The Bold Type is swinging big this season and hitting more than it misses. “The Domino Effect” continues the important conversation about sexual assault that the season one finale so boldly took on, digging into nuances about reporting sexual misconduct as well as reporting on it in a way that grounds this #MeToo conversation in the media industry setting of the show. “The Domino Effect” also showcases The Bold Type’s central three-way friendship at its finest and most inspiring, Jane, Kat, and Sutton all taking care of each other in equal measure as they grapple with different big moments in their lives. Every episode lives within the pure and unbreakable bonds between these three women, but sometimes there’s something a little extra special about the way the friendship informs the story, and this is one of those instances.
After receiving a prestigious journalism award nomination for her story about Jacqueline’s sexual assault, Jane decides to ride her own wave of success (per advice from Dr. Ben who is still…around) and make some calls around to editors (definitely a thing in 2018!). This lands her an opportunity to write a follow-up piece, which eventually leads her to a woman who opens up to Jane about how she was assaulted by the same man in the media industry as Jacqueline. Jacqueline never named her abuser in the original piece, but the details resonated with this source, opening old wounds and pushing her to come forward. Jane grapples with whether or not to include this in her story: On the one hand, this woman deserves to have her story told, too. On the other hand, it could seem like criticizing Jacqueline for not coming forward sooner, for not speaking out so that this man couldn’t hurt anyone else.
The Bold Type wades into some treacherous waters here, but it treats the issue with all the nuance and depth that it deserves. There’s balance and complexity here: The Bold Type recognizes that coming out about one’s own sexual assault could help others out without undermining Jacqueline in the process. It’s clear why Jacqueline didn’t say something sooner, and our patriarchal society at large is way too quick to question a sexual assault victim’s reasons for not coming forward. The Bold Type presents these issues as complicated and multifaceted, never once comes off as prescriptive or simplistic.
Sutton’s in a full downward spiral over Richard, partying all the time to keep up with Brooke who she’s still working as an in to the elite fashion world. Oliver’s worried; her friends are worried; I’m worried! There’s turmoil beneath the surface of all of Sutton’s actions, and Meghann Fahy very convincingly portrays someone on the brink of a total meltdown.
Kat’s in a weird place, too. While Adena’s still away, she decides to go to that fantastically large “NYC” lesbian bar, drawn in like a baby gay moth to the flames of a bunch of hot and flirty lesbians. Leila (the girl Kat had a sex dream about last week) explains that since the lesbian world is so small (even in NYC—which yes is true), a new face at the bar attracts…a lot of attention. Kat’s feeling herself. And she feels herself so much that she ends up making out with a hot girl on the dance floor while “Curious” by Hayley Kiyoko plays overhead. Is it just me or is The Bold Type a whole lot gayer this season?
So Kat and Sutton are both having personal crises when it comes time for Jane’s awards ceremony. That’s where the beauty of their friendship comes into play. Because when Jane sees that her friends are hurting and distracted but trying to rally for her sake, she very gently suggests that they shouldn’t come. It isn’t some diva moment; it’s her quite genuinely telling her friends to take care of themselves. And they listen, but when Brooke comes over and proves just how awful of a friend she is by complaining about how boring Sutton has become, Sutton rushes over to Kat’s and says they need to show up for Jane. And of course they do just in the nick of time. It’s just so beautiful how these women always try to prioritize each other, always try to lift each other up even when they’re going through something. They’re always there for each other, full stop.
The episode pushes Kat and Adena in an interesting new direction in the aftermath of the DFMO Incident (is DFMO a commonly understood acronym for Dance Floor Makeout or something just my friends and I say? lmk). Devoted Kadena shippers—myself included—will be slightly unnerved by the implications of Kat’s little dalliance at the lesbian bar and by the conversation that follows it. When Kat tells Adena about the kissing and the sex dream, Adena straight up just bounces. I’m not sure I totally buy that reaction; Adena is usually the more emotionally mature one between her and Kat. But then again, there is enormous pressure on this relationship because of her immigration status. So it was a lot of information to process.
When Adena’s finally ready to talk, she points out to Kat that because she’s the first girl she has ever been with, there are of course all these little curiosities blooming within Kat. Again, baby gay moth to the flames. The Bold Type doesn’t come up with any concrete answers for what happens next, which is strikingly realistic and, as emotional as it makes me, a really interesting story choice. The episode lets Kat and Adena hang in limbo at episode’s end, unsure of the future.
It doesn’t seem like they’re going to break up, but it does seem like the terms of their relationship are going to change significantly, and that can be very scary, but I’m hooked. Maybe they’ll open up their relationship. Navigating these things can be tricky, and The Bold Type seems committed to showing that relationships are hard and require a lot of work and compromises without completely undermining the Kadena ship or taking it in too heartbreaking of a direction. This doesn’t feel like drama for the sake of drama. It’s real and raw and highly relatable. The Bold Type’s queer storytelling is getting better and better.
I agree with everything you said esp re: being heartbroken but feeling like they’re telling this story well. AND THE GIRLS’ FRIENDSHIP BEING VERY IMPORTANT AND BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL. I am more invested in Kat/Sutton/Jane as a trio of friends than I am in any of their relationships and considering 90% of the TV I watch I’m watching 100% for the queer relationships, that’s saying a lot.
as you know, i take UMBRAGE with jane receiving a journalism award
furthermore, back in the time when jacqueline was sexually assaulted nobody cared about sexual assault and her coming forward wouldn’t have done anything? even now it’s nearly impossible to get somebody to care. so i felt weird about that woman seeming to imply that jacqueline could’ve done something / more.
i’d be really curious to see what would happen if kat and adeena opened up their relationship… i too am tentatively very trusting of this show so it could be interesting!
tell us how u really feel about jane
Yes, pulease. Because Jane…
I agree – I felt like Jacqueline’s potential earlier disclosure was not handled particularly well at al because there was no discussion of what the ramifications would have been at the time had she spoken up. Her coming forward likely would have been career- and life-ruining for her.
Also, I was super annoyed that she was nominated and won an award.
As soon as they mentioned Jane’s nomination, I though “Ohhhh Riese is not going to be happy about this!” And I was genuinely surprised she won, because that just seemed too obvious. But since Jane had to get back to Scarlet somehow, this seemed like a pretty good way of doing it – having her do something good, and right, and being publicly lauded for it, essentially proving to Jacqueline that she’d recovered from her mistake at Incite. Bit of a cheat that she was publicly lauded for work she did while at Scarlet, and about Jacqueline herself, no less, but it would have been even more unrealistic for her to have been nominated for an award for her work post-Scarlet.
I don’t really know how I feel about the Kadena stuff yet. I thought it was weird how they equated a sex dream with actually IRL making out with someone else. I also found Adena’s reaction to be pretty out of character for her. At the very least, I hope they have a conversation about open relationships, even if they don’t ultimately decide to go that route themselves. I just think it would be super cool/important to see that conversation on TV.
thank you for SEEING ME allison
also i agree about the sex dream. what the hell? people have sex dreams about random people like… all the time. that made zero sense to me.
I don’t think Kadena could survive an open relationship. Fundamentally despite how many concessions Adena make about their relationship to hold onto it the more she’ll be confronted with how it’s not what she wants. Adena is at a stage where she wants stability and that also means a monogomous relationship.
In a lot of ways, this phase of their relationship mirrors Suttard in terms of them two being in 2 different places.
One person agreeing to a situation they really don’t want won’t work. They will probably break up or take up step back from the relationship until Kat knows what she wants and they will mean Adena moving out.
Kat is going to have to decide if she prefers to be single or if she wants to be in a relationship.
I just don’t want the indecisive, hypersexual bisexual stereotype.
In the end, I think we’ll get Kat having to fight for Adena but will it be too late?
I feel like Kat has already fought for Adena. I love them together, and Adena is making huge sacrifices for their relationship to survive, but not for it to thrive. Is that harsh? I want Kat to have her baby gay experiences without having to fully give up the first woman she’s ever loved. It feels so sad.
It also really doesn’t seem like Kat is bisexual to me lol but I guess we’ll have to wait on that one. She seems to not really connect with men in a romantic way much at all.
I actually pissed at the characterization of Kat. And frankly while I think Adena has made mistakes, Kat is really acting the worse right now. It has nothing to do with her sexual attraction to other women. But you’ve been in a relationship a whole month and you can’t bother to see how kissing another woman may hurt the girlfriend that you claim to love all a week before. It seems really at odds with her earlier characterizations of Kat being so thoughtful and being happiest when the people she love is happy. The writers vacillate between making her overly concerned about others or being completely blind/selfish and it doesn’t jive.
Also I feel you about Kat’s sexuality. I’m wondering if they’re building up to her declaring her sexual identity and if it will be pansexual or bisexual? Becuase it seems like they’re writing it as though she is a lesbian but for someone ungodly reason. And to me that doesn’t make sense. Frankly I would be annoyed if they go that route.
It frustrates me that the last episode they said their “I love yous” and this episode Kat is off kissing someone else. Couldn’t they give them at least one episode in that happy I-Love-You place?
Otherwise, I LOVE THIS SHOW. It is my happy place.
okay yeah I feel the same way. but then again, lesbian relationships are intense and can move quickly and I don’t think it helps that they moved in together so quickly lol I think it was the kind of thing where it was obvious to everyone they were in love but they just hadn’t said it yet for whatever reason
Just wanted to comment that this episode had a QPOC (who is in a canon relationship with another QPOC) making out with a QPOC while a QPOC artist’s song played in the background. Between this and the new GLOW relationship, my heart’s exploding.
I want you to know that I SEE YOU! Because THIS WAS ALSO MY FIRST THOUGHT!!
I’m not happy about the state of Kadena of things, but that moment between Kat and (I didn’t catch her name) was so important to me.
Daniela, is the woman’s name. I hated how everything played out. But I remember saying, “I hope she at least cheats with a Black girl” when I found out about a possible kiss. Long hanging fruit. I’m so starved to see two black women in a relationship on tv. I didn’t expect to get just that.
I don’t care for how the writers seem to conflate exploration with sleeping around.
Yes, your absolutely right that the writers are doing some hasty and, honestly, conflating to make their plot work.
And also about the low hanging fruit! Here we are, I guess.
I’ll start by saying while I’ve been watching The Bold Type since the beginning, I just discovered your recaps a couple days ago and I thoroughly enjoyed binge-reading them. Thank you!
I’m glad The Bold Type took the less predictable approach of Kat kissing another woman but not having that woman be Leila. It better laid out the idea that this is Kat being curious and, I think, made my heart break a little less.
I continue to love the friendship between Kat, Sutton, and Jane (Is there a portmanteau for the three of them?). In this episode, I found the scene after the DFMO at Jane and Sutton’s apartment meaningful — in particular, the gentle way Jane and Sutton listened and responded to Kat.
Back to Kadena, even if they didn’t open their relationship, I would appreciate the show allowing them to discuss the whether it would be the right choice for them.
I don’t know how I feel about any of the actual plot points, but my real reaction to this episode is that if there exists an NYC lesbian bar where every girl who hasn’t met you before buys you a drink when you first go there, could someone point me towards it? (This show is going to give so many young women unreasonable expectations of NYC lesbian bars.)
I think Kat’s just really unreasonably hot and these seemed like bougie lesbians with money. Maybe try getting on the Ellis invite list? lol
I am wondering too where they will take this. A question I have had is are people actually ready/ do they want to see potrayls of characters that are representative of some aspects of real life, or is TV meant to allow for an escapist fantasy where the world is better than the one we live in. More to the point, do people want to see queer characters who make mistakes, who dissapoint them, who dont recycle?
Kadena for me has given a relationship looks like my own, and situations that mirror experiences of me and my friends (although I havent even been to an average bar that big let alone a lesbian bar).
One thing I really love about these recaps is how honest they are, about whats good and not so good, The bold type IS taking big swings, but even when they miss at least they tried where a lot of people wouldn’t even go there.
Small pet peeve of mine is when queer characters are intorduced but they never get to vocalise aspects of their queerness to other people almost like yeah they’re queer but lets not talk about it ever – we did the coming out episode and that should be enough. there is never any conversation – the state of affairs for Kadena aren’t great but at least we are having the conversation.
Im not feeling the idea of them having an open relationship, i think that would just look like Adena just conceding and giving Kat what she wants without consideration for herself. Its not a good look where one of you sacrifices so much and gets nothing back unless Kat can get it together quickly. Really i think they should break up but leave room for them to come back to eachother, cant see how else that would work.