Tuesday, June 11, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Bold Type' - Jane, Sutton and Kat Commit Fully to Their Careers at Scarlet in 'Breaking Through the Noise'

Freeform's The Bold Type - Episode 3.10 "Breaking Through the Noise"

When Jane and Jacqueline's exposé makes an impact, Jacqueline takes a hard look at how she can make Scarlet an industry leader that practices what it preaches. Sutton celebrates the end of her design seminar with a fashion show but surprises herself with the results. Jane deals with an emotional fallout amidst a career high. Kat makes a choice not to run from her problems anymore.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the season finale of Freeform's The Bold Type.

"Breaking Through the Noise" was written by Lijah J. Barasz, Becky Hartman Edwards & Celeste Vasquez and directed by Victor Nelli, Jr.

This season was obviously designed around the central idea of challenging Jane, Sutton and Kat's loyalty to Scarlet pertaining to their careers. They each come to the conclusion that the unity and support they get in this workplace is inspiring and important to them. And then, the season ends with Scarlet in turmoil because it could be shutting down. That is an effective cliffhanger that could easily uproot the lives of everyone. The show lays the foundation for it in an effective way as well. Sure, it could be a cliffhanger that is easily undone at the start of the next season. It's difficult to believe that Scarlet could be shuttered overnight over one decision made by Jacqueline. It would be believable that there would be a regime change at the top because the board doesn't agree with the actions done by Jacqueline and Patrick. And yet, this has always been seen as a profitable business entity for the overall company. As such, it would be silly to just close it down without any forewarning to any of the employees. That's what the final moment infers though with the furniture being taken away and the staff in tears. It all stems from Jacqueline's pursuit of holding her own business accountable. She understands that it's important to reflect on oneself in this #MeToo and #TimesUp era. She and Jane did the right thing in exposing the abuses of Pamela Dolan. But Scarlet can still do so much more to be an industry leader that practices what it preaches. It just means this finale overwhelmingly deals with the need to completely revamp the fall issue a few hours before it goes to print. Jacqueline sets up that obstacle and then delivers a speech in the end about how the staff has risen to the occasion. Sure, it may be more work than what's actually necessary. No one thinks to just reprint some of the most important articles from the website in the magazine. Instead, Jane and the other writers have to come up with new content. And yet, the show doesn't really seem to be aware of public perception. The first article that Jane Sloan will be accredited to after her Pamela Dolan piece is a fluff piece about feminists dating players. That's lame. That's also the same concern when it comes to Kat walking in Sutton's fashion show. The reaction is mostly about Sutton dressing real women and earning such a positive response. However, the story could easily have been about Kat's first public appearance since losing her city council race walking on the runway of a fashion show. Does that support the message she always projected to her supporters? Kat is faced with her own existential crisis here as well. She realizes that she can still work with community activists even though she's not in a government position. She can still use her voice. But that's mostly a lesson she has to relearn here as she realizes that she actually has work that needs to get done at Scarlet. She can no longer just pass it off to one of her assistants. She comes up with a noble campaign with a strong message. It's just mostly about getting everyone back into this workplace with no regrets. Sutton spent the entire season pursuing fashion design. And now, she does a complete u-turn by appreciating the connections on set but not the loneliness of needing to constantly create new pieces of clothing. That feels like the show wanting to make this larger point but not really caring how it gets to that destination and if it tracks with everything that has come before.

All of that pertains to the professional lives for the three lead characters though. Their personal lives also come to some crucial decisions. Jane has to decide whether to forgive Ryan after he kissed someone while on tour. She wants to stand by her convictions as someone who doesn't stay with cheaters. It's a difficult decision for her to take him back. She doesn't want to feel betrayed again. And yet, his big gesture of showing up at her public event to ask a question is absolutely wrong and horrible. First, it shows how audience questions are always the worst when it comes to those kinds of panels. Ryan takes the mic and just talks about his book tour and matters that are completely off topic and irrelevant. It's to an audience of one which doesn't serve the masses eager for insightful conversation from important voices. It shows how romantic comedy behavior is often not romantic or charming. It's fantasizing something that doesn't work in the real world. Sutton and Oliver deconstruct that fantasy for their fashion shoot. But the show mostly just goes through the motions when it pertains to calling out Ryan's behavior and Jane's decision to continue loving him. Meanwhile, Sutton tells Richard that he should pursue this dream job opportunity in San Francisco. She sees just how excited he is in helping his friend in the early planning of it. She is extending the same courtesy and support that he gave her all season long. That is an effective moment because it shows how Sutton makes smart decisions that respect her partner while not trying to change or limit him. She knows Richard needs to explore this passion. It may be tough for a moment but it should be very healthy for them in the longterm so that they don't grow to resent each other later on. That's very mature and shows that she is absolutely capable of making decisions that make sense in the context of the story this year. And finally, Kat feels the pressure to make a choice between Adena and Tia after losing the election. She has feelings for both of them. She ultimately decides to choose herself. She does so in order to avoid running away and into a relationship like she has always done in the past. She feels like she always retreats into what's known and familiar in order to avoid dealing with some difficult emotions. She wants to maintain these friendships. She just needs some independence and distance right now to truly decide on who she is. That too could be seen as very healthy for her. It's not a cop-out either. Both Tia and Adena present as having continued relevance in the show. Adena is actually hired as the in-house photographer for Scarlet. That too serves as evidence that the business will continue beyond the central cliffhanger. It also means that Kat's decision to pursue her own identity will remain complicated because she'll have to interact with Adena and Tia on an ongoing basis. So, she may not stick to her convictions as easily as she does here.