This article contains spoilers for the Season 3 premiere of The Bold Type.
The first time that The Bold Type’s Jane Sloan (Katie Stevens) meets her soon-to-be boss in the show’s Season 3 premiere, their encounter is a literal wreck. On the Freeform dramedy, which follows the writer and two friends working at the Cosmopolitan-inspired Scarlet magazine, Jane opens her cab door outside the office and hits a passing cyclist: the publication’s incoming digital editor, Patrick Duchand (Peter Vack). Jane is outraged that Patrick hadn’t been riding in the bike lane—and that’s before she learns his identity. Afterward, she’s incensed that he, or any man, would be brought in to lead the women’s magazine.
Like the publication that ties them together, the three young women at the show’s core experienced a series of dramatic shifts prior to Patrick’s arrival. By the end of The Bold Type’s second season, the social-media director Kat Edison (Aisha Dee) more fully embraced her black queer identity and broke up with her girlfriend, the photographer Adena (Nikohl Boosheri). The fashion assistant Sutton Brady (Meghann Fahy) found her footing in her new gig and publicly revealed her long-running relationship with the handsome board member Richard Hunter (Sam Page). Most devastatingly, Jane learned that she has the same BRCA gene mutation as her mother, who died of breast cancer.
Scarlet’s editor, the glamorous Jacqueline Carlyle (Melora Hardin), wrote an article advocating for the Scarlet board to reconsider restrictive health-insurance policies that would keep employees like Jane from being able to afford egg freezing and other prohibitively expensive reproductive procedures. The board, unsurprisingly composed of men, bristled at her public critique; by the season’s end, the executives were reviewing possible replacements for Jacqueline. Now, at the outset of Season 3, Patrick’s introduction is an intriguing, and conflict-filled, new direction for a show loosely based on the life of the famed Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles.
Carlyle, the Coles-inspired character, remains on staff at Scarlet in a print-specific role in Season 3, but the slights she suffers because of Patrick’s hiring will likely seem familiar to The Bold Type’s largely female fan base. Through Patrick’s character, the show deftly elucidates any number of indignities that women experience in the workplace: ageism, insensitivity to personal issues, garden-variety paternalism.
As a villain, Patrick is more gnat than tyrant. He is overly familiar, often using his own queerness to either cozy up to Kat or suggest that he intrinsically understands women—and is therefore qualified to lead Scarlet. He simply grates. Given much of the increased public dialogue about workplace discrimination and harassment, it would have been natural for The Bold Type to introduce a more obviously evil character—a man who held openly misogynistic views, or who’d harmed women in easily legible ways. (At one point, Jane believes this to be true of Patrick, but the show quickly complicates her assumption with a surprising detail from his past.)