The Switched at Birth season finale delivered some beautiful moments, but its attempt to wrap up the season-long arc of Daphne's criminal behavior fell woefully short.
It was easy to understand what the writers are going for with developments in Switched at Birth Season 3 Episode 21, but that doesn't mean it's easy to swallow.
While some moments felt as if characters had grown and were ready to take responsibility for their past decisions and control their futures, once again all of that fell apart.
Bay not only addressed her surprise medical bill for the MRI succinctly and with maturity, she also approached her future with Emmett in the same manner. John and Kathryn didn't feel following her boyfriend was a wise move, but Bay seriously researched what would be required of her to make it in L.A. and -- with Regina's help -- put together a plan that was difficult for her parents to find fault.
Even though the news that Carlton was closing was devastating given it was graduation and the school meant so much to the students, it was easy to accept with Melody's new Gallaudet extension college opening in the fall. Although Daphne hoped to leave the city and start fresh at the main campus, given later events it's a pretty safe bet that she'll reconsider.
The graduation ceremony was beautiful. Daphne gave a moving speech and Sharee sang "Stand by Me," a song with lyrics "I won't cry" etc., didn't quite pan out. We learned a lot more about the beginning of Daphne's journey with Emmett to find her way in the deaf world, which was lovely. It was a moving scene and free of baggage, making tears almost mandatory.
A surprise at the ceremony was Travis' mother -- once unwilling to reach her son -- showing up and signing to him how proud she was of him on his day. If anyone deserves a happy ending, it's Travis.
Although Lily lost her job, she and Toby worked past their stubbornness and seemed to take a new approach to their relationship right after he learned his ex wanted an annulment.
Toby: The thing is, there's a million people to do something with. But, there's just nobody to do nothing with. That's, uh, what I miss the most.
Lily: I better... Actually. I was thinking about going upstairs and doing nothing. Do you wanna come?
Toby: Yeah. I'd love that.
I'm not worried that she'll be unemployed for very long, as she already has a relationship with Melody and Melody will need educators to staff her Gallaudet extension.
There were ups and downs between Wes (who clearly feels a lot more for Regina than he's admitting) and Regina and in the end he asked her to accompany him to Hawaii and his new project. I really like Kenneth Mitchell and I won't be at all upset if he changes his plans again and the two of them forge a future together.
Although Regina and Angelo did make a go of it eventually, theirs was an odd relationship. Regina deserves an equal partner in life and I think she can find it with Wes.
It all comes down to Daphne.
It was obvious that even though Wes promised not to reveal Daphne's involvement in the vandalism that she would be discovered another way. Reality is that police learn things on their own and her fingerprints were already in the system.
There was a lot of discussion about what would happen, but with her record it was likely she would serve time no matter what. At one point they thought it could probably be down to about 90 days from the longest sentence of three years.
Daphne finally realized she had ruined her future. She would be a convicted felon, making getting any job difficult, let alone attending medical school and becoming a doctor. Despite this, she decided to turn herself in and take responsibility for her actions.
Bay refused to let her go alone and that's when everything went downhill.
Just when Daphne was ready to accept responsibility and show some conviction for the extremely poor choices she made over and over again (let's not forget she was only caught for one of many crimes), Bay jumped in and claimed Daphne was only on the scene to stop her from vandalizing. Bay's thinking is that no matter what happens to her, it would have been much worse for Daphne. Plus it will give her "mad street cred" as an artist.
Not so fast hot stuff.
What Daphne did when she was under age was going to make her sentencing worse because of probation, yes. But committing a crime with so much damage as an adult is nothing to sneeze at. Even if she gets off with just probation, her plans with Emmett are ruined.
What should happen is the police see through that ridiculous confession and charge Daphne anyway. If the police are that bad, then the story will likely go that Bay is charged with a felony and pleas down so she's on probation.
Let's be honest, the series had to do something to keep everyone in town and going to the local Gallaudet extension. Bay can join Mary Beth at college, Emmett and Daphne will join Travis and Melody. Daphne is still incapable of accepting responsibility for her actions and while she learns what it is to be loved by someone, she still doesn't learn what it is to give love.
Daphne getting off the hook is irresponsible. She should have never gone along with what Bay said, but her penchant for crime indicated she would. Lying about it is another crime. For Daphne it's always the easy way out without care for the fate of others. Bay thinks things through and uses her heart, always concerned for others, even if it means her own life will be in jeopardy.
I'm really disappointed that this was how the season ended. Daphne could have done 90 days and suffered the consequences before the series even returned for Switched at Birth Season 4. Maybe I'm alone in this. You tell me. Is this what John and Kathryn would have wanted? Regina and Angelo? Is Bay's doing it for love of her sister a good enough reason for you? Hit the comments and share your thoughts about the good and the bad.
For the touching moments, I'd give the finale 5 stars. For the other part, one. That's what earned the 3 stars, in case you're wondering. You can watch Switched at Birth online until it returns. Until next season... Over and out!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.