The Bold Type 3x01 "The New Normal" Review
The Kids Are…. Trying
We’re back! And we’re still talking shit in the fashion closet.
The Bold Type season two left us a while ago, all the way in Paris, loose ends not yet tied up for most of the characters. It truly feels like a thousand years since the show last aired (seriously, my friend got pregnant and had an actual human baby between seasons). Lucky for the audience, the loose plot points were all resolved within the first few minutes. Jane has chosen Pinstripe, Kat is doing some textbook instagram sulking over her breakup with Adena, and Jacqueline (while still at Scarlet) has been replaced as the head of the website.
Before we move on - thank GOD Ben is no longer in the picture. We can all forget the time that the writers tried to make not knowing what “DM” stands for a personality trait.
We see both Kat and Sutton processing stages of thier respective relationships; Sutton the moving in stage, and Kat the end stage. Both storylines aren’t necessarily showstopping, but it’s a necessary transition from last season’s uncertainty.
To be honest, I don’t have much to say about either storyline for this episode. I called it a transition, and that’s really all it is: getting from point A to B with not alot of substance. That’s not a slight to Meghann Fahy (Sutton) or Aisha Dee (Kat) in the slightest; they (along with Katie Stevens as Jane) give a predictably solid performance. I’d actually argue that Aisha is the stand out in this episode, showing Kat’s emotional and vulnerable side expertly. Kat is also an Eternal Mood this episode - dropping her phone on her face while scrolling through instagram? Sipping a moscow mule while having a mini break down? True representation.
I don’t know yet how I feel about Richard and Sutton. I DO know that the show wants us to root for them.There’s still the lingering question of how the outside world will respond to thier relationship and how it will affect both of thier careers. Last season Sutton was desperately trying to avoid making a name for herself without Richard’s influence, or the assumption that her success is due to her relationship with him. In this episode it’s Richard who’s feeling the pressure - there’s a lack of respect for his relationship with Sutton, his male colleagues treating it more like a fling than a relationship. He even missed out on an invite to an important company party, something he was always invited to, because he would have brought Sutton as his date. They end the episode on a good note - moving in together - but I wouldn’t be surprised if this bit of drama is a recurring theme in season three.
I do hope they utilize Sutton more this season. Most of her journey so far has been centered around Richard and her career, which is fine, but we’ve also seen both Kat and Jane have multiple story arcs across seasons while Sutton’s is usually regulated to one or two. We get the most variety with Jane: her BRCA status, her unemployment, her relationship with Jacqueline. In season two we saw more of Kat navigating the world as a Black Queer Woman. Sutton did have one episode that addressed her relationship with her Mother. The gun control episode was truly terrible, but that was about Sutton as well, even though I’d like to forget it as it was arguably out of character and not very well executed. Long story short, I hope they give Sutton some complexity this season.
Introducing: Terrible White Dude
Now we can get to the portion of the episode I have the most to say about, which is Scarlet’s new head of the website.
Now, Jane does door him within the first few minutes of the episode, but I didn’t feel bad about that for long. With Jane being Jane, she was immediately confused that the first choice to replace Jacqueline as the head of the website would be a white man. That being said, that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be good at the job, but his lack of insight when it comes to women’s issues and the issues of WOC (something that Scarlet wants to focus on) would leave a few things to be desired.
Turns out, this dude is a million kinds of insufferable. During his first speech to Scarlet employees he works the word namaste into conversation, mentions the phrase “sexual awakening” in regards to his personal experience with the magazine, and claims that he “doesn’t believe in barriers.” He also approaches Alex and offers him his own column on the website (great!) in which women would send in questions and he would offer his insight as a straight man (not great!).
Now, I can’t think of anything more idiotic and out of touch than treating a straight man’s opinion as a novelty. Women get some of thier “advice” constantly and let me tell you, we’ve had enough. Anticipating that women want the advice of a straight man and that they would have to go out of there way to get said advice is not just tone deaf, it’s laughable. Please, read the room.
What makes it worse is that Alex actually does have a lot to offer the magazine. He’s been criminally underutilized in past seasons, and as a Black man in fashion (and today’s political climate) his opinion is valuable. But for the new guy to immediately zero in on his heterosexuality as the most interesting thing about him? Yikes.
I haven’t even mentioned the extremely problematic storyline that follows Jane this episode - of course, having to do with the new guy (Patrick, if any of y'all care). He all but orders Jane to write an article about him, which she gladly accepts. She uses this as an opportunity to dig up some dirt on him in an attempt to get him ousted from Scarlet. She ends up getting in touch with one of Pinstripe’s friends that used to work with Patrick, and who is more than happy to give Jane the deets. Apparently at his last job, Patrick “exposed” himself during a meeting in front of several of his colleagues, including a few women. As the kids say, he blew it.
Well, not actually. In a super believable, not at all problematic, and definitely not clumsy turn of events, Jane also speaks to one of the women present at said meeting and discovers not all is as it seems. This woman explains what actually happened. Apparently, the meeting they were having was to discuss what the men at that company were being paid compared to the women. The woman that Jane met up with ended up confiding in Patrick, saying she made much less than thier male college who did less work and who also enjoyed workplace privileges that she wasn't allowed. The best way Patrick could express his frustration at this was to pull down his pants in the meeting and say that they should be paid equally, and the only thing that separated them was thier genitals.
Now, in what I consider to be an obvious opinion, this doesn’t make him a great guy. He still:
Pulled down his pants, in a meeting, at work, in front of people, while yelling
Assumed that men and women are only defined by what genitalia they happen to have, completely ignoring the transgender community
We find out later he didn't tell anyone because he signed an NDA, but he still made Jane write the article, knowing full well she’d find that story
That’s certainly quite a story to throw at viewers in the first episode, and I’m not quite sure where the show is headed with Patrick. If we’re meant to be weary, I’d say the episode was successful. If we’re meant to like him, I’m not sure why. We are only one episode in, and with major cliffhangers resolved, let’s see what happens next.
The Bold Type airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Freeform.