Can Lena and Stef Heal with Monte in the Picture? Sherri Saum Spills on 'The Fosters'

Sherri Saum (l) and Teri Polo as Lena and Stef on 'The Fosters.' (Freeform)

After what seems like a really long wait (right?), we’re getting new episodes of Freeform’s “The Fosterstonight as well as the premiere of “Recovery Road.”

When we last saw our favorite foster family, Stef (Teri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum) were dealing with marital pressures once Stef found out that Lena’s co-worker Monte (Annika Marks) had fallen in love with her wife and stolen a kiss. Then there’s also Stef’s potential health crisis to deal with as well as Jude’s (Hayden Byerly) breakup from Connor (Gavin Macintosh), Jesus’ (Noah Centineo) return home and (one thing they don’t know…yet) Brandon (David Lambert) and Callie (Maia Mitchell) sleeping together just before her adoption came through. OMG!

In the winter premiere, directed by co-creator Peter Paige, all these story lines (and a few more) are off and running in what will make this crop of episodes a dramatic ride not to be missed.

I grabbed a few minutes with Saum late last week to get the lowdown on what we’ll see.

Can Stef and Lena survive with Monte still in the picture? 

Sherri Saum: Yeah, it would probably have to do with the intimacy and the sharing of feelings that should have been shared between she and Stef. I think in any kind of relationship, the emotional betrayal is a harder thing to get over, but I think we’ve worked on it, we’ve dealt with it [and] we brought it all out in the open. We love each other so much that I think we can get through it.

Can Lena and Monte co-exist at work assuming that continues?

SS: It’s going to be a long road, as well. Monte made it clear that she was in love with Lena, and that’s more than some little drunk kiss on the cheek during an office party. That’s pretty deep! They’re going to have to work overtime at restructuring their relationship and reestablishing it from a professional point of view, but Lena really does have a lot of respect for her as an educator so she doesn’t want to lose that.

Maybe Lena could stop being so irresistible!

SS: [laughs] Oh, yeah!

The show has always been great at tackling real issues that any family could have. That's definitely something they're facing in these new episodes.

SS: I like that the show constantly brings those realities into focus because it’s so easy to be on a show and it be directed so beautifully with these glamorous women juggling this stuff, but I’m glad that they show the realities of it, too, where they keep it together, but it’s not without its struggles like everybody has. Bills are a reality and I’m really proud of our show. It would be really obnoxious if we lived in the perfect house and we never talked about bills or stress or that kind of stuff.

Can Lena help Jude (Hayden Byerly) with his broken heart? (Freeform)

You have a great scene with Hayden in the first episode since Jude had to deal with a broken heart after Connor left. From Lena's perspective, how does she deal with it knowing that it's kind of a rite of passage to go through heartache?

SS: I simply adore working with [Hayden]. Such a smart kid and such a lovely and sensitive kid and I think that, yes, it’s hard for any parent when your child is going through these rites of passage and difficult times, but I think deep down Lena also feels so grateful to know that even though it’s painful for him, that she and Stef and the rest of the family are there for him. I can’t imagine how hard it would be for him if he was still bouncing around these foster homes and dealing with a first crush or first love.

We found out at the end of the season that Stef potentially has some health issues. Of the two, who is the more sensible to deal with that?

SS: Stef definitely has some really scary, putting-life-into-perspective challenge, but it’s one of those things that has a silver lining because it only serves to show you what’s important in life and refocuses and gets your perspective back after some of the hard times they’ve been through. So I am hoping that it will be a restrengthening period for the marriage.

Do you personally have aspirations to do more than acting on the show? Maybe directing or even writing there or elsewhere in your career?

SS: My joy, my passion and my love is in front of the camera and bringing characters to life, but someday I would like to produce because I would like to be a part of bringing good stuff to TV. “The Fosters” has given me such a great example of that.

“The Fosters” airs Mondays at 8 pm on Freeform.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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