Monday, August 12, 2013

'Switched at Birth' Review - 2.20 The Merrymakers

        On the newest episode of ABC Family's Switched at Birth, Bay and Daphne throw Nikki an impromptu bachelorette party; a call from Simone alters the course of Toby's bachelor party; Kathryn is surprised at Jennice's (guest star Joey Lauren Adams) extravagant wedding requests; and a change in their living situation leads to Angelo and Regina to reevaluate their relationship.

There are many understood relationships on Switched at Birth that we perhaps don't see as often as we should. "The Merrymakers" was an hour filled with many great pairings - and pairings that we haven't seen a whole lot lately. Emmett and Toby are friends and are in a band together. So it makes sense that Toby would ask him to be his best friend even though we rarely see the two onscreen together. And the biggest connection is their shared past with Simone. So when we finally get another strong story focused on the two of them, she pops up yet again to disrupt their lives (even though she doesn't appear onscreen) telling them to get tested for sexual diseases. That put the two of them in an awkward setting but it led to some great moments both humorous and dramatic. Toby understandably is upset that he has to wait 5-7 days for results and getting no sympathy (how little it's actually deserved) from the administrative nurse. And yet, in the end it's a perfect explanation of how his planned marriage has done wonders for his character development. The plot hasn't worked all the time. But the show has done a lot to say why it shouldn't work only to put Toby and Nikki together to show just how perfect it is and how mature they are together.

It's a bit odd to remember that Nikki works at the State Senate office as well. That setting has been so predominated by Daphne, Jace and Senator Coto. Coto has grown increasingly into a mustache-twirling villain - speaking in thinly-veiled threats whose mere presence only seems to be to make Daphne miserable. Distraught Daphne confides in a drunk Nikki and the two are set on a broad and lackluster been there-down there plot to break into Coto's office and delete a voice message on his phone. It led to a very nice character moment for Nikki as she realizes that what she said in the message was more insightful of her inner conflict than actual outrage at Coto. And that moment made this story worth all the hassle it took getting there. I don't care what Coto is planning for the finale but I know it's going to be creepy and over-villainy.

Bay and John have never exactly seen eye to eye. They have been butting heads constantly since the very beginning. But here, John does something very selfless. He tries to get Ty out of his deployment but in a very telling scene we see Ty's true conflicted thoughts on the issue. John went into that room ready to talk down to Ty for walking out of his commitment and he came out with the utmost respect for the man. And thusly, he falls on his own sword to protect Bay saying that there's nothing he can do. But instead of Bay being angry at her father for not doing more for her, she's very understanding. Heartbroken but understanding. Bay truly has gotten more mature this season.

Regina and Angelo have a very deep history. They are constantly battling over whether they are in love with each other or not. The two of them living together has brought them closer than they have been in awhile because they finally were together - in the family unit that was suppose to be. But with Bay heading back to the Kennish house and the little baby coming in, it has forced them to address some long-simmering feelings. The two are a great parenting force together. Seeing them try to calm Abby down put a smile on my face. As Regina says, "This baby is not a time machine." The two simply cannot try to reclaim what should have been. The two are completely different people now and Regina is wise enough to see this (after releasing the sexual tension of course!) She will always have a place in her heart for Angelo. But she has her own life too that doesn't necessarily have to be linked to his.

And then, there were smaller moments that worked really well. Regina and Kathryn had there first scene in awhile. Although it was mostly a matter of fact relaying of information - it was nice to see them together again since they have so much in common. Also, Mary Beth and Travis are such a delightful new couple. They only first interacted last week. And yet, I feel like the moment where she sees him dancing with the stripper and his retrieval of her brother's dog tags were earned.

Some more thoughts:
  • I've never really liked Angelo's quest to get a baby story. But it offered something interesting during his and Bay's trip to talk with the adoptive parents. And then, the show undercuts all of that in offscreen moments that bring his daughter back to him without any resistance.
  • Kathryn and Jennice's little story was nice but it was just a way to get them to the same conclusion: that this wedding is not a good idea. 
  • No Jace at all this week! What are the odds that he won't appear in the season finale? I'm not too optimistic. 
  • So many Wilke name drops! I'm happy the show hasn't forgotten about him but is it too much to ask for another physical appearance?
  • Toby: "It says here to list your sexual partners. Do you just want to copy off me?"