The Bold Type Review: “The Breast Issue”

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This week’s episode of was very neatly centered around one thing, and also gave us our first glimpse into what might be some actual interpersonal drama to come, so it was an exciting week. It starts with Kat, Jane, and Sutton going to the park to participate in a #freethenipple type rally, although Jane doesn’t participate. Kat posts a picture on the Scarlet Instagram which, per Instagram’s infamous terms of service, is quickly taken down. The boss confronts Kat, and Kat admits it was intentional — lots of pop news sites have already picked up the story, and Kat plans to use Instagram’s sexist post standards to help raise awareness for women’s breast cancer.

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By the same token, Jane is assigned an interview with a doctor who advocates for women in their twenties to get tested for a genetic deformity that predisposes them to breast cancer. Jane takes a hard ‘no’ stance to this — she doesn’t think it’s something women in their twenties should have to worry about, but it becomes clear this is more than an ethical stance; Jane’s mother had breast cancer, and therefore Jane is more likely to have the exact deformity this doctor is wanting girls to get tested for. After having an emotional blow up with Jacquelyn in the bullpen over feeling exploited for her personal connections to the stories she’s assigned. It’s a sort of legitimate gripe, but also, Jane’s a writer — it’s a little confusing that it hasn’t occurred to her that she signed on for a career that is entirely comprised of exploiting her own emotions to use as fodder for her stories.

Instead of disciplining her, Jacquelyn invites her over to her house so that Jane can get a look into Jacquelyn’s life, so their relationship doesn’t feel so one sided, although Jacquelyn is still fairly adamant about the fact that she’s the boss and doesn’t have to offer anything of herself to Jane, which is true. She convinces Jane that she should get tested for this gene, because Jane is letting fear dictate her life. It seems like a brash statement for an issue we only learned about twenty minutes ago and something that she can easily walk away from after the story is over, but Jane takes it to heart.

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Sutton promises Oliver on her first day that she can get him a valuable pendant from a designer who’s told Oliver no. She calls up a friend, and agrees to trade a designer dress her friend can wear to a wedding to have the pendant for Oliver’s photoshoot. Unfortunately, rushing to comfort Jane after her breakdown with Jacquelyn, Sutton leaves this valuable pendant in the car. She then spends most of the episode trying to find it, eventually convincing a dry cleaner with a security camera to show her the footage from the other day so she can get the cab number. Miracle of miracles, the driver returned the pendant to the lost and found. Alex, another reasonably dreamy writer at Scarlet, helps Sutton find it, and they have a bit of a moment, which is interrupted when Richard bumbles into the dry cleaner to help Sutton. In the cab ride on the way back with just Alex and Sutton, Alex asks Sutton if she and Richard are dating — which will be a problem, because Richard is on the board at Scarlet and shouldn’t be involved with an assistant — and when she admits that they are, Alex says it’s too bad, because otherwise he’d kiss her.

This is the first sign that there might be some drama in the near future! I don’t know if I’m excited about that, because I do actually enjoy this show about a bunch of genuinely well meaning people doing their best and listening to one another like mature adults, especially since it’s mostly women, but it’s definitely going to be new. It’s a little sad, though, because although Alex is pretty great, Richard has been nothing but consistently lovely and respectful of Sutton’s independence and admiring of her achievements. Richard seems like a good dude. But he’s, like, definitely going to get shafted.

The episode ends with Jane getting tested, and allowing Kat to record it for Scarlet’s social media to encourage other women who might be scared to get tested to do so.

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But then we flash forward to when Jane’s results come in. Sutton and Kat, ever supportive, go with her to hold her hands as the doctor tells her that she is positive for the deformity. It doesn’t mean that Jane has or definitely will have breast cancer, but it does make it much more likely, and means she’s going to have to regularly monitor her condition. It’s a little surprising, again, in a show that generally takes the ‘happy ending’ road to have Jane deal with this massive health concern, but it’s also good — in the way that within the show Jane confronting her fear over a health concern that many women will and do face will hopefully help Scarlet readers, it’s also a really amazing thing to have in a show on Freeform. Most of their audience, one would imagine, is made up of young women. It’s a really important journey for us to see Jane take, and I can only hope that it’s something we’re going to continue to deal with and confront in future episodes.


Season 1, Episode 6 (S01E06)
The Bold Type airs Tuesdays at 9PM on Freeform

Read all of our reviews of The Bold Type here. 
Read our reviews of more of your favorite shows here.

Keep up with all of Alyssa’s reviews here.

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