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Katy Keene Discussion: Daddy issues fuel a too-neat season finale
We've finally reached the end of the... thread on Katy Keene and not a moment too soon.
The show's season finale wrapped things up a bit too neatly, with some of our faves scoring "get-out-of-jail-free" cards while others had reconciliations that felt a little too easy. Of course, there was drama. There's always drama in the world of Katy Keene — think shocking paternal reveals and Riverdale guest stars — but did it leave us wanting more, or just wanting?
We're Alyssa Fikse and Jessica Toomer and we're closing the door — not Lacy's door, but ya know, a door — on this chapter of Katy Keene.
Warning: This discussion contains spoilers for the Season 1 finale of Katy Keene.
Alyssa: So, after Pepper’s ignoble removal from the Pepper Plant, Jorge and Josie come and bail her out of jail. And… that’s it? There’s no real explanation about who called the cops on her, what actual crimes she’s being charged with, or anything. They bail her out, and… that’s that. What. A. Letdown. Katy didn’t come because she’s still mad at Pepper, and she has enough on her plate to deal with. Mrs. Lacy makes the announcement that Lacy’s is closing at the end of the month and everyone is panicking. Francois is worried about not finding another job, and Katy is wrapped up in her drama with Guy. She tells Francois about Guy’s sticky fingers and he tells her that she needs to hear him out. He might have a good reason for stealing all of his assistants’ ideas, right?
Jessica: Yeah, no. Whatever Guy could’ve said to explain away his intellectual property theft wouldn’t have been good enough for me, but claiming to have seen the light because he’s in love with Katy just does not cut it. And apparently neither do Guy’s designs since he needs to constantly steal the genius of the young women he’s bedding. But Katy, after hearing Guy’s flowery speech about the transformative power of her love — and a really great job offer to work for Guy’s fashion house as a lead designer — is momentarily pacified. White men really can get away with anything, can’t they?
Alyssa: I mean, it’s astounding. While Katy is given this seemingly perfect opportunity, everyone else is going through it. Jorge and his family are still dealing with potentially losing their building and their livelihood through eminent domain. Jorge decides to fight back, and he shames his father in the process, telling him that his uncle who started the store would be ashamed of him for letting it go. Plus, Xandra is on the radio singing Josie’s song, so apparently their little coup at the Meta Gala was for nothing. Not only that, but Chubby’s now looks like a Xandra merch shop. When Josie confronts Xandra with basically stealing her life, Xandra lets her know that not only did she and KO break up, but Alex is using again. I really do not understand who the writers want Xandra to be.
Jessica: Do they? She flits between cartoonish villain and complicated young woman with major familial issues so often, I’m getting whiplash. But saving hopeless men seems to be the theme of the days because Josie momentarily lets go of her anger to go rescue Alex from himself, but not before she laments to the group about her relationship woes. In fact, the second theme of this episode might be regret because each of the group wonders how life might be different if they’d just made better choices in the beginning. I too wonder how life might be different if I made the better choice of never watching this show but… c’est la vie.
Alyssa: While everyone else reminisces about the underrated ‘Sliding Doors,’ Pepper is dealing with Ms. Freesia at the Pepper Plant. Ms. Freesia claims that she and Pepper are partners in the plant because of the money that Freesia scammed from Chad the Investor, and she wants Pepper to help her grift a Gotti. However, one night in the clink has cleared Pepper’s head and she doesn’t want to be a scammer anymore! What is Pepper without the art of the deal? We’ll see, but Katy still isn’t quite ready to forgive her. But truly, Pepper needs to fix her whole life because her sweet dad — you know, the one she was ashamed of and hid away from her friends because he was poor and didn’t fit her glitterati narrative? — wasn’t able to buy the dream apartment that he’s been saving for because of Pepper’s criminal record. GIRL. FIX YOUR LIFE.
Jessica: You know who else needs to fix their life? Alexander Cabot. The boy is a mess, capital M. He meets with Josie who’s obviously worried about how much he drank at Pepper’s opening night and he does a poor job of putting her fears to bed, blaming his dad and Josie’s feud with Xandra for the renewed interest in alcohol. He says he’s clean now but a nose bleed hits and Josie finds a comically large bag of cocaine in his coat pocket — who is this guy, Scarface? It’s pretty obvious Alex has gone off the deep end and I wish I could care but alas, I don’t. I do care about this outside investor trying to gentrify the Heights though because I am, at heart, a Lin-Manuel Miranda groupie and I know he, like Jorge, would never stand for this.
Alyssa: I also cackled with delight at the size of that bag of cocaine. I think Tony Montana would have been like “Hey, buddy. Let’s maybe dial it back a bit.” While Jorge attempts to get 10,000 signatures in order to halt the bid for eminent domain, Katy informs Guy of her terms for taking the job and he tells her that she can have anything she wants oh and also that he loves her. Who should darken the doorway at this moment but KO, who sees the closeness between the two of them as well as the love confession and peaces out without a word. Guy tells Katy that he’s willing to make things right with her, but he needs to keep “moving forward” so quit bringing up his other apprentices. Just like fetch, it’s never going to happen. After Katy and Amanda have a moment mourning the loss of Lacy’s, Katy decides that now… is the time for a musical moment with a soul searching ballad. The cringe, the criiiiiiiiinge.
Jessica: Katy, now is never the moment! But crooning to an old lighthouse seems to do the trick because her skin is brightened, there’s pep in her step, and she’s ready to bulldoze the shit out of Guy’s carefully crafted legacy. This house of cards is coming down, but not without help from Pepper, who makes amends for her behavior by helping Katy put on a fashion show filled with designs of Guy’s past interns. Katy also convinces a freshly-vacationed Gloria to get back in the fight, and the two scheme to find a new investor for Lacy’s and to bring back a familiar face... errr, name.
Alyssa: Katy’s on a roll, and she decides to make amends with Pepper, but it feels a little like she’s doing this to get Pepper to help her find her dad. Yes, Katy is back on the hunt, and Pepper is going to help her track him down. Pepper is also helping Jorge save his building by getting him crowned as Miss Subway, hoping that an elevated platform for Ginger will get them the signatures that they need. Josie and Xandra also team up to confront Alex and get him and his bag of coke to rehab. The girls have a moment at Chubby’s and Xandra asks Josie to be in her band. Josie makes it clear that she is a frontwoman ONLY and that they’ll never work together like that. However, she does invite her to the save-the-block party because they’re not friends but they can still throw down together.
Who’s Your Daddy?
Jessica: I have to say, this block party doesn’t look that crowded but, I get it. Budget. Still, Jorge performs as Ginger in front of his dad and a bunch of their neighborhood friends and that feels like a win in and of itself. Who doesn’t like a good Gloria Estefan dance number, am I right? Somehow, Jorge gets all the signatures he needs and when he shows his dad, they have a moment to hash out past hurts. Turns out Jorge’s uncle, the one who started the bodega, was gay and died of AIDS which is why his dad reacted so harshly to Jorge’s own coming out. He just wanted to protect him. And just like that, a storyline that could’ve continued to be mined for interesting social commentary is tied up with a too neat bow. Really, what is even the point of plot angst on Katy Keene?
Alyssa: Yeah, they really pulled that one out of the hat at the last minute. Speaking of a tidy boy, despite some bratty pushback from Guy, Katy’s dream of going to Parson’s is alive again! After her show goes off without a hitch, Gloria introduces her to the dean of Parson’s, who is of course impressed and can’t believe they initially denied her application. She offers Katy admission in the fall on the spot, so she might not be a lead designer in an up and coming fashion house but Katy’s fulfilling her real dream instead. However, Katy is still sad because she just wants to share this moment with KO, the human equivalent of plain oatmeal. Raj tells her that KO is on his way to Philly because he finally accepted that job boxing at his favorite gym, so Katy rushes to meet him at the train in a delightfully hideous pink fluffy coat.
Jessica: Again, where is this plot development coming from? Sure, they’ve stayed friends, but Katy’s was just having a Phantom Thread love affair last episode. Why is she still holding a torch for this wet blanket? Fortunately, she decides to let K.O. follow his dreams of being the next Rocky Balboa and the two part on good terms. Pepper and Josie also have a heart-to-heart that ends with pepper agreeing to be Josie’s manager. And Jorge and his family have a new enemy in their fight for the neighborhood — Riverdale’s Hiram Lodge! Alyssa, you couldn’t know this, but this guy is bad news. Still, nothing feels quite as shocking as that final reveal.
Alyssa: Right? So, Katy has a moment getting chummy in the elevator with Prince Errol, who I really think they are going to push hard as a Prince Harry type going forward since he has apparently given up his royal title and is going to slum it in America now running Lacy’s. However, he isn’t the only one in charge there. Now that Mrs. Lacy’s has been removed by the board, her son Leo (remember him? Had a romance with Gloria and maybe with Katy’s mom too?) is here to run the show now. I think the presence of Cary Elwes may have delighted me even more than Bernadette Peters, but it’s still such a weird moment. He introduces himself to Katy, huffs about the archaic use of “Gloria’s girls,” and then Katy immediately is like “HI I THINK YOU’RE MY LONG LOST DAD.” Cut to black, the end. WHAT!?
Jessica: How has Katy made this leap? From an inscribed sewing machine? Who’s responsible for teaching her proper social etiquette? Why is Cary Elwes even on this show? So many questions and no confirmed pick up date to answer them.
Alyssa: We’ll see if the show gets a second season — its fate is still up in the air — but I think I’d like to see everyone take their vow of no dating for a year seriously. It might do them all some good, considering every single romantic exploit has crashed and burned. But let’s dig into her mom’s secrets a little more. It was hinted at, but I feel like we’re just getting into that. Either way, Katy Keene is going to Katy Keene and it will all be a little too sparkly.