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Switched at Birth - "Memory (The Heart)" - Review: Celebrating the Landmark 100th Episode

27 Mar 2017

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“Switched at Birth” celebrated its 100th episode mark last week. I am so proud of this show for reaching where it has. It’s quite different and unique from the current TV landscape, which is why I’ll really miss it when it ends after another 3 (!!) episodes. The beauty of “Switched at Birth” lies in the fact that it’s so well-grounded in reality. The show has taken its time to really build characters and relationships that reflect our world.

It has tackled several issues heads on, from the obvious like raising awareness about the deaf community or the impact of a shattering issue like having your child being switched at birth, as the title suggests. Campus rape and consent, racism, having a child with disabilities, religion, adoption, a dwindling marriage, death have also been dealt with head-on by “Switched at Birth” in a way that only broadens perspectives.

For its 100th episode, the show briefly took us back to thinking ‘what if?’ In season 3, Angelo Sorrento (Gilles Marini), died of an aneurysm while driving a car and getting into an accident. His death had adverse effects on Daphne and Bay, his daughters. He was a wonderful character, in my opinion, and his death really shook me because we didn’t see it coming.

That’s why it felt so good to see Angelo return so authentically in “Memory (The Heart)” last week.

After last week and the reveal that Daphne’s patient from the clinic, Ally, is the recipient of Angelo’s heart, she dreams of what life would be right now if Angelo was still alive. He’d still be a sweetheart, that’s for sure. He’s cooking breakfast for the family, naming dishes after Regina, joking around with John and Kathryn, being so great with baby Carlton. It’s a rude awakening for Daphne when she wakes up.

She takes Bay and introduces her to Ally, who is way too keen to bond with Angelo’s family. Maybe it’s because her own isn’t around anymore. She claims her mom died of cancer. She even talks about loving red wine and salsa dancing, Angelo’s favorites, which makes Bay feel strongly connected with her. Daphne, on the other hand, is suspicious of her behavior. She hints to Regina later at The Cracked Mug about possibly meeting someone to whom Angelo’s organs were donated after Ally expresses interest in meeting with her. After all, Daphne tells her, when organs are transplanted some of the original DNA also goes along with the organ.

Science and faith are two stronghold themes of this episode. Faith comes into play with Toby and Kathryn’s storyline, but more on that later.

Regina isn’t interested in meeting up with any of them. For her, it means reliving the worst day of her life -- the day her husband died. In case you needed a reminder, he died after the two had a really big fight. He was so angry at her before they parted ways and he got into the accident, she didn’t really get a goodbye. While this is happening, Bay invites Ally to crash with her and Daphne after learning she’s living in her car and is in-between jobs. It’s an offer Ally quickly accepts.

This is when a few red flags went up for me. Ally is trying too hard to involve herself with Angelo’s family. Bay is easily influenced by her. Understandable, I guess. She wants some piece of her father again.

Daphne is quite mad about not being told, especially because their apartment is right above The Cracked Mug, Regina’s cafe, and she explicitly told Daphne about not wanting to meet Ally.

Unfortunately, Ally doesn’t seem to respect her wishes because she goes to meet Regina anyway. Daphne intrudes her attempt and when Regina learns who Ally really is, she’s visibly heartbroken.

Later, when Ally goes to Bay’s workplace to get a tattoo to cover her scar from the open heart surgery, Daphne walks in angry at her. She found out that Ally lied about key details of her life. Her mother isn’t dead from cancer but is actually in prison. Also, she was an avid cocaine user, which is what damaged her heart in the first place, causing her to need an organ transplant. Both of them don’t think Ally deserves Angelo’s heart, especially after she confesses that she lied to both of them and told them what they needed to hear just to get close to them. I guess, she needed someone, too. Only she didn’t go about doing it in the right way.

Bay lashes out emotionally. She had to say goodbye to her father once when she was switched at birth as a baby. She had to do it again when he died. Now, thanks to Ally, she felt like she lost him again for the third time. Vanessa Marano was really powerful in this scene.

The next scene was a powerful one for Katie LeClerc aka Daphne and also Marini, who hallucinated Angelo again. He tells her that he’s happy his heart went to Ally. Because of him, she could live. She got a second chance at life. She may not have been the greatest person before but she’s trying now. He references to everything Daphne did when he died, including her criminal activities. People make mistakes.

Bay finds some solace when she visits the spot where Angelo’s car crashed, by a big tree, and finds Ally there, who is also paying her respects. She apologizes to Bay for her actions because her intentions weren’t to hurt anyone. They also get to make peace with one another. Later, Bay tattoo’s the same tree onto Ally’s chest as a way to honor Angelo. That’s when she got her own little visit from Angelo, who tells her how proud he is of her. Same, Angelo, same. Bay has her her own ups and downs but she’s really grown due to her experiences.

Daphne speaks with Regina again, telling her the truth about Ally’s circumstances. She asks her give Ally a chance and so she does. In the most emotional scene of the episode, Ally walks in with Bay and hugs Regina. Constance Marie’s acting and Regina’s tears easily carried on through all our screens when she says she can feel Angelo, feel his heart. And just like that, it’s not Ally anymore, it’s Angelo hugging Regina.

I absolutely loved how they brought Angelo back into the fold without making it seem like an unrealistic fantasy or a big dream sequence. It was heart-wrenching and pure. Plus, all the actors did a damn fine job.

Getting back to the whole faith theme in the episode, Kathyrn wants to baptize baby Carlton and Toby agrees. Lily, on the other hand, wants to raise her kid in her own religion because she’s a Jew. Kathryn tries to convince her and even invites her reverend to help Lily understand the meaning of baptism but she doesn’t agree. She knows she’s asking a lot from Toby but she wants to raise her son solely as a Jew. Toby is okay with it because he isn’t as passionate about his religion as she is about hers. He lets Kathryn and John know of this decision. They may be sad about it but they’re also supportive, which doesn’t come as a surprise. In fact, Kathryn promises to learn more about Judaism herself while Lily tells her that they can all celebrate Christmas and Easter together as a family.

This was an interesting plot and I was conflicted because yes, Lily is the mother and she does get to decide but I certainly wish they chose to be open-minded and raise Carlton in both religions, letting him ultimately decide what he wants to follow. The one thing I truly loved is Toby being so understanding. Being with Lily after the Niki fiasco and having a baby has really transformed him.

The love triangle also came to quite a resolution in this episode. Early on, Bay surprises Travis in his room and they have what they call “the best sex, ever.” Except, Travis ruins the moment by jokingly asking her if it was better than with Emmett. No dude, this is the worst time ever to ask that question. He later goes to wish Melody because it’s her birthday and she convinces him to join her and Emmett for dinner. It’s about time these two put their differences aside and Melody is the only catalyst for that to happen.

At dinner, it doesn’t take long for Travis and Emmett to begin arguing about Bay. Emmett harshly tells Travis he stole everything from him -- his mother, his girlfriend, his life, and walks off. Travis is pissed and it only increases when Melody sides with her son. She calms him down by explaining the whole picture to Travis about Emmett’s depression. It wasn’t just a one-off incident when he took all those pills back in the season 5 premiere. He’s really hurting and depressed, it’s only increasing because he has no one to talk to.

Travis makes up with his brother later, showing his full support and also tells him it’s okay if he continues his project with Bay about photographing transformations. The two land up the tattoo parlor when Bay is inking Ally. Travis apologizes to Bay for his jealousy and the two reaffirm their love.

I’m glad that Emmett and Travis aren’t fighting anymore and they shed some more light on Emmett’s depression. Team Travis is going strong for now but we have three episodes left so anything can change. I like Bay with Travis so I hope they can make it.

And now, as happy as I am that "Switched at Birth" lived for this long, it's a reminder that we have only a handful of episodes left. I truly hope we can tie up all the lose ends before we bid adieu to the show.

What did you think of “Memory (The Heart)”? Was it everything you were hoping for in the show’s 100th episode? Which Angelo moment made you cry the most? What are your hopes for the final season? Let us know in the comments.