SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not watched “Carry The Weight,” the Sept. 5 finale of “The Bold Type.”
Executive producer Sarah Watson broke the story for the finale, and saw it through production, with the goal of “wrapping everything up but still leaving an element of ‘Where do they go from here?'”
The end of the season saw Sutton (Meghann Fahy) finally getting more responsibility in her new role as an assistant stylist as well as realizing she’s not yet over Richard (Sam Page), while Kat (Aisha Dee) finally hit the two-million follower mark on Scarlet Magazine’s Twitter account but found that success felt kind of hollow and went to reconnect with Adena (Nikohl Boosheri). And Jane (Katie Stevens) officially gave Jacqueline (Melora Hardin) her resignation and walked out of the Scarlet offices, ready to take on her own political vertical at rival publication Insight.
“All three of these girls made powerful, bold decisions in the finale,” Watson says, noting that what excites her as a writer are story changes. “I think movement in shows is great because it’s all about fresh stories.”
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Though not a traditional ratings hit (the show fails to fall into the Top 25 cable programs for its night), critics, including Variety‘s Sonia Saraiya who called the premiere “fresh and energetic,” have been pleasantly surprised by the way the refreshing way the series skirts stereotypes and takes on topical stories. Variety‘s own Maureen Ryan recently penned an impassioned plea for the cabler to renew the show.
“We are overjoyed by the critical response, and even more so by the outpouring of love and passion from fans,” says Karey Burke, EVP of programming and development at Freeform. “It’s humbling and inspiring to know that these characters are already touching people in a significant way.”
Burke admits the ratings for the series are “modest,” but notes that the show does grow week to week, especially when taking delayed viewing into consideration. Recent episodes have averaged a 0.1 in the coveted 18-49 demographic when looking at live and same-day numbers, but the show sees a 200% increase when looking at the seven-day window (0.2 for +7, bringing live +7 to 0.3).
“Our hopes were that it would be a brand-defining series, in that it continues our tradition of celebrating female friendships and tackling social issues, but through a lens that was missing from the television landscape,” Burke says “In the current political and social climate,” she says the subject matter touched upon within “The Bold Type” has “felt more important than ever to explore.”
The finale episode didn’t shy away from those elements. While the majority of the season had the three young women of Jane, Kat, and Sutton at the center of the story, the finale pushed their boss Jacqueline into the mix when revealing that she was a sexual assault survivor.
The writers, and Hardin herself, knew this about Jacqueline’s character from “very early on,” but revealing it to the audience – and the other characters – so late in the game was a chance to peel back a very important layer of a guarded woman, explains Watson. “We thought we knew who she was in the pilot, but she had a moment of warmth and let Jane in then and said ‘I see you,’ and this was Jane’s moment to really see her, too,” Watson says.
The finale brought the show full circle in another way as well. In the pilot, Jacqueline gave her employees a pivotal speech that acted as a “battle cry” for the season. “She’s like, ‘Make mistakes, have adventures, sleep with the wrong people, sleep with the right people,'” Watson recalls. “And over the course of the season, they’ve done everything in that speech.” The finale set out to show where the characters are now – and who the characters are now – having gone through those experiences. Even if Freeform ends up not granting a second season to the show, Watson hopes the audience will be satisfied with the ending because of its ambiguity.
“When we were breaking the story about the decisions the girls would make in the finale, our writers’ room didn’t necessarily agree right away on what they should do, and even as we finished the script, there were still some questions and second-guessing on if what they were doing was the ‘right’ decision for them,” Watson says. “But I feel like that makes it a strong finale.”