This Katy Keene review contains spoilers.
Katy Keene Episode 10
“Maybe it’s time things change around here for the better.”
The #MeToo movement remains a defining moment in our culture. As such, it is more than understandable that we will see its impact reflected on television. These things are undeniably true.
Another fact: Katy Keene maybe should have left this subject alone.
As delightful as the series often is, it is one that only does a surface exploration of serious issues – which isn’t so much of a criticism seeing that this is a breezy, soap opera-style show instead of a For Your Emmy Consideration-esque drama. Still, it is somewhat disappointing that Me Too is used as fodder for a pair of storylines in this latest episode.
The primary plot involves Gloria being removed from her position at Lacy’s for arranging for “her girls” to give sexual favors to potential clients (including a certain royal) in exchange for their business. Gloria is clearly innocent of this accusation, but as Amanda points out, she isn’t entirely without guilt – regularly pitting her employees against each other and insulting their looks and clothing. Ms. Grandbilt has worked her way to the top, sometimes at the expense of others. It’s the way the fashion industry has traditionally worked, but that doesn’t mean that this sits well with Katy.
Thusly, Katy refuses to write a New York Times op-ed defending Gloria, agreeing that her boss has been “running things in a backwards, sexist way for years.” It seems that there have been times where Katy has felt “disposable and unworthy” working for Gloria (something that she also experienced in last week’s episode with Guy), and tells her that if she “weren’t so hard on people they would have your back.” Which is a somewhat naïve way to look at the compromises Gloria has had to make in order to achieve her success in a male dominated business world – a point that the episode then immediately reinforces by illustrating that Mrs. Lacy never forgave her for having an affair with her son.
The elder Lacy was responsible for Gloria’s downfall, which was designed with vengeance in mind and to bring in some new talent. As a result, Gloria resigns and becomes determined to reinvent herself. Choosing to stick by Gloria’s side, Katy plans on tendering her on resignation. This plan is complicated when Mrs. Lacy announces that Katy and Amanda are to share Gloria’s duties. Cue end credits.
There’s tremendous story potential to be mined from how women sometimes are pitted against each other in the workplace (an issue that is given in twist in this episode’s Josie vs. Alexandra storyline). Here it is not fully developed. Worse still, the misdeeds of Gloria are utilized to create a connection between her affair with Leo Lacy and the ongoing mystery about Katy’s mother.
More satisfying is the plot involving guest character Kevin Keller (Casey Cott, reprising his Riverdale role). He’s in New York City to visit with his stepsister Josie and for a live reading of his new play. Kevin is also facing some demons. The last time he was in the Big Apple, he had an unfortunate run in with sleazy director Lester Darin (Wayne Pyle).
Pepper suggests that they team up to get even, arranging for Kevin to secretly record Lester propositioning him to trade sex for success in the theater world. The ploy works, and Pepper — perhaps secretly, its not entirely clear — blackmails Lester out of $70,000…and then releases the tape to the public anyway.
In the era of Me Too it is enormously thrilling to see monsters getting their comeuppance for abusing their power. This being Katy Keene, I am willing to overlook the fact that what Pepper does here is, justice aside, journalistically wrong, and probably illegal…and that’s not even getting into the ramifications this would have for Kevin. (She is under stress from Hannah getting revenge against her, but c’mon). But in this show’s world, a win is a win. All of which reinforces my belief that the series should steer away from truly serious issues.
While all these stories are happening, Josie is prepping the debut of her new Pussycats. But old habits die hard. Just like in her Riverdale days, she is taking full creative control of the band and this does not sit well with Cricket and Twyla. Kevin gives her a much-needed reality check, after which she agrees to make the group more of a democracy. But the lineup’s big debut at Molly Crisis is imploded by Alexanda. She has taken Josie’s song – which is the property of Cabot Entertainment – and taken her concept. The era of Zandra and the Kittykats is upon us, and this is going to spell huge trouble for Josie and company.
Finally, then there’s Jorge. He is at his most unlikeable tonight: Pushing for a throuple with Bernardo and Buzz and then pouting to the former when the latter doesn’t agree to the new relationship. Throughout this season he has regularly demonstrated entitled behavior, sometimes acting impetuous when things don’t go exactly his way. It’s not a great look, to considerably understate things.
Worse still, I think the show wants us to feel bad for him. He is far too selfish to be in a relationship, constantly putting his needs in front of others and unwilling to compromise. So when Bernardo chews him out at Molly’s Crisis, it is a teachable moment. But now that he has seen Buzz and Bernardo running together, how will he react towards them next week? And more importantly, will Jorge learn to save to drama for his act?
Next time on Katy Keene: The fallout from tonight’s episode reverberates through all of these characters’ lives.
• Katy Keene supposedly takes place five years after the events currently depicted on Riverdale, a series that is unsure exactly what to do with the Kevin Keller character. It is a bummer that Future Kev hasn’t made his dreams come true. He’s teaching drama at Riverdale High, obsessed with his past to the point that he is writing plays about it. In many ways, Kevin would be a better fit on this series. Which leads me to wonder if the whole point of his guest appearance was to see what his chemistry is like with the other characters. This is utter speculation on my part, but it wouldn’t be a complete shock if Kevin was – like Josie – ported over to NYC from the Town with Pep.
• Pepper’s portrayal of Cheryl in the reading of Kevin’s play was hilariously on the nose.
• At one point during this episode Kevin says “a lot of people die…and also make out” which is the ultimate description of Riverdale.
• What’s the over/under on how long, despite everything depicted in this episode, Katy is paired up with Guy?
• “I have moved on from Riverdale and all the drama of the past,” says Josie, who mentions all the drama of her past in Riverdale. Every. Damn. Week.
• How far will Hannah go to bring down Pepper? Especially now that she has Didi in her camp?
• So much for my theory that Alexandra and Josie were on their way to becoming friends.
• Hannah bringing Pepper a literal pepper plant before extorting $30,000 was a stylish fuck you of a move.
• One of the celebrities Pepper says she can get to Kevin’s opening is Adele Dazeem, aka John Travolta’s infamous butchering of Idina Menzel’s name from the 2014 Oscars.
• How was Kevin’s play received anyway? Because it seemed terrible. Creekdale? Oof.
• Kevin wanting to see The Stepford Wives musical is very on brand.
• Do you think Gloria’s scandal helped or hurt her book sales?
• When Bernardo asked “are you sure this is what you want Jorge?” I just shook my head.
• Pepper still wound up $40,000 ahead on the blackmail deal. But as Hannah pointed out, her house of cards is bound to fall…