Oh Archie. I know we’re supposed to love you and make you our hero, but it’s just so easy to like literally anyone else in this show more than you. Anyone. Seriously. Other than Ms Grundy.
And this week’s episode is all about the Grundy. Sure, the episode lures you in with a second plotline about the local drive-in closing, but all the drama lies with one very skeezy music teacher.
After the success of her expose of the football team, Betty is determined to get to the bottom of why Ms Grundy and Archie were both at the river on the day of Jason’s killing. She confronts the boy at Pop’s, and he easily gives in at admits to the relationship. Betty eventually digs up dirt on the teacher, discovering that she took the name of a woman who has died years before (and that picture – what a hilarious Easter egg).
Ms Grundy also created all of her social media accounts a year prior. When Betty feigns an interview for the newspaper with the teacher, she learns Ms Grundy gave Jason private music lessons the year before. Instantly more suspicious, Betty breaks into Ms Grundy’s car where the super sleuth finds a box with an ID with a different name and a gun.
When Archie confront Ms Grundy, she quickly folds and admits that she was in a “bad relationship” when she decided to change her name. The man she was with beat her up and left her hospitalised with broken bones. Archie believes her and the two hug, but the way the camera focuses on Grundy’s face, I half expect her to break the fourth wall and give an evil grin to the camera.
Speaking of “unsavory characters,” the Twilight Drive-In is closing and poor Jughead is having a fit. None of the Riverdale folk want to go to the drive-in after the local gang, the South Side Serpents, begin to hang out there. And what brings a biker gang to hang out at a cookie-cutter place like a drive-in instead of a bar? One name: Lodge.
Despite being in prison, Veronica’s dad is still pulling some massive strings, thanks to the help of his wife. Hermione Lodge is paying the gang to hang out at the drive-in to devalue to land. With a healthy donation to the mayor’s campaign fund, the Lodge’s anonymously buy the land.
Initially, discovering her mother’s secret leaves a sour taste in Veronica’s mouth, but she’s quickly reassured when Hermione reminds her of all the wonderful dinners they ate out and the fabulous clothes they could buy. I guess old habits die hard.
And there’s no habit like a snooping habit. Much of Betty’s nosiness comes from her incessantly-irritating mother. Her mother is putting away laundry when she discovers Ms Grundy’s gun in her daughter’s drawer. To her credit, she knows immediately that it doesn’t belong to her daughter and digs for her diary.
But oh how the diary contains too many secrets (and who the hell is dumb enough to “hide” their diary on the top drawer of their vanity?). Betty’s mom learns about Archie’s illicit relationship with Ms Grundy.
She, Betty and Archie’s dad barge in on Archie and Ms Grundy, just as they agree to end their relationship. And oh it’s painful. Archie calls himself selfish, Ms Grundy agrees to quit and leave town, Betty threatens to pretend to be crazy just to anger her mom.
It’s all a mess, but the show ties it all up rather sweetly. Archie’s dad is so much better than dumb Archie deserves. He assures Archie that he isn’t any of the bad things he called himself. And while the boy is pretty upset with losing his lady, he forgives Betty who is actually the selfish one, but a pretty damn good friend all the same.
There is one last cute little subplot where Kevin gets a little more screen time. His father’s house is broken into and the evidence for Jason’s murder case destroyed, BUT he gets to make out with a super-cute member of the South Side Serpents (like seriously, Rob Raco is a babe – he’s older than me so I don’t feel creepy for saying this). More of this couple, please!
Really, “The Last Picture Show” is kind of a let down. With such an intriguing premise, I thought we’d get a little bit more out of the Ms Grundy plotline. But perhaps there will be more waiting for us in the coming episodes. But if there’s anything to be learned from Jughead’s ominous voice-overs, the boy knows his shit. And if there’s no foreshadowing mentioned, I don’t think it’s likely we’ll ever get full justice from this.
Oh and Jughead says the drive-in is his life, but he has been literally living there. Probably since his dad was fired from Mr Andrew’s construction company for stealing supplies. But still – this is a super weird subplot. No one can talk their way out of this one.