This Katy Keene review contains spoilers.
Katy Keene Season 1 Episode 3
“I’ll always love you Katy Keene, that’ll never change.”
And so the romance of Katy and K.O. comes to an end in this Valentine’s Day-themed episode of Katy Keene. For now at least. The question is, do viewers really care? We are only three episodes into the series, so it’s not like the audience is hugely invested in these characters. And to be brutally honest, K.O. and Katy have about as much chemistry as they do common interests. The show repeatedly tells us that K.O. and Katy have known each other since they were 16 and that’s exactly how their relationship feels — rooted in the familiarity of the past. Sure it’s comfortable, but those types of pairings can also be suffocating.
One of Sex and the City‘s more egregious sins is its unrealistic portrayal of big city love and its occasional delivery of the message that one needs to have a partner to truly feel complete. As portrayed so far, Katy is definitely a woman who believes in THE ONE. She’s this show’s Charlotte, placing romance above all other concerns in her life. Worse still, when she does put career first it backfires on her. That’s a weird message to deliver about a character who is supposed to be confident and independent on her own terms. In this episode that very mindset costs her dearly, as the Lacy’s Night of 100 Hearts event lets her network with a beloved designer. It is all going great into that troublesome lunk K.O. arrives and, well, knocks out the connection between his love and someone who could truly help her career.
By the time the pair finally parts, I mostly felt relief for Katy. She is finally free of the dim albatross that was K.O. and able to pursue someone that has more in common with who she is now as opposed to the high school version of herself. Being a CW drama, this clearly won’t be the end of the Katy/K.O. relationship as we are supposed to think of the pair as “endgame,” but really, it would be way more narratively compelling if K.O. just went away for good. I have yet to see next week’s episode, but I’m guessing he’ll be back, all bloody hands and puppy dog eyes.
Let’s leave the pair of tortured lovebirds behind and talk about this episode’s best development: Further establishing Pepper as TV’s best hipster grifter. I’ve been hot and cold about this character, but I am now most definitely into whatever shenanigans she is up to.
Needing $20,000 to get work started on her misguided artist commune, she turns to her mentor/fellow rip-off artist Ms. Freesia (Bernadette Peters, continuing this show’s policy of casting Broadway’s best) for advice. This paves the way for her to take work as an escort, and for a brief second it looks like this show is going to suddenly get much more interesting by tackling the complex nature of sex work. Alas, this was not to be. In its place, Pepper uses Katy’s connections at Lacy’s to bilk a would-be John out of $20,897 in merchandise (not including a watch she bought for a doorman she has a sweet rapport with). The next day she returns the products for a cash refund, putting her on Amanda’s radar and potentially causing career problems for Katy down the line.
During her meetings with potential clients, a bored Pepper drops her English accent and dons a short black wig. It’s unclear at this point which Pepper is the real thing, if any. But it is interesting to note that when she does find a target for her latest grift, the English accent returns…which is also the one she uses with her friends. I’m more convinced than ever that this persona is a fake, and one that her friends will eventually discover…
As Josie continues to try to make her musical dreams come true, she encounters Jimmy, a hipster Bob Dylan wannabe whom she immediately connects with. They briefly make beautiful, well, average music together before Alex predictably interferes. Josie rightfully points out to Alex that he is acting like a jealous boyfriend. But Alex does genuine care about both Josie and her music, but he’s also struggling to make his own path in life by proving to his father that he’s not a screw up. (He is). So much so that Jimmy’s demo tape gets into Alexandra’s hands, and she immediately signs him to Cabot Records.
Finally, after his super annoying storyline last week, Jorge finds redemption in a sweet romantic subplot in which he ditches his long-time, closeted hookup for a shot at a real relationship with handsome fireman Renaldo. Total upgrade.
Three episodes down, Katy Keene is establishing itself as this season’s TV comfort food. And there’s not a thing wrong with that.
– Yeah, we get that this is a Riverdale spin-off, but do we need Josie mentioning her old stomping grounds constantly?
– Expensive or not, would retailers really try to sell a blood-soaked garment? Eww.
– Buzz Brown and Jimmy Dodger are perfect names for Archieverse characters. In the UK, there is a popular snack treat known as Jammy Dodgers (the Eleventh Doctor was quite fond of them), so Jimmy’s name could be a play on this.
– Speaking of Jimmy, this dude is a living anachronism, with his cassette demo, cliche dream of living in the Chelsea Hotel and idealization of the 27 Club. He’s awful, let us never speak of him again.
– Jorge met Buzz on Grindem, Kevin Keller’s hookup app of choice.
– Alex and Alexandra’s relationship is super inappropriate, right?
– I am fascinated by the friendship of Pepper and Ms. Freesia, and hope we learn their backstory ASAP.
– The look on Josie’s face when she learns that Jimmy has signed to Cabot Records is perfect.
– “I didn’t realize that moving in with you was a consolation prize,” K.O., in perhaps the only intelligent thing he has said on the show to date.
– Don’t walk into expensive departments stores with blood-soaked hands. Or anywhere really.
– Ginger’s performance of “Unbreak My Heart” was fantastic.
– Josie gives the best advice and is the most grounded of the characters on the series.
– Vanity Flair gets another mention this week. Fingers crossed that Vague magazine exists in the Katy Keene universe.
– During their Valentine’s night argument, K.O. tells Katy that he turned down moving to Philadelphia for her. Not only is this a supremely dick move on his part because Katy did no such thing, but it bears repeating that Philly is so incredibly close to NYC that you can easily commute to and from there. Maintaining a “long distance relationship” between the two cities requires minimal effort. The more you know!
– As if this episode didn’t spell out that Katie was enough of a romantic, her apartment is absolutely plastered with hearts from floor to ceiling to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
– What was that gift K.O. gave Katy at the end of the episode? A scrapbook to put her designs in?
– Katy not asking Jorge and Josie if K.O. could move in was wildly selfish and irresponsible on her part.
– I am absolute sucker for the (somewhat accurate) trope that New Yorkers are so short on space that they use their ovens for storage.
– That CGI fire exploding out of the oven was comically cheap looking.
– “The robe was for my sister.” “Well, that’s weird.” IT SURE IS, JOSIE!