TV

Review | ‘The Bold Type’ Season 3 Episode 7: Mixed Messages

The moral of the story in this The Bold Type is that communication is essential to any relationship that wants longevity.


“Mixed Messages”

Starring Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee, Meghann Fahy, Sam Page, Matt Ward, Melora Hardin and Stephen Conrad Moore


To recap from last week:

SCARLET HAS BEEN HACKED

Ah crap. No, that’s totally not relevant this week. Turns out that the magazine world has moved on from this. Or at least, moved on enough for us not to mention it for an episode, but we’ll continue to keep an eye on that one. The lesson that all three ladies learn this week is the importance of communication within their personal lives. For Jane and Kat, their impetuousness gets them in trouble with their significant others, while Sutton struggles to get through to Richard, who is refusing to open up to her and becoming increasingly distant.

A large driving force this week comes from the prejudice that Kat and Tia suffer while they are out canvassing the neighbourhood for Kat’s campaign. A white woman catches them taking a selfie on the doorstep of her building and demands to see the photograph, adamant that they were casing her house to organise robberies and struggles to believe that they both live in the area themselves. Though Sutton and Jane appear before the situation can get too out of hand, Kat is still pretty shaken up about it, and it’s fairly obvious that her privileged background has kept her protected from this sort of behaviour in the past (indeed, we’ve had this problem with Kat distancing herself from her own skin colour before, like when she struggled to devise her own bio for the website and required Alex’s help). Kat wishes to turn to social media for help, as she frequently does (except for that time she didn’t use social media to help her favourite lesbian bar) and immediately posts about her feelings following the incident, despite Tia’s insistence that she doesn’t. Kat spends the rest of the episode keen to release the footage that Tia secretly took in order to draw attention to the problem, though Tia believes that it will take the campaign off message and make it more of a witch hunt than about Kat’s quest for justice. It takes Patrick urging Kat to post the video on Scarlet’s digital platform for Kat to realise that the focus of the story will be upon the identity of the woman and not the issue at hand. Tail tucked under, she seeks Tia out and apologises for her behaviour, and the pair take their relationship to the next level, while Kat’s phone buzzes with a message for Adena who is going to be in New York soon and would like to meet up.

Meanwhile, Jane is searching for a new roommate to help her with rent now that Sutton is no longer there. Despite the obvious choice being to move in with Ryan, she begins interviewing other prospective candidates with the help of Kat and Sutton. Coincidentally, Alex is in need of a room because of a leak at his current place rendering him homeless for a short time. Jane is initially resistant, but agrees to a roommate compatibility test to see whether they could work, especially since her alternative is a woman with an iguana for a pet. Ryan is against the idea of Alex living there, but Jane doesn’t seek to understand why this is and assumes it’s because Alex is a man. Without letting Ryan know, Jane brings Alex home to live there to discover Ryan there with a romantic meal cooked. He is justifiably annoyed at this turn of events, especially since there’s only two days until Ryan leaves to go on tour – a fact that the two have been completely ignoring in favour of having adventurous sex around the apartment. The two have a big falling out, and it takes Alex’s wisdom to tell Jane what she already knew: Ryan wanted to move in with her. Jane explains that she wants this to be the next step with Ryan too, but not yet, and she chose Alex because he would be short term, with the view for Ryan to move in at a later date.

Jane also has a bit of a breakthrough with her Pamela Dolan case, and has been investigating whether there are any photographers who have worked for Scarlet who have previously worked with Pamela. They push up a meeting to talk to one such photographer who used to be Pamela’s assistant, who reveals they are upset that she is “still doing it”. Off the record, they reveal that Pamela breaks down young models, but nobody complains because the results are phenomenal. Though they are not comfortable in giving Jacqueline and Jane the list of models who may have been involved, they agree to identify any they bring to her as to whether they were asked to sign an NDA about their experience with Pamela.

In Sutton’s life, she is struggling around the time of Richard’s birthday. She has been busy with her work and the design seminar and hasn’t really seen much of Richard, and wants to make a big fuss. She originally organises a small gathering with some close friends, but in the face of Richard’s increasing distance, she decides to make it a grander affair and invite even more people. When phoning Richard’s running friends, she discovers that Richard has stopped running with them, which he reveals is just because he wanted to run a different route. He also insists that he doesn’t want anything for his birthday, and orders Sutton to cancel the entire thing. While talking to Sutton about an upcoming shoot, Jacqueline expresses disappointment at the party’s cancellation and Sutton opens up that Richard isn’t talking to her about the recent death of his father and what she should do about it. Jacqueline tells her that when she needs to get through to her son, she goes with him on the things that he enjoys and allows him to open up. With this in mind, Sutton accompanies Richard on his run, despite not being a runner herself. When she tries to take the original route, Richard deviates and she realises what was bothering him: the duck pond that he used to go to with his father was on the old route that his running friends went on and he wants to avoid it. The pair sit down and talk through how he is feeling after his father’s passing, allowing Sutton to share her own complicated relationship with her father.

At the end of the hour, all of our couples are stronger than ever, proving that love is only half of the battle: a relationship is nothing without solid and healthy communication. They may not get it perfectly right in the heat of the moment, but it’s important to listen and talk in return.

Highlights

Communication

It’s refreshing to see a programme have these healthy relationships that go through turbulent periods but have two adults committed to communicating and talking about the tough topics together. Instead of flying off the handle and bitching to other people about the situation, all of the women are pro-active at getting to the bottom of what the problems are within their own relationships.

Sutton’s trust and faith

I read online that some viewers were dreading the fact that Richard might be having an affair. This did not even cross my mind, and the reason that it didn’t is because of how secure Sutton is in the stability of her relationship with Richard. I’m glad that she never considered that there would be another woman. She isn’t worried that there is somebody else, and the bad feeling is not self motivated, but rather at a desire to help and nurture the person that she loves when she senses that there is something that they need to talk about. Much more compelling, certainly.

Kat apologising

Kat is impulsive by nature: she always has been. That’s sort of how she’s managed to be in the running for city council in the first place, to be honest. Her involvement with social media probably contributes towards this, as the world is so fast moving in this respect. It’s nice to see her acknowledge this and take the time to apologise, as so often we have seen her dive into something with the self assured certainty that she is in the right. It’s nice to see that this doesn’t always work out in her favour and she sometimes falls on the side of the wrong.

Alex and Jane

It’s nice to see the Alex and Jane partnership at play. It’ll be interesting to see how this develops and whether it gives Alex the storyline he needs to have more of a focus within the series.

Lowlights

Adena

What a needless complication! I was completely at home for Adena not to return: her and Kat are over and they did not work. It is incredibly rare to end up with your first love – everyone needs a bit of experience to get things right, and I was proud of the show for going down this route. Fingers crossed that Adena’s return doesn’t cause too many complications in Kat’s relationship with Tia, which is remarkably more healthy than Kat’s was with Adena.

Brainlights?

I can see why Jacqueline is Jane’s idol. We never see her write anymore, but she is clearly phenomenal at what she does, and you can tell by the way that she interacts with people as a reporter.

So, online, I saw a post on a feminist fanblog, in which there is continual mention to the idea of a show about a women’s magazine being fluffy or frivolous. Far be it from me to take on a feminist fanblog, run by women who are feminists, but the entire conception of a show about a women’s magazine being fluffy is annoying, as well of the idea of a women’s magazine being fluffy in itself. Any women are interesting and can tell compelling stories – even if they sit in an office and gossip. The assumption that a women’s magazine would be a place of gossip instead of driven, career-minded, intelligent and multi-faceted women is irritating in the utmost, and The Bold Type never falls into the category of providing mindless drivel. Not an episode goes by that doesn’t pass the Bechdel test, for starters, as well as showing a great respect for all of the characters within the plot. It is far from mindless or fluffy, and using the idea of a women’s magazine as an argument for why it would be vacuous is absolutely ridiculous.

The preview for next week shows tense times ahead, as Adena is brought on board by Oliver, Jacqueline and Jane, leading to an awkward encounter with Kat outside the elevator.

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