recap

Riverdale ep. 3.22 recap “Chapter Fifty-Seven: Survive the Night”

Riverdale‘s third season has finally come to its close. It’s been another mess of a season. But I think the direction was a bit better (and less meandering) than what we were given last season. A…slight return to form. Though I still don’t think these storylines lend themselves to the 22-episode format. When will networks ever learn?

“Chapter Fifty-Seven: Survive the Night” jumps straight into things. Penelope buys Betty from Edgar before she can get her skull opened. When Betty wakes up, she sees a note telling her to don a pink ballgown. When she goes downstairs, she sees Penelope at a dinner table with the Archie, Veronica and Jughead seated with her.

Penelope goes into a long explanatory speech about all the evil deeds she has done. She alone has orchestrated the mayhem the four have faced. She controls Hal (the Black Hood) and Chic (the Gargoyle King) all by herself.

I have to admit that I didn’t think Penelope was behind it all, despite all the heavy-handed clues throughout the season. But it’s a reveal that actually makes sense. Believe it or not, Riverdale has actually managed to make things come full circle.

Penelope has clearly lost her marbles, even dying Chic’s hair read and calling him “Jason”. But he seems totally ok with that, so that’s fine. She informs the four kids that she will be playing one last round of G&G with them.

She sends them off into the woods to each complete one-last quest. If they survive the night, they will have proved themselves worthy people and better than the stinking bog that is Riverdale.

The four run off into the woods, quickly spotting signs that point them in the right direction. The Red Paladin is the first to receive his quest: fight a juiced-up bear man. It goes well. Mostly because Archie is (slightly) resourceful with a bone. Any excuse to get KJ Apa flexing his muscle.

Now, before this even got started, I, semi-jokingly, wanted to see Veronica get a Vizzini-style puzzle. And lo-and-behold my prayers were answered! The Enchantress must choose her closest friend. Together they play spin-the-bottle and take turns drinking from a chalice. One of the chalices contains fast-acting poison.

In the end, Betty ends up with the supposedly poisoned chalice. But Veronica snatches it away and drinks it first, saving her friend. Penelope arrives and announces that Veronica passed, proving her loyalty. Then she also reveals that ALL the chalices were poisoned. The only way to get the antidote? SURVIVE THE NIGHT!

The Hellcaster basically just needs to take out the Gargoyle King. He does it pretty swiftly, it’s all pretty anti-climactic.

And that just leaves Betty. She’s given a gun with one bullet: she must shoot her own father. But Betty being Betty, doesn’t shoot to kill. She instead shoots off his fingers, proving that she’s not just like her father.

Penelope shoots Hal instead. She doesn’t let the gang off that easily. Archie manages to get the poison antidote quickly before the crew have to flee the Gargoyle gang.

They’re saved by Cheryl, Toni, the Pretty Poisons and the Serpents. And while they get out of the woods (literally), Betty learns that her mother hasn’t escaped the Farm.

The friends quickly make their way to the Farm. When they arrive, though, they only find a moping Kevin. He tells them that the Farm members have ascended. He was left behind in order to tell the story. But what ascension actually means, who knows? Moving on to the next town? Actually dying?

It’s unclear, but presumably that’s part of next season’s mystery.

As the season’s fantasy-theme madness winds down, Betty gets a visitor. The young man (with blond hair and blue eyes) informs her that Alice has been an informant for the FBI the entire time. And the FBI agent is her real bother: Charles. Oh and it’s also Jughead’s real brother. So that’s fun. And weird?

And what’s also fun? Cheryl hanging out with Jason’s corpse.

Each season thus far has had a distinct feeling: high school, serial killer drama, a vast RPG game. The finales always proved us with one last punch to set up the next plot: Fred being shot, Archie being arrested for murder. This time, we get a flash forward. Betty, Veronica and Archie call stand together in their underwear as they set fire to their clothes…and Jughead’s signature hat. Now it can be taken to imply that Jughead is dead, but I seriously doubt that. The core three certainly have more heart than that.

But it begs the question: if Jughead isn’t with them, where is it? The flash forward also takes place during spring break of their Senior year. Does that mean this is the set up for the show’s final season? High school shows going into a college season never works out fell. So maybe this is the grand ending approaching.

I suppose we’ll find out in a few months time. But that’s it for me and Riverdale recaps. In the autumn, I’ll be switching over to watching the CW’s new Nancy Drew show. If there’s one thing I love more than Archie Comics, it’s the Drew Crew.

But I will still be watching next season. Bring on the insanity of Senior year!

Advertisements

Riverdale ep. 3.21 recap “Chapter Fifty-Six: The Dark Secret of Harvest House”

Was last week’s prom not over-the-top enough for you? Do you want organ harvesting and fake-out deaths? Well good! Riverdale is here to serve you everything in your insane dreams!

Now in the belly of the beast, Betty continues her investigation into The Farm. She’s mostly ostracized by the others (go figure). But straight away it’s clear why Edgar extended the invite to Betty.

Alice sits down with the family and admits “the truth” to Betty. She tells her daughter that she has the “serial killer gene” that no one else in the family has. After this bombshell, Edgar suggests hypnotising Betty so that she can, I don’t know, come to peace with herself?

Betty agrees, mostly because she’s a really thorough detective. In her hypnosis, Betty meets her “other self” one that tells Betty that she pushed Polly down the stairs and drowned her cat. When she wakes, she seems fairly unshaken. Which can only mean 1.) she’s totally crazy or 2.) she’s clever enough to spot a lie a mile away.

She calls Juggie about the new addition to her routine. She also sets him on the mission to hunt down the chain of people that delivered the letter to her on the night of the prom. The trail leads Jughead to his sister, then Little Ricky, and on to Princess Ethel.

When Jughead finds Ethel in the bunker, she seems pretty upset. She tells Jughead that while she left the “false king” of the Sisters, she’s still in love with the Gargoyle King. He convinces her to leave and take her to safety, along with a gang of Lost Boys (aka the seemingly feral boy scouts). They go to retrieve the littlest Lost Boy and come face-to-face with the hooked Black Hood.

Jughead eventually escapes with Ethel and the boys, which gains Ethel’s trust. She blesses him with the true name of the Gargoyle King: Jason Blossom.

When Jughead shares the news with Betty, she barely bats an eye. She’s in full-on Riverdale mode and is as unsurprised as we all are at this point. Plus Betty has something bigger and more pressing to deal with: The Farm’s organ harvesting.

Betty had started to become suspicious when the others at The Farm told her that Edgar took their emotional pair and channeled it into something physical. Er, win win?

She later sees Evelyn sitting in a chair to receive dialysis. She also notices that the woman is receiving anti-rejection medication. The type taken by someone who has had an organ transplant.

Also, all the stars for the Easter egg of Evelyn reading The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Betty later gets into the room with all the organs. She immediately takes it to Cheryl (who was on the cusp of losing faith anyway after the whole “you-can’t-run-for-prom-queen thing”), who believes her cousin when she sees the organ in the ice chest.

Cheryl immediately helps Toni escape, at the expense of her own freedom. And Betty is tackled by Fangs and Kevin, who hand her over to be Edgar’s next victim.

Meanwhile, a little closer to reality, Archie meets with his mom’s FBI friend! (I did say a little.) Together, the FBI agent and Veronica begin working together to arrest Hiram, who is apparently going to buy Riverdale. As if that’s a thing.

Veronica, the FBI and Archie work together to get Hiram. Archie challenges Hiram to a match. Le Bonne Noit (which Hiram technically owns) takes illegal bets. FBI raids Le Bonne Noit. Hiram gets arrested during the illegal boxing match.

And it all seemingly goes without a hitch.

But after his mother’s coaxing, Archie goes to see Veronica and admit his feelings for her. Only when he arrives, he learns that he’s been beaten by Reggie. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs. But I’ve always thought Archie was better off without Ronnie (that’s both in this TV show and in the comics in general – and I’ll stand by that).

So the kids are seemingly close to wrapping up their mysteries. But somehow, it’s not that likely that things can be so simple. Could it really be Jason this whole time? Well, in Riverdale Land, it’s very well possible. But we saw his body at the funeral, as a rotten corpse, and shot in the head in a video. Sure it could all be fake, and it takes a show like Riverdale to just tell us that “it’s possible!”

There’s some shifty shenanigans going on that are sure to make us scream in next week’s finale. I doubt that Hiram will be down for long. And I’m sure he’s already cooking up delicious revenge.

Let’s just hope that this time, they can cook up a good storyline for him.

Riverdale ep. 3.20 recap “Chapter Fifty-Five: Prom Night”

“Prom is this weekend? We still do things like that here?”

Yes. Yes you do, Ronnie. But as ever, in the most Riverdale of fashions, with serial killers, a Ren Faire theme and rigged Prom Queen elections.

This week Riverdale took a little bit of time to get back to its roots again: high school. And while the kids faced the usual unusual, there was also a bit of the kids being a bit, will, like the 17-year-olds they supposedly are.

The largest and most obvious reminder of how young these kids are was the presence of Molly Ringwald again as Mary Andrews. This episode marked the first after Luke Perry’s death. Her entrance is clunky (she gets more screen time in this episode than Perry did all season), but how on earth could it have gone smoothly?

Fred takes off on a business trip, leaving Mary to head from Chicago to watch over Archie. She realises his growing fondness for boxing and shows some reasonable reluctance towards the latest hobby.

Behind his mom’s back, Archie signs up for a big fight. Of course this leads to issues when Mary introduces him to her friend at a Naval academy. She tells Archie about their boxing program, and he only seems slightly interested. But to please his mom, he agrees to an exhibition fight. Conveniently this conflicts with the regional classic that he signed up for in secret.

Meanwhile, speaking of sneaking, Betty begins investigating her father’s fate after the bus that was transporting him crashed. When she speaks to the coroner, she learns that he can confirm her father’s death.

But let’s face it: none of us are convinced here. Including Betty.

Betty gets another call from the coroner, this time to see a body. The coroner shows her and Jughead the boy’s back, which is covered in G&G tattoos.

They go to a tattoo artist (presumably the only one in Riverdale?) and ask him about the marks. He tells them that he did a similar one for another man a year earlier. One with sandy hair and blue eyes. Betty immediately assumes that it’s Edgar Evernever, but it’s pretty clear her prejudice is making her jump to conclusions. It also describes her own father…and Chic.

Jughead shows Betty the book he had fond on the Gargoyle’s bus. It’s a sort of Gargoyle King “gospel”. They discover that there is a way to lure the king out by crowning a queen (and who better than Betty?).

At the most delicious 80’s Fantasy Prom, the couple get to work. Using the Pretty Poison’s help, they rig the Prom Queen election in Betty’s favour.

But she’s called away via fancy invite by the Gargoyle King, and she isn’t even there for the crowning. Like her mother years before, Betty goes into the ladies’ toilets and finds the chalices. She leaves the bathroom and comes face-to-face with the Gargoyle King AND a Black Hood WITH A HOOK!

For what might be the first time ever, Betty is shook. Turns out scared Betty isn’t totally convincing, but as she stumbles across body after body of fellow classmates, her fear increases. She’s eventually found by Jughead, and all the excitement ends for the night.

But with two serial killers on the loose, Betty doesn’t feel safe. She goes to find Alice, and before she can convince her mother to go into hiding, Edgar offers her security inside The Farm. And Betty actually accepts it.

So who is the real Black Hood this time? Is it Hal? Did Hal cause the bus to crash a la Michael Myers and manage to get a hook? Is it Chic? Is it Edgar? (He has shown off his clean, and sculpted, back.)

I don’t know. MTV was at my prom, and even I can’t say that was half as much fun as Riverdale’s.

Riverdale ep. 3.19 “Chapter Fifty-Four: Fear the Reaper”

Why am I still watching this show? Furthermore, why am I recapping it?

Each week we get further along into season 3, I’m finding Riverdale more and more tedious. Is it a bad show? Nope. It’s just as wacky as ever. But there really isn’t something working, and it’s maybe time for a long good-bye.

Now. This week’s episode was good. It was very airtight. But, there were several things about it that only solidified why I’m increasingly over this show.

But the big one: “Chapter Fifty-Four” marks Luke Perry’s last episode on Riverdale. Perry a few great moments with KJ Apa here, and it reflects the relationship Archie and Fred had in season 1. But it also proves how much Perry was wasted for much of season 2 and 3.

As the show became more lofty, it ignored everything that anchored it to the ground. Much of Archie’s character has been rebuilt on during the latter half of the season. It’s been working well, but it’s still not the guitar-playing sweetheart to loved working with his dad. The core four are superheroes now. Not characters we can really enjoy spending time with.

A large port of it, I think, is that this show does not benefit from the 22-episode series format. Season 1 was snappy: there was a murder and 13 episodes later we solved said murder. Many of the plots here are good, but they’re stretched beyond their best-by dates.

I miss the season 1 silliness. It was teen, but it had bite. It wasn’t Veronica running around like a boss CEO. It was fun when she was more human. When she made more mistakes. Her storylines are so boring. She’s constantly swooping in and sorting messes when she should be cheering with the Vixens and wearing dramatic capes.

Josie’s send off this week was incredibly anticlimactic. We get to see her interacting with her father again, which was incredibly sweet. But she too had been stripped of everything about her character. Her Pussycats. Her mother. She was Archie’s girlfriend (which she played well) and someone who popped up for a good musical number.

Betty, as always, is chasing after The Farm. But this cult hasn’t been interesting for weeks now. I was hardly disturbed when Evelyn was revealed to be Edgar’s actual wife (let’s just pretend we don’t notice the 10+ year gap between Murray and Grand Maison). The babies are split up. The aunt takes one. I don’t know. Betty – just get a new fucking hobby.

Hopefully the escape…I mean “death” of Hal in the bus accident wakes her up. We all know this is some Michael Myers Halloween shit so let’s just move on to it already.

But I think what I’m getting to is this:

If you’re not having fun anymore, why are you still here?

And it’s question I’m asking myself every week. I love Archie comics, and will continue to support them and their zany ways, but I think it’s time for a long, long break. I’ll be finishing off season 3, and then just watching Riverdale in my own free time of my own free will.

Maybe we will have a story arch where we fall in love again. Maybe I’ll just be shipped off to the spin-off. But whatever it is, I’m so relieved there’s only three episodes left.

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.

Riverdale ep. 3.17 recap “Chapter Fifty-Two: The Raid”

Kids, cults are a dangerous thing. When you’re a child, you should be taught this, just as much as you learn “look both ways before crossing the street” and “don’t play with fire”.

Clearly all lessons that you don’t learn when you’re in the Cooper family (but I suppose when one parent is a serial killer, maybe you’re off the hook).

Betty has decided, though, to go against all common sense and really go for the Farm. After attending an opening day at the Farm with Veronica, she manages to convince Cheryl to go to the Farm as her spy. Betty thinks this is a good idea because Evelyn already tried to sign-up Cheryl for the cult fun squad.

But this is of course a very bad idea just because Evelyn already tried to recruit Cheryl.

Cheryl enters the Farm premises with full determination to learn more about her head brother, Jason. She wears a mic to her interview where she manages to have a chat with Edgar. He listens to her, and he gets to the heart of her issues following Jason’s death. Betty learns from listening in that Edgar records all of his conversations with the Farm members.

And, unsurprisingly, Cheryl becomes infatuated with the cult. Betty tries to get Cheryl to leave to no avail. But she does break into the Farm and steal back the tapes from her family and Cheryl. But even when she tries to get Cheryl to leave, Cheryl admits she doesn’t want to go because she’s “seen” and spoken to Jason in the flesh.

Which, considering how long he’s been dead doesn’t really sound ideal.

But it does get to the heart about why people are obsessed with the cult. Betty adds the new information together and realises that her mother is so attached to the cult because she gets to see her dead son.

Archie, meanwhile, reunites with his old cellmate, Mad Dog. He gets a call from the boy, alerting him that the inmates at the juvenile detention centre are being moved to Hiram’s new prison. Apparently filling up the cells for opening day is a big deal (but all that says to me is that Hiram just really didn’t plan for future development and growth! Who wants to be completely filled immediately? Poor business planning, everyone.)

Archie, with Veronica’s help, manages to convince the governor to release the young men. The boys all go to stay at Archie’s new boxing gym. Giving them a home, but not really any purpose.

But Mad Dog brings worse news: his family’s apartment have been taken over by drug-making Gargoyles.

Jughead agrees to help Archie remove the gang from the building. This is one of the dumbest ideas that the boys have ever had. Jughead continues to be in hot water with his parents. One for trying to destroy her drug business and the other for getting in the way of his drug-busting.

But the boys go into the apartment building anyway. And it’s hardly surprising when the Gargoyles react with guns a-blazin’. Nothing really comes of it other than a lot of scrapes and bruises.

Following the unsuccessful purge, Mad Dog admits to Archie that he wants to box for Elio. He gets a house out of it for his grandma and little brother. AND he gets paid! For an ex-con, it doesn’t actually sound like a bad deal. Even if Archie isn’t convinced.

Why aren’t we getting any scenes of Veronica acting as a child? She’s always been the most mature of the group, but parading around as a business woman while trying to salvage her parents’ marriage is a little bit tedious. The mafia plotline of season 2 was definitely the worst, and continues to be the worst thing about season 3.

I JUST CAN’T CARE AND I’M OVER IT.

She decides to send dead fish to her mother, in hopes of convincing her father to stay and “protect” Hermione. This apparently works, but I suppose if you’re in a mafia, you deal with the fallout?

Either way, no one made the best decisions they could this week. Jughead in particular is getting a bit tedious. What happened to the “I’m a weirdo” weirdo? This birthday-hating child has become a full-on blockhead almost to the point where his motives don’t make sense anymore.

But where would Riverdale be without characters making silly decisions? I suppose our lives would all be more simple and happier… Sort of sounds like a certain comic book series I’ve heard of…

Riverdale ep. 3.16 “Chapter Fifty One: Big Fun”

“She’s my best friend. God, I hate her.”

I love Heathers. It’s a truly oddball one-of-a-kind movie that has a black comedy that many movies have tried since to duplicate and failed. Now I have never seen Heathers: The Musical but I would assume it has all the components that put it in the same, twisted vein as its source material.

In last week’s episode, Cheryl demanded that Kevin change the musical to Heathers in order to get out her mean girl frustration. The Farm gets behind it, funding much of the musical. That also means that Evelyn Evernever finds herself chosen as Kevin’s co-director (much to Betty’s dismay).

And speaking of dismay, Cheryl learns that Toni is in charge of choreography. The two former-girlfriends begin to battle it out for territory in a power struggle both on and off the stage.

The Farm hosts a cast part before the show (which is just wrong) in which the actors are all encouraged to wear their costumes for the show. This is easily the most out-there detail of Riverdale yet. Name ONE show in the history of theatre that ever allowed the actors to party in their costumes before they even hit the stage.

At the party, the kids get loose. Veronica gets cozy with Reggie again after she learns the news that her parents are splitting up. And Archie and Josie make their canoodling public.

This, of course, leads to more complex discussions. Reggie isn’t entirely pleased with being Veronica’s go-to. But Archie and Josie begin to make their relationship more official (and I am HERE FOR IT).

Jughead, meanwhile, continues his quest to end his mother’s attempts at making a foothold in the Riverdale drug trade. He soon discovers that Gladys has turned their former trailer into her drug lab.

Together, Jughead and Betty go to the trailer together and burn it down. Betty has proven yet again that the kids in Riverdale have an unhealthy relationship with arson.

Evelyn spends much of her time using her power to force the actors into vulnerable places. She’s a total creep, but in an approachable way. An approachable creep from a cult. That’s actually a thing, I guess.

But Betty knows that the Farm is just using the musical as a way to indoctrinate more people into the cult. And at the very end of the performance, we see the cult in all their white-garbed glory in the audience.

To be honest, Riverdale hasn’t done a very good job at explaining why the Farm is so appealing. I think it’s supposed to be something about salvation and belonging, but it never seemed convincing. Now that we’ve see Chad Michael Murray revealed as cult leader Edgar Evernever IT ALL MAKES SENSE.

Overall, Heathers: The Musical was probably the perfect choice to cement Riverdale’s attempts at returning to normal. It suited the storylines very well. That being said, though, I did have more fun with the Carrie musical episode. But you know, I prefer murder over arson.

PS: Why the HELL is there some kid at the cast party dressed like the Gargoyle King?