The Bold Type 2x08 "Plan B" Review
Hello friends, and welcome to another week of me reviewing The Bold Type. Let’s dive right into it by starting with Jane.
Plan? I Don’t Even Have a “Pla”
As you can guess by the title, Jane and Ben suffer a “mishap” while having sex. Jane postmates Plan B (yes, you can do that) and all's well that ends well, right? For Jane, however, a visit to her doctor about some side effects of the pill spark a much deeper conversation.
We learned in Season 1 that Jane’s mother died of breast cancer when she was very young. We also learned that Jane is positive for the BRCA1 gene. Long story short, this means that she has a much higher risk for developing breast or ovarian cancer than someone who doesn’t possess the gene mutation. A positive result doesn’t mean that cancer is inevitable for Jane, but it does mean that she has to take pretty drastic preventative measures that most people don’t have to worry about.
Because of this, Jane’s doctor tells her she needs to think about her fertility options right away. One part of Jane’s preventative options, and a common one, is a total removal of her ovaries. Jane is faced with a very serious and time sensitive issue. She could commit to not having children, freezing her eggs, or having them right away, either with Ben or a sperm donor.
Jane struggles a great deal throughout the episode with this dilemma, something that 25-year-olds don’t usually have to worry about. Luckily the nature of her job at Scarlet is asking people questions about things she wants to know, so she pitches an article about how being a mom affects 20-somethings in the modern age. Instead of helping Jane make a decision this actually complicated the issue, forcing Jane to consider things she wouldn’t have before.
Motherhood for Jane is complicated. To put it simply, it's just too early for Jane to know what she could possibly want. There’s also the worry that if she decides to have kids now, she’ll lose out on parts of her life. That’s not to say that moms don’t have full lives, but having a child is a monumental life change that requires time and energy. Her life wouldn't just be about journalism and friendships. At a time when she just got her job back at Scarlet and is starting to fully grow into her career, having children wouldn’t necessarily be ideal.
Jane’s situation is also complicated because of her own mother. Because her mother died young, Jane doesn’t have any real memories of her that don’t take place in a hospital. She never really got to see her mom being a mom, so motherhood is especially foreign to her. She also doesn’t have her mother around to be a source of advice or help, something that almost all of the moms she interviewed mentioned as being their saving grace.
Jane, Sutton and Kat have a conversation about motherhood while at a playground, after Jane had interviewed some of the moms. This conversation is one of my favorite parts of the episode. It definitely sounds like a conversation I’ve had with my own friends, and it was refreshing to see a show portray a typical millennial conversation so accurately. Kat doesn’t feel the need to have kids; there are enough people in the world as it is, resources are drained, and everything generally sucks. I have to agree with her here, and when she says she doesn’t feel the allure of “being a human kleenex,” it was like she read my mind. Kids are great and all, but I’d love to be able to give them back when they get antsy.
Sutton, on the other hand, is a little more open to having kids than Kat. Like Jane, if kids are in the picture, she always assumed it wouldn’t be for a while. The Bold Type has already established Sutton as career driven first and foremost, so this definitely fits. She’s also not shy in naming her mother as a reason she might want kids. As briefly discussed in last week’s episode, Sutton basically served as a parent to her alcoholic, hard partying mom. It’s very common for people from situations like this to want kids just so they can do better than their parents did.
Later on in the episode Jane tells Ben what’s been going on, both about her BRCA status and the complex decision she’s facing about having or not having children. This is the first sign of Ben being a little less than perfect: he’s way too much of a doctor about Jane’s BRCA gene and not enough of a boyfriend. He immediately starts asking medical questions involving the type of cancer Jane’s mom had, which is definitely not the best (or most comforting) response. They end the episode on a strained note, the future definitely not looking bright for these two.
Ah, Sutton. Everyone seems to be having a time of it this episode, and she is no exception. Oliver is in Paris for fashion week, so Sutton serves as his replacement in a Scarlet budget meeting. They’re cutting every department budget to allocate some funds, and Sutton took Oliver’s advice to “smile and nod” as permission to authorize a 10% cut to the fashion department. I really doubt that Sutton would be given power over the fashion department budget, but hey, it’s a plot device so I’ll let it go.
In a story that they’ve given Sutton about a million times, she faces a dilemma at her job that could possibly be career threatening, tries to fix it the traditional way, and ends the episode excelling at resolving the problem in a method that’s usually a little out of left field. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see Sutton kicking ass left and right, but at this point in the season I would expect something a little more substantial for her. Sure, her relationship with Richard was a plot point for a while, but as for now that’s been pushed to the back burner.
The most we’ve learned about Sutton was actually in last week’s episode, “Betsy,” when we learn more about her childhood in rural Pennsylvania and where her need for control comes from. We also know that Sutton grew up poor. She had to be extremely resourceful, sewing all her own clothes and retreating to the pages of fashion magazines when things got tough.
Despite how small of a view we’ve gotten into what makes Sutton tick, her backstory is actually one of my favorite parts of the show. Aside from her affinity for guns (you guys know how I feel about that), I’m super impressed with just how perfectly her life before and during Scarlet fits together. It makes sense: her love of fashion and her ability to be creative and resourceful with almost nothing make her a perfect fit for her job, bringing skills to the table that people who simply went to fashion school wouldn’t have. I’m so glad that this episode provides her with some much needed traction: she’s going to Paris for fashion week! This is obviously a huge step in her career, and something that indicates real change for her. I can’t wait to see what she excels at next.
Make America Black and Queer Again
Kat, meanwhile, is facing her own dilemma. She’s approached by Cleo, the newest board member at Scarlet’s parent company, Safford. Ah, Cleo. Love to hate you. See, with Cleo, I enjoy her time on the show because it’s usually accompanied by Jacqueline putting her in her place. It’s pretty satisfying to watch, and this episode doesn’t disappoint in that regard.
Cleo has been in talks with a skin care company called Whole Spa, and they want Kat to be the face of their new campaign. At first Kat is flattered, and at her meeting with their brand rep it all sounds great: the company aims to be all inclusive, the packaging is eco-friendly, and they want to work with Kat because of her unique story. She is, after all, a queer black woman who happens to be the first person of color department head at Scarlet. Who better to represent your company, right?
Turns out, Whole Spa chose Kat very, very carefully. In a casual run in with Pinstripe in the lobby at Safford (he’s freelancing for a garden magazine now: hemp is the new corn!), he notices the Whole Spa products that Kat is carrying and asks about them, so she tells him about the sponsorship. Unfortunately for Kat, Pinstripe has a reporter friend that is in the middle of a story about Whole Spa’s CEO donating to some prolific hate groups, specifically anti-black and anti-LGBTQ.
Now Kat realizes why Whole Spa wanted her in the first place: to be their “one black friend” when this news hits the public. As Sutton puts it, they want her to be their “black, bi bandaid.” She’s stuck now, since she already signed the contract and would almost definitely be sued if she didn’t follow through with the terms of it. Saying positive things about a company that disagrees with your very existence is not something that Kat’s comfortable with, so in typical Kat fashion she finds a way to speak her mind.
She does everything she’s contractually obligated to: she tries the products, posts about them on Instagram, and lists three things she likes about them. She also just so happens to sneak in a bit at the end of one particular Instagram story that the Whole Spa CEO is corrupt and using her to cover up their bigotry, but hey, no problem right?
Wrong. Actually, the only ones mad about it are Cleo and Whole Spa themselves. Cleo drags Kat to a private meeting with Jacqueline, playing Kat’s instastory for her and waiting for Jacqueline to enact some kind of fury on Kat.
Jacqueline staunchly defends Kat and ridicules Cleo for rushing into this partnership without doing her full research. Jacqueline isn’t upset about the possibility of bad press or a reaction from Whole Spa. Instead she’s angry that Cleo would compromise the integrity of both Kat and Scarlet. Cleo isn’t as phased by Whole Spa’s bigotry, saying that there are members of Safford that have been known to sport MAGA hats on the weekends.
Jacqueline then calmly informs Cleo that maybe next time, she should choose one of them to be a brand rep for Whole Spa.
For me, Jacqueline is the true highlight of this episode. We don’t get enough of her in most episodes, so her constant support of both Jane and Kat this week was great to watch.
From the beginning of the show, Jacqueline served to be the polar opposite of Miranda Priestly a la The Devil Wears Prada. She’s kind and supportive of her staff, destroying the domineering and intimidating female boss trope.
While Jane is struggling with her article, Jacqueline is understanding. She recognizes that this might not be one of those times that Jane needs to be pushed, so instead she gives her support. After the incident with Whole Spa, she also encourages Kat to seek out progressive companies that she would feel good about supporting. She easily could have banned all future sponsorships or endorsements, but didn’t let this particular debacle ruin anything. Also, getting her eyebrows threaded in her office? Goals.
This was a fantastic, solid episode. I’m truly excited to see how this season wraps up Jane, Sutton and Kat’s journeys. The Season 1 finale was so great that I cried, so I’m looking forward for the last few episodes of this season to really pack a punch. With Kat struggling with her relationship with Adena, Jane dealing with her medical dilemma, and Sutton visiting her hometown next episode, I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.
The Bold Type airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Freeform.
Alyssa’s episode rating: 🐝🐝🐝🐝