Season 3 | Episode 12 | “Love Among the Ruin” | Aired June 16, 2014
Welcome back from spring hiatus, Switched at Birth fans! I, like all of you, have been waiting three long months to see the aftermath of Bay (Vanessa Marano) and Emmett’s (Sean Berdy) moonlit tryst, so let’s get right into it!
Things pick up in “Love Among the Ruin” just a few moments after the events of “Love Seduces Innocence, Pleasure Entraps, and Remorse Follows,” the March 24 spring finale. Bay rushes home, and in a fit of panic, confides in Daphne (Katie Leclerc) that she and Emmett had sex. Daphne is shocked silly, but she’s even more floored when Bay tells her that she and Emmett didn’t use any kind of protection. They decide to go together to the drugstore the next morning to purchase the morning-after pill, like the two smart, mature young women that they are.
The next morning, as Bay and Daphne narrowly escape their little web of white lies to John (DW Moffett) and Kathryn (Lea Thompson) in order to purchase the morning-after pill for Bay, Emmett has a bit of an untruthful situation of his own to deal with. Emmett tries and fails to convince his mother, Melody (Marlee Matlin), to let him stay home after she sees his busted and bruised face and demands to know what happened. Emmett, unable to come to grips with the severity of what Matthew (Daniel Durant) had done to him (cyberbullying Emmett by pretending to be a girl named Mandy, beating him after luring him to a fake meet and videotaping it), lies to Melody by saying he fell off a bike. Melody doesn’t buy it and makes Emmett go to school, where things only get much, much worse for her son.
Emmett and Matthew come face-to-face that morning for the first time since Matthew beat Emmett up in the park, and Emmett makes the respectable decision by calling a truce. The idea couldn’t be less appealing to Matthew, who claims he hasn’t gotten over Emmett’s “betrayal” of turning Matthew in for slashing car tires at school. But it’s Emmett who calls him out right back, flabbergasted that Matthew doesn’t see that it was he who turned on their entire school community by resorting to violence to see his plan through of framing the hearing kids for violence against the Deaf and HH students. The desperation in trying to explain that to Matthew and defend his own morals is evident on Emmett’s face, and it’s heartbreaking to watch. As he’s about to storm off, there is one glimmering, hopeful moment: Emmett tells Matthew that “everything that happened led me back to Bay, so thank you.” Ugh, heartstrings. They are a-tugged.
None of that was more heartbreaking, however, than Emmett’s first conversation with Bay after the actions of the previous night. Though Bay does not consider it a mistake to have slept with Emmett, she does now know what it feels like to be the exact kind of person who broke her heart and ruined her life. When Emmett cheated on Bay, her world was nothing but a broken, angry place. She swore she would never do to anyone what was done to her, but she has, and now she’s drowning in the consequences. She’s angry with herself for cheating on Tank (Max Adler), and she’s angry with herself and Emmett for not using protection. Bay agrees to break things off with Tank. It’s clear between the two of them that though they want to be together, this wasn’t the way they had imagined it.
But when Bay goes to Tank’s to break the news, she’s met with an outpouring of all the feels from Tank and is unable to break up with him. You can tell she’s just not into it, but Tank’s puppy-dog-sad eyes and his lame sob story about depledging his frat got to her, I guess?
Meanwhile, Regina is busy dealing with the aftermath of the vandalism of her design store. At the end of the spring finale, Regina and Daphne witnessed someone throw a brick through the shop’s window with a threatening “Stay out of East Riverside” note scribbled on it. Regina decides to pull a real Regina and insists on keeping the truth of the incident under wraps, and instead decides to tells the Kennishes and Angelo a little white lie. But her plan to keep the danger a secret was ill-conceived and short-lived, as both Bay and Daphne spill the beans to John, Kathryn and Angelo.
While Angelo is predictably upset about Regina’s lying and her inability to ask for help when she truly needs it, it’s Kathryn and John’s response that is the real surprise here. Instead of being angry at Regina for lying or for dealing with dangerous people, they tell her to stand up for herself and not take no for an answer. And this uncharacteristic support leads Regina to go back to her old boss and ask for (and receiving) her old job back. To heck with dangerous threats, she scoffs!
Too bad Daphne is a lot like her mother, as she decides to go handle the brick thing all on her own too. She meets up with the guy who was responsible for organizing the brick incident at K & D (Bay in tow, of course), and she’s met with pretty much exactly what you would expect: hate from Nacho, who claims Regina sold out her friends for a big payout. Daphne’s determined defense unfortunately goes ignored, as well as becoming irrelevant: She told Nacho Regina had quit her East Riverside project job to save face with her old neighborhood (which was true at the time), only to get home and realize Regina has gone and gotten her old job back, despite the inherent danger.
Daphne is so worried about Regina continuing to work for Wes (Kenneth Mitchell) that she actually proposes that Angelo move into their home to live until the danger dies down. And in the first of a few truly exquisite moments in this storyline, Daphne tells Angelo that in order for them to have a meaningful and communicative relationship, Angelo is going to have to learn to sign. It’s a sentiment that I think we’ve all wanted her to express for a while, but she’s truly grown so much as a character that now she feels she can actually have a solid relationship with her father. Thus, this ask came not out of resentment or anger but out of desire and hope.
Back at Carlton, Emmett and Melody go to the principal to inform her of Matthew’s cyberbulling — and just full-on bullying, let’s be honest — tactics. But Matthew gets to Emmett first and further entrenches them both in Matthew’s blackmail scheme by showing Emmett an incriminating photo of himself. “Do you really want to turn me in?” Matthew sneers. It’s a disgusting moment, and it leads Emmett to backtrack on the entire accusation, too scared of being completely humiliated in front of his entire school. After Emmett covers up the whole thing, Melody realizes that Matthew got to Emmett and somehow convinced him to lay off the whole thing. But when she sees Matthew’s devilishly smug face, she completely loses it. Melody Mama Bear Mode: ACTIVATE!
In a truly gripping scene, Melody shoves Matthew against the lockers and within an inch of his smug face, she tells him to “stay the hell away from my son.” It’s such a shame that she gets suspended for that (and likely for bringing the issue to the principal’s attention and it being a “lie”), because it was pretty awesome to see her protect her baby.
And while things could not look much worse for Emmett, there is at least one good note to come out of all of this: He and Bay decide to give it another shot. Hooray! Love does prevail sometimes, doesn’t it?!
This was a pretty jam-packed premiere, with everyone caught up in their own messes, determined to try to fight their way out of them all by themselves. I can’t wait to see where the rest of this season goes!
Oh, and by the way:
- John got on Bay’s computer and saw she had searched for locations to buy the morning-after pill. Ugh.
- The moment at the end of the episode when Regina looks on to see Daphne and Angelo, side by side in the kitchen, talking about what to make for dinner: Daphne is happy, and Angelo is trying to sign. And for a second you can see on Regina’s face that this is a moment she has dreamt of her entire life, and that this might just be the beginning of a whole lot more like it. (I doubt that’s true, but still! That look on her face. Priceless.)
- Tank is still a thing. Snooze.
- I can’t quite figure out if this violence-and-vandalism-against-Regina thing is going to be a legitimately dangerous storyline for her, or if it was just heightened for the premiere. If so, it might be a great way for the show to continue to showcase socioeconomic struggles between the two communities Regina is a part of.
- The step of Matthew’s bullying manifesto in which he printed out screenshots of the text messages Emmett was having with “Mandy” was gruesome. Kudos to Daniel Durant who is nailing his character’s evilness.
- Sad face times infinity: no Travis or Toby in this episode. Fix that, please!
- I was very glad to see Bay visibly hurt that Emmett would just “assume” she was on the pill because she “had a soldier boyfriend all summer and a college boyfriend,” and then call him out for not having protection either. This is a two-way street, Emmett! Both parties were at fault for not being safe.
- Oh, and I guess we are supposed to just completely forget that time that Daphne swore to Bay that she loved Emmett and that she would never stop fighting for him way back in season 1? Right. OK.
Switched at Birth, rated TV-14, airs Mondays at 8/7 C on ABC Family.