Switched at Birth Season 3 Review “The Image Disappears”

Switched at Birth Season 3 Episode 16 The Image Disappears (2)

Last week I wondered whether this week’s episode of Switched at Birth, ‘The Image Disappears’, would be the start of a great character arc for Angelo or simple grief-porn in the style of so many shows before it. It was neither. Angelo may have died and there may have been plenty of grief on display, but it wasn’t the cheap hour of soapy trauma that I was expecting. I should stop expecting less of Switched at Birth than I know it can deliver, really, and this was that latest reminder of that.

I’ve always kinda liked Angelo, though it seems that the show hasn’t always felt the same way, so to lose him just when the potential for him to be part of the Vasquez/Kennish family was just being realized is designed as a pointed blow to the audience. The fact that he and Bay’s relationship had been put on ice was addressed, as was Daphne’s seemingly weak claim of a familial bond, and each and every character’s reaction to the staggered news of Angelo’s demise had been worked out in detail.

The show might be camp and over-dramatic at times, often the epitome of what people expect from an ABC Family drama, but fans know that it’s strengths lie in its characters, how they react to situations and how they relate to each other. Angelo was always the spanner in the works, the outsider to the ‘new kind of family’ crafted out of necessity, but his removal from the household has brought up immeasurable feelings of grief, doubt, anger and regret in every member of the family.

The fact that the show saw fit to include people like John in this shows how well they care for these people, and his admission of thinking so little of his daughters’ other father (and Regina’s not-wrong assumption that he stands to benefit from Angelo being out of the picture) offered the episode more than the well-trodden ground we might have expected. This is also true of Bay’s mini-arc and the interaction between her and Daphne, as pulling up the concept of the show served to sort through the feelings those girls would be having.

Angelo never felt important to the fabric of Switched at Birth in the same way as John or Regina, but he may in fact have been a necessary part of the family’s fragile dynamic. Now that he’s gone and everyone will have to live with their individual regrets and ‘what ifs’, we may find out just how significant he was in all of their lives, even when absent.

What did you think of the episode? Is Daphne’s anger at Regina justified? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.