The Acquired Inability to Escape
Original Air Date: Feb 4, 2013
Karen Belgrad – Senior Editor
ABC Family billed this as a shocking hour of television. Perhaps to some it was, but to most seasoned television viewers, the “shocking events” were obvious from the beginning of the hour. But, even if they were monumental surprises, they did work because they have the momentum to result in some fantastic pay offs down the line.
I’ve said it before; the show is at its absolute best when it focuses on the hearing/deaf and cultural divides brought upon by the initial premise of the show. When it gets mired down in teen melodrama best served by other shows on the network, it feels like it has lost its way. But tonight, most of the story revolved around what the show does best.
Regina: Regina has always been seen as somewhat of an outsider to the Kennish world. She’s the cool mom that does pottery with Bay, but she’s also the woman that kept the baby switch a secret for far too long. While Kathryn wears a bit of a Stepford-wives mask, Regina is often on auto-pilot trying to manage her own life as well as her daughter(s). With her recent inability to sign or pursue her life-long career as a hair stylist, she’s definitely been set adrift. She starts hanging out with Zane at the jazz club, and the seeds are sown for the upheaval. Because what worse place is there for an aimless recovering alcoholic than a bar? She’s offered free drinks and turns them down, lying that she’s on a cleanse. She even turns down Zane’s advances, citing the turmoil in her life. But when she’s denied a menial job as a spa receptionist, the lack of direction she’s feeling is clear, and her resolve is clearly dampened. So, at the end of the hour, when she finally takes that drink of wine, it’s not really shocking, as it is a foregone conclusion. Where will it lead? A drunk driving incident? Alcohol poisoning? An intervention? Only time will tell, but here’s hoping the show does the more organic and less after-school-special route with the story. Perhaps she could simply realize the magnitude of her slip and go back to A.A.?
Daphne: Before getting to the meat of her story, let’s reflect on Emmett’s comment about Daphne only dating hearing guys. It’s true of what we’ve seen on the show, but I wonder who she dated before we met her. Daphne, perhaps overcompensating for Emmett’s remark, turns down basketball with hearing Noah and invites Travis out with her on the food truck. First Travis takes a moment to cement that it was only a kiss between them last hour, but if she really believed he didn’t have feelings, I have a bridge to Hawaii to sell her. John worries about the safety of Daphne on the food truck, but she plays the “Regina said it was OK” card and goes out to the park with Travis.
She’s flirted with by a young male customer, not realizing he’s also ascertaining that she and Travis are both deaf and alone. When Travis steps out with the garbage (and to buy her a rose), the young man returns and distracts Daphne with more flirting until his friend accosts her and steals the cash box, shoving Daphne down in the process. Travis is overcome with anger towards the robbers and guilt over having not been present, but Daphne just wants to go home. They not only don’t report the robbery to the police, Daphne chooses not to tell Regina either. Travis waits the next day at the same park with a baseball bat to take out vengeance and Daphne joins him for a chat. She’s most hurt because of how they were targeted because they were deaf and were perceived to be easy marks. Daphne may have spent most of her life in the poorer section of town, but it’s clear that she was protected by Regina and is having a hard time with the realities of her situation.
Toby: Toby wants to go to Washington University, so he opts to reach out to his grandfather, Bill Kennish (played by Sons Of Anarchy’s William Lucking) for a little alumni string pulling. John clearly didn’t have a warm relationship with his father and advises against the meeting, but Toby forges ahead. The lunch is a disaster, as Bill downplays and belittles all of Toby’s academic and musical accomplishments. John confronts his father, seeing him for the first time in six years, and rips into him for instilling doubt in Toby. Bill is nonplussed and John realizes keeping him from his children was the right decision. But Bill’s words seem to have infiltrated Toby’s psyche, as he announces to his dad that he no longer plans to go to college. This all seemed a bit random, but if it gives Toby a plot, I’m all for it.
Bay/Kathryn: When Natalie learns that Bay is an artist, she recruits her to help with set design for the school play. But, because of the new hearing program, the principal announces there is no funding and the play will be cut. When Kathryn finds out, she goes into fixer mode, and ends up volunteering to direct the play herself (and presumably fund costumes and sets as well). Her cheerleader approach, awkward “story ball” idea, and demeanor embarrass Bay and don’t go over well with the other students either. At an inopportune moment, Kathryn overhears Bay signing/speaking to Natalie that Kathryn has no life and always butts into Bay’s. It’s not a proud moment for Bay, but it’s a fairly typical teenager sentiment, right? I was just wondering why Bay speaks when she signs. Any ideas, besides plot advancement? Kathryn and Bay have a heart-to-heart and apology, with both admitting they see the other’s side. Kathryn takes the incident to heart, rallying the students with an impassioned speech about how they need to commit to the play out of a love for theatre and team work.
Episode Title Art: The Acquired Inability to Escape by Damien Hirst
And with that, you have my TwoCents for this week’s episode! Be sure to share your TwoCents, comments, and feedback below!