A familiar face from Riverdale pays a visit on Katy Keene this week and boy, do they bring the drama.
Kevin's in town to visit Josie and get his play seen by Broadway, but his arrival causes problems for Josie's new iteration of the Pussycats. Meanwhile, Gloria faces a mess of her own when scandalous allegations are lodged against her, forcing Katy to get to the truth. Oh, and can someone please tell Jorge that throuples never work out?
We're Jessica Toomer and Alyssa Fikse and we're here to make sense of another episode of Katy Keene.
Warning: This discussion contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 10 of Katy Keene.
Alyssa: Nothing like a sex dream to kick off an episode! Katy is getting her jollies by subconsciously imagining getting all Phantom Thread with Guy, and honestly, it was hot. I have to say, Guy is my favorite of her potential love interests because he actually has a personality (sorry, K.O.), but at the same time, Katy girl. Do not do this. She is awakened in a flush by Josie and her stepbrother Kevin — again, I do not watch Riverdale so I do not know who this cute boy is — and Josie immediately asks her if she was having a sex dream. In front of a stranger. None of these people can read the room. However, Katy has other things to worry about because Gloria is releasing her memoir and Katy has to support her as one of her “girls.”
Jessica: Kevin is the absolute best and it makes sense that he’d come to New York to make his playwrighting dreams come true, but boy does he have bad timing. Katy has to just sit with her erotic dream all day without hashing out its meaning with her besties, which makes working with the star of that dream uber awkward. In a way, Gloria’s scandal saved Katy from acting on those urges, but we’ll get to that later. More pressing is the fact that’s Gloria’s exclusive reading of her book at Lacy’s is interrupted by a tabloid story that accuses her of trading sex for sales — or at least using her girls to do the trading. The story also alludes to Katy’s affair with the prince, which, yikes. Honestly, as soon as those iPhones started chiming I knew we were in trouble.
Alyssa: Right, I thought that Guy gifting Katy a dress would be her most awkward romantic instance of the episode, but alas, remembering the romp with Prince Errol was worse. So, that’s all public and will surely have some major repercussions going forward. Things get especially complicated when Gloria gets escorted from the building by security to stay away “until the dust settles.” Nothing like seeing your mentor doing a perp walk to mess with your head. While Katy is dealing with that, everyone is spiraling out as well. Pepper’s wife Hannah is asking Pepper, who is still extremely broke, for the $30k that she stole from her (fair), and her assistant Didi shockingly wants to be paid for her work.
Jessica: As much as I love Pepper, if you don’t pay your workers what they’re worth, you’re trash in my book. Good for Didi for standing up for herself. Bad for Pepper that she’s pissed off both her ex and her assistant. Speaking of standing up for yourself, that’s what the Pussycats of Josie and the Pussycats need to do because their leader is returning to her old ways. I know you didn’t watch Riverdale, Alyssa, but let me tell you, Josie was a nightmare in high school — at least when it came to her band. She’s grown sure, but old habits die hard and the impending premiere performance of her new track is bringing out her inner diva. And not in a good way.
Alyssa: I can definitely see that. Josie has worked pretty hard to get the Pussycat Dolls where she wants them, but after the stink that she made about the models just being props, she seemed pretty determined to put her new bandmates in a similar position. It wasn’t her best moment. Another threesome that’s having some issues is Jorge, Bernardo, and Buzz. Bernardo pressures Jorge to work out with him and lets it slip that he and Buzz are texting outside of the group chat. Jorge is clearly upset and feels left out, and decides that the best way to handle the growing connection between Buzz and Bernardo is to float the idea of a throuple. Bernardo is into it, but I really don’t think that Jorge is. I think he was expecting them both to be focused on him, and now that they’re building their own separate connection, his inner diva is a bit offended.
Jessica: Oh Jorge. Learn from David Rose’s mistakes: there’s always a third wheel and it sucks when it’s you. While he tries to manage his love life, Pepper is managing Kevin’s literary agent prospects. She’s arranged a private reading of his new play, based on the murder and mayhem that only happens in Riverdale, but one of the prestige theater directors she’s invited has some history with our little Shakespeare. A gross, unacceptable, #MeToo history. I personally liked that the show chose to address this issue with Kevin, showing that men can be victims of sexual harassment too. Kevin’s obviously still shaken up over being forcibly propositioned by the guy and so he and Pepper scheme to expose him and sell the story to the tabloids. I’m all for outing a predator but Kevin, please be careful!
Alyssa: Josie also sent Kevin with bags of snacks to smooth things over with the Pussycats and failed to inform him that the girls knew nothing of her former bandmates. When Kevin lets it slip that they’re basically the fourth iteration of Josie’s back up, they are not pleased. If Josie has run through so many bandmates in her young life, are they next? Meanwhile, Gloria shows up at Katy’s apartment — deigning to travel to Washington Heights — and begs her to write an op-ed in The Times supporting Gloria and basically saying that she never saw any impropriety on the job. Katy agrees and seems to consider herself firmly #TeamGloria. However, when she mentions this to Guy, he doesn’t seem to be on Gloria’s side in this. He calls out some of the behavior that he saw, which Amanda also confirms, and tells Katy that the Lacy’s board has been looking to modernize for a while now. Katy is left wondering if Gloria really does deserve to be booted and her resolve to write the op-ed dissipates. Katy clearly wasn’t paying attention to her coworkers and how they were treated by Gloria. It’s amazing what you miss when you’re wrapped up in your own drama 24/7.
Jessica: Right? I’m surprised Katy seems so shocked to discover Gloria’s management mistakes considering we’ve been listening to her complain about her own issues with her boss all season. Isn’t that the whole reason she went to work in window displays with Francois? Which, where is Francois? Is he just toiling away on mannequins by himself, because I know Katy has not been helping. She’s too involved with her internship and Gloria’s mess and princes and school applications. While she’s reckoning with her hero’s flaws, Jorge and Bernardo are having a tense sit-down with Buzz. Jorge thinks he’ll be thrilled to be invited into their relationship but Buzz is more traditional — he just came out, for lord’s sake — and he wants his first relationship to be a standard couple. Jorge balks at the mention of the word “first” since he spent a year hooking up with Buzz in secret and boy, do I wish we could just pull the brakes on this train because it is about to go off the rails.
Alyssa: The lack of honest communication between these three is really going to kill whatever this is before it even starts. The night of Kevin’s play reading arrives and Mr. Sleazy Director shows and has the nerve to not even remember Kevin. Pepper talks him up and the perv talks about how young Kevin is and it’s all very gross. After the play, which really is just Riverdale, the director wants to get drinks with Kevin, and the honey pot is set. Katy meets with Gloria to tell her that she couldn’t write the op-ed without clarifying some of the information that she learned. Gloria claims that she thinks of her girls as her daughters and only ever wanted to prepare them for the cutthroat world of fashion. I feel like the show really doesn’t know what they want to do with Gloria and has written her pretty inconsistently. Sometimes she’s a villain, sometimes she’s Katy’s saving grace. Which one is she!?
Jessica: Maybe both? I agree that some of Gloria’s behavior to her employees is uncalled for, but I think she’s right in not coddling them. Watching how Katy — who’s still fairly innocent and a bit sensitive when it comes to her work — moves through this world, I can’t imagine how she’d survive if Gloria didn’t push her the way she does. I think good mentors find that line and as the show’s gone on, Gloria’s evolved from just a Miranda Priestly archetype to someone who’s rooting for Katy, while still holding her accountable. It’s an interesting conversation to have about bullying in the workplace and if that kind of toughness helps or hurts in the long run, but I just don’t think the show can do it justice.
Alyssa: That’s a really interesting point! We’ll just have to wait and see. Katy inserts herself into the situation and goes to talk to Mrs. Lacy, telling her that Gloria deserves to be at Lacy’s despite the scandal. Mrs. Lacy basically tells Katy to pound sand. She explains that Gloria broke the cardinal rule and made the work about herself, not about the greater good of Lacy’s, and for that, she cannot be forgiven. Katy goes to Gloria and tells her that she thinks that Mrs. Lacy is the one who leaked the story. Gloria seems to think that’s not outside of the realm of possibility since she did tell Mrs. Lacy about Katy’s dalliance with the prince, however, it doesn’t really matter. Gloria released an official apology and made the decision to resign.
Jessica: Let’s not forget the other bomb Gloria drops on Katy. Apparently, she had an affair with an unidentified man that caused a rift between her and Mrs. Lacy. Bet money we’ll hear about that later. Until then, there’s more drama to keep us busy. Kevin chats up the Sleazy Director over drinks and it doesn’t take long for the man to pull an aggressive thigh grab and detail exactly what he needs from Kevin in order to get this play to Broadway. Yuck. Fortunately, Kevin keeps his cool, and Pepper records the whole thing. It was a little moment of triumph that, I confess, I was worried would be thrown away because of Pepper’s greed. She demands $70,000 from the man in exchange for not running the story because she has debts to pay, but I can’t imagine Kevin would be cool with adding blackmail to this particular con.
Alyssa: Not only did Pepper get the money, but she still ran the story. Grifting never sleeps! Take down that creep, girl. She pays off Hannah, but that moment of triumph is extremely short-lived. Didi shows up and tells Pepper that not only is she quitting, but she’s been hired by Hannah to help ruin Pepper’s life. I think Pepper should be very afraid at this point. Basically, if you’re going to dance along the line of legality, you better make sure your minions are better paid. In similarly dire straits is Jorge, who is sad that Buzz turned him and Bernardo down, and he’s drinking to recover from the “break up.” Bernardo gets upset and reminds Jorge that he is his boyfriend and that he needs to get over whatever was happening with Buzz. When Jorge pushes back, Bernardo is out and breaks up with him. Jorge, sweetie, this was not the way.
Jessica: This kind of self-sabotage is too triggering, honestly. While Jorge continues to nurse his woes with some vodka sodas, Josie’s gearing up for her big performance. She’s made good with her bandmates, even rearranging the song so that everyone’s talents are highlighted, but just as they’re about to go on stage, they hear their track being performed by … who else? Xandra. She didn’t take Josie’s earlier rejection well and decided to form her own trio — I did a spit-take at the name Xandra and the Kitty Cats. I love me a petty, unoriginal b*tch. — and steal Josie’s music, since Cabot Entertainment still owns it. Once again we’re faced with a character who just feels confusingly written. One minute she’s terrible, the next she seems to be trying to grow, and then, when the plot needs some fattening up, she turns into a Gucci-clad Mr. Hyde again. I’ve got whiplash.
Alyssa: Too real. Well, at least Kevin gets to enjoy the Tonys again. As the roommates + Kevin and Pepper do a debrief of the episode’s drama, Jorge tells them that he and Bernardo broke up. This clearly isn’t what Jorge wants, so they tell him that he needs a romantic gesture to try and get that hunky fireman back. He puts on his cutest workout clothes and goes to find Bernardo on his jogging route, but alas, heartbreak waits for him. Bernardo isn’t running alone. He’s running with Buzz. It’s not like Jorge finds them in a sweaty tangle of naked limbs, but the fact that Buzz was doing what Jorge didn’t made it feel like an extremely personal betrayal that is sure to sting for a while. Katy decides that she’s going to quit Lacy’s and stand by Gloria, but when she goes to give Mrs. Lacy her resignation letter, she gets a promotion instead.
Jessica: Of course, she’s got to share it with her arch-nemesis Amanda. Honestly, both women seem too green for this job but hey, desperate times! Katy also discovers a love letter while packing up Gloria’s office belongings from Leo Lacy, Mrs. Lacy’s son. That was the affair that cost them their friendship and Katy thinks it might also be the source of her mother’s beloved sewing machine. Did Katy’s mom also have a fling with Leo? Or, my personal conspiracy theory: Did Gloria and Leo hook up when they were young, have a kid, and that kid was Katy’s mom? Or or, did Leo and Katy’s mom have a brief affair and Katy is actually the heir to the Lacy’s throne? Alyssa, I could go on …
Alyssa: I love this theory. This theory will keep me going through each frustrating plot twist. #KatyIsASecretLacy is a go. This episode leaves everyone pretty adrift, and I am glad that everything wasn’t tied up in a neat little bow. I’m thinking that everyone will be dealing with the repercussions for the rest of the season. Also, after Guy and Katie had that chat when she gave back the dress and decided to keep things strictly platonic, I hope they stick with that. For the most part, Katy’s romantic entanglements have frustrated me, and there is plenty of romantic angst elsewhere in the show.
Jessica: Amen. I’ve got my fill just wading through Jorge’s troubles. I also hate that the show seems intent on creating these ridiculous roadblocks for Josie on her path to stardom. Ditch the tired female jealousy trope and show us a young woman making strides in her career, dammit! Still, the most interesting aspect of this show continues to be Pepper’s double life and I think we’re closer to seeing her own fall from grace. I’ve got the popcorn ready.