Riverdale ep. 3.9 “Chapter Forty-Four: No Exit”

Riverdale has come very far from its humble (ish) beginnings. And “Chapter Forty-Four” takes a moment to remember where it came from.

In the last few years, Archie and the gang have solved a murder, caught a serial killer and battled with a money-hungry mobster. Remember when Betty’s biggest problem in her life was that Archie didn’t have a crush on her?

Before the mid-season break, Archie made for the border to hide in Canada. He’s living his best woodsman life by staying in a cabin with Vegas. Despite being warned by the woman he communicated with via ham radio, Archie gets himself attacked by a bear.

He manages to clean himself up, but he passes out on his bed. When he awakes, he finds himself speaking to many of the dead that have crossed his paths. He goes through a slightly Christmas Carol-style journey that makes him face all the turning points in his life (the Black Hood, Hiram, and eventually his friends in their best season 1 outfits – helloooo iconic black cape!).

Archie admits that he needs to kill the stupidity in himself. We all agree. In his last scene, he takes a baseball bat to a sleeping Archie. We’re supposed to think he’s dead, but when he inevitably wakes up, hopefully he’ll start a band and this will all become a teen drama again.

Meanwhile, back in Riverdale, everything is as usual: nuts.

After the super dramatic quarantine, it’s been lifted without much fanfare. It begs the question why we were even put through that, but alas, the Riverdale writers didn’t seem to think it was important (or they wrote themselves into a corner, either one).

Veronica is busy fending off her father, who sends his gang of Gargoyles after her, Reggie and Josie. She eventually succumbs to his offer of giving him 10% for his protection, but he becomes angry when he notices that her books are altered.

He threatens her when he realises that he has been robbed by Cheryl, who has taken up burglary with Toni for fun. He tells her that she needs to retrieve the “Glamourgé Egg” back from her friends – or else.

But instead of listening, Veronica goes straight to Jughead himself. He agrees to get the egg back for her, as long as she decides to hire the Serpents as protection.

In order to get the egg back, though, Jughead has to kick Toni and Cheryl out of the gang for breaking the law against his orders. Cheryl reluctantly gives back the egg, but both girls are still out of the party.

Also out of the party is Fangs, who was dealing Fizzle Rocks to the crashing kiddies at Betty’s place.

Betty spends most of the episode being rather boring for once. The Sisters of Quiet Mercy end up in jail, awaiting their destiny. But they claim to take a vow of silence, making them unable to testify against Hiram in court.

But a little bird in the form of a social worker, tells Betty the sisters have not in fact been actual nuns for over 60 years. After Betty confronts them, someone (Hiram) posts their bail, leading to the sisters’ mass suicide by the blue Kool-aid. One hell of a bleak way to wrap up that storyline, Jim.

Betty also learns that all of the kids, which she had planned to distribute among friends, have been taken away to The Farm. If this part of the story doesn’t start to pay off soon, I’m quitting this show forever.

At first it really seemed like sending Archie off by himself was a bad move for the show. Archie’s storylines are usually the most boring. But here he’s given a bit of redemption (even if he doesn’t give it to himself).

There are some real hints that the show might go back to its roots. For one, Archie really has nowhere else to go. Plus Veronica has finally moved on to Reggie, who she clearly has lot of chemistry with. (Real life actors Camila Mendes and Charles Melton are together, and it’s pretty damn clear.) Reggie sort of serves the same purpose as Archie did: protection and support. But Reggie is much more level-headed about it whereas Archie had only blind faith.

I would actually love to see a more focused, downscaled Riverdale again. But when you’ve gone this far, can you ever go back?

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