If I could only say one thing about “Body Double” it would be this: I am so, so glad that Barb found her way out of The Upside Down and is safe and sound in Riverdale.
Shannon Purser (who plays both Ethel in Riverdale and Barb in Stranger Things) made her debut on the show, in an episode that takes us further down the Riverdale rabbit-hole.
“Body Double” was the first episode of the season to not be written by Archie comic’s chief creative office, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, and it was pretty obvious is the change of style. There was a whole lot of full-on feminism in this week’s episode of Riverdale. And while the show continued to be weird and uncomfortable, lots of this was pretty damn great to see.
Really, this episode centered around a lot of Betty (actually, a lot of this show has been all about Betty… hmmm). To spite her bitch of a mom, she turns down the offer to contribute to the newspaper her parents own. Instead, Betty decides that she wants to start up the school newspaper again.
First order of action, she sends Jughead out to find the story about Dilton, who was the one who found Cherly by the river along with his scout troop. Betty has yet to find her story, but it quickly falls into her lap.
Veronica has breezed past her feelings for Archie and decides to take up the offer of going on a date with Chuck, who is a whole lot less likable than his comic book counter part (minus one for Riverdale). After the date goes well, Veronica goes to school the following day and sees that she’s been slut shamed by the school after Chuck put up a photoshopped picture of him and Veronica on Instagram with maple syrup all over Veronica’s face.
A “sticky maple.” It’s a Riverdale thing.
Angered by what she sees has happened to her friend, Betty is determined to give Veronica justice. And what Betty uncovers is that a large number of girls have been slut shamed by the same guys on the football team, and that it’s an actual, literal-as-fuck game to the guys. They keep score in a playbook.
Ethel, being one of the last girls to be a victim, comes forward to aid B&V in taking down the boys. The first point of action being discovering where the book is, which is found by Valerie’s brother, who was on the football team before dropping out.
Inside the book lies a number of nasty secrets. The girls see that all the names do have points written next to them. Veronica gets a bonus +1 for being the new girl. But also in the book is Betty’s sister’s name Polly – right next to Jason Blossom’s name.
But while finding the book is enough evidence, the girls still want an apology. The cook up a plan to lure Chuck to Ethel’s house where there’s a pool. When Chuck arrives at the house, he’s greeted by Veronica who says she and Betty will be “sharing” their man that night instead of fighting about them. When Betty arrives (sorry, it’s not Betty anymore – she didn’t show up), she’s decked out in a bra and a rather sassy black wig.
The two girls drug Chuck, and then handcuff him to the hot tub where they continue to up the heat until he apologises on video about what he did to Veronica. But Betty goes a bit nuts and pours maple syrup all over him, shouting that Jason needs to say sorry to Polly.
And well, the girls certainly get their footage and their expose, but damn. I don’t think torture is necessarily the best plan of action. But it’s successful in getting Chuck kicked off the football team. But Jughead’s ever-ominous voice overs tells us the viewers that this is going to lead to some terrible consequences.
At the end of last week’s episode, Cheryl told everyone that she was guilty. Of course guilty of what, she didn’t say. In her interrogation, she says that she had been lying about the boat overturning on July 4th. Instead, Jason had come to her and said he wanted to disappear from Riverdale and never come back. Cheryl played her part in helping him leave, but he was supposed to contact her a month or so later.
To save her ass, she also mentions that she heard a gunshot. Not the gunshot that killed her brother, as he was killed a week later, but a different one. Of course Mr Weatherbee and the sheriff don’t believe her, but Archie approaches them later and finally admits that he had also heard the gunshot, but was at the river writing music with his dog – not macking on Ms Grundy.
Since Archie is actually honest, Ms Grundy stops her music lessons with him. But no fears, Cheryl decides to give Archie a favour after he backed up her story. And she grants his wish to spend time with Josie and the Pussycats. Though he’s desperate to write music for them, Josie continues to turn him down. She tells him that they called their band the pussycats because as three black women, they have to claw their way into the same rooms that Archie can just walk into.
So good. So good.
In what seems to be typical Riverdale fashion at this point, the episode ends on a rather big “Oh shit” moment. Dilton admits to Betty and Jughead that he was the one who fired the gun, but it’s against scout protocol and could be kicked out. He makes a deal with the pair, saying he has a better, juicier bit of information: he saw Ms Grundy’s car by the river that day.
And it’s so clear Ms Grundy is not all that she appears to be. Archie’s dad takes a liking to her, especially after she tells him that she believes Archie will be successful in his music if he tries. But this stirs up her relationship with Archie all over again (they’re not very good at ending it). This continues to be the most uneasy of the plotlines for me, but judging by the preview for next week’s episode, this could be a massive pay off in the end.