Switched at Birth Season 2 Review “Ecce Mono”

Switched at Birth Season 2 Episode 15 Ecce Mono (4)

Alternate reality episodes have always been a pet peeve of mine, as they never seem to add to the show we’d rather be watching in the long term. Switched at Birth’s attempt at the trope, following John’s heart attack at the end of last week’s episode, was an entirely pleasant surprise, however, and was one of the better episodes we’ve seen this season. The reason for this is the commitment to having the story told from John’s perspective, and so coloring out perception of his vision.

The story is based around the scenario Regina pitched to him during their argument – if she had come clean about the swap when the girls were three, he would have done everything in his power to take both Bay and Daphne away from her. Whether this would have happened in ‘real’ life, we’ll never know, but John entertains the idea from long enough to explore the dire consequences. After a court case that drags Regina through the mud, we see Daphne uprooted from her home and instantly made a Kennish alongside Bay and Toby.

Fast-forward 15-years and things are very different. The first thing we’re forced to notice is Daphne’s cochlear implant, her regular accent, and Bay’s commitment to academics. All three kids attend Buckner Academy and, while Bay is excelling in academics and painting on the side, Daphne is well a truly part of the popular crowd. They’re as different as they would have been growing up separately but, as John was probably figuring out, these versions of his daughters aren’t exactly more desirable. His marriage to Kathryn is on the rocks, also.

Daphne is still getting special treatment, now using her disability as a get-out-of-jail-free card when conflicts arise, and Bay is still being ignored by her preoccupied family. She thinks of herself as the adopted kid – thoughts that were quickly squashed near to the beginning of season one – and tries harder at school because her grandmother expects less of a Puerto Rican child. I was so impressed by the little details present in this episode, things a lot of the audience might well have forgotten, and the depth of cause and effect that we can see. There are usually plot holes galore in ‘what if’ episodes, but I didn’t spot any glaring ones here.

This wasn’t just cobbled together as a filler episode – it’s a fascinating look at the dynamics between our existing characters. Things would have been different, sure, but John obviously recognises that some things turned out better because of the way they happened in reality. Pulling Daphne away from her mother at such a young age meant that she would have self-esteem and emotional issues; pushing Bay aside for the ‘real’ daughter would have made her more introverted and shy; the stress shouldered by the Kennish’s alone would have torn their marriage apart, and Toby, for some reason, would never have kicked his gambling problem.

But the person who got the worst deal was Regina, who we can assume killed herself on the day of the girls’ birth years after Daphne was taken away. It’s never explicitly stated, but it’s still pretty heavy stuff, and it’s John’s way of admitting to himself that Regina has become a valuable member of his family. She’s not an obstacle in the way of his relationships with Bay and Daphne, but someone that loves them both just as much as he does. It’s an interesting way to see him work through those issues, and kudos to Switched at Birth for so often recognizing it’s character’s flaws.

I really loved this episode, and can’t wait to see what changes we’ll see in John in the coming weeks. What did you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.