It’s hard to believe “Switched at Birth” is actually coming to an end, after five seasons of excellence. Soon enough, we’ll have to say goodbye to Daphne (Katie Leclerc) and Bay (Vanessa Marano) and their wonky, wonderful family.
While Bay faces a crisis with friends and family moving away, Daphne is gearing up for a special internship — but it might not be an easy transition for her to make. We spoke to Katie Leclerc about Daphne’s last stand as well as where her relationship with Mingo (Adam Hagenbuch) will stand when all is said and done.
Daphne’s got one last battle to fight in the series finale. What can you tell us about that?
Yeah, Daphne finds an internship possibility with this sports medicine guru, and it just so happens that Mingo is going after the same internship, so they go head-to-head in dealing with the interview process and stuff.
Where do things stand with her and Mingo?
They’re supportive of each other and supportive of themselves at the same time, which is always a fun dynamic to play with.
How will Daphne’s deafness play into this particular story?
The sports medicine doctor is ignorant, and he believes that Daphne cannot perform the tasks that he would require an intern to do, or perform the tasks a doctor would do, in general… Ultimately, she really stands up for what she believes in, which comes full circle for Daphne, who is never afraid to take on a challenge like that — and never afraid to educate someone on why deaf culture is just exactly the same as everyone else.
That’s something the show has done really well — depicting discrimination as ignorance, rather than maliciousness.
Exactly. People are usually trying to say the right thing, they just don’t know what to say — so being a part of a show like “Switched at Birth,” that can help people understand how to sensitively communicate what they don’t understand, has been really wonderful for me, personally.
Is the hope for Daphne and Mingo to get back together before it’s all over?
You know, I love Mingo. I really do. And I love Mingo for Daphne. They challenge each other. Mingo is the only boy who really — like Jace (Matthew Kane) learned sign language, but Jace learned sign language because he was intrigued with sign language. Mingo learned sign language because he is intrigued by Daphne. I don’t know — I just really think they belong together, in so many wonderful, cool, awesome ways. Hashtag #Dingo!
How do you think Daphne has changed most, over the course of five seasons?
I think she’s refined a little bit. She’s never been one to back down from a fight, like in “Uprising,” when she staged the sit-in with her class and the takeover of the school. She’s always advocating for other groups of people. I think she’s learned a lot — she’s had to fight a lot, and I think that she has also figured out how to keep that fight more singular; how to keep her fight her fight. She’s also not afraid to give her opinion to other people, but I think that’s a really good quality of hers.
I also think her fashion has evolved, which I know is not necessarily, “Ohh, what an emotional journey!” But I just love that she’s really become sort of a woman, and we’ve gotten to see her grow up a little bit, which I think is cool.
Do you have any Daphne storylines that stood out as favorites?
I always loved our special episodes. The “What If” episode, where I got to use my normal speaking voice, and Bay (Vanessa Marano) was fully deaf with a cochlear implant. I loved the dance episode, just strictly because I love the fantasy of it all.
Really my favorite is “Uprising” in Season 2 — the all-ASL episode, where the first line is spoken and the last line is spoken, but everything else in between is from the perspective of a deaf mind, there’s no spoken dialogue. I just think that’s a cool concept, and it’s such an interesting way to tell a story. As the show that is really quite educational as well as entertaining, I think that it was a really cool way for people to experience that perspective and really empathize with what a deaf person’s daily life is like.
How nostalgic does this series finale get?
The series finale has all the feels. It really does — it’s heartfelt and emotional, but also joyful, which I think is what the cast really experienced. Just the gratitude to be a part of a show that was so big, and for me, literally launched my career. I got to keep lifelong friends in the process. There’s no better dream scenario than “Switched at Birth.”
From Episode 1 or 2, we’ll see flashbacks in the finale … The flashbacks are funny, and it’s just a cool reminder of how far we have come. We get to let it breathe a little bit, and reminisce a little bit. I’m just so grateful for this show, and for the ride.
Bring some tissues: The “Switched at Birth” series finale airs Tuesday (April 11) at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform.