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'Switched at Birth' fan react: In the cold light of day

Season 4 | Episode 5 | “At the First Clear Word” | Aired Feb 3, 2015

It’s no secret that ABC Family’s Switched at Birth is not afraid to go for the big stories. In just the first three seasons, we’ve seen these characters deal with death, alcoholism, drugs, infidelity, discrimination, and more. What’s so wonderful about Switched at Birth is that it is an expert at handling hard to discuss (and very real) topics with the perfect touch without turning into a saccharine after-school special.

So when Bay woke up after a debaucherous college party with no recollection of the preceding night’s events or how she ended up in bed with Tank, I knew we were in for something really special.

Bay wakes up in bed with Tank, naked, underwear on the floor. She’s in a strange state: clearly hungover and trying to connect the dots of a very blurry night partying. But for the majority of the first half of this episode, she merely seems upset and confused. She doesn’t remember most of the night, and she definitely doesn’t remember getting in bed with Tank and having sex with him. But she still hasn’t reached peak freak-out. Her journey to discover what actually happened that night is a slow one, with many different emotional beats. I love that, because it gives us the opportunity to see Bay react to this situation realistically.

It’s only when she goes to Regina to ask her advice on the situation by way of disguising it as a “friend’s” problem that the whole narrative become different. Bay describes the situation to Regina: Boy and girl party, boy and girl drink, boy and girl get wasted, girl wakes up apparently having had sex with boy who is not her boyfriend, but doesn’t remember doing it whatsoever.

It’s in the next moment that everything changes for Bay: Regina doesn’t hesitate for one second to say that she feels sorry for said “girl” because she was raped.


The word echoes in Bay’s head, and you can see the moment of realization and fear creep over her face. She hadn’t even given the word “rape” a thought up to this point, since she’s solely blaming herself for just not remembering the details of a night out partying.

Bay is torn: What if she said yes? What if she was super-drunk but was into it but woke up with no memory of any of it? Even worse, what if she really did say no, and Tank took advantage of her anyway, and she still wakes up unable to remember?

“If she said yes, but she said it when she was that wasted, the guy shouldn’t have had sex with her. Period,” Regina says. You can tell Bay’s world has just been shattered, even if she very unconvincingly says she disagrees with Regina’s opinion.

It’s a tough situation even if sex isn’t involved. Say you get pretty smashed and do something really stupid that you don’t remember AT ALL the next day. It’s something dumb and innocent, no taking advantage of anyone or anything like that. But you’re later accused of doing it and saying you wanted to do it, but you clearly have no recollection of it. Do you admit to yourself you did it and take full responsibility, even though you can’t bring yourself to because you don’t remember?

It’s impossible to disprove a negative, so even if you don’t remember doing it, but you’re accused of doing it anyway, you can’t prove it one way or the other because you don’t remember. It’s even tougher when the person accusing you of this is someone you legitimately trust and whom you know is a good person at heart. It’s a pretty scary predicament to be in.

With this newfound revelation that she was possibly raped, Bay goes first to Travis to get a hand on the previous night’s events. Travis details that a few drunken games were played, everyone was sloshed, and Bay eventually said she needed to lie down. Travis told Tank to use his friend Nate’s room since it was empty, and that’s the last he saw of Bay. No life-changing clues here, so Bay decides to go directly to Tank to get some clarity.

Unfortunately, it’s less than helpful, as the story Tank tells is a far cry from anything Bay remembers.

Tank says: They went back to Nate’s room, they were incredibly wasted, Bay said she and Emmett were breaking up, she kissed him, and the rest is history.

Bay says: They went back to Nate’s room, they were incredibly wasted, Bay said she and Emmett were having a tough time, she thanked Tank for being a good friend, he kissed her, and she put a stop to it.

Tank swears she was “into it” and that he would never have had sex with her if she had said no.

“But did I say yes?” Bay asks.

The two leave on opposites sides of the story. Bay knows Tank would never hurt her, and she knows she would never cheat on Emmett. But what if the night’s circumstances led to an encounter neither of them planned?

If she was too intoxicated to remember saying yes, does that mean she said no?

If she was too intoxicated to remember saying no, does that mean she said yes?

Bottom line: She was clearly so drunk that her judgment was impaired, and Tank wasn’t quite as drunk. He should have stopped the whole thing, knowing Bay wasn’t in the right state of mind to agree to have sex.

What I liked about the progression of Bay’s journey throughout this episode was how she realized that this isn’t about cheating on Emmett. Regardless of any guilt she feels there (and trust me, there is a lot), she goes straight for the answers and stands up to Tank when accused of making the first move.

It doesn’t matter if she kissed Tank; if she was as drunk as she was, he never should have done anything with her, period. And considering he says he remembers everything (whereas Bay had a full-on blackout and doesn’t remember huge chunks of the evening), the onus is even more on him than it already would be to step up and put a stop to the situation.

Bay eventually confides in Daphne, who does the best thing a sister can do and just asks, “What do you want to do? Tell me what you want to do and we’ll do it.” Bay just wants to forget the whole thing ever happened, and that’s exactly what they vow to do.

Be sure to watch the second installment of this gripping two-parter, airing Feb. 10 on ABC Family.

Oh, and by the way:

  • Vanessa Marano knocks it out of the park in this episode, beautifully portraying simultaneous anguish, hurt, guilt, fear, and disbelief. Bravo.
  • Regina and Eric sure are steamy in that coffee shop, eh? Also, I did not like the use of “widow virginity.” No thank you.
  • Lily offers to pay for part of Toby’s rent (um, what?) so that he doesn’t have to sell his precious BMW. This was weird on so many levels, especially as it only served as a way for us to be hit over the head with, “Oh yeah, Toby doesn’t have a real job and is struggling with his future.” We already knew that and were okay with that.
  • Professor Marillo is the bomb! The dinner party disguised as social experiment was awesome. Her speech to the girls of her class about how we as women need to stick together and see ourselves as allies instead of as enemies was clutch. Why can’t that message be more prevalent on TV? Women, stop hating other women! We already have it hard enough out there. Also, Vimla can be a real you-know-what. I hope this is a turning point, and that she and Daphne can be friends. (I am not as big a person as Daphne, so I’d just vow to hate her forever after the things she’s said.)

Switched at Birth airs Tuesdays at 9/8C 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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