Thursday, June 11, 2020

The Bold Type 4x11 Review: "Leveling Up" (Growing Pains) [Contributor: Araceli Aviles]

"Leveling Up"
Original Airdate: June 11, 2020

If you’re a Gen-X or Millennial living through this pandemic, I’m going to assume you’ve had moments where you gave the death stare to anyone who said that you could still “seize the world” during this time. This is why we need our mood boosters, our morale posse, our tight-knit crew who cheer us on when we succeed and hold our hair back when we get sick. And if you haven’t been able to achieve that while social distancing, this season of The Bold Type is just the thing you may need.
When we last saw our amazing trio, Sutton had accepted the stylist position at Scarlet and married Richard, Jane broke up with Ryan before proceeding with a double mastectomy, and Kat was fired for leaking her boss’s tax returns which showed his investment in politicians who were less than supportive of Scarlet’s progressive stances.
We don’t get to see the whole three months that have passed since those events but I want to give a personal thank-you to the writers for what we do see. The Bold Type’s time progression is marked by Jane’s post-mastectomy recovery, and I couldn’t stop crying while watching it. As the recent caretaker of a mastectomy patient, I applaud Freeform for showing the detailed struggles of this particular surgery: the exhaustion, the bandages, the limited mobility, the exercises — it’s all encompassing. Most importantly, there is a feeling of not being connected to your own body, from the alternating pain and numbness of a piece of your body now being gone to the struggle to accept what comes in its place. (Though Kat greeting the new “girls” with a friendly hello was a great way to break the ice!
Not even a swanky new office to go with her fancy new vertical can make Jane feel normal. She’s a boss now, but she does not feel like one. An awkward cupcake mishap blows up her first potential hire and when under the pressure of trying to sell herself as a boss to a second hire, Jane lies about being a member of an elite, private club. There’s just a whole lot of overcompensating going on and who can blame Jane? People often talk about not feeling comfortable in your own skin, but in this case for her, that is very literal.
Kat being Kat hypes Jane up enough to get an interview to join the aforementioned swanky club that day. And since Jane is Jane, she spills all of her fears and stresses to the interviewer, which actually works in her favor. People love Jane because she is 100% herself and that’s exactly what a club like this wants in its members.
Meanwhile, Sutton is riding high in her new position; but like Jane, she also has some growing pains that come with being in charge. What attracted Sutton to styling was the confidence she is able to give not only the models, but to any girl who is looking at Scarlet as an example of who they want to be. In an effort not to upset her relationship with a fashion house, she doesn’t listen to a client who wants to break free of her child actress persona. Thankfully, Sutton eventually takes the time to hear why the actress was acting out before, and Sutton rallies to give the young woman a second chance. She works so hard that she doesn’t pay attention to her body trying to tell her that something has changed, until she throws up in a planter at Jane’s new social club (don’t worry, Jane’s pass isn’t revoked). Let’s see how Sutton handles her next new role: expectant mom?
You would think that being a biracial, bisexual woman, Kat would know all about struggle. However, there is one area in her life that Kat has taken her privilege for granted: money. Kat has always worked but has never had to worry about funds since her landlords are her parents. Upon seeing that Kat has been more focused on public protests than making an income for the last three months, her parents decide to cut her off.  Kat is on the verge of accepting a very cushy job when she notices a little clause in her contract about employees not being allowed to make political statements of any kind, even on personal accounts. It’s such a constricting clause, but it is legal. While there are some who would take it, Kat could never. She isn’t someone capable of keeping quiet when injustice is happening, no matter the personal cost.
So Jane invites Kat to move in with her while she finds the right job since Alex is moving out. But why did it take so long for Alex’s place to be fixed, you ask? Turns out, the damage to his apartment was fixed months ago. He chose to stay to help take care of Jane while she recovered. Best guy friend ever!
What are your predictions for the rest of The Bold Type’s fourth season? What effect do you think pandemic will have on the shortened season, given that two episodes had yet to be filmed at the time lockdown began? Sound off in the comments below!


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