THIS KATY KEENE REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Katy Keene Episode 13
“This is your dream, and you need to chase it.”
Picking up immediate where last week left off, this episode of Katy Keene deals with the aftermath of Pepper’s arrest and works overtime to resolve much of the show’s lingering storylines while paving the way for next season.
That it does so in such a satisfying way is yet another illustration that Katy Keene has broken free from its (admittedly tenuous) Riverdale connection to form it’s own path. At least, that was how it seemed until Hiram Lodge popped up in the Lopez’s bodega in the end of the episode, to set himself up as the next season’s big bad.
In the Fashionable Facts portion of this piece below I have my detailed thoughts on what this means for the show, but to bottom line it, I don’t think it’s the best of decisions. Hiram is a thin character on his best days, and his grimdark tone doesn’t really fit this show. Nor should it. There are enough troublesome characters in this world already – Ms. Freesia, Hannah, Guy — that we don’t need to borrow one from the Town with Pep.
Hiram concerns aside, this was a practically flawless episode.
Let’s kick things off with Katy. She finally stood up for herself by breaking free from Guy. In the process she not only truly impressed industry leaders enough to get another shot at Parson’s, but she got justice for the other designers that Guy stole from. With now former-royal Errol taking charge of the store’s future, Katy’s beloved friendship with boss/mentor Gloria is reinstated. Furthermore, she is working with Leo Lacy — the mystery man from her mother’s past. As the season end she blurts out, in typical Katy fashion, “I think you might be my father.” And really, is there any doubt?
Yes, all of these last-minute changes are super contrived. And Katy’s decision to get back together — one that was temporarily back-burnered by his decision to pursue his boxing dreams in Philly — seemingly came out of nowhere. With the first season now behind us though it’s clear that this show might play better on the Hallmark Channel than the CW, because it really is just a fairytale with periods of micro drama. (Which is what the producers intended it to be, so well done).
Katy isn’t the only one who moves closer to her dreams here. Fresh from jail, Pepper feels liberated by showing her true self to her friends. By the time the credits rolled she is being more authentic and open about who she truly is. Determined to not repeat her past mistakes, she kicks Ms. Freesia from her life (for now at least) and gratefully accepts a job as Josie’s new manager.
As for Josie, she may well be Katy Keene’s MVP. Ashleigh Murray was never fully utilized on Riverdale, but here she shines. Despite her tendency to randomly mention her previous home, Josie is the most realistic, relatable character on the show. She’s a survivor yet still is vulernable, but in times of crisis she will always fight for her dreams and those of her friends. With Alex dealing with his addiction issues Josie makes the proactive decision to be her own best advocate.
Josie hires Pepper, with whom she has had a tense relationship of late, to chart the course of her future. Pepper may be full of shit more often than not, but she knows how to work connections to get what she wants. Josie is inspired by this, and I fully expect that the next season we will see the two of them working together to make the Pussycats big on their own terms, free from Cabot interference.
In my reviews this season, I’ve tended to be harsh towards the Jorge character because he often makes decisions that directly work against his best interests. Jorge also has a tendency to not take advantage of the opportunities that come his way. Johnny Beaucamp always rises to the occasion with his performance as the series’ most under-written character, and lately he has been electrifying. Tonight’s most touching scene has Jorge learning that his uncle died of AIDS in a powerful speech delivered by his father. This scene illuminates us to the fact that Mr. Lopez isn’t homophobic, just concerned about Jorge’s well-being more than anything. In return, Jorge/Ginger work overtime to save the family bodega. A move that succeeds, for now.
So as Katy Keene wraps up its inaugural season, all of its characters are left in a better place than where they began. This is not important, prestige television, but a fun diversion. The value of such things are too often overlooked. I’m grateful for Katy Keene, and excited to see what the future holds for the series.
• In what is this TV season’s poorest-kept secret (and as I mentioned above), Mark Consuelos appears here as Hiram Lodge. This was an odd creative choice because the character is currently facing a debilitating disease on Riverdale. Katy Keene takes place five years after the events currently depicted on its sister series, so to have Hiram alive and well here completely takes the suspense out of that storyline. It was reported this week that next season of Riverdale will have a five-year time jump, making both CW Archieverse shows set concurrently. As of yet, Katy Keene doesn’t have the buzz of the other Archie shows (something that will likely change once it hits streaming), so there is logic behind such a decision that will enable crossovers a plenty. Still, it’s a bit of a bummer that Hiram is going to play the heavy on both series. That is unless he really will be uprooting from Riverdale and moving to NYC. The time jump also provides numerous options to explain Hermione Lodge’s absence from these programs — Marsiol Nichols was to leave Riverdale before this truncated season halted production. Time will tell how much of an impact the brooding Hiram will have on Katy Keene’s fluffy world, but hopefully the writers will give his character a makeover to better suit his new environment.
• Josie runs into Hiram Lodge on the streets of New York City next season, a look ahead:
“Hiram Lodge. I haven’t seen you since Riverdale, and that town was rough!”
“I’m what made that town so rough Josie, and I plan on doing the same here. So if you or your Pussycats try to stop my evil schemes I’ll have you declawed.”
“You’re free to try Hiram, but remember, I’m from Riverdale.”
“You forget Josie, I was from Riverdale first!”
(Archie walks by shirtless).
• So what exactly was Pepper arrested for? Will she go to trial? What is the future of the Pepper Plant? She’s the biggest question mark surrounding this show. Also, everybody now knows she was raised in NYC by an American doorman, so what’s with the British accent?
• There’s no way we’ve seen the last of Ms. Freesia. One does not simply underuse Ms. Bernadette Peters.
• Fellow Broadway nerds, we’re you as thrilled as I was to see Daphne Rubin-Vega (the original Mimi in Rent) sing “Conga” tonight?
• This whole K.O. thing. I really can’t emphasize this enough, it only takes 90 minutes tops to get from Philly to New York. He makes it sound like he’s going to the ISS to train. What a lunk.
• Note to producers: Please more development of the Alexandra/Josie friendship next season. Watching them team up to take down Mr. Cabot would be so much fun.
• Katy does her best Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead by throwing an impromptu fashion show for the industry’s elite while wearing a hideous dress that looks like an exploded flamingo. Why isn’t everyone watching this series?