Monday, July 15, 2013

'Switched at Birth' Review - 2.16 The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living

        On the newest episode of ABC Family's Switched at Birth, Daphne is torn between her obligation to her family and her desire to spend time with Jace; John must face the reality of his situation; Angelo offers to help Regina bring in business; and Bay is intimidated when she meets a cool, confident Army medic who served with Ty in Afghanistan.

        These last three episodes have been a great examination of John Kennish. He is frequently called on to be in opposition to what all the other characters stand for. That has already for some truly great confrontations and tensions amongst many of them. But now, with the show in its second season and with 46 episodes produced, their is a clearly defined history amongst the show and its many characters. His hatred to Regina has been festering for awhile now ever since he learned that she knew about the switch. Their confrontation a few episodes ago had been a long time coming and yet felt earned given how the series had built up that relationship. Then his heart attack occurred and the show took the chance to frame its big "What If?" episode already his character. That expertly showcased how ultimately his life would have ended more tragically if the universe happened the way he wanted. Because of that pivotal moment, John has made a change and the series simply cannot treat him as the same character he once was. But that doesn't mean John isn't reluctant to make any changes to his life. In his mind, he can't take time off because there is too many things and too many people counting on him or putting pressing on him. And yet, that is the exact cause of what led to the stress and his heart attack. He needs to keep working and pushing himself. The rest of the family is baffled by his efforts to keep pushing forward. They want him to rest and change that way he can stay with them for a much longer time in this life. It just takes some epically great confrontations by Daphne and Kathryn for John to come to the realization that he does need to change. Those scenes were landmark and memorable interactions between those characters and hopefully are very intuitive of the inner change happening within John's character.
       Elsewhere in the hour, both Bay and Daphne are having ups and downs in their respective relationships - to varying degrees of success. The show desperately wants us to care about Daphne and Jace as a romantic couple. Its just doing an ineffective way of making me wanting to invest in it because Jace is just too pretentiously played in those scenes. That style definitely works when they are asked to do stuff related to their work-related exploits and trying to take down Senator Coto. But that plot's only been in one episode and thusly is perhaps being too tainted by what is happening elsewhere in the plot. On the other side of the coin, there is Bay's relationship with Ty which is being handled with such tender care. Tonight, the two are tackling a very sensitive plot of the first time a person experiences sex. The whole plot felt honest and delicate. Bay's conversations with Daphne and Regina felt informative and real without coming across as preachy like so many times a show like wants to handle a "very special topic" like this. The addition of the new army medic who threatened the relationship felt like an obstacle to overcome in this episode or to stretch out the story. But it fruitfully added to the story because it led to the sequence with Regina and the later ones with Ty.
        In the C plot, Toby is growing increasingly conflicted over his manager position and his decision on delaying or not going to college. It's an interesting subject here but simply feels too small and just the beginnings of some larger plot or confrontation in the future. It wasn't terrible here - it was just difficult to invest too heavily in what is currently happening with his character. The same situation occurred with the other C plot - where Regina and Angelo are using each other for their new business ventures. It's very interesting and is great at bringing these two closer together and letting them have some intriguing conversations. It's just the details in the plot that lead to a somewhat lack in major investment. The characters are great and their interactions are dynamic and interesting. They just have too little stakes in comparison to the more major events of the hour.