Switched at Birth – Season 2 Episode 21 – Recap – Departure of Summer
This is it! Season 2 of ABC Family‘s teen drama Switched at Birth comes to a close! I had only seen half an episode of this show at a friend’s house before being told I would be covering it here on Rickey.org, and it has been such a pleasant surprise. I mainlined the entire run on Netflix in about a week, so I could catch up in time to write about this summer season. Much like past favorites of mine from ABC Family (Greek, Kyle XY, The Middleman, and probably a few I’m forgetting), Switched at Birth quickly became a combination guilty pleasure and hidden treasure. This show is a joy to watch, with inventive storytelling devices and great performances helping propel basic (yet complexly interwoven) plots into the stratosphere. The twists and turns of seeing these characters collide after discovering the life-altering switch that formed the first season’s centerpiece, they’re simply spectacular. The handling of deafness and of teenage sexuality and of class warfare, all wonderful! Each episode is so dense with material; this isn’t a show that wastes the viewer’s time. With that in mind, I won’t waste any more of your time before getting on to the meat of the recap!
Following up closely on last week’s cliffhanger, Senator Chip Coto calls big daddy John Kennish into his office to accuse him of sending the blackmail texts that had actually been sent by bad boy English barista (and sometimes smoocher of Daphne) Jace. John learns of Daphne and Nikki’s extracurricular activities (the whole breaking-and-entering excursion from last week). Regina has moved back in to the guest house, but she doesn’t know about Daphne’s delinquency. Her and Daphne fight over it, and we see that Daphne is developing a strong sense of social justice even without Jace’s influence. Daphne’s potentially facing serious consequences (as in season three could turn into Orange Is The New Black), and so she tried to go to Coto herself to apologize. He still thinks John is involved, and for some reason his response is to blackmail right back at them: He wants a large campaign endorsement in the form of a $50k check. Ultimately, Daphne goes to Jace with an article about the entire situation, entitles “Why I Blackmailed a Senator”, and they publish it on his political gossip blog. Coto’s phone rings off the hook as he broods over the post open in his web browser. This is a delicious ending to one of the summer season’s longest plots. Coto gets his comeuppance, Daphne comes clean with the truth, and everything looks like it’ll turn out just fine for everyone who isn’t a scumbag pervert senator with a streak of hypocrisy.
Weighing heavy on the newly sex-having couple, Ty and Bay only have three days left together before Ty’s redeployment to Aghanistan. Bay wants to go to an art school in Germany, which is where Ty will be stationed after three months in Afghanistan. In a cruel twist of fate, Ty’s redeployment won’t be support, but in fact security in a live combat zone. Bay tells Ty about her art school plans, and he seems about halfway through dumping her when Bay is called away to handle the parental interference in Toby’s upcoming nuptials. Ty leaves the party, and when Bay catches up with him later, there’s an empty condom wrapper and another woman’s underwear on his floor. Bay seems to be a friggin’ magnet for cheating dudes! First Emmett/Simone and apparently now Ty/Medic. Bay goes to Emmett confused and angry, but it just ends in a hug, which will disappoint my friends who watch the show (aside: Bay and Emmett is clearly a terrible pairing, come on). Mary Beth goes to see Ty and yell at him, and she discovers that… Ty didn’t cheat! He faked it to get Bay to hate him so the redeployment would be easier for them! What a… good guy?? I mean, he didn’t cheat, but it’s kinda scummy to pull a sexy version of the ending from Harry and the Hendersons. It’s tragic and a great way to end that plot nicely.
Like everyone ever, Kathryn and John and Nikki’s mom all want to cancel the wedding. Toby overhears his dad expressing doubt about the impending marriage at the rehearsal dinner. Emmett gives a toast (translated through Bay), and his words resonate with John and Kathryn regarding their doubts, and with Bay regarding her and Emmett. Still, it all blows up when Toby confronts his parents a little bit later. All the kids are pro-wedding, and all the adults are against it. Nikki’s mom even goes as far as to tell the nearly-newlyweds to just go have sex, that they won’t go to Hell for it. I mean, she’s right, but this kind of just ends the discussion. Even so, once the two are alone, Nikki says there’s only one way to find out if they’re just getting married for the sex. They wake up the next day and finally have an earnest conversation about if they want to go through with the wedding or not. It’s an off-screen earnest conversation, but still, the result is that the wedding is canceled… or so it seems! The pair abscond later to city hall for a private civil ceremony, getting away with the best of both worlds.
Angelo is having trouble with the baby, and calls Leo (her former adoptive dad) for help. He clearly misses the girl, and she starts crying when Leo leaves. It’s really, really sad. Struggling to balance his budding career and his new daughter, Angelo enlists the aid of Regina’s mother Adrianna. She’s warmed to Angelo, having seen him change so much, and asks him if he’s raising this girl because he thinks he has something to prove, or because he thinks it’s what’s best. This gives Angelo pause, and later, he invites Leo back to tell him that he’s giving up custody. The baby will grow up with two dads raising her and a third that will visit as often as he can. It’s a clean solution to a messy problem, and I’m excited to see yet another nontraditional family being brought into the mix!
The episode ends with a voiceover of Daphne’s blog post, highlighting the summer’s mistakes and reconciliations: Angelo packing up baby paraphernalia, Ty packing up his Army gear, Jace being led away in handcuffs, Toby and Nikki emerging newly-married from the courthouse, and finally Daphne heading for questioning at the courthouse. We get to see some rare character interactions this episode, which is appropriate for a big finale: Daphne and Bay, Ty and Daphne, Regina and Daphne, Kathryn and Regina, Mary Beth and Ty. The only person in the cast who missed out was Travis, which sucks because Travis is great. I’m sure we’ll see more of him when Switched at Birth returns in January! Meanwhile, check out the preview for this episode below!