Previously, on Riverdale
Archie returns to his fighting ways, Betty saves her mother from certain peril, and Jughead gets overruled in Serpent matters by his mother. Read our recap here.
Archie finds purpose when he comes across a child in need of his help, while Jughead struggles with his own leadership role and the pressure it places on him. Betty’s angry about all that The Farm is taking away from her, so she decides to do something about it. Veronica realizes there are consequences to owing money to career criminals.
Archie and Josie find a young boy hiding out in the boxing gym one night after hours. He’s an orphan who’s on the run after some guys at his group home burned the “sacrifice” symbol into his arm…just like Archie has. He takes the kid under his wing and into his home. He swears he won’t call social services, which means he immediately turns around and does exactly that. The kid gets spooked and runs off. During the course of finding him, Archie stumbles upon the old Gargoyle hideout. This place is somehow even creepier than when Jughead visited last (?) episode. There are what appear to be plastic doll arms and legs (ew!) dangling from the ceiling, and a G&G hit list on the wall with everyone’s name marked out except Archie’s and the kid’s.
Archie finds the kid, but the moment he lets his guard down (even passing along his PRIZED LETTERMAN JACKET, WHICH HE LOVES WAY MORE THAN HE EVER LOVED VERONICA), the truth comes out. The kid’s been playing him the whole time! He’s actually Joaquin’s younger brother and he wants to complete his quest of killing the Red Palladin. He slashes Archie with a butcher knife, but it’s a flesh wound that’s barely on Deadpool Archie’s radar. We get the briefest glimpse of Fred being an Amazing Dad (tears, such tears), as he rightfully comments on just how messed up this all is. How did this teenage boy become the focus of so much ire from so many dangerous people? Or, in the immortal words of Regina George, “Why are you so obsessed with me?”
Jughead’s inherited Gargoyle Serpents prove to be more trouble than they’re worth. They question his authority, steal chemistry equipment from the school lab, and drop poor Fangs from the second floor. Jughead can’t effectively discipline these new recruits because the Serpents need them, and the Gargoyles know it. To gain some semblance of control, Jughead teams up with FP to concoct one of Riverdale’s more ridiculous ideas. They decide that, in order to save the Serpents from extinction, Sheriff FP will deputize them and they’ll do his bidding around town. Jughead’s visibly excited at the prospect of combining his love of the Serpents with his love of solving crime. Most everyone is like, seems like a weird flex, but ok.
Betty is not coping well with the news that her childhood home is on the market. She sabotages Alice’s attempts to sell by sharing (almost) all the gory details of what all occurred there to potential buyers. Her denial about the move, combined with her resentment of The Farm, drives her to spy on their meetings and confront Kevin about joining up. She follows him one night to stumble upon members of The Farm at a hot coal walk, which just reminds me of the episode of The Office where they go to the beach. I will say, for all the questionable stuff that goes on at The Farm, I’m really digging their Nora Ephron rom-com cream turtleneck outfits.
Betty’s all set to publish a huge expose of her findings until Kevin and Evelyn threaten to spill the Cooper family secret about the murdered man and the cover-up that Betty participated in. This is the last straw for Betty’s sanity, which has been somewhat fragile all season. Like her cousin Cheryl before her, she embraces the cleansing power of fire and torches her house. She’s snapped, y’all!
Veronica owes Hiram and Gladys big-time, and they capitalize on that debt by taking over at La Bonne Nuit. They’re loud, disruptive, and drinking comped liquor at a remarkable rate. Veronica even agrees let Gladys on stage for her big star moment. Her song about good intentions is interrupted when she pulls her knife on a heckler – one of Hiram’s VIPs. Reggie, aka “Cheekbones,” bounces the guy, and so my new favorite pet name is born. Things are rapidly spiraling out of control, so Veronica hires the Pretty Poisons to enforce her rules and keep Gladys and Hiram out. It works, but it’s unclear if Hiram and Gladys are actually scared off, or if they’re just humoring Veronica. Only time will tell. One thing is clear, though: the Poisons are widening the rift between Cheryl and Toni.
Alice is back from her near-death experience with a new lease on life, and a new last name. She’s Alice “Smith” now, and she’s full of renewed vigor and cheer. She doesn’t even seem concerned about the “anonymous buyer” that she has (had) lined up for the house. Something tells me this new outlook on life is short-lived now that Betty’s gone arsonist, though.
Outfit MVP definitely goes to Betty this episode. I can’t tell you how many times I typed “OMG Betty’s sweater” in my notes. And those overalls! I had already been considering going out and buying a pair, and I might have to make that happen now.
A Fine Line
“You can Google it! But be sure to look up Alice Cooper, and not Alice Smith. It’s all there. Or try ‘murder house on Elm Street.’ It’s this house!” – Beauty and snark? Betty is really the full package.
Why are we revisiting the casino idea again? It seems like they’re running out of steam with Veronica’s storyline this season in general. And, another thing, she keeps referring to her “secret” speakeasy, but how secret is it, actually? How secret does she really want it to be? It seems like if she’s just spent thousands of dollars she didn’t have redecorating and retrofitting raid-proof casino gear she’d want to spread the word!
How on Earth did Jughead and FP get the Principal to agree to school credit for gang deputization?
And finally: Who do we think is the mysterious buyer of the Cooper house?
Even more Griffins and Gargoyles! To quote Jughead, “And so continues our nerdiest mystery yet.”
Unfortunately, this week’s biggest shock comes from outside the world of the show. The spectacular Luke Perry has died at the age of 52 after suffering a major stroke. Although I was a bit young for Beverly Hills, 90210, I remember seeing his face everywhere growing up. While his casting as Fred Andrews may have started off as an homage to that show, he turned the role into its own beloved thing, making him the epitome of parenting goals along the way. By all accounts Luke was even more of a mensch off-camera, and our thoughts go out to his family, friends, and the cast of Riverdale as they mourn this major loss.
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