The season one finale of The Bold Type provided yet another topic of interest that isn’t much discussed in modern television — the lasting effects of sexual violence. In contrast to our class’s viewing of Sweet/Vicious a little while ago, “Carry the Weight” provides viewpoints that aim towards recognition of sexual assault survivors instead of their revenge.
At the very beginning of the episode, the show’s three protagonists, Kat, Sutton, and Jane, are seen running through Central Park. The upbeat music quietens as Jane sees a woman standing under a gazebo-something-or-another (it was weird, okay?), and the focus switches from the three protagonists to the serene woman.
The woman, Mia, holds two weights in her hands, which the audience later learns to be representative of the emotional trauma that she still endures from her assault. Later in the episode, Jane asks Jacqueline, Scarlet’s editor-in-chief, if she can write a story about Mia and her mission. Jane later notes that this story was indeed her first pitch as a writer at Scarlet.
Here with Jane’s writing topics and the implied rekindling of Sutton and Richard’s romance in the elevator, Sarah Watson, the writer of this episode, completes a full circle within the realm of The Bold Type. Watson also wrote scripts for the show’s first and second episodes, “Pilot” and “O Hell No” respectively. However, a key difference in Watson’s earlier scripts and that of the finale is the repeated use of silence.
In this episode specifically, silence is used to portray the importance of certain scenes. Here it is implied that the three women — usually acting upon happy, go-lucky whims, mind you — fully understand the emotional maturity and development that stem from their encounters with Mia, their past lovers, and even with Jacqueline, who decides to finally come forward as a rape survivor, twenty years after her assault.
On a similar note, the theme of extended silence is further mirrored in the episode’s soundtrack. For example, when Jacqueline symbolically takes the weights from Mia, MILCK’s song “Quiet” blasts the lyrics “I can’t keep quiet!”, a nod towards Jacqueline bringing light to her past. The episode later ends with Brooke Candy and Sia’s “Living out Loud”, another play on the breaking of silence.
Overall, writer Sarah Watson effectively wraps up the show’s first season by tying the earlier episodes to the last one. A few more plots are opened, like Kat deciding to go travel with Adena. (Mixed thoughts about Kat to come in the next blog post, perhaps.) But until then, the audience can count on The Bold Type refusing to play clean with what “should be” discussed on television. Watson’s recognition of effective measures that can be used to bring light to and empower sexual assault survivors serves as hope for society’s future conversations on- and off-screen.
Shoemaker, Allison. “We Need The Bold Type, and This Finale Proves It.” AV Club, 6 September 2017, https://www.avclub.com/we-need-the-bold-type-and-this-finale-proves-it-1800019688. Accessed 6 November 2018.
“The Bold Type Official Music Guide Season 1.” Freeform, 2018, https://freeform.go.com/shows/the-bold-type/news/the-bold-type-official-music-guide-season-1. Accessed 6 November 2018.