Switched At Birth Looks For That Loving Feeling
So just how much do you want to know about John's 'equipment'?
After a single-story episode last week, this week's Switched covers a lot of bases: there are, like, 2.5 Daphne storylines alone. And it lowers the stakes all around: Mingo endangering himself with drunken stunts is no Iris endangering herself with a noble hunger strike. So do you need to be there for every single plot being juggled this week -- or just the one about John's penis?
Bay And Noelle Work It Out
I like that both girls are dealing with the fallibility of a mentor this week, but if you need to skip one of their plots, I'm regretfully recommending that it be our girl Bay's.
After Bay confronts Noelle about her plagiarism, Noelle is basically like, "What's yours is mine." But perhaps hinting at a guilty conscience, she gives in and lets Bay have her own chair -- specifically, to rent her own chair for $300 per week. Noelle also keeps picking on Bay for "not being around from here." I had pictured the tattoo studio being kind of near UMKC, but apparently it's in a bad part of town? Bay's lack of KC street cred comes back to haunt her when she overlooks a clearly fake ID just to book a client. Turns out he's fifteen, not eighteen, and she tattooed a gang symbol on him. His dad shows up pissed, but Bay saves the day by transforming the gang symbol into another design. It's like the Freeform version of Red fixing Piper's swastika brand on Orange Is The New Black. Noelle is surprisingly not screaming mad about the whole thing. She tells Bay she understands that the pressure got to her. Just like it did when Noelle stole Bay's phoenix design when a client demanded something original but she was exhausted from making her regular long drive to help with her nieces, whom her brother abandoned. Well played, Noelle.
Daphne Reunites With Dr. Jackson
Professor Marillo has helped Daphne get a volunteer gig at the student health center. (I thought Marillo was going to be petty and sabotage Daphne because of her role in the protests, but maybe she's feeling generous with Dean Peterson gone.) It turns out Daphne will be working again with Dr. Jackson, her old boss from the clinic where she hooked up with RJ Mitte. Daphne is nervous about seeing him, and I needed the helpful flashback to figure out why. All I remembered was when she saved his life with the needle to the chest. But apparently he also fired her for stealing some Oxy from the clinic. I guess I blocked out a lot from the Bad Daphne era.
Dr. Jackson is slipping. His hands shake when tries to do stitches, and he writes Mingo a prescription for the wrong drug, which could have put Mingo in the hospital. (I contend that maybe he knew what he was doing here and was trying to get Mingo out of Daphne's life.) Dr. Jackson's defensive about all of this, and reminds Daphne how nice he's being by not constantly bringing up her past mistakes.
Daphne goes to Bay and Toby for advice. Since the wedding, Toby has mostly just been like the senior counsel to the other characters. He tells Daphne that, sure, he's a stay-at-home dad now, but he still has music in his life when he hangs out in his studio with Carlton. For me, this insight just gave me that uncomfortable feeling you get when a family gathering turns a little too real. But Daphne somehow extracts from it the idea to encourage Dr. Jackson to hang up his stethoscope and start teaching. Dr. Jackson scoffs at the idea that they're just handing out jobs at UMKC. But they kind of are: just look at how many family members Daphne has working there!
Before Daphne really has a chance to congratulate herself, she finds out that one of the patients she saw at the clinic -- a student named Ally -- received Angelo's heart after he died. Wait, what? From next week's preview, it looks like Ally might be lying, but, either way, this all seems a little extra.
Luca's Dad Drops By
Actually, do watch the scene where Luca's dad, Manuel, first shows up at The Cracked Mug, acting like the distinguished elder statesman of hotness and flirting with Regina, who doesn't know who he is yet. It's downhill after that. So why is he here? Luca and Regina have somehow determined that if they expand The Cracked Mug, they'll basically be printing money. I don't quite get their excitement. Are there no other coffee shops in Kansas City? The whole thing raises doubt about what they're learning down at the UMKC business school.
Luca tells Regina his dad might invest in the coffee shop. But, in a bit of gratuitous dishonesty, it turns out that Luca, who inherited some money from his mom, is actually the investor. Manuel is there to evaluate the investment for him. And to ask Regina out before he realizes she's dating Luca.
In his parting words to Regina, Manuel tells her that even though Luca says he doesn't want kids now, he's going to change his mind at some point, and then be sorry he's stuck with Regina's wizened old uterus. Regina stands up to him, but I wonder if she's stewing privately about what he said. At any rate, she turns down Luca as an investor, saying she wants to build her business without help. Which doesn't make a whole lot of sense the more you think about it, but whatever. Regina walking away from something that complicates her life is a good thing.
The episode opens with a great scene of Daphne and Iris running into Mingo. He's doing a Crocodile Dundee bit, since he's headed off for the Kangaroo Krawl, an annual binge-drinking event. Iris probably would have given him a look of deep distaste anyway, but all his antics really take her scorn game to the next level. Later, he shows up at the clinic mid-Krawl with a dislocated shoulder. Daphne is worried about him, but he keeps Krawling.
A few scenes later, Daphne pulls Mingo away from some kind of tie-breaking stunt contest to win the Krawl. She realizes that he's trying to make people think of him as the crazy party guy again instead of the crazy racist guy. She tells him he's a good person and encourages him to apologize to Iris. And she reassures him that she didn't just forget about him in China. They kiss, but Daphne pulls back, reminding him that he has a girlfriend. Then he's all, "You get me like no one else does." I believe that's on Page 27 of Things All Toxic Boyfriends Say. This plot wasn't a bad idea for what to do with Mingo after the controversy. It just feels a little underdeveloped amid everything else going on.
Kathryn And John Get Their Groove Back
J and K haven’t had a lot of fun this season. Everything's been about their jobs. But this week fixes all that. Kathryn walks in on John watching something on his computer. Something with very porn-ish music. He claims he was "checking scores." The thing is, I could totally see John checking scores to get warmed up for pleasuring himself. But he was probably actually watching a video he discovered by Search Berzerk-ing "NICE NORMAL PORN NO TATTOOS COOL MUSIC."
Later, over a fiercely awkward lunch, Kathryn tells John she's not judging him for having a fantasy life; after all, she's a "herotica" novelist. Herotica. We've been wasting time with NCAA rules when we could be talking herotica? John gets defensive and says they haven't had time for each other because of her new job.
Later, Kathryn tries to seduce John by coming out in some (actually quite modest) lingerie, and he has to admit that the real issue is a problem with his "equipment" that he's too self-conscious to go to the doctor about. Kathryn isn't having it. So John breaks down and calls his doctor, who's on vacation. Luckily, though, former medic Luca happens by, and John feels oddly comfortable opening up to him. This is not a highlight of Luca's brief tenure on the show. First, it takes him a long time to figure out what's going on. John has to resort to the metaphor of being at bat swinging a garden hose instead of the "nice, solid piece of wood" you're used to. (Yes, really.) Then Luca has throw in the whole "It happens a lot -- I mean, not to me..." bit. And then his recommendation is just some shady-sounding herbal tea. Between him and a faltering Dr. Jackson, God forbid you should have a health need in Kansas City. I totally thought this was going to end in an embarrassing trip to the hospital for John. But instead he has some tea and a nice talk about aging with Kathryn. And then, as George Constanza might say, it moved.
Even the skip-worthy plots have their moments. Plus you've got to figure in some final-season sentimentality and award bonus points for the non-ironic use of "herotica."