WARNING: This post contains spoilers from “The Show,” the penultimate episode of season 3 of The Fosters.
If you’re still humming “Love Will Light the Day” through your tears following tonight’s Romeo and Juliet-themed musical episode of The Fosters, you’re not alone. From that painful scene on the bench between Brandon (David Lambert) and Callie (Maia Mitchell) to Jack’s (Tanner Buchanan) death in the final moments, even the show’s executive producer Bradley Bredeweg, who also wrote and directed the installment, admits it packed an emotional punch. And it took quite a bit of work.
We caught up with Bredeweg, who shared how the team put together such an intricate episode, and spilled some details about what to expect from next week’s finale.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When it came to doing a musical episode, where did you even get started?
BRADLEY BREDEWEG: When we started breaking season 3B and talking about Brandon and Callie and how they really are star-crossed lovers themselves, and they find themselves in this very difficult, almost impossible position. Then Romeo and Juliet became part of that conversation. This time last year, I put up a rock musical version of Romeo and Juliet here in Los Angeles on stage, and we used really cool ‘80s music interwoven to tell the tale of Shakespeare’s tragic love story. … I just fell in love with putting those two worlds together, so when I closed the show and we got into the writers room and started talking about our star-crossed lovers, Joanna Johnson, Peter Paige, and I said, “Why don’t we try our own version of what I just did here in town, and let’s make it ours?”
What made you decide to structure the episode the way you did, with musical scenes interspersed with flashback moments showing what happened just before the performance?
We realized as a team that the best way to do this was to use the musical as a backbone for the episode, and take those important Foster stories and weave them throughout Romeo and Juliet story points. So that’s why those looks — the family in the audience was just as important as what was happening on stage. Their responses and reactions to what they were seeing became just as important as the musical moments.
How much extra rehearsal and extra shooting time was needed to pull this thing off?
We normally have a seven-day prep schedule, and then we shoot for seven days — that really didn’t change for us. … About three weeks before we started shooting the episode, I brought in my choreographers, Chris Downey and Sara Ann Fahey. They started working with me. They would take the actors when they could depending on when our schedule was, because, remember, a lot of our cast was still shooting at the time. So when we could get an hour with Cierra [Ramirez] or an hour with Jordan [Rodrigues], we would pull them into a little rehearsal room, and we would stage the show with them, and then we would send them to Brad Hooks’ little music studio, and they would record music and learn some music. So we were constantly vanning and busing people from set to our rehearsal rooms to our music studio, just to put the pieces together. I started working with Rachel Kamerman, who’s our fantastic production designer, a couple of weeks before so we could build that onstage world together, and she and the entire team just worked in overdrive to build that set and get that set up in time, because that was just a whole different world for us to direct. It really was all hands on deck working overtime. Everyone showed up and put their best foot forward, and it was really kind of magical to experience together.
Was that scene where Brandon and Callie agreed they were too late to be together the end, or can we Brallie shippers ship on?
There’s something that happens in the finale that carries us into Season 4 that will have big repercussions within the family, and it will be Brallie-based for sure. So, although that scene on the bench in the pergola feels like it might be a final nail in the coffin, you know how it goes when you’re star-crossed lovers.
Does that mean we’ll be saying goodbye to Cortney (Denyse Tontz), or is she sticking around?
She will definitely be a part of our world moving forward. And I think there might be some moments coming up that might open your heart up a little to her.
That Shakespearean ending, Jack’s death at Jude (Hayden Byerly) and Callie’s former foster home, is clearly going to affect a number of the characters. Have you always been looking for a moment to revisit that house?
When we’re exploring the foster care system — as we like to do as much as we can, especially when it comes to the corporate side of America taking over the foster care system, which can be controversial and I think is an important conversation for us to start on this show — it felt like a natural place to go back to because that home had so much significance in our show and obviously our two beautiful kids’ lives. We wanted that iconic set piece to be at the center of this important story.
Speaking of the foster care system, how much of a role is Callie’s conflict with Justina and Rita’s viewpoints going to play in the season finale?
Justina and Callie will be the centerpiece of the finale episode next week, and even moving forward into Season 4.
The Fosters season finale airs Monday, March 28, at 8 p.m. on Freeform. The songs from tonight’s episode are available on iTunes, and a 35-minute version of Brandon’s musical with extended and deleted scenes is available on the Freeform app.