Mama Said There’d Be Katy Keenes Like This

katy Keene - a brunette woman with dark red lips and wearing a red plaid dress with poofy sleeves - holds a document in her hand in a sunlit office. She is looking up at the person sitting across from her and unseen by the camera with incredulity.

In Katy Keene chapter six, Katy gets caught between a rock and her client; the truth comes down on Pepper; and Jorge has to battle it out with a hated rival for his spot at the top of his local drag food chain as Shangela invades Molly’s Crisis.

Katy Keene
“Chapter Six: Mama Said”

Davia Carter (writer),Charles Randolph-Wright (director)
Lucy Hale, Ashleigh Murray, Camille Hyde, Jonny Beauchamp, Julia Chan, Lucien Laviscount, Zane Holtz, Katherine LaNasa (cast)
Based on Archie Comics
March 12, 2020

Now that Katy’s application to fashion school is finally in (she walked all the way to her childhood mailbox to post the application, aww), her friends dedicate themselves to convincing her to unwind. That unwinding process involves finding Katy a rebound fling.

But for Our Heroine, that’s easier said than done, as K.O. was her first, well, everything. She throws herself into her work to avoid dealing with the project, but is immediately embroiled in the upcoming photoshoot scheduled for the prince and commoner she helped out back in the pilot to celebrate their engagement and Lacy’s subsequent marketing and bolstering of the union for its own benefit. Unfortunately, Katy finds herself attracted to Prince Errol Swoon, the helpful and down-to-earth groom. While trying to deal with this new twist, she bumps into K.O. walking out of Xandra’s hotel and jumps to conclusions. This leads to a surprising twist and a very sweet moment.

Katy also pursues the hint she got last week after examining her mother’s sewing machine that Mama Keene not only worked at Lacy’s, but she was terminated around the time of her daughter’s birth. Hints of a forbidden affair — and the true identity of Katy’s father — continue to percolate.

Pepper’s romantic tête-à-tête with Raj (Abubakar Ali), K.O.’s roommate, implodes when her former friend and onetime lover Didi confronts her about her philandering (FINALLY, an impactful plot for Pepper). As Pepper tries to make it up to Raj while apologizing to Didi, some surprising results surface.

katy Keene - a brunette woman with dark red lips and wearing a red plaid dress with poofy sleeves - stands beside her friend Josie McCoy, an African American woman wearing a blue jacket over a black boustier and minidress. Her hair is tied back. Both women are reacting to something at the extreme right, Josie with bemusement, Katy with a wide vivacious smile.

Josie has to deal with the secret she’s concealing from Alex, but the tension in her is eased when her mom (Robin Givens, reprising her Riverdale role as Mayor Sierra McCoy) arrives for a visit and to attend Josie’s EP release party at Pops’. When she learns about Josie’s contract, Sierra urges her daughter not to get sucked into the Cabot family dynamic, but it’s far too late for Josie to avoid that. The meeting between Alex and Sierra, unsurprisingly, goes poorly when Alex shows up drunk after learning from Xandra the secret deal Josie made with his dad to keep him on the straight-and-narrow. Josie’s duet with Pops goes off without a hitch though; the party seems to be a success, and Alex soon seems to be back on the road to sobriety.

Lastly, Jorge battles it out with longtime and most hated rival Deveraux, who’s played by D.J. “Shangela” Pierce, kids, who appears both in and out of drag during the episode! (And yes, she says her “halleloo” catchphrase once.) The two vie for Jorge’s Thursday night performer’s slot at Molly’s Crisis after the Ms. Washington Heights Drag Pageant invades the club. The winner of the contest will become the club’s featured drag performer and inherit the choice Thursday spot. With his mom’s encouragement and pageant know-how (she was, as she points out, Miss Puerto Rico, and lets Jorge walk the runway in the dress she wore at that pageant), Jorge enters as Ginger. Ginger is at heart no pageant queen though, and Jorge’s spot might stay embattled.

“Mama Said” has some fine points. The Jorge storyline is pretty irresistible, even though it’s hammy, with some really nice acting from Daphne Rubin-Vega and Jonny Beauchamp and Shangela, all three clearly having a lot of fun.

We randomly learn that François has a past as a drag queen of some renown, which is the most interesting thing the show’s done for him plot-wise yet. Pairing him with Jorge and making him Ginger’s fairy drag mother has a lot of storyline potential, and it’s much better than watching the mega-talented Nathan Lee Graham spin his wheels as he does five plot-paste minutes with Lucy Hale every single episode as the show spins its attention further and further away from Katy’s window dressing gig.

Pepper’s thoughtlessness catches up with her at last in this episode, and finally earns her a multi-episode plot complication that she seemingly can’t magic away as she usually does. This results in a tantalizing prospect that might give her depth and something new to do, with Didi as a new thorn in her side.

With Josie’s conflict of interest story finally at its peak, it will be interesting to see what they finally do with her character without her and Alex struggling away over that big secret, which, come to think of it, the writers never properly exploited. Will it be easier for them when they’re on equal footing?

And then there’s Katy. While it’s interesting to watch her try to move on without K.O., her attraction to the prince felt a little out of the blue, even though the show tried mightily to properly pace it within the episode. There was never any hint she was into him before, and to accomplish the cheating subplot his girlfriend (who’s been nothing but sweet to Katy before this and relied upon her fashion advice), the writers abruptly turned her into a shrewish bridezilla. Much more interesting than all this is the brewing plot regarding Katy’s mother.

“Mama Said” is roughly mid-canon in the show’s oeuvre — worthwhile for a few plots, but imperfect.