Switched at Birth returns with new characters, new drama, and so much is setup to happen that it is hard to not get giddy at the potential.
What makes Switched at Birth, if not ABC Family's Monday night lineup in general, stand out is that it touches on topics, and people, often underrepresented, or used for simply an episode, or arc, and then casted aside. In this season, seemingly, we will continue to see deaf people, and their culture; witness the ins and outs of what happens in a local clinic; hear/see the stories of disenfranchised children; and see the life of a wheelchair bound kid, who doesn't look at uncooperative legs as a handicap, but just a new challenge to conquer.
Topic 1: Say Hello to the New Kids
In this season, almost every main character has someone new in their life. For Bay, she has Tank (played by Max Adler who we last saw on Glee) who is her art class partner for at the local college, of which she is at since Carlton can't afford and art program. And with Tank comes Sandra Bernhard as the said class' professor. Then, with Daphne, she seemingly introduce the most people for she is doing community service, as punishment for blackmailing an elected official, at a clinic. Within the clinic, we have the eventual love interest in Jorge, the head nurse, who fits Daphne's type of older men in charge; Campbell, who is wheelchair bound, who will open our eyes, perhaps, to their culture; and then there is Sheree who is a new student at Carlton, which now has three closed schools' outcasts, who is a bit ratchet, but I do hope as the season goes on they continue to develop her so that she doesn't stick to seeming like a stereotype.
As for the adults, they are given new people too, but of a less interesting variety. For example, Angelo is now dealing with Barbara's daughter when it comes to getting his restaurant off the ground, and though it is still early, I see Barbara's daughter being the villain for the season. And lastly there is Katherine who has gotten a new friend who is a very flamboyant gay person, who for Ugly Betty watchers will surely look familiar, and like with Sheree, I hope so much that they develop him past being a stereotype.
Topic 2: Relationship Issues
With everything that happened last season, the first episode deals a lot with the fallout. Beginning with Daphne, after outing the congressman, through blackmail, it seems that last season's actions had the most dramatic effect on her. For one, it has thoroughly ruined her relationship with John, to the point she thinks he will be like Angelo and abandon her, and this idea all comes from being at the clinic. You see, this clinic isn't in the best part of town and, while working there, Campbell points out a girl who got kicked out by her parents, and despite Daphne growing up in an area in which someone has a background like Ty does, seemingly the idea of a kid getting kicked out seems foreign to Daphne. But, rather than wallow in defeat, Daphne takes it upon herself to remake her image by getting back into sports. But, with the gym now a classroom, and Buckner just donating field hockey sticks, it seems Daphne will now, with Toby's coaching, have to make a field hockey team so John can remember the girl he met two years ago.
But, while Daphne worries about John's approval, Kathrine worries about her life when all there is, is John. Since her book no longer giving her, her own thing, Katherine has effectively returned to housewife duties and with Toby married, though still around the house while Nicki is away, and Daphne and Bay leaving for college soon, she starts to get empty nest syndrome. So, to solve this problem, she first seeks a psychiatrist, who offers prescriptions, and then she happens to walk past a dance studio, meets the aforementioned new friend, and when he invites her out, she denies this because John has something. And with this you realize how much of an accessory she is to John's life, and seemingly she does too as she lies to get out of one of his events. Leading me to wonder if they may revisit the marital problems which sort of went into the background around the time Bay met Zarra.
As for Regina and Angelo, they also are having marital issues, but seemingly their issues deal with money. Due to Regina's boss leaving to be with some man in London, she is selling her business and, with Bay's advisement, Regina thinks of buying it from her. Thing is, while Angelo is fine for money, the stress of the restaurant is getting to him and he snaps at Regina's request and talks about the money he spent on her thus far. This fight is a bit eye opening for her, especially since him not having Abby is blamed on her, and though he apologizes and says he will give her the money, you can see old issues they had possibly coming back.
Then, the last person to mention, is Bay. With no word from Ty, Bay is a rut and with her being cheated on for a 2nd time, she finds herself at Tank's frat house, albeit she was originally there for an assignment to draw him, and Bay almost ends up having empty sex to get over Ty. Thankfully though, new friend Tank, saves her from this decision.
As you can see, the foundation is still being built, but the potential is massive. For, as much as there is the usual teen soap drama, there are potential serious conversations on the way. Now, what will said conversations be? It is hard to tell, but I do hope the clinic and school are the settings in which they happen.
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