‘Switched at Birth’ Return Presents Complex Daddy Issues

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Watching “Starry Night,” the second season/mid-season premiere/whatever ABC Family wants to call the first new episode of “Switched at Birth” since the summer, back-to-back with “Parenthood,” the teen show with the far fetched premise is every bit as complex and interesting as the critically acclaimed network drama.

The show picks right up where it left off. Bay (Vanessa Marano) and Daphne (Katie LeClerc) are still in a cold war over Emmett (Sean Berdy), even though Emmett has made it clear that Bay is his girlfriend while Daphne is his BFF. They are also at odds about Bay’s biological father, Angelo (Gilles Marini), who has sleazed his way back to town. Bay thinks he is her sensitive, artist soulmate while Daphne believes he’s the scum of the earth who abandoned her when she lost her hearing. They are both probably right. Since John (D.W. Moffett) refuses to let Bay spend any time alone with Angelo, Regina (Constance Marie) is pressed into chaperoning their dinner at a jazz club. Bay wears a skin tight mini-dress for the occasion. Oedipal complex much? At the club,  Angelo refers to the three of them as a family. He also says that Regina is not, “The A.A. type.” Ooh, he is evil. In thirty seconds they are arguing like they are about to have hate sex. Do you still wish you grew up with your biological parents, Bay?

Meanwhile, Emmett, Toby (Lucas Gabreel), and Wilke (Austin Butler) turn out to be playing a sidestage at the rock festival at the same time as Arcade Fire. Toby jokes they should change the band’s name to Free Booze. Emmett and Wilke love the idea. It’s a much better name than Guitarface. This show is at its weakest when it tries to be hip, so all of the dialogue about whether the band is technically “indie rock” is painful.

Since Daphne is feeling angsty about Angelo’s return, and, subconsciously, hating that she is no longer the perfect princess who is always the center of attention, she drives to the rock festival, where she crawls into the sleeping Emmett’s tent and spends the night. Really, Daphne? Spending the night with the guy who just rejected you? That is a skank move.

When Emmett wakes up he is not pleased to see her, and it is awkward and weird. Then Daphne gets mad at Toby for thinking she hooked up with Emmett, even that’s totally what she wanted to happen. Bay shows up to be the supportive girlfriend. Emmett is thrilled. Daphne is not. A small crowd shows up for Free Booze and starts throwing things when they learn there is no free booze. Wilke notices Daphne storming off during the set. Wow, that is one tiny side stage at an allegedly huge rock festival.

When a guy is ready to hit Emmett after the show, Daphne says he is deaf to get him to back off. Emmett not so shockingly finds his girlfriend defending him by pointing out his disability to be rather emasculating. Wilke finds Daphne by a strangely empty lake.  Maybe ABC Family could spring for some more extras now that the show is a hit. Daphne tells him about Angelo, and how frustrated she is that she can’t even talk to Emmett about it. Wilke has gotten way hotter during the hiatus. For the two heterosexual males who are reading this recap, a good haircut can work miracles. Wilke distracts her by throwing her into the lake. Emmett gets Daphne to interpret for him while he explains to Bay that he knows how to handle uncomfortable situations on his own.

Katherine (Lea Thompson) tracks down the nurse who claimed she was distracted from working a double shift when the girls were born. Katherine doesn’t understand why she didn’t tell her supervisors she was tired, unaware that people who work for a living can’t dictate their work schedules to their bosses. The nurse isn’t sure she switched the babies but thinks she might have. Katherine is now on Team Sue the Hospital For Everything They Have Got.

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