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‘Switched at Birth’ recap: Failure is not an option

Season 3 | Episode 15 | “And We Bring the Light” | Aired July 7, 2014

For the first time in Switched at Birth’s history, we enter into the episode with the classic in medias res formula. It lets us know that something—something bad—is lurking around the corner that could change everything. Which is a shame, because for the most part, this is an episode full of overcoming feelings of despair and failure, with extreme displays of love and support.

The episode opens with Kathryn receiving a phone call that there’s been an accident. A cut to “12 hours earlier …” takes us back in time to set up this action and give us the meat of “And We Bring the Light.”

This episode of Switched at Birth is one of the more segregated episodes in a while, giving Daphne and Angelo, Regina, and the Kennish clan each their own separate storyline, all of which really don’t intertwine with one another until the final seconds of the episode.

After receiving a rejection letter from Pratt Institute and welcoming Toby (Lucas Grabeel) back from his Icelandic walkabout (welcome back, Toby!), Bay is in a tailspin. Of course, she doesn’t tell anyone right away, not wanting to spoil the happiness radiating off of John and Kathryn and the positive vibes emanating from Toby’s newly scruffy face. But Toby,  filled with a newfound confidence and joie de vivre, sees right through Bay almost immediately, and instead of letting her wallow in her rejection from Pratt, he encourages her to get up off her butt and make some damn art! Man, I’ve missed Toby.

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He succeeds in lighting a fire under Bay, and the two set out—with the adorable addition of Kathryn, who wants in on the top-secret mission—to create a spectacular light show that evokes some of the same Down with authority! and Art for all! spirit of Bay’s earlier street artwork.

The mission is a bust when the electric system fails, and Bay once again feels like a total failure. Before she can tell Kathryn about Pratt, a security guard shows up and hauls them in for a citation. What follows is one of my new favorite moments on Switched at Birth: Kathryn pretends to be a representative of Bay and Toby, whom Kathryn says are Deaf Icelandic artists here to perform an art installation. It works (and hilariously so), and it allows Bay to break down and tell Kathryn about her rejection letter. But their adventure isn’t over, because John comes to save the day with a backup generator so that Bay’s piece can once again have life.

And in a truly tender moment, John, Kathryn and Toby remind Bay of all the ways in which they have “failed” in life (failed marriage, gambling, 18 rejected book proposals, lackluster political accomplishments) as a means of showing solidarity with Bay. Most important, they remind her that she is  not alone and is NOT a failure. It is an excellent moment for the Kennish family, and the tears in their eyes and the smiles on their faces when they see Bay’s final creation is pure bliss. It’s the most simultaneously supportive I’ve seen each member of the family be for each other in a long while, and it was absolutely delightful.

Meanwhile, Daphne and Angelo have some truly touching moments of their own. Even though I still think Angelo has made some really bad decisions and is still a somewhat troubling character, I have to admit that I’ve been really enjoying his and Daphne’s recent interactions. His desire to learn ASL and to spend time with his daughter, and to create a real family unit with Daphne and Regina, has been truly fun to watch.

After Daphne goes off the deep end about losing her SAT prep book, she admits to Angelo that the real reason she’s so stressed is that she’s absolutely terrified of disappointing everyone who is counting in her to be a great doctor. To take her mind off of things, Angelo takes her to his restaurant for an impromptu cooking session. The two bake together and really connect, but Daphne soon realizes everything is not as it seems: She finds a notice of auction due to a foreclosure on the property in the trash. When confronted about it, Angelo breaks down, telling Daphne that the restaurant is done and he feels like failure because he’s back where he started with no job, no clear path in life and no money.

“This was supposed to be when everything came together, but it all fell apart,” he tells Daphne. To which she responds, “At least it brought us together.” Ugh, heartswell.

Daphne then remembers that she left her SAT book at K&D, so the two wipe their tears and head over there to grab it. Little do they know that Regina is there, fresh off of her unsuccessful dinner meeting with Wes. At the dinner meeting, Regina is shocked to find that the man they’re meeting with to discuss a partnership for the East Riverside project is none other than slimeball Senator Chip Coto (Matthew Risch). You might remember Coto as the Senator whom Daphne got fired after she blackmailed him over his affair with an intern. Real stand-up guy, that Coto.

When Regina tells Wes a brief history of Coto and Daphne, Wes actually does the honorable thing and decides to not go through with the partnership with Coto. It’s a move that surprised me, as I was sure Coto was going to get his greasy hands all over another storyline here. He’s not going to be working with Regina and Wes, but I definitely don’t think this is the last time we see Chip Coto. (I just shuddered even typing that.)

With Regina back at K&D cleaning off some fresh anti-Riverside project vandalism, Daphne comes in looking for her SAT book, unbeknownst to Regina. The misunderstanding of Regina being freaked out over an unknown presence in the store and Daphne unable to hear her mother calling out leads to something I was really hoping to avoid: Regina pulls a gun on Daphne by accident. It’s a horrifying scenario, and one that I’m sure is going to come back up at the most inopportune time for Regina. (I’m guessing over dinner at the Kennish house, but what do I know?)

In a fit of rage over Regina’s overreaction and her disregard for her own safety, she and Angelo exchange brutally hurtful words, and Angelo speeds off in a dangerous huff.

It’s here I realize where the bait-and-switch for the dramatic accident for this week’s episode comes in. It’s not an accident with the gun—which I don’t think I’m alone in thinking would be the case—but it’s a car accident involving Angelo.

We end where we began, with Kathryn receiving that devastating phone call and seeing Angelo’s battered body hoisted up onto a hospital bed. Could that hurtful conversation between him and Regina be the last we hear of him?

Oh, and by the way:

  • Bay: “I really, really wanted them, and they didn’t want me.” We’ve all been there, Bay.
  • Toby’s facial hair and scarf were FANTASTIC.
  • I love that Toby, Bay and Kathryn use ASL to talk undercover when in trouble. It’s the cutest thing.
  • Okay, Regina and Wes at the “gun range” was ridiculous. I am still not really on board with the gun situation for Regina, nor the fact that now it seems like Coto will have a big role in making her life hell. She seriously cannot catch a break.

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

Get more of Brandi’s take on all things entertainment over at ReelSnarky.com!

 

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