Monday, August 24, 2015

REVIEW: 'Switched at Birth' - Bay Sees Emmett Everywhere and Daphne Learns of an Unexpected Pregnancy in 'To Repel Ghosts'

ABC Family's Switched at Birth - Episode 4.11 "To Repel Ghosts"

Bay is haunted by her breakup with Emmett and struggles to figure out where their relationship fell apart. Daphne's excitement about her relationship with Mingo is hampered by her friends' opinion of him. John's new accountant has some bad news. Regina digs deeper into the story of Eric's ex-wife. Everyone is shocked by the news that someone is pregnant.

So much of this summer premiere is spent with Bay wallowing in the aftermath of her breakup with Emmett. She is laying in bed without the energy to do anything but constantly eat potato chips. She is dealing with how badly things ended between the two. It's certainly not the most tragic or harsh thing that happens to any of the characters throughout this premiere. Many of these characters are faced with decisions that will determine what their futures will look like. Bay and Emmett's breakup doesn't have the same importance as some of those life-changing issues. But the premiere also does a great job of getting the audience into the emotional reality of the moment for Bay. This is something that is having an profound and meaningful effect on her. It has consumed her entire life. It may not be logical but it's what is happening nonetheless. It's something that she needs to deal with. She does get some relief but not enough to truly pull her out of this funk by episode's end. These feelings will linger. It will be interesting to see how that will continue to play once she becomes aware of what's going on elsewhere in her family.

It's also an intriguing decision to have Bay continuing to see Emmett throughout her world. She is nonchalantly having conversations with someone who isn't there. The emotional climax of this story is literally about Bay talking to herself over what went wrong with her relationship. It's a bold move to make. It's certainly one that is engaging and thought-provoking. The show has externalized her need to constantly play things over and over again in her head. These sequences aren't a dream. He is dominating her reality. That's what's keeping her in her bed. She keeps seeing him everywhere. The show puts that on display for the audience to better connect with what Bay is going through. She says some harsh things to the real people in her life. She doesn't actually talk to Emmett at all. She is able to give herself some understanding of the situation and not blame things completely on what happened with Tank. But she still lashed out at several people including Melody over what has happened. They keep telling her things will get better and she just doesn't know if she can believe them. Even when she was dancing with a cute guy, all she saw was Emmett kissing Skye. She doesn't know how to live in a world without Emmett. She has no direction in her life. So even when she gets the drive to start getting active again, his presence still lingers.

Bay and Emmett's breakup has an impact on more than just Bay though. The two of them share a lot of friends. Daphne and Travis are forced into the middle of it. They largely take Bay's side too. But that's also because Emmett's perspective really isn't seen at all. He wants to keep his friendship with Daphne but is surprised when she doesn't want to separate the two relationships. That's all Emmett gets to do in this premiere. His voice in this story is important too. Even though he is away at film school in Los Angeles, he still has those connections with people in Kansas City. Even his own mother gets caught in this mess. Melody likes Bay. She wants to be supportive of her. But she also loves her son and doesn't want to hear about how horrible he is. She is able to offer some advise. It works but it's largely Bay who has to come to that conclusion by herself.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Daphne is just in the beginning stages of a relationship with Mingo. She is starting to like this guy but her friends point out that he may not be good for her. Travis and Iris love her and don't want to see her get hurt. Daphne respects that they'll tell her that. But she is also very defensive of her relationship because she has seen a side of Mingo that no one else has. Sure, they have their differences. But he hasn't done anything to hurt her. Right now, they are just trying to figure out if something more is there and if they are a good match. They like each other and want to be together. That should be enough. But those outside voices do creep in and place doubts in her mind. Mingo is much different than anyone else she has dated on the show. He actually could be a stable and good guy for her. He's not her boss and he's not forcing her to commit a crime. That's a huge step up from her past flings. But only time will tell if the two of them are right for each other.

Time isn't a luxury other people can afford right now though. Toby has a right to be furious with Lily over her telling him she has feelings for another guy. That really hurt him. But now, she is pregnant with a baby who also has Down Syndrome. That is really heavy and life-changing material. It will drastically alter Toby's life - but only Daphne and Lily know the truth. Daphne tries to get the two of them to talk but fails because she doesn't want to share the truth. That isn't her news to give him. And yet, Toby needs to know the truth. He needs to know what Lily is going through all alone right now. Their relationship may not be able to heal. But they have to be in each other's lives for this new addition and all the struggles it creates. It's a challenging situation for her to be in and one that the show will probably handle well moving forward.

Some more thoughts:
  • "To Repel Ghosts" was written by Lizzy Weiss and directed by Millicent Shelton.
  • Regina learns the truth about Eric and his son. Their real names are Marcus and Deon. They are in hiding because Eric kidnapped his son to save him from his addict mother and her new abusive boyfriend. Regina was right to confront him. But she's also not going to turn him in. She got really close to him earlier this year. But nothing is really said if this will be the end of their relationship. That should be examined. Just because she won't turn him into the authorities doesn't mean she's willing to continue being in the relationship.
  • John also learns from his new financial consultant that he is facing serious money problems. The show has always handled matters of class and money so well over the years. This will represent a change to the core family in a time where things are only getting more complicated.
  • Just how serious is Mingo about his pursuit of Sports Management? That really does seem like it should be more of an issue if his relationship with Daphne is getting more serious. She'll need to know if he has a goal for his life.
  • But seriously, why did Emmett think Daphne would be able to separate their friendship and her bond with her sister? That certainly didn't mean anything when he was mad at her for letting Bay take the fall for her earlier this year.
  • As strange as that Orphan Black-style, Bay on Bay scene was, Vanessa Marano really was great in it.