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'Switched at Birth' recap: Identity crisis averted

Season 3 | Episode 14 | “Oh, Future!” | Aired June 30, 2014

It’s a night full of big surprises in the Switched at Birth universe. After deciding pre-med is the path she wants to take after she graduates high school, Daphne sets out to figure out exactly how she’s going to make that plan happen. College alone is a struggle for most to afford, not to mention going pre-med.

She writes up a list of top pre-med colleges and their respective tuition costs to show Regina, opening up a whole can of worms in regards to how they’re going to pay for it. Daphne is presented with the two paths she can take. The first is simple: Apply for scholarships, save money and work hard to pay for it on her own with the help of Regina, the woman who raised her.

The second option is a little more controversial: Just take the money from John and Kathryn. This decision is a tough one, and one that requires Daphne to really examine who she is, what has made her and what she really feels like is the “right” choice.

Matters are complicated a bit further when John and Kathryn offer to pay for her school outright AND she interviews for a Latina scholarship. The interview for the scholarship drums up some serious questions about her identity when Daphne can’t seem to explain to the scholarship adviser a time when she was discriminated against for being Latina. Being deaf? Sure, she’s been discriminated against loads of times for that. But for being Latina? Not really. Daphne has a great line here in which she point-blank asks, “So I’m not Latina because I haven’t been a victim of that [discrimination]?” It’s a brutally honest question, and one that yields the answer Daphne feared upon walking into that interview: She’s not Latina by blood, so she’s not Latina enough to be considered for the scholarship, simply based on what other people view to be the definition of Latina—despite how she was raised.

It’s tough to watch Regina’s crestfallen face when Daphne essentially spells this out for her by saying, “I was raised a Vasquez, but by blood I’m a Kennish.” The “not Latina enough” argument does not fly with Regina; Daphne was raised a Vasquez, and that’s all that matters. But what do you think? This raises a serious question: How do you define your ethnicity? Is it as simple as basing it on your blood heritage? Or do factors like what happened to Daphne—being switched at birth and raised a Latina woman—count for anything?

Regina and Daphne eventually come to an agreement to let John and Kathryn help pay for Daphne’s education (which Daphne decides will be pre-med at Gallaudet), because after all, Regina’s feelings of inadequacy or resentment that the Kennishes can afford something she can’t shouldn’t keep Daphne from getting the education she deserves.

Fresh out of the woods from the entire Matthew/Catfish debacle, Bay and Emmett face another crisis, this time thinly veiled as a housewarming party for Emmett’s dad, Cameron (Anthony Natale), and his girlfriend, Debbie (Laura Brown). Emmett begrudgingly agrees to make an appearance when Bay insists after she overhears Melody talking with a prospective employer, who has a job opening for her in Madison, Wisconsin. Fearful of Emmett being taken away from her, Bay goes into to overdrive, insisting on telling everyone they are back together, and trying to make plans with Cameron and Debbie in the hopes that she can ground Emmett in their hometown and convince Melody to stay put. But those fears are almost immediately trumped when everyone at the housewarming party is treated to a surprise wedding from Cameron and Debbie. The most awkward? The fact that Melody is on her SECOND DATE with hottie interpreter Gabe when all of this is going down.

Marlee Matlin had this to say on Twitter about the awkwardpocalypse that was this episode.

But wait, there’s more! Just moments later, it’s revealed that not only are Cameron and Debbie celebrating newly wedded bliss, but they’re also celebrating the arrival of their unborn child. That’s right: Debbie is pregnant. Emmett and Melody are ambushed, not just by the wedding and the pregnancy news (which—whew!—that’s a lot to begin with), but the fact that in his toast, Cameron essentially calls out Melody and his first marriage as a total failure. And just how did you think your son was going to take that information, Cameron? Ouch.

The only silver lining to come out of this horrendous day for Team Bemmett? Melody tells Bay that she’s not taking the job in Wisconsin after all because she’s got too many reasons to stay. Hooray! Crisis averted. For now …

Oh, and by the way:

  • Gabe the Hottie Interpreter is back! I hope he sticks around for a while this time, because Melody really deserves some happiness and romance.
  • Oh yes, Kathryn’s book shenanigans are still going on with (her soon to be BFF?) Sarah Lazar (Jackie Debatin). Snooze.
  • I really enjoyed Travis and Mary Beth’s (B.K. Cannon) story this week. First of all, big applause for the return of Mary Beth! She’s so supportive of Travis and so loving, and they have a very open relationship, which I love to see. And, if I’m being truly honest here, I cried like a BABY when Travis met Derrick Coleman. The sheer joy on his face was electric. Kudos to Ryan Lane for that entire scene.
  • Was it just me, or had Sharee’s signing gotten, like, really good? We haven’t seen her in a while, but it seemed like her signing improved significantly since the last time we saw her. I also really enjoyed her brutally honest commentary on race and ethnicity: “If you [Daphne] walk into a store with a big coat and a hood, and a girl with dark skin and dark hair walks into a store with a big coat and a hood, you’re not going to have 10 salespeople follow you around.” Harsh, but all too frequently very true.
  • That one-second clip of Lucas Grabeel was not enough to satiate my hunger for more Toby! It looks like the scenes for next week’s episode show Toby returning to the fold, so there’s that to look forward to!

Switched at Birth, rated TV-14, airs Mondays at 8/7 C on ABC Family.