Duel Between Two Women
Original Air Date: Jan 21, 2013
Karen Belgrad – Senior Editor
At the end of last season, I slightly feared that Switched At Birth had run off course. We were mired in individual storylines that didn’t really intertwine. Daphne was involved with her boss. Bay was living and breathing graffiti. Kathryn was flirting with a lawyer. But none of the stories really seemed to be about the core of the show, which was always about the fascinating relationships between the two girls and their different worlds.
But I am very happy to report that thus far, season two seems to have largely course corrected. This installment is all about bridging the hearing and deaf communities, and the other stories are sprinkled around this main plot. And the show is so much better for it. Don’t you agree?
Bay: Bay is still trying to find her footing at Carlton, but Natalie’s antagonism is getting the best of her. Natalie, besides the “hearie bitch” locker graffiti, is understandably frustrated, as Carlton is cutting programs in order to hire more interpreters for the seven hearing kids. Emmett makes a plea to his mother, Meloday (the guidance counselor) to intervene, as her dislike of the pilot program is causing her to turn a blind eye to the issues. So Melody creates a Student Tolerance Weekend, bringing together a select group of students, including Bay, Natalie, Daphne, Emmett, and Noah (played by Max Lloyd-Jones).
At the weekend retreat, Bay and fellow-hearing student Noah bond, but when he gets woozy, he’s forced to admit (to only Bay, thus far), that he suffers from Ménière’s disease (which Katie Leclerc is afflicted with in real life), and may lose his hearing someday, which is why he is at Carlton. Emmett notices the two getting chummy and is visibly jealous, while Bay is noticeably oblivious. Bay is far more focused on her snippy battle with Natalie, which comes to a head during a partner activity. After baiting each other, Melody forces the girls to make nice, or at least complement each other a bit. Of course, they’re really not that different. And as much as I have grown to like Bay, her inability to recognize why she is such an issue to them is a bit much. Surely, she can somehow acknowledge that she is the outsider? She and Natalie do make tentative peace at the end of the hour, by way of shared poison ivy lotion.
Emmett: We actually see more of Emmett this hour than I feel we have in a while. And when he tries to get Bay to sneak away to meet him during the retreat, we can sense his confusion over where the two stand. She declares herself just friends with Noah, and while that certainly seems to be the case, Emmett is left to watch her bond with the new guy while still waiting for some sign of a renewed relationship. By hours end, he lays it out on the table, wondering why they’re not back together yet. Bay readily admits that it’s not about the Simone infidelity, just that she’s a bit under water with all of the life changes she’s gone through and is relying on him for friendship. But Emmett can’t be her go-to-guy any longer, as it hurts to much. And Bay looks thoroughly stunned as he takes their friendship and walks away.
Kathryn/John: The Kennish campaign is picking up steam, and the two are being schooled in being the front runner candidate. The game plan is for them to keep quiet on issues and tout John’s celebrity and image for an easy victory. But Kathryn goes off script during a radio interview, swinging the conversation from recipes to immigration. It’s a considerable faux pas, as the opposition turns into John hiring undocumented workers at his car wash (he doesn’t). John’s instructed to rein Kathryn in and to be bland, thus avoiding damage control. Kathryn is clearly offended, so I’m guessing bland and smooth may not be in the forecast.
Toby: While getting his car fixed, Toby runs into Lana (Angelo’s baby mama). Her car is still being serviced, so he offers to chauffeur her around a bit. The two end up in a minor fender bender, so he takes her to the hospital to get checked out. She reveals that she plans to give the baby up for adoption, which is surprising because I thought she went to see the affluent Angelo about money? He suggests that she consider meeting the rest of Angelo’s family before making a final decision. And I just wonder where Angelo is? Was Gilles Marini still competing on Dancing With The Stars during these tapings?
Daphne/Regina: Regina comes clean with Daphne and Adriana about the impending birth, causing Adriana to go off on yet another tear about Angelo. Daphne suggests a spa weekend, but it is canceled when she has to attend the retreat. Regina agrees to come by after her hand-related doctor’s appointment. Yes, we’re finally revisiting the wrist brace that Regina has worn, seemingly forever. At the appointment, it’s revealed that Regina is suffering from a degenerative condition called Osteonecrosis, caused by long-term signing, hair styling, and painting. There is no cure, and Regina will have to dramatically alter her lifestyle in order not to further aggravate it.
At the retreat, Regina tells Daphne and Melody that she can no longer sign. Daphne takes leave, and Melody is openly hostile, almost betrayed, that Regina will not be able to two-way communicate. She accuses her of not trying and seeking attention. Regina is floored, if that’s what Melody thinks she’s not her friend. She makes better progress with Daphne, who although disappointed, seems to realize that this is not easy or a chosen path for her mother. I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be for a child to have your main method of parental communication discontinued. But Daphne is a trooper, seeming to rally around Regina who now must find a new career and life for herself.
Don’t you agree that the best episodes are those that revolve around the culture and assimilation of the core characters? Secret relationships, law breaking, and legal issues may work for other ABC Family shows, but #SAB really resonates when it lets the hearts of the characters guide the way. So let’s make our predictions… will Emmett start dating Natalie to get back at Bay? Will Bay end up with Noah? Or are she and Emmett the end game and we all just have to be patient?
Episode Title Art: Duel Between Two Women by Jusepe De Ribera
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