“Switched at Birth” aired an emotionally-intense all new episode on Feb. 4.
Regina (Constance Marie), Daphne (Katie LeClerc) and Bay (Vanessa Marano) all continue to be devastated over the fact that Angelo (Gilles Marini) has gotten Lana pregnant. Last week, Regina and Angelo narrowly avoided a disaster by a surprise visit from an immigration officer. Plus, Regina recently received the terrible news that she will lose all feeling in her hands if she continues to use them heavily. This means she has to give up many things she loves: cosmetology, sculpting and signing with Daphne.
In this week’s installment, Regina sinks to an all-time low, when she’s turned down for a receptionist position and then she runs into a former old boyfriend. After initially resisting the invitation to drink, she makes a terrible, reckless mistake by drinking a glass of wine. This marks a backslide in her alcoholism recovery and we can’t help but wonder if Regina is headed for a terrible downward spiral.
Plus, Daphne struggles with her feelings for Travis and she’s terrified when she gets robbed in the food truck. She doesn't tell anyone about it and is hugely upset by the fact the thieves took advantage of her and Travis being deaf.
Do both of these traumatic events signal a dark turn ahead for Regina and Daphne?
Regina’s mother often reminds her how she’s always seeking out things that are bad for her – especially Angelo, who she let back into her life only to disappoint her again. The stress of Angelo fathering a complete stranger’s child and then being unable to find a new job that will protect her hands pushes Regina to a dangerous edge she hasn't seen in years: She takes her first drink of alcohol after years of being in recovery.
In 1996, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reported relapse rates of more than 50 percent or more at two to four years after treatment.
Relapses can also have traumatic effects on the alcoholic’s friends and family.
In this case, Bay and Daphne have already suffered so much emotional turmoil in regards to the switch. Angelo has proven to be an unstable parent and if Regina’s slip turns into a full-blown extended binge, the girls face a lot more emotional upheaval in the wake of their mother's problem.
Constance Marie continues to do an excellent job depicting Regina’s fears and vulnerabilities. Even with of his shortcomings, we are still hoping Angelo will stand up and be the man he needs to be in all three of these women’s lives. If Regina is diving off the deep end into her addiction Bay and Regina will need him more than ever. It'll be interesting to see if he is capable of coming through in the event of this kind of family crisis …
Daphne doesn't really want to put a label on her feelings for Travis and Emmett (Sean Berdy) accuses her of only being interested in hearing guys – which she tries to deny.
She asks Travis to take the food truck out with her. A customer flirts with her a little and then comments on her and Travis being deaf. It all seems innocent until Travis leaves the truck for a few minutes to take out the trash. The guys come back, push Daphne around, and steal all of her money.
She’s badly shaken and Travis feels terrible for not being there to help or protect her. The saddest moment comes when she tells Travis the robbers targeted them because they are deaf. She doesn't call the police or tell anyone what happened and this is also such a shame.
Once again, “Switched at Birth” does an excellent job showcasing the ways in which deaf/disabled people are subject to certain social vulnerabilities.
In this case, Daphne feels totally victimized and helpless and Travis feels guilty and wants to strike back. We can’t help but wonder if Daphne will harbor any emotional side effects from the traumatizing incident and hope that she tells someone or seeks help if she does.
Overall, this episode paints a completely realistic picture of the dark plunge the human heart can take when someone suffers physically and emotionally due to circumstances beyond their control.
Will Regina realize her mistake and get back on the road to recovery? Or, does her alcohol indulgence mark the start of a long and terrible relapse? Will Daphne and Travis be able to shake the robbery? Will they suffer silently? Will it prevent Daphne from ever taking the truck out again? Or worse, will Travis make more trouble for them by trying to get revenge?
“Switched at Birth” will return Monday, February 11, 2013 on ABC Family. Click here for a Flint area channel guide.