The Bold Type’s dot-com bubble finally popped tonight, with the Freeform dramedy series ending its five-season run as Jane (Katie Stevens), Kat (Aisha Dee), and Sutton (Meghann Fahy) embrace one another in the fashion closet, unsure of when they’ll next be together in the same room. With Jane quitting to travel the world as a writer and Kat taking over as Scarlet’s fearless editor-in-chief, Sutton has arguably the steadiest conclusion of all, and that’s saying something given how many tears are shed. Sure, she’s still employed at Scarlet in a stylist position, but not before her husband, Richard (Sam Page), has an epiphany that they should reconcile and call off their divorce, even if it means giving up his life-long dream of having children. “Maybe I could adopt a baby,” he tells her, “but without you, I couldn’t be happy.”
As Fahy told Vulture in a recent interview, however, the opposite had been planned for the show’s central couple. Up until the night before the scene was filmed, Sutton and Richard were indeed going to go their separate ways, until the writers’ room had a “thrilling” change of heart, Fahy recalled, and rewrote a happier ending for the lovebirds. Allow us to collectively say, awwwww. Read on for what that original ending would have looked like, along with Fahy’s thoughts about Sutton going to a “dark place” this season.
I feel like Sutton has been in a drama this season when everyone else around her got a comedy.
Yeah, it did seem like that. We set that up in season four in a great way and it got worse for her. It’s interesting, because when we got shut down last season because of COVID, we had two episodes left to shoot and we didn’t end up getting to shoot those. The writers had a really difficult job of ending a series based on the very specific place that they had left us in last year. I think that was such an interesting component to finishing the show out.
Was there anything notable in those two episodes that had to be scrubbed for Sutton?
One of the things that the writers were going to expand on was Sutton’s drinking. The plan was to explore that on a deeper level, but they didn’t think they could do that type of story justice with such a small amount of time this season. They had to retool how they wanted it to play out.
In what ways did the writers retool it?
It was going to get messier for her. They were planning on showing Sutton in a dark place with her drinking and figuring out what her relationship to drinking was; and the trauma she’s endured in her life from a family standpoint. We still got to do a little bit of that with Sutton’s therapy, and I liked that. But there was going to be more regarding her mother’s alcoholism that we just didn’t have time for, sadly. I’m grateful for that story, though. When the show began, something that became a signature trait for Sutton was her sense of humor. That’s something I wasn’t planning on developing much, but it naturally happened. I loved that about her. So I’m grateful to the writers for giving me such a new color to paint with, you know? It was exciting and different, especially since she was represented in a different way for so long. When they told me in season four, You’re going to get married, pregnant, have a miscarriage, and get divorced in the span of five episodes, I thought that was crazy. But they managed to do it in a way that was graceful.
From an acting perspective, was it a fun challenge to either be drunk or tripping on mushrooms for roughly a quarter of the season?
I love to play drunk. [Laughs.] One of my favorite scenes from the show is from season two when Sutton is trying to network with other fashion people; she comes home and tells the girls about her night and she’s sloppily eating a Hot Pocket. I got to play drunk however I wanted to. I could have as much fun as I wanted.
You had a perfect moment of physical comedy in the premiere, where you trust-fall forwards from being so drunk. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before!
That was all me and no stunt doubles. [Laughs.] You know what’s funny and a little scary, though? I had to fall with my arms by my side, so it’s a weird feeling. You can rationalize that there’s a cushy mat in front of you, but everything in your body is saying don’t do this and you want to wave your hands in front of your face. That was trickier to do than what I was expecting. Truly a full face-plant.
This is a cheeky question, but do you think Sutton has a good sense of style? My friends and I always seem to debate this.
You know what’s crazy? I have no idea. I’m not a fashion person at all, and I think that’s why when I show up to fittings I’ll let them do whatever they want to me. I’m just like, I don’t know. [Laughs.] It’s really fun to have the excuse of being “the fashionista” in the show so she can wear these crazy outfits. She’s had a lot of crazy and iconic outfits. We’ve had a different costume designer every season and they’ve all been great to work with. I’ve enjoyed going in and saying, You do your job, I trust you. It’s a very collaborative experience, though.
All of the costume designers want to know how we feel and if our outfits are comfortable. So I don’t know if Sutton has a good sense of style. I want to say … yes. Sutton is confident in what she’s wearing. Something that’s unique about Sutton is that she knows what she wants to do but she changes her mind a lot. We get to see that play out for her.
I’ve been thinking a lot during this final season about something we discussed a few years ago, which was that you, Aisha, and Katie were disappointed that The Bold Type was getting overlooked by viewers for the Riverdales of the world. I feel that popular opinion has since flipped in that regard. Have you noticed that trend as well?
It’s funny, because I still think about that conversation. I don’t think there’s ever not going to be a place for a show like Riverdale. That kind of entertainment is so important. I mean, I was a fan of Riverdale and enjoyed watching it while we were filming our show. What’s amazing, and what you said, is that the landscape of the social environment that we all engage with every day is rapidly changing. The changes that are making more space for more shows like The Bold Type. I really like that change. It engages a different audience. There’s always room for both types of shows and both are necessary and important. But yes, I’m excited that our kind of show is becoming even more exciting to people. I want to see that trend continuing.
Also, the trend of female friends not being plagued with incessant amounts of drama and in-fighting.
Absolutely. It’s the thing that I loved about the show when I first read the script and I think it continued to be what viewers really felt safe with. It’s so nice to trust a show in that way. To watch a show and know that there’s not always going to be drama and conflict. When there is conflict between the three girls, it’s handled in a way that’s mature and forthcoming and communicative, as opposed to the cliches we’ve seen play out on other television shows. There’s something really soothing about that to me. It’s a feel-good show. We were never the type of show that had a radical cliffhanger. I love that the tone stayed true to itself in that way, because that’s how it started in the pilot. I’m proud of the show for finishing in the same spirit.
How would you define the girls’ friendship?
The first thing that comes to mind is “honest.” That’s really important, because I’ve certainly experienced moments and friendships in my own life where I felt like I couldn’t share my truths for fear of being judged or unaccepted. Or a fear of letting somebody down — that’s a big one for me. We never saw that happen between Kat, Jane, and Sutton. They’re brave with each other and tell each other what they’re really going through, and they’re still accepted for whatever gross, scary, or painful truths come up. That defines their connection.
Was Sutton and Richard’s happy ending what you envisioned for her?
Yeah, it was. I was very happy about it. You want to know something interesting?
I can actually share this with you now. [Laughs.] When the finale storyline was originally pitched to Sam [Page] and I, it was really split in the writers room. Half of the people thought that we should get back together and half thought we shouldn’t. It was ultimately decided that they wouldn’t, and the series was going to end with Sutton releasing and supporting Richard on his journey to becoming a father. And she would go off on her own and figure out what she wanted to do. We had a lot of conversations about it. Sam and I love these characters so much and we’ve been building a very specific story for the first four seasons. What ended up happening was, the night before we were supposed to shoot the scene where they say goodbye to each other, our showrunner called and said they rewrote it and changed it. That never happened on our show before. It was thrilling for them, but also, probably, incredibly stressful. You have to get so many people on-board for that type of change. It was a really special moment. I remember getting that phone call and was like, What?! I was truly shocked.
We showed up the next day and had our new scenes, which ended with what you saw — the two of them together. I do think that’s the right ending for Sutton and Richard. They’re a couple that we’ve seen support each other through and through, and respect each other through and through. We do want them to figure it out. They’re so compatible for so many reasons. I really hope that the audience will be in support of that ending. I mean, you’re never going to please everybody, of course. But for me personally, I feel it was the right ending for them.
Flash-forward ten years in Sutton’s life. What do you see her doing?
I would love to see Sutton leave Scarlet and expand her horizons. Maybe she starts her own fashion business. I always thought she could end up doing something like that. She also has a house upstate with Richard and they go there on the weekends. A simple, nice life.