In the second episode of its third season, Kat finds a worthy cause, Jane struggles with vulnerability and commitment and Sutton struggles to work out what’s wrong with Oliver. Meanwhile, Jacqueline and new Head of Digital Patrick come to blows.
Season 3, Episode 2: Plus It Up
Directed by: Ellen S. Pressman
Written by: Amanda Lasher & Matt McGuinness
Starring: Katie Stevens, Aisha Dee, Meghann Fahy, Sam Page, Matt Ward, Melora Hardin & Stephen Conrad Moore
This week’s instalment sets up some great conflict for each of the main characters. Kat (Aisha Dee) endeavours to save the lesbian bar that is being unfairly shut down, Sutton (Meghann Fahy) is concerned about Oliver (Stephen Conrad Moore), who is increasingly aloof at work, as well as navigating the massive change in her and Richard’s (Sam Page) relationship. However, it’s Jane’s (Katie Stevens) relationship that had the most intense conflict. Jane’s storyline really had potential in this episode, as she struggles to open up to Ryan (Dan Jeannotte) and involve him in her hormone injections so that she can freeze her eggs. She worries that it’s too much for her relationship at this stage and she doesn’t want it to badly affect the relationship, and she clearly feels very vulnerable. That’s fair enough. However, the actions of Patrick (Peter Vack) pushing her and Ryan together to write an article about her medical condition makes Jane come across as the bad guy within this situation. Within the context of her feeling vulnerable and not wanting Ryan to be involved within this story, and making this abundantly clear to her boss – and moreover, her boyfriend – she then pushes Ryan away, which understandably makes him feel upset and cut out of the relationship and offended. It’s unfortunate because I don’t see how Jane could have handled the situation differently, but it’s impossible to forget that the situation is in fact fabricated by the writers involved and therefore entirely avoidable. It would have been better, instead of seeing Jane fail to communicate with her significant other, undergo a period of genuine self reflection in which she confronts the reasons why she’s uncomfortable with Ryan being involved and talk to him about it. It’s important to notice that communication within relationships is necessary on both sides, not just one, and if the tables were turned and Ryan were going through a medical problem and was shutting him out, he’d be blasted for not talking to her about the situation. It was handled in a tricky way, but it’s notable how Jane doesn’t even really talk to Kat or Sutton about how she’s feeling and just says that she doesn’t want Ryan to be involved in a meaningful way. It’s a messy situation, and since it’s Jane’s body, she definitely has reason to do whatever she wants, but part of a relationship is that you have to accommodate another human being, and in all walks of life, if you’re blocking that person out you have to question why. It comes to a smooth resolution, and clearly Ryan is committed to his relationship with Jane regardless of how exposed she may feel at this point in their relationship, though I can’t help but feel that if Ryan were really the perceptive and sensitive boyfriend the show is trying to make him be, he would have sensed her reticence to do a couples report on her condition and spoken about it with her at that point, instead of bombarding her and harassing her for information she clearly wasn’t comfortable giving.
Meanwhile, Kat continues to represent the queer community within the show in an entirely unabashed or unashamed way, which is brilliant. Her favourite lesbian bar has to shut down because of the city wishing to gentrify and digging up ancient funds that are owed, therefore necessitating them shutting down. Kat, who constantly looks outside of herself instead of within her own problems – definitely more than Jane and Sutton do – decides to stage a Queer Prom at the bar in order to raise money to pay off the debt. In a minor setback for her, she succeeds in raising $20,000 and the councilman (Matthew Kabwe) does not seem to care about saving the lesbian bar at all, viewing putting up more housing as neighbourhood improvement. Consequently, Kat starts looking up the details of the woman running against him…
Sutton is being pulled in all directions this episode. In addition to conflict arising with Richard over not wanting the housekeeper to do her laundry (totally understandable if you take the time to ask, Richard), Sutton has to pick up the slack left by Oliver at work. She is increasingly concerned that something is wrong, to the extent that she goes to his house to find out what the issue is. As it turns out, he is taking time from work in order to adopt his ex’s daughter as a result of his ex’s heroin addiction. It’s lovely to see such a development and depth to Oliver, and hopefully this is an ongoing storyline, and it’s also nice to see him open up to Sutton and develop their relationship beyond just work. However, this also brings more tension to Sutton’s relationship with Richard who, as a member of the board, is unable to hear accounts of Sutton picking up the slack for her boss as he is the one who must ensure that everyone pulls their weight. Oliver’s signs of adopting suggest career development for Sutton, though, so I have hope for her future within Scarlet.
Finally, Patrick makes the fatal mistake of underestimating Jacqueline – God knows why, has he been paying any attention whatsoever? – but he learns his lesson when Jacqueline turns up with Sasha Velour in tow to Kat’s Queer Prom. It’s nice to see some hidden layers and the ability for Patrick to own when he is wrong, but I’m still undecided on him as a character. I’m honestly not sure whether we’re meant to dislike him or not, so inconsistent are the messages that I am receiving.
I am intrigued by Patrick’s mention that he did not have a “boyfriend or girlfriend” to take to his own Prom. Does this mean that we are to see some pansexual or bisexual representation on the show? I’d like to think so. Good bisexual representation is difficult to come by.
I’m confused why Jane, in the midst of an episode about her difficulty in opening up to her significant other, would open up to her boss (while completely sober) at a party about her control issues and how she lost her virginity. A little bit strange, Jane.
Richard doing Sutton’s laundry is very sweet.
I’m surprised why Kat isn’t using her social media more effectively to save the lesbian bar or indeed to campaign against the councilman. It’s literally her job, so I’m surprised that she didn’t reach out and get the public word out that way, as she has done effectively in the past.
I’m confused by Jane’s job. How can she suddenly now write for digital without having to sign a new contract or having to make any change whatsoever? Can this happen? It’s very strange. Why hasn’t she spoken to Jacqueline about it? Surely she can’t just be poached by digital and have no say in the matter? Jacqueline and Jane’s relationship is a great one and had some brilliant highlights in the previous season, and I’d love to see some more of it in this one.
I’m also so confused by what’s happened to Jacqueline’s job. There was so much talk about replacing her and yet she’s still here, so what’s changed exactly? Have they just separated print and digital into separate places? Surely they should have done that in the first place, it seems an awful lot for one person to do.
This show really needs to work out what to do with poor Alex. He wasn’t even in this episode.
I feel like this show should come with links to all of the character’s clothes. I want Kat’s prom dress. Please.
It’s nice to see the second episode of this season add some new dimensions to some of the supporting members of the cast such as Oliver, whose life outside of work has thus far been a bit of a question mark. Furthermore, it was lovely to see Ryan step out from the idea of Pinstripe. He and Jane have always been mostly about flirting and sex, so it’s nice to see that there’s real affection and feeling underlying that connection that really gives that relationship legs. Additionally, Kat’s new storyline seems brilliant. If any of the characters were going to become politically aware, it definitely makes the most sense for it to be Kat, and I love how the show does not shy away from her queer identity but rather embraces it.