As we get closer to the end of the first season of Katy Keene, everyone's hopes and dreams are feeling closer than ever but even more tenuous. Katy's still pulling double duty at Lacy's and with Guy but gets rejected by Parson's fashion school, Josie has to resort to some creative trickery to get the Pussycats heard, Jorge is choosing to take care of himself instead of letting others drag him down, and Pepper ... well, who knows what is going on with Pepper ever? In Episode 11, "Who Can I Turn To?", it almost feels like everyone is their own worst enemy, with their mistakes being the biggest obstacles that they're going to have to overcome in the last two episodes of the season.
The decisions may be terrible, but the fashion is, as always, killer. We're Alyssa Fikse and Jessica Toomer, and we're here to judge every couture choice while wearing sweatpants.
Warning: This discussion contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 11 of Katy Keene.
Alyssa: Right off the bat, Katy gets some bad news: She did not get into Parsons. The fashion school said a big no thanks to her portfolio, despite Gloria’s letter, so our girl is in a bit of a tailspin. However, she doesn’t have too much time to wallow because she’s busy at Lacy’s, she’s helping Guy design a Meta Gala (this tweak took me aback every time they said it) dress for Casey Wilson, oh and rent is due. Katy’s got a lot on her plate.
Jessica: Anna Wintour said “Child, please” when the CW came knocking for those copyrights didn’t she? Still, we get the drift. The “Meta Gala” is fashion’s biggest night and in true Guy fashion, he’s designed something horrifically over-the-top for the comedy queen. Really, just how good is this guy at his job because Katy seems to be bailing him out of disasters left and right. Speaking of, Pepper’s managing her vengeful ex who has plans to steal her investors by coming to Alex and Josie with a proposition — Alex gives her the last of his savings, and Pepper makes Josie and the Pussycats the official house band of the Pepper Plant. Sounds like a one-sided deal but hey, if anyone can sell it, it’s this posh con artist.
Alyssa: Pepper really does seem to have an impossible number of plates in the air, so it seems like it’s only a matter of time before one drops. Jorge is currently going through it. He has been wearing Bernardo’s sweatshirt for weeks and he still isn’t talking to his dad. His hot cop brother is back (yay!) and he encourages him to make things right with their father. Yes, he didn’t handle Jorge’s drag very well, but his brother reassures him that it was because he was afraid for his safety. Jorge is definitely in a tough position here. In a perfect world, his parents would be perfectly progressive and understanding. However, even on Katy Keene, things can’t go that smoothly. It’s not fair, but Jorge is going to have to meet his dad halfway here. Meanwhile, Casey Wilson hates Guy’s dress, and with good reason. Seriously, how is this guy so bad at his job? Well, they have to make a new dress for Casey in a week, and Guy is melting down. Katy is busy enough running the Personal Shopping department of Lacy’s with Amanda, and how she’s got to talk Guy off the ledge.
Jessica: Apologies to Amanda first off. She may be a scheming little snake, but she’s good at her job and she’s the only thing keeping the department afloat while Katy babysits a giant toddler throwing a temper tantrum. Eventually, Katy’s going to have to make a choice between her old job and her dream of being a designer, but today is not that day so she abandons Amanda at the worst times to save Guy from himself. I thought that’s what his sister was there for, no?
Alyssa: Guy apparently needs an entire team of women to manage him while he gets the accolades for being “a genius.” He lashes out at Katy while she’s trying to juggle two jobs and is all in all handling criticism terribly. Meanwhile, apparently being a semi-successful underwear model and Xandra Cabot’s boyfriend got KO a ticket to the Meta Gala, so he stops by Lacy’s and of course, Katy has to be the one to style him. He asks about Parson’s, she tearfully explains that she didn’t get in, and then Guy shows up for a d*ck measuring contest. Guy and KO trade some insults before KO punches Guy and somehow avoids a lawsuit.
Jessica: The unnecessary display of testosterone is exasperating and completely unhelpful. Ugh, men. Still, I would not want to be on the receiving end of a KO knockout. While Katy tries to negotiate peace between her two suitors, Jorge tries to build a bridge at home. His mother drops by to try to convince him to start auditioning again but he’s already brainstorming his next drag show with Francois. Their argument leads to the reveal that things have been strained with his parents which puts more pressure on Jorge to reconcile with his dad. He tries, honestly, he does, but their family dinner descends into a shouting match when his dad refuses to apologize for how he’s treated his son. Not just the drag comments, though those were bad, but the way he handled the news that Jorge was queer when he came out to his parents at 14 years old. I know it’s been touched on before — how Jorge was kicked out of the house and lived with Katy and her mom for a time — but I’m glad the show reminded us of just how traumatic this ordeal was for Jorge. It explains so much about how he views the world and his relationships.
Alyssa: It’s true. Jorge has been through the wringer and he is more than owed an apology from his parents. While Jorge is dealing with actual problems, Guy decides that the best thing to do to handle a tight deadline is to go on a pub crawl and leave the work for everyone else. Katy is left to deal with things way above her paygrade, like placating Casey Wilson by assuring her that Guy is hard at work on a new dress. Side note: Wilson’s cameo just made me miss Happy Endings and all I could think about was how excited Penny Harts would have been going to the Met Gala. Anyway, Casey is stressed and considering a pitch for a new dress from Christian Siriano (honestly, take that opportunity, girl), but Katy manages to talk her down. Casey reveals a bit of herself to Katy, namely her rejection of perfection, and Katy gets an inspired idea for a gown. They don’t need to start from scratch, they just need to strip that monstrosity down to its sartorial bones.
Jessica: After she gets a much-needed pep talk from her gang, of course. Katy’s been doubting herself since the Parson’s rejection but this project is exactly what she needs to remind herself that one “no” doesn’t mean you give up on your dream. Francois shows up to help deconstruct the gown and Guy’s sister wholly approves of the new look. While that’s happening, Josie and Pepper are working to take advantage of Katy’s access to the event by recording new singles and slapping stickers on water bottles. Jorge’s there to help too, though he’s still bummed about his dad, Bernardo, and the news that the guy his brother caught isn’t the one responsible for his assault. Again, Jorge’s problems are on another level here. Of course, while he’s at the station he spots … who else? Guy, nursing a hangover and a black eye. He alerts Katy and then heads to Molly’s Crisis to talk things over with his ex. Turns out, Bernardo and Buzz aren’t seeing each other, and Bernardo wants to start fresh, but Jorge seems finally ready to confront the hurt and pain his parents have caused and he needs this time alone to figure out his own feelings and how to cope with them. A mature decision from our drag queen diva? I never thought I’d see the day.
Alyssa: I was so proud of Jorge in this moment. He’s clearly been struggling since the break-up and dealing with all of the stuff with his dad, but he still knows that nothing is going to get better in his life until he does some major self-reflection and decides what he really wants and who he wants to be. You know who else could use a little self-reflection? Guy. Katy shows up with a breakfast sandwich in hand in order to banish his hangover and get him red carpet ready, but Guy sulkily claims that he’s not going to the Gala. Katy has a bit of a meltdown over this news, but our girl has been having a day. Nay, at least a week. Katy calls him out on his privilege and finally stands up to him before heading out to once again save his ass by getting Casey her dress, which she loves.
Katy Is A Walking HR Nightmare
Jessica: Of course she does. Katy Keene is talented, even if those fools at Parsons can’t see it. Guy eventually gets his shit together and walks Casey down the red carpet, even giving Katy a shout out to the press when praising the gown. Meanwhile, Pepper plays the role of Fiji Water Girl and makes sure to stand in the background of every red carpet pic with water bottles labeled “What Is The Pepper Plant.” Genius? Maybe. Original? Eh. Her ex shows up to try to steal some of her thunder reminding us all that Pepper’s got a legion of enemies waiting to take her down and though Xandra plans to use the Gala to announce the name of her new girl group, Josie gets their first. She and the Pussycats give an impromptu performance of their new song which, I hate to admit, is in fact, a banger although there’s no way three girls in leotards and cat tails would’ve gotten past the real Met Gala security team. The sheer amount of belief we must suspend to accept this fantasy world of Katy Keene never ceases to amaze me.
Alyssa: Yeah, absolutely not. Did no one watch Ocean’s 8? The Meta Gala goes off without a hitch, and Katy is left to bask in her victory… by cleaning up her office in Lacy’s. I liked the moment that she had with Amanda, where she wonders why they are always so competitive when they work well together as a team. Amanda is even gracious enough to compliment Katy on her dress design and invite her out to the afterparties, but Katy declines. Lame. Pepper meets with Hannah and basically scams Hannah into divorcing her by showing that her shady lawyers could get her into a lot of trouble should Pepper expose them, so instead of taking half of the money that Hannah has raised, so has her sign the divorce papers and calls her mom to come take her away to the country house. However, Hannah manages to lob one last bomb at Pepper and exposes her secrets to Alex who then tells Josie. What exactly those secrets are will have to wait until the next episode.
Jessica: I swear to Gloria Grandbilt, if that accent is fake, I’m through with Pepper, fam. Josie knows some of her friend’s scheming, but there’s no way she knows it all so this twist should be interesting. Another interesting development, one we’ve seen coming for a while now, is Katy and Guy’s hookup in Gloria’s office. After the sex dream fiasco, I thought Katy had come to her senses and decided to keep things professional but there’s nothing like a bit of flattery and an assurance that a Parsons rejection isn’t the end of your career dreams to get you in the mood for a topless makeout session amongst a sea of discarded decor. I like their sexual tension, and how their relationship seems to challenge both of them in different ways, but Katy, girl, not every piece of eye candy needs to be unwrapped.
Alyssa: Listen, as soon as Guy came strolling in all tall with his suspenders, I knew it was on. But sex on your old boss’ desk feels like a real mistake. Katy is obviously feeling vulnerable after the Parsons rejection, but she is really risking her career for some designer d*ck. That’s just a bad idea all around. Honestly, looking forward, I really just want to know what’s going on with Pepper. She annoys me to no end, but I need to know the depth of her grifting.
Jessica: All the other storylines feel predictable. Dramatic and juicy, but, predictable. Pepper is the big unknown on this show and I just need some answers — about her past and also, why this whole Pepper Plant is so important to her. Everyone else can continue to be messy but we’ve established some real stakes with Pepper Smith. I’m ready to watch her world come crumbling down.