Recaps

Riverdale ep. 3.7 “Chapter Forty-Two: The Man in Black”

Riverdale is often a series of convenient actions. The last episode perfectly exemplified that.

So it’s slightly surprising that when wanderin’ Jughead and Archie agree to bunk at a farm it doesn’t happen to be The Farm. But it’s a creepy place nonetheless. Jughead’s guard immediately goes up, but ever-trusting Archie insists that they stay.

The two girls there insist that it’s just the two of them who live at the farm. All the men work down the river. Completely reasonable that two high-school age girls could run a farm by themselves. Anyway, Archie believes this and insists on paying back their kindness by helping with farm work the next day.

Jughead heads into town to take photographs. He sees the familiar G&G markings around town. He stops to speak to an older woman, who tells him that the drug Fizzle Rocks began being taken in town again. The symbols began to appear when the drugs did.

He later meets a group of girls taking Fizzle Rocks and playing G&G. The girls say that the men are building a prison, but are making the drugs at a lab for the Man in Black.

While he investigates, Archie falls under the spell of the older daughter Lori. Archie caves and tells him his real story, admitting that the names he and Jughead gave her originally were fake. She knocks him out with a frying pan and calls Hiram to gather his treasure.

Jughead manages to free him, but Archie wants to stay and fight? Does he think he can kill Hiram? Why does Archie think that’s a good idea? He eventually to Jughead’s (little) sense, and they decide to head off to see Mrs Jones.

Veronica, meanwhile, packs up to leave home. She decides to…move into her speakeasy? It’s like living in her worst nightmare. Her business isn’t making any money. So she decides to turn it into a casino for one night only. That means putting her trust in Elio.

Hiram stops by to warn her away from her decisions. I’m honestly so over this man. Hopefully season 3 is the end of Hiram’s scheming. He simply asks his daughter, “Are you mad at me?” and that alone is enough to make me scream.

But Hiram is right, of course. During casino night, Reggie points out to Veronica that Elio is probably cheating. She decides to play him and puts the deed to the speakeasy on the table. She wins. She later reveals that Hiram warned her before casino night. Apparently Elio wanted to fleece her because she’s an easy target. He subtle suggests that she cheat by bringing in her own dealer.

The following morning, Pop warns Veronica about the dangers of being like her father. He also tells her that Minetta’s body was found…with no head or hands.

Betty is stuck at the Sisters of Mercy still. She learns that all the girls receive “candy” every day – Fizzle Rocks. She later learns that her roommate is Ethel Muggs. Ethel tells Betty that she has been having conversations with the Gargoyle King herself.

Poor Ethel’s character has been massively destroyed (remember when she was a champion for women’s rights in season 1?).

Betty continues her investigation from within the Mercy’s walls. She sees Claudius Blossom making deliveries of something (definitely not maple syrup). But most importantly, she notices that Hiram visits the Sisters and “helps” them with whatever they may need. She then remembers that Hiram was the one who brought Fizzle Rocks to the G&G ascension night all those years ago.

Riverdale’s #1 detective realises what she needs to do in order to get to the files she needs to continue her investigation. She fakes a seizure, landing herself in the medical room. She finds her own record and reads them. She notices that Hiram is dictating drug dosage to use the girls as lab rats for his drug.

When she gets the information she needs, she attempts to escape through the exit Veronica used to save Cheryl earlier. She’s caught and forcefully given Fizzle Rocks, then its decided she needs a “good strong talk-to” from the King. After her meeting, her spirit is thoroughly broken…and worshiping the Gargoyle King.

This section is easily the most entertaining. Having Betty’s internal monologue in my new favorite thing. Betty is also easily the best part of this show. Seeing her so broken is definitely horrible, but seeing her fight a battle is always great. Well, because she always wins.

This episode was structurally similar to “Tales from the Darkside” as it is three separate stories. This works for the episode, but it certainly isn’t as remarkable (or as flashy) as “Tales” was. But I still think the technique works will. The four four are all separated, maybe not for the first time but definitely for the longest. By putting their three stories this way, it highlights just how alone they are all now.

Hiram, the Man in Black, is a looming figure throughout the episode. How can such a crook get away with so much? Why are so many people on board with supporting drug production? Is this a Riverdale thing or am I just naive?

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Riverdale ep. 3.6 “Chapter Forty-One: Manhunter”

The core four of Riverdale are supposed to be smart (ok, maybe not you, Archie). Many of the adults around them are clever. So this week’s episode apparently wants us to believe that they’re all really stupid.

Archie is continuing his life on the run. Still in Dilton’s bunker, the boy becomes restless. He coerces Kevin into helping him investigate the supposed witness living at the mines.

Veronica warns him away, believe that she can discover something in his case files that will be useful. Keep in mind that a super-sleuth Betty (who helped solve one murder and catch a serial killer) and professional lawyers studied the case ALL SUMMER.

Conveniently, Veronica discovers a blatant case of footage doctoring. Sheriff Minetta’s cup is full one second, then skips to it being empty. It’s not even subtle, kids. But Veronica finds the key to Archie’s innocence in one afternoon that a group of trained adults couldn’t find in three months.

Regardless, Archie goes with Kevin to the mines. They see Minetta there, which raises their suspicions. When they find the bodies in the mine (which, by the way, is loaded with G&G markings), they’re, well, bodies. All but one that is, and they decide to take the survivor to the hospital despite the risk that Archie could be caught.

Only Archie isn’t caught. Veronica breaks into her mother’s mayoral office and finds the unedited footage on the computer. All conveniently under the password of her birthday. She manages to send off the email with the real footage before being arrested.

Meanwhile, Betty and Jughead continue their quest to find the Gargoyle King. Jughead reveals to Betty that he followed the GK to a clearing where many masked gargoyle-types sat around a fire like a giant worshiping gang.

Betty returns home in the morning and learns about the prison warden’s death. When she questions Alice about it, Alice claims to know nothing about the man. But a quick look at the Riverdale High year books prove otherwise; he was the RROTC instructor when the Midnight Club were at school.

Betty then gets the silly idea to trick all the parents together for a chat. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t lead anywhere. But Penelope blames Dilton Doiley’s dad of poisoning the chalices years before. Though, if I recall, neither her nor Mr Doiley claimed to be the game master the night Principal Featherhead dead.

It’s pretty convenient to blame the dead guy, so all the parents leave. But nothing is quite as it seems, of course. When Betty examines the autopsy report, she discovers that Dilton’s father didn’t die of suicide, but was most likely poisoned.

She uncovers that many of the adults (namely former-sheriff Keller and Alice) helped with the murder’s cover-up.

Jughead meanwhile tracks down Joaquin, who is looking a bit worse for wear. Joaquin is pretty tight-lipped, just filling in the information that the warden was playing with a pack of cards given to him. And that the warden had to kill Archie, as the game told him to. But Joaquin does lead him to one very unsurprising suspect: Hiram.

Hiram claims to know nothing, of course. But he does do a very good job in getting dragged into every horrible thing that has ever happened in that city.

Joaquin doesn’t last very long after Jughead’s interrogation. He’s found in the Serpents’ camp with blue lips and the Gargoyle King’s mark on him.

Despite the fact that Archie’s name is cleared (all of camera). It’s pretty convenient. It’s also all happens pretty damn fast. Veronica begins to prepare for Archie’s welcome back party when she gets a call from him. He ends their relationship. He claims that with Hiram around, he and anyone who loves him will be a target. Which, when you think about it, makes Hiram pretty pathetic. Doesn’t he have any better schemes than taking down a 16-year-old?

Archie and Jughead head off into the sunset together. It’s likely to hinder Jughead’s investigation into the King, but in fairness, FP did handcuff him to a fridge.

Speaking of FP, the man looks might suspicious these days. When Betty and Alice are alone one night, the power goes out. They discover that the Gargoyle King is in their living room. They rush upstairs to hide, and discover that the remains of Dilton’s father is laid out on a bed with his tombstone.

FP conveniently climbs through the window at that moment. Alice tells him that the Gargoyle King is downstairs. But instead of charging to find him, he simple hugs Alice. Which is a very FP thing to do.

The following morning, Alice tells Betty that she’s decided to go to the Farm to be safe. Betty is thus dragged off to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Each season the Riverdale writers give us another reason to hate these ladies.

While Betty being locked up should seem like a bad thing, she discovers that those around her are worshiping the Gargoyle King.

Josie has a seizure at school, and I’m pretty certain at this point all arrows should be pointing at the Farm. They have to have a link to all this G&G stuff or what’s the point? Alice has pretty close ties to both the Sisters (whom she stayed with and sent her eldest daughter to) and the Farm.

Perhaps this love affair of FP and Alice’s is the root of all the evil. That would be pretty fun. But also I think poor Betty has suffered enough in the horrible-parents realm.

Too much of this episode seemed too rushed. Plotlines that could have been better fleshed-out were so conveniently wrapped up that it feels like the writers think we’re all idiots. And if that’s not the case, they should probably stop writing their characters and plotlines as such.

Riverdale Ep. 3.5 “Chapter Forty: The Great Escape”

I never thought anyone would try and combine a Steve McQueen film with Dungeons & Dragons, but I guess if anyone is going to give it a go, it’s Riverdale.

Last time we saw Archie, he was plotting his break out of juvie. Of course, being the fool he is, he decides to try and make a run for it during the day.  Unsurprisingly, he gets caught and branded by the warden. Thus sets off the catalyst for the episode’s events.

After her father alerts her of the attempted break-out, Veronica begins to orchestrate plans to break Archie out herself. She enlists “That Guy Who Owns A Casino Remember Him From Last Season?” to help her out, he agrees and smuggles her into one of the fights.

She meets with Archie in the lockerooms afterwards, and he tells her of his idea: there’s a drain in the bottom of the pool where the fights are held. And believes, despite his large shoulders, that he can slip through there and escape.

But Veronica can’t do it alone (even with that one-dude’s help), so she goes to Betty.

Betty has been doing her own work, of course. But she’s trying to get to the bottom of the G&G business. She’s convinced that one of the parents had something to do with Principal Featherhead’s death. She sends Kevin, Josie and Reggie off to casually interrogate their parents. That, unsurprisingly, ends up at a dead end.

Jughead, on the other hand, believes that the death was caused by the Games Master, whoever that was. Even more, the more he plays the game, the more certain that G&G exists only in Riverdale (thankfully Betty here acknowledges how weird this is, but it’s Riverdale so there are no rules). The game appears to be a reflection on the city itself. That gives me Blossom/Cooper flashbacks… Anyway, He continues on his own campaign, not joining in on helping break out Archie.

I want to be Team Betty on this one. Mostly because I want the killer to be Hiram. That way he can get thrown in jail, and that meandering (aka dying) plotline about him taking over Riverdale can just die.

But it appears that Jughead might actually be right on this one.

During Archie’s “last meal”, the warden tells Archie that he doesn’t answer to Hiram, but rather his “soul belongs to no mere mortal”. He also gives Archie a very big hint: the guys who testified against him could be hiding out near the mines.

Before the fight, Joaquin stabs Archie in the locker room, saying he was promised ascension. The boy escapes juvie, leaving Archie alone to fight (surprise) the original Big Dog.

Veronica and Reggie arrive as guests, and Josie works the room as a waitress. As the fight begins, they throw smoke cannisters (disguised as sodas) into the pool, giving Archie is way of escape. But with his injury, he needs a little help and gets it from Big Dog, who fights off the guards.

The friends manage to get Archie out safely, thanks to a trick pulled off by Kevin and Betty. Veronica and the others smuggle Archie into Dilton’s bunker, where he’s to stay…forever? Not sure the kids really figured this one out.

But the notice something strange – the brand on Archie’s torso. It’s in the shape of one of those unusual G&G symbols. And that, kids, puts the nail in the coffin.

But with the news getting out about the underground fight club, Hermione goes into damage control mode. She goes to see the prison warden, but she won’t get a chance to talk to him.

The warden failed in his quest to kill the Red Paladin. And so, he drinks from the chalice and kills himself with cyanide poisoning.

It’s pretty rare that the Riverdale subplots combine so closely. I mean, I didn’t exactly see that plot twist coming. To be fair, the first three episodes of season three really try and drive home that the warden is in Hiram’s pocket.

This will be the first time that the kids are all on the same page. Figuring out what to do about Archie will only help them figure out what is the truth behind the Gargoyle King.

I know that Riverdale has been feeding us supernatural vibes with the G&G plot, but I think the most unbelievable thing about this show has been the prison story. Thankfully that’s (mostly) wrapped up. Let’s just get to that mountain! Or mine. Whatever. I just need there to be an excuse for this show to make an Edvard Grieg reference.

Riverdale Ep. 3.4 “Chapter Thirty-Nine: The Midnight Club”

Riverdale is the ultimate teen show when it comes to taking risks with style. There was the (obligatory) musical episode, and I’m still not over last season’s anthology-style episode, “Chapter Twenty: Tales from the Darkside”.

So choosing to do a flashback episode isn’t that surprising, really. Each of the parents in Riverdale seem to have been cast solely based on how hot they were as teenagers. I’m looking at you, Luke Perry.

At the end of the last episode, every student at Riverdale High received their own copy of the Gryphons & Gargoyles manual. Since the game is pretty suicide-friendly, Mayor Hermione Lodge cracks down and bans the game from being played. But as everyone knows, banning something just makes it all that more enticing.

Betty gets a file from her mortician friend about a similar death to Dilton’s from back in the 90s – both corpses had blue lips. Knowing that her mother has admitted to playing the game before, Betty confronts Alice. But Alice surprises her daughter by agreeing to tell her everything she knows.

Back in the 90s (which is essentially the 80s here for Riverdale‘s sake), Alice was her Serpent-jacket wearing self. Not the crazy journalist we all love or even the bohemian version she is now. In fact, she begins her story at the moment she discovers she’s pregnant with FP’s child.

When Penelope Blossom gets on Alice’s case about it, the girls being fighting. They both get Saturday detention, along with Hermione and Sierra who were trying to break up the fight. FP and Fred also get detention for streaking.

Their principal (Anthony Michael Hall) gives them their writing assignment and leaves them to it for the day. The group somehow manage to get themselves another detention when a fight breaks out again.

Over the span of their detentions, the kids become reluctant friends. It’s not until they discover a box of Gryphons & Gargoyles in their teacher’s drawer of confiscated items that they really begin to bond.

Their obsession with the game grows. They begin to sneak into school to play, eventually taking the game “off board” to play in real life. Like 90s larping, I guess. And with that, they form the Midnight Club (which I really hope is a reference to the Midnight Society and the Breakfast Club).

They gang bump into another group of G&G-ers (including little Sheriff Keller, Reggie’s dad, Hiram and Dilton’s father), and they all decide to play together.

One day, they each receive an invitation for a “ascension party”. The whole group assembles to play. Before they start, they partake in a little recreational drug use in the form of something called Fizzle Rocks (jingle jangles predecessor, I assume). Alice, being pregnant, only pretends to take the drug.

While the rest of the group gets rowdy, Alice’s head begins to spin. She throws up in the bathroom and discovers the chalices when she leaves her stall. But she doesn’t flip the coin to discover her fate. She instead heads back into the hall, where she comes face-to-face with the Gargoyle King.

Strangely, this only kind of weirds Alice out. She turns around, but nearly bumps into Principal Featherhead. She hides from him, knowing he’s looking for the kids. After she sees him leave, she duck out and goes home for the night.

The following day, Alice learns that Principal Featherhead didn’t arrive at school that day. She also learns that Fred’s father died alone when Fred was out larping on drugs.

Featherhead’s body is eventually found in the school, decomposed days after his disappearance. His lips are blue.

Alice begs the other Midnight Club members to go to the police about what they know. But they instead decide to destroy the evidence that they had anything to do with the game. And that is seemingly that.

In the present day, Betty doesn’t get much more out of her mother. Alice does tell her that that night changed who they all were, their guilt making them the adults that we see today.

Betty continues her investigation, spurred by Alice’s story. She discovers the chalices in the trophy cupboard. But when she goes to find Jughead in Dilton’s bunker, she finds him with several other Serpents, getting prepared to play G&G.

Somehow, this must have been a really long story, Jughead is already obsessed with the game, bragging about his ascension. Cole Sprouse does a fantastic job of playing crazy. I guess this is a welcome return to nerdy Jughead?

It was certainly an interesting episode. Having the actors of the children play the young version of their parents was interesting. It blurred the lines of the characters a bit, allowing for the adult’s slightly-off behaviour to feel more real. You can buy a relaxed Fred Andrews when KJ Apa is playing him.

We also got some insight to why these adults are they way they are. Penelope Blossom had one of the more interesting arcs. During the first detention, she admits that she’s not a real Blossom. She was adopted so she could basically be groomed to be Cliff’s future wife. The death of Featherhead basically pushes her into allowing herself to be their pawn. Riverdale has made me feel sorry for a character that definitely doesn’t deserve sympathy on most days.

Notably absent was a young Mary Andrews, which feels like a missed opportunity. We know that she was bullied by the other girls in school. Plus hello, Molly Ringwald. I can only guess it’s because the writers wanted us to feel weird about the parents’ relationships as adults (I really don’t know if I would feel normal making out with my mom’s first boyfriend’s son – but that’s just me).

Riverdale really pulled this one off. A gamble that wasn’t just indulgent, but actually added something to the story. It certainly made me care about the characters more, which is really all you can ask in season 3.

Real question. If there’s a Gargoyle King in this Gryphons & Gargoyles – is there an opposite Gryphons? Is this what’s on the coin? That’s what I get for assuming everything has been played with a quarter.

Riverdale Ep. 3.3 “Chapter Thirty-Eight: As Above, So Below”

The first three episodes of Riverdale have gone so well, I feel like checking over my shoulder to look for the ghoul that is certain to come and ruin it.

“Chapter Thirty-Eight” sees the core four building up much of their stories individually, which is sort of a nice change. Betty and Jughead split up their tag-team, Veronica busies herself with the opening of her new speakeasy, and Archie has ‘fun’ in solitary confinement!

Archie, poor kid, continues his life in prison as the warden’s new target. The boy is cut off from his father and any other visitors, seemingly for the foreseeable future. And he soon finds out exactly why. He’s entered into a series of bare-knuckled fist fights, of which the prison wardens and guards bet on fights like the boys are dogs.

Archie soon learns how to take care of himself, but quickly realises that punching people and being punched isn’t a sustainable hobby. When he discovers a pick inside one of Mad Dog’s books (The Count of Monte Cristo, no less), Archie becomes inspired to break out of prison. I’m not sure whether anyone wants to tell him that’s probably not a super idea considering he couldn’t just walk as a free boy.

Meanwhile, outside of the prison, Veronica opens up her speakeasy. Unsurprisingly, her father’s meddling begins before the doors even open. He enlists the help of Penny Peabody and her Ghoulies to stir up trouble. They send her boxes of Jingle Jangle after she refuses to hire the Ghoulies as bodyguards.

In retaliation, Veronica, Toni and Cheryl go to the Ghoulies’ Jingle Jangle lab and take photos as evidence to use against Hiram. This seemingly works, as the Ghoulies back off. But after the opening, Veronica realises that her father has already moved the lab, making all of Veronica’s ‘evidence’ worthless.

But clearly, the best plontline here is the mystery of the season (as it always is). Betty and Jughead continue their investigation into the Farm and Griffins & Gargoyles. Betty (very loosely) puts the Farm and the game together, believing that they are connected by a leader. Why she thinks this is a bit vague. Only that the two timelines seem to match up. A bit of anger just might be getting in the way of Nancy Drew’s thinking here.

When Jughead and Betty find Ethel has returned to school after her seizure, they go to speak with her. She admits that she’s taking medication for them since she’s been having them frequently. She also tells them that Evelyn (daughter of cult leader Edgar) has been helping her.

Jughead then volunteers to join the game, and Ethel admits that he is worthy enough. When Ethel tells Betty she’s definitely not G&G material, Betty decides to join the Farm’s school branch instead.

When Betty arrives at Evelyn’s meeting, she finds that no one else is there. Evelyn explains that it’s because the rest of the school hasn’t caught on yet. But instead of being creepy like in the last episode, Evelyn is much more sympathetic. She’s more of a likable loser than anything. Could it just be another ploy? Maybe. But it looks like Betty’s mind is running away from her a little too much.

But Betty’s meddling gets her into more trouble. When she arrives at home, she finds that actual Farm members are waiting for her. She learns at the meeting that her mother has spilt a few too many secrets – including the one about the hidden body. During the meeting, Betty begins to feel faint again, as if she’s on the verge of yet another seizure.

Meanwhile, Jughead plays his first game of G&G with Princess Ethel. He successfully drinks from one of the chalices and survives. In exchange for proving his worth, Ethel gives him “the scripture”, which is essentially the game guide (I assume). But before Jughead can delve into things more, Ethel drinks from the other, poisoned chalice.

Ethel ends up surviving her suicide attempt, which is both nice and horrible. The poor girl has been through a lot in three seasons, including her own father’s suicide attempt.

When FP and Alice discover that Jughead has dabbled in G&G, they begin to lecture their children. FP finds and burns the game manual, which Jughead believed to be the only copy.

Though when Jughead arrives at school the next day, he discovers that all of the students at Riverdale High have copies in their lockers. It’s confirmed, not to him, that it was Ethel’s doing. Anything to please her King.

So does this mean anything? In the real world, probably not. G&G is essentially the equivalent to a twisted D&D. If they’re not already playing it, it probably won’t be of any interest to real kids. But this is Riverdale, so await a whole slew of G&G-ers soon!

This episode really drove in the notion that FP and Alice were involved in something as kids. Their reactions over any mention of the game is pretty over-the-top. If you want anyone to listen, try subtlety.

Next week’s “Chapter Thirty-Nine” will (hopefully) fill in the blanks with the anticipated flashback episode. I’m here for it.

Riverdale Ep. 3.2 “Chapter Thirty-Seven: Fortune and Men’s Eyes”

After a decent first episode, “Chapter Thirty-Seven” begins to build up the typical building blocks of every season: Archie tries and fails, Betty and Jughead investigate a mystery, Veronica stirs up trouble with her parents. But more than ever, the show is blurring the lines of reality and the impossible.

Much of the episode establishes Archie’s new life in prison. His roommate, Mad Dog, does his best to keep his distance, but dishes out wise advice that we all know Archie is going to ignore anyway.

In juvie, Archie begins to navigate the world of the Serpents and Ghoulies once more (who are much more like gangs inside prison that they are outside). He manages to keep his heart of gold, though, but ignoring the Serpents’ challenge to go after a Ghoulie. He settles things with everyone inside the prison by suggesting a game of football.

Archie has always had some of the weakest plot lines. Each season, he’s manipulated by a different adult, and it appears that this time it’s the ‘prison warden’. Of course the warden is in Hiram Lodge’s pocket, because otherwise Veronica wouldn’t have a plotline.

She spends most of her life now trying to make sure Archie feels comfortable in his prison life. Apparently, the girl doesn’t have a life outside anything that doesn’t revolve around her boyfriend. It’s the main source of tension with her father, and it’s all getting a bit old at this point.

Veronica hosts a little cheerleading performance (including a very horrible, but cheesily fun cover of “Jailhouse Rock”), but a “prison riot” happens, causing Archie and the other boys to be beat up during their football game.

Afterwards, Archie learns that he is being blamed for it. He’s also told that Mad Dog was killed during the riot, despite not being at the game himself. The guard then tells Archie that he has been “tapped”, just like Mad Dog warned him about. But this tap makes him the new Mad Dog, whatever that means. But I have a strong feeling that it will be just as ‘exciting’ as Archie working for the mafia.

Jughead and Betty, as always, continue their Frank Hardy and Nancy Drew double act. Following the death of Dilton Doiley, the pair begin to investigate him and Ben, who unlike his dead friend, ended up in ICU.

Then the couple go to see Ben, the find a talisman and learn that it was left there by Ethel. When they speak to Ethel, she claims that Ben is her boyfriend and that the talisman was left to protect him. She agrees to take them to Dilton’s bunker where they played their “game”. But when they try to meet her at night, they bump into a masked figure of the Gargoyle King instead.

So Betty and Jughead return by themselves the following night, finding not just the game board, but a missing scout member. He explains that he had been waiting for Dilton’s return. But he also spills a lot of true details about Dilton, Ben and Ethel’s game, which turns out to be mostly a completely-explainable fantasy, mostly squashing the idea of anything really supernatural occurring here. Though when Ethel has a similar seizure to Betty, it begins to raise more questions than answer them.

Betty also meets the daughter of everyone’s favourite cult leader, Gracie Johanssen Evelyn Evernever. Evelyn spends much of her time seemingly stalking Betty after her apparent seizure. She seems to know a lot about Betty. More than what Betty knows about her, which is a nice change of pace for Riverdale’s sharpest mind.

Many of the side characters here continue to be pointless. Kevin, Josie… well, mostly just those two. What purpose do they serve? Even Ethel has become more of a break out star over both of them, and she doesn’t even sing. Really, maybe it’s just time to let them go. Have them as background characters, focusing more on the main stories, which seems to always have such brief scenes.

But while the children are running around creating mischief, their parents are all gathered by Hermione, who tells them that the secret that they “buried years ago” seems to be coming back to haunt them. And whatever “it” is seems to be targeting their children.

I love how this show just seemingly creates relationships between the parents that we’ve already been told didn’t exist in previous episodes. But Riverdale wants to have a flashback episode, so I’m here for the Losers Club vibe.

Two episodes in, though, and this show seems to be heading in a better direction writing-wise. It certainly is trying to set us up for quite the season, I think.

Riverdale Ep. 3.1 “Chapter Thirty-Six: Labor Day”

After quite the sophomore slump, Riverdale is back with season three. I can’t say that I was excited for more episodes. Season two was a serious mess in many ways. But that was probably due to a lack of direction-planning from the writers.

In this first episode, viewers are given the set-up to what is sure to be the main plotlines of the season: prisons, cults, and magic? Yes indeed.

Jughead’s opening monologue tells us that it is the summer before the gang’s Junior year. So we have to believe that all of season one and two happened during their sophomore year? When I was a sophomore in high school I was in marching band and didn’t even have a learner’s permit yet.

I also looked like this:

God if I lived in Riverdale, I would be tired as hell, kids. I mean, this show can get pretty unbelievable but convincing us that these kids are 15 is probably the most lofty.

At the end of season two, Archie was charged with the murder of another boy (whom Archie saw killed in cold-blood by Veronica’s doorman). Like the good friends they are, the gang pitched in to help with Archie’s case. Betty being the most involved, helping out with an internship with Mary Andrews and Not-Mayor McCoy.

The whole affair is rather like a Depression-era courtroom drama. Though it is pretty difficult to be convinced by the mood, considering that there is little to no evidence against Archie other than he makes stupid decisions.

After the jury deliberates for a bit, the judge calls for the verdict to be postponed until after Labor Day, giving Archie one more weekend of freedom. Instead of looking for more evidence (which is a little late, considering there have already been closing statements), Archie insists on having one more weekend of freedom.

The gang go to pool parties, swim in the watering hole (including a cute Stand By Me reference). Archie becomes an honorary Serpent with his tattoo (again, these kids are meant to be almost-Juniors). FP and Jughead swear that the Serpents will be there to protect Archie physically, but the mental strength will have to come from Archie himself.

Also, weird, but why are the Serpents living in a Hooverville-style hobo jungle? What’s with this episode’s obsession with the Depression?

Speaking of, Riverdale hasn’t given up on beating this gang sub-plot to death. Jughead is informed that Hot Dog (the Serpents’ mascot) has been taken by the Ghoulies, who are now working closer with Hiram than ever before.

A small number of the usual Serpents go together to get Hot Dog, but are unsurprisingly caught by Penny Peabody. She (rightfully) tells Jughead that his jacket still says ‘Southside’ despite the fact that the Serpents no longer have Southside territory. And by not changing said name, Penny (somehow) believes that means the Ghoulies can declare war on the North side? Does anyone really care?

In the end, the jury is hung. But Archie being the ultimate Stupid Archie takes the plea deal offered by the state, sending him to juvenile prison. This is Archie and this is Riverdale. The most insane option has to be the correct one.

But this is why we are all here, isn’t it?

BUT.

This show loves a good “what the fuck?” ending, and this episode tried to throw everything and the kitchen sink at us.

Throughout the episode, Jughead noticed Dilton behaving strangely, playing some sort of D&D-style game. But Dilton later explains that he isn’t playing a game. He mentions the name of the Gargoyle King – some sort of demonic Wendigo.

Dilton leaves behind a map at Jughead’s trailer, prompting Jughead to go to the spot marked on it. When Jughead arrives, he finds both Dilton and Ben (‘memba him?) with marks carved in their backs, seemingly bowing to this a figure than can only be inspired by the Gargoyle King.

Both seem to be dead, but Ben suddenly wakes. Will he survive to tell Jughead the fuck is going on? Hopefully not, that would be too easy for our super-sleuths.

While that would often be enough to close out an episode on an interesting point, “Chapter Thirty-Six” pushes it further.

If you recall from previous seasons, Betty’s sister Polly ran off to join a farm where she could safely raise her and Jason’s babies. Turns out, the farm is just a bit of a cult. I was all on board the Manson Family train, until, well, that bat-shit final scene.

Betty returns home after the trial to find her sister and mother outside by a fire with a few cult pals. The two women hold the babies over a fire and promptly drop them. But instead of incinerated baby corpses, the babies float. FLOAT!!!!!

I’m pretty opposed to supernatural elements being added to a world late in the game. This feels a far-cry from the early vibes of season 1 (remember the kids sitting around, listening to Archie try to write songs?). While this is completely silly, I do wonder if it’s a nod to Archie Comic’s upcoming show Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. 

Or maybe it was all just Betty’s dream? I guess it’s the time to say “tune in next week”.