(Also: it’s just Kelli and Mary this week, because Gabriella is off having fun in Mexico. We’re not jealous at all. We’d much rather be here, recapping this stupid show, obviously.)
Mary: This week, I think we should check in on everyone one by one, in groups. First up, let’s talk Cheryl and Toni since they have some memorable scenes early in the episode. I’m elated to see them getting some PDA moments in, but I’m not sure how to feel about their cat burglar adventures. I’m worried that they’re going to have too many things going on — being girlfriends and cheerleaders and Serpents and — now — criminals. I’m also worried about a scene early in the episode where Kevin (who I guess is like, an ROTC dude now?) tells them they can’t hold hands in the hallway (despite all the BLATANT making out that has happened in these very halls before). I worry that this is going to move into a weird Kevin-enforcing-homophobic-rules subplot. I hate that.
Later in the episode, Jughead decides to strip Cheryl and Toni of their Serpent jackets, effectively kicking them out of the gang for stealing. I’m not sure what we’re supposed to make of a gang that doesn’t do crime. Does that sound right to you, Kelli?
Kelli: My first thought when Jughead said the Serpents would be penalized for crime was: what is the purpose of a gang if not to commit crime? I guess technically a gang can just be a group of people who all like the same stuff (motorcycles and snakes?) and have each other’s backs, but idk, I feel like you’d just call that a “club.”
I, too, am concerned about the plotlines of our queer characters. I feel like they have no idea what they’re doing with Kevin at this point. He’s been totally sidelined ever since joining the ROTC. Like, is he even friends with Betty anymore? I don’t understand what’s happening. As for Toni and Cheryl, their little ‘I love you’ moment made me swoon, but it’s troubling to me that Cheryl’s idea of being a modern day ‘Robinhood’ is stealing from the rich and giving to herself, especially considering the fact that she is ALSO rich. I was glad that Jughead forced her to acknowledge that when he reminded her that the rest of the Serpents don’t have a Thistlehouse to go home to.
That being said, the Serpents are going to be real fucking boring without any girls around.
Mary: That brings us to Jughead. Oh Jughead. He’s trying so hard to be a good Serpent King, but he just doesn’t seem to be doing a good job. I’m still not entirely sure why there seem to be no actual adults in the Serpents (aside from FP), or why this responsibility has been placed on Jughead’s shoulders and no one else. Jughead spends most of the episode running damage control on Fangs Fogarty, who’s been selling Fizzle Rocks to escaped kids from the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Jughead stays kind of low key this episode, being supportive of Betty and the approximately 500 kids she’s taken in.
My biggest question about Jughead is how quickly he’s shrugged off Gryphons and Gargoyles and re-embraced Serpent life. I know that Betty and Jughead think that the entire G&G thing is over (we know it’s not), but how does one just immediately recover from seeing people dead? People you knew? I don’t understand.
Kelli: Yeah, my only theory is that maybe Jughead’s little side quest with Archie gave him some much-needed time away from Riverdale and let him get his head straight again. I was glad to see him back with Betty, but I personally find it bizarre that the two of them just glossed over the fact that she was taken prisoner for a significant period of time and nobody tried to help her until like, five seconds before she escaped on her own. He’s like, “sorry I wasn’t there for ya bro,” and she’s like “it’s cool.”
Mary: Time for Gabriella’s favorite character: Veronica. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it until they stop doing it, I’m exhausted by this dumb mob-lite plot. This episode, Veronica tries to manage her bar (?) La Bonne Nuit, where she’s got Josie singing songs from Cabaret 24/7. Reggie’s been having issues running alcohol illegally from Canada, and Veronica decides to scam her dad into protecting her, telling him she’ll give him 10% of her profits, but lying about how much the bar’s actually making. He finds out, of course, and Ronnie decides to go into business with the Serpents, who take over protecting duties. It all seems stupidly thought out, and I hate it. Where does this go, ultimately?
Kelli: I’m sure Gabriella is devastated to miss out on this part of the discussion.
I’m really confused about how this quarantine works. Like… how did Reggie even get into Canada and back out if the border is supposedly protected? And why is he even driving to Canada to get alcohol? Did Riverdale run out of alcohol? Maybe I just don’t understand how speakeasys work?
I agree that all of this was poorly planned, but I do think it was a smart decision for her to hire the Serpents as protection — mostly for the sake of keeping the plots tied a little closer together. Also, I think this will give us more opportunities to see Veronica and Jughead play off of each other. I find their dynamic pretty interesting, because the two of them are close friends by association but are always keeping each other at a distance.
Finally, I think it’s important to note that at the end of this episode, Reggie and Veronica finally hook up the way we’ve all been kind of expecting them to (especially knowing that Charles Melton and Camila Mendes are dating in real life). Even though I knew it was coming, I feel like they haven’t put a lot of effort into establishing a real connection between these two; it feels more like a ‘you’re hot, I’m hot, let’s go for it’ situation. I look forward to the drama this will spark when Archie returns to ~*Eldirvare.*~
Mary: Betty has the weirdest turn this episode. After declaring herself the Gryphon Queen, Betty has seemingly taken in all the orphans from the Sisters of Quiet Mercy to live in her actual house. You know, with her mom. Apparently Jughead is staying there, too? Because everyone knows parents are cool with their teen daughter’s boyfriend staying over. Betty spends most of the ep trying to work with lawyers to determine what to do with the SOQM kids. She discovers that one of them, Tyler, has been doing Fizzle Rocks and he readily gives up the name of his supplier. Betty is mad, of course, and works to find a more tenable solution to the kids in her house. Later, when Betty returns to find all of the kids gone, Alice tells her that Edgar Neverever (who we haven’t seen yet, from The Farm) came to pick them up and let them live with him. SHAAAADY. When will we get to see Edgar? What do we think he’s like?
Kelli: Okay — is it just me, or were there not boys with the SoQM before? I legitimately thought that it was an institution for girls only, and all of a sudden Tyler exists and I’m like, excuse me, who the fuck are you?
Also, I thought Alice and Polly had moved to stay at the farm for safety purposes, so why is Alice all of a sudden back living in the house as though she never sent Betty away to the Sisters in the first place? Who edits these scripts? Are they hiring?
I’ll say this much: after all of this build-up, Edgar better be really entertaining.
Mary: Last and least, Archie. Archie’s plot has stirred up the most Twitter buzz this week, as we end the episode not sure if he’s alive or dead. Archie has been living in the Canadian wilderness as a sort of park ranger type (it seems like he has a job similar to the protagonist in Firewatch). At the beginning of the episode, Archie’s boss radios in to tell him there’s been a few bear sightings recently, and HEY HE GETS MAULED SHORTLY AFTER.
If I’m being honest, the bear attack doesn’t seem so bad. Sure, he’s bleeding but it’s not profuse, and sure, he feels woozy, but I think he patches himself up well enough to live until help arrives. He manages to radio in and explain he’s been attacked, people are on the way. Yet still, Archie has a fever dream that he’s playing a twisted game of G&G with a lot of characters who’ve died. In his dream, he takes on quests, including killing Hiram Lodge and then, ultimately, killing himself. When help arrives that night (and what took them so long to get there?), Archie is lying on the bed with his eyes open, maybe dead.
I don’t think there’s any way they actually kill Archie off on this show, although I wouldn’t hate it. This seems like a pretty standard, ooh you thought he was dead but he’s not! move. Besides that logic, the showrunner has released that the show will have another musical episode this season, where the cast will sing selections from Heathers, The Musical. Archie is listed in the cast for that show, so it makes sense that he’d live. Or maybe something bonkers will happen and a robot Archie will return in his place or something. What do you think?
Kelli: Sadly, there is no way they can kill Archie off of this show. It’s just not feasible. I do wonder how they’re going to explain away just how dead he looks; maybe he’s still dreaming?
I found his whole section of the episode extremely tiresome. It came off as nothing but filler material, which is how I usually feel when a show decides to do an episode about what someone ‘dreamed.’ With something as plot heavy as Riverdale, we are wasting time poking around in Archie’s head, especially when he has absolutely no new information to offer us. Archie feels like everything is his fault! We kno0o0o0o0w. Thank u, next episode please.
Mary: Stray observation: WHAT IS UP WITH THE SISTERS OF QUIET MERCY?! The episode ends with a mass suicide, where all the sisters kill themselves while prostrate in front of the Gargoyle King. WHAT. IS. UP. WITH. THAT.
Kelli: This has me wondering again about the “reality” of the GK. Are we to understand that the nurses left prison, came straight back to the facility, drugged themselves, and then killed themselves in front of their shared hallucination? Or is he REAL after all?
I’m starting to think… that I don’t care anymore.