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Switched at Birth - Between Hope & Fear / We Mourn, We Weep, We Love Again - Double Review

Between Hope & Fear

I’m so conflicted about this episode because I loved so much about it but I also found it to be pretty annoying at points and more than a little bit preachy (something I find ABC Family struggles with as a network).

Toby and Lily’s baby news took center stage again this week. I have to say I was so impressed with Lucas Grabeel’s acting - he’s come a long way since High School Musical! Everything about his performance felt authentic and it was beautiful to watch. It was also interesting to see everyone else’s reaction to the baby news and to see who was helpful and supportive and who wasn’t. I especially loved the scene in the kitchen between Toby and Kathryn, you could really see Toby’s struggle and feel how much he needed his mother in that moment and I thought it was very well done. While Kathryn was supportive, John was a completely different story. He totally went off on Toby but I understand he had his reasons and he was making a lot of valid points. Everything has been too much for him this season and this is really the last thing he needed. I’m happy that by the end he was able to get past it all and be there for Toby like he should. They’ve had a bit of a strained relationship in the past so hopefully this will be a turning point for them and the writers will explore more of their dynamic over the next few episodes.

For the most part, I really enjoyed Bay’s involvement in this episode. I wasn’t a fan of her pro-life/pro-choice conversation with Daphne, which I’ll get into a bit further down, and I felt like she was a bit flip-floppy with her support at times, but overall I thought she contributed a lot to this episode. I like how when she found out about the baby, instead of just blindly offering her totally irrelevant opinion, she actually proactively tried to do research and get Toby as much information as she could to help him come to a decision. I really appreciated her for doing that. At first I was really on-board with Bay, but then she started to really push what she wanted Toby to do, which was to not have the baby, and I became as frustrated as ever! She’s just as bad as Daphne was in the last episode. Everyone on this show are such meddlers, they think everything is their business and it’s not! Can no one (except Kathryn and Regina) understand that this is not their choice and their only job is to be supportive! I was thrilled when Regina said to Bay that no matter what, she has to get on board fast - it was exactly what she needed to hear. Throughout the episode there were a lot of conversations between Toby and various, well-meaning, family members, but in the end the only conversation that really matters is the one between him and Lily. I really loved their scene at the end where they decided to keep the baby. It was nice to see them coming together as a partnership and facing this next journey together. I hope they’ll continue to come together and it will definitely be interesting to see where their relationship goes now that they’re officially having this baby.

Another big focus of this episode was Eric and his troubled past. Regina and Eric seemed to be oddly fine after his kidnapping reveal but it was nice to see that she was actually still holding onto some reservations about all of it, if she wasn’t I’d be a bit worried about her character. It seemed kind of excessive for her and Daphne to travel all the way to Atlanta just to see things for themselves but I guess they found out what they needed to know and can move on. However, I have a feeling this won’t be the last time this storyline pops up. Meanwhile, everything with John and Kathryn’s money problems reached a tipping point in this episode. I feel bad for him because it really isn't his fault, he just trusted the wrong person. Even though John claims to have it all under control, I was happy to see Kathryn stick up for herself when she told John that she isn’t “some spoiled little girl”, she definitely deserved to know! Now that everything’s out in the open, it will be interesting to see how they work together to get out of this tough situation.

This episode also saw the return of Emmett. However, I have a feeling it wasn’t in a way that most fans would like, at least I didn’t like it. Instead of finding the Emmet we all know and love, in L.A. working hard and finding success, we are treated to a totally different side of Emmett. He’s turned into the stereotypical “L.A” type of person. He’s out for himself and he’s basically forgotten how to be a friend to Travis. After Travis goes all the way out there to see a game they’ve been talking about for years, Emmett ends up ditching him for a hollywood party so that he can make connections. I really miss the old Emmett and if this is how he’s going to be from here on out, then Bay is better off without him. Anyways, Emmett is being really annoying but no one on this show is more annoying than Skye - and to make matters worse - they’re dating now! He sure moved on quick! I was curious to see how the whole Travis in L.A. adventure would turn out, especially now that him and Bay are so close, and it went pretty much the way that I expected. I feel like Emmett’s whole storyline is so cliche and they’re destroying his character. I just want things to go back to the way they used to be. One thing I will say, this season has really proven what a better friend Bay is to the people around her and now I’m even more of a fan of her and Travis’s friendship.

Like I mentioned before, I’m finding this show is getting a bit too preachy for my taste. I still remember, back in the day, how absolutely terrible the writing on Secret Life of The American Teenager was, and although I don’t think Switched will ever get that bad, I feel like it’s heading down a dangerous road. I understand they feel like they have an obligation to young people to educate them I guess and help them think about their own opinions but some of the writing is starting to feel very inauthentic. There are better ways to do it that aren’t so blatant, I don’t think that their audience, as young as they may be, are that dumb. Overall, I really don’t mind the baby storyline, I even actually like it, but I just think they have been going way overboard with the whole pro-life/pro-choice theme.

We Mourn, We Weep, We Love Again

This episode felt like a total turn-around from the other episodes this season. There was much less going on and the story felt very focused, which was refreshing. Despite the content involving Angelo and his death, it wasn’t as emotionally powerful as Between Hope & Fear but it was still a quality episode that I think this show desperately needed. Honestly, this episode felt more like the older seasons of Switched at Birth and I have to think that it was intentional. With all the changes this show has gone through in the past year it was nice to get back to basics and revisit the family themes that I think have been kind of lost since Toby, and Daphne moved out.

Although this episode felt reminiscent of earlier times, there were still current storylines woven in to keep everything moving forward. The beginning of this episode was rather jarring, with all the injured people stumbling around campus, but I had a feeling it would turn out to be some kind of drill. At first, I was confused because it seemed like it was just personal doctor practice for Daphne which would be a bit unbelievable, but later we find out that she’s trying to be the dorm’s safety captain. Her training for this position involved going on an ambulance ride-along and I was sure that she would try to get more involved than she should, even after being told not to, but I was pleasantly surprised when she actually did as she was told and stayed out of the way. Look at that subtle character growth! See writers, not everything has to be shoved down our throats!

It was Angelo’s birthday this episode and with it being the first one since his death, this was a major issue for many of the characters to work through, but it definitely seemed to hit Bay the hardest. Bay wants to celebrate with Regina and Daphne but when the time comes they both bail on her. I felt really bad for Bay. This is how she needed to grieve and no one was there for her. When Angelo died, she kept it together for them and now when she needs them they just abandoned her. On top of Angelo’s birthday, Bay found out that Regina was planning on moving away with Eric and that brought a lot of fears that also related to Angelo. I thought this was a very smartly written episode with the way that everything fit together and made sense, emotions and drama weren’t just coming out of nowhere. When Angelo died Bay was overwhelmed with the fact that she would never see him again and she fears the same thing if Regina moves away. That whole dynamic was very well done and the scene where Bay admits this to Regina was quite touching as well.

Meanwhile, on Angelo’s birthday, Daphne is on her ambulance ride-along and they get a call for a car accident which is eerily similar to Angelo’s (again with everything tying in!). This brings up a lot of memories for Daphne, especially when the man involved doesn’t make it. Later she even meets the person who responded to Angelo’s accident. This whole series of events causes her to realize that she wants to spend her time doing something important, so she ditches her spring break plans with Mingo (who is being really adorable with his sign language!) and decides to go on a service trip to Mexico with Melody instead. I enjoyed Daphne’s storyline this week but there was one thing that I really wanted to happen and I was disappointed when it didn’t. I really wanted Daphne to find the daughter of the man from the car accident and have her pass on the fact that he was thinking about her when he died. I though this would be a great chance to reflect how she felt when the guy who responded to Angelo couldn't remember his last moments in the ambulance for Daphne. I guess you can’t have everything!

Overall, I really enjoyed this episode and I thought it was cute that Bay, Daphne, and Regina ended up celebrating Angelo’s birthday and remembering what he meant to them. It was nice to give a nod back to past storylines and an integral character. It’s also good to see that his death is still progressing multiple stories forward and it wasn't wasteful. This episode was really lacking with the Toby/Lily baby storyline, and after so much focus the past couple of weeks it felt weird for it to not really be mentioned at all, but I guess there’s not enough time for everything. These last couple of episodes have been pretty strong and I really hope that the rest of the season can keep it up!

What did you think of these two emotional episodes? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!

About the Author - Kate Sidwell
Kate is a 24 year old, USA based, Psychology/Public Health Researcher - but that’s just her day job! In her spare time she is an avid TV watcher (some may even say addict!!). Some of her favorite shows are Jane the Virgin, Bates Motel, The Flash, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Rookie Blue, Silicon Valley, Beauty and the Beast, Sleepy Hollow, The 100, The Mindy Project, Pretty Little Liars, Once Upon a Time, The Royals, Orphan Black…so pretty much too many to count and a huge variety! She’ll give pretty much any show a chance! She also devotes a lot of time to her tumblr (eat-sleep-breathe-tv.tumblr.com) where you can find her reviewing and commenting on most of these shows and just generally fangirling! She’s excited to be writing for SpoilerTV on Complications, Baby Daddy, Proof, Switched at Birth, Secrets and Lies, and Minority Report!
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