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Of course Archie barely looks like he fits in.

Up to now, Betty and Jughead have actually been the leads of the show- as we get into the last third of the season, it’s time for Archie and Veronica to start moving into place for the end of the storylines.

The Blossoms run the maple syrup trade in Riverdale, a town based around the Sweetwater River and maple syrup.  With Jason’s murder, however,  the investors are swarming, speculating on the future of the Blossom empire.  Alice Cooper is gleeful, since she still super hates the Blossoms.

Hiram Lodge’s legal dramas come center stage as Hermione and the Lodge lawyers pressure Veronica into being a character witness for her father, and Veronica expresses discomfort with lying.

Archie is playing his guitar because Archie, and Cheryl begs him to attend a tree-tapping ceremony with her. Cheryl also comes back to the season theme of Archie bring the replacement Jason, and melts down when he rebuffs her, citing his relationship with Valerie. Later, Penelope does Indecent Proposal Jr and bribes him to come to a tree-tapping ceremony with her in exchange for a recommendation to a good music program for the summer.  Man, literally everyone in Riverdale knows you can get Archie to do nearly anything if you use his music.  Also, we get it, Archie supposedly looks like Jason, which he doesn’t even, really.  When he agrees, the Coopers immediately demand Archie go double agent and check in on Polly, who lives with the Blossoms now.

Barb Ethel Muggs reads an incredibly depressing poem in English class.  Even snide Kevin looks disturbed.  Veronica, citing her reformed Mean Girl ways, decides to do anything she can for Ethel, and invites her over for a spa day.  Things are bad at home for Ethel- money troubles have her parents fighting. Hermione realizes who Ethel’s father is and informs Veronica that Ethel’s family is losing their home because of Hiram Lodge’s actions, and that the Muggs aren’t the only family in that position.  Shrewdly, Veronica asks Hermione if the Andrews stand to lose everything, too.  Veronica returns to Ethel and starts trying to regift things to her- gifts from Hiram to Veronica.  Veronica is disgusted with Hiram and no longer wants them.

Hermione comes clean to Fred.  He is furious, especially when Hermione admits that Hiram was likely responsible for the beating of a teenager in the prior episode.  Hermione tries to atone by selling the land to Clifford, but Fred demands stake- 20%- for his troubles.

At the weird cult-y ceremony for the opening of maple syrup season, Archie helps Cheryl, and she excels.  Her dad looks blatantly shocked, while Penelope looks pretty pleased with her clone daughter.  Two random redheads talk smack on Cheryl, and Archie reprimands them.  Clifford confronts Archie and insists he come to a banquet, using the other big leverage he has- offering to help Fred Andrews with his construction company money woes.  Cheryl comes to the Andrews’ home, calls Fred DILFY, and is insulted by Jughead after he already yelled at her for being rude to Betty this episode.  Cheryl gifts Archie a Les Paul guitar to thank him for his help.  The gesture seems manipulative, but you could argue that material things are the only expression of emotion Cheryl truly understands, being rich and neglected.

Another late night caller comes in the form of Alice Cooper- she’s written her manifesto expose on the Blossoms. Hal has fired her from the newspaper as retaliation for throwing him out of their home. We see Dark Alice as she hurls a brick through the Riverdale Register’s window, with Betty looking on in horror.  What follows is the only “Bughead” scene- Betty freaks out about her family falling apart, and Jughead supports her.  I’ll admit it- I think Betty and Jughead have one of the better role model relationships for teenagers.  They communicate, they support each other, and he is willing to let her take the lead in the investigation.

This next scene is worth spending a bit of time on.  In the wake of the frankly irresponsible 13 Reasons Why, Mr. Muggs’s suicide attempt is handled very responsibly.  Veronica loses focus when Kevin tells her, so we don’t hear the procedure of what happened.  We don’t see the aftermath, or frankly most of the mourning.  It doesn’t model the behavior, and I was actually pleasantly surprised again by how well Riverdale handled a sophisticated issue.  It’s not batting a thousand, but it could be so much worse.  Betty and Veronica arrive with flowers.  Ethel is grateful for the gesture, but Mrs. Muggs viciously dresses down Veronica for her father’s crimes.  A big theme in Riverdale is adults treating teenagers poorly, so not surprised.  Veronica breaks down and tears off her pearls- another gift from her father.  Betty supports her.  Ethel forgives Veronica, showing huge moral character

Clifford is creepy to Archie, and decides to really see through the Replacement Jason idea and offer Archie the chance to be heir to Blossom empire.  Polly confides in Archie that she’s there to spy on the Blossoms. Cheryl admits everyone wanted her to fail, and is grateful to Archie for being authentic and kind.  Here’s your reminder: everyone is still 15 years old, and this show is so creepy in that vein.  Cheryl kisses Archie, and he panics and tries to bolt.  He overhears Clifford saying he’s responsible for Hiram being jailed.  Cheryl makes the toxicity of the Blossoms incredibly clear, and it’s sad and gross.  She later scratches pictures of Archie and Polly out of a photo.

Jughead offers Alice a job at the Riverdale High newspaper.  Whatever, it’s not like Weatherbee does a background check anyway.

Cheerful music.  Valerie walking alone.  Archie catches up with her, and she correctly dumps him.  It’s a great scene.  Even the show itself seems to be happy for Valerie.


Favorite Moment: Archie and Valerie’s breakup scene
Worst Parent in Riverdale: Gotta be Clifford Blossom, for trying to Pretty Woman a fifteen year old boy who looks like his son.
Best Parent in Riverdale: Fred Andrews, for standing up for himself and his son.


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NO BOYS ALLOWED. Except Jughead, because the plot needs him to be there.

I’ll be honest: this was my least favorite episode of the entire season to date.  BOYS BUILD.  GIRLS BABY SHOWER.  MOMS CAT FIGHT.

We start off with Jughead recapping the relationship between Polly and Jason, which we now know is not Polly being crazy.  They were engaged, she is still pregnant, and they’re all under 18.  Riverdale.  Polly is explaining the drugs her sister and Jughead found in the now-torched car  to Sheriff Keller.

We see something we have not seen much in the show- Jughead being a kid.  Here, he is shouting at Archie for repeatedly killing him in a video game.  Fred tells them to open a window because they smell bad. It’s all very innocent and comparatively sweet for this show.  Fred apologizes to Jughead for being the guy who destroys his precious drive-in.  Jughead takes it well, since, you know, that money is going to feed him now.

Polly and Betty have an impasse.  Polly wants her baby.  The Coopers want Polly (but not baby.)  The Blossoms want baby (but not Polly.)  There is no good situation.  Veronica reminds us that she used to be rich and desirable, being invited to two Oscar parties one year (as what, a fetus?  You’re fifteen, Lodge.)

Fred Andrews can’t get anyone to help him build the development, since all of the contractors got bought up by Clifford Lodge.  Archie finds out for the first time that other people have problems when Fred confides in his son that the company is in financial trouble. Clifford and Fred have a confrontation, where Clifford assures Fred that destroying his livelihood is nothing personal. Archie and Jughead come to the rescue.  I don’t know how Jughead is remotely muscular, since he seems malnourished and also homeless.  They bring some friends they’ve rarely interacted with: Reggie, Kevin, Moose, and a GUY I HAVE NO IDEA WHO HE IS.  They look like if you bred 2001 Backstreet Boys with 1976 Village People. They have 0 qualifications.  But whatever, this is Riverdale, so Fred puts them to work. Kevin gets a great one-liner in.  Then Moose gets savagely beaten at the construction site, in what is 1) a crime against a minor, and 2) owing to Moose’s sexual orientation, probably a hate crime.  Everyone assumes the Serpents did it, because they are literally blamed for everything ever.  Jughead shrugs that when he worked at the drive-in, the Serpents didn’t bother him, which DUH JUGHEAD YOUR DAD ISN’T GOING TO LET HIS GANG BEAT UP HIS KID.

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This even looks like a photoshopped fanfic cover.

Meanwhile, the girls decide to throw Polly a baby shower!  Because when you have a poor young woman who is, need I remind you, technically homeless, you should definitely give her a lot of material things. Alice finds out Hermione Lodge has taken in her daughter, and isn’t super pleased.  Polly demands both the Coopers and the Blossoms be invited to this shower, deciding the occasion could prove to make peace and prove that Polly is fit to raise her child. Hermione balks at the idea of having two mortal enemies trapped in her small apartment, but can’t bring herself to say no to Polly, who’s had a bad enough time.  Hermione and Alice have a talk in which Alice is terrible and Hermione is reasonable, which seems to be a return to status quo for Riverdale.  Alice agrees to go to Polly’s shower.  Polly names her sister the child’s godmother, because of course she names the only person who has consistently cared about her the godmother.

There’s also a scene where Archie and Valerie are in the same room, interacting, but it’s four lines, and exists to remind us that Valerie is still Archie’s girlfriend.  Then the boys use Kevin’s boyfriend Joaquin to get them into the bar the Serpents hang out in (underage of course.)  It goes predictably poorly, and Sheriff Keller comes to their rescue with Fred Andrews in tow.  FP concedes that he himself called Keller, because he knew the teenage boys were dumb.  Also, Kevin, way to go, parading Joaquin in front of Moose.  Cool.

At the baby shower, Cheryl and Penelope Blossom arrive with expensive gifts.  Cheryl demands to be the baby’s godmother.  Nana Rose performs a crystal ceremony to announce Polly is pregnant with twins.  Alice gives Polly her own old nightlight back.  C’mon, Alice, you couldn’t spring for a Target onesie?  Then Archie barges in and picks a fight with Jughead, because this was an occasion that wasn’t about him, and we can’t have that, can we?  Then Alice and Penelope argue about the situation, Hermione tries to diffuse it, then Polly drops the bomb that Hal Cooper tried to force her into an abortion. Record scratch.  Also, come on, CW.  You can use the word abortion.  No need to dance around the topic in a show that hinges on the murder of a teenage unwed drug mule father.

The show ends on a handful of short scenes to close out this week’s plot and set up next week’s. Jughead and Betty call on FP, who tells us that Jason was running drugs for the Serpents, but they didn’t kill him.  Alice arrives home, turns on her husband, and throws him out for trying to force Polly into an abortion, just like he did to her.  WAIT WHAT.  FP tells Joaquin to keep the relationship up with Kevin, who will tell him what he knows about his father’s investigation, even though Joaquin feels guilty about using Kevin.  FP brings the Serpents in to work on the construction crew, since no one is brave enough to mess with them, and Fred is happy to give them honest work. Betty tells Polly about Alice’s turn, but Polly moves into the Blossom estate instead.

Favorite Moment: As always, Kevin Keller, to his one-time love interest Moose: “I prefer my contact sports one-on-one…like Boxing.”
Worst Parent This Week: Definitely Hal Cooper.
Best Parent This Week: Surprise entrant FP Jones, for helping the Andrews because they helped his son.  FP might be a crap dad, but he is at least kind of trying.

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What is even happening here.

Did you feel good about that last episode, sleuths?  Polly’s alive and okay, Jughead and Betty have bonded over the case, and Valerie is inexplicably willing to date Archie!

Good.  Because A KID IS STILL DEAD, ARCHIE.  This episode brings back the murder investigation in a big way, which makes Chapter Six feel like a breather episode.

However, it doesn’t start that way.  We start on a cutesy family dinner at the Coopers, where Polly and Jason are together, beaming and holding hands, a ring prominently on her finger.  Jughead is seated next to a Stepford version of Betty, who kisses him chastely as Hal offers him a classic roast turkey.  Archie and Veronica are there, too, all decked out  with their classic comic book costumes. The sequence ends with Archie asking Jughead why he stabbed him in the back. Jughead jolts awake.

Jughead’s still homeless, a fact Archie discovers when he finds out his best friend has been sleeping in a Riverdale High broom closet for two episodes. While Archie frets over his music, Jughead literally has nowhere to live- he can’t go home to his jobless alcoholic dad, FP the Serpent Man, and his mom and ten-year-old sister left town before the events of the pilot. Which is super messed up, really, to just up and leave one of your kids and take the other away to live a better life.  Archie, for the first time this season, is actually a good friend to someone and insists they tell Fred Andrews, who he just knows will take Jughead in. Jughead pleads with Archie to keep the information to himself, and especially not to tell Betty.  Because Archie doesn’t actually talk to either of the people he refers to as his best friends, he has no idea that Jughead and Betty are more than friends.  Or that, you know, JUGHEAD HAS BEEN HOMELESS FOR THREE MONTHS.

Veronica does some online shopping, and Hermione loses it.  The building they allegedly owned, now they pay rent on?  It feels like the writers forgot that Veronica’s mom owned the building, hence the move back to Riverdale. In a show with so many twists and turns, it was inevitable that there be a continuity error somewhere. Hermione is unhappy, but it’s clear that Veronica is retaliating for the forged signature.  Hermione was the Good Mom for the early part of the season (especially compared with Mama Cooper and Mama Blossom.) Is the affair with Fred worth torching the relationship with her daughter?

Wait, two scenes later, they are all talking to each other in the same place!  About Betty’s sister. This scene serves as a catch-up.  When Jughead reaches out for Betty, it outs the budding relationship to Archie and Veronica, who are both fine with it (the latter way more okay with it than the former.) Archie also tells Jughead that Fred is willing to give FP another chance to work for him. All of this happens in a completely non private location, so that Cheryl’s minion can text her about Polly.  Cheryl barters the information to her mother and Kevin’s dad in order to be allowed to cheerlead again.

We get a short, grim scene between Jughead and Papa Jones, who is really just awful.  He doesn’t want to go crawling back to Fred, even though that’s his son’s only chance of having a family again, not to mention a reliable place to sleep.  FP is the Worst Parent in a town full of Absolute Crap Parents, having turned down Fred’s job offer to Jughead’s disgust.  Veronica gets back at her Newly Awful Mother by rounding up Josie, Kevin, and Reggie Mantle to go clubbing.  Josie and Reggie deserve more than being living props for when Betty or Archie are not available for prop reasons.  At least Josie and Veronica have some kind of established friendship from the previous chapter.

The Cooper and Blossom factions descend on the woods near the Sisters of Quiet Mercy to find Polly. Cheryl comes on strong with her trademark hashtags #PollyCooperKilledMyBrother and #SharpenYourPitchforks.  No one outside of the Coopers know Polly is carrying Jason’s child until Alice uses her press connections to deliver a televised press conference to plead with her older daughter to come home, saying that both her and HER BABY, JASON BLOSSOM’S BABY, are welcome. The media immediately rushes to defend Polly, an innocent unwed mother who just lost the love of her life. The Coopers tell Betty that Polly plans to adopt out her child.

The Blossoms also zoom onto Betty, assuming she knows where her sister is- and she does.  In a previous scene, Jughead and Betty are walking and talking, and Betty realizes exactly where her sister is hiding.  She kisses Jughead to thank him.  I swear, he’s really just a Remembrall for her at this point.  Betty goes up to her attic, where Polly is living, since Jughead didn’t know she had a livable attic, or else I guess he could have lived there.  Betty begs Polly to give her a bit of time.  In this evening of late night revelation, FP goes to Fred and decides to take him up on the job.  Fred naively reintroduces FP and Hermione, unaware that they are in business together. Fred’s a good person, but he is as dumb and naive as his boy. Cheryl tries to get Betty alone, informing her that Jason’s child is a game changer, and she’ll do anything it takes to protect the baby, and with it Polly.  The family also offers Betty their alliance, saying that as Polly’s sister, she’s family, too. The family immediately begin to grill Cheryl about Polly, making it clear to the viewer they, like the Coopers, are trying to separate

The Jones boys and the Andrews boys go out to dinner together, and reminisce. The goal of the scene is to establish two different paths of men who never made it out of their hometown. Betty comes up, but Jughead squashes the conversation, clearly reluctant to bring his relationship out into the light. Fred tries to pay, but FP is offended, and the tone of the evening changes.  Later, FP tells the boys that Fred dealt him a bad hand in a business deal when he had to bail FP out of jail.  Fred tells a different story, accusing FP of stealing from him instead. Jughead is clearly in contact with his mother and sister, and tries to update FP on their progress.  FP passes out drunk instead.

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Teenagers having fun? In Riverdale? We must stop this.

Meanwhile, the Lodge women are at war.  Veronica goes out for her night of clubbing, pointing out that she can do whatever she wants, since Hermione forged her signature.  Hiram is going to be convinced Veronica betrayed him, and she’s not okay with that.  The women snap at each other before Veronica leaves in a huff.  When she gets there, her credit card is declined and reported stolen.  She has cash to cover herself, and threatens the bar owner with the fact that her companions were shrewdly chosen.  Kevin is the son of the Sheriff, while Josie is the daughter of the Mayor. To embarrass them means to close.  Veronica and Hermione have a heart to heart that looks more like a contract negotiation.  Hermione agrees to tell Hiram about her forgery, and not to see Fred in their home.  Veronica agrees to stop clubbing and shopping online.  The last of this we see is Hermione taking a call from jail.

The next day, things really hit the fan for our heroes.  Sheriff Keller arrests Jughead for essentially no reason.  His prints are on the cars.  So are Betty’s, but Jughead has a record for a childhood incident. The evidence is, as best, crap, but it scares Jughead to the core.  They accuse him of murdering Jason because Jason might have bullied him, despite Jughead never mentioning that ever.  Betty, Fred, and Archie rush to his defense.  He pleads with Betty to believe him that he didn’t do it.  She does without hesitation.  Fred covers for Jughead without hesitation, claiming his son’s friend was working for him over the summer, and that he’d have to go find the timecard, but he had it. Jughead is released to Fred, since FP hadn’t yet shown up. When he shows up, belligerent and full of excuses, Jughead makes an executive decision to take Fred up on the offer of a home.

Betty arranges a meeting between Polly and the Blossoms, but only Cheryl shows, with a dire warning that the Blossoms don’t have good intentions for Polly. Cheryl is most sincere when she calls her brother “JJ” and claims that the situation is unsafe for “JJ’s baby.”  Polly panics, but Veronica saves the day.  She’s still got some leverage, and she plans to use it on her mother to get Polly to live with them.  Hermione, back to being a Reasonable Parent for now, gladly takes her in.


Favorite Moment: The Speed-Chess match between Veronica and the club owner. I’d missed the slightly rebellious, bad-girl-on-your-side V.
Worst Parent in Riverdale This Week:
FP, full stop, though Hermione Lodge isn’t doing herself any favors.
Best Parent in Riverdale This Week: Fred Andrews, because he takes in a homeless kid and provides an alibi.




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Yay! This is about as in focus as poor Melody ever gets.

Yay!  Josie and the Pussycats are back!

For this episode, we are plain admitting that we have three different shows happening at once.  Betty and Jughead are in a dark murder mystery. Veronica and the Lodges are in a financial drama about post-Recession America.  Meanwhile, Archie is in a Disney Channel Original Movie.  This recap will split between the three different shows.

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Murder Mystery: A Sister of Mercy

Betty, who doesn’t yet know that Jughead is homeless, invites him over for breakfast, correctly assuming that an outsider in the house will put Alice on her best behavior.  Jughead distracts Alice, and Betty digs through her checkbook to find out where Polly has been sent.  After discovering a religious hospital named several times, Jughead and Betty set course to find her sister and clear up the question of her possible engagement to Jason Blossom.

What Betty finds is shocking.  Polly Cooper is of entirely sound mind, if a little sad and tired.  She is, however, pregnant.  Betty is delighted by the revelation.  Polly assures Betty that though Hal and Alice told her that Betty refused to visit, she knew the truth.  She knew her little sister would come for her.  She confirms the engagement, saying Jason knew about the pregnancy, and they had planned to run away together on the 4th of July.  Cheryl Blossom must have known and been complicit in this plan.  However, Alice found out owing to her well documented habit of snooping on her daughters, and kidnapped Polly to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy.

Then comes the sad moment for poor Polly.  She excitedly asks if Jason knew they were there, if they had sent Betty.  Betty’s expression tells her everything, and Polly breaks down. The two sisters have an emotional moment before Alice comes to pry them apart.  The Sisters told Alice the moment Betty walked in the door.  Jughead steps in to protect Betty from the orderlies, but is slammed up against the wall and ignored.  I guess Alice drives him back to Riverdale, though, so that’s friendly.

Hal and Alice continue to drill into their younger daughter that Polly is crazy and not to listen to her, even though Alice’s anguished face 100% betrayed her in the only scene with both her daughters to date. Betty grapples with the fact that her parents are actually monsters who could have plausibly murdered a teenager when Jughead goes full Clarissa-Explains-It-All and climbs into her window. I can’t imagine the Coopers would love a boy sneaking into their daughter’s room after what happened to the first one. And despite his comics-canon asexuality, this Jughead has similar intentions, flirting with Betty before closing the deal with a kiss.  It actually added a nice bit of teenage levity to their story.  I’m not much of a shipper, but I have to admit the writing and the acting made this weird-on-paper match work.

In a moment that cemented Betty as my favorite character, she pulls away realizing how they could prove Polly’s story.  Polly mentioned a getaway car, right?  If it’s there, she’s telling the truth.  Jughead is justifiably a bit miffed that his romantic advance was forgotten instantly, but follows his Nancy Drew into the Land of No Curfews and finds the car that somehow literally no one found during the investigation.  The car is a treasure trove of evidence!  Luggage!  Drugs!  Jason’s letterman jacket!  Wait, drugs?

Jughead puts his hands directly on them so his fingerprints are on them nice and good. Betty decides that they should totally go get Sheriff Keller, so they do.  When they return, the car is obviously a burnt out husk, because someone followed them and set it on fire.  Jughead and Betty don’t see this, however, because they’ve run back to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy to find Polly, and find only the bloody window frame where Betty’s sister used to be.

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Shut up, Archie.

Disney Channel Original Movie: Archie and the Catfight!

Variety show auditions are coming up, and Archie wants to try out with an original song.  However, he’s way too scared to sing alone!  This is literally Archie’s plot this episode.  It’s a Nicktoon.  He pleads with new friend Pussycat Valerie to sing with him. Josie, who has been a strong woman with a secure knowledge of herself and her tastes, is on edge of late.  She doesn’t want to deal with Archie, and demands extra loyalty from Valerie and Melody. Valerie cannot sing with Archie and stay in the band.  Veronica volunteers to take Valerie’s place, and Archie happily accepts.  Valerie gets tired of Josie being on edge and demanding, and quits the band.  Archie happily shuts Veronica out of the act in favor of Valerie. Veronica is mad and tells him he’s horrible, and then goes and joins the Pussycats.  Seriously, I’m pretty sure this was an episode of Hey Arnold.

Josie is upset because her father, a jazz loyalist, doesn’t like her commercial pop sound.  Her mother, the mayor, gets a few digs in on Touring Absentee Dad by hinting that Josie might actually make some money with her music (UNLIKE SOME PEOPLE) over a very awkward dinner with Fred and Archie.  Mayor McCoy tells Josie she will be okay without Valerie- just find another pretty woman of color and replace her. Branding, you know.  I love stage mom! Mayor McCoy in a weird way.  She’s so utterly supportive of her big-fish in a small-pond daughter.

The variety show happens.  Valerie discovers Josie’s father is in town, and forgives Josie instantly, understanding why her friend was under such strain.  Valerie is too good for this plot- can we ship her over to hang out with Betty and Jughead?  Kevin can come, too. Veronica and Archie make up in typical teen fashion.  Veronica and Valerie both are Pussycats for the night. When Touring Absentee Dad Miles leaves in the middle of Josie’s performance, she barely makes it through the rest of the song before breaking down. Archie performs alone and is universally beloved, for some reason.  After the show, he and Valerie share a small kiss, which is at least age appropriate, though Valerie could do better.

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Sketchiest ship since Archie vs Predator

Financial Drama: No Shelter from the Lodge

At that awkward dinner I mentioned, Fred is attempting to pitch his struggling construction company to Mayor McCoy and her anonymous drive-in buyer.  Mayor McCoy is impressed by Fred’s pitch, and his point that the money will stay in Riverdale and bring jobs to Riverdale.  For Mayor McCoy, money talks.  She doesn’t have the power to grant him the contract, but tells him she will put the good word in with the anonymous buyer. The anonymous buyer, obviously, already knows, being Fred’s bookkeeper/ love interest Hermione Lodge.  Hermione and Fred kiss, and Veronica sees it.  She’s not happy to see her mother cheat on her incarcerated father. Hermione picks this awesome moment to ask Veronica to sign off on something allowing Fred to have the contract- they need the signatures of two Lodges, and Veronica will do.  When Veronica refuses to sign unless Hermione dumps Fred, Hermione forges her signature.  This doesn’t feel legal on multiple levels.  Is Veronica’s signature even worth anything, since she’s a minor?  In the world of Riverdale, however, it’s enough, and Fred gets the contract, telling Veronica delightedly about the situation.

This announcement infuriates Veronica, who is pretty justifiably mad about her mother’s affair. Fred is still innocent of the fact that the Lodges bought the Twilight Drive-In, so his lack of discretion is pretty innocent.

Favorite Moments:

  • The Betty/ Jughead flirtation scene.  The kiss was okay, but the flirtation beforehand and the indignation after were tonally different than anything else those two characters did, but somehow consistent.
  • Josie and the Pussycats are just very talented, and Veronica blended in well.  Maybe they can all ditch Archie for a better show.

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Strap in, kids.  This one’s a doozy.

After Cheryl was out of focus in Chapter Four, it’s time to spend a little more time with the horrifying Blossom clan.  Cheryl is emotionally abused by parents who blame her for the death of her brother.  We open on another hazy dreamlike sequence involving Cheryl and her brother.  If the first one was a romance, this one is pure horror, with Jason’s coffin clawed open and AfterlifeWithArchie!Jason attacking his twin, who wakes with a start in her brother’s bed.  Penelope Blossom, Cheryl’s scary mom, chides her daughter and tells her she can’t give the eulogy she’s been working hard on.

This week’s Archie plot is one of the dumbest.  He decides he wants to be Captain of the football team (as a sophomore) to get a scholarship so he can study music.  Chuck, I remind you, the previous captain, was booted off the team for sexually harassing every teenage girl in Riverdale except Cheryl and Betty. Clayton pits him against Archie Comics mainstay Reggie Mantle, last seen calling Jughead Donnie Darko and accusing him of murder. Archie then gets a reality check from a music professor at a nearby college, in a scene that really doesn’t make any sense and is just there to give Archie something to be sad about outside of being the victim of a predator for three months, which is too heavy for the CW.  It also establishes him as getting closer to Pussycat Valerie, in the second minimal episode appearance.

Betty tries to get her father alone and weasel information out of him in regard to her missing sister.  He sadly informs her that he caught Polly in the middle of a suicide attempt and that he and Alice sent her away to heal at a mental institution.

Back to the main plot.  Cheryl asks Veronica to stay with her the night before Jason’s funeral.  It seems out of left field until you put the pieces together and realize that Veronica is the closest thing poor Cheryl has to a real friend.  Cheryl even references this directly, with the pep rally incident being brought up first.  Veronica encourages Cheryl to give her eulogy after a harrowing family dinner where the Blossoms do not for a second try to keep up appearances for their guests, and shed some light on why the Coopers and Blossoms are not buddies (a business deal that ended in a Blossom murdering a Cooper in cold blood.)  Despite this, the Coopers are totally invited to Jason’s funeral, maybe because the Blossoms think that the Coopers killed Jason?  A cute moment between Betty and Jughead throws the first real ship tease of the season since the pilot ended, where Betty and Jughead see each other all dressed up and smile. Archie wears his letterman jacket, standing out to an insane degree when everyone else wears black.  Sort of like Archie does in the rest of the show, with his plots being so separate from everyone else. Gently, Archie presents Jason’s football jersey, which has been given to him, to Penelope Blossom, who is actually moved by the gesture, and strokes Archie’s face and hair so that the audience can be reminded that this is Replacin’ Jason. Kevin Keller has a standout moment here where he is visibly creeped out.

The other person who does not wear black is Cheryl, who repeats the all-white, borderline bridal outfit she wore the last time she saw Jason.  She also walks down the center aisle alone, in a way that feels very important but also matrimonial.  Penelope Blossom is Pretty Mad about this, but does not dare stop Cheryl in front of everyone when Veronica intervenes.  Cheryl’s eulogy is actually very sweet and sisterly, recounting how great of a brother Jason was to her.  Cheryl, for once, feels normal and natural, even when covered in affectation.

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Cheryl gotta Cheryl.

Jughead and Betty split off from the gang and look for clues, like a competent Fred and Daphne.  The pair end up in Jason’s bedroom, where his grandmother is creepily just kind of hanging out.  Far from telling Betty and Jughead to GTFO, Nana Blossom greets Betty warmly- as Polly.  She asks Betty-Polly where her ring is, revealing that Polly and Jason were actually engaged, with Nana Blossom’s heirloom ring and her blessing.

By giving up his jersey, Archie proves to Coach Clayton that he has what it takes to be captain, but Archie decides he’d rather dedicate his time to music, and lets Reggie have the position, making another Pointless Archie Subplot.  I really hope he gets better as a character, because he is pretty awful right now.

The episode ends on a reveal of who tore down Keller’s murder board- none other than Hal Cooper!  Why?  Who knows?

Favorite Moment:
Anything Kevin Keller does during the funeral.  When Cheryl enters, he is thrilled to see that she wore the white ensemble.  He is similarly delighted when Penelope Blossom touches Archie’s face. He is here for this drama just as much as we are.


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Pretty much the only time Cheryl’s even in this episode.

Oh my God, the episodes are all movie titles.  I get it.

But really, a lot of stuff happens in this episode.  We’re a third of the way through, so we’re finally shedding some of the weaker subplots (PEACE OUT PREDATOR GRUNDY) and moving the pieces into play.

The main news?  The Predator Grundy storyline is blessedly over.  Betty picks up an Idiot Ball for a little bit and writes completely unambiguously about Archie and Predator Grundy in her unsecure diary, which she hides in her sock drawer.  It was obvious as soon as the narrator shifted to Betty that the diary would be found.  Veronica finds out that night at Pop’s. So now the entire Main Four know what’s happening with Archie and Predator Grundy.  Betty and Veronica don’t like the smell of it.  They know about the gunshot, they know about the fact that Jason also took music lessons from Grundy, and they know that everyone is treating Archie like a replacement Jason.  After Betty’s Google-Fu reveals that Geraldine Grundy didn’t exist until right before she started working at Riverdale High, she and Veronica decide to break into Grundy’s car.  Like you do. Turns out, they find a driver’s license for a Jennifer Gibson.  And a gun.

(This was a weird plot hole to me.  You would think Grundy would pick a way less unique name.  Something like Jane Smith, or Mary Jones, any name that would be well nigh unfindable on LinkedIn or Facebook.  If a fifteen year old with Google can take down your story, your story sucks.  Also, why on Earth didn’t Weatherbee run a decent background search on this woman?)

Around this time, Alice Cooper finds and shamelessly reads Betty’s diary, and finds the gun that Betty stole from Grundy’s car. Betty, you’re an idiot in this episode.  Alice plans to expose Grundy in a newspaper story, but plans to drag Archie through the mud with her.  Record scratch.  Alice Cooper plans to blame the victim of a predator for his own abuse. Betty refuses to allow that, claiming that she will take the fall for everything, and let Riverdale think she’s crazy, just like her mother and sister. Fred is horrified into silence for everything, but agrees that it’s best that Predator Grundy leave town and suffer essentially no consequences for the repeated sexual abuse of a teenager.  She leaves town, and checks out some high school boys on her way out.  Gross.

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Real subtle, Riverdale.

All of the plots converge on the last showing of the Drive-in movie theater, which has been bought and is planned for demolition.  Jughead is fighting it tooth and nail, because he works there and loves his job. He pleads to the mayor personally, who gently turns him down.  I have to admit, your story about how you didn’t pay to go to the movies probably wasn’t that compelling evidence there, Jughead.  Jughead even pleads with Fred Andrews for help, citing the fact that Fred fired his father the previous summer.  This is the real root cause of the rift between Jughead and Archie.  The mayor accepts a handsome donation from Hermione Lodge on jailed husband Hiram Lodge’s behalf, showing Veronica that her parents are indeed criminals.

At the last showing at the drive-in, Kevin meets a boy from the wrong side of the tracks.  You see, cute little Riverdale has a bad side of town, and their very own gang, the Southside Serpents.  The first time the boy is shown, it looks like as the Sheriff’s son, Kevin is in trouble.  The next time?  Kevin doesn’t make it back to his car in a timely fashion, because he is making out with the Southside Serpent boy. I appreciate that the CW actually showed this, instead of implying it the way, say, Glee often did when it came to non-ratings-stunt homosexuality.  We also see an older Serpent talk to Hermione a few times, which makes Veronica very uncomfortable.  Veronica also stupidly threatens the gang so that they quiet down during the movie, which is not the brightest thing a teenage girl could do at the movie theater.

At the end of the episode, Kevin and his father arrive home to find that someone has torn apart the evidence board for the murder.  Which is weird, because it really doesn’t seem like Sheriff Keller was cracking the case any time soon.  Jughead packs his things, at first normal little items a boy would leave at work.  Then we see the cot, and it clicks.  Jughead is homeless. As he leaves the Twilight Drive-in for the last time, the older male Serpent who spoke to Hermione asks him where he is going to go.  “I’ll figure it out, Dad,” Jughead responds, giving us the second tough revelation for Jughead in as many minutes.

Favorite Moment of the Episode:

buy gabapentin over the counter: I want to be with her. I don’t know how but I wanna hang on to what we have for as long as possible.
order neurontin: Yup. I feel that. I’m trying to hold on to something a lot older than me too.

(I know that’s really glib for what’s a really gross storyline, but it also feels very authentic to how two teenage boys might discuss this situation.)



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In which Barb creeps on an entrapment, and people actually care what happens to her!  Movin’ on up!

Let’s get weird, y’all.

This episode of Riverdale could be considered a Very Special Episode.  Very little in regard to Jason’s murder happens.  Instead, we focus on some good old fashioned slut-shaming and revenge, along with a side of Actual Good Parenting rarely seen in Riverdale.

The A-Plot of this particular episode is that after a chaste date with football player Chuck Clayton (a character pulled from the comics in name only) Veronica finds herself the subject of ugly rumors, with Chuck saying he gave her a “Sticky Maple.”  We don’t find out explicitly what that means, and we probably don’t want to know.  We then find out there is an entire notebook filled with the conquests of the football team, which Betty finds out about when a former football player fills her in.  We see a flash of what could be jealousy out of (of all people) Jughead, when she calls their meeting a date. Another character, Barb Ethel, known in the comics for her obsession with Jughead, helped Chuck with his math homework and was repaid by being put down in the “Playbook.”

The Scoobies Archie Gang break into Chuck’s locker in the middle of the night and steal the Playbook, lampshading that he didn’t even feel the need to hide it.  Also Cheryl is there for plot reasons.  When Betty discovers Jason Blossom put her older sister Polly’s name in the Playbook, it was on like Diddy Kong.  The girls declare war and set up a not-illegal-at-all trap for Chuck.  Betty tries to seduce Chuck, and Veronica answers the door, smiling that she and Betty have learned to share. They then lure him into the hot tub, handcuff him to the railing, and nearly boil him alive.  HIGH SCHOOL AMIRITE.  To be more precise, Betty snaps and tries to boil Chuck alive, while dumping maple syrup on his head and calling herself Polly and calling him Jason.  The scene is a little bizarre but effectively disturbing, especially when it becomes clear that Betty does not remember the incident the next morning.

The murder is out of focus, with Cheryl’s Episode 2 declaration of guilt resolved immediately. She was lying, guys!  She meant she was guilty of knowing Jason had run away and not died on July 4th, explaining her pep rally breakdown.  Cheryl also mentions the gunshot, but with no other witnesses, who believes her after establishing she’s a liar?

A cute B-Plot is Betty recruiting Kevin and Jughead into reviving the Blue and Gold, Riverdale High’s school paper, leading to Jughead’s novel that was mentioned like twice and not even prominently enough for me to remember it for the first two recaps being shelved and changed into an investigative piece. As for the gunshot, Jughead’s tough-guy reporting finds out that Dilton Doiley (another in name only character) fired the gun while showing his scout troop how.  So there’s the first Official Red Herring of the season.

The gunshot had nothing to do with Jason’s death at all.  Dilton trades Jughead’s silence on the matter for another piece of information: Predator Grundy’s car was seen at the banks of Sweetwater River that morning.  Jughead clearly knows what this means, and is not super pleased about it.  Archie however, finally corroborates Cheryl’s story about the gunshot, claiming his dog was with him.  Cheryl is profoundly grateful for this, in an actual, authentic way.  Fred Andrews finds out that his son was lying about being with Jughead that day, and grounds Archie, who also loses Grundy’s trust and tutoring.  No good deed, amirite?

Archie does get something for his troubles, though: Cheryl offers him a Golden Ticket favor, and he cashes in by winning an audience with Josie and the Pussycats, who are just as awesome as they always are.  Josie is regal, savvy, and talented, and is not about to let this white boy attach himself to her brand.  Until, I guess, she does, and the Pussycats perform a song Archie helped write. Also, Predator Grundy takes him back, and Fred Andrews sound proofs the garage to help Archie with his music. Fred is starting to get Archie, and it’s a moment in a world where the parents we see most are the psychotic Coopers.

The episode ends on the Playbook being outed in the school newspaper, the  Blue and Gold and Chuck (and for some reason ONLY Chuck) being punished for the football team’s crimes and being suspended and kicked off the team. Cheryl apologizes to Betty about Jason hurting Polly, and the two make peace over the Playbook as it burns in a trash can.  Over this touching(?) scene, Jughead delivers a nice monologue about how Betty and Veronica are now literally fire-forged friends, despite her being nowhere near the scene, and that Chuck being thrown off the team would have CONSEQUENCES. Translation: please keep watching the show?


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Friendly reminder: THIS SERIES IS ABOUT TEENAGERS. This is pretty much the only frame that makes that okay.  Also, #TeamKevin, all day, every day.

Where were we? Jason’s super dead, shot and thrown in the river, which is a new twist on the story the town was given.  Betty isn’t speaking to Archie or Veronica, because they kissed in a closet with her in the next room (CLASSY.) Cheryl is horrible, and Jughead exists, I think.

Who Killed Jason Blossom?
We establish there was a gunshot the morning of July 4th, assumed to be key in Jason’s murder. Archie and Grundy heard it, but Grundy really, really doesn’t want anyone to know they were together, because you know, it’s a CRIME.  Cheryl is on the war path, trying to out Jason’s killer with newfound vigor, despite being still pretty mean and vapid (#RiverdaleStrong.)

Betty is trying to pretend the awkward weekend didn’t happen and be super-best friends with Archie and Veronica.  However, the wounds from confessing your love to your best friend and finding out he kissed your new friend that same night don’t heal that quickly. After attempting normalcy, Betty sort of loses it.  She tries to reconcile with Archie, but decides she now hates Veronica, cutting her losses on this intense three-day friendship.  Betty retaliates by deciding to be super-best friends with Cheryl, who promptly accuses her older sister of Jason’s murder.  Betty snaps a little bit and throws Cheryl out of her house, threatening her life in a way that’s supposed to make Betty look unbalanced but is totally justified in my opinion.  She and Veronica reconcile after Veronica gives Archie a heartfelt speech about the Power of Friendship, and Veronica all but grovels at Betty’s feet.  Also, the friendship gambit with Cheryl has failed completely.

Favorite Moment:
Alice Cooper, who is still horrible, has a truly funny moment where she burns sage in Betty’s room after Cheryl’s visit to drive out evil. My mother has literally done this exact thing, and I pray that’s the only thing besides being blonde she ever has in common with Alice again.

The Miss Grundy (PREDATOR) Subplot
Grundy is starting to let cracks in her facade show.  She’s less interested in volunteering information about the murder and more interested in covering herself.  She attempts to manipulate Archie into not coming forward in regard to the gunshot they heard because it jeopardizes her job. While they are discussing this in her classroom, Jughead creeps up and sees Archie and Grundy in a PG-13 moment through the door, and confronts Archie.  Apparently they were supposed to go on a road trip, which Jughead accuses Archie of canceling to spend time with Predator.  Also, Archie is conflicted about football and music, but literally who cares.

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Real Screencap of Archie on a date with Grundy

The Pep Rally
Aaaaaand the plot thickens.  Jughead and Archie reconcile, despite us not being totally sure what the problem was to begin with.  Another episode, another awesome showcase for Josie and the Pussycats (This time “Sugar Sugar.”)  We continue to lampshade the physical resemblance between Jason and Archie, which I guess is a thing this season.  Cheryl has a blue screen of death moment internally watching Archie, who is WEARING JASON’S NUMBER (seriously, whose idea was that?) run through the rain.  She freaks out and runs off the field crying, which is actually a totally valid reaction to finding out your brother died more violently than the accidental death you assumed it was.  Even more valid when after Veronica goes to console her, Cheryl bursts out with ” He was supposed to come back!” implying her initial story was a complete lie.

The Cheryl Bombshell
Weatherbee and Sheriff Keller turn up in the science class every one of the leads is in.  Unsurprised, Cheryl stands and puts her hands out for handcuffs.  When asked if that was necessary, she replies. “Because I’m guilty.”  WHAM.  Episode over.

Thoughts and Conclusions

This episode felt very high school drama, and like they needed to return to the status quo after the pilot broke things down.  Moose/Kevin got completely swept under the rug. Betty and Veronica make up almost immediately, and Betty’s able to be friends with Archie straight away. Jughead and Archie resolve their mysterious fight. I feel like this episode is a victim of Early Installment Weirdness, and had to undo a lot of elements of the pilot as to not focus on them too hard. The murder investigation took a backseat to the rest of the drama until Jughead brings the audience and Archie around with the now-memetic: “A KID IS DEAD ARCHIE.”


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Fred Andrews, Alice Cooper (what), Jughead, Veronica, Archie, Betty, Cheryl, Josie, Hermione Lodge, Kevin. The Main Cast of Riverdale.

(Author Note: I’ve been incredibly lax in my posting schedule, so I’m using this as an exercise to force myself to produce content.  I promise I won’t rely on recaps for everything forever.  Enjoy!)

The episode begins with a narrator.  We don’t know who it is until the end of the cold open.  It’s Jughead, best known in the comics for eating burgers and having a dog.  We’re clearly going for a Twin-Peaksy vibe, and a moody, evocative, stylized opener.  Two beautiful redheads in a red convertible, with romantic music playing.  They’re both (over)dressed in white, which anyone who’s seen a movie can tell you spells out bad things for them.

“Are you scared, Jason?” Cheryl Blossom smirks at him.  He isn’t.  The scene plays out like a love scene, though we have established the two are in fact not only siblings but twins.  Really going for that Supernatural periphery demographic, here, aren’t you, CW?  The next thing we know, Jason is ostensibly dead, his sister-widow shellshocked and soaked on the shore.  A pretty, preppy blonde couple in their late 40s scoffs from the shore “I hope he suffered, making them, you know, not suspicious at all.  These are Betty’s parents, it turns out, and they are awful.

The cold open ends with a car pulling up and a pretty young woman peering out at Riverdale High.  Most of this episode is laying groundwork, so I’ll just lay this out by character for this round.

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A perfectly normal brother/ sister relationship, right?

When we finally meet series lead Archie, we get the impression that he’s on the other side of an ugly duckling summer, and has had a mysterious summer romance with a woman who turns out to be his MUSIC TEACHER.  Gone is the stern but kind Miss Grundy of the comics.  Nope.  Now she’s younger, hotter, and A COMPLETE PREDATOR.  The show seems to try to make the power dynamic in this completely messed up situation look even, despite the fact that she’s easily a decade older, probably more.  Archie wants to study music, and become a musician, suddenly, because working at his dad’s construction company made him sad. So he quasi-blackmails Grundy into teaching him music  He and Jughead aren’t speaking.  Who knows why. Maybe Jughead got as tired of him as I am already. I feel like Archie is in a different, dumber show than literally everyone else.

Betty Cooper:
Modernization looks good on Betty.  She’s obsessed with her college resume, returning from a prestigious internship that she got after freshman year of high school.  Her sister has disappeared over the summer to be institutionalized after a breakup with now-dead Jason.  Her mom is pretty much the worst, pressuring and nagging Betty at every turn.  She has a sassy gay friend, recent addition to canon Kevin Keller.  Betty wants to be a cheerleader (the inappropriately dubbed “River Vixens.”) and becomes instantly best friends with Veronica Lodge.  Her character translates far better than Archie’s to 2017.  She pursues a Taylor Swift-esque romance with the boy next door that looks like the director really, really liked the video for “You Belong With Me.”  Betty seems to be one bad day away from snapping, which is a fascinating element to sweet, perfect Betty.  However, in very un-Taylor fashion, Betty gets rejected big time by Archie in her big romantic confession scene in her front yard.

Cheryl Blossom:
Cheryl’s characterization is intentionally inconsistent in the pilot.  She seems to be using her brother’s demise for as much sympathy as she can, while not being a nice or even acceptable person, or even all that sad after the first scene.  She taunts Betty about her older sister’s relationship with Jason.  She acts like keeping the dance from being canceled is the equivalent of solving world hunger.  She’s terrible.  She also has Josie and the Pussycats (who are awesome but don’t add much to the plot in this episode) play the song she and her brother were conceived to in his memory.  WHAT.

Veronica Lodge
Riverdale really needs you to like Veronica, and they go to every length they can.  They sink the Archie/ Betty ship in the pilot, make it Miss Grundy’s fault instead of Veronica’s.  When she and Archie kiss in the closet at the School Dance Afterparty, Veronica is falling on the grenade so that Cheryl doesn’t hook up with the dude everyone’s comparing to her brother because why.   She pushes the Reformed Mean Girl trope, trying to be kind to all, and dressing down Cheryl when she’s cruel to Betty.  Veronica is obviously attracted to Archie, but doesn’t want to lose Betty as a friend despite knowing her for roughly twelve seconds.  I’ve never seen a show try so hard to make you like a character- but it works, and I do like her.

Kevin Keller
I’m glad to see Kevin in a major role, even if he’s written as a little stereotypical.  Kevin is clearly picking up the comic relief mantle since Jughead left it somewhere in his Dashboard Confessional phase.  His affair (I wouldn’t call it a relationship) with Moose catalyzes the end of the episode- sneaking off into the woods, Kevin and Moose discover Jason’s body, not drowned as we’d been told, but with a bullet wound in his head.

Barely seen in this episode despite being one of the main four.  He’s definitely the character pulled furthest from his roots. He and Archie had a fight.  We don’t know why.  I still think Jughead got tired of Archie.


The biggest issue with this is the Archie/ Grundy plotline. We seem to be ignoring the fact that she is a predator.  PREDATOR. Secondly, I have to consistently remind myself that not only are they in high school, they ARE FIFTEEN.  SOPHOMORES.  Most people turn sixteen over their sophomore year.  These are CHILDREN. MISS GRUNDY THAT IS A CHILD.

Another much smaller issue I have is the over-the-top hyper-literate teen dialogue.  Despite the fact that I actually talk like that, it seems really forced.  It seems super weird, but it’s only the pilot.  So, let’s see how this goes!