The Bold Type boss talks addressing sexual assault in season 1 finale
Spoiler alert: This post contains plot details from the season 1 finale of The Bold Type.
In the last hour of The Bold Type‘s first season, the show left viewers with a number of cliffhangers — Jane left Scarlet! Kat left the country! Sutton… chose Richard? Although the series is yet to get picked up for a second season, EW spoke with showrunner Sarah Watson about the season ender and what would come next if the show were to continue on.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I’m interested in the decision to address sexual assault in this finale. Was there any specific inspiration for that story?
SARAH WATSON: In the first couple weeks in the writers’ room, we had talked a lot about these characters and experiences that might’ve shaped them. Obviously a lot of the focus of the show is on the three girls, but as we turned attention to Jacqueline, we started talking about: “What would have been different to come up as a young magazine writer 20 years ago?” There was a lot more sexism then; it was a lot more challenging. I can’t remember how the conversation turned to sexual assault, but we just started talking about [how] it was a time when it was so much harder to come forward with that kind of thing because you were almost punished for it. As we talked about that, we thought that would be a really interesting thing for Jacqueline’s character, especially because she is a woman who’s more guarded with her emotions. It seemed to fit with her. We were inspired by the story of the Columbia girl who carried her mattress — that was very much in the press when we were talking about this. So I brought Melora [Hardin] in and I talked to her about it, and she felt like it was such a strong, important story to tell. We thought it was so interesting to show this other side of Jacqueline. She presents as such a strong, together woman and that’s why the Carry That Weight metaphor came forward also.
Moving to Kat’s big decision. Why did you all feel like that was an important decision for her character, and if you get a season 2, what could that mean for her?
We don’t even know if we have a season 2, [so] we haven’t talked about what will it mean for her career, what will it mean for the future of Kadena. But we talked about the fact that Kat presents like she has her s–t the most together of the three girls. She’s the girl who has the exterior of, “I’m the bold adventurous one who really knows myself.” But we also talked about the fact that, deep down, she probably knows herself the least and she’s probably the most afraid to take risks, so it felt really important to us that, in this finale, she does take a risk. She is a girl who I think has had things come very easily to her — career, school — she comes from privilege, so what does it look like to finally make that risky, crazy decision for yourself that you should be making in your mid-twenties?
And then you also have Jane making the decision to walk away from her dream for something that might be better for her at the moment…
And it’s super complicated, because you have this idea in your head of what your life should be, and Jane is this young woman who’s had this vision of the path that she should be on, and then suddenly she’s discovering that there’s this giant wide world out there. So we wanted to make the decision really hard for her but again, we wanted to see her make the tough decision. This finale was all about making the not-safe decisions.
But if there’s a season 2, she won’t be able to just hop in the fashion closet when her friends need her!
[Laughs] We’ll cross that road when we come to it.
I loved that final glance between Sutton and Richard. For me, it felt like a spark of hope.
That’s exactly what it is. It’s a spark of hope. We went round and round and round on: Should we see them kiss? Should we not? We ultimately decided we wanted to give the audience a spark of hope, but we didn’t want to make it concrete because we want to have somewhere to go in season 2, God willing.
Speaking of which, if you get a season 2, do you have an idea of some of the stories/issues you’d like to cover?
We have so many story ideas that we talked about doing that we never got a chance to do, and characters that I want to explore more. Season 1 was obviously really about the three girls and the whole series will be, but I’d like to get to know Alex better; I’d like to get to know Richard better — just deepening all those characters. I’d like to see Jacqueline’s home life a little more and also when she goes upstairs to the board. Those were scenes we talked about a lot but, just for time, we never got to go upstairs. That’s something I’d like to see — what her career looks like and the challenges she faces. Because this season was all about establishing her as the rock, as the one who really has it all together, which is another reason why I thought it was great to end this finale with giving a glimpse that there is more underneath Jacqueline, so that in season 2 we can continue exploring that even deeper.