Has Riverdale gone too Riverdale at this point? That’s the (fairly confusing) question I’m asking myself after this week’s episode. With so many plots in the air, I’m starting to wonder if the show is focusing so much on the “Riverdale-ness” of it all that it’s being a little too loose with story. I mean, Veronica just sang “Bittersweet Symphony” while walking down the aisle of her own confirmation. Also, Betty now spends her mornings having webcam sex before school? And let’s not forget that there were TWO murders this week. Finally, I have some questions about the relationships on this show. But let’s start at the beginning…
Now officially Hiram’s intern, Archie is running around town picking up dry cleaning and just generally trying to make Hiram love him. And so far, it seems to be working because not only is Achie coming to Veronica’s confirmation, but Hiram also invites him to play server at his pre-confirmation poker game with the skeeziest businessmen around! Oh sorry, I should add that Hiram invites Archie to the poker game only after learning that Archie beat up Nick St. Clair while the guy was wearing two leg casts and couldn’t move. Consider Hiram impressed!
And when he’s not grooming/torturing Archie, Hiram is busy making Jug’s life terrible — or more terrible, I suppose. When Hiram’s lawyer calls the school and threatens to sue the Blue and Gold for defamation after Jug’s article about General Pickens, both Jug and Betty are suspended from the newspaper staff. And then there’s the little problem of Jug and his dad — and all the Serpents — getting an eviction notice from the city. Either they deliver General Pickens’ decapitated head, or they’re gone. And, spoiler alert, Hiram is behind that too. Because at this point, he’s pulling the mayor’s strings.
One good thing about Hiram’s involvement is that it finally forces Jug and Betty to talk about Toni. How this happens I’m not really sure, but after they’re suspended from the paper, Betty decides it’s a good time to ask him if he ever “did anything” with Toni. He admits they did “some stuff but not everything,” and when he asks her about her post-breakup life, she lies and says she hasn’t “done anything” with anyone, despite the fact that we all know she kissed Archie! Also, is there anything worse than listening to two teens attempt to talk about “stuff”?
Getting back to the Archie of it all, Agent Adams shows up at his house all angry that he wasn’t invited to Veronica’s confirmation. But he knows it’s the hottest party in town and he’s new, so he understands. Thankfully, he’s besties with cool kid Archie Andrews, who agrees to be his eyes and ears (and abs) at the shindig. In other news, I just wrote “shindig!”
And while we’re on the topic of the confirmation, a clearly intimidated Sierra and Josie show up at Veronica’s place to apologize for being so judgmental, and as a peace offering, Josie says she will sing at Veronica’s confirmation. V’s song of choice? “‘Bittersweet Symphony’ from the Cruel Intentions soundtrack.” And suddenly, Josie is regretting every decision she’s ever made that has led her to this moment.
Veronica then heads to do some community service, where she literally stops feeding the homeless so that she can have a serious talk with her boyfriend. (Well, at least we know her priorities.) She warns Archie about the poker game, explaining that all of the players are “like daddy.” So they’re hot and more than willing to assert their physical dominance over teens on a wrestling mat?
Yes, but also, they scary. And proving that he’s not ready to work this event, Archie tells V to relax because he’ll only be “refilling water glasses.” PRECIOUS INNOCENT ARCHIE THINKS THEY’RE GOING TO BE DRINKING WATER. He’s worried about the hydration of murderers. Isn’t he cute?!
Veronica then goes to Hiram to find out what his agenda is with all this Archie business. And when Hiram claims Archie might be more like their family than Hiram originally thought, Veronica shuts that train of thought down! If that’s true, then she loses the thing she loves most about him: his hair innocence. So, Hiram tells her that she has to choose: either bring Archie in on the family business or he stays on the outside forever.
Although, after the poker game, it might not be Ronnie’s choice. While plunging a toilet — which was definitely not in the job description and should never be done while wearing a tight white button-down and bowtie — Archie overhears some of Hiram’s fellow mobsters talking about how he’s gone soft post prison. Their plan? To “remove him” after V’s confirmation. Archie also overhears Hiram confess to owning Pop’s. So yeah, he’s on the inside now whether V likes it or not. (Next: Two murders for the price of one)
As for V, she goes to confession to ask what she should do about leading her boyfriend down an unrighteous path. And after she gets zero answers, she heads home to talk to the women of her family, all of whom tell her what it is they pray for before telling her that in this family, you “have to find your thing.” So basically, find a way to live with yourself all the while knowing you’re a terrible person.
And that brings us to Veronica’s confirmation, where Josie and Veronica duet on “Bittersweet Symphony,” and Archie’s light is the thing that helps Veronica get through the day. (In the moment where she has to renounce Satan, they literally shine a light on Archie and put everyone else in the dark. You know, in case you didn’t get it.)
Also at the confirmation, Betty and Jughead get the chance to catch up. Here’s the deal: Tall Boy asked for Penny’s help with the eviction notices, and in exchange for her help, she wants back into the Serpents. Then, she wants Jug kicked out of the Serpents, and she wants to be the one to carve his Serpent tattoo off his arm…with a dirty knife. So she wants to get payback and then also give him tetanus? Cool.
Now there’s going to be a vote among the Serpents: Penny or Jug, and he is stressed. So, at V’s confirmation, he tells Betty everything he did to Penny and then claims that the worst part of the entire story is that Penny’s back. Sure, THAT’S the worst part, and not the mutilation.
In that moment, Betty gets a call. Earlier in the hour, she and Jug put up flyers asking if anyone had seen the decapitated bronze head of the General Perkins statue, and now they had a lead. Actually, they have more than that — they have answers. I will say that this was the best part of the episode for me:
Random guy: “You the kids looking for the head?”
Jughead: “If only we lived in a town where the answer could be no.”
Some guy who owns a scrapyard found the head in one of his fridges. As you do. And when Jug and Betty ask who’s visited recently, he admits a Serpent stopped by about a week ago. Jug’s question: “Was this gentleman tall?” AND BOOM THEY’VE IDENTIFIED TALL BOY AS THE PERP. Can we talk about how the fact that he’s “tall” immediately identifies him as this person. Is he even THAT tall? And what a literal nickname…
As punishment, FP exiles Tall Boy from the Serpents, and his replacement appears to be Betty because, according to FP, “she’s one of us.” I’m sorry, WHAT? The girl in the pink dress who helped you find the head of statue is now one of you? Is this because of her terrible striptease? This is not making sense to me. Also, Betty, put your hand down! You do not get a vote in Serpent matters!
Back at the confirmation, Veronica tells her father not to include Archie in family business, but it’s far too late: When Archie thinks the other mobsters are about to make a move, he takes Hiram to his study and warns him. By the end of the night, the mobster that was planning to kill Hiram is shot in the back of the head … and Archie tells the FBI he knows nothing about it. NOOOOOO, ARCH. Why is everyone going dark?! So much for him being Ronnie’s “beacon in the night.”
And then there’s Betty, who decides to mount Jug before she calls it a night. She stops briefly mid makeout to maybe tell him something, but then she decides against it. Was she going to tell him about the kiss with Archie or about the webcam dirty work? Who knows. Either one would seem like a small deal in comparison to what she returns home to find: her mom and brother cleaning up the blood of some guy who showed up on their doorstep and whom they apparently killed! Fun, right?!
In other death-related news, the Serpents end the hour by sending the head of General Perkins to the Lodge family, because they wanted a Godfather moment that would work for The CW?
Okay, so here’s the part where we discuss my last issue with this episode — the relationships! I am so confused by the show’s decision to throw in that Betty-Archie moment all those episodes ago where he seemingly had an epiphany standing at his bedroom window. And then they kissed. And now he’s confessing his undying love for Veronica and Betty’s hooking up with Jughead? Furthermore, Betty and Archie haven’t even talked in a while. This isn’t a shipper rant. I’m not dying for Betty and Archie to get together, I’m just truly confused with the decision to include that at all and then revert back so suddenly. At this point, none of these relationships are making sense to me. Except for Chic and his webcam. That totally checks out.