Switched at Birth 4×09: “The Player’s Choice”

Something I’ve always admired about this little, groundbreaking show is the focus on the supporting characters. Very few shows absolve from their complete focus on the main group of characters (at least shows that are successful) and manage to still tell a captivating story. This episode (mainly) revolved around Travis, seeing as he’s had a much bigger story this season. Travis is dealing with his newfound popularity, while balancing university classes, baseball and his girlfriend, Mary Beth. He runs into his teammates on campus in the beginning of the episode, and has to bail when they ask hi to hang out, because Mary Beth asked him to see a movie. Travis, not the best student, is struggling enough on that front, and when Bay gives him relationship advice, he and Mary Beth end their relationship, so he can focus.

Ah, yes, Bay is the best person to ask for relationship advice….

Daphne and her roommate, Iris, task themselves with joining a sorority. Iris’ idea leads them to visit each one, where Daphne ends up wanting to join one herself, after she hears from another student that the seniors help with your schedule and keep copies of the past tests. (Not the best reason to join, Daph.) Both Daphne and Iris decide to do a “suicide bid”, where you only ask one sorority to join, and then they decide whether or not to let you in.

Bay, meanwhile, is back to her house arrest entertainment when her art project is postponed, while background checks are done on her local heroes. John, as interim coach of the UMKC baseball team, asks her to help, when all of his assistant coaches follow the old coach to a new job. Bay agrees, but is still distracted about Emmett after his last visit. He accidentally butt FaceTime calls her, awkward since he was avoiding her, and they have a brief chat, but he’s “too busy” and has to go. When Bay intervenes with Travis and Mary Beth, Mary Beth calls her out and reminds her that she isn’t concerned with them, she’s concerned with her and Emmett. Still reeling after their last visit, Bay ends the episode by making the rash decision to fly out to LA.

Not much happened this week, just the normal building of potential stories. This season, sans the Bay and Tank episodes, seem to be a little dull and not have much of a purpose. Next week is the spring finale of Switched at Birth, so prepare for it to be big. Hopefully we see how many stories have built up this season, other than the one with Regina and her ex-gang member boyfriend, Eric, (but nothing seems to be happening with that one yet), will conclude and expand. It’ll be interesting to see how they leave off. Stay tuned!


Switched at Birth 4×08: “Art Like Love Is Dedication”

This episode of Switched at Birth was somewhat lackluster after the recent episodes involving Bay and Tank. But there wasn’t much else to do with that story, so the writers moved on, but this episode just seemed somewhat juvenile in comparison.

During the episode, Bay is trying to find her place within the world again, after an early release from community service and probation because she saved an officer from choking during her shift. She is thrilled when her probation officer informs her of her release, and it’s very nice to see her happy again after the previous episodes. Bay also helps her community service friend with her financial situation, when she is fired from her crappy job and is therefore unable to provide for her son, who suffers from a condition where he could stop breathing at any moment. Bay’s character growth, especially just in this season, has progressed to the point where she is completely unrecognizable to the Bay Kennish we were introduced to in season one.

Daphne is infatuated with a new boy at school, the one from the party where Bay was assaulted, and they hook up after Bay gives her some dating advice, and fashion. The sisterly scenes between Daphne and Bay this season are what I have been waiting 3 seasons for. And in what is one of the funniest moments on the show, he loses the condom after they’re finished and the come to the realization that it is in Daphne. A quick trip to the health center, and they’re on their way, only for him to blow her off the next day in front of his friends, and then be invited over for another night. Daphne seems to be misunderstanding the concept of college, where guys (and girls) aren’t interested in relationships and are only after sex (even though her classmate from Chemistry TOLD HER, but it’s Daphne, I’m not surprised).

John and Kathryn spent the episode helping Travis with his assignments to keep his grades up. After a speech about English being the second language of the deaf, Kathryn starts to tutor Travis, but in the end he resorts to having someone else write his paper (but it was his coach’s idea). John forces the coach to confess to the dean, and consequently, the coach is fired and John takes his place.

Regardless of this lackluster episode, it was truly a reminder of how far these characters have come. After all they have been through, each character has blossomed and is more concerned with others. Especially Bay. Hopefully the next episode will pick the pace of the show back up, especially with the upcoming gang story involving Regina’s new boyfriend, Eric. Until next week…

Switched at Birth 4×07: “Fog and Storm and Rain”

Tonight’s episode of Switched at Birth focused on internal strife built up over the past few episodes, while stuck in the middle of a storm and a flash flood warning. Emmett and Bay, not the main focus of the episode, were reunited after Bay’s recent assault by her ex-boyfriend, Tank. After Daphne flew out to LA to tell him what happened with Bay and Tank, he decided to come visit her at the end of the episode. The episode starts off with Emmett and Bay passive aggressively fighting, Emmett not wanting to talk about the assault, and Bay needing to tell him everything that happened. Throughout the episode, Bay constantly trying to tell Emmett about what happened, and struggling with whether she should bother or not. After another sweet scene with Bay and John, where he encourages her to tell Emmett (believing he could handle it), Bay decides to. Emmett begins to say that he was going to transfer universities to be in Kansas City with Bay, she tells him everything, because she believes that if Emmett is going to ruin change his future for her, he should know everything. When she finally decides to, they skip the whole story and flash forward to afterward, where Emmett is freaking out, relating it to cheating. From the short scene after, Bay and Emmett most like broke up again.

Before the storm hit, Kathryn’s mother, Bonnie, came for a visit with her friend, Lucille (who was later revealed to be her friend). Kathryn has always been such an open, accepting person and it really showed this episode. After John revealed to Kathryn that her mother was more than likely in a relationship with Lucille, she had a brief moment where she said, “She was married for 42 years and she’s my mother!” but within seconds, she realizes that maybe it’s true and she is instantly supportive. Such a nice change from normal television stories, where they spend more than half of the episode denying the facts, but with Kathryn, it took her literal seconds. Once the power went out from the storm, Kathryn sat her mother down to enforce her support in her relationship, but Bonnie shocked her by telling her she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. (I’ll admit, even I was shocked, however I saw the friend thing coming within the first five seconds.) Bonnie revealed her plans to move to Paris with Lucille to open a B&B, to which Kathryn was horrified that she would even suggest moving away. Finally, the inevitable denial. A screaming match (from Kathryn only) proceeds, before Kathryn accepts her mother’s plans, and encourages her to do so.

Meanwhile, Regina and Daphne were such at Regina and her boyfriend’s coffee shop when the storm hit. Daphne, still struggling to accept what Bay did for her, is struck further down when “Nacho” shows up to set up the wifi for the shop and they’re all trapped when a tree falls down in front of the doors. Daphne overcome with guilt that Nacho had to leave town and his daughter because of the arrest warrant, informs him of Bay’s decision and that she confessed to doing it alone. Nacho is free. But in typical Nacho way, he decides to use the information to blackmail Daphne and Regina for $10,000. One thing leads to another, and Regina somewhat tells Eric about the dilemma. Eric scares Nacho into letting it go by informing him (and us) of his gang affiliations. Eric sweeps his gang past under the rug again when Regina asks, but when his son comes home after the storm, his son makes a comment about not wanting to move again, which brings the question of what will happen when they’re found..

Potentially one of the strongest episodes of Switched at Birth, each cast member delivers top performances, and it was nice, again, to see a break from the Daphne side of the show. I understand she’s a main character, but during the past three seasons, everything has been so focused on Daphne and it’s nice to see Bay being utilized more and more. I hope now that her relationship with Emmett is over, for now, she’ll get a story that doesn’t revolve around others. Looking forward to the next episode.

(Sorry for the late recap/review again, swamped with school and work!)

Switched at Birth 4×06: “Black and Gray”

Previously on Switched at Birth, Bay admitted to a felony crime that she did not do, but her switched sister Daphne did in a misguided rage. Bay, just getting off of probation, went to Daphne’s college for a party and ended up sleeping with her ex-boyfriend, Tank. In the last episode, Bay struggled to remember whether she had given consent and cheated on her boyfriend, Emmett, after blacking out at the party from drinking so much.
Tank had repeatedly said she had, but Bay remembered enough to honestly say that she hadn’t.

This episode is probably one of the most important in Switched at Birth history, in ABC Family history, and in television history. No program has ever really covered the issue of consent, and Lizzy Weiss (the show’s creator) and the other writers truly handle this in a classy, informative way. We start the episode knowing that Bay had not given consent, but she also wanted the whole issue to be dropped. Unfortunately, Toby overheard her conversation with Tank and told his girlfriend, Lily, who happens to be an administrator at the college that Tank and Daphne attend. Bay is called in to meet with Melody, where she realizes that the issue won’t and can’t be dropped. Melody informs her that the University has to do an investigation, and Bay is horrified to realize that everyone would now be in the know about her assault, which ended with Tank being expelled.

One of the greatest parts of this show is the co-parenting, especially between Regina and Kathryn. After Daphne comes to Regina, and spews a story similar to Bay’s about a “friend” who is going through all of these, Regina puts it all together and goes to Kathryn. Together, they go to Bay and talk to her, which is always lovely. This show has spent so much time writing a relationship between Daphne and all of their parents, but Bay has always been left out. We’ve seen the most bonding between Bay and John, which in tonight’s episode they shared a very tender, heartbreaking moment, where John gives Bay the reassurance that she doesn’t have to tell him what happened after she is too ashamed to even look into his eyes. And Bay’s interaction with Kathryn when Kathryn tells her that she was assaulted to, even though there wasn’t intercourse, was so admirable for the writers to include, and gives us so much more insight into the depth and history of these characters, that we haven’t seen before.

I’m really appreciating the direction that Daphne is going down this season. The past few seasons, she’s spent a lot of it complaining about all that she doesn’t have, granted in some instances she had every right to, but this season, she’s spending it all trying to get in her family’s good graces. Her relationship with Bay is becoming even more sisterly after Bay took the blame for her. After Emmett wouldn’t listen to Bay about what occurred with Tank, Daphne decided to fly out to LA and brought him back with her.

Bay’s character growth, even just within this season, is so advanced and beyond words. Her character has become so much more than the spoiled, rich girl she was in the pilot episode and it shows in Bay’s interview with the university’s investigator. The fact that Bay would suggest that Tank shouldn’t be punished for what happened goes to show how strong she is. Even though he was (rightly) expelled because he did assault her, just the thought that she would want him to not be punished is quite heartwarming, not because he deserves it, but because it gives us an honest view into Bay’s character and how she has grown beyond expectations.