In season 1 episode 6 of The Bold Type ‘The Breast Issue,’ we see Jane take a huge step in confronting a deeply held fear: breast cancer. We get a glimpse into Jane’s history and we learn that her mom died from breast cancer when she was very young. This defining moment has left Jane with a fear of acknowledging that she is at risk of the disease as well.
Our first hint at Jane's fear comes in the opening scene in the park, where Jane, Sutton, and Kat arrive at a breast cancer awareness event that celebrates their right to be topless. While Kat and Sutton have no problem unleashing their nipples, Jane holds back, clearly uncomfortable.
Later at Scarlet, Jane gets into a debate with Alex regarding whether women in their 20s should be tested for BRCA gene mutations. Seeing Jane's strong opinions, Jacqueline assigns Jane to work on a story about it. What Jane doesn't tell Jacqueline is that she's reluctant to do the story because it's been recommended that she take the test in the past.
She visits Dr. Elysa Hendricks, who has recently come under fire for giving a preventative double mastectomy. Instead of trying to gather insight into why Dr. Hendricks performed the surgery, Jane lets her fear get the better of her. She calls the treatment irresponsible and refuses to give the doctor's advice any consideration.
After her interview with the doctor, we finally see Jane snap. She unleashes her pent up fear on Jacqueline, saying she doesn’t understand. Jane tells the heartbreaking story of her mom's battle with cancer, and that she doesn’t want her mom’s death to be turned into an article. She criticizes Jacqueline, saying the writing team know nothing about their boss; that they humiliate themselves for her and the magazine every day just for the sake of Jacqueline's success. Jacqueline tells her to take a walk, not to return to the office that day. Later when Jane gets a text about a meeting that evening, Jane assumes that she's been fired and it's an exit interview.
But being that Jacqueline's the best boss ever, instead of firing Jane she invites her to her apartment and the two talk. They discuss how fear causes bad behavior, how it turns you against your normal instincts, how it makes you spin out and lose control. Jane talks. Jacqueline listens. Jacqueline talks. Jane listens. And finally we see how a cycle of fear ends -- by taking a moment to express how you are feeling and listen to the advice of those who care about you.
Jane takes Jacqueline's advice to heart, seeking the comfort of the people who care about her most, Sutton and Kat. They later accompany her to take the BRCA mutation test and, a week later, to receive her results. She tested positive for a mutation.
At the end of the episode, rather than being distraught at the result, Jane feels better for arming herself with information, as Jacqueline suggested. We see the girls walking in the park, calmly talking about how medical treatments are likely to change in their lifetime. Finally, after a quick “You guys ready?” from Jane, the girls whip off their shirts and walk across the park hand in hand. While breast cancer is still a very real risk for Jane, it's no longer a fear that holds her back.
What fears are you going to stop listening to? Tell us in the comments.
And remember, you can watch season 1 episode 6 'The Breast Issue' right here on Freeform.