Switched At Birth – Recap & Review – Tight Rope Walker

photo: abc family

photo: abc family

Switched At Birth
Tight Rope Walker

Original Air Date: Feb 25, 2013

Karen Belgrad – Senior Editor
karenbelgrad@thetwocentscorp.com

Next week may be the all-ASL episode that ABC Family is touting as groundbreaking, but this week’s installment was definitely nothing to sneeze at (even though I have a horrid cold right now!). Once again, the show deftly mixes deaf culture with relationship drama and comes off the better for it.

The nifty thing about Switched At Birth is that you often forget that the show is actually educating you. It’s easy to think of shows where they used symbolism to drive their points home, but this one does not tiptoe around its central issue of how the deaf community is expected to adapt to the hearing world. Which brings us to our main story of the evening…

Carlton School For The Deaf: We’ve known since the cut the basketball program last season that the school is in dire financial straits. And it’s been stated that the hearing pilot program was launched with the expectation of bringing in more cash flow. But what was glossed over is that a pilot program is testing ground for launching a full program. And now that it’s come to that, the students, led by Melody, are up in arms. Katherine is surprisingly clueless as to why they are against the pilot program expanding, for as much as she’s learned sign language to communicate with Daphne, she hasn’t really grasped what it means to be deaf. Melody enlightens her, telling her that it’s about the freedom for the deaf students to be themselves, not to spend their days worrying where they fit in the hearing world. Katherine still doesn’t get it, but Melody’s speech empowers Daphne to speak at the school board, where she talks about feeling like the hearing kids are invading her “home, within the sanctuary of Carlton. She also gets a dig in about how the board found money to pay for sports equipment for hearing schools, but it’s not enough to sway the board. She later tells Katherine that board has decided to close Carlton and disperse its students amongst the other schools in the district.

Melody/Emmett: Melody and Emmett get more screen time this hour than we’ve seen of either lately, so I wanted to make sure to call them out. Hopefully this a trend of including Emmett in plots that extended beyond his love life with Bay. This week, while he and Melody are bickering over his tardiness to school and other minutia, he begins to notice the interest (academically speaking) that his mother has taken in Travis. In fact, despite his lack of financial or home stability, Melody tries to make Travis see what the future can hold, including encouraging him to apply to Gallaudet University. Emmett is initially a little jealous, but when he learns of Travis’s home situation from Daphne, he suggests to Melody that they invite Travis to move in with them. Travis may be on the calm side right now, but I’m guessing, with his anger issues, this may not end well.

Regina/Bay: After her encounter last episode with a clearly drunk Regina, Bay wastes no time in going to Daphne with her suspicions. But Daphne doesn’t want to hear it, assuming she knows her mother well enough that she would recognize the signs. Regina thwarts Bay’s attempts to go to the jazz club, so Bay suggests a dinner with Noah, Zane, and Daphne. Zane arrives with a bottle of wine, which sends up red flags for Bay, but everyone else shrugs it off as him not knowing her history. Bay takes it upon herself to visit Zane at the club, where she gets confirmation of Regina’s drinking and tells Zane that her bio-mother is an alcoholic. Zane brings it up to Regina and tells her he doesn’t want to be a bad influence. But it sets Regina off where she tears into Bay and admonishes her to stay out of her business. Within a few hours though, Regina crawls back to Bay and apologizes, admitting that embarrassed and humiliated by her slip. She apologizes profusely, and vows to call her sponsor and attend meetings, but asks Bay to keep this between them. Bay agrees, which is immediately apparent as a mistake, as Regina calls her sponsor, but deletes the voicemail she was leaving without sending it.

Elsewhere…
-Toby continues to hang around Elisa Sawyer, but is off put by her wild ways, including stealing money from her mother. John encourages Toby to do whatever he does for the right reasons, with the right person. This gives Toby motivation to reach out to Nikki for a reconciliation, pointing out that he does have faith… in their relationship.
-Noah likes ATV-riding and country music. Bay likes art house films. Daphne is now playing Juliet opposite Noah’s Romeo. And they both like basketball. Raise your hand if you see where this is going…

Episode Title Art: Tight-Rope Walker by Jean Louis Forain

And there you have my TwoCents! Be sure to share your TwoCents, comments, and feedback below!

About Karen Belgrad

Number cruncher by day, Karen spends way too many hours watching television and reading/writing about what she just watched. When not glued to the television, Karen sings karaoke, checks out live music, and roots for the Chicago Blackhawks and Cubs. Pop culture trivia and the Kevin Bacon game are her useless special talents. Managing Editor for TwoCentsTV.com [twitter:karenb0716]
This entry was posted in Switched At Birth and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Switched At Birth – Recap & Review – Tight Rope Walker

  1. I don’t think Regina deleted her voice message because Bay agreed to keep silent. I think the last scene was trying to be more realistic than just a happy ending, by showing the ambivalence in the pull of addiction and the desire to stop. Visually, they conveyed this by showing the bottle behind her, but her facing away from it.

    I’m not a fan of Toby and Nikki. Besides, how would Nikki like it if she found out just how quickly Toby had wound up with some other girl. Not to mention the religious conflict. I thought it was a little heavy-handed portraying Elisa as the clear-cut bad girl and Nikki as the clear-cut good girl, as Toby making some huge moral decision. (besides, didn’t Toby basically steal tons of money from his folks with his initial gambling addiction?)

    I think they had Kathryn be clueless, because they needed someone on the opposing side of the debate, to flush out the issue. and I think it is a valid issue. On the one hand, Carlton is a godsend, giving deaf kids an environment where they can learn and be accepted. The pilot program, on its own, sounds like a good idea, to help break down societal barriers (and exactly for someone like Noah, transitioning from hearing to deaf). On the other hand, isn’t having all-deaf schools a form of segregation, much like segregated African American schools and segregated female schools…and wasn’t it a major leap in civil rights and tolerance to have desegregation and co-ed? In this manner, wouldn’t it be a good idea to not segregate deaf children? I’m not saying that’s my position, but just playing devil’s advocate to flush out the argument.

    I kind of felt sorry for Noah. He doesn’t know how to read lips yet, and his signing is still rudimentary, and he is, at times, deaf. So he, especially, could be in a world of his own, unable to communicate with people – until he gets better at signing and lip reading.

    I was particularly irritated at Bay in this episode. I know outing Regina came from a place of concern. I just really don’t like how she did it – that dinner meeting she was particularly cold – nor do I agree with it. For one, she is a kid, and really disrespectful. But mostly, people with addictions have to want to change, they can’t be forced into it. I would imagine that if you become inquisitorial and so forth, that you’re just going to make the person mad, defensive, and secretive. I think perhaps a better way to do it would have been for Bay to confront Regina alone – rather than going behind her back to Daphne or Zane – and be more supportive instead of trying to angrily out her. Say that she maybe suspects drinking, isn’t judging her, and she will support her no matter what, and help her get help if that’s what she wants. I think it’d only be appropriate to barge in if Regina is posing harm to others, such as not being able to take care of Daphne.

    also, it was unclear if Zane was breaking up with her. But I would hope that if he really cared for her, he wouldn’t say he was a bad influence, but instead support her. He could drink nonalcoholic drinks around her. or they could meet at non-bar places. You make compromises and find ways for people you care about. I suppose it could be that she can’t handle being in a bar, period, and he needs to be there for his music.

  2. Annette says:

    I think your comment about segregation of the deaf kids was a little off. No one is forcing anyone to attend Carlton, it’s a choice. And now a choice they don’t have any more with the closing. Just as there are still all male and all female schools to this day – the difference is it’s a choice to attend them, not the law.

Give YOUR TwoCents

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s