Okay, let’s start with the positives about the Paris-set Season 2 finale of The Bold Type. As has been the case all season, Sutton (Meghann Fahy) rules the episode with her professional victories. By far the most entertaining part of this season has been watching her grow in her role as Scarlet’s premier fashion assistant. Crucially, The Bold Type has never presented her as just lucky; far from it, she’s often incredibly unlucky. (Case in point: dropping her notebook full of important notes in the bathtub this week.) She certainly made some questionable decisions — like charging a social media influencer’s cocaine to her corporate card — but has impressively rallied and learned after every single mishap.
This episode sees her recover from the bathtub incident with tremendous style, impressing the hell out of a notoriously private fashion designer and her boss, Oliver (Stephen Conrad Moore), with her memory. She manages to accurately pick out every one of the looks Oliver requested of this designer’s atelier, all while dazzling the designer herself with her knowledge of the references in each piece. It’s a dynamic scene, and made me fist-pump over someone remembering some dresses. That’s good storytelling.
Unfortunately, said storytelling immediately derails when Sutton breaks down over Richard (Sam Page). Again. His father passed before she left for Paris Fashion Week, and an appearance at his wake — plus a speech from Richard about death reminding him to seize all opportunities — leaves her desperately wanting him. This despite her professional success. She even almost follows Oliver’s advice and leaves Paris (!) to go to him! Instead of just picking up the damn phone!
Luckily — if bizarrely — Richard gets to Paris before Sutton leaves, and they have their big romantic reunion. It’s lovely, heartfelt, and also feels like the show hanging too much narrative heft on a relationship instead of the workplace. Also: Richard showing up to Paris, also without calling, is so bizarre.
Compared to Kat (Aisha Dee), though, Sutton’s plot is practically perfect. My main complaint about how the show treats Kat is that, unlike the constantly evolving Sutton, she’s just blandly competent. Kat apparently can solve any problem with a couple of clicks of her phone’s keyboard, and anything Jacqueline (Melora Hardin) throws at her gets solved in an instant. I get that social media growth is a hard thing to depict on television, but even when Kat has a more concrete goal — get the number of RSVPs for Scarlet’s Paris party up — all we get is a couple of frustrated conversations with models before she comes up with the solution: no phones at the party. It works, and once again, Kat has put in a remarkably minimal amount of effort to win.
The reason we see so little of her professional work is that her romantic plot takes up so much oxygen in the episode. Kat and Adena (Nikohl Boosheri) are on the rocks, and Kat thinks a trip to Paris together might be what fixes things. Unfortunately, Paris proves plenty of opportunities for Kat to dig into why Adena hasn’t been working as much — and what she finds out disturbs her. Apparently, Adena hasn’t been inspired for the entirety of her time dating Kat, and the only time she did thrive was when they opened up their relationship.
I don’t know how much I buy this. In the first season, Kat and Adena drew incredible emotions out of each other. Adena literally helped Kat realize she’s gay. In the second season, Adena has felt like an anchor weighing Kat down, not an inspiration. To be frank, I feel like The Bold Type’s new showrunner likely didn’t know how to write this relationship, and just decided to kill it off. And kill it they did: Kat and Adena break up via text message. They don’t even give Nikohl Boosheri — who was upgraded to a series regular this season! — a final breakup scene. I have to assume Boosheri and Adena will be back next season, but for now, it feels really lazy.
Quickly breezing past our third plot: Jane (Katie Stevens) realizes Safford Publishing’s insurance doesn’t cover fertility treatments, which leads to Ben (Luca James Lee) offering to lie and say they’re domestic partners so Jane can use a free program offered to his hospital’s staff. Simultaneously, Ryan/Pinstripe (Dan Jeonnette) offers to help pay for the program himself, in a sign that he’s serious about Jane. Jane ultimately doesn’t really want to accept either offer, and just wants Safford to pay for her damn treatments. She even writes a piece about it — which, against all odds, Jacqueline publishes.
See, Jacqueline is in the midst of battling an ousting effort at Scarlet, which Cleo (Siobhan Murphy) actually warns her about. There’s a nice scene where it seems like Cleo is going to be an unexpected ally for Jacqueline … then Cleo doesn’t appear again in the episode. (What a waste of a character.) Instead, Jacqueline goes to Paris, and after panicking about the Paris party’s attendance for a bit, finally just decides to burn down her career and publishes Jane’s piece.
It is incredibly difficult to get a hold on what Jacqueline is thinking this episode. The show fails to illuminate what’s happening in her head, and we exit the season knowing more than she does: Richard has been given a shortlist of names for replacing Jacqueline. Meanwhile, the editor herself walks into the no-phones party with confidence.
Speaking of which: That’s where the episode ends! The cast just walks into the party, and that’s it! I get that they knew they had another season coming, but man, are they a vague and uninspiring final moments. Kat and Adena are over, Jacqueline’s career is likely torched, and Jane has no clear path forward with her fertility. Only Sutton really wins this finale, hitting a huge professional peak and, of course, getting the guy. Who she previously dumped. Meaning she just kinda circled back.
I hate to sound so down, because I do legitimately love this show, but The Bold Type is going out on a decidedly lowercase note. Hopefully, the show can kick itself into high gear in season 3, because more of the same like this just won’t make the cut.