No Technical Difficulties Here: S03E05 of The Bold Type
So, I usually try to write reviews for season premieres and season/series finales only, but after watching last night's The Bold Type, I had to make an exception!
I could have simply tweeted my thoughts about the ep to the show's cast and crew, but what I want to say is definitely longer than 280 characters and I think a blog post from me for the show is long overdue. So, here goes! #SpoilerAlert
Last night's episode, titled, "Technical Difficulties", was anything but. Yes, Scarlet did fall prey to a cyber data hack, Kat got mixed signals from her campaign manager Tia (Alexis Floyd), and Richard was looking at real estate in Connecticut without discussing it with Sutton first, all while Jane was trying her best not to tell-off Patrick (Peter Vack) when he very unexpectedly arrived at their dinner party; but, aside from all this, season 3 episode 5 was the first episode in all three seasons where I took notice of how geniusly well-put together it truly was.
In past episodes, the tone has always somewhat been carefree and light. Jane, Sutton and Kat going about their daily lives, facing mostly minor problems, and patching things up at the end of the episode, together. But there was something more, something deeper about last night's episode.
The first thing I noticed was that the ladies seemed 10x more mature and grown-up; and this was even before meeting Richard's, *cough*, "Hunter's" best friends from Connecticut, Dev (Mark Ghanimé), Quinn (Melissa Paulson) and Michelle (Helena Marie). The ladies' noticeable growth started with Jane approaching Ingrid (Lyla Porter-Follows), one of the subjects of her biggest story to-date, head-on, with Jacqueline right by her side, and eventually led to Kat blatantly coming out with her feelings towards Tia, despite Tia's rejection, to ending with both Jane and Sutton standing up for themselves against their male counterparts, Patrick and Richard, respectively. While Scarlet was on shut-down, Jane, Sutton and Kat were getting pumped up for the evening ahead.
The episode was centred around Sutton's and Richard's small dinner party for Richard's friends, and it was during these scenes that I tipped my hat to the show's writers, directors and actors.
Before the party even started, Sutton was caught off guard by the real estate email thread between Richard and Quinn, and Patrick pitied his way right into a personal invite from Richard to the party. By the time the party was underway, there was already understandably slight tension between Sutton and Richard and thick tension between Jane and Patrick. I mean, who willingly parties with their boss outside of work (unless it's Jacqueline)? Imagine not knowing a boss like Patrick is on his way to ruin your evening.
Hence, there was an immediate "US vs. THEM" vibe between Sutton, Kat and Jane and Quinn, Dev and Michelle. New York versus Connecticut; not having any children versus worrying about school districts; Sutton yearning a career in design versus Quinn thinking it was just a phase; and most of all, youth versus being older. The writers did a superb job pairing each character with their foils and carefully controlling the way conflict erupted.
The second thing I noticed was that Quinn seemed to be picking on Sutton throughout the night. Earlier, she pointed out how addicted to her phone Suttton was. But, it was her uncomfortable exchange with Sutton during dinner that exposed her true thinking. When Sutton got the call from Julian Grant personally welcoming her into the seminar, Quinn mentioned how a friend of hers did something similar with Paris Fashion Week and that she would give Sutton her friend's number. Sutton respectively declined, stating how she was more interested in high-end fashion than designing kids' clothes like Quinn's friend.
Upon noticing Sutton's excitement, Quinn, quite obviously, commented sarcastically, "Oh! I just... LOVE how passionate you are", which upped the tension in the room. She added, "Honestly, I miss those days", speaking to Dev. "Remember, when I was in that phase and I was gonna open up that bakery?" Up until this statement, I was giving Quinn the benefit of the doubt, but I'm glad that Sutton noticed Quinn's tone and stood up for herself and her choices, saying, "Um, this isn't really a phase, it's a pretty serious career move... I get it! You guys seem to be really happy in Connecticut. You've got a house and a backyard, a pool. But me, I love design, I love the city and the life that I'm building here."
This exchange must have triggered Michelle who broke down crying about the troubles with her son and the commute, which I thought was an excellent juxtaposition to Dev and Quinn who were trying to pass off life in Connecticut as perfection. As much as Dev and Quinn were putting up a united front to try to sell life in Connecticut as what works for them (and apparently every other adult in the world), Michelle's outburst outted the reality of any situation; my side, your side and the truth.
What also stood out to me during Sutton's and Quinn's exchange was Richard's deliberate positioning between the two. Sitting between his current girlfriend and one of his closest long-time friends allowed him to see the situation from the outside-in and watch the exchange unfold right in front of him; like a tennis match, turning his head from left to right. Of course, he ended up siding with Sutton, because he is now Richard, no longer "Hunter", and as excited as he was to see his long-time friends and go down memory lane, the writers did an excellent job in making this known.
In fact, as I alluded to earlier, the writers and director also did an amazing job with how they wanted each instance of conflict to unfold. While Sutton, Jane and Kat were trying to be on their best behaviour for Richard's sake, Scarlet was still in a state of uproar, which was parallel to what the dinner party was about to be. Apparently, Patrick really needed to vent and be amongst actual people who weren't his colleagues (despite accepting an invite to a colleague's dinner party), because he could not shut up about the #SaffordHack. But little did he know, he was about to be #muted for the rest of the night.
When Patrick asked Jane if there was nothing she was worried about getting out during Scarlet's hack, he must not have picked up on (or ignored) Jane's obvious annoyance and basically asked for what came next. Jane "hit" Patrick with her drinking game. One sip for everytime Patrick doesn't like an article of Jane's, two sips for everytime Jane catches Patrick meditating at his desk, and a shot everytime Jane hears Patrick say "namaste".
Trying to veil his embarrassment, Patrick asked, "You're drinking in the office?", to which Jane replied, "Oh coffee mostly, but the point is, that is all in my email. That and a lot worse things that can hurt you, me and a lot of people. Oh, but I did see that #SaffordHack was trending today because of you, so, congratulations, because while u were in the boardroom making whatever point it is you were trying to make, the rest of us were freaking out over what's gonna happen. So, that's my take, since u asked."
Although this powwow had been building up for a long time between Jane and Patrick, somehow, in that moment, it didn't sting as hard as I thought it would have. Again, I attribute this to the writers and director, who, followed it with Sutton's phone ringing with the good news. The tension almost immediately shifted from Jane and Patrick to Sutton and Quinn, then to Michelle, which, how I see it, evenly dispersed all the awkwardness. In fact, by the time Michelle started crying, Patrick could be seen holding her shoulders and mouthing to everyone to "keep eating". I don't know if this was intentional on the writers' and director's part, but I argue that it was because it showed a more human, less robotic side of Patrick that was fully exposed by the end of the episode. I still don't know why Patrick is the manager of Scarlet's dot com, but he has undoubtedly become a character we love to hate, which Jane so elegantly revealed for all of us.
As for Kat, I was hoping that she and Tia did not end up together and I was quite happy that they didn't. It's not that I don't want Kat to find love like Jane and Sutton have, but it might be that I want Kat to fall in love with a guy rather than a girl. Her relationship with Adena was intense, and also wasn't my favourite, but I like that Kat has added yet another layer to her life by running for City Council. I tweeted a few times that Tia "was doing THEE most", but I'm glad that Kat confronted her with her feelings. (Go Kat!) There was no beating around the bush. How else was Kat supposed to know if she didn't ask? Ask and you shall receive, right? However, when Tia told Kat that she may be confused, I saw that as a foreshadowing to Tia possibly being confused. There's no way someone who is simply "getting to know their candidate" is out here complimenting everything about the person and ditching a date with someone they were excited to see, just to hang with their "candidate".
Yes, Scarlet can sometimes get hacked and the employees and managers have to deal with everything that comes with that; yes there is an age difference between Richard and Sutton, but Sutton was able to prove that just because Richard and his friends have past lives from when they were Sutton's age, that his life now with her is here to stay, whether his friends like it or not; and yes Jane can exist and thrive with both Jacqueline and Patrick as her bosses.
I loved the episode! I loved the overall theme of past and present and choosing which one counts the most (or finding a balance between the two). I absolutely love Sutton and Richard (my fave couple); I love that Jane finally cleared her conscience and patched things up with Patrick; and I love that Kat confronted Tia about her mixed signals. This episode displayed the reality of everything.
S03E05's Cast: Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee, Meghann Fahy, Sam Page, Melora Hardin, Alexis Floyd, Peter Vack, Adam Capriolo, Helena Marie, Mark Ghanimé, Melissa Paulson, Lyla Porter-Follows, Shyrley Rodriguez, Dan Jeannotte.
Directed By: Anna Mastro
Written By: Celeste Vasquez & Lijah Barasz
Created By: Sarah Watson
Airs: Tuesdays, 8pm EST (FreeForm)