Riverdale

Riverdale ep. 3.10 “Chapter Forty-Five: The Stranger”

Archie is finally back in Riverdale, and he has a lot of brooding to do, kids.

After (somehow) surviving his bear attack, despite being apparently dead, Archie goes back to his father’s house like a prodigal son. But Archie isn’t the same as he was before: he has dark hair, an even darker soul, and he now prefers root beer floats over milkshakes. Sounds like me after puberty.

But with Archie back, Riverdale takes a moment to breathe and reassess the insanity that has been building. For one episode, we have finally returned to the high school realness (you know, as much as Riverdale represents anything real, I guess).

And it could very-well come off as boring, but “The Stranger” actually ends up being interesting, if a bit confusing.

At Pop’s, after Archie’s giant, root beer-related confession, Betty learns that her debit card has been denied. When she returns home, she learns that Alice has drained all of her accounts to donate to the Farm, including Betty’s college fund.

And it all feel very thematic, as the kids’ SATs draws nearer. Archie, having missed most of his academic year, is advised by Principal Weatherbee to retake his junior year. And somehow, the only thing about this that Archie finds upsetting is not graduating with his friends.

So Archie begins cramming for the exam with Betty and Jughead. I don’t know how to tell these gets that you’re able to retake them, but I only just realised I never took the SATs, so what do I know anyway? Archie’s “dimness” is reworked in this episode to suggest that Archie isn’t stupid, but has a learning disability. But if this was the case, surely he would have received some help at some point? Or was Ms Gruny the only tutor in town?

But Veronica is apparently not on the “let’s get Archie to succeed” train. Instead, she throws him a Welcome Back party, which he promptly leaves when he’s reminded of Hiram.

Speaking of, with the Sisters’ of Quiet Mercy convent now open, Hiram begins to plans to buy the building, and he needs Claudius Blossom’s help. And by help, I mean forcing his wife to select Claudius as Riverdale’s new sheriff.

Jughead and his Serpents get to meet Claudius face-to-face when they try and set up Hiram. With Fangs undercover in the Gargoyle gang, they’re able to infiltrate a meeting and discover the identity of the Gargoyle King: Tall Boy.

Yes, that Tall Boy who was definitely dead and definitely was the Black Hood (the non-serial killer one). With Tall Boy’s reluctant help, they get a meeting with Hiram, but Claudius meets them instead, leading Claudius to be thrown in jail…?

While Jughead spends time with that Black Hood, Betty spends time with the real one – her father, Hal. After learning about her bank accounts, her lawyer, Sierra tells her that her father had also signed the papers. But Betty quickly notices that the signature was forged. The only way to get her money back is to have her father sign an affidavit.

She goes to see her father in prison, and old Hal tries out his best Hannibal impression. Its almost laughable how much Riverdale lifts from Silence of the Lambs, it sort of crosses the line of homage. But anyway, little Clarice Betty asks for her father’s help. Hal agrees, but only if she brings him the Gryphons & Gargoyles manual.

When she eventually gets him the manual, he claims that he was there at ascension night. And that he is the original Gargoyle King. Betty soon susses out that he’s lying. He gathered all of his details from sleeping with Penelope Blossom, who was posing as Alice.

But while this is seemingly the darkest part of a fairly “normal” episode, Riverdale lets it all spiral at the end.

Hiram is shot in a rather similar fashion to Fred. Only this time, we don’t even get a hint of the shooter’s identity. No shadow. Nothing. Now, both Fred and FP threatened him earlier in the episode. And both seem to have a good motive.

FP reveals that he is the new sheriff in town, and it’s pretty clear that it was a deal between him and Hermione. What that means, who knows. Hopefully that the two have been in cahoots all this time. I like Hermione too much for her to be a boring pawn like she’s been coming off for the last two seasons.

But Hiram isn’t the only one with someone out to get him. Claudius is found dead in his cell soon after Hiram gets out of his surgery. Is it someone’s greater plan? Hermione’s?

There’s certainly a lot of deceit going on in this little town. Veronica misses an opportunity to be open with Archie about being with Reggie. And ultimately, there’s no trust between the two anymore anyway. But with her dad in the hospital, girl seems certain it’s Archie (apparently Hiram was shot around the same time Archie fled the SATs).

Dark Archie isn’t my favourite Archie. Sweet, guitar-playing one is. Can we have that one back? Or is it as Archie thinks? There’s no going back. He certainly didn’t shoot Hiram. Boy would kill him, not do the job half-assed.

It was pretty good to see some scenes with Fred in them again. Seeing Luke Perry is always calming and lovely. More Fred, please!

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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?

Riverdale ep. 3.8 “Chapter Forty-Three: Outbreak”

One thing Riverdale is good at is topping its own insanity. Kill off one boy? Try a serial killer next season. Caught the serial killer? Test the waters with drug-induced visions of Gargoyles.

This show loves to out-do itself so how do wrap up mid-season? With a quarantine, obviously!

The seizures in Riverdale have begun to spread at a more rapid pace. Namely hitting the entirety of the Vixens all at once (minus Cheryl). This prompts the Lodges to try and persuade Veronica that she needs to leave to go to NYC. Of course she doesn’t want to. She’s Veronica. So she begins to do some digging on why her parents are acting to desperate.

They even get the school quarantined, and all the Fizzle Rock-addled students have to be dragged out.

She and Cheryl work together, crashing an emergency school board meeting. Veronica confronts her father about the things we now know as truths: he’s a drug dealer, the prison-builders are making those drugs, and the drugs are being tested on the children at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy.

But before the girls can get to the bottom of anything, Penelope Blossom has a seizure. She’s ok, though, and the girls later torture her with maple syrup for information on Hiram.

In the land of the convent, Betty continues the good fight (surprise, surprise she wasn’t as broken as she appeared last episode). She eventually gets Ethel to join her side by locking Ethel in the Gargoyle King’s room until the drugs wear off her. Betty later explains to Ethel that while there is likely a real GK out there, he doesn’t live in the convent.

Together, the girls work to capture Sister Woodhouse. They manage to get her to admit the truth behind G&G. She explains to them that the children in the convent invented the game to cope with the trauma that they faced – particularly when they were in a room with a creepy gargoyle statue.

One they know the truth, they decide to get the other children out. They begin to role play – the only way to get the other girls to listen. Betty poses as the Gargoyle Queen, which goes down great! All the teens in the building leave, with no place to go.

But the other two wanderers, Archie and Jughead, end up at their final destination: with Jughead’s sister and mom. Gladys Jones seems pleased to see her son and his friend, but the reunion is awkward. Things become even more strained when Penny Peabody arrives after stalking the boys. I mean, I know there’s a bounty…but isn’t she a legit lawyer? Doesn’t she have better things to do?

Gladys tortures Penny (as is the theme of this week’s episode) and learns that Hiram is planning something massive for Riverdale. Not only is he after Archie, but anyone who helps him. That means Jughead…and Fred, who later arrives to help his son over the border into Canada (I think).

Archie dyes his hair dark and heads off into the woods with only Vegas at his side. FP (who arrived with Fred) takes Jughead back to Riverdale, but they’re told to go away.

Hermione and Hiram pulled the trigger and quarantined the entire city. Without outside interference, it appears as though the fate of the town lies solely with the Lodges.

It’s revealed that Hiram is indeed in cahoots with the Gargoyle King, who appears to just be chilling in Hiram’s office, enjoying the soft fireplace glow? It’s certainly one of the strangest directions Riverdale has ever gone in. Hiram, who at one point seemed simply surface-level ass hole, has now fully upgraded to being 100% mad.

This is why we’re all here, isn’t it? If we made it through season 2, all of us who are left are just those of us who enjoy this show at maximum crazy. And really, where can they even take it after this?

But it feels like we’re a lot less deep into the mystery than usual at mid-season. I imagined the Farm to be much more relevant than it has so far. But anyway, I’m intrigued. What will happen to the Jonses? Will they adopt Fred so that they can get up to shenanigans alone?

Who knows! I sure will never be able to guess. See you all in January.

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?

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.