The Bold Type 2x02 "Rose Colored Glasses" Review
While season one of The Bold Type was met with praise, there was still one point that left the audience confused, myself included. For a show that seemed to approach topical conversations — immigration and rape culture, to name a couple — one very important conversation was left out completely: race. More specifically, Kat’s blackness.
While both Adena and Kat were still navigating the early stages of their relationship in Season 1, they share a particularly harsh interaction with police officers. Adena, a muslim immigrant, flees the scene out of fear that the situation would escalate once the police realize who she is. Kat, however, seems almost casual about the encounter while comforting Adena. It isn’t acknowledged that while the situation was dangerous for Adena, it was also dangerous for Kat as a black woman. How could she be so casual about a possibly fatal event when stories of the murders of black men and women by the police go viral almost every day?
Luckily, the show decided to course correct with the second episode of the season, “Rose Colored Glasses.” Showrunner Amanda Lasher, who took over when Sarah Watson stepped down last year, told Buzzfeed:
“We know that we can’t speak to everybody’s experience, but we can speak to Kat’s experience. We tried to be as specific as possible to what Kat was going through, and where she came from, and what her parents were like, and how that shaped her, so that we could understand why she made some of the choices she made in Season 1.”
The Bold Type first addresses Kat’s race in a conversation she has with Alex, who is also black. Kat asks him for advice on what to include in her official biography for the Scarlet website, and he immediately notices that she left out the fact that she’s the first black female to head a department at Scarlet. Confused, she tells Alex that her race is irrelevant to her career. Alex doesn’t understand her sudden defensiveness, and Kat ends up storming off.
Alex has a point: she’s so confident in every aspect of her life: her friends, her girlfriend, her career — but as soon as he brought up adding the fact that she’s black to her biography, her walls went up. He argues that she has a great opportunity to be a role model to black girls, but isn’t taking that opportunity.
When we meet Kat’s parents, we finally get a glimpse into her affinity for avoiding labels. It’s a combination of a few things. First, as a black man, her father didn’t want her growing up with the knowledge of the racism that surrounded him every day. He wanted to protect her. Her mother, a white woman, was hurt when people didn’t think that Kat was her biological daughter. Kat was caught in between the two: she later tells Alex that she felt uncomfortable claiming one race over the other. If she identifies as black, she’s disowning her mother. She can’t identify as white because she doesn’t look white, so she opted not to identify as anything. She tells Alex, “It’s easier to deny both than to pick one.”
In the end, Kat realizes that labels aren’t a bad thing. She proudly adds “black female” to ber bio and tells Alex that she’s proud to be biracial, but right now it’s important for her to recognize her blackness.
Shine Your Light
Meanwhile, Jane and Sutton are still facing the fallout from the previous episode. Jane eagerly submitted her article about Emma Cox and OTR in which she decided to give her the benefit of the doubt: people make mistakes, and as long as they acknowledge this and course correct, we need to be sympathetic. However, her editor Victoria (a TERRIFYING person, mind you) took the article in another direction and turned it into a hit piece, ripping Emma Cox and OTR to shreds.
Ever the pacifist, Jane reaches out to Emma and leaves an apologetic voicemail. However, this also backfires (what is with your luck, Jane?) and Emma publishes Jane’s voicemail. This launches a viral meme and a trending #sorrynotsorry hashtag, both of which are definitely not in Jane’s favor.
It seems Jane is losing her footing at Incite. Again, Jane is confused. It was Victoria that approached her while she was at Scarlet, promising that if Jane jumped ship and joined Incite her voice would be appreciated. In fact, it would be an asset. Jane staunchly defends her original article, only to be told that she was indeed hired for her voice, but “only when it aligns with Incite.”
After booking a TV interview in which Jane is to defend Incite and her edited article, they even change her appearance. Her previously pretty and fashion forward outfit is changed to a plaid button up and cliche hipster glasses. She’s given a script and not allowed to speak her mind in any regard, something that Jane is certainly not used to.
In typical Jane fashion (this is why I love her, guys) she goes off script and stands up for herself and for Emma, defending her original article and arguing her original point of forgiveness and striving to to better.
Victoria apparently isn’t a fan of forgiveness, and in a moment we all saw coming since the trailer was released, Jane was fired from Incite. Honestly, I know that’s a major bummer for Jane, but I would cry with relief if I never had to work with Victoria ever again. Just me?
Back at Scarlet, Sutton is faring better than Jane, but suffering from the slutshaming still happening after the first episode. This time it’s Oliver, not Alex, that chooses her to assist on a project. His reasoning makes Sutton cringe: apparently they will be photographing everyday men who have heroic jobs, and he wants Sutton because “men love her.” She’s terrified that Oliver picked her because of a rumor that she’s the “office flirt.” This is essentially her worst fear come to life, even after she officially ended things with Richard and is no longer working with Alex. These slutshaming rumors are following her around and casting a shadow on her hard work.
Sutton is struggling — she’s still unsure about her worth thanks to Oliver’s reasoning. She’s no longer with Richard and is missing him. She’s hanging on for a career that hasn’t fully materialized yet, and that has to be difficult, to say the least. She’s nervous on set, taking care not to appear too friendly with any of the men being photographed, knowing that every move she makes will be examined. It’s no way to live, that's for sure.
With everyone falling apart, leave it to Scarlet’s Editor in Chief Jacqueline Carlisle (Melora Hardin and, yes, Jan from The Office) to swoop in with some much needed wisdom. She notices Sutton, struggling to both do her job and manage career ruining rumors, and gives her a much needed pep talk. In the face of slutshaming and rumors, and people policing everything about us as women, she tells Sutton that “we cannot dim our light.”
This, I think, was the whole point of the episode. No matter what you’re up against (and as women, we’re up against a lot), NEVER let anyone dim your light. Kat struggled with owning her blackness, but in the end wouldn’t let it be dimmed. Jane shone through that staged Incite interview and never lost sight of herself. Sutton stood up for herself, not letting vile rumors change who she is.
Ladies, never let anyone dim your light.
The Bold Type airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on Freeform.