ABC Family’s heartwarming (and heartbreaking) family drama – recently renewed for a third season – returns for season 2B on Monday, Jan. 19 and with the way things ended last summer, we’re on pins and needles for the next batch of episodes! With Lena and Stef gearing up for a custody battle over Callie against her birth father Robert, the Adams-Fosters household is about to experience more drama than it’s ever dealt with before.
“There’s a lot to be sorted out,” executive producer Peter Paige exclusivelytells ETonline. “When you have so many people who come to the table with so many different kinds of baggage, there [are] always suitcases of drama to be unpacked.”
“It’s a fast-paced season – a lot happens. It’ll make you laugh, probably more than we usually do,” he adds. Whew.
Ahead of the winter return we asked Paige, who co-wrote and directed the episode, to give us the scoop on our beloved Fosters clan – plus, intel on the exclusive sneak peek!
Lena and Jude’s Special Bond: In ETonline’s exclusive first look above, Lena (Sherri Saum) has a touching heart to heart with Jude (Hayden Byerly) about what happened between him and his friend Connor on that school trip. Though we won’t be flashing back to that moment, Paige says the conversation is indicative of Lena and Jude’s deepening bond: “Lena just understands that boy in a way that he so desperately needed.”
Dialing Back the Brandon-Callie Romance: With Brandon and Callie’s “Will they, won’t they” dynamic, Paige says their back and forth is a fact of life. “There is something undeniable about their connection and there’s this giant obstacle, which is their circumstance,” he says of their “strange, magical, chemical, perfect fit.” “It’s hard for them to completely let go of that bond and it takes different forms at different times.” But, any chance of a romance is on the backburner. “We will be dialing back on it,” Paige says of Brallie, though "the connection never goes away."
Brandon and Lou Heat Up: There’s a reason Brandon gravitates toward his bandmate Lou. As Paige explains, “She has some of the qualities that Callie has, and Brandon is clearly drawn to women – not unlike his mother – who are smart and opinionated.” Calling Lou “a worthy object of affection,” he adds “there’s a lot to be said for Brandon and Lou.”
Callie’s Half-Sis Goes to a ‘Dark’ Place: Monday’s episode brings to light an emotional health issue plaguing Sophia (the lovely Bailee Madison) for quite some time. “Sophia has been putting on a good face [to hide] something dark inside her that she hasn’t been sharing and a lot of teenagers are going to be able to relate to that,” Paige says. The Quinns, led by Kerr Smith, will be forced to pick up the pieces after Sofia’s heart-wrenching turn, and it won’t be pretty. “You’re seeing all the artifice fall away and you’re seeing this family finally dealing with the truth.”
Jonnor’s Secret Comes Out: While only a few people know about what happened between Connor and Jude, others will soon find out. “In The Fosters universe, nothing stays secret forever. No secrets stay buried too long,” Paige says with a laugh. For Paige, the Jude-Connor arc holds a special place in his heart. “I rarely make it through a table read without tearing up when we get to that storyline,” he admits. “The fans will love the ride we’re taking them on over the next 10 episodes.”
Mariana’s Rise: An underappreciated member of the dance team, Mariana is about to shine – and it all starts in the return episode! “This is a season of victories for Mariana,” Paige hints, teasing she’ll stand out from the shadows and “assert” herself in a significant way. In addition to her dance troupe (believe us there will be major drama in that department!), Mariana gets involved with extracurriculars of the academic kind and that’ll lead to “exciting” new developments.
Jesus Grows Up: Mariana’s twin bro isn’t the best at making life decisions, and that’s his big arc in season 2B. “He’s got some growing up to do,” Paige says. “This is a season about [him] slowing down and taking stock, and figuring who he wants to be and who he wants to be in the world.” Another factor: the presence of his birth mom Ana – “We get to see how that’s resonating with Jesus.”
Stef and Lena’s Marriage Troubles: Say it ain’t so! Are our favorite moms about to hit a rough patch? While they’ve maintained a “profound love, there are challenges,” Paige hints. “Their love is one for the ages. I don’t want the fans to freak out but relationships – even great [ones] have rough patches.”
Are you excited for the return of the Fosters gang? Are you bummed about the Brallie news? Tweet your thoughts to Philiana Ng at @insidethetube, and don’t forget that #ETnow hashtag!
The Fosters returns for its winter premiere Jan. 19 at 8 p.m. on ABC Family.