me a little worried that I’m being played. We need to know how these two crossed the vast terrain that went from no longer speaking to possibly having an intimate moment.
The Fosters and ABC Family should not underestimate the impact that Jonnor has had on their audience and they’d better not be teasing Team Jonnor with what they revealed last night. And please, enough of the off-screen developments. In part two of the season they should make it up to us for neglecting Jonnor’s storyline so heinously these past few weeks and let us see for ourselves what these boys mean to each other.