The Bold Type 3x07 “Mixed Messages” Review
This week is all about — you guessed it — mixed messages. The episode was well written and a great transition into the last couple episodes of the season. Unlike past reviews, my description of this episode as transitional is a good thing. It ties up a few loose strings while leaving a few waiting to be tied up at the end of the season.
Those loose strings I’m referring to are all about relationships this episode. We’re in a pretty transitional period for our OT3 — Sutton is still navigating her move in with Richard, Jane and Pinstripe are preparing for his upcoming book tour while still in the early stages of their relationship, and Kat is still learning new things about Tia while balancing working on her campaign.
Those new things that Kat is learning? First, Tia is better at her job than Kat thought, and second, failing to listen is a huge deal breaker for her. Unfortunately these are both learned through some good old fashioned (although not old) racism. Kat and her team are canvassing, going door to door in her neighborhood and getting her name out there. At first Tia insists they split up, but Kat wants to spend her time with Tia. Everything was going smoothly until they stopped to rest for a moment, taking an innocent selfie when the owner of the building accused them of “casing the place.” The exchange that follows is all too familiar: Tia and Kat assure this woman that they’re canvassing, but she’s not having it. She accuses them of trespassing, says she doesn’t believe that Kat lives in that neighborhood, and when they bring up the possibility they are being racially profiled she says she’s going to call the police. Sutton and Jane show up but that doesn’t help, so in an effort to deescalate the situation they simply walk away.
Kat, the social media manager that she is, insists on recording a video about the exchange in order to shed some light on racial profiling and making that a point of her campaign. Tia doesn't like this idea — she asks Kat not to post anything about it but Kat follows her own advice rather than Tia’s.
As Tia predicted, backlash swiftly follows: the comments on Kat’s video are full of accusations that the racial profiling never happened and that the video is a publicity stunt. Kat finds out that Tia took a video of the woman for their protection, so she asks Tia to post it to verify their story.
Everyone is familiar with those videos of racist white women calling the police on Black people just for existing, so I’m not surprised that The Bold Type chose to use this in an episode. It also created the opportunity to see both Kat and Tia have a great conversation about it. Kat is obviously pro-post, while Tia was adamant from the start that they shouldn’t address it at all. They’re both right, too: does that woman deserve to be called “Racist Rachel” all over the internet? Yes. Did posting that video detract from Kat’s campaign like Tia feared? Also yes.
We also got the chance to see Kat come to terms with her use of social media as a bandaid for her problems. She wanted to post that video to affirm her experience and to put a face to the name of racial profiling. It was Patrick, actually, that helped her see Tia’s point. Upon seeing the video of the woman berating Kat, he immediately jumped into the optics of the video rather than the substance. He was more interested in coming up with a catchy nickname rather than addressing the issue at hand. The conversation would instead be about this specific woman rather an the epidemic of racial profiling. The subject of conversation would be “Racist Rachel” and not Kat Edison.
Jane and Sutton’s relationship woes take a bit of a back seat but are interesting to watch play out nonetheless. Jane seems to be a little oblivious to Pinstripe’s feelings this week — while looking for a new roommate Jane discovers that Alex needs somewhere to stay while his apartment is being treated for water damage. Pinstripe is more than a little upset about this prospect, which Jane interprets to be jealousy at her living with a straight man that isn’t her boyfriend. It turns out that Pinstripe was less jealous and more hurt; he was waiting for Jane to ask him to move in instead.
They did end the episode on a good note — Jane confessed that part of her reasoning for choosing Alex was the fact that he’s only a temporary roommate — which fits in well with Pinstripe’s upcoming book tour. When that’s over and Pinstripe is back in New York, Alex will be back at his apartment and they can move in together. They also end the episode with their own separate career highs; Pinstripe is taking calls left and right about his newly popular book tour and Jane is in the midst of what could be a career defining story about Pamela Dolan. The roommate situation might be decided for now, but the possibility of new and demanding careers disrupting their relationship is still very much a possible plot point for the end of the season.
Now, Sutton. Sutton — I am, and I cannot stress this enough — distraught that the show has decided to give you such a boring boyfriend. That’s not to say that their portion of the episode wasn’t good. It’s Richard’s first birthday since his Dad passed away, he’s acting a little standoffish, and by the end of it him and Sutton have a great heart to heart about their dads that helps him feel better. That’s… fine, I guess?
Their story was much more interesting before they moved in together, and in my opinion Richard is actually dragging Sutton down a bit. They’re happy together — that’s great! They love each other — super! But everything about Richard this season is so dull. Having a maid is not a personality trait, I’m sorry. Learning about his friends that have kids and his “I might want to move to the suburbs and settle down” phase was just something that I couldn’t be less interested in. And, even though Richard missing his father was touching, it could have easily been cut out of the episode and I wouldn’t have known anything was missing.
Sutton is so bright and dynamic, it seems like such a waste. We know she’s been admitted to that design seminar for several episodes now, but we have yet to see anything progress with that story line. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that the writers are able to write some interesting story lines with both Sutton and Richard, but from what I’ve seen so far I don’t have the highest of hopes.
Despite my slight boredom with Richard this week, I won’t fault the episode for it. The rest of the story was good enough to make up for it, and as always, Meghann Fahy is a joy to watch as Sutton, which made those scenes worth it.
Alyssa’s episode rating: 🐝🐝🐝.5
The Bold Type airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Freeform.