This week, Riverdale tries to remind us that there is a world outside of Gryphons and Gargoyles, and that world contains a farm!
Confused? So are we. Read on as we sort through our thoughts and feelings about this season’s sixth episode: “Manhunter.”
Mary: Ok, so one thing I’m really noticing this season is that there are two central plots that will likely come together by the end of the season: the farm and G&G. I’ve been really interested in all the G&G stuff, and kind of forgot about the farm (even though they have the levitating babies), and I think this week’s episode is trying to bring that plot back around. But...did it do a good job of reminding us of everything that’s going on?
I personally was not thrilled with this episode.
Kelli: The short answer to that question is: no.
For the last 3-4 episodes, the farm plot was completely abandoned, and all of a sudden we’re reminded it exists because Evelyn Evernever is in the classroom when Josie suddenly has a seizure. Right before that happens, Evelyn is like, ‘I couldn’t have helped Archie escape because I was here, where I host a meeting for farm teens on Mondays, REMEMBER?
It’s painfully obvious that she has something to do with the seizures, even more so because Betty and Jughead don’t say anything about her presence in the room when they’re discussing what happened. The ‘aha’ moment that’s going to come later when they both realize Evelyn has been present for every seizure is going to be so anticlimactic. We get it, writers.
Gabriella: Yeah, it’s a no from me too. And I think that the farm bit could be super interesting, since cults, group delusions, and hysterias are so interesting to delve into. I’m hoping the farm plot becomes more relevant and constant as the rest of the season continues… because there are a *lot* of episodes left.
Mary: I know we all have different feelings on Veronica. She went from being one of my favorite characters to one of my least favorite--mostly because she hasn’t had anything interesting to do this season. I’m tired of the mob plotline and don’t think it’s adding much to the show. In this episode, Veronica hooks up with Archie in Dilton’s weird bunker and does some LIGHT investigation on her parent’s computer (where we also learn Hermione doesn’t have a computer?! What?). This also seems like as good a time as any to note that Hiram now has a portrait of himself in his own office, since he got rid of his creepy Veronica portrait. How do we feel about the developments for all the characters this episode? Is there a specific character whose plot you feel is lacking?
Kelli: I agree about Veronica. I’m really disappointed with the way they’re handling her character, considering she was always the one I preferred in the original comics. I wish they’d come up with a plot for her that was centered around Veronica herself rather than her ongoing battle with her parents. It’s getting really stale.
I’m fine with Betty & Jughead this episode, which is no surprise since they tend to be the most consistent characters on this show. Cheryl and Toni were almost completely absent this episode, which is always a bummer, and Josie continues to get little to no character development even though she gets a decent amount of screen time compared to some of the other side characters. I really wish they would figure out how to do more with her.
Overall, this episode felt like a filler. There were a couple of plot developments, sure, but most of it felt like Betty and Jughead chasing dead leads and still getting no closer to finding the answer to this mystery. I think this might be the weakest episode of this season so far, if only because it basically failed to move the plot forward in any significant way.
Gabriella: We all know how I feel about Veronica, and it’s still not getting better.
I actually didn’t mind this episode overall because it felt more focused. As much as I like Cheryl and Toni, and even Josie, they really detract from the actual narrative. I was able to focus a lot more because the plot wasn’t going off in a million directions, including Cheryl’s random archery skills. I do agree about Josie, though, for a character with a lot of screen time, she doesn’t really have much personality.
Also, Hermione’s desktop would really stress me out - and a computer would never allow you to save a file with that symbol. Too many tech plot holes for me.
Mary: We also need to have a moment of silence for the most perfect baby boy Joaquin.
There was NO NEED FOR HIM TO DIE. I think we could have gotten more out of his story. He’s more interesting than Archie.
Kelli: Okay. What the fuck. WHAT THE FUCK.
How are you going to bring back a widely-beloved character for just a couple of episodes and then KILL HIM OFF before he even gets a proper reunion with his love interest? Also, for a show that routinely tries to subvert its genre, Riverdale just took five steps backward by killing off a significant queer character (see the “Bury Your Gays” TV trope).
Anyway, because I have been vocally obsessed with Joaquin, I am interpreting this as a personal attack. I’m suing.
Gabriella: I can’t. That was such a stupid decision on behalf of the writers. My feeling is they probably figured there was no way the serpents would take Joaquin back, and he wasn't going to go back to the gargoyle gang, so the only option they had was to kill him.
Wait till Kevin finds out… He’ll be almost as sad as us. Almost.
Mary: The big revelation this episode is how Dilton’s dad died and the circumstances surrounding his death. After Betty summons all the HPoR to Le Bonne Nuit, she demands to know who the killer is. It’s not a great plan, but she does manage to get some info out of it. Penelope says that Daryl Doiley had a thing for her and that he accidentally killed their principal after she rejected him. I’m not sure how one accidentally kills a principal, even after watching this episode. She then says that Daryl killed himself after she rejected him a second time as adults. When Betty digs into the issue further, she finds out that Daryl didn’t die by carbon monoxide poisoning as originally thought, but by oleander—a plant Penelope probably definitely grows in her garden. This is yet another open ended mystery for a character we’ve never even SEEN on the show (except for flashbacks). What do you guys think about this turn of events? Or the HPoR shadiness in general?
Kelli: First, we need to talk about the best line(s) of the episode.
Penelope: You don’t grow cyanide, Hermione.
Hermione: A fact that only a Blossom would know.
Newsflash, Hermione: cyanide is a chemical. That is a thing a lot of people actually know — myself included, and I don’t even own a poisonous greenhouse.
As for my thoughts about this turn of events, I have very few. Like you pointed out, we don’t know anything about Daryl Doiley, so the “truth” about his death doesn’t give us anything to be shocked or excited about. Penelope leads us to believe that she actually didn’t poison him, because apparently oleander is too obvious a choice for her, which leads us to wonder whodunnit, but the problem is that I am not wondering whodunnit, because I don’t fucking care about a murder that occurred however many years ago. I’m a lot more concerned about who murdered Joaquin.
Gabriella: I think Penelope might be my new favourite parent because everyone else is actually useless.
As a true crime junkie, I was almost interested in this. But then it turned out to be pointless. Though the episode felt more focused in terms of its story, the story itself is pretty uninteresting now, and I’m hoping somehow it gets more exciting but NOT more complicated because I think the writers confuse those two things sometimes.
Mary: Archie chooses to leave Riverdale after a tearful goodbye with Veronica over the phone. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to believe that Archie somehow lived through his gross infected wound (with the help of a moritican?) and is fit enough to ditch town. I’m also not sure how I’m supposed to believe Jughead is going with him and not telling Betty where he’s going or why. Honestly, I’m not sure I understand why Jughead is accompanying Archie on his trip out of town.
Kelli: Okay, this makes absolutely no sense. First of all, Archie is like “skipping town is all I can do! As long as I date you, your father will be after me!” Okay — so if that’s truly what you believe, can’t you just stay in town and, I don’t know, not date Veronica? You’re not gonna be with her anyway by running away, so what exactly is the point?
I suspect Jughead is just going to help Archie get where he’s going and then return home. He probably left Betty a voicemail, because as we saw, he was trying to call her as she was being dragged out of her own home by the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Which, again: what??? I really can’t believe they’re already using this plot device again when we JUST saw it towards the end of last season with Cheryl. Are we really going to do another bust-someone-out-of-the-convent episode this soon?
I am really not thrilled with any of the plotlines this episode set up. Basically, the next episode is going to be a lot of Veronica weeping and then probably trying to find Archie, Jughead and Archie getting into trouble “on the road” because they’re teenagers who don’t know what the fuck they’re doing, and Betty trying to figure out why everyone in her Christian art class is painting the Gargoyle King (with surprising and unrealistic levels of skill, might I add). Snore.
Gabriella: What I don’t understand is why Hiram is STILL so obsessed with Archie. Unless it is just a weird G&G cult thing and he thinks Archie is this Red Paladin person, which means Hiram is certifiable.
The person I feel worst for is Betty - she tries the hardest to do the right thing, is the most complex and believable character, and yet she gets shipped off to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy.
This is where I think/hope the Farm plot loops back in somehow, and I’m also hoping it gets back to being creepy and sinister, with some old-fashioned Nancy Drew-ing from Betty while in the convent. But the writers so far have not lived up to my wild expectations, so I have a feeling I’m going to be disappointed.
Mary: And because it’s a time for bold claims, I guess, I’m going to go ahead and say I still think that the creepy mortician is the Gargoyle King. He’s weird, they’re not telling us much about him, but he keeps appearing in the season. He also is the son of the old mortician, who might have played with the HPoR all those years ago (or wanted to play). This season seems to be doing a lot with legacy and what we inherit from our parents, so it wouldn’t surprise me one bit. What do you think? Is the Gargoyle King a person or a thing or a legit supernatural baddie?
Kelli: I’m kind of bummed that my Hiram idea was already crushed this week, but I think Dr. Curdle Jr is a good guess. It does seem like he’s getting an awful lot of screen time, so they’re definitely setting him up to at least be a suspect. There’s still also a chance that the King is Edgar Evernever himself, since we have yet to see the dude in person.
Honestly, I really don’t know what to think about the Gargoyle King at this point. It seems like maybe he is someone in a costume, considering his “gang” is a bunch of people wearing gargoyle masks. Then again, how did he get into Betty and Alice’s living room, and how does he keep doing that creepy thing where he seems to grow several feet taller and sprout branches out of his shoulders and head? This is a tough call.
Gabriella: I think there is no Gargoyle King.
However, Edgar Evernever claims to have some ‘direct line’ to him and that’s how he wields power over his cult. Maybe people dress up like him as a sort of tribute OR there’s a crazy killer dressing up as him to scare people (like Betty and Alice) who may or may not believe in the cult of G&G.
Then, because everyone is panicked and talking about G&G, they have these mass delusions the myth has been so solidified by now, everyone is seeing the same delusion. So basically everyone is deluded, us included.
I’m still mad about Joaquin. I can’t get over it. I will NEVER get over it.