"Switched at Birth" bowed out of our lives last week with its expanded series finale, "Long Live Love," a title that suggests exactly what the show was about. For five seasons, this Freeform show has given us a lot of great moments. It has given us personable, relatable characters to root for, storylines that seemed way too real, and at it's heart, the show has always been about family. It's also been bold with the themes it's covered over the years.
To be honest, I never expected to enjoy the show as much as I did when it began. And I will forever feel sad because it was so underrated. Nevertheless, I'm glad the writers, directors, and actors gave us beautiful five seasons with a ton of drama, twists, relationships. It was a fun ride!
We took a deep dive into the series finale and the show as a whole to honor it. Here's our round-table. Please let us know your answers to these questions in the comments.
Switched at Birth Round Table
1. Let’s start with an obvious one: how do you feel about Switched at Birth ending after five seasons? Was it enough for this show or did it need more seasons to explore the characters/storylines?
Aimee: As much as I’m going to miss this show I think five years was a good place for the show to end. There is always more material that writers can come up with, but when a show gets to a certain point the risk of recycling storylines becomes very real. I think the show ended just shy of that point and was still very fresh and relevant in the end. That’s a great place for a show to end especially when they get to do it on their own terms.
Jessica: Obviously, I would have loved more seasons and more time with these characters, but I think five seasons was a good number. It allowed us to learn, love, and grow with all of these characters. I am very grateful that we had a fifth season which allowed the show to wrap up storylines and give us a proper ending.
Saloni: I think five seasons is a good run but I wish it had more episodes. It would’ve given them more time to round out the stories from this season, which during the last few episodes, felt a little rushed.
2. Going into the final 10 episodes of season 5, what were your expectations from the show? Did it match them?
Aimee: I expected a well-rounded season with a very clear beginning, middle, and end that would build to the final goodbye. To me, it felt like the season delivered that full circle ending I was looking for, so my expectations were definitely met and exceeded. I expected Bay and Daphne to bond and grow even closer, but the way the writers did it by having Bay put in such a dire situation at the top of the season really helped bring these sisters even closer together than they were before. It really showed off how far they’ve come since they first met and I thought that was very beautifully done and helped ground the season from the start.
Jessica: I honestly just wanted the show not to end on a cliffhanger. I also wanted to find out what happened to Bay and Daphne when they returned home from China. Overall I enjoyed the final season. I expected Bay and Emmett to reunite but I’m glad they didn’t. Emmett’s character changed too much and I liked Bay and Travis together. I do wish Toby had been around more. I loved Toby and Bay’s relationship and I didn’t feel like we got much of that this season.
Saloni: I definitely expected the final season to be emotional and it delivered. All the characters had a strong storyline, except maybe Regina, but that changed by the time the finale rolled around. I’m happy with how it ended.
3. How about the series finale? What were your thoughts on the last episode of “Switched at Birth” overall and also individually for the characters, do you think they got the ending they deserved? Were there storylines you wish were resolved? Cameos you wanted?
Aimee: I really liked this series finale. Of course cameos are always fun,but sometimes they can be overdone in a series finale. In truth, cameos should be reserved for all the episodes leading up to the finale but the finale should be all about the core characters and the show very smartly did just that. I was very pleased in where all the characters ended their journeys. The whole series came full circle and still left the story in a way where it’s obvious the characters lives continue on, but they didn’t really leave anything hanging. Those are the best kinds of finales and I think the show really nailed the finale.
Jessica: I liked the final episode especially the Bay and Daphne scenes. I loved the scene at Bay’s party when Bay, Daphne, and Toby were discussing all the things they put John and Kathryn through these years. The siblings bond shows just how far they’ve come. I liked that Regina and Eric reunited and that Regina was going to raise Eric’s son while he served his sentence. That was a storyline I was really wanting resolved. One of the things I didn’t like was how judgmental John was of Bay. I wish they hadn’t spent so much time of the last episode fighting. I didn’t really care about Mingo, but I’m glad that Daphne ended up happy, and that Bay and Travis are going to make their long distance relationship work.
Saloni:I actually really enjoyed the series finale overall. They devoted enough time to everyone that matters, ending it with the essence of the show, which is the Kennish-Vasquez family. I’m so happy Bay continued her relationship with Travis and was mature enough while making this decision whereas Daphne and Mingo also made me happy. Yes, I think these characters got the ending they deserved and they’ve left the future open to interpretation, which is cool.
4. There were quite a few emotional scenes in the finale. What was your favorite moment? Why?
Aimee: The final family dinner. It was a moment for all the final loose ends with the family to be dealt with and left everyone in a good place. The final moment between them all and Regina’s goodbye were all very fitting for the episode’s final big scene.
Jessica: I loved the ending where they were celebrating the five year anniversary of finding out about the switch. It was very emotional as Regina informs them she is moving but it was very touching. They are family. It took a very long time for everyone to feel this way and the road wasn’t easy but they all love each other. I loved that we got to see everyone together one last time before the episode ended.
Saloni: Like Aimee and Jessica, the closing moments were my favorite and made me so nostalgic! However, to point out another scene I loved, it was Toby interacting with Harrison and his care taker Nina, both of whom have Down Syndrome. This chance encounter proved to him just how great his own son's life can turn out to be. I'm excited he's chosen a new career path for himself in lieu of this.
5. Over the course of five seasons, which character/relationship do you think had the most development?
Aimee: Without a single question or hesitation, that relationship that I think was handled the very best was the one between the sisters. Daphne and Bay are the heart of the series and while they had their issues along the way they went from some resentment towards each other to each other’s biggest champion. They went through hell together and came out the other side stronger than ever. There were a lot of great romantic relationships and great friendships but the bond between these sisters was handled so well that by the end of the series no one could question their relationships. They may not be born of the same blood, but they are sisters through and through in every way that actually matters.
Jessica: I definitely think Bay and Daphne’s relationship had the most development over the last five seasons. I remember how insecure and jealous Bay was at first because she thought Daphne was going to take over her life. Then Daphne was jealous over Bay and Emmett. It wasn’t an easy road, but the two eventually bonded and now they are sisters. I’ve enjoyed watching them become closer, and the show was always better (for me at least) when the two were getting along.
Saloni: Bay has grown so much, definitely. When we started, she was a little all over the place and had it rough but over time and with everything she has been through, this character has become by favorite. Her relationship with all her parents, Daphne, Emmett, Travis, Toby were all handled well.
6. “Switched at Birth” has tackled a lot of tough topic over the years. What’s been one of your favorites?
Aimee: Bay’s rape because of how well the whole storyline was handled. It breached the topic of college rape in a way that few shows had done prior. There have been some exceptional takes on the topic since, such as with MTV’s "Sweet/Vicious," but at the time this storyline ran, it was part of a very small group of shows that had tackled the topic. I also have great respect for the fact that the show never forgot this happened to Bay. Just like in real life, rape victims don’t forget what happened to them. The series had a block of episodes dedicated to dealing with the rape, but in the time since it happened the show periodically brought it up. That is something this show always did well is remembering what happened to the characters. Each tough situation shaped them and was a part of them. I have great respect for writers who ensure that they don’t forget where a character has been as they forge the path towards where they are going. Also, Vanessa Marano did some truly incredible acting throughout that arc.
Jessica: Organ donation is something that is very important to me and I’m glad that "Switched at Birth"handled it so well. Angelo’s death was devastating but "Switched at Birth" showed that lives can be saved after a tragedy. I also liked that the show handled the topic realistically. Even though Angelo’s organs saved lives, it was still a terrible time. I’m glad the show revisited that storyline this season when we met the girl who had Angelo’s heart. I hope the show made people consider becoming an organ donor.
Saloni: This is hard to choose. The show has been such a champion of the deaf community from the start. I think that will always be its strongest point. In various ways throughout the seasons, they reinforced this. The Kennishes learning ASL to bond with Daphne, the whole Carlton uprising, and even in the finale as Daphne reconsiders becoming a surgeon because she's deaf but comes out of it stronger, I think "Switched at Birth" really brought this to the forefront. It was amazing to watch.
7. What do you think is the legacy of “Switched at Birth?” What will you always remember it for? Would you watch a reunion if it ever happened down the line
Aimee: The legacy of this show is how inclusive and groundbreaking it was. Never before had a series focused so heavily on the deaf community and it was wonderful that the community had such true and honest representation. The fact that so many of the performers in the show were deaf and given the opportunity to show off their incredible acting skills was so nice as it showed that no disability should ever stand in the way of following your dreams. I would without hesitation tune in for a future revival should one happen. While I have my doubts, this is the era of remakes and revivals, so never say never.
Jessica: I’ll remember "Switched at Birth" as a groundbreaking show about two families that had to come together after finding out they were raising someone else's biological child. No other show handled disabilities and controversial issues better than Switched at Birth. The show did an amazing job at developing characters and relationships. There aren’t many family shows left on television which will make me miss this show even more. I’ll miss Bay and Daphne and the rest of the family. I would watch a reunion, and I would love to revisit the characters and learn about their lives a few years down the road. I hope a reunion does happen eventually.
Saloni: "Switched at Birth" should be remembered as a show that truly focuses on issues faced by individuals, couples, families, communities and bringing them to light in a real way. In a way that evokes emotions. It was always very inclusive and gave actors, especially of the deaf community, a real chance to shine. I hope there's a short revival someday and I'll be there to tune in.
Rapid Fire Questions:
1. Favorite character
Aimee: Daphne Vasquez
Jessica: Bay Kennish
Saloni: Bay Kennish
2. Favorite actor
Aimee: Katie LeClerc
Jessica: Katie Leclerc or Vanessa Marano
Saloni: Katie LeClerc
3. Favorite season
Aimee: Seasons 3 and 4, simply can’t pick between them.
Jessica: Probably season 2 but I liked season 3 as well
Saloni: Season 3
4. Favorite episode
Aimee: This is a weird one, but it has to be Yuletide Fortune Tellers (3x22). That’s always been a favorite of mine to watch because it was such a different episode.
Jessica: “Uprising”. No television show has ever done something like that so I’ll always remember it
Saloni: "Uprising." In my opinion, this was a truly groundbreaking episode.
5. Most underrated character throughout the show
Aimee: Ty, there was so much potential in that character, but the timing with the actor just never allowed for the show to fully delve into that character.
Jessica: Travis. He did have a great storyline the last few seasons, but for the longest time I felt like we didn’t know anything about him. I wish the show had developed his character sooner.
Saloni: I think Melody. She was always there for literally everyone, and I'm glad she found her happy ending.
6. Favorite friendship
Aimee: Daphne and Bay
Jessica: Toby and Bay and Bay and Daphne. I loved both of those relationships.
Saloni: Kathryn and Regina
7. Favorite relationship
Aimee: Regina and Angelo
Jessica: Bay and Emmett (but like I mentioned earlier, I liked Travis and Bay at the end.)
Saloni: Bay and Travis
And that's a wrap for "Switched at Birth." Are you sad the show is over or happy it went out on a relatively high note? What are your thoughts on the series finale? Would you ever want a reboot? Let us know in the comments!