I have mixed feelings about the big development at the end of this episode. On the one hand, I think it was necessary to move the plot forward and reintegrate its cast. On the other, I was very much enjoying how The Bold Type was pushing itself, and this does reset things a bit. Additionally, it’s somewhat tough to swallow how exactly we got there.
The development is, of course, Jane (Katie Stevens) returning to Scarlet magazine. Jane wins a Mandy Award for her Scarlet piece on Jacqueline (Melora Hardin) and her experience with sexual assault from the show’s excellent first season finale. The very nomination for the award attracts a major magazine editor, who wants Jane to write a follow-up feature in the wake of the #MeToo movement. It’s smart of The Bold Type to acknowledge that they hit on this story before the rest of the world did; it’s natural that an editor would want to seize on that.
In her reporting for the feature, however, Jane meets with a woman named Elena, who says she was assaulted by the same man who assaulted Jacqueline. She understands why Jacqueline didn’t come forward, but still harbors some resentment. Knowing that she’ll likely include this in her feature, Jane talks to Jacqueline about it, who is immediately devastated by the news.
Hardin does great work in this and the following scenes. Jacqueline is not the type to get hysterical, especially at a big awards function. Instead, you just see her expressions grow strained. You see her purposefully avoiding eye contact with Jane. It’s incredibly subtle, but everything about Jacqueline grows tenser, like the smallest tremor could make her shatter.
Ultimately, Jane does include Elena’s story, but rather than be angry, Jacqueline is impressed by Jane’s tenacity and demeanor. She immediately invites Jane to come back to Scarlet, and she accepts. It all moves a little quickly, and I wish we’d gotten an episode of Jane debating if that’s really the right move for her career — she was just starting to flourish as a freelance journalist, after all. But I did and do think having Jane in her own story is a non-starter, so I’m happy to have her back.
Hopefully reuniting our cast gets some of the other storylines back on track, because hoo boy, this is a rough one for Kat (Aisha Dee) and Sutton (Meghann Fahy). Let’s start with the former, whose girlfriend Adena (Nikohl Boosheri) is finally back from a retreat. Sadly, Kat has no good news for her upon her arrival: She had a sex dream about their friend Laila, and in this episode makes out with another woman at a club. Adena is heartbroken, but also realizes that Kat didn’t have a chance to explore as a lesbian, because they started dating the second Kat came out. Adena and Kat both don’t want to lose each other, but it’s clear that Kat’s “curiosity,” as Adena puts it, isn’t going away.
Things are left unresolved at the end of this episode, which feels a mite lazy from a writing standpoint — kicking the problem down the field versus actually reckoning with it — but I actually have a little hope with this storyline. The very obvious solution for Kat and Adena is to experiment with an open relationship. As a gay person, the majority of my friends’ relationships, even those that have lasted 5-10 years, are open. But open relationships are still incredibly rare to see on television. Kat and Adena are primed to explore them here, including all the difficult feelings and thorny challenges that such relationships present. If the solution winds up just being a breakup instead, I’ll be disappointed.
I’m not even sure what to say about the Sutton storyline. She’s still hanging out with the influencer who charged $500 worth of cocaine to Sutton’s corporate card, and is drinking too much to cope with her sadness over former flame Richard (Sam Page) dating someone else. Being forced to dress said someone else in this episode does not help.
But there’s not much rise or fall with Sutton this week. She realizes the influencer will never be an actual friend, quits going out so much, and recommits herself to work. Which is all good! But it feels a bit artificial. We’d seen Sutton kicking ass at work in almost every other episode, and she doesn’t seem to be that off her game this week. It’s all a bit exaggerated to fill time, to say the least.
All this said, the episode’s final reset leaves The Bold Type in solid shape. The core three are reunited at work, which promises a lot more stories about the workplace in future episodes. Though I enjoy some of the romantic plots, my heart belongs to Scarlet — as, I believe, does The Bold Type’s. This show takes journalism seriously, and I’m glad we can get back to work.
The next episode of The Bold Type will air next Tuesday, July 17, at 8 p.m. Eastern on Freeform.