“Fortune and Men’s Eyes” is the second episode of Riverdale’s third season, and also the 37th chapter of Jughead’s novel, which makes me feel really sorry for his future editor.
This week, questions are answered with more questions and the subplots spawn subplots, but we’re going to try our best to make sense of it all, just like we always do.
Kelli: This episode starts with Archie’s first day of juvenile detention - which I hesitate to call juvie instead of calling it ‘actual prison,’ which is what it seems like. Aren’t they supposed to have classes and recreational activities? It seems like they spend the entirety of their time sitting in the yard talking about beating each other up.
Archie finds the Serpents, who don’t accept him as readily as FP and Jughead expected them to. Apparently, Serpent stick-and-poke does not a Serpent make. Joaquin (and let me just take a moment to say - JOAQUIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) tells Archie that if he wants to earn their trust, he’d better shiv a ghoulie. Archie, being Archie, decides that a better strategy is to create a sense of unity amongst all of his fellow prisoners by convincing them to play high school football.
This entire subplot (like most subplots involving Archie) manages to be both ridiculous and boring at the same time. What did you guys think?
Gabriella: *This* was why I kept texting to ask if you’d seen it - a wild Joaquin appears.
I almost choked on my coffee when one of the other ‘inmates’ said “I dropped out in fourth grade to run drugs to support my nana,” and Archie just stares at him for a second and then continues on with his morale-raising highschool normcore bullshit. I. Just. Cannot.
Basically, this entire thing for me was useless. Except to see Joaquin. I think the point was to ‘develop’ Archie’s ‘character’ as some kind of peace-maker bridger-of-worlds. I don’t know, I think I’m grasping at straws with this.
Mary: I really hate the juvie plotline. Archie is, once again, some savior for everyone and it’s really dumb. Also, there is one—ONE—black guy in juvie, who seemed to have a very interesting backstory, but because this is Riverdale and everyone must be white at all times, he’s promptly done away with. For a second I was hoping we’d get a little diversity.
Kelli: Meanwhile, Veronica is doing everything in her power to make things “normal” for Archie, including bringing him expensive sneakers as a gift in prison and dragging the Vixens with her to perform a full musical number as encouragement for juvie football. I just.
During this Jailhouse Rock extravaganza, Hiram shows up, because guess what? He’s friends with the warden, obviously, and Veronica’s not allowed to visit Archie anymore. Also, he called in a raid! Archie’s football dreams are short-lived as a bunch of officers swarm in and begin to beat the actual shit out of the prisoners.
What did you guys make of this scene and its aftermath? And what about this mysterious “Mad Dog” situation? Theories?
Gabriella: The raid actually added a bit of authenticity for me in a weird way. Again, I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts and there are some really horrible up juvenile detention centres out there so I wasn’t surprised to see that happen. Also have to admit to a bit of schadenfreude in seeing Archie’s plan fail so miserably.
I almost wish this was another show entirely because the Mad Dog plot could be a really interesting way of developing a plot about private prison structure and cover-ups. But alas, this is Riverdale.
Anyway, my bet is there’s a prison “fight club” in which the wardens “tap” their fighters and the original Mad Dog did die, just in a fight. So now Archie, having proven he can beat up people, is the new Mad Dog and is going to have to fight to survive.
The entire dance routine bored me. Sorry, Vixens.
Mary: Ugh, this whole scene. It makes zero sense that the Vixens are coming to cheer up the juvie boys. I mean, who thought this was a good idea? WHO?! I was also really interested in Mad Dog and I’m so mad they fridged him immediately. Do we really think Archie has the grit and the chutzpah to take Mad Dog’s place? I don’t. Also, as a tangent, this heavily reminded me of the first Dungeons and Dragons game I ever ran, where the party of adventurers had to infiltrate a child fighting ring and free the children. Let’s hope it goes better for Archie than it did in that game.
Kelli: To pivot completely - we find out that Betty’s seizure in the last episode was due to “stress,” and the firebabies were a “hallucination.” Betty accepts this explanation readily, although I guess most things would be easier to justify than infants floating over an open flame.
Later, Jughead tells Betty about what he found in the woods, and the two of them embark on an investigation into Dilton’s death and the Gargoyle King. These parts of the episode were definitely the most interesting to me, partially because I’m fascinated by this storyline and partially because Betty and Jughead are so much fun to watch together. Like Betty says, this is how things were when they first started dating during season one, during what was definitely the show’s peak, TBH.
What do you guys think about this storyline so far? Is something supernatural going on, or will there be a Scooby-Doo-esque reveal that a ~real person~ was behind it the whole time?
Gabriella What the fuck is up with Ethel?
Back to the seizures. When Ethel has her own seizure I was reminded of that movie The Falling in which a bunch of girls contract a psychosomatic fainting disease and it causes this huge epidemic. So when Betty says “seizures aren’t contagious” I was interested. But I don’t think they’re going to go down any psychological route and my money is on the new girl (whose name I’ve already forgotten) daughter of the farm cult leader. (I looked it up, her name is Evelyn).
Mary: I’m wondering if they’re just going to ignore the whole Betty forged prescriptions, therefore committing a felony plot. Like, isn’t that a big deal?! Also, yes, the seizure definitely seems supernatural to me. Those fire babies happened and I won’t hear otherwise. Ethel’s seizure is just further proof of this. Also, I totally agree with you, Gabriella. It’s gotta be Evelyn’s doing.
Also, I am SO into the Ethel plotline in a really sad, cringey way. It seems like she was playing a D&D- like game—Griffins and Gargoyles—with Dilton and Ben all summer. She thinks she’s dating Ben, but one of Dilton’s scouts says that she’s just dating him in the game, not in real life. The blurring of real life and roleplaying games is real for some people, and it made me feel sad for Ethel. Overall, she seems really lonely and just wants friends, wants to have a normal time as a teenager. Unfortunately, that is definitely not happening for her.
Kelli: Perhaps the most unexpected thing that happened this episode was the introduction of YET ANOTHER subplot, this one involving the Hot Parents of Riverdale. Hermione calls a meeting re: Gargoyle King with FP, Fred, Hiram, Keller, Alice, McCoy, and Penelope Blossom, of all people. Years ago, something unspeakable happened between the group of them in the woods, and they all agreed to act like it never occurred — but now their children are in danger, and they have to do something before it's too late!
Y’all: what the fuck is this about?
Gabriella: My suspicion is the Gargoyle King plot and the HPoR (Hot Parents of Riverdale) plot is that the HPoR become concerned with the youngins running around in the woods because they think they’ll uncover whatever it is that happened all those years ago. The Gargoyle King will turn out to be just a weird and completely unrelated thing that some kids who are lonely and unsupported and CLEARLY IN NEED OF PSYCHOLOGICAL HELP have gotten involved in and the HPoR were too concerned with their shit to notice until now. So in investigating the Gargoyle King, Betty and Jughead will discover what it is the HPoR did, and themselves become targets.
Mary: I actually have some sneak peek info on this because I follow some Riverdale blogs. They’re prepping us for a FLASHBACK episode!! We’ll go into the hot parents’ past soon--maybe even next week? IDK. Lili Reinhart is playing young Alice, and I am HYPED for that.
Kelli: WHAT? I’m so down for that.
The episode closes in dramatic Riverdale fashion with the suicide of Ben Button (yes, Benjamin Button). This had approximately no impact on me, because this character was introduced last week and has had all of four speaking lines, one of which was “you’ll fly too.” Is this a Stephen King reference?
It’s only the second episode of the season, so at this point we have more questions than answers. I feel like this episode was a lot less cohesive than the premiere, with new storylines sprouting up left and right, but I guess when you have a 23-episode run you need as many plots as you can get.
What are you guys hoping for more of in the next episode?
Gabriella: “Ugh” was how I felt at the end of this episode. There is too much going on - including the Moose/Kevin romance plot. As much as I like it for what it stands for, this season is too cluttered and that one is the least useful for the over-all plot (if there even is one anymore?). Unless Moose turns out to be the Gargoyle King - which, you never know with this show.
I’m most excited by the prison plot, even though Archie is the most boring, and to see what’s up with the HPoR/Betty and Jughead’s investigation. Everything else (sorry, Veronica) is useless to me.
Another thing - the phrase “Fortune and Men's Eyes” is from Shakespeare’s sonnet 29 - the stanza is:
When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
But there is also a play called Fortune and Men’s Eyes from 1967 by John Herbert. Wikipedia says it’s: “about a young man's experience in prison, exploring themes of homosexuality and sexual slavery.”
What the fuck are the show’s writers alluding to? That’s all.
Mary: Ok, but what if I really want it to be about the John Herbert play? In an unrelated note, there’s a story going around on Twitter about one of the showrunners. He used to write for Dad’s Garage Theater in Atlanta, and wrote a play based on the Archie comics that saw the teens grow up, get into sexual relationships with each other, and move away from Riverdale. Archie Comics stopped the play from ever happening, but that guy straight up made his weird fanfic canon by becoming involved with Riverdale. Go, you, guy!
Also, miscellaneously, I want to point out that creepy coroner guy from last season died, I guess? But don’t worry. His equally creepy son has taken up the mantle. Because coroner is an inherited title in Riverdale? Who knows. It’s all weird and I wonder if it’ll come back up.
I think I’m hoping for a flashback episode next. It might be the campy fun we need to really get the season going. I agree with you, Kelli, when you say that the seasons are so long they need all these plots except, they probably don’t if one plot would just be well written. BUT this show is the kind of campy trash I really need in my week. The world seems like it’s on fire in real life, but in Riverdale, sometimes it’s just actual fire and babies levitating over it. So it’s a nice contrast.
Let us know your thoughts & theories in the comments, or email them to us at email@example.com! We’d love to address them in a future blog post. See you next Sunday, ghoulies.