RIVERDALE 3×10: The Stranger

Previously, on Riverdale

Archie goes on a magical mystery tour after he gets “mauled” by a bear, the escaped kids get co-opted into The Farm on Betty’s watch, and Veronica gets busy at the speakeasy…and with Reggie. Read our recap here

The Rundown

Archie returns to Riverdale just in time for all the hell that’s breaking loose, and Veronica has to adapt. Betty makes a long-overdue visit to her dad, aka The Black Hood. Jughead continues to go to war with Hiram and the Gargoyle gang.

The Teens

The tension surrounding Archie’s impending doom immediately dissipates. Archie is very much not dead, and he’s headed home. Other than a darker hair color and an errant ice cream order, he falls back into his routines. The show hand-waves away all the school he missed, and the fact that he would have probably still been a fugitive whenever he needed to register for the SATs, but whatever. The fact that they are even mentioning the fact that these are school-aged children who sometimes attend classes is a big step forward. Veronica and Reggie put their steamy hookups on ice.

Everyone’s studying for the SATs until it becomes obvious that Archie does not have a secret propensity for cramming or standardized tests. They decide to have a party instead, because that’s what they do in times of crisis in Riverdale. Veronica sings Archie a Spanish cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and I just want to ask her…sweetie, did you see him try to study? He can’t understand you. Even if he could, he can’t focus because of flashbacks to DreamArchie murdering DreamHiram. He runs out in the middle of her performance. Rude!

Betty is having major parent problems. Alice steals all her money to fund her weird cult, including Betty’s college fund. To try to get it back, Betty then has to go visit her dad in prison. As far as the lockup situations (of which there are many) go on this show, Hal’s Hannibal Lecter setup is pretty snazzy. Riverdale loves its horror homages, and these scenes are almost direct recreations of The Silence of The Lambs. She initially comes to have him sign something, but he keeps her coming back by trying to convince her it was he who initiated the events of the Midnight Club’s Ascension in the ‘90s. Betty quickly debunks these claims, and he confesses he just wanted to keep seeing her. By the end, she’s back again, commiserating about Alice and discussing scholarships.

I have zero interest in the “Tallboy is the Gargoyle King” storyline. Worst payoff ever. They’ve been cutting to the Gargoyle King at the end of what seems like every episode this season, and really playing up the supernatural factor, and then it turns out that it’s just a minor character with a grudge that I honestly had to look up to remember. Thank u, next.

The Grownups

Now that Archie’s back in Riverdale, he’s got the power of Fred Andrews on his side. Fred pays Hiram a visit (with FP as backup) and warns him that if he harms Archie, he’ll kill him and feel zero remorse. Sweet Marshmallow Fred can be scary when he wants to! Hiram blinking is the new perfect GIF for every situation.

Hiram is, as I’ve mentioned before, mustache-twirlingly evil. He has no subtlety, and no complicated motivations. Now that Riverdale’s forgone any pretense of order or law he flaunts his cruelty, casually threatening Hermione’s life as if he’s reminding her of an errand they have to run.

It’s no biggie, though–cause Hiram gets shot in this episode! Right through the gut (and teacup). Veronica thinks Archie did it, and that’s the final straw for their relationship. They break up right there in the hospital, and I think the only one mourning this loss is Archie. Sweet Reggie shows up looking adorable and Veronica falls straight back into his arms.

Now that Hiram’s in the wings for a bit, it leaves just enough time for a coup to take place. Hermione sees her window, and appoints FP as the new sheriff. I don’t know if I like that these two are in cahoots, but I am LIVING for that uniform and that wink! What do we think this means for Riverdale?

Fred came really close to hitting a perfect game this episode, what with the sexy scary eyes and the supportive father act and all, but he screws it up in the home stretch by suggesting that Archie rely upon that fighting instinct that got him through the past year. Archie walked out of the SAT prior to the writing and language portion, and definitely doesn’t know the difference between figurative fighting and literal fighting. Prison Archie is back, cool cool cool. Let’s do some shots and punch some bags!

Outfit MVP

TV news personality Alice Cooper for the win!

A Fine Line

“I’m just trying to go to college.” – Betty, who has not been dealt an easy hand in this life

Burning Questions

Does Mayor McCoy just do all this lawyering pro bono for Betty? Is she like a weird mentor-lawyer situation?

Penelope Blossom wrote letters to Jeffrey Dahmer?!

Obviously, the most burning question is “Who shot Hiram?” Hermione and FP look awfully suspicious during this power transition, but there is a case to be made toward Fred as well. He was quick to mention afterward that Hiram’s absence could be calming to Archie, plus: an active threat. Heck, maybe it’s Edgar Evernever! However many residents of Riverdale there are, there should probably be that many suspects.

Stray Thoughts

It has been zero (0) episodes since I last got to see Cheryl Blossom and Kevin Kellar.

Penelope must have known that the SATs were this week when she dropped that little “self-aggrandizing” nugget.

Betty would definitely be in the Riverdale chapter of FYA.

What’s Coming

Next week: more shooting? Isn’t that, quite literally, overkill? Did Archie misunderstand the assignment again?


I feel we’ve reached the point of the season where most 22-episode-per-season shows struggle to find plot to fill their episode order, and I’m afraid things might get worse before they get better. Let me know what you think in the comments!




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