Bold Type Darlings, assemble! Our favorite trio of best friends are back, ready to take on whatever New York City has in store for them. And if they’re not ready, well, they’ll just hide in the fashion closet for a few hours. We’ve all been there. Sort of.
Here’s a quick refresher as to where we left the ladies: Jane handed in her notice at Scarlet in hopes of hard-hitting journalism glory at the “edgy digital magazine” Incite. She tired of the Butt Facial stuff, as one does. This decision will most likely blow up in her face. Who leaves the nurturing, well-toned arms of Jacqueline Carlyle? Kat received word that her role as Scarlet’s social media director would be expanding with a huge digital push and several underlings to boss around. She celebrates by being brave and going to Peru to spend a few weeks with Adena. She’s all in. Sutton’s romantic relationship was left a little less defined. She had ended things with Alex (who, BTW, in the two weeks that have passed in show time has gotten a Smoking Hot Makeover) because she was still pining for Richard. Based on the eyes he was giving her in the elevator, Richard felt the same.
Pretty quickly, though, Sutton and Richard’s relationship has the possibility of becoming a bit more concrete. After a merger at the publishing company and in the wake of #MeToo, they’re changing some HR policies. One of those policies, as Richard explains in a sexual harassment seminar for Scarlet employees, is that two employees can date as long as they sign a Consensual Relationship Contract. With this new policy in place, Richard and Sutton could sign the contracts and be open about their relationship. When Sutton asks Richard if it really could be this simple, he says some very swoony things that basically mean: Let’s start our lives together. Oh, Richard!
After a fashion-closet chat with Kat, she decides to take the leap and schedule a meeting with HR to sign the contract. This is happening.
Until it’s not.
Sutton and Kat overhear another fashion assistant — her name is Mitzi, so you just know — gossiping about how Sutton is sleeping with Alex in order to get stylist credits in the magazine. I’m sorry, does Mitzi even go here?
Thankfully, our girls immediately call Mitzi out for being terrible. Sutton is excellent at her job! She isn’t sleeping with Alex! And also, mind your own business. Mitzi feels no remorse and continues to be demeaning. She shouldn’t be allowed to set foot in that sacred fashion closet.
The whole debacle has Sutton rethinking things. She tells Alex that she shouldn’t be styling his shoots anymore because of the gossip. It’s sad to see someone so talented — Rachel Antonoff is a fan! — have to sacrifice success because of something like this. She knows it will only get worse if she goes public with Richard. Alex is one thing, but Richard is older and on the board. Sutton knows the relationship going public won’t affect him much, but the stigma will follow her. No matter how well she does, she fears people will always say she slept her way to the top. “That double standard is one of the classic-rock hits of the patriarchy,” she tells Jane while deciding what to do. Jane offers her roomie some advice: She needs to decide what she can risk — her career or her love life. No one said it was reassuring advice.
Sutton heads to the Scarlet cover reveal party with a big decision to make. But when she stands there listening to Rachel Antonoff singing her praises to Oliver, Sutton knows what she has to do. She finds Richard upstairs alone and tells him she can’t sign the contract. Yes, she’s giving up a future with someone who loves her — but she needs to bet on her career. The whole thing is heartbreaking — crying in formal wear is just so tragic — and it seems like Sutton and Richard are really over. She chose her career over a man, which is awesome, but it’s a shame that the choice had to be made at all.
Also having a really terrible day: Jane. Incite is not Scarlet, and she keeps forgetting. No one appreciates her cute outfits (“they’re more hoodie than haute couture”), nor her affinity for portmanteaus. She’s launching her own vertical for the site and wants to focus on millennial women who are changing the world. Her feminist army, of sorts. When she pitches her first subject — Emma Cox, a woman who founded a menstrual-cup company that donates cups to homeless women — the Incite crew is not impressed. Menstrual cups are old news! One woman there makes her own tampons! (I have so many follow-ups about that piece of info — mainly, why?) There’s nothing exciting here. But Jane wins her argument with passion and pluck.
She meets with Emma, who seems to be a very well-put-together millennial boss woman. The problem comes when Jane visits the organization where the menstrual cups are donated. Apparently, three women were sent to the hospital with infections after using them. As the kind woman explains to Jane, the women here don’t have access to basic facilities, so a product that needs to be constantly sanitized isn’t practical — it’s made for the privileged. She alerted Emma to this problem, and they stopped the donations. Jane is curious, then, why Emma’s company is still advertising their donation program. When Jane questions Emma, she explains that she can’t afford to lose investors. They are working on disposable cups, but she needs to keep up the ruse in order to have funding. It puts Jane in a bit of a bind. She doesn’t want to tear down Emma, but what’s going on is super shady. You know what Jane needs? A Jacqueline Carlyle pep talk.
Too bad! She can’t have one. She gave up the right to having a fierce woman make her feel like everything is going to be okay when she handed in her notice. Sorry, Jane!
Jane does a little “What Would Jacqueline Carlyle Do?” thinking sesh with Sutton and decides she’ll just write the truth — sometimes people go into something with good intentions, but end up causing harm. That’s part of life. It’s an angle of which Jane can be proud.
Unfortunately, when she takes a look at the article on Incite the next day, she sees that her editor Victoria made some changes. Big ones. It’s basically a hit piece on Emma Cox. The new title? “Emma Cox: Bloody Fraud.”
So, that’s not great.
The only one of our girls who has a happy ending in this hour is Kat, and she, um, has to work for it, so to speak. Kat is riding a post-vacation high. She and Adena had a fabulous time together in Peru and now Adena has a three-month visa to keep her in the U.S. while she looks for work. Kat is in love and she doesn’t care who knows it! In fact, she wants everyone to know it. She’s posting all over social media, kissing Adena in the office when she comes to visit, and letting unsuspecting cabbies know about her heart exploding.
Kat’s also kicking ass at work. She’s back and ready to take on her expanded position — and that includes showing the stuffy board what’s up with digital media.
The point is that everything’s coming up Kat. It’s why she’s so surprised when she and Adena head to the Scarlet cover reveal party and something’s off. She doesn’t want to walk the red carpet with Kat, and furthermore she isn’t a fan of the PDA and social media dump. She thinks this relationship is still too fragile to be moving this fast. Kat’s confused since they just spent two weeks traveling and now are basically living together. Things boil up until Adena tells her that she’s confused because Kat wants to show her off and be committed, but can’t even go down on her. Adena says this just as Sutton and Jane arrive. It’s not a great situation.
The girls make an impromptu fashion closet in the coat room and Kat opens up to her friends: She’s been avoiding oral sex with Adena because she’s scared. She might not be good at it, or she might hate it. Her gal-pals remind her that she’s new at the whole thing and that’s okay. When Kat gets home, she finally opens up to Adena about her fears and the two have a frank conversation about cunnilingus, “the Last Frontier.” Adena understands and doesn’t want Kat to do anything she isn’t ready to do — and just talking about it satisfies the intimacy Adena craves. That reassurance is all Kat needs, and that night in bed, she finally goes down on her girlfriend.
Casual reminder: You just watched an hour of television about oral sex and menstrual cups on a network that used to be called ABC Family. The world is wild, man.