Freeform’s cult-favorite The Bold Type ended its first season with one of 2018’s most moving hours, taking on society’s daunting sexual assault issues with an episode that just might still make you shed a tear, nearly a full year later. That season 1 finale, “Carry The Weight,” also happened to pre-date the outing of Harvey Weinstein as an alleged career sexual predator, and the rise of the #MeToo movement in response, by almost exactly one month. So, when the summer series returned for season 2 on Tuesday, it didn’t need its “own #MeToo moment,” because it had already had one long before hashtags about sexual violence were trending on social media.
So, the two-part premiere, which began filming in February, was able to live in the same cultural atmosphere the rest of us are currently experiencing and ask, “What’s next?” The series’ answer, as proven by season-starting episodes “Feminist Army” and “Rose Colored Glasses,” is that the reverberations of #MeToo aren't the end of sex, sensuality, and simple flirting, as so many panicked misogynists worried at the close of 2017. Instead, the future is true sex positivity
“The #MeToo movement is so amazing, and all of that is something I’m very passionate about,” said star Aisha Dee, who plays Kat Edison, a social media manager exploring queer sexuality, during a recent cast visit to the Refinery29 office. “But … flirting can still be fun. We can still date. We can still enjoy ourselves. We can still have great sex. But we need to be talking about it.”
For proof of that, look no further than “Feminist Army's” closing scene, where Kat and her new-ish girlfriend Adena El Amin (Nikohl Boosheri) break down their biggest sexual obstacle: the fact that Kat won’t go down on Adena, or talk about what’s stopping her. Once that big, difficult conversation is over, Kat feels ready for oral sex and happily performs cunnilingus, “the last frontier,” as Adena jokingly calls it. One simple, open dialogue leads to one of Freeform’s sexiest, most explicit sex scenes in history.
Looking back on reading the Twitter-melting Kadena moment for the first time, Kat’s portrayer recalled, “I was like, ‘It’s crazy I’ve never read anything like this before. Because it seems so simple — that’s such a real-life conversation to have.”
For the rest of the cast, the episode-ending sex scene had them “shook” in the best way possible, to quote Katie Stevens, who plays striving journalist Jane Sloan. Co-star and Sutton Brady alter-ego Meghann Fahy, was similarly energized by the “love story,” as the trio called it, saying “It’s fucking awesome, because how many times have you seen a film [or TV show] where a girl is giving somebody a blow job? To see a women between another woman's legs in an act of love and affection and safety is spectacular.”
We can still date. We can still enjoy ourselves. We can still have great sex.
The Freeform crew was equally excited about Sutton’s journey through “Rose Colored Glass,” as the fashion assistant questions whether the idea that “men like her,” as her boss Oliver Grayson (Stephen Conrad Moore) absentmindedly says, is an indictment of her professionalism and success. The issue arises after office gossip Mitzi (Katharine King) claims Sutton is only getting styling credits from former fling Alex (Matt Ward) because of their romantic past. Mitzi doesn’t even realize Sutton’s actual concern is that going public with on-again, off-again boyfriend and board member Richard Hunter (Sam Page), a much more powerful man than Alex, will ruin her career — forget Alex, who is old news.
Much like Kat’s triumphant sex scene, Sutton’s predicament feels as though it is born out of the #MeToo movement, as it bridges the murky waters of inter-office sexual encounters, rumors, and how those two factors damage the way women are treated in the workplace. All of this pressure, in an already tense environment thanks to the Weinsteins of the world, leaves Sutton professionally paralyzed. She's terrified she is either viewed as a flirt, or an opportunist cashing in on that perception.
“At first you don’t feel like it’s that big of an issue or a deal. But … how many times have you thought to yourself, ‘I can’t be too nice or else he’ll think that I’m interested. And then he’ll think I want to kiss him,’” Fahy asked, noting countless other girls and women have likely experienced that same problem. Yet, thankfully, Jedi master and Scarlet boss Jacqueline Carlyle (Melora Hardin) reminds Sutton that being a“magnetic” people person and a conniving sexual predator are not the same thing.
Thinking of the message of that scene, Fahy said, “You need to move through the world with an open heart … Don’t shut it off just because you’re trying to [succeed].”
With Sutton accepting that advice, her BFF Jane receives her own possible chance to revel in the sex positivity her friends are already enjoying. During one of the last scenes we see of the journalist during “Rose,” she is flirting with Ben (Luca James Lee), one of the cute subjects of Scarlet’s latest photoshoot. The pair is only chatting at a bar together because Sutton comes to terms with the fact that politely inviting a bunch of new male friends out for a drink isn't a crime — it's legitimately harmless 20-something-year-old fun. While we have no idea if Jane and Ben are going to become an item (although Lee is slated to appear in the next two episodes of The Bold Type season 2, take that information how you will) Jane will certainly be hooking up with someone.
“I have sex,” Stevens announced with a laugh. “You’ll see Jane… exploring. She had an orgasm with Pinstripe (Dan Jeannotte), but she might explore other avenues.”
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