Tuesday, August 7, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Bold Type' - Big Decisions are Made When Jane, Kat and Sutton Go to Paris in 'We'll Always Have Paris'

Freeform's The Bold Type - Episode 2.10 "We'll Always Have Paris"

Sutton's professional dreams come true when she jets off to Paris for Fashion Week, but while there she gains a new perspective on her situation. Jane moves forward with her fertility plan until she learns surprising news about her options and is faced with Ben and Pinstripe's different solutions. Kat faces pressure from Jacqueline to make their Paris party a success while attempting to reset her relationship with Adena.

After a successful first season, Freeform gave The Bold Type a two-season renewal under the creative vision of new showrunner Amanda Lasher. As such, the show had confidence throughout this season that it had another year of stories to tell as well. That can be very rewarding to the creative process because it gives the stories the time to actually grow. Of course, it can also be frustrating to the audience because it means having to wait for some of the big developments to happen because the show knows that we will come back no matter what. There is some resolution in this finale. And yet, that's only really felt in Sutton's story. She has a clear conclusion to both her professional and personal stories. Both are incredibly rewarding as well. Meanwhile, Kat and Jane have some rewarding moments too that highlight the growth or regression they have experienced as characters this season. But the show is also choosing to keep things up in the air for them during the hiatus for some reason. For those in the audience actually invested in the love triangle Jane is currently in, it could be so agonizing to wait until 2019 to get an answer to her decision. And yet, that's hardly the most interesting thing about her this season. She has been so defined by these two men chasing after her. They are both willing to make some incredible sacrifices for her in this finale. However, they are both too good for her because she doesn't even have the foresight to check to see if her health insurance actually covers fertility treatments. She just assumes everything will work out because the clinic she goes to takes the insurance that she has. That again proves just how naive and disorganized she can be. As such, it makes it less believable when she's the one making a passionate argument for equality in benefits in work-based insurance policies. It's absolutely an important issue that needs to be discussed. However, most of it is just done in the background here with Jane not ultimately being the central focus of whether or not this article is a success. That's not inherently bad though because it means that Sutton, Kat and Jacqueline are more at the forefront of this finale.

Jacqueline is the one ultimately risking something by publishing this article by Jane. Jane believes she's taking the fight to the company that owns Scarlet. First of all, that continues to showcase her naivety. She hasn't learned anything after her experience getting fired from Incite for speaking out against the company. In this instance though, she has Jacqueline championing her because she is already on thin ice with the board. Jane isn't aware of that. She just wants to freeze her eggs so that she doesn't have to make any big decisions about her future again for awhile. Moreover, both Ben and Ryan are willing to help her pay for it. So even if this article isn't posted and the policy doesn't change, Jane is going to be okay. She'll just have to accept this offer by choosing which of the guys she actually wants to keep dating moving forward. She claims to make that decision after Kat tells her to imagine getting big news and wondering who the first person she'll call will be. Of course, the audience is probably assuming that if anything big happens to Jane she would call Sutton or Kat before any man. As such, the experiment is doomed to fail. But that's just something the audience would be thinking because the show doesn't provide any more clarity than that. Nor does it say whether or not Jacqueline keeps her job as editor of the magazine and digital site. It certainly seems like she's being pushed out. She needs this party in Paris to go well in order to continue proving her worth and value to the brand. She believes in the importance of Jane's article. And yet, she only publishes it out of spite towards her corporate bosses who are trying to tell her how to run a women's health magazine. It's powerful even though it's bound to be very costly for her - with Jane probably not accepting her role in that at all.

Meanwhile, Kat finds herself more focused on Adena and their relationship than trying to ensure that this party is a massive success for Scarlet. She is able to do both in the end. She has the brilliant idea to make it a picture free event. Sure, that may make it difficult to get good press about the party afterwards. But it also adds a layer of mystique to the proceedings that will make it the envy of the creative community that has assembled in the city for Fashion Week. In the end, it is a rousing success as well. Plus, Kat is still able to sneak in a phone to continue doing her job for the magazine. Jacqueline asked a lot of her and she delivered on her promise. And yet, Kat is very distracted by Adena. She is wondering if she is blocked creatively because they are happy together in their relationship. It seemed like inspiration only struck after they decided to open the relationship up. They grew more distant with one another. Kat used that time to explore but no longer wishes to do that. She had her fun and experienced everything she needed to in order to feel comfortable in this relationship once more. But now, she's concerned about this dynamic not being healthy for Adena. It's particularly heartbreaking because Adena isn't even aware that this is going on. She does accept it as soon as Kat brings up her concerns. And yet, neither of them know how to move forward from it either. It's a very adult problem that they are facing that has no easy resolution. That's what makes it so compelling. It's a couple learning how to grow together even though right now it's better for one of them to spend time apart. Adena has such happy news in being able to get a visa. She wants to settle down and be with Kat. But she also wants the freedom to create and continue building a career that she is happy with while in New York.

Elsewhere, the problem that comes up in order to create tension for Sutton's job is absolutely contrived and silly. It's ridiculous that she carries this notebook with vital details about the outfits Oliver wants to take back with them into the tub with her. It's an accident just waiting to happen. It inevitably does as well. The show tries to play it off as her being absolutely thrown by Jane's news that Richard is about to get engaged. That too is a false tease that doesn't ultimately mean anything. It just throws Sutton's job into jeopardy for a little bit because Oliver explains that this week in Paris could make or break her career. It shouldn't be surprising when Sutton is able to be very impressive in the gallery as she remembers everything that Oliver wanted while convincing him to be a trendsetter in another regard. That proves that she has value and is damn good at this job. She has always been well prepared. And now, she is able to continue to prove her worth to Oliver. He is absolutely right to trust her all of the time. This is a partnership that works. It's such a rewarding moment because we get to see Sutton just crushing it at work when the time really counts. Sure, it's contrived in order to make the situation as dramatic and tense as possible. But it continues to showcase that Sutton has a keen eye. She may be freaking out and relying on her friends for love and support. But when the moment calls for it, she stands up and delivers. It's so rousing and should fill her with joy even though it doesn't. That could be a little lackluster because of the reasons why. And yet, it still feels like a twist the show has earned at this point.

Sutton is depressed even after knocking it out of the park because she is consumed with thoughts about Richard getting engaged back in New York. She loves him and believes it was a mistake to break up. She hasn't been with anyone serious since the separation. In fact, she still only has eyes for him. She has been following his relationship with his old college girlfriend. She believed they were perfect together. Oliver encourages her to follow her heart and tell Richard how she feels. It could once again be her risking it all with no guarantee that it will pay off. She did that with her career and it all worked out for the best. As such, Oliver has the confidence to give her this advice because she should absolutely trust her gut when it comes to making decisions. And in the end, she is rewarded for these feelings. She just doesn't have to leave Paris in order to do so. Richard is the one who ultimately rushes to be with her and say that they should be out as a couple again. It's a moment built as this grand romantic gesture with Sutton being able to get everything she has always wanted. Sure, she is still keeping secrets as it pertains to Richard's job and the perspective he has from the board about Jacqueline's job. But all of this also just allows her to stay in Paris and enjoy the city with her best friends. That's the final image and message the show wants to send this season. Yes, jobs and relationships are important. But friendships are much more so because they will be there for you no matter what. They are able to offer each other the clarity and wisdom to know what decisions to make and when is the right time to act. Sure, Jane causes everyone to freak out around her. But everything still works out for Jane, Sutton and Kat in the end. Yes, there are things left in limbo. But the core friendship remains strong and will remain the heart of the show moving forward.

Some more thoughts:
  • "We'll Always Have Paris" was written by Annie Weisman and directed by Tara Nicole Weyr.
  • There is just a lot of traveling this week. At times, it feels like the show is suggesting it's no big deal for all of these characters to go back and forth between New York and Paris. They have no problem just catching flights and showing up just in time to be there for their friends. It's mostly just beneficial for the story because Jane, Kat and Sutton need to be together and Richard eventually needs to show up as well.
  • When Kat and Sutton are away, Jane has to rely on Alex for advice in the fashion closet. This is an opportunity he has wanted for so long. He knows how powerful these meetings are in there. He just wasn't expecting them to be so intense. Jane needs to make this big decision and Alex isn't able to help at all. He's mostly just agreeing with every point she is making without adding much to the conversation.
  • Jane really didn't do any of the research when it came to making her health decisions. She just had to read all of the printouts that Ben gave her. Then, she was told by the receptionist about the issue with her insurance. And then, she and her friends just steal from the lobby. That's not okay. The show plays it as comedy. And yet, they are hurting this business for something that Jane failed to look into before making her appointment.
  • Richard's father dies and that's why Sutton is in such a funk about him as she travels to Paris for this major opportunity. It makes her worried about how close he already is with his new girlfriend. Meanwhile, Jane is absolutely wrong in her belief he's having an engagement ring made. Instead, he is getting custom cufflinks created based on something from his father so that he could always feel close to him.
  • It is certainly prescient that the show is telling this story about Jacqueline's job being in jeopardy during the same week that Joanna Coles - the inspiration for the character and an executive producer on the show - quit her job as the Chief Content Officer for Hearst. It's just one of those coincidences between art and real-life.