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Switched At Birth: “As The Shadows Deepened”

Illustration for article titled Switched At Birth: “As The Shadows Deepened”
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Deciding when to keep something a secret and when to tell is difficult business. People keep secrets for a reason—whether it be self-protection or the protection of others—and no matter if the motivations are selfish or selfless, keeping something secret can eat at your soul, slowly chipping away until the only thing you can do to get relief is to tell. This episode of Switched At Birth is full of characters dealing with secrets and the consequences of the truth when those secrets are finally revealed and boy, they are all doozies.

The biggest secret belongs to Ty, who learns he is being redeployed to Afghanistan and makes the choice to keep it from Bay. His reasoning is completely understandable, if frustratingly selfish—his relationship with Bay has awakened him from the deep, dangerous funk his last deployment left him in, and he doesn’t want to lose that feeling—but the manifestation of the secret is what makes it sting. After seeing Bay and Emmett share a nice memory of their scenes together in Daphne’s Dawn Of The Deaf film, Ty blows up and lets his fear that Bay will go back to Emmett once he’s gone take over, causing him to be horrible to Bay and push her away. It’s an unfair thing to do simply because poor Bay has no idea why Ty is lashing out; it’s only when one of his fellow soldiers tells Bay that she learns the truth. The scene where Ty confesses his fears and tells Bay he loves her is poignant enough, but he does have a point: Just how long will they manage to last once he’s gone?

Also burdened with a secret is Toby, who learns something devastating about Nikki’s father and must decide whether or not to tell her and shatter her perfect image of him. His story starts out with nothing but good intentions, with him urging Nikki to go see her father’s murderer in jail to get some closure. In a strange but really satisfying scene, he ropes Regina in to help convince her to do it, and Regina accompanies them to the jail. When Toby learns Nikki’s father was a drug dealer—and the man who shot him was one of his junkie clients—Toby then has to weigh breaking Nikki’s heart with keeping a huge secret from her. Regina urges him to come clean, but Nikki reacts by acting like Toby is the bad guy for believing anything bad about her father. Toby can’t imagine keeping this big secret from Nikki, even though he knows it will break her heart, but is telling her selfish of him? Or a necessary evil? I love that Switched At Birth lets the truth lie somewhere in between.

I specifically want to point out Regina’s role here as well because while it was initially bizarre the way she was shoehorned into Toby’s plot this week, I’ve really come to appreciate Regina’s role in the Kennish-Vasquez family as the one everyone goes to for advice when they have to make difficult decisions. Regina certainly has issues when making choices in her own life, but she has a wonderful wise-yet-no-nonsense presence that really lends itself to being the shoulder everyone in the family leans on for support.

Then there’s the final secret, the one that is almost character-illuminating in how it is revealed. Daphne and Jace are getting closer by the day, making out in the back of cars and making plans to travel the country visiting national parks together. Daphne is still at the point of thinking Jace’s zest and almost pathological impulsivity is charming, jokingly calling him “dangerous” when he taunts a cop. Things start to fall apart a bit, however, when someone makes fun of deaf people in front of Daphne and the two later find his wallet. Jace suggests they steal his credit cards and run up the charges to teach him a lesson. It’s one of the first signs Daphne gets that maybe her values are different than Jace’s, no matter how exciting he might be. Things really take a turn when they run into Daphne’s old flame Chef Jeff and his new fiancée, and Daphne learns Jace went behind her back and told Jeff’s fiancée about Daphne’s relationship with him, with the sole purpose of hurting their relationship under the guise of “the truth” when it really wasn’t necessary, and was probably kinder to keep the secret hidden.

It’s Daphne’s confrontation with Jace about what he did to Chef Jeff that turned me completely around on the entire Daphne and Jace storyline and really kind of knocked me on my ass. Throughout this whole relationship, Daphne has been so blinded by Jace’s newness, and strangeness, and the giant mass of things that surround him at all times like bees buzzing around a flower bed, that she was almost intoxicated with wonder by how different he is than her. Her participation in blackmailing Senator Coto last week could have been the beginning of a long, slippery slope for her as she followed Jace down his rabbit hole of self-righteousness, but here? Here Daphne’s innate goodness came roaring out just when it needs to before she gets too caught up. The secret Jace was really keeping was that he might be dedicated to amassing immense amounts of knowledge, but knowledge can’t make up for an inherent lack of character.


But haven’t we all felt what Daphne feels here? An attraction to something so outwardly intoxicating it becomes irresistible, something that turns out to be poison upon further examination? The end of this episode shows just how alone Daphne’s choice to believe in Jace made her, as the camera gets further and further away the more lonely she feels. Daphne is a young girl who makes horrible decisions in her love life, but that just makes me want to root for her to get it right even more, because she definitely doesn’t deserve to be this alone.

Stray observations:

  • Carrie Wikis Some Art: As The Shadows Deepened, Eyvind Earle, 1988, oil on canvas.
  • Why yes, Chef Jeff’s fiancée’s name is Carrie Raisler, and yes, I am flattered for the mention and also completely tickled that Lizzy Weiss named my least favorite character’s love interest after me. (Now if only the closed captioning service hadn’t misspelled it as “Carrie Breisler.”)
  • Hey, though, Chef Jeff is still kind of awful. Sorry, it must be said.
  • I really enjoyed Kathryn’s scenes with John’s father, and I hope this father and son reconciliation is a storyline that continues. John could use an emotional story like this, especially so soon after having a serious health scare.
  • Travis spoke! Travis asked Mary Beth out and she said yes! Both were wonderful.
  • Spankenstein. Ha.