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VANESSA MARANO, SEAN BERDY

'Switched at Birth' recap: Suit up for an unforgettable senior prom

Season 3 | Episode 20 | “The Girl on the Cliff” | Aired Aug 11, 2014

The big story tonight is senior prom! The annual tradition of limos and corsages and awkwardly posed photographs with your high school honeys is upon the students at Carlton, and in the Switched at Birth universe, that means DRAMA. And plenty of it.

The  drama starts right away with an intervention for Daphne to address her recent behavior. What starts as a reckoning for her reckless acting out turns into an all-out explosion of revelations. And this intervention had EVERYTHING: Daphne’s relationship with Nacho, Nacho’s part in harassing Regina, Regina pulling a gun on Daphne by accident, Daphne doing cocaine, Daphne pushing Bay. And can I just say WHEW! Wow, what a huge relief. It feels so good to have gotten everything out in the open. Now we can all begin helping each other be more communicative and move forward in this difficult time. Right, everyone? “Right,” they said in unison. 

But the fearless feedback and familial advice goes unheeded by Daphne, whose attitude only continues to get worse with each passing episode. She makes another bad decision at the clinic which results in getting her fired, but her path takes an unexpected turn from there. In a tearfully tragic moment, Daphne seems to have a revelation in the midst of her world crumbling beneath her. She disappears to a makeshift shrine/memorial for Angelo and just lets the universe have it.

She breaks, she cries, she embraces both of her mothers. Her grief has been spewing out of her in the most unexpected and hurtful ways, but here she finally puts it out into the universe in the way she really needed. Simply put, she’s just sad. She’s heartbroken. She misses Angelo and is sorry she didn’t get to tell him she loved him. It’s weight off her shoulders, it’s a turning point in her angst, and I hope it’s the moment she needed to find clarity in the wake of Angelo’s tragic death. Finally I feel like everyone is on the same page. Finally.

RYAN LANE, KATIE LECLERC

Meanwhile, the Carlton prom is in full swing. Bay and Emmett are victoriously named prom king and queen (much to Bay’s hilarious chagrin), and there are cheers all around. But the happiness soon turns to anger when a strict and antiquated dress code is enforced on the dance. It is decreed that the girls must wear dresses and the boys must wear tuxes. It’s horrific and oppressive, and you can bet your bottom dollar that the Switched at Birth team has taken yet another important social issue and put their stamp of blatantly progressive commentary and beautiful storytelling on it.

Natalie vows that she and her girlfriend, Hillary (Abby Walla), simply won’t attend, but that doesn’t sit well with Bay, who can’t just sit by while others are being treated unfairly. In a show of solidarity—and one of the sweetest moments on a show brimming with them—Bay opts not to wear a stunning and traditional prom gown as she had planned, but instead chooses to rock out in her best tux in support of her friends. The other friends follow suit (pun totally intended!), and the rest is history. Bay may have been a reluctant queen, but she’s honestly the perfect candidate. Her poise and loyalty to her friends is actually pretty incredible, and she’s the type of person a school like Carlton should have as a prom queen—even if most people think that title is a silly high school novelty. All hail Queen Bay!

Oh, and by the way:

  • Did we know Daphne didn’t apply for Northwestern? I’m losing track of all of her destructive behavior. That was really silly, Daphne. Really. Silly.
  • Natalie and Hillary are the cutest, and I can’t take it! When they smooch and when they waltz into the Kennish’s looking super-fly, my cold, black heart just melts.
  • I want to support Toby’s DJ career and his friendship with Tank, but I can’t get behind Tank’s bad attitude. He is so pouty and whiny all the time. Grow up a little and stop flipping out over everything.
  • DW Moffett directed this episode. Kudos, Papa Kennish!
  • “It’s prom; you’re girls. You need to be in dresses.” Gross, gross, gross.
  • Emmett’s earnest desire to make it up to Bay for how things went the last time they were at prom (you know, how he told Bay he cheated on her) was adorable.
  • I can’t help but be really sad that we didn’t get to see Daphne enjoy this momentous occasion with the rest of her friends. Seeing her alone at that memorial to Angelo was awful. Katie Leclerc shines, as usual.

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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