It seems like the more I watch Switched at Birth, the more I feel like I’m watching a soap opera. The multiple stories run concurrently, intersect, and result in further developments. Nonetheless, it’s important to note the show has not lost its appeal to me, but instead makes me reflect upon internal experiences and relationships I’ve experienced in my life.
The latest episode, Les Soeurs d’Estrees, focuses on relationships — particularly, parent/child relationships.
I’ll note that as perspectives of both children and parents were shown throughout the show, I identified — and sided — with the children. But, at the same time, my mom and dad often told me as a child, “Wait until you have your OWN children and then you’ll understand what I mean.” This holds true as it brings us full circle from child to adult to parent.
Before digging into the parental/child relationships, it’s important to understand the implications and impact that Emmett’s bike has in the storyline. The connections Emmett and Daphne have with the bike are representations of a bigger picture – one that creates a powerful storyline.
Sure, you can justify calling Emmett and Daphne sentimental, however, there are certain emotions elicited from their connection to “Ripley,” the bike Emmett needed to sell to pay his $5,000 fine.
For Emmett, the bike represents a bond he shared with his father. For Daphne, it epitomizes a feeling of being free. This reference to feeling free is two-pronged: number one, the desire to break away from parental control, and number two, not having to worry about how their deafness impacts others, a thought insinuated by Daphne when she tells Bay it was a time they didn’t have to worry about their voices.
While the respective connections are at the heart of the show, discussing each parent/child relationship will take up too much time. Nonetheless, the parent/child relationship I want to stress is between Melody and Emmett.
We all know Emmett’s mother, Melody, is a relatively strict mother and has been harsh on Emmett for having a hearing girlfriend. These are huge contributing factors in driving Emmett away from his mother and toward his father, and the episode shows that regardless of whether you are Deaf or hearing, the essence of the parental/child relationship will hold true in children – all children eventually want to gain independence from their parents.
And while it upsets me as a Deaf person how Emmett was arrested, he did commit a crime and has to face consequences. Moving away from his mother and with his father may not be the best thing for Emmett to do, and I believe Emmett doesn’t yet fully understand the ramifications yet due to his emotional and psychological immaturity.
After all, he’s still in high school and has a lot to learn about life, and this is where his parents really need to come into the picture and work together.
The question is will they do so?
They’re already divorced, and as a viewer, we know virtually nothing about the relationship between Melody and Emmett’s father.
However, with that said, I do believe like most parents, Emmett’s parents are doing the best they can with the resources they have.
*** A side note: my inclination based on multiple Twitter feeds is that the father will be played by Anthony Natale.
Purple Digital Media Coordinator Corey Axelrod is a regular contributor to the Purple Blog. Watch for more reviews as Switched at Birth season two continues! Corey’s views and opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Purple Communications. Follow Corey on Twitter @coreyaxelrod.