After last week’s Very Special Episode about guns that turned into a Very Stilted Episode, “Plan B” feels a bit like a return to form for The Bold Type. Adena isn’t in it, so we don’t get much clarification or movement in the whole confusing Kadena open relationship department. But there’s some very good stuff in here, including Kat openly referring to herself as queer for the first time! Twice!
Jacqueline’s new nemesis Cleo gets up to some shady shit by asking Kat to become the face of sponsored content for a skincare company that purports to cater to people of all races, genders, sexualities, etc. Kat later finds out — by way of Pinstripe, whose friend at Vice is working on a story about the company — that the CEO donates to all sorts of hate groups. She’s being tokenized on a whole new level: The company hopes to combat any accusations of bigotry by pointing out that it has diverse brand reps promoting its products.
(Sidenote: Most of the other publications mentioned on The Bold Type tend to be made up ones, so I was surprised to hear Vice mentioned, BUT does this MEAN that Autostraddle exists in the world of The Bold Type? Kat should probably start reading Autostraddle, right?)
Now, I have some reservations about believing that Kat, who is otherwise usually quite thorough and thoughtful in her approach to her work, would just blindly sign a contract because she hears some white dude rattle off some words about the company’s mission! She barely even skimmed that contract! That’s the real morale of this story: READ YOUR CONTRACTS, FRIENDS. And also don’t automatically trust any company that says it’s all about diversity. Do your research, Cleo!!!! Because even if Kat had read her contract, it’s possible that she still would have signed it without the knowledge that the company is Bad. That one’s on Cleo, and Jacqueline makes it very known that she fucked up.
Kat Edison, of course, gets very Kat Edison about the situation and calls the company out during one of her contractually obligated Instagram posts, technically not violating her contract but also making sure she isn’t compromising her own beliefs. This queer black woman is not here to be anyone’s tool.
For Sutton, this season has been all about her trying to prove herself at work. She feels like she’s a critical point in the pursuit of her dreams, presented with lots of new opportunities and access by way of Oliver but also still somewhat stuck at the assistant level she so badly wants to move beyond. This week, she faces a new challenge: drastically cutting the fashion department’s budget for a shoot while Oliver’s overseas. There’s never any real doubt that Sutton won’t pull through on this one, but it’s still fun to watch her succeed. Meghann Fahy is really having a great season, and I love all the little bits of humor she brings to playing Sutton even when the character isn’t a focus of the scene. Also “black bi bandaid” made me chuckle.
Jane gets a big emotional arc this week, finally in a good place in her relationship and career, but that gets complicated after a broken condom. The immediate issue is immediately solvable: Jane orders Plan B via Postmates, and that takes care of that. But when she visits the doctor after some side effects from the medicine, she learns that she needs to be thinking about thinking about her plans for children because of her BRCA gene mutation.
Jane attempts to process this new information by pitching a story about young moms to see if she is indeed ready to be a young mom. (Question: Why isn’t it ever suggested that Jane just freeze some of her eggs?) Now, even though some of the finer details of Jane’s writing life are highly unrealistic (like the fact that she hands in hard copies of her stories), the more meaningful stuff is right on the money… like the fact that Jane’s first instinct is to try to work through her personal feelings via her writing. That’s… highly relatable content. But I will say that Jane has a tendency to make her writing about herself a little TOO MUCH, especially when she’s supposedly doing reporting?
The story proves too painful for Jane to write, so she has a talk with Jacqueline that highlights just how strong their relationship is. Jacqueline continues to be the anti-TV-boss. The girls are intimidated by her but don’t fear her. She’s tough but fair. She knows she’s throwing Sutton into the deep end by expecting her to make decisions on Oliver’s behalf, but she also knows she’s up for the challenge. Jane’s nervous to disclose her health status to Jacqueline, but she also feels comfortable opening up to her at the same time. She wants to tell her the real reason she can’t write the story, and Jacqueline is of course immediately understanding. She cares about Jane a lot and always has. It’d be overly simplistic to say Jacqueline has filled a maternal role for Jane, but there’s certainly something here that seems to transcend the boss-employee dynamic without venturing into unethical territory. The Bold Type hinges on friendship, but it explores other kinds of complex, beautiful relationships, too.