The Bold Type: 2.03 The Scarlet Letter
At the end of last week's two episode opener we saw Jane get fired from her new job at Insite. So, this week we see what the ever busy Jane is like when unemployed. As it turns out she is completely restless, and, since news has gotten around of her disastrous stint at Insite, her job hunt isn't going too well either.
Since the beginning of the series, Jane's story has been one of personal grown, both as a writer and as a person in general. We saw her have, and then write about having, her first orgasm. We saw her face her fear of breast cancer and her Mother's early death. We have seen her overcome every road block that has been put in front of her. But this time it is different, she doesn't have a Scarlet to fall back on; when she tries to go back Jacqueline says "NO".
I am excited to see where this goes. Jane has always been characterised as a hardworking and career oriented individual, so seeing how she progresses when she has been set adrift sets her story arc up to be very different from last season. This is true for all of the main trio. Where most of Sutton's storyline last season was to do with her relationship with Richard. This season seems to have veered towards focusing on her career. And, now that Jane is gone, she is the one getting most of Jacqueline's attention. Kat's storyline is probably the one that has changed the least; last season she was coming to terms with her sexuality, but now she has accepted it and is going to have to navigate the whole new world it opens up to her.
I like that they have done this. With American television being so saturated with long running shows with expansive main casts, it is nice to see such a complex and multifaceted main cast encounter such an array of situations.
Another aspect of the show that I really love is the support and love that the female characters show to each other. They respect each other and when respect isn't given they talk through their issues and apologise. We haven't seen Sutton and Adena interact much before, but tbis episode they overcame their differences, both for the job they had to do and because they value each other and how much they both care for Kat.
This use of communication rather than more 'bitchy' behaviour breaks the idea that women in the work place, especially those in the fashion industry, are all catty and out to get each other. It is powerful to see women hold each other up.
Which brings me to what is building up to be Jacqueline's main story line this season, her passive-aggressive stand-off with obnoxiously chirpy new board member Cleo. While I, like Jacqueline, was initially excited to here that a female board member was going to be brought into the series, that quickly dissipated. Cleo is a self-made fitness guru who, very obviously, wants Scarlet to only run articles that she approves of. If her reaction to body positivity this episode is anything to go by, then there is going to be a lot at Scarlet that she disapproves of. This is inevitably going to progress into a battle for power between the two women. Which is more usual fair for shows like The Bold Type that centre on the high flying women of Manhattan.
But even here I think that there is a positive message. What I hope to see over the rest of the season is Jacqueline standing up for the magazine she has nurtured and believes in in the face of a woman who only has the interests of a minority of women at heart. This could lead to a really nuanced look at how feminism that isn't inclusive can be damaging to the women that it comes into contact with. As well as how just because someone is from the same minority as you doesn't mean they are going to be an ally. Or it could just be a power fight between two very intelligent women, which would still be fun to watch.
As far as I'm concerned The Scarlet Letter (which is also the name of Jacqueline's new monthly editorial) is an altogether entertaining piece of television. The story moves at an appropriate speed. It looks at the usual themes of friendship and being a working woman in 2018, as well as the more serious issue of body positivity and the fact that women aren't all constantly polished skinny supermodels. One would hope this was not a talking point by now, but it is, so it is good that it is being talked about on a platform like this.
I look forward to next week's episode. With Jane still on the hunt for a job, Sutton making leaps in her career left, right, and centre, and Kat jumping into the world of New York City lesbians. It is bound to be an exciting ride.