Riverdale’s 27th chapter is entitled “The Hills Have Eyes.” If we’re to believe that this entire show is actually the novel Jughead is writing, does that mean he’s naming all of his chapters titles after movies? In that case, it’s even more of a gimmick than we thought. Here at BSG, we’ve been referring to this episode by a much different name — Chapter 27: “Sex Weekend.” Feel free to steal that for the second draft of your manuscript, Juggy.
Part I: Mary
In his standard dramatic narration, Jughead says that Betty’s home is becoming her personal prison because of Chic. We get a montage of her walking around her house, being followed by Chic, encountering him as he uses her shower, drinks juice from the bottle, etc.. This “prison” that betty finds herself in is **gasp** normal sibling behavior. Chic is being annoying, but he’s not doing anything sinister…yet!
Cheryl is still displeased with her mother’s new occupation (which is sex work, if you missed that plot point). Penelope says that she was in love with Hal, which doesn’t seem entirely true but allows Penelope to verbally abuse Cheryl. All is not well in Thistle House.
Now we get to the meat of the episode, **cracks knuckles** SEX WEEKEND. Hiram Lodge tells Archie and Veronica that he and Hermione are going out of town on mob business and that the gang should go to the Lodge vacation cabin to get away and be safe (just in case). André, the ever present butler/hireling, will be nearby in case anything goes amiss, but Veronica isn’t to know that little detail.
This is clearly part of Archie’s grooming to be in The Family, but it’s ridiculous. What parent—even an incredibly sex positive parent—sends their child away with their partner for a romantic cabin weekend? Like, really? Shouldn’t they at least have some sort of sex talk before they go? I wanted to be pleasantly surprised that this was NOT a sex weekend, but of course, most of the humor of this episode comes from the couples hearing squeaking beds in the room next door. UGH.
Jughead and FP are still trying to figure out how to save the trailer park. In another context, this could be a heartwarming Disney flick. It’s not, though.
Poor Kevin. He just wants someone to go with him to see the totally-not-endorsed-movie Love, Simon. Riverdale is known for its slightly-off, but totally on point references (like The Matchelor, which stands in for The Bachelor), so hearing a real movie title felt surprising. Then I did the shallowest bit of digging. Greg Berlanti, who acts as an executive producer on many a CW show and is particularly beloved for his work on the DC comics suite of shows on the CW, directed Love, Simon, and, yes, also produces Riverdale. Mentioning the upcoming movie on a Berlanti show feels…cheap. Not only the mention inconsistent with how Riverdale typically does things, but it seems greedy, like Berlanti is trying to market himself any way he can, even on his own show. All this isn’t to discredit Berlanti or suggest his work is bad. Instead, I’m merely pointing out, in so many words, it feels icky. Moving on.
Moose tells Kevin that Midge “knows all about” their previous relationship, but viewer, she most certainly does not. I don’t even need to wait to know that one.
No one’s parents are opposed to sex weekend, so the gang heads out, leaving a very angry Cheryl behind. Jughead wants to go on sex weekend so he can get the scoop on the Lodges from Veronica, but Betty tells him she just wants to relax and have fun. Chic CREEPILY confronts Jughead at the Cooper residence and tells him that if he tells anyone about the murder that happened in the Cooper house, “it’ll be bad for Betty and Alice.” Sure. That’s not weird or anything.
For me, this is where Riverdale is at its most Twin Peaks. We get a vaguely threatening comment from a creepy character, shots of trees and trees and trees, and some great atmospheric music (that doesn’t TOUCH the Twin Peaks soundtrack, but I’ll take what I can get).
The gang settles in for sex weekend to commence, and all is well! Veronica calls the cabin “Lodge Lodge,” which is very cute. Everyone gets comfy until Cheryl calls Jughead to quickly tell him that Betty and Archie kissed in front of her house. YIKES.
Back on Cheryl’s end, Toni confronts Cheryl about telling Jughead about the kiss. Cheryl, in typical QUEEN fashion, tells Toni that she needs no reasons, she simply “is.” Cheryl seems angrier at Toni’s kind words than she should. That, paired with Madelaine Petsch’s recent comments that there are TWO bisexual characters on the show, make me believe (if I didn’t already), Cheryl will be coming out soon!
Jughead and Betty have a heart to heart about The Kiss, and Jughead says he is TOTALLY COOL with it. Bughead overhears a squeaking bed in Archie and Veronica’s room and have my favorite moment of the episode, where the couple says, Is that how they handle everything? Can’t they just have a conversation?
Jughead tries to get nosy with Veronica, but she misinterprets it as “tension,” so the gang grabs their margaritas and heads to the hot tub. For some reason, Veronica thinks it’ll be a good idea for her and Jughead to kiss in order to get even. WHO WOULD THINK THAT IS A GOOD IDEA?! Everyone is jealous. Everyone.
Later, Betty has the wonderful idea that out of everyone, Jughead and Archie are the only ones who haven’t kissed (at least outside of the fanfic, let’s be real). Betty decides to go Dark Betty and threaten to “punish” Jughead, but like, you know, sexy punishing. It’s legitimately sexy.
Meanwhile, Archie tells Veronica he’s “tired,” and becomes the dark cloud that rains all over Ronnie’s sex weekend.
The next morning, Archie sexily chops wood (I guess? Is that what we’re supposed to think?) before going into the woods to meet with André. Veronica finds them because OF COURSE SHE DOES. She’s mad and tells André to leave and tells Archie to give her some space. YEAH! She also says, “Try not to choke on your own testosterone while you’re at it.” AW YEAH.
Josie (remember Josie) throws shade at her mom and Sheriff Keller. Josie’s parents are getting a divorce and Josie thinks IT’S JUST SO UNFAIR. It’s kind of amazing to me how many couples aren’t divorced on this show.
Jughead and Archie have a heart to heart and Archie does not choke on his own testosterone, unfortunately. Jughead notes that the situation is complicated because they’re all best friends. OK, sure.
Part II: Kelli
Betty and Veronica go into town because Veronica wants to be away from Archie/throw her money at people. In a shop that sells candles AND scones, the cashier starts flirting with Veronica. She flirts back because she’s pissed off at Archie, and goes so far as to call this person “handsome,” which is SUCH a stretch. He’s not handsome, and his name is Cassidy, which honestly makes him even worse.
Once the girls return to the cabin, Veronica immediately forgives Archie, despite the fact that he’s done nothing to warrant her forgiveness. She makes him promise for the umpteenth time that he won’t keep secrets from her, and he’s like, ‘yeah, sure babe,’ and then they make out.
Jughead gets a phone call from a very excited FP, who informs him that the eviction notices are gone from the trailer park because Hiram has paid for everyone’s rent in full! Obviously, FP’s very adult response to this is to have a wild trailer party, which we can see raging in the background. I’m 120% sure that someone in that trailer was doing a kegstand, and I feel sad that we didn’t get to see it. It was probably Sweet Pea.
Jughead tells the other three about what just happened, and says that Hiram is “gobbling up the Southside piece by piece.” He’s horrified to discover that his friends seem to think he’s overreacting. He claims the entire thing is a smokescreen and that Hiram is trying to buy his silence, and Archie essentially tells him to chill with the conspiracy theories. I’m not surprised Archie doesn’t see what Hiram is doing, but I would think Betty and Veronica would know better.
Meanwhile in the ‘excuse to rabidly promote Love, Simon’ subplot, Josie and Kevin meet up at Pop’s so that Josie can tell Kevin about what’s going on between their parents. It was news to me in this episode that Josie even knew about what was happening with her mom and the sheriff, but things move fast in Riverdale. Kevin is furious at his father, they fight, and then Josie and her mom fight about the fact that Josie told Kevin what was happening when it wasn’t her place. It’s just a lot of fighting and all of it feels undeserved when none of these characters have been fleshed out enough (McCoy and Sheriff Keller, mostly) for me to feel emotionally invested in their happiness.
Kevin is eating a burger and milkshake alone at Pop’s (respect, Kev) when Midge and Moose waltz in. They’re like, ‘Kevin, you’re eating alone? Why would anyone ever do such a thing?’ and then basically force him to sit at a booth with them. This whole scene is basically here to emphasize Kevin’s singleness: he’s on one side of the booth while Moose and Midge are on the other, and when they ask him who he’s going to the movie with, he says, “I’m going to this gay romcom alone.” Midge suggests he date the gay Southsider, and Kevin delivers another great line: “If it’s Fangs Fogarty, I don’t think I can date someone named Fangs.” Moose is all, ‘he’s a good looking dude,’ and Midge says, ‘what do you know, you big lug?’
Guess what, Mary? You were right! Moose didn’t tell Midge anything!
Later at the movie theatre, Kevin runs into Josie, who is also there by herself to see Love, Simon. She apologizes to him for telling him about their parents instead of letting his dad talk to him about it first.
Toni and Cheryl are ALSO there to see Love, Simon, because every high schooler in Riverdale is seeing Love, Simon this weekend. Also, all of the high schoolers in Riverdale are somehow confident enough to go to the movies alone, which is one of the most unrealistic things about this episode. I go to the movies by myself all the time now that I’m an adult, but as an insecure 16-year-old? Fuck no.
Anyway, Toni asks Cheryl if she’s okay, and Cheryl responds with a negative. Toni has been ditched by the aforementioned Fangs Fogarty (what else could he possibly be doing when everyone else in the entire town is at this theatre). She suggests they sit together. We get a cut to inside the theatre, where we see an ACTUAL SCENE from Love, Simon, because this episode still hasn’t gone far enough with the tie-in advertising. Oh hey, Jennifer Garner.
Back at the Sex Cabin, our favorite foursome is playing monopoly and drinking red wine. They’re such sophisticated high school sophomores. Betty gets a phone call from Alice, and it turns out Hiram Lodge just bought the Riverdale Register! Cue massive fight! This is Sex Weekend and it’s couple vs. couple, y’all!
Jug and Betty are staunchly on the anti-Hiram side of this fight, saying that Hiram is trying to silence the free press (which he clearly is) and that Archie and Veronica need to stop defending Hiram. Honestly, there are so many sick burns during this argument. Jughead tells Archie that Veronica has him wrapped around her little finger, and Betty adds, “and other parts of her body.” Veronica’s amazing rebuttal: “Sorry we don’t spend our time being tragic and moping and holding hands while watching serial killer documentaries.”
I could have watched these four yell at each other forever, but unfortunately, the throwdown is interrupted by the sound of glass breaking. As it turns out, Cassidy from the candle/scone store is actually a robber in his spare time. He and some other dude are there wearing ski masks and holding axes, and they’re going to take what they want, or else! Veronica insists on taking Cassidy upstairs herself to retrieve her wallet from her purse, which pissed me off until I realized it was so that she could press the Bond-esque security button at the back of the bedroom nightstand.
Once they return downstairs, Cassidy tells the four of them drop to their knees and makes like he’s going to chop them up with his dull axe, but then the alarm sounds. Veronica’s like, ‘y’all bitches better run because in 30 seconds my security guards are going to murder you in cold blood.’ “Screw you, rich bitch,” Cassidy says, and rips the necklace off of Veronica’s neck before he follows his partner out the door.
In the episode’s least surprising moment, Archie decides to chase after them. In the woods, he tackles one of the dudes and rips the mask off of his face, but at this point I can’t tell which nondescript white dude it is. André shows up to take care of things, and as Archie heads back to the cabin, he hears a gunshot in the woods.
Back in Riverdale, everyone is at Pop’s after the mandatory Love, Simon screening. Josie and Kevin have a group meeting with their parents, and I think we’re supposed to believe that seeing the movie inspired them to have this conversation. Ugh. At Pop’s counter, Toni tells Cheryl that she saw her crying during the movie. Cheryl says she never cries during movies, but something about this movie (Love, Simon, in case you forgot) made her get emotional.
This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Cheryl’s coming out! It’s kind of a bummer that this moment got tied into an advertising campaign, but I’ll take what I can get. Cheryl reveals that she is not the loveless monster everyone thinks she is, and that she was in love once: with her best friend from junior high, a girl named Heather. When Penelope caught the two of them sharing a bed, she called Cheryl “deviant” (THE IRONY!). Toni listens, her eyes wide with trademark Toni empathy. She tells Cheryl that she isn’t loveless or deviant — she’s “sensational.” Then… THEY HOLD HANDS.
This is my new favorite ship. Goodbye everyone else. Also, I bet you a million dollars Heather is going to show up at some point to challenge this budding relationship.
After yet another emotional talk with the crew at Pop’s, Archie goes to talk to Hiram. How Archie managed to have a meeting with Hiram in Veronica’s house without Veronica’s knowledge is not something I am here to explain. All I know is that Archie’s promise to Veronica was a lie, AGAIN. Archie assures Hiram that André killing the ski mask dude doesn’t bother him, and Hiram hands Archie the stolen locket. So, I guess it was Cassidy that Andre killed… in which case, I give zero fucks.
We close out the episode with Bughead at the Cooper house. Jughead finally tells Betty that he thinks Chic is sketch, and he tells her to be careful. Betty looks at him like, ‘fuckin duh,’ and then he leaves. Jughead’s narration reminds us that Betty is just a girl in a house, “far from sweet, and perhaps far from safe.” Incidentally, my eyes just rolled so far into the back of my head that I fear I may never see again.
This episode was very meh for me, and I’m starting to think that drawing out the season this much was a mistake. It seems the writers have forgotten plotlines they set up at the beginning of the season and are starting new ones just for kicks. Is the Black Hood not a thing anymore? Are we sure? OK. I’m really hanging on for the musical episode at this point.
Mostly, it was difficult to suspend my disbelief for sex weekend. I mean, I know these are some progressive parents, but the premise is a little out there, isn’t it? IDK, what did everyone else think?
All I really care about from this episode was the revelation about Cheryl. I’ve been hoping Toni/Cheryl would be a thing since the Southsiders ended up at Riverdale, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do with this relationship. Also hoping that this ‘lonely Kevin’ plot is going to lead to the reappearance of Joaquin: the finest man this show has ever seen.
I totally agree with Mary about the Love, Simon ickiness. I’m sure the movie is sweet and great, but the prevalence of it in this episode was way over the top. However, when it comes to Sex Weekend, I’m willing to suspend disbelief, if only because all of these parents (except for Fred) are either in the mob, in a gang, murderers, or a winning combination of all three.
See you next time, y’all, and don’t forget to check out Love, Simon in a theatre near you!
—Mary & Kelli