The Bold Type 2x06 "The Domino Effect" Review
This week’s episode of The Bold Type is aptly called “The Domino Effect,” the story arcs for each of our main characters reaching critical mass. While not as strong as last week, this episode serves as a solid transition for three major storylines of the season.
Let’s start with Jane. It turns out that her time at Scarlet isn’t totally in the past. She’s been nominated for a Mandy Award for her article addressing sexual assault, and in particular, Jacqueline’s sexual assault, that was featured in the finale of Season 1. It’s very smart of The Bold Type to acknowledge that they wrote a #MeToo episode before #MeToo became the movement it is now, so I’m glad they brought that story full circle.
Jane, however, isn’t thrilled about the circumstance. She’s obviously happy to be nominated for an award, but having to retreat back to her days at Scarlet, even for a little but, seems uncomfortable. This scenario seems a little silly to me, to be honest. Jane is unemployed, and an award nomination (that we later find out is a win) would certainly increase her odds of landing a job.
It’s also an article that discusses a serious and groundbreaking topic, and wanting to write those types of articles is why she left Scarlet in the first place. Jane was also approached this episode to write a follow up piece, so the nomination is already working in her favor. I can understand her feeling uncomfortable facing Jacqueline, the women who rejected her reemployment, but that seems like a small price to pay for such a large payout.
Speaking of prices to pay… when exactly are they writing out Dr. Ben? I’m genuinely sorry if anyone reading this is a fan, but I honestly don’t know how much more of this I can take. He admits in this episode that he’s never been rejected, professionally or personally. What? How does this make him likable? He also doesn’t know what “DM” means… honestly, whose idea was this?
Anyway, moving on. Working on her follow up article to her sexual assault piece, Jane meets a woman named Elena, who informed Jane that she was assaulted by the same man that assaulted Jacqueline. After reading Jane’s article she says she felt some resentment towards Jacqueline for not coming forward sooner, since her assault took place five years after Jacqueline’s and possibly could have been prevented. She also understands why she didn’t come forward. As a survivor herself, she knows exactly what a sexual assault victim is up against.
Conflicted, Jane doesn’t know if she should put Elena’s story in her article. It’s an important story to tell, but she’s worried about Jacqueline’s response. She doesn’t want to cause any guilt or pain, but she also wants to write the best story she can.
Jane ends up informing Jacqueline at the Mandy Awards. After being informed about Elena, we see Jacqueline tense up. Melora Hardin does a great job here: it’s clear that she’s devastated by the news, every muscle in her body tensed as she holds her composure.
Despite the necessity of the conversation, it’s a little odd to me that Jane chose to inform Jacqueline about such a sensitive topic during an awards ceremony. Now, dealing with this information, Jacqueline has to navigate the evening being social and making small talk. It’s also expected that she’ll be interviewed and expected to discuss the article, since she’s the focal point of the story. I’m not sure why they didn’t have Jane discuss this with Jacqueline in a more private setting, but it still got the job done.
While some might see Elena’s addition to the story unnecessary, it was actually my favorite part of the episode. While difficult for Jacqueline to hear, it’s important to remember that sexual assault doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Speaking out isn’t only for ourselves. Speaking out creates a culture of consequences. These men will keep harassing and raping because they aren’t held accountable. It’s not an easy thing to do, but coming forward and telling your story helps us all as a community and allows us to bond together. There is power in solidarity.
All of this leads to the major development of the episode: Jacqueline offers Jane her job back at Scarlet, and she accepts.
Now, I’m pretty neutral about this move for Jane. My lack of reaction mainly stems from the fact that I knew that it was inevitable: the show revolves around Scarlet, and having Jane off on her own was fine for a few episodes, but ultimately would have veered too far from the premise of the show. I am glad that they allowed Jane to grow away from Scarlet, and I’m excited to see how her freelance days will affect her writing moving forward.
Kat’s story is perhaps the most clumsy of the episode. Adena is gone on an artists’ retreat, and Kat is still reeling from a sex dream she had about Adena’s friend Laila. She’s afraid to deal with what this might mean, so much so that she’s avoiding sleep, so naturally she… hangs out with Laila at a lesbian bar?
Having a sex dream about a woman scare you so much you don’t sleep — but then decide to drink and dance with them at a bar — seems a little odd? I’m not mad that Kat is getting to know Adena’s friends, but this doesn’t make sense in the context of the episode. Not only does Kat hang out with Laila, she KISSES a random girl at the same lesbian bar.
To clarify: a few episodes ago, Kat was nervous and jealous when Adena so much as had a conversation with another woman. Kat then has a sex dream about Laila, which scares her, but is pretty innocent if you ask me. Dreams are random, and I think Kat put a little too much stock in this one. Then, she proceeds to go to a lesbian bar with Laila, at which she dances with and kisses a random girl. Am I missing something?
These events seem like a clumsy way to say that Kat has never had a chance to really explore being sexually attracted to women, since she started dating Adena the second she came out. Kat having these feelings and struggling to balance them while in a relationship certainly makes sense, but the way that this episode decided to show that was a bit contrived.
Kat, who feels terrible about the whole thing, tells Adena what happened right when she gets back from her retreat. Despite the shakey plot, I’m still glad that they’re keeping Kat and Adena’s relationship as healthy as it is, infidelity aside.
Adena is understandably upset and takes off, taking a few days to gather her thoughts. Her and Kat have a conversation at the end of the episode, but a final verdict isn’t made on their relationship. Adena understands what Kat is going through, but they’re both confused as to where that leaves them. It seemed like an odd choice that we don’t get a definitive answer at the end of the episode. At this point, both breaking up and staying together seem less than ideal. Of course, the third option is an open relationship — something that we don’t often see on television. Only time will tell.
Now we move on to Sutton, who’s facing her own “domino effect.” She’s still partying with Brooke (the influencer who charged $500 of cocaine to her Scarlet card) which is a direct reaction to Richard dating another woman, even if Sutton pretends her extensive partying (and drinking) is only to form connections in the fashion industry. She’s twenty minutes late to work, something very unlike her; she’s definity reached the level of a downward spiral.
While I greatly enjoy Meghann Fahy’s acting as drunk Sutton, it was a relief when she came to her senses later on in the episode. She has several realizations at once: Brooke will never be a real friend to her, she’s partying so much because she misses Richard, and she needs to get back to her old self again. Jane told both her and Kat to not bother coming to the Mandy Awards, trying to save Sutton from seeing Richard with his new girlfriend and Kat from forcing herself to socialize while she’s stressing about her relationship with Adena.
As part of getting back to her old self, Sutton realizes how much she’s been neglecting her real friends. She swings by Kat’s apartment and insists they hurry to support Jane at the Mandy Awards: she’s their best friend, and they should be there no matter what.
All in all, this episode was just okay. Both the beginning and the end were stronger than the middle, which seems to be a recurring theme this season. The Bold Type knows where their characters are, and certainly where they want them to go, but the struggle is in how they get there. As we reach the end of the season (only four more episodes left!) and we see Jane back at Scarlet, hopefully this will get everything back on track.
The Bold Type airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Freeform.