Community, Paternity, & Fraternity Come Together in the Katy Keene Finale

Josie McCoy - an African American woman with red-tinged hair in a heavy plaid coat and a yellow scarf - stands beside Pepper Smith, an asian-american woman with blonde hair and glasses, who is wearing a red ad blue checked coat, yellow blouse and orange scarf, along with mint colored gloves and blue jeans. Beside her and clinging to her arm is Katy Keene, a blue-eyed brunette white woman with her hair tied back, wearing a bright red jacket over a dark pink dress. To their right is Xandra, an african american woman with long hair, wearing a black and white-striped hoodie, black leather gloves, and leather pants, with a blue scarf. They're all watching something happen in the far distance, their expressions showing concern, pride or fondness.

In Katy Keene chapter 13, The aftermath of Pepper’s arrest plays out, Katy turns to Gloria for help with her Guy-related mess, and Jorge tries to rally the neighborhood to save the apartment and his folks’ bodega. The season comes to a conclusion; will we all survive quarantine to see the next season?! Will Katy Keene itself? Hopefully! But you’ll have to click the cutline to find out how this season ends.

Katy Keene
“Chapter Thirteen: Come Together”

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Michael Grassi (writers), Maggie Kiley (director)
Lucy Hale, Ashleigh Murray, Camille Hyde, Jonny Beauchamp, Julia Chan, Lucien Laviscount, Zane Holtz, Katherine LaNasa, Nathan Lee Graham (cast); Mark Consuelos, Cary Elwes, Bernadette Peters, D.J. “Shangela” Pierce (guest stars)
Based on Archie Comics
May 14th, 2020

It’s the season finale, which means every single plot decides to boil over at the same time and coat our proverbial stoves with a puddle of almost-completely-cooked plot rice. There’s a LOT to digest at once tonight.

In case you were wondering how much time Pepper was going to spend in jail the answer is: little to none. She’s been sprung, but Katy’s not there to greet her — because she’s at Lacy’s, dealing with their upcoming brick and mortar closing by the Cabots. Pepper soon bumps into Miss Freesia again, and she tells her she’s got a con on the line that will give her enough to buy The Pepper Plant back out from Alex. But her adoptive father gives her an adorable pep talk, trying to urge her to stay on the straight and narrow. Which side will Pepper choose?

Elsewhere, Katy is still, understandably, pissed at Guy for stealing from her, but he says he’ll totally prove to her he can change, and he offers her a position as lead designer at House of Lamontagne.  He can change, he swears! Katy drives a super hard bargain and he easily acquiescence to it all, but Katy’s soon stuck between him and K.O. She’s also stuck dealing with Lacy’s angst, which comes out in the form of yet another live song performance.

The Conga Line of Misery does not end there. Jorge discovers that there’s a greedy developer who’s using eminent domain to buy the entire city block and force both the bodega to close and evict our Main Three. Jorge vows to fight it tooth and nail, leading to a full-out protest, but people are excited about the prospect of an Equinox being built on the block, and community doesn’t seem eager to rally. Will he manage the fight, especially when he learns who wants to buy their land? And will he have the courage to perform and Ginger in front of his father’s friends at a protest that might save everyone?

Pepper Smith, an asian-american woman with short, curled blonde hair and glasses, who is wearing a silver jacket, holds hands with Miss Freesia, an older woman with wild red shoulder-length hair, a crushed red velvet jacket, and a black, low cut top. Miss Freesia holds Pepper's hand and looks at her with concern in her eyes.

Meanwhile Xandra has recorded Josie’s song and is now doing a huge publicity push with it, papering Chubby’s with merch and posters. Xandra reveals she’s broken up with K.O. when Josie confronts her; she also says that Alex is using again and is completely out of touch with her. Later, Alex shows up tweaking on cocaine and bleeding from the nose. He asks Josie to run away with him,  and leaves behind his stash. Josie calls Xandra for help, but can they get through to him?

Katy Keene is the only show that can combine a rousing musical number with a main character battling substance abuse. This last episode’s tone is all over the place, with some genuinely effecting moments and some genuinely ridiculous ones. Jorge and his father discussed  the real reason for his father’s homophobia and K.O. and Katy finally hashed out of their feelings, for example. On the opposite end, the last twist when it came to Lacy’s miraculous salvation felt a little ridiculous, as if the show were tightening a bow on a package.

There’s a lot to love about “Come Together” though, not the least of which is the show choosing friendship over romance. In the last hour of its first season, it’s about how much Katy, Pepper, Jorge, and Josie would gladly sacrifice for one another.

Katy’s plot line holds a lot of the show’s heart, between her attempt at figuring out if she loves Guy and can forgive him, what she wants romantically and career-wise, and where she lands is actually in the best and healthiest place possible for her future to take root. There are, perhaps, still too many careers she’s juggling and that should really Amanda and Katy’s rivalry-cum-friendship is still hilarious. “This is about morals? Get over it, Katy Keene!” Amanda cries when Katy comes to her about her Guy problems, and we the audience nod our heads. Amanda is the best, and if this show pulls a renewal I hope she’s back.

Because tonight was all about tightening up the screws, Pepper’s plot was about her growing morals and ethics. To start, she has to begin kicking the cons out of her life. In between, we get an adorable speech from her adopted dad, and Bernadette Peters gets to briefly sing Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” which is just as amazing as you think it is.

Guy LaMontagne, a tall, dark-haired white man, stands before Katy Keene with his hands in his pockets. He wears a camel-colored coat, a striped sweater and navy pants. Smiling at him is Katy Keene, a Brunette woman with her hair tied back wearing a red jacket.

Jorge’s season-long plot has been about his biological family and his community as family. Those two threads collide as he rallies to save the neighborhood from gentrifying venture capitalists who will prove to be quite familiar. It’s wonderful and rousing, and a refreshing break from his romantic quagmire of a storyline.

And Josie’s storyline responsibility for Alex finally — finally — manages to shake free of it and force him to take responsibility for himself.  Knowing that her love isn’t enough to save him from his addiction — and knowing that she needs to lean on the Cabots even though they’ve screwed her on her royalties — Josie turns to Xandra in her hour of need. She deeply dislikes the woman still. The show still can’t decide if we’re supposed to hate Xandra or not though, so let’s call her a complex villain. This, like my repeated call for Francois to have some more screen time, will hopefully be satisfied next season.

In the end, “Come Together” does a good job of making a case for a second season of Katy Keene. I root for the show’s renewal and hope that we’ll get to spend even more time with this sweet confection of a show.