Thursday, January 30, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Bold Type' - Scarlet Prepares for the Future By Reflecting on Its Significant Past in '#Scarlet'

Freeform's The Bold Type - Episode 4.02 "#Scarlet"

Kat is faced with a past regret, while Jane spirals into anxiety over her first mammogram. Sutton and Richard hit a snag with their long-distance relationship.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Freeform's The Bold Type.

"#Scarlet" was written by Wendy Straker Hauser and directed by Geary McLeod

The magazine and the digital site for Scarlet have largely operated as two separate entities. Yes, there was a strong brand identity across them. But it wasn't significant whether or not a piece was written for one specific form or the other. The main characters who work at Scarlet propped up the idea of needing there to be a difference between them. It made Jacqueline and Patrick more adversarial during the third season. However, the magazine has folded and the digital site has been expanded. That is Jacqueline's new responsibility. She finds herself having to work in a new medium that requires a different skill set. It's no longer about getting a specific issue to print for a monthly release date. Now, content can be pouring out of the company every single day. As such, changes will be coming to the Scarlet offices. Jacqueline talks about the increase of a video presence. That makes Safford yet another company that thinks pivoting to video will be the immediate cure for their dwindling subscriber numbers. It won't be. In fact, it may not be a transition that everyone is well-equipped to handle. Without a print cover, Oliver and Sutton's jobs in the fashion department could be in jeopardy. And yet, Jacqueline understands the power of that visual. As such, she leads from a place of wanting to maintain the sense of identity Scarlet has cultivated across six decades. She honors the past. That is important to her. Of course, people are criticizing her for being too introspective and not focusing on the demands of the future. In fact, she may be too oblivious to the various changes in her life. That is fascinating. She has always operated from a position of strength and pose. And now, she may be heading into the unknown. She has always been able to rely on Ian for support at home. He has now decided to no longer sit on the sidelines being supportive of her career. He wants to pursue his own interests as well. Jacqueline wants to excuse away her recent tendency to get all-consumed in her work. She can't do that. She may have to better delegate the responsibilities of running the digital site. Others can handle that pressure. She did think she was running this with Patrick after all. And now, she feels the burden to prove that she can still innovate and be a powerful voice in the conversation. That does mean providing many of her staff with new and exciting opportunities. Andrew may no longer just be Jacqueline's assistant. Yes, he lives in awe of her. But he can also become an Internet personality thanks to the fun idea of him out in the city in drag. That is a new side of him that is fierce and incredibly entertaining. Scarlet doesn't just have to be a brand discussing the serious issues of the day. Sure, it's identity has always been vague. Jacqueline frequently asks her staff to write personally about what's going on in their lives when crafting their stories. That's how she has led. And yes, the personal lives of the characters remain important. But they also have a platform where they can do a whole lot of good for the world. Kat may feel defeated because she can't help Bella come out during the launch party. However, she ultimately proves that being a supportive ally is good enough for anyone who is coming to acceptance with their sexuality. That is still of service to her community and doing good solely as a human being. It doesn't have to always be a story told through her workplace ambitions. Elsewhere, Sutton's fear of disconnecting with Richard doesn't have to be solely driven through their sexual connection. Their relationship runs much deeper than that and makes it perfectly reasonable when he proposes. She says yes and it is a celebration. Meanwhile, Jane is off on the sides feeling tentative about welcoming Ryan back into her life and not wanting to know the results of her first mammogram. Once more, she has loyal friends who help her through this difficult time. But that doesn't exactly represent a lot of strong personal growth for her. It feels like a story the show has already told with her. The other characters have developed but Jane still feels stuck in a rut to the point where it seems like she offers talking points instead of being a multi-faceted character.