On this special Christmas episode, Bay and Daphne finally have the opportunity to spend a family Christmas together.
However, as they start to hear how the other half normally celebrates – and suffer through parental misguidance (I made it up; roll with it) as they balk at breaking with tradition – they believe it would have been best if they were never switched.
Yes, this is a theme ever-present on the series, but on Switched at Birth Season 3 Episode 22 the way it's carried out makes for a truly moving experience.
There are so many ABC Family productions that run throughout the year, always skipping the holiday excitement. This year, Pretty Little Liars, The Fosters and Chasing Life join Switched at Birth in sharing some holiday traditions.
It was surprising to learn the two families at the heart of the switch hadn't yet incorporated their holidays. If ever there was a time to forge new family customs, it seems discovering a new family member would be the best time, right?
Nonetheless, saving it for us to better get into the spirit worked out well. Neither Bay nor Daphne really wanted to give up their families, but their parents inability to come to an understanding with each other to incorporate their celebrations gave them little choice in their eyes. Wouldn't it be easier if the thing that most impacted their lives never happened?
In their own version of It's a Wonderful Life, the girls discovered the switch made not only them, but their families who they are today and they wouldn't want it any other way.
If our Bay had remained with Regina, she would have been Daphne, gotten meningitis, and retained her artistic talent. Regina and Angelo were together until his death and Bay had a younger brother, AJ (Angelo, Jr.). Since the switch is what lead Regina to give up drinking, it only got worse after Angelo's death. Christmas was a small tree and bottle of vodka.
Daphne's life with the Kennishes as Bay (it was awfully confusing to write the recap, let me tell ya!) saw her as an Olympic hopeful soccer player coached by dear old dad John, who was a stay-at-home dad after his baseball injury, while Kathryn lost all of her Christmas spirit. Instead of the traditional holiday Daphne wanted from the switched up family, she was left with an empty fridge and intense arguments between her parents.
In a rather funny turn, Toby was following his love of music toward a punked out existence. He sported a funky haircut, kolh-rimmed eyes and piercings – just enough to clash with the family. The best part was his attraction to Bay. Hitting on her skeeved us all out just a little bit.
It was unexplained how Emmett became a wealthy snot with greased back hair who didn't care much at all for the FauxDaphne. His mannerisms were good for a giggle though, even if it was impossible to imagine.
The final scenes between mothers and daughters were amazingly touching. I love how the girls connected with their switched mothers in their new roles and each learned something about them that propelled them to wishing the switch had happened, after all. When they were back in their rightful places, Regina's admission to Daphne she felt like her girl was cheated by not spending her life with the well-to-do Kennish family was touching, but nothing quite like hearing Bay call Kathryn mommy.
The perfect gift was delivered as Daphne and Regina arrived at the main house to learn there was a big order of Chinese on the way. The families have been through so much together; it was only a matter of simple compassion for them to realize how much they had to share with each other to make the perfect Christmas for their new, blended family.
Merry Christmas to you all, and Happy Hanukah. We'll be back here in January for the new season so come back then.
In the meantime, you can watch Switched at Birth online to relive the best of the series before the return.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.