‘The Bold Type’ 3×07 Review: “Mixed Messages”

All’s fair in love and war, they say. Well, this episode is all about how not fair love can be, and all about the work it takes in making relationships work, once the honeymoon phase is over and real life kicks in. There’s some serious character growth in this episode and it was a frickin’ joy to watch. The prominent theme in this episode was the exploration of growth and seeing how romance isn’t always roses and dinner dates, it’s very often the gritty emotional work of knowing what your partner wants, and learning to compromise in a way that leaves you both equally fulfilled.

The Bold Type, like many TV shows starring a group of giggly women, can be criticized for being vapid or syrupy. And yes, at times it can be. Then there are episodes like this one, and you find yourself seriously considering the importance of communication in relationships, both romantic and professional, whilst also losing yourself in the glitzy glamour of the Scarlet lifestyle.  This week, our girls took out some time to canvass the neighborhood for Kat’s campaign for councilwoman. When Kat and Tia are racially profiled by a white woman who insists they’re “casing” and not “canvassing,” the two have wildly different strategies for dealing with the event. Jane’s looking for a roommate and Ryan’s being a bit… weird about it. Meanwhile, Sutton and Richard are getting in the groove of living together as his birthday approaches.

Let’s get to it!

JANE AND THE ROOMMATE DILEMMA

The episode starts with Jane interviewing a bunch of people, each more wildly inappropriate than the last, while Kat and Sutton pass judgement. Their opinions matter, after all. When they get to the office, they see Alex in sweatpants (oh, mama) and he tells them that his building was flooded, and he kind of has nowhere to live. Sutton suggests he move in with Jane, which is kind of awkward because Jane does not look thrilled at the idea. They scatter, and a while later, Jane meets another prospective roommate, who also happens to own an iguana. Yikes.

Things aren’t looking too great, both in the roommate situation and the Pamela Dolan piece. Jane and Jacqueline still can’t find a model willing to speak up about the abuse, but they do find a photographer who worked as Pamela’s assistant but now works product shoots. Jacqueline alters the schedule so that the photographer can meet them the next day. Cammy, ( LeFontaine from Camilla!) says they’re not comfortable handing out the information on the models who were abused, but is willing to confirm who they might be if Jane and Jacqueline round up some names. There is hope!

Not so much in the roommate situation, so Jane goes ahead and tells Alex they should take a “roommate compatibility test” to see if they would live well together. Ryan scoffs at her making such a big decision based on a Scarlett test, and since Jane doesn’t like being told she’s wrong about anything… Alex moves in. It’s important to point out here that Ryan and Jane have just a few days to spend together before he goes on an eight-and-a-half-week book tour. They’ve spent pretty much every waking moment the last few days having sex, and well… not talking about the time and distance that’s about to come in between them.

So when Jane and Alex come home after work and Ryan’s standing there, in front of a lavishly prepared meal and two glasses of wine…. Jane feels pretty idiotic. They argue, and Jane says she doesn’t know what the big deal is and Ryan storms off and it’s a whole thing. The next morning, Alex makes her coffee and points out the obvious: Ryan had been hoping she’d ask him to move in, instead.

Which Jane knew, of course, but would she be Jane if she didn’t worry her bum off about the timing and whether it’s the right step? She wouldn’t. But they get coffee later, (well, she gets a juice) and they talk it out and if I’m sensing things right… they might be moving in together after his tour.

So Jane figures, it’s good to talk about what’s right for your relationship with the person you’re with. Ryan learns it’s better to just come outright and say what you want instead of waiting for your partner to get the hint.

Pretty great lessons, eh?

KAT  AND THE RACIST WHITE LADY

So, the episode kind of revolves around Kat and Tia being racially profiled, and yet, I feel like there was a lot more that could be said in regards to that. It was important, though, to see the reactions the two had to the same action. Kat insists they post about it on social media, including the video Tia took of the woman yelling at them. Tia insists that Kat just focus on her campaign so that she can make strategic choices to help everyone later. It’s tough and the two lock horns.

Kat’s persistent, and kind of mad at Tia for not sending her the video to post. Tia, getting increasingly frustrated at Kat, insists that Kat think before she act. (When has Kat EVER?!) Tia gives her the video and warns her that posting it will basically ensure that the entire conversation becomes more about the woman than the underlying racism in American society, and Kat refuses to see that social media isn’t always the answer. Before she posts it, she shows it to Patrick, who… makes it all about the woman.

Kat figures Tia’s right. She tells Tia that she was a lot more impulsive before, doing whatever to whoever hurt her friends which got her arrested once. The vague referral to Adena feels like foreshadowing, as later that evening when Kat and Tia are taking their relationship to the next level physically, Kat’s phone chimes with a text from Adena, announcing her return to New York and asking to meet up.

This annoys me. Adena and Kat started off while she was still with Coco, and I kind of don’t like the inevitability of Adena arriving changing the dynamic between Tia and Kat. Adena was the first person Kat loved, and it’s kind of hard to not throw down what you have to go back to that first love that fizzled out because of bad timing… That’s all speculation though, so here’s hoping that Tia and Kat stay strong!

So anyway, Kat learns to hear out other experiences (read: less privileged) and Tia learns that sometimes you have to be more articulate in expressing why you disagree about something.

Not too shabby for a show about a couple of women’s magazine writers, huh?

SUTTON AND THE SAD BOYFRIEND

Sutton’s… busy. With her job and the seminar, she hasn’t really had time to chill out with her super hunky boyfriend. With Richard’s birthday on the horizon, she goes full girlfriend and tries to put together a party for ten of their closest friends. The only issue? Richard’s been insanely distant lately, running for hours obsessively, and barely speaking about anything.

My first reaction to this was dread. I cannot sit through an episode of Richard thinking Sutton’s not the one for him, or begrudging how busy she is and how she can’t pander to his every need now that his career is taking off. I was this close to turning the episode off.

I went on, because I can’t not do that. So Richard’s still not talking, and Sutton goes, let’s just make the party bigger! More people! She calls a friend of Richards who he usually goes running with, only to find out that they don’t run together anymore. At this point, I’m worried Richard’s using running as a cover up to see another woman, and my dread gets deeper.

Sutton asks Richard why he doesn’t run with those guys anymore, and he says he changed routes. She tells him that she made the party bigger and he gets annoyed and tells her to dis-invite everyone, saying that they’d understand because they knew him well enough. He probably wasn’t trying to imply that she doesn’t know him, but I was ready to cancel him at this point… Sutton was pretty bummed but she cancelled the party anyway.

Later, Jacqueline asks why the party was cancelled and Sutton asks for her advice with Richard. Jacqueline just tells her that her son isn’t much of a talker, but loves the batting cages, so Jacqueline goes with him, to show him that she’s invested in him and they usually end up talking there. Inspired, Sutton goes running with Richard and that’s when it hits her.

Richard’s deliberately changed his running route so he won’t have to run past the duck pond his father took him to as a boy. His running obsession has been a way to deal with the grief of having lost his father, who always made his birthdays special. Sutton reminds him that he can’t run from his grief forever, and while everyone may cope in their own ways, it’s time Richard admit he hasn’t been coping at all.

The two sit by the pond, as Richard tells her that he never expected to miss his father as much as he does because they never got along when he was alive. Sutton tells him that she didn’t know her father much at all, and that it took a long time for her to get over how he never fulfilled his promise to come see her when she turned thirteen. It’s a beautiful moment that perfectly captures why these two are my favorite couple.

Sutton opened up about her mother’s monetary issues and how they affected their relationship in the last episode, and it feels like being with Richard is helping her open up about a lot of the emotional baggage she’s been carrying in regards to her parental relationships.

They both figured it out, this episode, I think: love is only half the story, communication and kindness, that’s where the real magic happens.

I can’t stress enough how wonderful this episode was, and I can’t wait to see what goes on next week!

The Bold Type airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on Freeform.

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