Tuesday, August 29, 2017

REVIEW: 'The Bold Type' - Jane, Kat and Sutton Have Big Decisions to Make About Their Futures in 'Before Tequila Sunrise'

Freeform's The Bold Type - Episode 1.09 "Before Tequila Sunrise"

Jane, Sutton, Alex, Pinstripe and Jacqueline are all trapped in the Scarlet offices due to a massive traffic jam. Forced to spend time together, Jane reexamines her feelings for Pinstripe. Sutton makes a surprising move. When she learns Adena is leaving New York, Kat makes an impulsive decision.

"Before Tequila Sunrise" features the trio of main characters all being forced to make big decisions about their futures. It's the season essentially building to its big climatic moments for the year. It's the penultimate episode. So, the narrative is forcing all of these decisions to be made now so the consequences can be seen in the season finale. It's a familiar way to structure the story for the season. And yet, it's still very dynamic to watch. Jane, Kat and Sutton are all dealing with their own personal issues at the moment. Plus, the show just decides to have fun by allowing them all to just relax in their traditional place of business. The majority of the characters are stuck in the Scarlet offices because of a presidential motorcade. It's the show once again being timely. It gets in a couple of good dings at the President too. Apparently, he's eating at the restaurant next door for several hours. He's ordering the most expensive meals that take a long time to prepare. It allows these characters to be in the same environment for a long time with nothing to do but drink and sit with their thoughts. As such, it's the best setting for all of these issues to come to the forefront. Jane is figuring out her professional future while Kat and Sutton are thinking about their romantic futures. They each commit to their choices by the end of the hour. Some are rewarding and some are devastating. Only the finale will reveal whether they made the right decisions.

Jane finds herself caught between two rival publications. She loves working for Scarlet. It's her childhood dream. She is working for the magazine that gave her so much comfort when she was a child. She's gotten to write stories she really cares about. She has a boss who has brought out the best within her. And yet, she's also a rotating writer. She juggles between writing serious pieces about politics and traditional click-bait articles. This week she wants to write a piece about the impact of androgynous clothing for every day people and not just celebrities. But that story is quickly passed off to Alex so that Jane can work on the month's quiz for the magazine. She isn't finding herself challenged by this material. This job is want she always hoped it would be. That stands in contrast to the new offer from Incite. It's a startup outlet that has really responded to her political coverage. The editor-in-charge over there really wants Jane to come onboard. She wants to encourage Jane as an individual journalist with no restrictions on what she can and can't write about. It sounds amazing. It's the kind of job Jane realizes that she wants because she's been within the corporate structure for awhile now which has affected the stories she writes. But it's a risk because Incite isn't as big as Scarlet is at the moment.

As one can expect, Jane is incredibly neurotic about this decision. She's writing down all of the benefits of working for each outlet. Her friends weigh in on the decision as well. Of course, Sutton and Kat want her to stay at Scarlet because she will still be working with them. And then, Pinstripe returns after dropping the news that he was just fired at his publication. All of the talk about downsizing last week actually had a casualty. It's more of an industry trend though as Pinstripe wasn't actually working for Scarlet. He just worked out of the same building. But it's a trend that must be taken seriously because it's becoming a huge part of the industry. Every outlet seems to be letting go of really good talent. Pinstripe was a popular writer. And now, he needs to spend the day in this building not sure what the future might bring. It reignites the spark between him and Jane. That's not all that surprising. She broke up with him before really allowing their relationship a chance to develop into something that she actually wanted. She wants love and didn't think Pinstripe could give that to her. Now, it's at least a possibility. She needs to have the courage to stand up and take these risks. She doesn't need to keep second guessing herself. Jacqueline is able to give her the advice she needs all while not letting it on that she read Jane's pro-pro list. And in the end, Jane does decide to take the job at Incite. It creates questions for the future. Like is this job offer going to last given the show is about the people who work at Scarlet? But Jane is at least assertive and confident with her decision in the moment which is what ultimately matters.

Sutton is forming a romantic connection as well. She's still mourning the end of her relationship with Richard. But she sees the mistake that she made in calling him and doesn't want to return his call when he reaches out again. He's a gentlemen being nice. But instead, she chooses to focus on her dynamic with Alex. For the majority of the hour, it's just playful banter between them. They are stuck in this situation with Jane and Pinstripe. So, they are having a lot of fun being in Jacqueline's office and taking the various quizzes from the last few editions of the magazine. Alex is doing Jane's story and Sutton is helping him dress the part. They put on a fashion show and it's a blast. The bonds of friendship are clear throughout this entire episode. But it's still building to a romantic moment. Sutton and Alex kiss outside the Scarlet offices after hailing a taxi. It doesn't stop there though. Sutton invites Alex back to her apartment and the two have sex. It's an intense moment of passion for both of them. And yet, there is the immediate feeling of neglect the next morning when Sutton wakes up and Alex is still there. There was drinking involved in the various shenanigans at the office. But there wasn't clearly enough to hinder either one's mental capacities. That's not a story the show seems to be suggesting right now either. It's just Sutton feeling guilty about what she has just done and what that means for the future. She loves her friendship with Alex. But is a relationship with him something she wants? She hasn't really thought about it but her actions will now force her to reevaluate everything.

Meanwhile, Kat isn't stuck at Scarlet for the evening. She was able to get out before the traffic became too intense. She left early in order to run to the airport to help Adena after she is detained. Adena isn't able to enter the country. There's a complication with her status as a visitor and her ability to enter on her visa. It's a complication that seems absolutely devastating and carries new weight because of how much the presidential administration is mentioned throughout this episode. This is a very emotional and personal story. Bureaucracy is keeping the two of them from being together. But there's only so much that can ultimately keep them apart. Kat has the financial stability to buy a first class ticket on the same flight Adena has been placed on. She is willing to make this grand romantic reunion happen. They may not be able to spend a lot of time together throughout the city. But they have a few hours of bliss together at the airpot. It's actually quite heartwarming and moving to watch as they enjoy a simple date throughout the building. Of course, there was the constant fear that they were about to get caught when they decide to have sex in the first class lounge. That fear was exciting and didn't ultimately lead to anything. But this is all building to Kat needing to make a choice. She could experience happiness with Adena in a foreign country. She wants to be with Adena and travel the world. But she also loves the stability she has in the city. She loves her friends and the job. She has to be willing to take this risk. In the end, she doesn't. She's not shamed because of it either. Adena doesn't feel betrayed because Kat doesn't get on the plane with her. This is a very personal decision. Kat just can't make it right now. That's perfectly okay as well. It's absolutely devastating because the couple is ripped apart once more. But it's still a dynamic full of so much love that will more than likely find a way back to each other soon.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Before Tequila Sunrise" was written by Lynn Sternberger and directed by Victor Nelli, Jr.
  • There is a particularly crazy cold open in this episode. Jane, Kat and Sutton are having an honest conversation in a taxi about Jane's professional decision. And then, the driver just starts taking off in order to get them to work on time while evading the presidential motorcade. It's surprising to them while also a little weird tonally compared to the rest of the episode.
  • The show has done a phenomenal job in subverting expectations when it comes to certain tropes within the genre. And yet, it does take a traditional approach when it comes to Jane leaving her notebook wide open on Jacqueline's desk for her to read. The story then becomes about Jane needing to figure out if it's there and if her boss has read it.
  • Of course, the show doesn't provide a simple answer for whether or not Jacqueline did read Jane's notebook. The way that she interacts with Jane afterwards about figuring out when to leave one's job would suggest that she did. But it's still in the exact same position the next morning when Jane comes into work to retrieve it.
  • It is a little surprising that the show doesn't recommit to Jane and Pinstripe as a couple. It could have had a full-on sex montage with all of the three leads getting some. Instead, it is just Sutton and Kat being with Alex and Adena, respectively. Also, I guess we should stop calling Pinstripe by that name since he's been fired from that publication.
  • It's fun how most of the characters just have to sit around and drink while waiting for the President to finish his long meal across the street. But it's also nice to be reminded that Jacqueline isn't a normal person. She actually knows the owner and calls to complain that the check hasn't arrived at the table yet.