Switched at Birth Season 3 Review “Yuletide Fortune Tellers”

Switched at Birth Holiday Special 2014 Yuletide Fortune Tellers (4)

Christmas episodes are funny things, either a normal episode with some festivity lodged into the margins or a complete removal from the ongoing narrative. Neither approach is correct or incorrect, of course, but it’s a judgement call nonetheless.

I was never concerned that Switched at Birth wouldn’t do amazing things with a holiday episode – it’s the kind of framing device that suits the show down to the ground – but I have to say I’m glad they took the latter approach.

Here we have an hour that’s entirely standalone, but couldn’t have been made by any other show but Switched at Birth. The characters, the intricacies of their relationships and the bizarreness of their reality are all things that inform this episode and make it so much more than the sum of its parts. Body-switch episodes are the most tired of plots, and would feel more so if another series in 2014 attempted a Christmas special with the same conceit, but it works brilliantly here.

Because it’s about family, and what the Kennish and Vasquez/Sorrento clans have done to keep each other together over the years. If the families had never discovered the switch, they wouldn’t be whole people. John would be the pushy soccer dad, Kathryn the cold breadwinner. Regina would still be drinking and both Bay and Daphne would be living in supremely unhappy homes.

But there was still lots of levity in the episode, mostly coming from an hilariously emo-Toby (aka Tobias). I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – Lucas Grabeel is quite often the greatest thing about this show. The song would have pushed me over the edge of sentimentality if it wasn’t for the lovely and unexpected High School Musical flashbacks I got when it came to Toby’s turn.

The same with that brief glimpse of Angelo we got – moments that made ‘Yuletide Fortune Tellers’ into a perfect example of how to do a removed-from-reality episode. Oh, I do so miss Angelo.

Switched at Birth is back on January 6th for the start of its fourth season, and this was just the thing to remind us why we love it so much. Happy holidays!

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