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.
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.