Riverdale Ep. 9 recap “Chapter Nine: La Grande Illusion”

What would Riverdale be like without it’s teens? Like, don’t get me wrong. The kids are cute. But man oh man, these parents are super nuts. AND I LOVE IT. Give me aaaaall the crazy!

The arrival of inter means one thing in Riverdale: maple syrup season.

The Blossom family, rulers of the maple syrup industry, are preparing for the opening of the season. Typically, they’d have their pride and joy Jason in charge of things as the future heir to the company, but after his death and Cheryl being a black sheep of the family, the company’s future is a bit of a question mark.

And while the start of the season brings the board of trustees, they’re all also in Riverdale greedy to get their hands on the company. Cheryl knows her parents will never give her the love and affection that they gave Jason, so she concocts a plan involving another red head: Archie.

The ninth attempted to bring attention to Archiekins, but with all the wondrous things happening around him, he barely matters. He acts as a pawn for the Blossom family – particularly the heads of the family. But Cheryl is playing her own part. She asks Archie to be her date to the ceremonial maple syrup tap or whatever in place of Jason, but he turns her down as, you know, he’s got a girlfriend.

But Mrs Blossom steps in and offers Archie a position at a prestigious art school’s summer program. Embarrassingly, this is enough to persuade him.

At the tap, Archie attempts to Polly, who had recently started living with the Blossoms. He tries to get information out of her since she’s ignoring Betty and their mother. But Polly remains tight-lipped and doesn’t tell him a thing.

Though he’s going under the guise of being a good friend, he’s mostly just as self-involved as everyone else in the weird town. To his credit, he probably thinks he means well. And he stands up for Cheryl when some of the board begin to belittle her and her “crocodile tears” that she shed at Jason’s funeral.

Archie’s idea that helping Cheryl is a one-off is kind of sweet in its ignorance. He’s sucked into the family’s trap even further when he’s invited to a banquet. They make him a suit. They buy him classic guitar. The last thing is what pushes Archie’s dad, Fred, over the line.

If you’ll remember from last week, Cliff Blossom was trying to run Andrew’s Construction out of business because the owner of the property he’s building on is owned by the Lodge’s (unbeknownst to Fred). But Archie uses his new power to try and get his dad into better graces with the powerful family.

At the banquet, which Archie stupidly agreed to go to, things get weird (surprise). Mr Blossom insinuates he wants Archie to tag-team with Cheryl forever (must be because he’s a ginger and would match the dress code). Thankfully, Archie is saved by Polly, who asks him to dance. She takes the brief opportunity to tell him that she’s only living with the Blossoms so that she can figure out what they had to do with Jason’s death, of which she’s certain they had a part in.

Archie runs after his little red-headed syrup princess when he sees her arguing with her father. He tries comforting Cheryl, but she misinterprets his friendliness as trying to make a move on her and she kisses him. He tells her he no longer wants to be a part of her schemes.

Archie, who was acting as a red herring for the Coopers, tells Betty his news about Polly. After having their offer of having Polly staying with them was rejected, poor Alice Cooper isn’t coping well. She becomes obsessed with taking down the Blossoms as the one thing that she has to live for in life. She writes an expose about the real reason the Blossoms’ board of trustees is in town, but when she takes it to her newspaper to make the story live, she discovers that her husband locked her out of the system.

Even worse, Hal Cooper actually FIRED his wife! AND THEN SHE THROWS A ROCK THROUGH THE NEWSPAPER’S WINDOW AND EVERYTHING IS INCREDIBLE! Mädchen Freaking Amick for queen!

But seriously, the joy on her face when she learns that her eldest daughter hadn’t abandoned her is so sweet it brought tears to my eyes. But boy oh boy. It’s nothing on what Veronica went through this week.

During one of their classes, Ethel Muggs reads out a rather bleak poem in one of Veronica’s classes. Unable to turn a blind eye to a wounded bird, Veronica extends her friendship to the down-trodden girl. She invites Ethel and Kevin over for a lunch. She even showers Ethel with presents. But of course, it’s mostly due to guilt.

During the meal, Hermione Lodge learns that Ethel is of the Muggs family, the family who lost all their money in Veronica’s dad’s schemes. Ethel’s dad will be testifying against Hiram Lodge in course. But Ethel remains clueless about why her parents are fighting.

This all puts Veronica in an awful position – stuck between defending her father and trying not to hurt any more families. When she learns that Ethel’s father tried to commit suicide, she officially breaks (in one hell of a scene there, Ms Camila Mendes).

She and Betty go to visit Ethel at the hospital and extend their condolences. But Veronica doesn’t remain silent and tells Ethel and her mom that it’s Veronica’s dad who’s responsible for the state that Ethel’s father is in.

Ethel’s mom immediately becomes hostile, but Ethel looks mostly confused. Veronica persists, though, and at school she again apologises to Ethel. And in the sweetest, most positive female friendship thing Ethel could do, she forgives Veronica and offers her the seat next to her. Which yes, did make me cry.

At the end of the episode, we see the ending of two relationships: Archie and Valerie (boo) and Fred and Hermione (double boo). Hermione finally had the guts to reveal to Fred that the Lodge company owns the site, which really doesn’t excite him. He tells her that everything on the building site will need to be entirely legal from that point forward and that their relationship will be “strictly professional”. But Valerie is the one with the real zinger. Even though Archie says he’s learned from his mistake, she tells him that she’s unlike him, she can’t be bought.

And as with every Riverdale episode, we are left with a bit of information that throws a wrench into things. Archie overheard Cheryl’s parents at the party, learning that they are responsible for Hiram Lodge ending up in jail. What a perfect motivation to get back at the family, eh? Perhaps killing a son?

I’m not one to post theories, because I’m almost always wrong. But I’d like to think of myself as a amateur sleuth. Like Nancy Drew. But without the great hair. Polly it looking mighty, mighty suspicious to me. And this whole “girl on the inside” thing really isn’t working for me. Have we forgotten about the black book that the football players day? Polly’s name was there. And our favourite voice-over-of-doom did tell us that was going to be key in the future… So. I think this little lady plays some part in Jason’s death, but how much will certainly come to light soon.

There’s only four episodes left, kids. And I have high hopes for some great plot reveals.

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