Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Switched at Birth: It's Not What You Hear...

So I'm going to be the one person who DOESN'T base this article on the fact that, aside from three lines or so, this episode was entirely signed. The only thing I will say is that it made the background music much more noticeable, and that's something to which I generally pay no attention. And, though I did study Gallaudet's history a smidgen in my Signed English course way back in undergrad, I'm not knowledgeable enough to appropriately compare what Daphne & Co. are doing with what happened in 1988. So, I'll address the little things in this episode that really stood out to me... first, if Bay was expecting Daphne in the kitchen, why was the alarm still on? Why didn't Bay de-activate it to let in Daphne? That said, I found the following scene very powerful - Daphne didn't really know what was going on as we saw John, Bay, Kathryn, and Toby rush downstairs, answer the phone, etc. Second, I thought that setting up a coat check was a great idea to get the principal's keys, but they somehow disappeared by the second time Travis needs to enter the building - were they confiscated by the security guard? I didn't see the hand-over if that was the case. Next, with the mid-season finale just ahead, how much time will pass as the students protest the closure of the school? As much as viewers want a good story to come out of this, there are a lot of other plotlines to look at - the birth of Angelo's baby, Toby's quickly-progressing relationship, Regina's drinking problems, and John's election to name a few!

Switched at Birth "The Uprising" (S02E09): Daphne, Travis, Emmett, Natalie, and others are afraid they'll be split up and sent to different school next year, so they decide to re-enact the 1988 protests at Gallaudet, where the students boycotted having yet another hearing President. The decide to stage their sit-in after the play. [I was a bit unclear as to why they decided to start then...] Bay, on the honor roll for the first time, is initially shut-out of the sit-in, as is Noah and the other non-deaf students. But, Emmett does ask Bay to do a piece of art for the occasion, which she does. 

As preparations are underway, Daphne finds Regina passed out on the couch, alcohol on her breath. She goes to talk to Bay but sets off the alarm system at the Kennish home, spoiling the mood when everyone wakes up to see what's taking place. And, so that Melody doesn't continue to fight the school board, they've offered her a position in academic diversity, which is a good fit, as deaf guidance counselors aren't in high demand. Plus, Kathryn thinks that the play should have reporters to see what the deaf kids can do, even if Melody is bothered by the connections "rich, white, hearing people" have in obtaining publicity. [where was Kathryn's interpreter at the show itself?] Before the performance, Noah wants to practice the kiss, as they've never actually done it. [what kind of director would NEVER practice that scene??] Daphne agrees to practice, but it's more than just a pop kiss, as Emmett observes.

Now, on to the excitement... Natalie and Travis get the school's keys from the principal when they check her coat before the show. But, security still stops the students from actually entering the school, leaving Travis to get help by having Bay pull the fire alarm for distraction. [I guess the school doesn't have the kind of alarm where you get ink all over your hands, huh?] Travis throws a rock through a window to get into the main building, and after the initial evacuation, many students march back inside. Emmett invites Bay to join the protest, but Travis tries to stop Noah, finding him "the wrong kind of person." They both join in the end, and that's not the end of their support, either. They get thousands of followers on Twitter, have encouraging images sent to them from around the country, and an alumni group at Gallaudet even offers to wire them money. [I was about to question how that would work if they're not leaving the building, but in this day and age, I guess there's online bank transfers and PayPal, LoL!] John wants to cut the power to the building so the kids get cold and give up, but internal turmoil soon presents itself anyway, and a few students leave after Daphne confiscates all electronic devices. Why did she do that? Because some of the kids post pictures of themselves drinking, which is sending the wrong message. The strife continues, however, as they work on their list of demands...
1) Carlton will remain open and deaf. 2) All sports and arts programs will be restored. 3) There will be no repercussions against anyone involved in the occupation. But, the precise definition of "deaf" is debated - some of the students believe that the school should be 100% deaf, others think the pilot program is okay, and then other variants also exist. Daphne herself isn't sure how she feels about it, as although she initially welcomed hearing kids, she doesn't how she feels about the pilot program anymore.

Conflict continues as Emmett confronts Daphne about the emotion with which she was kissing Noah, saying that Noah is dating Bay. [but it's been obvious from the beginning that he's interested in Daphne!] Daphne then checks her phone and responds to Regina's texts, pointing out that she knows her mother is drinking again. Embarrassed, Regina doesn't want to go talk to the students, so Melody is elected to do so, and says that the school board will meet again on Monday and there will be no repercussions if they leave now. The students don't want to give up their leverage, and Melody is proud of them. [I wonder how long they will end up cooped up in Carlton?]
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