Switched at Birth Season 2 Review “Tight Rope Walker”

Switched at Birth Season 2 Episode 8 Tight Rope Walker (5)

Bay and Daphne get to switch parental problems on this week’s Switched at Birth, ‘Tight Rope Walker’, with Bay meddling in Regina’s life in an attempt to stop her drinking and Daphne having to choose between loyalties to Kathryn and helping her school remain the safe haven it’s always been for her and her friends.

Beginning with Regina’s storyline, we knew this was going to happen as soon as we first found out about her past troubles with alcohol. Daphne doesn’t really understand simply because she can see no logical reason for the relapse, but I guess that sometimes no reason can be enough reason. Troubles have been piling up against Regina since the swap was revealed – her inability to sign, a lack of closeness with her daughters, Angelo leaving, losing her job – and drinking would be one way of getting the feeling of her old life back.

When she finds out that Bay has gone to Zane and told him about her past, she’s furious, and kudos to the show for showing the ugly side of alcoholism. Poor Bay was just trying to help her mother from making a huge mistake, but the sad truth is that she doesn’t really want her help right now. Despite her empty promises to go to a meeting ASAP and stop the problem before it really starts, my guess is that the deleted message means a heck of a lot more. It’ll be a rocky road ahead, which is a shame because Zane seems like a genuinely nice guy.

Daphne and Kathryn are having a similarly fraught time, with Daphne choosing the love of her school over helping her mother with the school play. I’ve really hated this ‘hearing program’ storyline since it was introduced at the top of season two, and the events of this episode proved more than ever that prejudice can come from the downtrodden too. Natalie and the other students who rejected the inclusion of hearing students at Carlton, along with Melody herself, come across as ignorant and prejudiced, when all we’ve seen from Bay and Noah is an attempt to learn and integrate.

The truth remains that the deaf students, as comfortable and rightfully proud as they are in themselves, will have to operate in a world primarily made up a hearing people when they leave Carlton. Everything they’ve said about it being part of their identity is still true, but cordoning these teenagers off and teaching them to pity other people their own age isn’t healthy or productive. During season one, we saw Emmett, after years of Melody’s influence, begin to become more open to mixing with hearing kids – even falling for Bay. Shouldn’t the show be sending a better message about tolerance now, not revenge or self-segregation?

Now that Carlton has been threatened with outright closure, when it could have remained open had they attempted to tolerate the hearing program, will anyone change their opinions? Don’t forget that there’s an entirely ASL episode coming up, so that should be an interesting first for mainstream television. Are we meant to push against this view of the world or celebrate it? The test of whether something is offensive is whether it would be accepted the other way around, after all.

In other news, Emmett and Travis might now be co-habiting after Emmett appealed to his mother, and Toby may be rekindling an old romance despite their philosophical differences. I’m bored of Toby and his issues, if I’m honest, but a bromance between Emmett and Travis could be great.

What did you think of the episode? Will Carlton actually close for good? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.