The Bold Type 2x09 "Trippin'" Review
Can you believe we’re already nine episodes into the second season of The Bold Type? The only episode that remains is the season finale, perfectly set up by this week's episode. I mentioned before that if this show does anything well, it’s wrapping up the season, and this one is no exception.
In this episode, Jane spends almost the whole thing drunk and/or high, which was super entertaining to watch. (She also does a great rendition of “Torn” while drunk at a bar. Damn, Katie Stevens!)
However, things don’t start out so carefree for Jane — the episode begins with Ben handing her a binder full of information about her possible fertility choices moving forward. Ben is still being weird, I see. Here, have a binder full of terrifying life choices! Brought to you by none other than your boyfriend! I mean, there’s close up photos of cells and people in MRI scans… not the most comforting thing to look at.
I know Ben is only trying to help, but it’s very obvious that this isn’t the kind of help that Jane wants. She already has a doctor she can consult with on these issues, she doesn’t need another one. The purpose of a boyfriend and the purpose of a doctor are two very different things, and Ben seems to only be fulfilling one of those. I’m not alone in thinking this, either. Later on in the episode Jane calls the binder “fertility preservation for dummies” and laments to Kat and Sutton that he’s acting like he knows what’s best for her without asking her how she feels.
After a rough morning of dealing with this, Jane runs into Pinstripe in the elevator. Jane needs the comfort that a distraction can bring, and she chooses Pinstripe over Ben. They go to a bar for lunch and have a contest about who can fit the most olives in their mouth — super cute, right? And exactly what Jane needs.
We also see a new dilemma beginning for Jane in this episode: what to do about Pinstripe? Last season they were friends with benefits, and Jane broke it off because it was too casual. She wanted more, and she knew that Pinstripe wasn’t that kind of guy. But, in this episode, we see some growth on that front. Pinstripe is taking life (and Jane) more seriously; he can see that something is stressing her out and he asks her about it, something that Season 1 Pinstripe never would have done.
Later on in the episode he tells her that he hopes he can be more than just her “beer o'clock” guy, and credits her for encouraging him to pursue writing his book. I’m sensing a set up for Jane in the finale: Ben, the guy who is basically her doctor that she occasionally has sex with, or Pinstripe, the guy who (in Jane’s words, people) “gets her” more.
Kat has a dilemma of her own this episode, but it’s more professional than personal (although there are some developments there, so stay tuned). Scarlet is launching a new and improved website, and during one of the pre-launch meetings Jacqueline drops a bombshell on Kat and co: the new website will no longer allow people to comment on any articles, videos, etc. Kat disagrees with this venture immediately; when they do get offensive or hostile comments they’re very quickly deleted, and disabling comments will take away the reader discussions that make the site and the magazine so vibrant.
I have to agree here — maybe if one particular article is sparking some vitriol then disable the comments on that one, but not the whole site. The whole point of Scarlet is to both start important conversations and have fun ones, and without comments the magazine is simply shouting into the void. Not to mention that people can and will still comment, but they’ll do it via Twitter and social media rather than directly on the website itself, which would take away a significant portion of web traffic.
In a panic, Kat decides to talk to Richard about the issue. Richard and Jacqueline have a great relationship that’s based in mutual respect, so she figures Richard would be the best person to get the point across to Jacqueline. This idea backfires, and Jacqueline instead takes issue with Kat trying to go around her rather than take her answer on the subject.
Now, this is a little uncharacteristically cold for Jacqueline, but it makes sense given the circumstances. On the day of the new website launch there was an article published, accusing Jacqueline of fading from relevance and importance at Scarlet. So, it’s not a surprise that Jacqueline feels the need to defend her judgement.
Kat’s worries are confirmed later on when the launch results in almost no web traffic increase and the response to the disabled comments was universally lambasted. Jacqueline calls Kat, asking her for advice, which results in Jacqueline enabling comments and publishing a piece about the importance of community discussion and involvement.
While quickly resolved, the issue with the Scarlet website sparked a realization for Kat. During this really stressful and confusing time she only wanted to seek out Adena’s company, not anyone else. In this episode the three girls take a small road trip to Sutton’s hometown in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and while there Kat develops a connection with a local bartender. She’s hesitant to go home with her, though, and Jane is confused: isn’t sex with a hot stranger the perfect thing to distract from the drama going on at work? Well, not for Kat.
In the past few episodes we’ve seen Kat and Adena make their relationship an open one, so Kat can explore her sexuality while still being emotionally attached to Adena. At first it was awkward for Kat, but now her issue isn’t getting past having sex with strangers: she realizes that she wants to be with Adena and only Adena, and that she doesn’t find comfort in their open relationship anymore.
For a relationship that’s been rocky the whole season, this is great news, right? They do end up getting back together, but there’s still some tension: Kat asks Adena to go to breakfast, but she turns her down in order to work on her art some more. It’s obvious this makes Kat uneasy and a little upset.
This is where my issue starts: I am not a fan of how Kat has treated Adena this season. She hasn't been mean or rude to Adena, but she has been a little selfish, and this episode is no exception. Why, you ask? Didn’t Kat just opt out of an open relationship to spend more time with Adena? Yes, but when you look at the season as a whole, there is a clear divide of give and take, with Kat doing almost all of the taking.
Early in the season we saw Kat become jealous of Adena, constantly questioning her relationships with women and being paranoid that they would run into one of Adena’s exes wherever they went. In the very next episode, Kat kisses a strange girl at a club. She tells Adena right away, but she’s obviously upset. Adena offers the option of an open relationship so Kat can explore her sexuality, so Kat starts casually seeing other women. She also tells Adena about this, when Adena specifically told her that they should keep Kat’s adventures separate from their relationship.
Now, in this episode, we see Kat run back to Adena when she needs something from her (in this case, comfort). I don’t think this is malicious or manipulative, but the truth is clear: Kat is doing whatever she wants while Adena just takes it.
This is especially one sided when you think of how much Adena has sacrificed to be with Kat: she’s in a country that doesn’t want her, away from family, struggling to look for work. While Adena CHOSE to stay with Kat, I still can’t help but wonder when Adena’s needs will take precedent.
Now to Sutton, who has finally gotten a great story that doesn’t involve her job or a relationship. As we learned last episode, Sutton is going to Paris (!!!), so naturally, she needs her birth certificate for the passport application. This is where that road trip to Pennsylvania comes in: the only way Sutton can get her original birth certificate fast enough for the application is to pick it up herself.
We finally get to meet the infamous Babs Brady, Sutton’s unstable, hard-drinking mother. Sutton is on edge almost immediately after setting out on the road trip, bracing Kat and Jane for the trainwreck that is her mother. Sutton even tries to go directly to her old home and find the document herself, wanting to avoid seeing her mother at all. Unfortunately for Sutton the spare key is missing, so her and the girls head over to the local dive bar, Dicey Riley’s, to wait for her mother to show up. When Babs does show up, Jane and Kat are confused: she’s put together, clean, and not drunk.
Despite this obvious positive change, Sutton is still pretty hostile and outright rude to her mother. She’s still living in the past, unwilling to listen to her mother talk about her new job at Dicey Riley’s (she even quips that it’s only for the free drinks), her seven months of being sober, and her intention to go to nursing school. Sutton maintains that her mother is a wreck and that she’s still living in a rat infested house, neither of which are true anymore.
This isn’t as simple as Sutton simply being rude and in a hurry to get her birth certificate. Anyone who has an addict in their life, especially a parent, is familiar with what I’ve just outlined. It’s not that Sutton doesn’t care that her mother has been sober and has a job: it’s that she’s heard it before, a million times, and each time she gets her hopes up everything just comes crashing down.
A big shoutout to Meghann Fahy for acting her ass off this episode; it’s rare that we get such a genuine portrayal of the child of an addict coming to terms with a parent’s sobriety. That’s mostly because most people would think that’s a good thing, and it is, but it’s not that simple. Sutton is trying so hard to keep her mother as she was because it’s easier; it’s familiar, and almost safe. She KNOWS her mother is an addict, she KNOWS nothing she says or does will change that, so she cut all ties to her mother and her hometown and committed herself fully to her new life in New York. If her mother is sober, she has to revisit this familiar place again, and brace herself for the very real possibility that it won’t last forever. The happiness of a parent being sober is also accompanied by the 24/7 dread of waiting for them to fall off the wagon once again.
Sutton isn’t easily convinced — what’s to say that this time is different? Kat tells her that they have each other. Sutton has a great support system in Jane and Kat, and she’s no longer alone in dealing with any of her problems. If her mother stays sober, that’s fantastic (and to Jane’s point, at least she has a mother). If she doesn’t, she has two fantastic friends to support her.
So — What’s going to happen in Paris? Who will Jane choose (if anyone)? What will happen to Jacqueline? What about Kat and Adena? Finale episode, bring it on.
The Season 2 finale of The Bold Type airs August 7 at 8/7c on Freeform.