Tuesday, June 19, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Bold Type' - Jane Struggles Finding Work While Adena Gets a New Opportunity in 'The Scarlet Letter'

Freeform's The Bold Type - Episode 2.03 "The Scarlet Letter"

Sutton is in an awkward position when she is put in charge of hiring a photographer for an accessories shoot, and Kat asks her to hire Adena. Jane follows around a cute and altruistic doctor named Ben for her latest article. Scarlet's newest board member, Cleo, causes Jacqueline to defend her role at the magazine.

Jane is absolutely dealing with some adversity in her career at the moment. It's important for her to be dealing with those consequences as well. Yes, she was put in an awkward situation where she didn't feel comfortable with the work being put out with her name attached. Victoria chose to be an editor with the final word on the subject instead of trying to help her writer produce a better article. But Jane contributed to the uncertainty in her career too. She wasn't comfortable with Incite publishing this story when it wasn't completely factual. They didn't want to highlight any of the nuance of the situation. They just wanted to expose a fraud for lying to her board and financiers. That's the kind of journalism they aspire to do. Jane was always going to be a bad fit at Incite because of that kind of corporate mission statement. They were asking her to change so much of who she was. And now, her words are following her around and making her a tainted journalist. She was baffled that Victoria fired her. And yet, Victoria was in the right because Jane decided to speak against her company in an interview instead of having a meaningful conversation with Victoria at the office. As such, she couldn't be trusted to actually listen and grow in this environment. Jane is still just finding her voice as a writer and learning how to be a part of this business. She left Scarlet for a reason. And now, she believes that she can just safely land a new job without having to do a whole lot of hard work. It's important for her to be faced with a mountain of rejection because no one wants to hire her with the uncertainty that she won't speak candidly about whatever news organization she is working for. She simply can't be trusted to be a supporter of the overall brand. And right now, branding is important. So is having an editorial staff that is willing to encourage and support new and diverse voices. Jane does have a unique perspective of the world. But right now, no one feels comfortable having her around because she is still in the public spotlight because of her firing at Incite.

All of this seemed to be building to the foregone conclusion that Jane would be back at Scarlet working for Jacqueline. She still craves her opinion more than anyone else in the world. She wants to hear from Jacqueline that she has done a good job. She worries that Jacqueline has seen the meme and the interview. She fears that her mentor will suddenly think less of her now because of the way that she handled this situation. And yes, Jacqueline can tell that there were mistakes made on both sides of this issue. Incite never should have hired Jane in the first place because she didn't have the tools to actually thrive in that environment. But Jane is also hoping that she won't have to deal with the consequences of her actions simply by getting her job back at Scarlet. No one has replaced her yet. And so, she thinks it will be an easy thing for her to do. It means that she would be back working in the same building as her best friends. They've all missed their hangouts in the fashion closet talking about the various things going on in their lives. And yet, it's not as easy as that. Nor should it be. Jacqueline understands the importance of this moment for Jane. She could easily get the money to rehire her. She cares about her and wants her to succeed in this industry. But she also doesn't see any good in making this an easy transition for her. She has to live in this failure for a little bit in order to be humbled by it while understanding the mistakes that were made. Yes, that could be seen as cruel. But Jacqueline also frames it as a vital learning lesson for Jane with the possibility of them being able to address the situation again sometime in the future. But Jane immediately takes it as a heartbreaking defeat. She lost her dream job and has no where else to go. It's so crushing for her. And yet, this feels like the direction the story should be going in at the moment.

Moreover, Jane's life is already starting to fill up with ways to keep her busy. Sure, she is rejected by every news organization she calls in hopes of finding a new job quickly. She only gets one interview and that's only because the editor hasn't done his work ahead of time to realize that Jane is a potential problem for him. Instead, she just sees it as a challenge to win him over. She got into this room. She understands the series the outlet is currently working on. As such, she wants to prepare a pitch to prove that she could still be an asset. She is determined to make this job work. She doesn't want to be a freelancer. And yet, that may be the way for her to weather the storm at the moment. She just has to continue doing the job and hope that there are organizations out there that will actually be interested in her work. Jane was rejected at Incite because of her article. That means she should let her writing shine and show the world that she has a necessary perspective. She should let her voice and her stories determine her career. That could eventually lead to a stable job for her. Right now, it has to be enough to supplement her income. And so, she is able to interview her new friend, Dr. Ben, as he works at a hospital for the underprivileged doing the paperwork and delivering babies for those who really need this help the most. It's a chaotic environment for Jane. And yet, she is excited by seeing Ben in this world and how much he actually cares about people. He is much better interacting with other people than he was as a model last week. No, it doesn't really help his personality all that much. But it's also enough for Jane to feel important about her writing again. That's necessary too.

Elsewhere, Sutton is agonizing over a choice she has to make regarding an accessories shoot that she is put in charge of by Oliver. She is tasked with finding a new photographer to take the pictures. Oliver doesn't want it going to anyone's head that they have creative freedom and input if they are simply doing jobs like this for the magazine. He wants to keep rotating people in. Sutton has already been looking to recruit one photographer she has noticed on Instagram who has gained a lot of attention very quickly. She is eager to bribe him with Yankees tickets so that he's willing to come shoot accessories for Scarlet for its upcoming issue. And yet, Kat has the bright idea to suggest Adena for the job. Now, Adena was introduced as this photographer with her work on display in galleries. She was provoking opinions and statements because of what she was choosing to depict. She is an artist that way. She's not a commercial photographer who is trying to make a living taking pictures for other people to use. She is making a living selling her work and hoping to get enough attention through a bold exhibit to stay in America and continue her relationship with Kat. As such, Sutton has the worry that Adena won't be able to deliver the product that the magazine needs for this shoot. She has complete faith in her having the skills to do so. But it also feels like a step down for her talent considering the other pictures she has taken throughout the series. Sutton is feeling the pressure though because it would be hiring a friend who needs the work. Adena needs opportunities like this in order to extend her visa. It's important. All it takes is one pep talk with Jacqueline for Sutton to realize that this is possibly a risk that is worth investing in. It could still go wrong. But she is willing to take that chance.

And then, the shoot happens and Sutton is worrying about every single detail. She wants to stick to the concept even though Adena is doing her best to deliver the product while changing the design a little bit. Sutton takes it as Adena not having respect for her and the vision she is bringing to this shoot. She has a deadline to meet and a product to deliver. She can't just waste time setting up these bold shots. It's an argument that has the possibility of creating a whole lot of tension amongst the friend group. Adena overhears and understands that she just needs to do exactly as she was told. It's only then that Sutton realizes that this concept is actually bad. It doesn't really belong or fit in with what the next monthly issue is going to be about. Scarlet is highlighting body positivity. It's something that Jacqueline is very passionate about because she wants every woman to know they should feel confident and happy in whatever body they have no matter their size or marks. As such, Sutton and Adena are able to collaborate on the idea of doing a nude shoot where the accessories stand out against the backdrop of bodies that aren't touched up at all. It's an idea that could risk Sutton's job. She isn't delivering what she was suppose to. She is taking such a huge creative risk in the hopes that it pays off. She still has the shots Oliver signed off on if he wants to feature them in the magazine. But in the end, this is a creative decision that works out for Sutton. That's very fortunate. She continues to excel at work. This season is highlighting all of the new opportunities Kat and Sutton have been getting at Scarlet. They are killing it at work. Jane is the one facing new difficulties. And yet, it will be fascinating to see a big risk not pay off for either Kat or Sutton as well. Everything does work out here because it sends a powerful message. This is still a very collaborative environment. But it should be interesting to see if things will continue going well for Kat and Sutton this season.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Scarlet Letter" was written by Céline Geiger and directed by James Travis.
  • New board member, Cleo, does not approve of the body positivity issue because she believes it's encouraging women to be unhealthy. That makes sense given her background as the CEO of a fitness company. As such, it appears that she is taking a more adversarial position with Jacqueline this season even though they are both supportive of having another woman in this world to break up the boardrooms of all of the straight white men.
  • Talking with Sutton in the fashion closet also gets Jacqueline inspired enough to write again. She shares the story of how she was first given a job as an intern just because the former editor of Scarlet saw her writing every day in a local café. And now, it's a way for her to return to her roots by writing down her own feelings and explanation for why she is exploring whatever the issue of the month will be for Scarlet. She feels empowered doing so.
  • Adena never wants her relationship with Kat to get in the way of Kat's friendships with Jane and Sutton. She doesn't want to break up the bond that they have with each other. She sees just how special and meaningful it is. She does appreciate Kat giving her this opportunity to work. But she doesn't want her to risk her friendships because she is so worried about the visa problems that could arise in the future.
  • Jane continues to act surprised whenever it seems likely that Ben wants to keep seeing her. She asks Sutton for his number while wondering if he remembers her from the other night. Then, she is surprised when he texts to ask her out. She quickly says yes. That's the direction this story was heading in. But it's also important for Jane to have more self-confidence and awareness of her own actions.
  • When Jane isn't working the phone trying to find a new job, she is cleaning the apartment and drinking lots of wine. She is encouraging it with Kat and Sutton as well. It's not appropriate for them to take a shot before work. After work, it's completely fine though - even though it's made awkward by Jane obsessively washing dishes and not completely drying them before pouring the wine as Sutton soon finds out.