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'Switched at Birth' season 4 premiere recap: Changes can be criminal

Season 4 | Episode 1 | “And It Cannot Be Changed” | Aired Jan 6, 2015

Happy New Year, Switched at Birth fans! 2015 is off to a great start, and so is the season four premiere of the ABC Family drama. So let’s get right to it!

The premiere starts off immediately following the events of the summer finale: Bay has just taken the blame for Daphne’s charges for vandalism of the construction site, much to the surprise of everyone in the family. The fallout radiates through the Kennish house, leaving Daphne completely guilt-ridden, Regina and Kathryn beside themselves with disbelief, and John deciding to agree that this was actually a pretty brilliant (if not incredibly risky) move on Bay’s part.

Instead of Daphne owning up to the charges against her and facing actual jail time, Bay cops to the crime and only receives community service and a court-mandated ankle monitor she must wear for three months. The trade-off here seems to make sense, as Bay is allowing Daphne to have an untarnished record so she can become a doctor, and after the three months Bay can move out to L.A. to be with Emmett and follow her dreams of being an artist. It’s a (mostly) win-win.

But a decision this big is certainly going to have major repercussions. In what seems like a mere act of kindness, Bay starts her community service off in the worst way possible by accidentally being part of a drug exchange with another criminal serving community service. It is an honest mistake (she just hands the guy a sandwich that just so happens to have heroin stashed inside, ugh), but one that ends up costing her an additional 100 days of community service, putting a real wrench in her plans to meet up with Emmett by Christmas.

This doesn’t sit well with Emmett, who is already livid with Daphne over allowing Bay to take the fall for her. In what is an extremely raw and excellent scene, Emmett destroys Daphne with the harsh words of honesty. He blames Daphne for ruining his plans with Bay, citing all of the insane things she did irresponsibly after Angelo’s death. This additional time added to Bay’s sentence sends him over the edge. “There is no forgiving you for this. Ever,” he tells Daphne. What will this mean for their friendship? Is there any coming back from this?

Meanwhile, Daphne is wracked with guilt over the entire situation and decides to forgo her plans to attend Gallaudet in D.C. to enroll at the new Midwest Institute for the Deaf at UMKC, the campus Melody was able to establish using the donation from Regina at the end of last season. By staying close to her family, Daphne feels she can be try to be a pillar of support for Bay while she’s serving out this time for her—and not leave everyone alone while she just carries on with her life without so much as a passing glance. It’s a nice gesture from Daphne, and one that ensures all the main characters (except from Emmett) stay in one another’s orbit for the time being.

But by the premiere’s end, it’s not just Emmett who is seeing red over Bay taking responsibility for Daphne’s actions. Emmett is also giving her the cold shoulder, unable to comprehend why Daphne would even let her sister do something so damning, so risky, just so she could get off scot-free. And Bay? Well, after Emmett leaves for USC, she’s more overwhelmed and angry than ever. The decision she made to get everyone where they are is finally weighing heavily on her, and even though Daphne offers her support, Bay shuts her out. It’s a 180 from her attitude at the beginning of the episode when she was happy she made this decision to save her sister’s future. I’m not sure how much resentment their relationship can take once this is all said and done.

I know Bay made this decision on her own, without consulting anyone—much less Daphne—and in the end it will have less of an effect on her than real prison time would have had on Daphne. In that way it’s downright noble. Daphne is entitled to feel guilty, and Toby and Emmett are entitled to be angry over the fact that Bay is paying for a crime she didn’t commit. But if Bay hadn’t taken the fall, Daphne would be in jail, her dreams of being a doctor squandered. And if Daphne had stopped Bay in the middle of her confession, both girls would have been punished. It’s definitely a stuck-between-a-rock-and-a-hard-prison-cell-wall situation, and it’s difficult to say what the “right” call would have been.

But if we’re being honest here, I do think Bay’s decision (while rash and hasty) was the best move for all involved. And Daphne didn’t really have a choice unless she wanted them both to suffer. Hopefully the resentment and anger from those like Emmett and Toby won’t last forever when they step back and look at the big picture.

That said, I’m interested to see how this season will tackle those same feelings from the parents’ standpoint. Will John, Kathryn, or Regina break under the agony of seeing one of their daughters take responsibility for something their other daughter should have owned up to? How will what happens during this time of house arrest affect the overall family dynamic? I don’t know, but I’m incredibly excited to find out. Oh, and by the way:

  • Regina admits to Kathryn that pretty much every decision she made in the past year was a terrible one. YES, REGINA. PRAISE. PRAISE. I see this as a turning point for real growth. Acknowledging that you have a problem is the first step.
  • So Emmett goes to L.A. Does that really mean no more Emmett? I don’t know if I like a world with no Emmett. No, wait, I do know. I hate it.
  • Daphne’s roommate, Iris (Sharon Pierre-Louis), seems fun! Looks like a great addition to the fold, and I’m looking forward to watching her relationship with Daphne grow.
  • Let us all take a moment to acknowledge that Bess Armstrong, aka Angela Chase’s mom from My So-Called Life, will be playing Daphne’s chemistry professor. This is the most magical thing to happen in the history of magical things.
  • Looking forward to seeing the real-life struggles of being deaf that Daphne is going to face in her college studies. Switched at Birth handles the intricacies of the deaf culture so, so well. I know this new adventure is going to be no exception.

Switched at Birth airs Tuesdays at 8/7C on ABC Family.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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