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.
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.
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.”