Hi everyone! We’re back with another dark, and I mean that literally, episode of Riverdale. So let’s dive right in.
Gabriella: There seemed to be only three plots this time, so I’m doing them in order of interest. So up first, of course, is Varchie - which bores me to death. We left them off with Archie fearing he had murdered Randy. Well, that was confirmed pretty early on. Randy died, though the autopsy hasn’t proved whether his death was the drugs or Archie pummeling his face. Archie’s guilt is really annoying at this point - he keeps whining about taking responsibility for things, but it’s only after he does something really, really dumb. So this whole plot, and how he ‘redeems’ himself for pseudo-killing Randy made me both annoyed and bored.
Kelli: This was yet another plot that felt like it was just filling up space to extend the season’s episode count. Archie has turned out to be pretty unimportant this season, what with G&G and the Cult being at the center of the action.
Mary: Ugh, I hate this plot so much, especially the whole, OH NO I DON’T WANT TO BE THE RIVERDALE REAPER stuff. Archie JUST started boxing, would it be that big of a deal if he quit now? I don’t think so. I hate this entire plot and it’s very dumb.
Gabriella: In the whole boxing plot, Veronica makes a lot of appearances - Reggie seems to have vanished. Maybe he went BACK TO SCHOOL. Anyway, she comes up with the idea of having a benefit concert for Randy’s sister, to help raise money for her to… I don’t know what. They mention Elio won’t give Randy’s sister Randy’s insurance money which makes zero sense, but okay. Around this time, Elio, flanked by two nameless goons, offers Archie the money he won from winning the fight. Archie refuses it, which seems dumb to me because I instantly thought he should take the money and give it to Randy’s sister. Of course, Archie only comes to that conclusion later. Because he’s an idiot. So he goes to Elio, when Elio’s on his own, to get it back and be really creepy about it.
Kelli: Yeah, no idea what’s going on with Reggie. I honestly don’t remember what the status is of his relationship with Veronica at this point. They broke up, then they fucked again, and then…?
Mary: It seems weird to have a benefit concert for someone your friend sort of killed? I’m not sure what the production schedule for Riverdale is, but I wonder if the actor who plays Reggie was off doing something else. I’ve seen him in a lot of things recently. Where are Randy’s parents? Why does he have 500 sisters? Those are the bigger questions I have. Also, has Elio permanently relocated to Riverdale? And if so, W H Y?
Gabriella: During the boxing shenanigans, Josie reappears and as soon as she began talking to her dad I knew that this was going to be the end of her tenure on Riverdale. And it was! She sings phenomenally, her dad does show up, and finally offers her a place on his tour / his approval. Did you all see this coming too?
Kelli: Yeah, definitely. I think because we all know that she’s getting a spinoff series, it’s been sort of a countdown to when she’s going to exit the show, so as soon as her dad shows up and says he’s touring it seems like the perfect opportunity for her to do so. What I don’t understand about this is - is she dropping out of school? That seems like something her mom wouldn’t exactly be cool with, and Josie is, despite the age of the actress playing her, technically still a minor...
Mary: I knew it was happening because I had heard that there’s going to be a new, musical-themed spinoff about Katy Keene. If there’s something with music happening, you know Josie is going to be there. That being said, it felt like her departure was kind of...abrupt? I agree with Kelli that this doesn’t seem like the type of thing a mom would be down with, but maybe Josie’s mom is off honeymooning with her new husband.
Gabriella: The benefit concert raises some money, we don’t know how much, which Archie brings to Randy’s sister. She describes their troubled childhood and ...that’s it. Archie is REDEEMED. The whole plot felt so familiar, with Archie being framed for a crime and then coming out on top - albeit, it happened a lot faster than last time. Did anyone else feel like this was absolutely useless?
Kelli: Randy’s sister is *so* emotional and grateful to Archie for doing this, but I feel like in reality she would have taken the money and been like, thanks, but my brother’s still dead? Giving up the prize money is literally the least Archie could have done, and what any normal person would have done, as you outlined earlier. Also, side note - does Randy seem like the sort of person who would have taken out a life insurance policy?
I agree that this was useless. It was like, as soon as a problem was presented, it was solved within two scenes. Like Archie and Mad Dog being found with the drugs and then immediately cleared... Just because they weren’t using doesn’t mean they wouldn’t still be in trouble for possession, but actual laws don’t seem to apply in Riverdale, so I’m going to stop thinking too hard about it.
Mary: This plot is complete trash and I do not understand it. I wonder if Randy’s multitude of sisters weren’t that close to him. After all, the oldest one said something about him having a troubled past. Maybe they weren’t super close to him and just didn’t care as much? That sounds harsh, but I know everyone isn’t as close to their family as some. Speaking of laws, aren’t there laws for big financial gifts? Like...taxes?
Gabriella: In a not really surprising twist, Hiram turns out to be working with Elio. That was a dumb reveal and even Hiram’s abs were not enough to keep me interested in the fact that he’s going after Archie again. Duh.
Kelli: Yeah, I think that this entire setup was all just to send Hiram into another anti-Archie campaign. Which, ugh, SO BORING. And to add to this recycled drama, Veronica and Archie are probably gonna start dating again, as was evidenced by Archie running fully-clothed through a rainstorm all the way to Veronica’s just to talk to her about his guilt. I had to bring this scene up, because like — does he not have a cellphone?
Mary: I’m not shocked by this. I just assume that Hiram is working with literally everyone.
Gabriella: Meanwhile! Jughead, Gladys, and FP have been roped into playing G&G by Kurtz who, in the dark, looks a lot like Jughead to me. I really struggled to pay attention to this episode, mainly because I could not see anything and that was frustrating. Anyway, they all get characters and have to play - again, this felt like a repetition of plots past to me, did you all get deja vu? Also, watching people play a board game is so boring. Bored game.
Kelli: Especially since the way this particular game is playing out doesn’t really work the way actual tabletop RPGs do, as Mary can attest to. There is no decision-making involved here at all - they roll and then Kurtz tells them what to do, instructions which were definitely already pre-ordained. He might as well just cut out the middleman of the board game conceit and just tell them to go do the things and get the money. Also, Kurtz is such an ineffective villain. There’s nothing scary about him - he just sits there smirking and looking like every fuckboy ever to grace a Saturday detention.
Mary: I’m getting frustrated with the dark, moody lighting on both Riverdale and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (and, separately, What We Do in the Shadows). Yes, I get it. It’s dark. I still need to see! As someone who loves RPGs, I’m still trying to figure out how G&G works. It doesn’t seem to have any real rules or modes of playing, which is the first thing you have to hammer out when making a game. If there are no rules, what’s the point of even having the conceit of the game, as Kelli says? Might as well just say, hey go rob Pop’s or whatever.
Gabriella: Each new quest the Jones’ get requires them to do something insane, like ROB POP’S. I said it once I’ll say it again. Poor Pop. At least this time he got a shot in. Anyway, they rob Pop’s and FP gets shot. Then they have to go after a cyclops which is a mystery to Jughead aka the man who knows everything about G&G, but GLADYS KNEW.
Kelli: Pop deserves better. #JusticeforPop
Mary: JUSTICE FOR POP! I’m glad we didn’t have a long extended thing about that. Pop has been through enough.
Gabriella: Speaking of Gladys, her whole character miraculously changes in this one episode, so… there’s that. Anyway, they go find PENNY (remember her?) who had her eye gouged out by Gladys. They fight WITH DAGGERS that look like something out of a high school theatre version of Richard III.
Kelli: When Penny showed up, I groaned aloud. (Okay, I groaned in my head because I was watching alone in my room, but if someone had been with me I would have groaned aloud.) She is my LEAST favorite character on this show, and she will. Not. Go. Away.
Mary: I THINK I read something that Gladys is on her way out, like the actress was just done. What I don’t understand is why Penny still isn’t dead. She just keeps coming back and coming back and I hate it. What good is she doing for the plot?
Gabriella: In classic Riverdale fashion, this scene was cut with Josie performing at La Bonne Nuit. It didn’t really work for me, not least of all because there was a huge bit during the fight in which Gladys and Jughead were talking, so all you heard was the music and none of Josie singing, which meant her performance at the end actually felt pretty boring - to me, anyway.
Kelli: Yeah, they need to stop with this strategy. It very rarely works — the only time I can recall liking it was when they did “Out Tonight” while Veronica and the Pussycats beat the shit out of Nick St. Claire and rescued Cheryl. That was LAST SEASON. Creators of Riverdale, hear our plea: stop doing this. It’s tacky and we hate it.
Mary: It’s a pet peeve of mine to change song lyrics and make them PG, and they definitely did that with “Back to Black.” You gonna take the word “dick” out? Why? You can’t say “dick” on the CW? I think the musical number intercut with action works, but the thing is that they’ve done it SO MANY times that we’ve come to expect and dread it. Pick up a new gag, Riverdale.
Gabriella: Gladys may have bested Penny but she’s not unscathed, so Jughead drops her off at a hospital which is obviously not going to ask any questions about Gladys’ injuries. Whatever. Jughead gets in the car with Kurtz, who says he’s going to drive. I would not put that kid behind the wheel of anything.
Kelli: Yeah, I don’t understand why they continue to do what Kurtz says, even as his requests become more and more ridiculous. It’s not like he has JB at gunpoint. What they should have been doing was tracking JB on their own and not taking instructions from this idiot.
Gabriella: When they arrive in an abandoned lot with two freezers (? again it was so dark I had no idea what was going on) Kurtz says he has to pick one - one has a lion?????? Did I misunderstand this bit????? One has JB. But Jughead opens them both and they’re EMPTY. At this point I honestly though Jellybean was going to turn out to be the Gargoyle King.
Kelli: I believe they’re in a junkyard, which the town of Riverdale seems to have no shortage of. And I think that the “Lady and the Tiger” story was more of a metaphor for a general doom that awaited behind one of the doors. Like, getting shoved inside of it, or something. Probably not literally a tiger. But then again, you never know with this show.
Mary: They definitely weren’t using the “Lady and the Tiger” bit well at all. To put on my literature hat, it’s a story called “The Lady, or the Tiger?” where a dude has two choices and one has a tiger, one has a lady. That would be fine if JELLYBEAN WAS ACTUALLY THERE. It’s like someone thought the title of the story sounded cool but didn’t actually think about it.
Gabriella: Kurtz shoves Jughead in the freezer but then Jughead, within seconds, manages to break himself out? Kurtz has been killed? Maybe? But by whom? Jughead hears weird scraping sounds, turns around, and there is the mysterious GK - antlers and all. Jughead, worried about Jellybean, runs home.
Kelli: This was all extremely confusing. You’d think that Kurtz would have gone and bought a $5 lock from Walmart for a slightly more effective imprisonment, but no, he just sticks a screwdriver in the hole and calls it a day. All of these people are idiots.
Mary: I’m confused, too. I’m with Gabriella that it was all super dark and weird, which made it hard to understand. And yes, they are all idiots. Although, if tasked with locking someone in a freezer I don’t know that I’d be able to either.
Gabriella: Turns out she’s fine? When Kurtz called Ricky and said ‘kill the princess’ Ricky ran away? I don’t understand. Anyway, the Jones’ are reunited and Gladys hits the road because, you know, the whole assaulting Penny thing. It’s sort of tearful but also, Gladys was a bitch so whatever.
Kelli: Maybe Kurtz just said ‘kill the princess’ to freak Jughead out? Or MAYBE JB is in on the plan. This seems more likely. Remember when she and her mom were like, ‘we have Riverdale in the palm of our hands, muahaha?’ I don’t think we can discount JB as an innocent yet.
Anyway, I feel bad for the family but not for Gladys. She’s made exclusively poor decisions since her return to Riverdale and I’m not really buying her whole ‘we’ll try again later’ shtick. Maybe if she gets those face tattoos removed I’ll give her another chance.
Unrelated: did anyone else notice that Jughead wears rings now???
Mary: I didn’t even notice the rings! Also, bye bye Gladys. We won’t miss you. Also, isn’t it wild that Jughead didn’t even mention to his girlfriend that all this was happening?! I never had a high school boyfriend, but I can’t imagine not telling someone that my sister had been kidnapped. Especially if that someone was a bomb detective who has solved every mystery of Riverdale.
Gabriella: Detective Betty is back - she, with Veronica’s help, arranges for her dad to be transferred to Hiram’s new prison, which immediately raised a million red flags for me. V claims it could be good PR which makes ZERO sense. “Prison owner brings back man from high-security prison to the town in which he MURDERED A BUNCH OF PEOPLE to GET A ROOM WITH A NICE VIEW.” Yeah, that’ll go over well.
Kelli: Yeah I have NO IDEA how that makes for good PR. Also, I don’t really understand why Betty wants to help her dad at all, but I guess ~family dynamics are complicated~. At least it wasn’t a scheme to actually get him out of prison for good, which was what I was expecting and which would have been even less believable than this was.
Mary: They’re trying to do a bunch of Hannibal references but it’s falling flat because it doesn’t make sense at all.
Gabriella: With that sorted, Becky turns her attention to Evelyn Evernever when she overhears the girl refuse vaccines which, of course, she would. Betty breaks into the nurse's office and steals Evelyn’s file only to discover Evelyn has been posing as a junior over and over! Shock! I actually was surprised by this to be honest, were you?
Kelli: I was surprised! But also vindicated, because as I said last week, I had a feeling that something was off about her being Edgar’s daughter. Did I guess it would be something like this? Not at all. But I’ll take credit anyway.
Mary: YES! I felt shocked and happy. This is an interesting twist that I am here for. Spooky cult stuff 4ever.
Gabriella: She finds out Dagwood and Juniper (lol) are going to be adopted by Edgar after he marries her mom. She convinces Penelope to help her try and free the twins, but Penelope only manages to get Dagwood out, who she calls Jason Jr in a really creepy way. Out of the frying pan and into the brothel-owning fire for Dagwood!
Kelli: Never forget the moment when Betty learns the names of her niece and nephew.
Mary: Why would he be adopting those kids when Polly is alive and well?
Gabriella: Betty enlists the help of someone named Ms Weiss who I honestly don’t remember, did we meet her already?, to investigate Evelyn and discovers EVELYN IS EDGAR’S WIFE. Honestly, I was SHOOK. This was a great reveal and I did not see it coming.
Kelli: So, I knew we’d met Ms. Weiss at some point before, but I just looked it up and it turns out she’s been a generic Social Services character on this show as early as Season 1, when she was handed Jughead’s case (remember when he almost lived with a foster family on the South Side?). Since then, she’s also helped Betty correctly identify Charles during the Chic period, and was most recently seen assisting Archie with Joaquin’s little brother, Evil Ricky.
She must be making bank.
Gabriella: With Toni’s help, Betty breaks into the Farm to kidnap Juniper back ONLY TO BE BETRAYED BY TONI AS WELL. Honestly, poor Betty. Toni leads her into a peer pressure group joining initiative which actually makes a lot of sense. In the Cults podcast I mentioned, they talk about how peer pressure is often used as a tactic to keep members in check and convince people to do stuff, but Betty is stronger than that and she runs to her car and drives away.
Kelli: Damn, I’m sad that Toni got dragged into all this.
I get that this is a real thing, but also, what about the chanting? Would a cult actually chant “join us”? It seems like they would have to know how off-putting a strategy that is.
Mary: At this point, the entire episode felt worth it to me. Toni’s sucked into the cult now, too?! It’s Betty against the world?! CHANTING?! I. Am. Here. For it. That being said, the show is suffering for splitting the party. Jughead, Archie, and Veronica seem completely unaffected by The Farm, and that just doesn’t jive with the way the group is being portrayed.
Gabriella: In the final moments of the show Veronica tells Betty that there was an accident during the transport of her father and some other prisoners to the new jail. I definitely thought Hal had escaped, so when V said THERE WERE NO SURVIVORS I was moderately surprised. And that’s it.
Kelli: As soon as V said there was an accident I was like, oh, Hal’s dead. I don’t know why I thought that instead of assuming he’d escaped, but I somehow knew. I can only assume that Betty is going to try to speak to him via the farm’s methods. Finally, a dead family member other than her long-lost brother!
Mary: Nah, he ain’t dead. He ran into the woods or something. This is LITERALLY a plot from Hannibal. I may just be a Hannibal fan, TBH. I read all the books and have seen the movies/tv show. :D But yes, this is definitely a plot that has happened in the Hannibal universe and Riverdale is yanking it.
Kelli: Well, shit.
Gabriella: Overall the episode had a really weird ass pace. The bored games moments (yes I did that on purpose) were SO slow and then the action scenes were very fast. It was all over the place. My favourite thing was the creepy horror music as Betty tried to escape with Juniper. Also, when Josie said ‘we’re not Endgame’ I almost had a fit because I have been writing about Endgame for days now and I CANNOT DEAL WITH THAT WORD ANYMORE. In a weird way, Riverdale was a welcome break for me. So, thanks, I guess?
Kelli: I really did not enjoy this episode. Like Gabriella says, the pace was all over the place - plus, the timing made no sense. If you tried to break down this episode into a day-by-day timeline, it would be impossible. I mean, that could be said for all episodes of this show, but this one feels particularly egregious.
Also of note: this was Luke Perry’s final episode of the show. I’m not sure how they’re going to write him off, but whatever happens, we will miss him dearly.
Mary: It’s wild that they didn’t give more of a sendoff to Luke Perry, especially since he was apparently beloved by the cast. I agree that the pacing of this ep was absolutely bizarre. I think that Riverdale thrives at beginnings and endings, but the stuff in the middle is kind of meh sometimes. I’m still excited to see what happens with The Farm. THAT I’m still hooked on.