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Switched At Birth: “Dressing For The Charade”

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For a show so rife with farcical opportunities, it seems almost restrained that it took Switched At Birth this long to go full-on farce. This patience paid off in an excellent sequence that used all of the weapons in the show’s arsenal—both good and bad—to execute a scheme only this show could pull off. It’s a lot of fun, but the best part is how the show never forgets the emotional core of it all.


The farce in question is the surprisingly tense sequence when all parties in this crazy extended family come together to stop an immigration inspector from discovering Regina lives at the Kennish house. The secret weapon in their scheme is the immediate (and instinctive) decision to use sign language to communicate with each other without the immigration officer knowing what’s happening. It’s tension-filled and more than a little humorous, especially when Travis (who is at the house visiting Daphne) solves all their problems by pretending he’s living there instead. It’s unbelievable and ridiculous and dramatic all at once, and I loved every second of it.

To the show’s credit, what never gets lost in the madness is just how wrong everything they’re doing is as well. Regina’s decision to marry Angelo so he could get his green card has gotten a bit of a pass in the past, but the full consequence of all the wrong things both she and Angelo have done are made very clear tonight. Daphne doesn’t put her mother’s room back together because it’s “her mess to clean up.” Lana learns all about Angelo’s life and doesn’t seem very thrilled with it. And, most importantly, Bay reaches her breaking point with her father.

Angelo has always been a problematic character in that he’s far more one-sided (on the bad side) than everyone else, which is mostly due to his actions being used as a plot point more often than not. What’s great about Angelo is when we get to see his side of everything he’s done, and see how he could view himself in a much more favorable light. This happens tonight when Bay confronts him about him not being at all the dad she wanted when she first learned about the switch, and especially how she feels cheated that Daphne gained an amazing father and she didn’t. It’s a fantastic scene, and so easy to see how Angelo totally believes his pleas of how he gave up his whole life and even sat in jail for four months in order to stay and get to know his daughter. It might not be enough to Bay right now, but it’s enough to keep her from writing him off for good, at least for now. Angelo might not be perfect, and he might never be the father Bay wants, but it’s so refreshing that he’s allowed to be these things and not given the sappy perfect ending. Life is complicated, and so is this.

In addition to the immigration story, the other story tonight that has been building up for quite a while was the relationship between Daphne and Travis. Travis has been a surprisingly great character for the show, starting out last season as a bit of a jerk and slowly not only rehabilitating himself but becoming one of the most interesting characters on the show in the process. His revelation that his situation at home has become so awful that he’s being kicked out of his house took his relationship with Daphne and deepened it in a really natural way, instinctively triggering her protective nature and helping her to see him in a different light. After Daphne’s disastrous relationship with Chef Jeff last season, it will be nice to see her navigate a relationship with another deaf person, especially one who has such a profoundly different relationship with his parents (and therefore his deafness) than she does.


Overall, this was yet another very strong episode in what is shaping up to be a great season two so far. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to learn sign language in case I need to use it to get out of a jam.

Stray observations:

  • Carrie Wikis Some Art: Dressing For The Charade The Children of Patrick Allan Fraser, Robert Herdman, oil on canvas.
  • I don’t quite understand why Toby is so fixated on Lana and her child. It isn’t even his sister; it’s Bay’s! It is times like these when it’s clear Toby is probably the least developed of the main cast, aside from Angelo.
  • The Regina/Bay scene tonight was great. I truly hope we get more of this duo this season, as their relationship is woefully under-explored.
  • OK, “Pink Panty Dropper” sounds like a disgusting drink. Vodka, beer, and pink lemonade?
  • Zane played scary vampire hunter Connor on The Vampire Diaries, so I kept expecting him to pull stakes out of his sleeves or something. Angelo could use a good staking, I think.
  • The progress between John and Kathryn regarding his campaign is promising. John listening to her after being initially resistant feels exactly like their marriage.
  • “Based on what Ms. Vasquez told me, this marriage has so many problems, it has to be real.”

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