Riverdale ep. 3.18 recap “Chapter Fifty-Three: Jawbreaker”

If any parents matter more to me on Riverdale than Archie’s, it’s the Coopers. And thankfully, both Hal and Alice got to take the main stage this week.

“Chapter Fifty-Three: Jawbreaker” Betty finally gets down to business in cracking Alice Cooper’s mind. She tries her best to shatter the illusion that Alice is talking to her dead son, but to no avail. Betty takes her to a cemetery to see ‘Charlie Smith’s’ grave, and when that doesn’t work, well, she does what every good daughter would do: knocks her mom out with chloroform.

When Alice wakes up, she’s chained to a bed in the bunker (of course). Betty forces Alice to look at old photos of the family, but Alice just burns everything instead.

But Betty has other trouble, including Toni. Turns out getting Toni’s girlfriend involved in the Farm wasn’t a great idea. But Toni is actually rather forgiving of Betty when she explains what is happening with her own mother (once again proving that Toni is probably one of the best characters this show has to offer).

Cheryl, meanwhile, is forced to choose between Toni and ‘Jason’. Ethel spends most of her week getting pushed around (literally) by Toni and Betty. Apparently it gets a bit tiring. But when Cheryl goes to break the news to Toni that’s she’s chosen ‘Jason’ instead, Toni quickly suggests joining the Farm herself.

Girls that sleep together, stick together? Anyway, it’s seemingly the end for Betty’s support, but apparently Toni is her new inside girl. A much better choice than Cheryl. Cuz we all know Toni is one strong-ass girl.

Speaking of strength, this boxing thing is still a subplot. Mad Dog returns to Archie’s gym and tells the boys that he’s entering a Golden Gloves competition for Elio.

Archie then decides it’s time for his rematch with Randy. It’s Veronica’s idea to get the gym on television to force Elio’s hand. Elio is indeed forced to allow the rematch. But before the fight, Mad Dog warns Archie that Randy is juicing with something to make him more…lively.

Archie manages to win the fight against the Fizzled-up Randy. But not before taking a beating. The fight is nearly called off when he notices how frantic Randy’s fighting is…and the fact that he’s literally foaming at the mouth. But when Randy gets knocked out, he doesn’t get back up again.

The foam-mouthed druggies are the newest problem for FP and his side-kick Jughead (or is it the other way around?). After finding one of Archie’s pals in the park with no teeth, FP backtracks on last week’s message and asks for Jughead’s help. They notice that the killing style is familiar, but the fact that the body had all of its teeth removed makes this murder a touch special.

The autopsy reveals that there’s a matchbook for the Maple Club down the corpse’s throat. The Jones boys head to the brothel where they actually find Penelope Blossom in a welcoming mood. But before they can really learn anything, a man breaks in, foaming at the mouth.

Both Jughead and FP encounter more of these people. They both discover that all of the victims have been taking “G” versions of Fizzle Rocks. They’re able to talk to the people brought in after they’ve recovered from their dosage. They’re able to trace the drugs back to Jughead’s nemesis Kurtz.

During their questioning of Kurtz, the Jones boys are told that little Jellybean is the Gargoyle King’s next target.

But even more unsettling than corpses-without-teeth is Betty’s growing relationship with her father, Hal. Betty eventually lets Alice go back to the farm, seemingly allowing her mother go for good. Not sure it’s all for show, as she now has Toni on the inside for her.

Alice’s divorce from Hal becomes final. While Betty could just leave both of her parents, we see her going to Hal for advice on more than one occasion.

When she listens to her mom’s tapes (the ones recorded during the Farm interview), she hears Alice voice her fears over Betty’s natural “darkness”. One, apparently, very similar to Hal’s.

Betty has proved time and time again that she’s clearly on team “I try really hard”. But we have to take the Farm down in the next few weeks here (there are only four episodes left in season 3). Will Betty win? Of course she will! But how she does it will be interesting. Maybe opening up to her dark side will pay off for the better good.

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