Original Air Date: Jul 8, 2013
Karen Belgrad – Senior Editor
Haven’t we all wondered “what if?” at some point? What if we chose a different path in our lives? What if a different path was chosen for us? How might our lives have turned out differently?
Tonight’s episode of Switched At Birth is all about the “what ifs” of those choices. And it was a either a well spent hour showing how things might have been or a waste of an hour. That will all depend on how you feel about “stunt” episodes. Because, with the exception of the last seconds, nothing that happened will effect much of what we see going forward.
We opened the hour when the girls (and how cute were they!?!) were three years old. Instead of keeping the switch to herself, Regina revealed what she learned. John went into macho mode, and upon learning Regina had a history of alcohol abuse, demanded custody of both girls (just like Regina feared last week). The custody case was a landslide in the Kennish’s favor, and a confused, scared, and deaf Daphne was sent to live with John, Kathryn, Toby, and Bay.
We fast forward to present day and learn everyone’s altered personality. Kathryn is a published author. John is the Senate majority leader. Toby is still a gambling fool. Bay is an isolated academic overachiever. And Daphne is a spoiled, narcissistic princess. Regina is nowhere to be found, and the Kennish’s are the sole guardians of the girls. Daphne wasn’t raised with any deaf culture, having been given a cochlear implant at a young age.
Bay wears her adopted status as an outsider badge, even wanting to graduate early to get out of her lonely existence. Daphne is snotty, hanging out with Simone, ditching school, and racking up large credit card bills. Clearly it’s not new behavior for her, as all she has to do is play the cochlear-card in order to get out of any trouble. Her only penance is to have to bring Bay along to a party.
The party is a college frat party, where Daphne comes across as completely vapid as she tries to flirt with a former high school classmate. Bay is miserable at the party and wants to leave. She bickers with her sister, calling her miserable, while Daphne mocks her for going to therapy. Daphne, ignoring the obvious implications of the Butterfly Effect conversation, throws herself at the frat boy (Graham) and ends up going to his room. Bay takes leave, and randomly meets Emmett, who cautions her against walking through the sketchy neighborhood. Even with no signing skills, their chemistry is palpable, as they communicate via lip reading and pantomime.
Daphne wakes up the next morning, doing the walk of shame through the frat house. Bay has covered for her, but the effects of their argument linger, and we see Daphne is truly unhappy as she cries in her room clutching a stuffed dog from her childhood (pre-switch-back, but she clearly doesn’t know).
Bay hangs out with Emmett again and tells him about her curiosities over Regina. He encourages her to dig deeper, and they go to the car wash to search for the court papers. Instead they find Toby, hosting a poker game (with, as Bay calls them, the “Sons of Anarchy”). Toby points her in the direction of the guest house, where Emmett helps locate the court papers that reveal a restraining order against Regina, as well as undelivered letters to the girls.
Bay brings the find to Daphne, who is charitably packing up some of her expansive wardrobe. Daphne is reluctant to even look at the letters, admitting she has no memory or sense of connection to Regina. But Bay shows her that Regina wanted them in her life, and a picture of Daphne with the stuffed dog. Daphne melts and the two head off to Regina’s house. There, Adriana answers the door, knowing who they are immediately and embracing them both in a hug. They ask about Regina, and we cut to them in a cemetery, looking at her gravestone. They don’t know how she died, but since she died on their birthday, one can probably surmise that it was suicide.
At the Kennish house, John is in the process of busting Kathryn for having an affair with Senator Coto. Kathryn admits that it’s being going on for seven months, but lays blame at their own distant relationship, including him steam rolling her in any decisions involving Daphne. The girls come home and rip into John for keeping Regina from them, stunning him with the news that she’s deceased. The family in shreds, Daphne reaches out to Adriana to learn more about her original family, and Bay takes off for a ride on Emmett with his motorcycle to anywhere but there.
We end in the kitchen, where, like last week, John collapses. But this time there’s no Regina to save him, and he clearly (based on his grayish pallor) dies on the kitchen floor. But as the microwave beeps in the kitchen, we transition back to reality where John awakens with a worried Kathryn by his hospital bedside. As he sees Regina there, he expresses gratitude that she is in their lives.
So while the “what if” portion was clearly John’s dream, the lasting effect is his finally moving past Regina having kept the switch secret all those years. The episode showed that things wouldn’t have been better, but since it’s all a dream, there are no lasting implications. And with all of the drama happening in the “real” world, I look forward to getting back to the current Kennish-Vasquez dynamic next week.
Episode Title Art: Based on the failed restoration (jokingly called Ecco Mano) of the Ecco Homo painting by Elías García Martínez
And there you have my TwoCents! Share your TwoCents, comments, and feedback below!