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'Switched at Birth' recap: Moving on is hard to do

Season 3 | Episode 17 | “Girl with Death Mask (She Plays Alone)” | Aired July 21, 2014

As expected, the fallout from Angelo’s death is brutal. After saying goodbye to Angelo last week in a truly touching and heartfelt episode, the repercussions from his passing radiate through the Kennish and Vasquez families.

Each member of the family has their own demons to fight, their own mountains to climb. Or, more accurately, their own deep, dark holes to crawl out of. Moving on from a tragedy like this is hard enough, but just thinking about looking forward is nearly impossible when everything and everyone seems to remind you of who you’ve lost.

But John and Kathryn are trying their darndest to stay positive, insisting on an impromptu trip for Bay, Daphne and John to Chicago when Bay finds out Angelo has a cousin who lives there. Bay is to tell Angelo’s cousin about the tragedy, while Daphne is to tour Northwestern, one of her top choices for college. But you know how the saying goes: best-laid plans and all, right?

The trips quickly starts to wreak even more havoc on the way in which each girl is trying to deal with her crippling grief. Daphne is consumed by a devil-may-care attitude, damning Regina and damning the world because of life seeming so outrageously unfair. Nihilism in the face of tragedy is nothing new on TV, and it’s an easy trope to play for a grieving family member. Resorting to drugs is also nothing new, but Daphne’s cocaine trip is the beat this character needed to play in this particular moment of coping, so I shall not judge. “Being good never gets you anywhere” is, unfortunately, a sentiment I always knew Daphne would feel at one point or another, and she seems to be feeling that at every possible turn now that Angelo’s death has kick-started this latent angst.

As you can imagine, Bay’s meeting with her cousin doesn’t go as planned either. I think she was looking for someone who would feel her pain, who would grieve the way she was grieving in Sebastian. He was Angelo’s blood too, after all. Unfortunately, he turns out to be a bit of a con man, trash-talking Angelo and seeing an opportunity to play John and Bay for some quick cash: “I’m a Sorrento. When we see an opportunity, we go for it.” (He really is Angelo’s kin, isn’t he?)

But what turned out to be a rather disappointing family reunion for Bay turns out to be a Sorrento family history lesson. At the news that Angelo’s death was caused by a brain aneurysm, Sebastian informs Bay that Angelo actually had a sister who passed away at the age of 18 due to the same ailment. Is Bay’s coping going to be clouded by her fear that she also carries the same genetic predisposition that her late aunt and father had? Bay’s attitude toward healing (or lack thereof) here is less obvious than Daphne’s, and I’m still curious to see how she handles it moving forward, especially with the knowledge of the events at K&D the night of the accident, and the information about the hereditary aneurysm carried by the Sorrento family.

In both Daphne and Bay’s cases, the trip to Chicago was enlightening on some level. Whether or not it was enlightening in a good way remains to be seen. Daphne still seems to be filled with a Regina-ruled rage, searching for the meaning of life when it seems so fleeting, so hard to keep hold of. Bay is searching for something deep in her blood; what that is, I’m not so sure.

Oh, and by the way:

  • I like Ms. Summers (Rachel Shenton) a lot. I hope she and Toby become friendly. (If next week’s preview is any indication, they’re going to get waaaay more than that!)
  • Regina’s coping in this episode is nonexistent, mainly because she leaves to go to what I assume is an AA or grieving-widow meeting. This leaves Leo (Larry Sullivan) and baby Abby to keep Kathryn company. In just the quick glimpse we get of Regina, her grieving seems to be pretty standard: PJs, house awry, rattled mind. I hope we get to see more of how she handles this than Ugh, Daphne still hates me! Ugh! 
  • Daphne tries to tell Bay that Angelo’s death is Regina’s fault. “She said some really awful things,” Daphne says. But she is very much neglecting to mention that the fight was two-sided, and Angelo said some pretty hurtful stuff too. I know Daphne has to work this out on her own, but for now it’s the Regina Is the Worst show, and that is going to get old fast.
  • Daphne. Cocaine. Oof.
  • Tank living with Toby. Oof.

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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