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'Switched at Birth' fan recap: Never give up

Season 4 | Episode 4 | “We Were So Close …” | Aired Jan 27, 2015

Dreaming big and fighting for yourself are always big themes coursing through the heart of Switched at Birth, and the slightly uneven but mostly good “We Were So Close …” is no exception.

In a delightful turn of events, thins episodes focuses a lot on Travis and his newfound college career in baseball. John saw something special in Travis, a real talent that had gone untapped since he was a child, and he ran with it. Travis tried out and snagged a spot on the UMKC baseball team, and John casually slipped into the new assistant-coaching gig.

All seems well until Travis approaches Melody to ask about dropping a class because it interferes with baseball practice. If Travis thought Melody would be happy for him to have found a calling in something he’s always thought was a lost cause, he was dead wrong. Melody sees him as a son, and, like any good mother, is incredibly concerned that baseball won’t be the career booster for him that it can be for the very lucky, à la John Kennish. She stresses the importance of having a rock-solid college education, and even confronts John in one of her better mama-bear moments.

“Being deaf, he needs to have as many options as possible,” she says. It’s a fine line to walk, because on the one hand, she is absolutely right. Since so many doors are closed to deaf individuals by default, it can be crucial to weigh all your options and make sure you’re setting yourself up for success in a world that is unfairly harsh. On the other hand, it’s just as important to dream big! To fight for what you truly want, to break down stereotypes and barriers—that’s what life is about.

Travis now has something in his life that makes him happy and that he thought he could never accomplish. He could really have the opportunity to pave a way for other deaf athletes, and that’s a pretty huge deal. So while I see Melody’s concern, I think I’m on Travis’ side for this one.

The other big news this week is that Bay’s house arrest is officially over! So she and Emmett are free to have all the fun they want without the ever-watchful beeping ankle monitor when he returns from L.A. for a mini-vacation. Unfortunately, it’s noticeably a struggle for the two of them to get back in sync with each other, as it always is for anyone trying to pull off a long-distance relationship. Things are just different when you’re apart, even if your relationship was super-solid to begin with.

Bay struggles to understand Emmett’s new found interest in his friend Skye, whom he says is the “only reason I started to like it there.” Talk about a blow for Bay, who is rightfully a bit concerned about what kind of friendship they have, especially as she essentially serves as a surrogate female for Emmett in Bay’s absence.

Things get worse between Bay and Emmett when he reveals that Skye kissed him. Bay’s reaction is one of hurt feelings and shock, and though Emmett tries to assuage her fears by telling her he did not kiss her back and is not interested in Skye in that way, it’s not enough to keep Bay from walking out on that ledge. The whole conversation devolves into a much bigger issue, which is that Emmett has been having a pretty rough go of it in L.A., but hasn’t confided in Bay about any of it. This new person comes along and she is immediately more in tune with Emmett’s need for social interaction and dreams of working on movie sets, and Bay is none the wiser because Emmett isn’t keeping her in the loop.

All of these are delicate instances in long-distance relationships that are so difficult to maneuver. That’s why it forces both parties to work extra-hard to make it work. Which is why it’s even more upsetting that Emmett turns the conversation into a “Why do you always pick a fight with me?” argument, an argument that ends with him leaving to head to L.A. in a huff and Bay with her head in her hands.

Daphne also struggles to find the will to not give up when she fails her first chemistry exam. Professor Marillo states that if you fail the first exam, there’s a hell of a lot of doubt whether you’ll pass the rest of the class, so you should consider dropping it completely. Wrought with anger and stress, Daphne lashes out at Regina when she offers her support, cutting deep with a jab about how Regina doesn’t understand any of this because she never went to college.

So it’s even more touching when Regina visits Professor Marillo to ask that she be cut some slack, in spite of just being hurt deeply by Daphne. I initially thought Regina was being pretty stupid by going behind Daphne’s back and “playing the deaf card,” and while I still don’t think I would have appreciated that if it were I, it turned out to be the perfect way for Daphne to have a one-on-one with Professor Marillo, talk about the test, and get an opportunity for extra credit. Who’s to say that if Daphne had just gone to Professor Marillo herself and had the same conversation, the extra-credit opportunity wouldn’t have come up anyway? But this way it gives Daphne and Regina something to bond over (I guess).

The biggest development this week, though, comes from the last few seconds of the episode. Bay and Daphne attend a party to wash away their crappy week, and the episode ends with Bay waking up, naked and in bed with Tank. The previews for the upcoming episodes tease tackling the topic of rape and consensual sex, and given how brilliantly Switched at Birth handles social issues, I have faith this is going to handled with the utmost care as well.

Oh, and by the way:

  • Toby is going to help Kathryn write her musical! I love this. I did laugh pretty hard when Lucas Grabeel was all, “Musical aren’t my thing,” because oh my gosh, YES they are, Ryan Evans.
  • Mary Beth (BK Cannon) does not approve of Travis’ decision to play baseball. She’s Team Melody. Okay, regardless of how you feel about that, can we all just agree that she needs to be a permanent fixture on Switched at Birth already?!
  • Melody is SO fierce. Her interactions with John were electric, and Marlee Matlin is exceptionally good when it comes to playing the proud, intimidating mama.

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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