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.”
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?