Gabriella: I’ve left the sunny shores of Puerto Morelos for dreary Riverdale and I can’t say I’m glad to be back. This episode had a bunch of shocks and reveals — were y’all as surprised as I was? Maybe all the margaritas have gone to my head but I think Hal is my new favorite character…
Gabriella Not that any of you would forget where we left off, but Archie was presumed dead. As both Mary and Kelli predicted, he was obviously not dead. The show just glossed over a lot of his survival, with Archie explaining he didn’t remember much except waking up in the hospital and having an epiphany that he had to stop running. Getting attacked by a bear will do that to you.
His and Veronica’s reunion was kind of lame in my opinion, and it felt as if the director just went ‘well, do whatever you want’ and so Veronica decided to stand as far away from him as possible? There was nothing organic about that moment, nothing impactful.
No one seems to be aware that Archie has been through some traumatic shit, except for when he orders a ROOTBEER FLOAT. Somehow that is what betrays Archie’s PTSD. Makes sense.
Archie is clearly spiraling and no one has noticed. One of my notes reads: “WHY HAS NO ONE OFFERED THIS MAN THERAPY. WHY. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH THESE PEOPLE.”
Not to mention, why is he studying in the dark? I’ve never tried to read in a dimly lit room without THE FIRST PERSON AND EVERY PERSON THEREAFTER WHO ENTERS SAYING: YOU’RE GOING TO HURT YOUR EYES. No one actually cares about Archie which… come to think of it, sounds about right.
Kelli: I am on the same page as you with the “why has no one offered him therapy” question. Like, the amount of trauma he’s been through is ridiculous, and I’m sure there is at least ONE therapist in this town (and it’s probably McCoy tbh). But no, it’s cool, he’ll just punch out his feelings while hydrating his still-recovering-from-a-bear-attack body with straight bourbon.
Mary: Ugh, same! The boy needs therapy! Also, HOW did he survive that bear attack and does it matter at all?! I often don’t mind when shows gloss over things, but it really bugged me in this case. His scars don’t even look that bad in my opinion.
However, I find that whenever I think about how this show doesn’t make sense at all, or how key plot points are just glossed over, I remember that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa also wrote a fever dream of an Archie fanfic for Dad’s Garage (a theater group in Atlanta) that earned him a cease and desist from Archie Comics. Everything makes a whole lot more sense under that lens, and I’m glad he’s living his dream. He also tweets a lot about how buckwild the show is, so he knows it’s high camp.
Gabriella: The writers attempted to shoehorn the whole ‘they’re still students’ thing back into the plot, even giving Principal Weatherbee a cameo where he does the only good bit of principal-ing in the entire series. Archie definitely should repeat Junior year. And go into some serious therapy. But Archie is a victim of toxic masculinity (which back in the glory days of Season 1 the show cleverly poked fun at) now so of course, he won’t.
Kelli: I thought it was hilarious that the dramatic Riverdale theme kicked up when Principal Weatherbee suggested Archie stay back a year, as if this legitimately good advice was on par with the other things this music typically underscores (revelations of murder, etc). Like, he has missed pretty much the entire school year, why does he think he’s going to be able to come back in the last three months and somehow pass?
Mary: Yeah, they’re still students, but they don’t go to school like...ever? I think it’s ridiculous that Archie believes he’s going to catch up on a whole year of school because, well, he wasn’t exactly the brightest in the first place, was he? After murders and serial killers and sexy hookups, school seems boring. And yes, Gabriella, it is wild to me how toxic masculinity is affecting Archie. He just sits in his cell-like room and punches his punching bag and ignores all the serious psychological trauma he’s experienced because he has to be a “fighter” instead of facing his very real problems.
Gabriella: Alice Cooper… I have so many feelings about her. I actually love her, even if she’s lost it completely to the cult and given her daughter’s entire college fund to the Farm. She’s just so wholly in her element with the table full of crystals. And I dig her look. I’m into cult Alice, but she is a terrible mom. TERRIBLE.
Kelli: I can’t believe she gave Betty’s money away. I’m kind of hoping she is also under partial hypnosis and/or being drugged, because I don’t know how else a person could decide to donate their child’s entire college fund to a cult. Just saying — those tall glasses of raw milk looked pretty suspicious to me.
I’m kind of pissed that we still haven’t seen Edgar Evernever. The longer they put it off, the more I’m convinced he’s going to be responsible for this entire G&G plot, because they’re obviously saving him for the end.
Mary: ALIIIIICE! She’s long been a fave of mine, and I’m enjoying her Farm plotline, even though the writers are taking their sweet time showing it to us. While I prefer the Bad Mama Serpent look Alice was rocking a season ago instead of her new hippy look, I still think she’s a great character with lots of potential. It was wild to see her dress up for a news anchor interview and try to look like a broadcast woman.
I also am shocked about the money situation, but also not at the same time. Yes, it’s a HORRIBLE decision, but as someone who’s watched an insane amount of Leah Remini’s Scientology program on A&E, I know cults make you do crazy things sometimes, like liquidate all your savings. That being said, I think the audience needs a little more info on what Alice thinks the Farm is providing her with. Does she think she’s going to get eternal salvation? Money? Fame? I need to know more to understand how this cult works. As usual in Riverdale, this probably wouldn’t be an issue if there were fewer plots.
Gabriella: The HPoR seem to have split into two factions — the Hot Parents of Riverdale, and the HPoR evil twins. The good guys storm Hiram’s office and the whole conversation left me thinking: How are any of these adults working with a quarantine? Where is the government assistance? Hiram has become an unhinged criminal psycho a la Joker and it’s leaving me cold. I preferred him as a smart, calculated mob boss rather than some deranged man trying to kill a teenager.
Kelli: Yeah, is the town even UNDER quarantine anymore? They set it up like it was going to be some huge deal plot point, but it seems like things are pretty much business as usual.
I agree about Hiram, I think his craziness is a little over the top at this point. I do still enjoy him as a villain, though. I think Mark Consuelos is actually great on this show — he is turning in a wonderfully smarmy performance, and I love his commitment.
Mary: Yeah, I’m not convinced Hiram would be that concerned about killing Archie. Is Archie really that big of a threat to a CRIME LORD?! I agree that Mark Consuelos is a gem and is doing his best with the material he’s been given, though.
Gabriella: Meanwhile, the HPoR evil twins have been summoned by Hiram to implement the next phase of his plan (if you can call it that?) which involves making Claudius Blossom the new sheriff. Which, you know, requires an election but never mind that. Hiram later goes to his wife, the mayor, to bully her into choosing Claudius as sherif, which does not go well.
The best moment of this whole episode was the look on Penelope Blossom’s face when she responds to Hiram’s suggestion of buying the SoQM property with: “for my brothel?” FOR. MY. BROTHEL.
Kelli: As we’ve discussed before, I’m pretty sure the entire Blossom family is still living in the 18th century, and this further proves my theory.
Mary: This plotline is one that baffles me the most. If we’re supposed to believe that Riverdale is in America, presumably somewhere up north, how is a brothel going to be a legal setup? Also, why has Penelope gone whole hog on this brothel thing? She made the switch to sex worker very quickly and seems to have no issues with it—and no one else does either (besides Cheryl, of course, and she’s mysteriously absent from this episode). What sense would it make AT ALL for Claudius to be sheriff? Do people in the town even understand he’s not Clifford? This plot makes the least sense.
Gabriella: We’re thrust back into school life with a cram session for the SATs which, anyone who has ever taken the SATs knows, will obviously not work. Betty’s attempt at making him feel better was the only legitimately kind thing anyone has done for Archie, but I had a lot of questions about how she washed out permanent black hair dye… It’s all part of an attempt to make him feel at home again, but the plan goes to shit when they put him in the centre of a huge party at her nightclub. Of course, it backfires. Did anyone else think this was such a lame idea? Maybe it’s the lack of parental guidance these kids have that leads them to make such stupid decisions...
Kelli: I think maybe they just dyed it red over the black? That would involve bleach, but who knows — since we cut right to him washing it out, this could be like six hours later after an extensive hair treatment.
My favorite thing about this episode is the emphasis on the fact that Archie is not good at school. I think a lot of times on teen dramas we get a bunch of genius characters (like Betty and Jughead), and there’s no sign that any high schooler might actually be struggling with their schoolwork. I appreciate that Archie, who is arguably the “main” character, is not wildly intelligent on top of everything else he can do. It makes him seem like a fuller character.
I agree that the party was lame AF. Nobody wants to sit there while someone sings at them while surrounded by a large crowd of people! It’s so fucking awkward! This is on par with a public, on-stage marriage proposal. I don’t blame him for running.
Mary: Red hair dye will not work over black hair dye—I am speaking from experience. Either way, his hair is F R I E D.
Clearly, the kids of Riverdale have not watched their own show. Otherwise, they’d know that surprise parties—like Jughead’s party in season one—are not a good idea and should be avoided. I’m also questioning if Archie could understand the song Ronnie sang to him, which was in Spanish. It was a nice gesture, but Archie is the Dean (from Gilmore Girls) of this show. He’s dumb, he’s brash, and he’s not good at dealing with his feelings.
Gabriella: Betty is definitely the best character, and her relationship with her father is actually one of the most compelling parts of this show. If Hal wasn’t a psychopath, I’d give him the ‘best father of the episode’ award.
For me, a great reveal in this episode was the OG GK fake out. I totally bought it that Hal was the GK from when the Midnight Club ran around in the school. Did you see both of those twists coming?
Kelli: I bought it too, but as with most things on this show, there was another part of me that didn’t buy it because I knew they couldn’t possibly reveal that information when we still have more than 10 episodes left in the season. I did like seeing Betty and Hal interact during this episode, though. I kind of assumed Hal would just be off the show, but it’s nice that they’re actually keeping him around and following through with a storyline that obviously has a huge impact on Betty’s life.
Mary: The decision to bring Hal back both excited me and made me roll my eyes. I agree that it’s one of the more compelling parts of the show, and I’m genuinely interested in how Betty wrestles with her own darkness while trying to interact with him. Lili Reinhart is honestly great at showing some complex emotions without saying a word.
That being said, why is Hal locked up Hannibal lecter-style? Is he THAT dangerous? Yes, he’s a serial killer, but he didn’t exactly eat his victims, did he? It’s not like any physical contact with him will spell death.
I didn’t buy that Hal was the GK because I know the show loves fakeouts and I assume it’s always trying to trick me, BUT it makes perfect sense that he said he was the GK and it would honestly be fairly believable. Hal has a lot of interesting narrative potential, I think, and I’m excited to see how he continues to factor in to the show—especially for Betty’s sake.
Gabriella: I was expecting more drama with the Archie-Reggie-Veronica love triangle. When Archie came to Reggie and said “I have to talk to you about cheating” I knew what was coming, and I have to say this is my least favourite plot device in a show. No one starts their sentences like that. In real life, we don’t cut each other off to confess something until we have all the information the other person knows. It felt totally hamfisted and the resulting fallout or lack thereof was equally uninteresting.
I then wrote: “They all need therapy.”
Kelli: Agreed. Also, I like that Veronica tried to break up with Archie and he was like “okay, but first, sex?”
Mary: YES, I was laughing so hard that Archie said, but can you stay the night with me, AKA can we bang one more time? It’s just wild. She’s breaking up with you Archie. Because you need therapy. You all do.
Gabriella: There were a few more twists and turns in this episode, like Claudius showing up in Hiram’s place, Penelope being the one to visit Hal, and, of course, HIRAM’S ATTEMPTED MURDER. I was so down for this to turn into a locked room murder mystery but Hiram survived so…
My hunch is Hermione hired someone to kill him. She’s always been the low key queen behind shit, and once she was revealed as having been in cahoots with FP (making him sheriff WITHOUT AN ELECTION) I definitely began thinking she is going have a bigger part to play in the series going forward.
Kelli: I didn’t think of that, but it actually makes SO much sense. I am into this theory, as much as I miss the simpler times when I thought Hermione was just a single mom trying her best to be a good parent. She might as well go full-on villain at this point.
I don’t understand how this is going to go with FP as sheriff. Like, where is the logic here? How is this going to benefit anyone other than the Serpents, who are diametrically opposed to Hermione & Hiram’s plans for the city? I need more of an explanation. Will I get one? Probably not.
Mary: I don’t understand the logic of Sheriff FP either, but I AM HERE for him in that sheriff outfit, and to a lesser extent here for the Serpents being cut a break for once. It was a fun scene when he pulled up in his cop car and faked out the gang.
Gabriella: Because this show is, in the end, all about Archie Andrews, we get a little boxing montage with some teenage alcoholism thrown in. Fred stupidly asks if Archie is going to be okay. NO. HE’S NOT GOING TO BE OKAY. NO ONE IS GOING TO BE OKAY FRED.
Kelli: Ugh. I had so many issues with that scene. His bear wound still looks like it probably hurts, for one thing, so it seems unwise and unrealistic for him to be pushing his body to its limit like that, ESPECIALLY when there is no water in sight but he’s drinking alcohol, which is NOT AT ALL HYDRATING. Physically, he will be on the ground and puking in like 20 minutes.
Also, is his body photoshopped? It has to be photoshopped.
Mary: I loved when Fred said, this room looks like a cell. This really emphasizes that Archie is now Hardened Prison Archie. He’s NOT OK and he’s not going to BE OK. Now he has a secret drinking problem on top of everything else? Bleh. As usual, I’m least concerned about what happens to Archie. I took it for granted when he was exiled to Canada for a couple of episodes. It was kind of nice to not have him around.
I don’t really feel this is KJ Apa’s fault, either. He’s just a really poorly written character.
Thanks for joining us yet again. Let us know your predictions!