“Chain of Fools” Makes Pepper’s Plant Wither & Katy Keene Shimmer

Katy Keene - a dark-haired woman wearing a pink blouse, black tie and plaid pants - holds hands with Ginger Lopez, a drag queen wearing a center-parted auburn wig with blond highlights, her waist cinched and a glittery bronze dress on her body. She's holding hands with Josie McCoy, a lovely african american woman with white pants and an animal print shirt.

In Katy Keene chapter 12, The Pepper Plant finally opens. The truth about Pepper’s past as a con artist is also finally revealed to her friends. Alex worries that Pepper might screw him out of his investment though, leading to his relationship with Josie entering wobbly ground. Meanwhile, Katy’s super-hot relationship with Guy hits a major snag when she learns something nasty about his past, and Jorge tries to help his parents figure out a way to get the building out of hock.

Katy Keene
“Chapter Twelve: Chain of Fools”

Evelyn Yves (writer), Steve Adelson (director)
Lucy Hale, Ashleigh Murray, Camille Hyde, Jonny Beauchamp, Julia Chan, Lucien Laviscount, Zane Holtz, Katherine LaNasa, Nathan Lee Graham (cast)
Based on Archie Comics
May 7th, 2020

Ahh, the Pepper Plant. You have been born and you look…a little like they redressed the set for Molly’s Crisis.

“Chain of Fools” is all about Pepper, and the lengths she will, in the end, go for the people she calls her friends. While that’s hard to believe if you’ve seen her connive her way through the series, in this episode she really does make the best choices possible when it comes to making amends as her criminal past (and present) come to the surface and finally haunt her.

I’ve complained long and loud about Pepper’s ability to outrun her problems, and it’s been a series-long issue. “Chain of Fools” does a pretty good job letting her fail though, thanks to her own inability to deal with problems at their root cause. As Pepper gears up for the opening of the Pepper Plant, the copious amounts of money that she’s been welshing from everyone finally becomes a major issue as people put their heads together and realize how much they’ve been snookered for. Josie’s the one who realizes that she skimmed ninety percent of the profits from Jorge’s “Kiss of the Spider-Woman” performance while refusing to pay either of them, and Katy soon learns she’s been milling thousands of dollars from a stolen Lacy’s credit card. She also pawned an expensive handbag of Katy’s for cash.Katy Keene, a petite black-haired woman with red lipstick and a black midi dress as well as a white blouse with a peter pan collar - is going through a series of pale blue bag while her co-worker, the red haired Amanda, stands in the background. They're in a room in the Lacy's Department store, and it's classy, with white walls and a chandelier.

Pepper is eventually confronted with the truth, and she proclaims that she’s done it all for them, and for the Pepper Plant too, natch. It’s Katy who finally gives Pepper the blistering wake-up call she needs (yes, the terms “blistering” and “Katy Keene” can be used in the same sentence). The moment provides Lucy Hale with one of her best acted scene thus far in the series’ canon.

Meanwhile, Jorge tries to figure out the best way to help his parents out of debt. After initially suggesting the gang try to pay market value on the rent, he bounces between a job Katy got him at Lacy’s makeup counter to go-go dancing. He makes the cash, but it’s up to him to convince his father to swallow his own pride and accept the money. And in the end, it’s not enough to erase their debt entirely.

Katy herself has her head in the clouds as her relationship with Guy continues to burgeon. Unfortunately, she accidentally discovers that he’s lifted one of her designs and claimed it as his own thanks to some snooping. She soon learns that the thievery goes far deeper than one instance. Told that that’s how the fashion universe works, she’s given the choice between her integrity and her heart.

Josie is trying to figure out how to get Alex’s money back from Pepper before Alex calls the authorities on her or panics about how much he’s staked on the Pepper Plant’s existence. Unfortunately, Alex is willing to climb back into his father’s good graces to get out of the mess, and the end result screams disaster for Pepper and her plans.

All the while, Pepper remains completely determined upon the opening of the club. Will she get there?  Will she simply meet with disaster?

There are a couple of nifty and sensible plot twists that the show throws into “Chain of Fools,” ones that retroactively make Pepper’s behavior make sense. While consequences finally descend Pepper, it’s not exactly hopeless for her. I’m just glad she’s being held accountable for most of the damage she’s caused. (Though the stuff with K.O. and Katy’s not-engagement remains unforgivable.)

The most surprising plot thread definitely belongs to Guy and Katy. I’m fairly sure the show had no idea that the pairing would take off the way it has with fans, and thus they’re stuck with Guy having done some unforgivable stuff to Katy. How the show will devolve because of this or work with it remains to be seen.Katy Keene - a dark-haired woman wearing a pink blouse, black tie and plaid pants - clutches her heart in dramatic joy at the sight of something offscreen. She stands beside her best friend, Pepper Smith, an asian-american woman with glasses, her hair tied back in a bun and a golden dress with a black lace aplique

Jorge’s family-based plot has been really nice and has undone the selfishness that’s driven his character for the last few episodes. He gradually becomes a sex worker of sorts: he starts giving private lap dances at the go-go club just to support his family, and his father is aghast at his sacrifice.

Then there’s Alex, running back to his father the second things get rough, leaving Josie to tsk tsk at him as he steamrolls Pepper (though she doesn’t know he’s the one who did that yet). Much of their plot is left to steam, bubble up, and blow next week, so it’s hard to judge it from the POV of this week.

The episode’s sense of time feels a little off. The speed with which Pepper has built her club makes no real sense. To be fair to the show, Pepper’s Pepper Plant has been evolving all season. But it also expects me to believe that in weeks she’s pulled together the thing with no funding?

A worse fate is left to Nathan Lee Graham’s François, who pops in for one scene to sarcastically call Katy his muse. The show has horribly misused both Graham’s talents and François’ potential, and I hope it will do better next season.

Next week, all of our plot points are set to collide, and hopefully tie things up in a messy, messy knot for Season 2. All I can say is that if you can resist the notion of Josie and the Pussycats singing “She-Bop” by Cyndi Lauper while Katy learns the future has turned into quicksand beneath her (dissonance, thy name is this episode), then this one won’t be fun for you. Rest assured, it was tons of fun for me.

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