The Bold Type Recap: Real Women Have Zits

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A scene from The Bold Type. Photo: Phillippe Bosse/Freeform
The Bold Type

The Bold Type

The Scarlet Letter Season 2 Episode 3
Editor's Rating 4 stars

It’s the Body Positivity issue at Scarlet this month and while most people are super excited about the whole thing — Kat and Sutton geek out over the fabulous Tess Holliday swinging by the office to take over Scarlet’s Snapchat — not everyone is thrilled. Fitness mogul and “Resident Pain in Jacqueline’s Ass” Cleo informs Jacqueline that the board isn’t happy with the “Fat & Fit” article that’s currently in the layout. Cleo explains that the science isn’t there for that and she doesn’t want the magazine promoting it — and the board agrees with her. Jacqueline attempts to explain that Scarlet is promoting the idea that there isn’t one ideal body type and that self-love is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body. Cleo doesn’t care and shuts her down. They need to replace the article. So, Cleo’s a dick.

In true Jacqueline fashion, if Cleo is getting to her, our editor-in-chief doesn’t let it show. Instead, she reminds Cleo who is running this magazine. Inspired by a conversation with Sutton about how Jacqueline started out as a writer, she decides to get her self-love message out the only way she can — she writes about it. She has resurrected Scarlet’s “Letter From the Editor,” now cheekily named “The Scarlet Letter,” and she makes sure Cleo knows the first one is all about fat and fit not being mutually exclusive. Oh, and Cleo, Jacqueline has a lot more to say and she’s looking forward to getting it out there in Scarlet every month. Oh boy, we’re headed toward a big showdown between these two and I am very much, as the kids say, HERE FOR IT.

Sutton isn’t quite so self-assured during her Body Positivity issue crisis. Oliver has to head upstate to deal with a disaster of a photo shoot — the designer dropped out because he doesn’t want his brand associated with anything above a size zero, is a terrible person, etc. — and leaves Sutton in charge of a simple in-studio accessories shoot. She feels good about the added responsibility, there’s a look book to follow, and everything is laid out for her, but she is left to find a photographer. She’s been eyeing one up on Instagram, but when Kat hears Sutton is hiring, she asks her friend for a big favor. Adena is having trouble finding work and could use a gig to help with her temporary visa. She wants Sutton to consider her for the shoot.

Sutton says she’ll look at Adena’s portfolio, but it’s clear she’s apprehensive. Adena is much more artsy and abstract than what she needs for this editorial. This is a huge opportunity for Sutton to prove herself and she doesn’t want to mess it up by being guilted into hiring her friend’s girlfriend.

The Bold Type has been praised for how it handles topical issues, but it should also be lauded for how it handles friendships. Romance is fun but the relationships between the three leads remains paramount, and taking time to dedicate a storyline to something like this is quite lovely. Exploring the complexities of friendship can be just as interesting as the Important Stuff. Don’t forget it!

Sutton and Kat have a tense conversation in which Sutton tries to kindly tell her friend that Adena is just way off brand, but Kat continues to push; can’t she give Adena a chance? She’s a pro! Sutton doesn’t understand why Kat can’t see how huge this shoot is for her. They leave things in an awkward spot.

Sutton seeks refuge in the fashion closet, where she happens to run into Jaqueline, looking for an outfit accessory. Of course Jacqueline says all the right things, telling Sutton that she only got her first shot because the editor-in-chief of Scarlet at the time took a chance on a young writer, and sometimes the biggest wins come from giving people a chance. And so, even though she’s still anxiety-ridden about the whole thing, Sutton hires Adena. This should all be totally cool and work out just as planned, right?

Um, no. Sutton is already expecting the worst, so when she walks in and Adena tells her she has some ideas to make it more interesting, Sutton’s mouth says, “Okay, you can try it,” but her eyes say, “I’m screaming internally.” Kat shows up to check on how everything is going and gets an earful from Sutton. Your girlfriend is going full “edgy protest art!” She doesn’t respect my authority! She’s too different! Things like that. I mean, all Adena wants to do is crush up the candy they are using as the background, but Sutton is on a roll, so I’ll stay out of her way.

Poor Adena overhears the argument and abruptly goes back to the original plan. Sutton feels guilty, and the two ladies have an honest conversation about what’s going on. Adena apologizes for not being more respectful of what Sutton wants and reminds her that, yes, they are different, but they both care for Kat very much. It’s a nice moment, even nicer because they can both come together and see that Adena was right — the concept for the shoot is terrible. Sutton decides to improvise and Adena is on board: Since the issue is all about real women, they’re going to use real women — with “pimples and moles and stretch marks, oh my!” — to showcase the accessories. Those real women happen to be Sutton, Kat, and Jane. The girls bare it all for Scarlet. Why they had to be completely naked, who knows. Those girls love stripping down.

It’s a huge risk, but Oliver takes a look at the photos and loves them. So everyone wins! Sutton gets an A+ on her assignment, Oliver is now a fan of Adena’s work, and we all get to watch a very cute scene in which Kat and Adena agree to never let their relationship get in the way of Kat’s friendships; Adena loves how much Kat’s friends mean to her. Aw, those two!

From the Back Page

• Kudos to The Bold Type for not letting Jane get off so easy in her unemployment. After one day, she gets an interview and I was ready to shout about its unrealistic portrayal of the job hunt, but she gets recognized as the #SorryNotSorry girl and no one wants to work with a writer who threw her company under the bus in such a spectacular fashion. She’s allowed to pitch a freelance article, but that’s it.

• Again, when Jane goes to ask Jacqueline for her job at Scarlet back, I was prepping to throw something for it being that easy, but I should’ve known better. Jacqueline has already reallocated Jane’s salary to the digital relaunch and anyway, she thinks it’s better that Jane “live in her failure” for a little while.

• Not everything is terrible in Jane’s life! She shadows Dr. Ben for her freelance piece on healthcare for low-income women and he is somehow even more adorable than he was last week. He carries around a boombox and has laboring moms dance in order to dilate without drugs. I mean, it’s probably not fun for the women about to push a human out of their bodies, but it’s fun for us!

• Okay, what’s up with Alex? Now he’s dropping the fact that he uses Le Labo body wash. He is so mysterious this season and we need more time with him.

• We finally get a full look at Jane and Sutton’s converted two-bedroom and it is (New York) gigantic. They can fit a table in their kitchen! And there’s an actual entryway! AND BUILT-INS. This fashion assistant and newly unemployed writer are living the New York dream.

• “It’s called greasing the skids, kid. Someday I’ll show ya how the world really works.”

The Bold Type Recap: Real Women Have Zits