Like Sutton and Jane, we were all waiting to hear how Kat’s first trip downtown with Adena went. After the three ladies figure out exactly which Squeeze Press location they’re supposed to be meeting at for their morning download (how bad are the subway delays for a person in Brooklyn and a person in midtown to take the same amount of time to get to Madison Square Park?), Kat spills: She loved it and things with Adena are really, really good.
So good, in fact, that Kat wants Adena to meet her parents. Susan and Marcus, both psychiatrists, seem wonderful. Susan even hugs Adena upon first meeting her. Hugs! Susan and Marcus are happy to see their daughter so happy. The dinner is going swimmingly until Kat brings up a conflict at work.
With the new digital push at Scarlet, Jacqueline wants to make Kat the face of their social media — and that includes having a bio ready for press releases, speaking engagements, etc. It seems like an easy-enough task, but this little bio brings the angst. Kat asks Alex for his professional writerly opinion and his main note is that she’s missing the opportunity to celebrate that she’s Scarlet’s first black female department head. She could be a role model to so many young black girls — why is she shying away from that? Things get heated as Kat gets defensive. She doesn’t want her race to play a factor in her accomplishments; she’s offended that Alex would question her blackness. The conversation does not end well.
When she tells her parents about it, they agree with her — she doesn’t need to label herself. Raising a biracial daughter (Kat’s dad is black, her mom is white), Marcus and Susan made the choice to shield Kat from the label of race. But Adena sees it a different way: She proudly wears her label of Muslim lesbian. A phone call interrupts the conversation, but later Adena tells Kat that what she wants to write in her bio is up to her, no one else. Has anyone ever talked about a bio more than this?
The whole evening leaves Kat’s head spinning. When she runs into Alex again, she opens up to him. Her story about being a child and not knowing which bubble to fill in under “race” on standardized tests because whichever one she chose, she’d be denying one parent, is a heartbreaker. Alex reminds Kat that she isn’t a kid anymore and standing up for who you are matters.
Kat’s inspired by her chat with Alex and she wants to get the truth from her parents: Why do they avoid the topic of race in their family? Marcus explains that he grew up in a very divided world and he doesn’t want Kat to be labeled. Susan tearfully admits that she doesn’t want to be Kat’s “white mom,” she just wants to be her mom. It’s all very complicated, but in the end, Marcus and Susan echo Alex and Adena: It’s up to Kat to take whatever ownership of her identity that she wants to. Which is maybe part of the problem? Kat is only now realizing she grew up as a biracial girl wearing rose-colored glasses, oblivious to some real issues going on in the world, especially for women who look like her. And so she adds “black female” to her bio — she thinks it’s time she embraces this part of who she is.
Someone else at Scarlet is having a tough subject illuminated for her, as well. Sutton broke things off with Richard, but the lingering rumor about her getting preferential treatment because of who she is sleeping with will not go away. Damn you, Mitzi!
In the wake of #MeToo, Jacqueline wants to do a fashion spread celebrating everyday male allies. Interesting take for Jacqueline, but it introduces us to Dr. Ben who I hope is going to be around for a little while, so okay. Oliver (we’re getting more Oliver this season and it is wonderful) loathes working with commoners, so he puts Sutton in charge of the male subjects, noting how much men seem to like her. Mitzi is basically doing an evil villain laugh but with her eyes.
Sutton begins to question whether Oliver gave her the job on this shoot because she’s talented or because she’s known as the office flirt. She is second-guessing every move she makes and falls completely off her game. She’s taking incorrect measurements, avoiding touching the male models as much as possible, and when asked to get Dr. Ben (he runs a free clinic and has a perfect jawline — very swoonworthy) to loosen up on camera, she fails miserably. Oliver is growing increasingly impatient, but it is Jacqueline who takes Sutton aside to figure out what’s going on with the star fashion assistant.
Sutton explains the whole situation and that she’s trying to change how she acts in the workplace. Though Jacqueline agrees it is always a good thing to check yourself in this regard, you can’t lose who you are — and Sutton is a people person. She has a “magnetic personality” and she can’t let gossip “dim the light” that makes her who she is. Oh Jacqueline, I know you’re not a hugger but envelop me in those nurturing arms of yours.
Sutton is back! She gets Dr. Ben laughing in no time — the shoot is saved! But Sutton’s not finished reclaiming her self-worth. She has a frank conversation with Mitzy: She tells the Big Mitz to quit it with the slut-shaming. If she wants to compete with Sutton, let it be with her talent. So, like, scram, Mitzy! No one wants you here.
Sutton celebrates a good day by downing shots with the handsome commoner models and dancing with her girls. As she is entitled to.
From the Back Page
• Jane’s racked with guilt over her article on Emma, and leaves an apology voicemail. Emma’s so pissed she tweets the voicemail out and it becomes a viral sensation. It is tres embarrassing for both Jane and Incite, so Victoria makes Jane go on the local news to clear the air. Instead of rebuilding Incite’s reputation, she talks about how it’s wrong to sensationalize a story just for clicks. It does not go over well with Victoria — and she promptly fires Jane. Uh-oh. Little Jane has a big problem.
• Before going to her interview, Victoria tells Jane she needs to lose the Scarlet wardrobe and dress more Incite-appropriate. This is a hard-hitting journalism site, after all! Apparently that means low pony, glasses, and a flannel shirt. You guys, I laughed so hard at this outfit. I do not understand Incite. Also I hate it there.
• There’s a small silver lining: Sutton introduces Jane to Dr. Ben because they both make weird to-do lists. Could it be love at first bullet point?
• Jacqueline gets her own storyline! The Bold Type is opening up its world a little in season two and I am here for it. Jacqueline is introduced to the new board member, Cleo Williams, a digital fitness guru who sums up her ability to run a fitness empire and spend time with her family by saying, “I guess I can make my own rice cakes and eat them too.” Jacqueline doesn’t mime gagging herself, but I understand what’s going on behind those eyes.
• Jacqueline and Richard have poker nights?! Who else is there? Do they also have excellent bone structure?
• Speaking of Richard, is he the saddest sack now or what? When Jacqueline asks how he’s doing, he responds, “Good enough.” Oh my God, Eeyore, cheer up. Will he eventually tell Jacqueline he’s in love with Sutton? Are they confidants? I love this relationship.
• Can we get Alex a love interest ASAP? He is too beard-y and nice for someone not to love.