Welcome back, ghoulies!
We’re here for another week of cultish shenanigans, pop culture rip-offs, and plenty of shirtless Riverdale men. Were any of your questions answered? ‘Cause ours… weren’t.
Gabriella: Episode three gives us a quick glimpse of Archie to start with. He’s still in juvie, and he’s still stubborn, and that’s about all we’re given. I guess this was to remind you that he’s in juvie. Okay. Before we have time to think anything about that, we’re back in Riverdale. FP and Alice are all snuggled up, feeling relatively safe before we see Betty and Jughead in almost exactly the same position in ...Dilton’s bunker, of all places.
Creepy. The relationship mirroring got me thinking about the potential faux-incest no one seems to mind going on here. I guess that’s pretty low-key for Riverdale, anyway. The fact that Betty only just now made the connection between the Farm and the game was silly to me. Riverdale is at its best when it subverts our expectations, but this season feels a bit more like I’m predicting it before it happens.
Mary: Oh, I am NOT okay with it! I screamed at the scene that showed FP and Alice in a similar post-sex position to Jughead and Betty. S C R E A M E D. it was awful. Then again, have we so soon forgotten how creepy Cheryl and Jason were?
I agree it’s weird that Betty didn’t get the connection sooner—she’s a true detective after all!—but also, I’m not sure I see the connection myself. Yes, the two things became a ~thing~ around the same time, but does correlation mean causation? I think I’m mostly super weirded out by Griffins and Gargoyles because it’s so clearly a callback to the Satanic Panic of the late 80s and early 90s. I really love playing Dungeons & Dragons, so seeing tabletop games lumped in with suicide cults makes me sad. That being said, I definitely need to up my candle game at my next D&D sesh.
Kelli: The Alice/FP/Betty/Jughead situation is a plot ripped DIRECTLY from Gossip Girl. Serena dates Dan, a boy from the “wrong side of the tracks” (AKA Brooklyn). She finds out that her mom and Dan’s dad used to have a relationship, and now that they have to see each other because their kids are dating, their old flame is rekindled… it was creepy then, and it’s still creepy now. Unfortunately, I do like both couples separately, but they can’t all be together at once. That’s just fucked up.
Also, I would like to note that they casually throw in that THREE WEEKS have passed since the last episode. Did they do this just so that they wouldn’t have to deal with the immediate aftermath of Betty and Jug literally seeing a kid kill himself in front of them? The writing on this show is notoriously lazy, and this is one of the most egregious examples.
Gabriella: Still in Riverdale, Veronica continues to try to be relevant to me. I am just so bored by the whole speakeasy plot - even her relationship with her father, which was interesting, is boring. The only bonus of this plot is Reggie, shirtless, carrying boxes down the stairs.
Veronica addressing Toni as First Lady was pretty funny, but again, none of this felt relevant to me to the important plot of the HPoR and G&G.
Mary: I have so many questions about how a speakeasy works when the main market is TEENS. There’s a throwaway line early on the episode where Veronica mentions that they’re only going to make mocktails at the speakeasy, but like...why make a bar for teens? Is this a thing I just don’t know about? How is this business sustainable.
I used to like Veronica when she was stirring up trouble as Riverdale’s new it girl, but now I’m tired of her mob plot line. Oh, so now the Ghoulies are shaking down Ronnie for money? *sigh* but kids are dying in the woods! I agree that the other plots just seem more pressing. Also, I suspect the HPoR totally played G&G as youths, and I wonder what that was like.
Kelli: I was thinking the same thing, Mary - who the fuck would even go to this place? We’ve seen these teenagers drinking and doing drugs on multiple occasions, so why are they going to dress up fancy to go to an underground club where all they can do is stand around and drink overpriced shirley temples? Might as well just stay above ground and get a milkshake at Pop’s.
I will say that I appreciate the fact that Veronica isn’t able to simply cut her father out of her life. She’s still a teenager, and her relationship with her father has always been complicated, so I’m glad Riverdale is still going to continue to explore their dynamic. It makes Veronica seem more like a real person.
Also, the best out-of-context line of this episode was delivered by Betty: “I’m saying this to you as your friend: open the damn speakeasy.”
Gabriella: Eventually we pick back up with Archie and the plot I was personally most interested in and, let me say I feel vindicated knowing that my prediction from last week was correct. Archie has been tapped as part of an underground prison fight club. The band of prison fight-club-members (fight clubbers?) sound like a Disney movie - Thumper? Peter (Rabbit?) Baby teeth? And, of course, JOAQUIN.
But Archie’s biggest problem is he’s just too good and knocks the guy out in a single blow. That’s not what these weirdos are paying for, Archie.
The entire prison fight plot seems to be a means to an end to give Archie some method of maturing - he says he wants to pay for what he’s done, and it seems the only way to do that is literally get the shit kicked out of him. I’m kind of okay with that.
Mary: It’s no secret that Archie is my least favorite character, and I’m never super invested in his plots. That being said, I think the prison situation is absolutely bizarre and I’m curious to see where it goes. The only thing that irks me about it is that Archie is (yet again) everyone’s white savior. Is Archie the only person who can do anything? I’m really interested in in the secret fight club situation, but I’m curious about the other people involved in it. We only got a little taste this week--the guy who said, “huh I thought you’d get a steak or something for winning” or whatever. Is Archie really the best fighter (and if he is, why?), and will he get usurped from his champion throne soon? Also, HOW is he planning to break out with that tiny pick?!
Kelli: Gabriella, I am very proud of you for predicting this plotline, which I honestly wouldn’t have expected if not for your guess last week. Also, I actually wrote this down in my notes: “Thumper, like the rabbit from Bambi?” I mean, honestly.
I agree that Archie could really use getting the shit kicked out of him, but my main question — for Archie and also for everyone who breaks out of prison — is: what exactly is he going to do once he breaks out? Be a fugitive on the run until the authorities find him and throw him back in with even more time? Before they break out, they’re going to need to gather some hard evidence about what’s going on with the fight club, because otherwise they’re going to be in twice as much trouble as they were to start.
My main hope for this plotline is that when they escape, Kevin and Joaquin will get to be together again. OTP. (TBH, every couple on this show is my OTP except Veronica and Archie.
Gabriella: With OG Betty and Jughead back, they decide to talk to Ethel in a more gentle way, which Jug somehow thinks is straight up pointing out to Ethel that she’s eating alone. No shit, Jug.
Anyway, Jughead agrees to play the game with Ethel at the bunker, while meanwhile, Betty is going to investigate the Farm peer support group Evelyn Evernever (officially the wackest name in this whole show) so she can get close to Edgar Evernever.
Betty’s plan fails but I give her an A for effort. She also pulls some priceless facial expressions in these scenes.
Jughead and Ethel somehow manage to skip way ahead in the game which seemingly took Dilton and Ben weeks to complete, but at least now the blue lips make sense. Ethel’s transition into this mad gargoyle king worshipping woman is somehow both exciting and disappointing, as she felt like the only down to earth character in the first two seasons of the show and now she’s just a plot device.
I’m waiting to see how on earth this leaflet turns people into psychos as, so far, they’ve not given anyone an explanation for it. What frustrates me beyond anything in TV shows, not just Riverdale, is when characters withhold information for. no. reason. FP and Alice refusing to tell their kids about G&G is only going to stoke their curiosity - they know this. JUST TELL THEM.
Don’t burn books, no matter how bizarre.
Mary: OK, yes! Why not just TALK TO YOUR KIDS, HPoR?!
I have lots of questions about this game, but, as I’ve said both in the blog and to anyone who will listen to me in real life, I am really displeased with how they’re portraying G&G. The kids all seem to think that the game is real, that the Gargoyle King is real (and maybe he is?!), and that they can “ascend” through death. All of this reeks of things people said about D&D in the late 80s/early 90s during the Satanic Panic. Need to know how much conservative Christians hated D&D? Even Carman denounced it:
This is my soap box because this is a game I regularly play, yet still have to defend to my family. I recently told my dad that I would Skype in to his Sunday school class to tell them what D&D is and why it’s not invented by Satan (they declined). There’s still a stigma around this totally innocent game that people like to play and nerd out over, and it’s all because of some really unfortunate correlations. (Side note: Friend of the pod Grady Hendrix has written about James Dallas Egbert III, and how the media exploited his death, over on Tor!) The whole “Tabletop RPG that has real life consequences” thing might seem super edgy and rich for a campy show like Riverdale, but dramatizing TTRPGs has had negative consequences for people who actually play in the past. I just hope it doesn’t now.
A funny side note, my roommate Jenni and I said that this is the complete opposite of how players act in real life. We try to get people to play ALL THE TIME, and will gladly let folks borrow our player handbooks to make characters.
Kelli: Mary, I agree about the negative light in which this show is casting tabletop gaming, especially since in reality, playing D&D is one of the most innocent things your teenage kid could be involved in. Especially in the town of Riverdale where the JINGLE JANGLE EPIDEMIC continues to spread. (That’s right — JJ is back, and it still looks like pixie sticks.)
I have a hard time believing that just because the rule books got put into all of the lockers, every kid in the school would immediately start playing G&G. If this happened at my high school, 95% of the kids would have been like ‘what nerd put this in my locker’ and thrown it out without looking twice.
I’m still trying to figure out if the Goblin King is a vision, an actual demon, or if it’s a real person dressed up in a Goblin King outfit. If so, I feel like this is just going to turn into another BH plot — who’s in the mask — which is a pretty boring way to go.
What do y’all think? Where the hell is this show going? Let us know your theories in the comments, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!