Here Comes the Sun and We Say This Week’s Katy Keene…is All Right

Jorge Lopez - a young latinx man in a taupe shirt and black pants - dances with his friends Pepper Smith, an asian woman with red hair in a blue sweater dress, katy keene - a young brunette woman in a pink teeshirt with a red stripe down the middle, plaid shorts and with her hair tied back, and Josie McCoy, an African American woman with a leopard print top and white skirt. They're all enjoying themselves enormously as they move to the beat

In Katy Keene chapter four, our heroine nurses her broken heart by throwing her all into work. There’s also: adopted sibling incest, porn shoots, and rats in paper bags.

Katy Keene
“Chapter Four: Here Comes the Sun”

Alina Mankin (writer), Pamela Romanowsky (director)
Lucy Hale, Ashleigh Murray, Camille Hyde, Jonny Beauchamp, Julia Chan, Lucien Laviscount, Zane Holtz, Katherine LaNasa (cast)
Based on Archie Comics
February 27, 2020

Our girl Katy’s in serious mourning for her relationship with K.O. as the series’ fourth episode blooms to life. And how does a driven yet broken-hearted girl like Katy try to get over her relationship grief?  By throwing herself face-first into work. Unfortunately, the duel and high-pressure jobs she carries at Lacy’s weigh on her in equally different but unhelpful ways. With Gloria, she manages to fumble negotiations with Guy LaMontagne (Luke Cook); with her display job…well, she can’t bring herself to sew, so it’s a problem.

The first situation is much harder to solve. Gloria threatens to fire Katy unless she finds Guy and convinces him to design a line for Lacy’s, so she turns to Pepper to find him, but it’s Josie who pulls up the right intel; it turns out he’s got dealings with Alexandra. But disaster breeds disaster, and it takes Katy negging Guy with some honesty and can-do-optimism to get his respect.

Meanwhile, Josie agrees to go with Alex to meet with his father in the hope of convincing him to restart the family’s  label, Cabot Records. Alexandra — now being called “Xandra” by one and all — shows up to upstage Josie during the meeting by turning her audition into a duet, even though Alex’s father seems taken with Josie. Then there is such a sudden, over the top twist to this part of the plot that seeks to explain Alexandra’s jealousy of Alex and their previous body language and weird intimacy, but it makes the relationship between the Cabot sibs a little too twisted. This kind of development belongs on Dynasty or Riverdale, not Katy Keene, but it does result in Josie declaring her independence both from Alex and from the Cabots at large. For half the episode, at least.

Out of desperation to make up the money she needs, Pepper begins renting out her loft to an amazingly handsome pornography director to film in. Her landlord doesn’t like this at all, so of course it’s Pepper’s karma Houdini time again. Somehow Pepper manages to turn the movie into an experimental erotica production while also lining up the director as her next main squeeze.

Jorge’s relationship with Bernardo the firefighter, meanwhile, continues to be going gangbusters, which is the problem for insecure Jorge. He has to develop a sense of self-confidence before he loses Bernardo for good.Pepper Smith, an Asian woman with blond hair in a blue sweater dress - stares off at stage left in shock at something occurring in the distance with her friend katy keene - a young brunette woman in a multicolored dress holding a fashionable handbag. Beside her and just as shocked is Josie McCoy, an African American woman with a leopard print top and white skirt and Jorge Lopez - a young latinx man in a taupe shirt and black pants. All four are in a nightclub together.

“Here Comes the Sun” marks the first Katy episode that felt off-kilter to me. The show’s lighthearted, slightly soapy but still grounded feeling crashes to the ground in this episode, and in several scenes over-the-top melodrama and WTF-worthy production choices set in.

For example, mid-stream, the episode grinds to a total halt so the roommates can engage in a choreographed dance to Christina Aguilera’s “Dirty.” The scene doesn’t work for the simple reason that the music in Katy’s cotton candy world has mainly been brought to the screen in a performance setting — Jorge performing as Ginger, Josie singing, etc. This isn’t that: they are not dancing and singing along to music being played by an MP3 player like normal people. It opens the series up to logical questions like, “Did they really practice all that choreography beforehand?”

While Jorge and Katy’s plots are great and easy enough to relate to — and Katy’s pursuit of some sort of balance after losing K.O. genuinely poignant — I’m disappointed that Josie is all but being turned into some kind of moral guardian for Alex and his “demons.” She’s too independent for that, even if behaving this way will help her achieve her dreams. It’s like the show’s trying to force them together instead of letting it happen naturally.

And Pepper’s plot is a Pepper plot. She seems to be fulfilling the writer’s desire to do wild things without any narrative consequences being spent. I keep waiting for her to encounter some kind of plot complication that bears weight on her storyline for more than half of an episode, as every other character does.

Still, there are many lovely or at least funny moments that make “Here Comes the Sun” worthwhile, like Katy’s rediscovery of her creative side; the gang’s unwavering devotion; and Josie’s horror as a moving paper bag in an alley is revealed to be a rat. I wouldn’t call it a total failure, but it’s a let-down compared to the previous three episodes.

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