Switched at Birth “Player’s Choice” Review (Season 4 Episode 9)

VANESSA MARANO

Teen soaps can so often focus on the comings and goings of their characters’ love lives that the people at the centre of the show get lost. It becomes too important who each player is dating, and less and less about their goals, ambitions, passions and personal drive. Switched at Birth, thankfully, has never succumbed to this curse, and ‘Player’s Choice’ was all about what makes these characters tick as individuals.

Starting with Daphne, the show’s most divisive personality, her storyline about joining a sorority was like having all of the criticisms of her squashed into one episode, and it was wonderful.

She went after something because she felt left out by that initial conversation with Travis, she used everything in her arsenal to seem impressive to Royce and the other girls (everything other than her deafness, which is consistent), and she exploded into a fit of narcissism when confronted with rejection. Daphne isn’t used to not winning at everything, she doesn’t handle it at all well, and we should all send a gift basket to Royce for that little rant.

But the follow-up conversation with Regina about how she’s searching for her little corner of the world, was great. It spoke not only to the very human need to attach to like-minded people, but also to Daphne’s previous experience being part of the deaf community. We’ve seen time and time again that it really is a community, and to have her realize that at the end was a nice moment.

Travis, too, has been struggling with merging his past and his present, namely Mary-Beth and his teammates. He was the typical jock-guy douchebag at the start, and Mary-Beth was right to be upset, but I in no way expected their storyline to end the way it did.

Still, I very much liked how it was more about Mary-Beth guarding the self-esteem she had built for herself by ending the relationship, and not about cheating etc. Travis is noticeably crushed but he doesn’t try to stop her, which I think speaks to many things about his character – he’s used to people leaving, he respects her too much to beg, and he may also have outgrown the relationship without realizing.

John is a character who has always known his own power, but rarely had a chance to channel it in the right way. He’s been the frustrated father desperate for a progeny to pass down his sporting knowledge, and that shone through with his treatment of Travis is this episode. He’s competitive to a fault, and not shy about showing his disapproval so, without Bay, Toby or Daphne at which to target this, poor Travis gets the full force of it.

Emmett, meanwhile, has moved forward with his dreams of being a film-maker, but had to pitch a movie and his and Bay’s relationship in order to land his first directing gig. There was a little bit of meta going on there, given that his movie will essentially be the show within the show, but it’s obviously also a way to keep ‘Bemmett’ alive without actually have them rebuild bridges just yet.

All in all, I loved how this episode focused on individuals while never excluding their relationships with each other because, in the end, that’s why we root for them.

What did you think of the episode? Does everyone just wanna give Toby a big hug right now? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.