After five seasons and 103 episodes, Switched at Birth will close the book on the Kennish-Vasquez family with a special 90-minute episode airing on Tuesday. The final episode will have to answer how Bay will deal with Travis (Ryan Lane) getting an offer to play pro-baseball in Japan and whether Daphne will continue on her path to becoming a doctor.
TVGuide.com talked to Leclerc and Marano about what fans can expect from the final episode and how many tissues we should have ready in order to say goodbye to the girls.
What was the most emotional part of the finale for you to shoot?
Katie Leclerc: On the last day there were a ton of emotions going around. I feel like I was less emotional than I expected to be. I just really love the way that the finale turned out. I feel like maybe if the episode sucked then we would have been like, "I can't believe it's over!" but it's so beautifully done that it was a very nice way to have closure.
Vanessa Marano: We went back to the house where we shot the pilot. I'm not going to spoil anything but the last shot was a pretty iconic thing for all of us. My sister came to set that day. A bunch of actors who weren't working came to set that day. There were a lot of tears.
At the end of the penultimate episode, Travis gets a job offer to go to Japan. How is that going to affect Bay when she finds out?
Marano: It affects her! Her boyfriend has gotten a job offer to move to another country. That's a lot, right there. It's interesting for Bay because she went from being a character who always needed to have a boyfriend — she was that girl that always needed to be in love — to finally being able to be like, "I'm by myself. I'm cool. I'm great. I'm wonderful. I've got this." She [rediscovered] the ability to fall in love with Travis, which took her by surprise. Now she's kind of back in a situation where she's in a perfect, lovely relationship and now they are hitting a bump in the road. It's a bump in the road that could take them one way or it could take them in a very, very different way. It's tough because it's a big decision that you make, not necessarily based off of whether you love the person or not. It's based off how much you want to be selfish for your own needs in a relationship and your own life career wise.
What did you want your character to accomplish to feel like you could end the series with closure?
Leclerc: I think that she ultimately needed to come back to... the heart of the show is the family. You go off on these great adventures, have these journeys and these struggles and also moments of celebration. Our show always comes back to what does that mean for the family? They are so connected and so tight and so involved in each other's lives. Daphne had sort of been going on along her way and I love that we brought it back to just this moment of connection and the people you are close to are really the only thing that matters. Family is also by blood but also who you choose to feel is your family. Daphne and Bay are sisters, not by blood but emotionally, connectively they have each other's back like sisters do. They were meant to be sisters in this weird, funky way. I just love that this show gets brought back to that message.
Marano: For me it's really about the family more than anything else. Romantic entanglements and career entanglements will be following you for the rest of your life. As a viewer, really, it would be really nice to see all of that wrapped up in a nice bow but that's not necessarily realistic. For me, this show started with this question of, "This is not my family. I don't feel like I belong and I'm correct." We've gotten this throughout the years, but I would like a little stamp of just like, "We're a family no matter what. We love and accept you for who you are, no matter what."
The Switched at Birth series finale airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Freeform.