[Warning: The following contains spoilers from Thursday's episode of The Bold Type. Read at your own risk!]
The Bold Type is well-known for tackling tough topics, whether it's about LGBTQ rights, gun control, or sexual assault, but its most recent episode touched on a topic that many women don't like to talk about — miscarriage. It's clear this storyline is only just getting started, but already the show is handling it with the care and nuance we've come to expect from Jane (Katie Stevens), Kat (Aisha Dee), and Sutton (Meghann Fahy).
When Sutton first realized she was pregnant in the midseason premiere, she was just as shocked as everyone else, considering she and Richard (Sam Page) hadn't even been trying for kids. Nevertheless, the accidental pregnancy brought the couple plenty of joy, and they eagerly started anticipating their little bundle of joy. Sadly though, Sutton went through what one in ten pregnant women experience and miscarried in her first trimester. Though she was devastated by the loss, Sutton also struggled with the guilt of realizing she was relieved to have miscarried, which added an even greater emotional burden on her shoulders.
TV Guide talked to showrunner Wendy Straker Hauser about Sutton's heartbreaking story arc this year and what's next for her and Richard as they recover from this loss.
Miscarriage is a pretty big topic to tackle, so how and why did you guys decide that this was the right story arc for Sutton this year?
Wendy Straker Hauser: It's interesting, Sutton's always been our lovable, funny, whimsical character, and we wanted to see her go through some more difficult challenges. So I definitely think we've done that this season. I think it's always interesting - I have a 12-year-old son, and when you get pregnant or when you're staring at motherhood or fatherhood, it often brings up things from your past, how you feel about your own childhood, what your relationship with your parents was like. So we just thought it would be really interesting. We all know Sutton's backstory, and that her situation with her mom has been challenging, and that she wasn't always reliable, to say the least. I think having her sort of face some of those things subconsciously at this point, probably, but they're there and [how] daunting bringing another life into the world is as much as it's exciting and wonderful and she loves Richard, it comes with a lot, especially when you're 26. We thought that would be really interesting to start to explore.
Do you think Sutton feels relieved because she wasn't ready to be a mother? Or is she starting to doubt whether she wants kids at all?
Straker Hauser: We're going to explore all of that later, so I don't want to spoil the episodes we have left, but I think that she really wasn't ready. She's 26 years old. She just got married to Richard. She's been waiting for a very long time for her promotion, and she just got it. And the juggle feels like a lot. I think she was excited and then I think she was really surprised by the fact that she was relieved. In this episode, she doesn't know what she's feeling for much of the episode and that was a challenge for us, and hopefully, we pulled it off. But I think she desperately wanted to feel something, and she was sort of numb and so that was one of the reasons why we thought it would be interesting for her to consciously take on the styling of a 5-year-old boy to say, "I want to put myself in a raw situation so I can understand what I'm feeling better." Because she doesn't quite understand where she's at. And then getting to the place of realizing, "I'm relieved." And then with that, I think there's some shame for her. There's a feeling that we should all want this, and it's such a blessing. And it really is, but it's more complicated than that for Sutton. So now she has to really, moving forward, deal with the fact that she did feel relief, and what does that mean? Does it mean that it's just not the right time? Does it mean that she doesn't want to have children? Does it mean she's afraid she's going to become her mother? These are all things that I think she's going to grapple with in the future.
Absolutely, and Meghann Fahy just knocked it out of the park with this episode.
Straker Hauser: Yeah, she's so talented and amazing. And I think honestly, she was excited to sort of dig deeper and take on different things that she hadn't done before character-wise for her.
You didn't mention that with everything going on with her professionally, maybe she wasn't ready to jump right into the kid thing. Did bringing up the possibility of terminating the pregnancy feel taboo because she and Richard were married and happy and did want kids, or was that something you guys were ever considering?
Straker Hauser: I don't think we really weren't considering it. We had lightly touched on abortion in Kat's backstory and storyline, and I think because [Sutton] and Richard are so in love and they're married and he's older, it didn't feel like an area we wanted to really go into. And I don't think she would have chosen that path... If I'm being totally candid, I had an experience like this in my life. You know, we all bring our own stories into the writers room, and I remember having gotten pregnant quickly after I had my son and being a bit overwhelmed just trying to wrap my head around it. Then, unfortunately, we miscarried, and there was that feeling of, "Maybe this timing wasn't the best time, so I guess it's OK." It is interesting when sometimes the world has a different path for you, and then you have to just come to terms with whatever you're actually, really feeling and kind of figure out what that means for you... We just wanted to explore her not making that bold of a decision but having a decision be made, sort of for her and then how she was feeling because of it.
There is a lot of sort of shame and silence around miscarriages. Are we going to see Sutton continued to deal with that?
Straker Hauser: I think she's going to segue more into why she felt a sense of relief. And also, we didn't often talk about the huge age difference between Richard and Sutton, but there is one. And he's in a very different place. And I think that what we'll realize is while she was a little hesitant, he was over the moon. It's the beginning of showing some real struggles with being 20 years apart. I think she's going to start looking inward more. We all have the things that sort of follow us around from our childhood, and we can push them off and not even realize they're there. But part of growing up - and I think part of your late 20s - is that some of that stuff catches up to you. I'm excited to explore a little bit more of that as these girls have to conquer bigger hurdles than they would have in their early 20s, if that makes sense.
What is in store for Richard and Sutton's relationship in the wake of this loss? Like you said, it seems like they're on very emotional journeys, but different journeys as far as the miscarriage goes.
Straker Hauser: We've always seen Richard be just the ideal, amazing, quintessential boyfriend/husband that we all dream of. Even when things don't go his way, he sort of reassesses, pivots, and always comes back to how much he loves Sutton. And they do love each other so, so much. I think we're going to see them have a little bit more cracks and challenges and watch them as they try to navigate them. So that's a different, new territory for them. And I can't tell you exactly what's in store yet, but it's been interesting. Both of their characters have entered new terrain in the back half of the season, and it's been -- I think it was very rewarding for them and really rewarding for us to watch. And also very real.
The Bold Type airs Thursdays at 10/9c on Freeform.