Switched at Birth Season 3 Review “Oh, Future”

Switched at Birth Season 3 Episode 14 Oh, Future! (1)

It could easily be argued that Switched at Birth is always about family – the good and the bad times, the difficult decisions and struggles over identity – but this week’s episode, ‘Oh, Future’, adhered more to that early mission statement than ever. Suddenly, the switch is back at the forefront again, with the issues to do with race, class and co-parenting revisited in lots of glorious, thought-provoking ways.

I may have said it before, but this is the territory in which the show thrives the most, much more than with the various romances of Bay and Daphne (Emmett included) or the side-plots for the parents – this isn’t just a show that follows a particular family, but one that is explicitly about that family and how they relate to each other in their peculiar situation. Having this spill out to Emmett’s relationship with his father and Travis’ much more fraught relationship with his estranged family is just the cherry on top.

The issue of money between John, Kathryn and Regina has always been there, lingering until it is accidentally disturbed by a stray plot point, and the issue of who is going to fund Daphne through college is a predictably thorny one. Logically, the way the Kennish’s see it is that Toby hasn’t used his college fund and, even without this, Daphne is as much their daughter as Bay, but Regina’s perspective on the hand-out is also understandable. Bay’s attitude towards the bank of mom and dad proves Regina’s point about easy money breeding entitlement, but should Daphne really have to give up her dream?

But the episode wasn’t content with having money be the only problem, as it also posed the question of where Daphne belongs in the larger sense. With hindsight, maybe going for a Latina scholarship wasn’t the best plan, but Daphne’s racial identity has been an issue Switched at Birth has been dancing around for a while. Is she a Vasquez because she grew up that way – of course she is – but she’s also a Kennish by blood, and the way we grew up often doesn’t mean anything once we go out into the wider world – for good or bad. It’s an argument with no simple resolution, and it’s thus a brave thing for the show to bring up.

Emmett’s storyline was a continuation of the on-going saga between him and his dad, which this time involves witnessing his father create a new family in under half an hour by first getting married and then announcing a pregnancy. This wasn’t hard to predict as soon as Melody made her boob job comment, but the unusually muted effect it’s had on Emmett was more of a surprise. Whereas the first time he really fought with his dad he cheated on Bay, this time it’s her that brings him back from the brink. Her experience with a tumultuous family dynamic can’t be scoffed at, and it’s nice to see him realize and accept that.

Just hanging around on the sidelines, Travis and Mary Beth still stood out with their lovely, sweet scenes. Travis has always been Switched at Birth’s secret weapon when it comes to those little triumphs or moments of intense sadness, and here we got both. We know his family are awful – we saw it when we briefly visited his house – but to see him talk about it doesn’t pack any less of a punch. The character’s inherent pain makes his relationship with Mary Beth that much more special, and I pray the show leaves them alone in terms of breakup drama – at least for a while.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.