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KATIE LECLERC, STEPHANIE NOGUERAS

'Switched at Birth' recap: Daphne versus the world

Season 3 | Episode 19 | “You Will Not Escape” | Aired Aug 4, 2014

It’s Senior Ditch Day on Switched at Birth, and that means crazy is in the air—crazy hookups, crazy secrets and flat-out-crazy flip-outs.

When Daphne and Natalie convince a bunch of other Carlton students to ditch school and head out to Hawkeye Ranch for an end-of-year blow-off day, you just know insane high school shenanigans are about to get underway.

Daphne decides to get the party started when she invites her new plaything, Nacho, along, recruiting him to bring the booze that she thinks will make this day more bearable. It’s all your normal post-Angelo lashing-out from Daphne, trying to play cool when Nacho shows up, blowing off Bay when she’s confronted about Nacho’s previously violent acts toward Regina, etc.—until Nacho breaks down his and Daphne’s lack of relationship. It’s enough to push her over the edge, so she decides to get good and trashed. She then drunkenly makes out with Travis—EW!—which incites one of the nastiest fights between her and Bay that the show has ever seen.

Bay, fresh off a freak-out over seeing Emmett’s fake “Mandy” IRL, rails at Daphne, saying all the things we viewers have been screaming at our TVs for the past three weeks. It’s brutal, it’s harsh, but it’s truly realistic. Daphne’s reactions over Angelo’s death are 100 percent believable for a teen her age, but Bay—who’s the same age—calls her out for her inability to cut Regina (and everyone else) a break. After all, Daphne was not the only one to lose someone. Everyone in their family lost Angelo that day, and Daphne needs to buck up and try to handle this grief in a more responsible manner. It’s a step a lot of people dealing with grief go through, and it’s nice to see Daphne face this rude awakening. (Even if it ultimately does no good. More on that later.)

I do love seeing the range Katie Leclerc shows in this troubling time for her character, and I enjoy scenes like this one where she and Vanessa Marano’s sister chemistry practically leaps off the screen, even if it is as a result of a nasty argument. Do I hate seeing the two of them fight? Of course I do. But do I sort of love it at the same time? You bet.

Daphne and Bay’s fight hits catastrophic levels when (a) both girls call each other racist; (b) Bay once again insists on the importance of the fact that Angelo is her dad and Regina is her mother; and (c) Daphne literally shoves Bay to the ground. They’ve fought before, but this is a whole new level, and I’m not sure how it’s going to shake out over the next two weeks leading up to the finale. They’ve come back from a lot. But how will they reconcile after this?

But the real low point of Daphne’s rage-fueled, damn-the-world spiral of self-destruction comes at the very end of the episode, when she and Regina finally—FINALLY—have it out. For a split-second I really thought they were going to be able to come to some sort of agreement, some sort of truce. Not that I expected Daphne to do a 180, but maybe just a small inclination toward progress. But no, Daphne refuses to accept that Regina is struggling to move on in the wake of Angelo’s death and that she is hurting just as much as everyone else. And with what may be the harshest thing she’s ever said, she deals this blow to an awestruck Regina: “You’re not my mother. You’ve never been my mother.” That sound you hear is my heart exploding. What is it really going to take for Daphne to see that Angelo’s death was nothing but a tragic accident?

And while Daphne’s anger over Regina’s acceptance of Angelo’s life insurance money is ill-placed, I can’t imagine she would have reacted any other way. She’s on an anger bender! Of course she’s going to lash out when she thinks (wrongly) that her mother is just taking Angelo’s “blood money.” (Seriously Daphne?! No.)

It’s too bad that Regina donating Angelo’s life insurance money to Melody’s satellite Gallaudet project was a beautifully touching and heroic move that Daphne completely missed. I hate that Daphne’s anger clouded her judgment, not allowing her to see just how admirable that generosity really was.

And thanks to Regina’s donation, Melody keeps Travis from dropping out of Carlton to take the job Garrett set him up with. In one of my new favorite moments, Travis and Melody embrace after she tears up his un-enrollment application. Deep down I think Travis didn’t think taking the job was the right move. It breaks my heart to hear him and Garrett share sentiments like, “The best I thought I could get would be flipping burgers” and that a job like Garrett’s was “like winning the lottery” simply because they have been treated in such a way to believe that they couldn’t achieve greatness. There’s a lot of societal ignorance and discrimination contributing to notions like that, and including conversations like this one—conversations that shed a light, however briefly, on the harsh realities of the deaf and hard-of-hearing world—that makes Switched at Birth a truly magnificent and poignant show that I’m honored to get to watch each and every week.

Meanwhile, in her very secret but still very confusing little corner of the universe, Bay quietly finds out that she is currently in no danger of suffering from the hereditary aneurysm that lead to Angelo’s death. Why has she still not let Emmett in on this? Is it because she wanted to wait to see if it was nothing? Is it because she is trying to be brave, and not telling others makes it less real? I have this friend who used to describe me by saying I’d be the one in the movie that would get shot and bleed out in the backseat because I didn’t tell anyone and didn’t want to slow anyone down, instead deciding to suffer in silence for the better of the group, even if that meant my own demise. I feel Bay is a lot like that, always wanting to keep these bigger-than-life situations under wraps because it’s just easier to deal with them when it feels like it’s all in your head and you’re not making it somebody else’s problem. I wonder if this is going to be the last time that plotline comes up for her, but we’ll see.

Oh, and by the way:

- Bay decides to go to USC with Emmett. OK?

- More Sharee! More Natalie! I love seeing these tertiary characters pop back up, and I love even more how interconnected and friendly everyone has gotten over the course of this season. Especially when Sharee has a heart-to-heart with Daphne after dropping her off at home. Cue warm fuzzies!

- Kathryn and Regina pretend to be lesbian lovers at Kathryn’s book launch party. Sure.

- Bay: “Deep-fried kale? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?!”

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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