Monday, July 29, 2013

'Switched at Birth' Review - 2.18 As the Shadows Deepen

        On the newest episode of ABC Family's Switched at Birth, Bay coordinates a Deaf Day at Maui, Kansas and works with Emmett to organize a special screening of "Deafenstein"; Daphne is shocked when she runs into Chef Jeff; John brings some business to Regina; and Toby tries to help Nikki cope with a family tragedy from her past.

        "As the Shadows Deepen" is the testing of relationships and whether or not they are meant to last. It's also an hour of many returns. "Deafenstein" and "Dawn of the Deaf" return to bring Bay and Emmett back together. Chef Jeff returns to stop Daphne and Jace from getting to close in the honeymoon stage of their relationship. John's father returns to unknowingly help Toby. Nikki's past with her dad returned to rock her understanding of him. Finally, Ty's deployment once again reared its head and forced a brutally honest conversation. All of the summer run's main relationships were thrown for a loop with the outcome's being different for each one. Bay & Ty, Daphne & Jace and Toby & Nikki's relationships all faced with very real and serious issues. The way that the show is able to embrace these weighty issues shows the growth the series itself has demonstrated.
        Of all the relationships being tested, Daphne and Jace's felt the less weighty in terms of dramatic stakes. Chef Jeff was set up for a return appearance last week when Daphne was able to reflect on what that relationship did to her. It set her on a wonderful self-realization arc as she came to accept who she was in the deaf community. Now, she once again finds herself falling and being shaped by the romantic man in her life. She has finally come to realize what we all have seen since his first episode. Jace is just too snobbish and pretentious. He has an almighty complex where he can justify his actions by saying it's too help the greater good in the long run. He's a guy living in the gray area of the world while Daphne wants to remain morally just. When they discover the wallet, Daphne is fine stealing 40 dollars but Jace wants a whole lot more. That is the straw that starts the break of the camel's back. Then, when Chef Jeff pops up at Maui, Kansas, she sees the much bigger picture. So even though, Jeff is just as upset and unlikable as he was before at least he was able to get her to open her eyes to the toxicity Jace has on her. I fear this story is far from over but hopefully now that she no longer trusts or likes him it can open up the show to some great confrontations.
        Ty and Bay have two equally daunting trials on their relationships - the reemergence of Emmett in Bay's life as well as Ty's redeployment. The second one informs the first as Ty reacts to the sight of them together poorly as he's just been given the terrible news. Once the news is out in the open, the two are able to have a truly wonderful conversation about wanting to be together because they are the bright spots of their dark lives. Together, they are able to fill a void that the other has. Bay feels comfortable with Ty and does sincerely love him but she also naively thinks the two can go back to the more simple times of their relationship. Ty knows that can't happen because he loves her immensely but has also seen the world and all its ugliness. He's afraid of leaving again because he doesn't want to go back to that dark place he was in before he saw Bay again. His redeployment is the hugest test of their relationship and the most mature thing Bay has ever had to deal with. The two do recommit to each other but distractions are creeping on the fringes of their relationship. Now, those could be the obstacle the two simply can't overcome. It's a powerful arc no matter what the outcome will be and one I'm most excited to see continue.
        Toby's arc this season has been about growing up and taking more responsibility while also trying to decide what he wants out of life exactly. John and Kathryn learn of his re-interest in going to college. But Toby is largely left to walk Nikki through confronting the man who killed her father. He does everything to be supportive. When she backs away, he goes through with the meet and learns some shocking information. Through some wise advice from Regina, he is able to sit her down and tell her the truth - a moment that shows his maturity with how he handled the situation. Before he would have just lied only for her to discover the truth later and be even more angry at him. Now because he loves her so much, he wants to tell her the truth even though it will upset her more than she was before. She leaves angry and confused which perhaps shows that maybe she is not ready for the seriousness of this relationship. And yet, it shows that Toby can deal with the big issues and that is excellent growth from where he was at the start of the series.

Some more thoughts:
  • Travis and Mary-Beth. Both great secondary characters and a surprisingly great coupling.
  • Also, it was great to see some of Carlton students back again. The school year cannot start up soon enough!
  • Wilke name check! That's a character I would welcome seeing again but I'm sure Austin Butler is too busy with The Carrie Diaries to do a return appearance anytime soon.
  • William Lucking has only been on two episodes and yet he is well defined character. He and John have been on the outs for a long time and yet the show is simply able to convey how John's heart attack has allowed them to make amends and actually talk.