The Bold Type 3x06 “#TBT” Review
As can be gathered from the episode title, The Bold Type opted for a throwback episode for this week. We get to see Jane’s first day at Scarlet and the day that she, Kat, and Sutton all became friends way back in 2014. Also a great touch to the episode: the soundtrack is PEAK 2014 and I love it.
When I first learned that this episode would be a throwback, I wasn’t super into the idea. I wasn’t sure about the timing, since the last episode left a lot hanging. We learned that Sutton was accepted into the design seminar, but we have yet to see her start. Kat made a move on Tia, so that awkwardness is still lingering and we don’t know how/if this will affect her campaign. We also don’t know the outcome of the hack or if Jane and Patrick’s working relationship will change because of her outburst at Sutton and Richard’s dinner party.
Thankfully, while the main portion of the episode is the “TBT,” these points are also addressed. I’ll get into that later — for now let’s discuss the flashback.
The episode does begin in the present — we find out that the hack wasn’t dealt with effectively and every Scarlet email and file has been published. Besides some predictable drama between co-workers, Sage discovers an email sent from Jacqueline to a friend that makes a joke about a major advertiser almost dying in her office — something to the effect that they were close to being rid of him. Apparently this has caused a little controversy and some stress for our OT3, since we learn that this near death experience was apparently their fault.
Way back in 2014, Kat was working under the old Scarlet social media department head and struggling to find her voice, Sutton was just a temp filling in as an assistant (we also find out that before Sage was a writer, she was the assistant Sutton was covering for), and Jane was starting her internship as an assistant to Lauren Park. If you remember Lauren from Season 1, you know that Sutton does somehow end up as her assistant, and not as a temp. You might also remember that she was extremely difficult to work for, so after a coffee run that took a little too long for her liking, she had Jane in tears. This is where we see our girls truly be “friends” for the first time — Kat, seeing that Jane is upset, offers to show her the fashion closet as a way to cheer her up. There they find Sutton, who is also upset, trying on different outfits to try to improve her mood since Sage is back and she’ll no longer be needed at Scarlet as a temp.
The montage of the girls trying on different outfits and accessories while laughing the whole time is pretty cute, and buy the end of it we start to see the OT3 that we know in the present day. However, back to that “almost death” —
Kat, Jane and Sutton all retire from their fashion closet therapy session to eat some free food left over in the kitchen, which actually turned out to be the sandwiches that were set aside for Jacqueline’s meeting with a big shot advertiser that could bring a lot of revenue to the magazine.
Sutton comes up with a quick plan — the Safford building is huge, so she’ll just wonder into an empty conference room and swipe the sandwiches they have there for company meetings. Truly a girl after my own heart.
This is also were she meets Richard, who’s super early to the meeting to try to get some prep in. I will admit, they did a good job of showing how they were infatuated with each other from the start, so even as someone who feels neutral about Richard at best it was still pretty adorable.
All seems well, but it turns out that the new sandwiches contained peanuts, which causes a severe allergic reaction from the advertiser and he’s rushed out of Jacqueline’s office by paramedics. He obviously survives, and later that night while toasting that they didn’t kill a man, the girls officially become besties.
While I do appreciate the throwback and think it was cute, I’m still not sold on why we needed one, or why the writers chose this point in the season to do it. I did think it was clever to tie the hack into it, which at least provided a reasonable link to the present day. However, this still isn’t a strong enough tie in my opinion.
They do swing back to the present to address a few things. First, Tia resigns from Kat’s campaign, claiming that their work dynamic wouldn’t be the same after Kat decided to shoot her shot. At first this seemed like a huge overreaction to me — Kat made it clear that she’s going to return to being strictly professional, so it seemed to me like Tia was making this into something much bigger that it was. By the end of the episode, we also get a confession from Tia: she tells Kat that she does actually like girls, but isn’t ready to come to terms with that just yet. After learning of Kat’s feelings (and realizing her own) it would have been too much for her to continue with the campaign, so she decided to break things off. They end the episode with a kiss — but again, no real answers with what this means for Kat’s campaign or what exactly that kiss means.
We also see Jane’s last option for a source for her Pamela Dolan investigation turn her down, and Sutton in the same position as she was in the beginning of the episode, unable to afford a sewing machine that’s mandatory for her design seminar.
Even though events from the last episode were addressed, there wasn’t enough progress made in this episode for my liking. Like I mentioned, I did think the TBT was cute — but was it necessary? Especially now? While they did tie it to something happening in the present, it was something that was only brought up during this episode. I’ve always believed that the better executed flashbacks reference something that’s recurring, or something that we would have been introduced to in earlier seasons. Having a new, seemingly insignificant plot point and then immediately wrapping it up in one episode is certainly an odd choice, especially when so many more important things are happening within the narrative. They already had great material to go off of in terms of the hack — Jane’s emails about Patrick, the sources for Jane’s story, or introducing something new that would have had more oomf — so it’s pretty clear this was an opportunity wasted.
The Bold Type airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on Freeform.