‘The Bold Type’ Season 2 Episode 8 Recap: BRCA’s a Mother

It worked! My attempt to once again reach back into the past and get The Bold Type to course-correct paid off in spades this week. Of course, I can’t actually time-travel, so The Bold Type itself deserves credit for realizing issues as they went and adjusting. (If I were being less generous, I’d say this has created something of a character inconsistency problem, but I’ll be kind and leave that alone.)

After a couple weeks of being the absolute worst, Jane (Katie Stevens) gets her redemption this week, as the story revisits her testing positive for the BRCA mutation. As we saw in the first season, Jane was terrified of getting tested for the mutation her mother had, as it would greatly increase her risk for breast cancer. The plot development had been mostly dropped since then, although in moments, you could feel its influence on Jane’s actions. But it comes to a full head this episode, as a broken condom during sex with Dr. Ben (Luca James Lee) takes Jane to a very scary doctor’s appointment.

Jane just goes in for some nausea — a side effect of the Plan B pill she took — but comes out with an ultimatum: Because one of the most effective treatments for the BRCA mutation is ovary removal, she needs to decide if she wants kids sooner versus later. Complicating this is that she and Dr. Ben just decided they’re in a formal relationship, and also, Jane is still 25 years old.

Her distress over this news leads her to pitch a piece on young mothers — a noble idea, but somewhat messy in execution. Jacqueline (Melora Hardin) keeps pushing her to figure the piece out, but it isn’t until Jane is finally honest with her about her personal connection to the piece that they have a breakthrough. I missed seeing this mentor/mentee relationship between Jane and Jacqueline, and it returns in fine form in this episode.

What works about Jane this episode is that she’s permitted to fail, but does so out of the best intentions. This is so much more appealing to watch than seeing her verbally beat her friend into submission until she gives up her gun.

Speaking of said friend: Sutton (Meghann Fahy) spends most of this episode rallying at work. I’ve mentioned before how Sutton kicking ass at Scarlet is my favorite mode of Sutton, so this plot is a delight. With fashion department head Oliver (Stephen Conrad Moore) out of the country, Sutton handles the budget meeting for the issue, unfortunately giving up 10% of her budget under pressure from Jacqueline. This infuriates Oliver, because it means they can no longer afford to shoot a feature spread in the bar he wanted.

With her back up against the wall, Sutton comes up with a genius solution: Recreate the bar in question on their set, using only items found shopping for junk in Washington Square Park. She gets it all together, and even though it stretches the imagination a bit (where did the piano come from?), it’s narratively such a win that you can’t help but cheer. The same can be said for Sutton’s final development in the episode; her quick thinking and ingenuity has inspired Oliver to invite her along to Paris for Fashion Week.

A bit too fairy-tale? Perhaps. But oh so satisfying. Sutton remains the highlight of Season Two for me, and I’m thrilled she’s moved on from pining over Richard and letting influencers charge $500 worth of cocaine to her corporate card.

Over on the Kat (Aisha Dee) side of things, her plot is also all work this week, though with an interesting personal element attached. Fitness empire owner and Safford Publishing board member Cleo (Siobhan Murphy) makes her return for the first time in five episodes just in time to screw Kat over. She pitches the social media director on doing a branded Instagram story campaign for a skincare product company. Except, oops, Cleo didn’t do any actual research on the company, and it turns out their CEO is a hateful bigot!

This puts Kat in a truly terrible position, one that company lawyer Richard (Sam Page) indicates she has no way out of contractually. However, Kat seizes on one part of the pitch — that the company didn’t actually dictate what she has to say in her Instagram story, except for three positive things about the product — and uses it to directly call out the CEO in her story. Cleo is furious, but Jacqueline (who, delightfully, is involved in all three leads’ stories this week) pushes back on her fitness guru rival, arguing that the deal shouldn’t have been made in the first place.

If there’s a connective thread to this episode, it’s the value in just doing the best you can. Jane tries to make a story work, but admits when she can’t and works with her editor to try something new. Sutton fucks the fashion department over by accident, but uses her wits to get her way out of the situation. And Kat winds up in a seemingly impossible dilemma, but holds true to her values and finds a way out. Maybe that’s a simplistic moral, but in a TV landscape full of shows about antiheroes, there’s something to be said for watching a group of smart, professional characters just doing what they can.

The next episode of The Bold Type will air next Tuesday, July 31, at 8 p.m. Eastern on Freeform.


 

Kevin O'KeeffeKevin O'Keeffe

Kevin O'Keeffe is a writer and 'RuPaul's Drag Race' herstorian. He covers film and TV for INTO, and writes the movie review column "But How Gay Is It?" every Friday.

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