At any given time, if you want to know how the town of Riverdale is doing, you can look to Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe. If business is booming, Riverdale is pretty much fine. But if people are spray painting “Death Diner” on Pop’s exterior walls, well, they need to get better insults. But also, things are dark in Riverdale.
Speaking of dark things, Archie is currently burning some toast as the high schooler attempts to make his father breakfast in bed while chugging energy drinks first thing in the morning. (He’s still not sleeping because he has to sit in the foyer with his bat and protect his dad.) But don’t worry, Archie’s plan doesn’t only consist of him staying up all night holding a baseball bat. There’s a stage two, and it’s just as ridiculous as stage one. At the sheriff’s station, Archie reveals that he’s made a bunch of flyers featuring a photo of his father’s shooter. Only, we don’t actually know who it is, so the photo is a completely unrecognizable man in a ski mask with the headline, “Have you seen this man?” Ummm, not the best flyer there, Arch. (It’s a good thing you’re pretty.)
As for the women of Riverdale, Veronica is busy blowing off her father by quoting New Yorker cartoons, and Betty is determined to save Pop’s, which is in danger of going out of business very soon. And then there’s Jug, who heads off to meet with his father’s lawyer and discovers that the best deal his dad is going to get involves 20 years in prison. Freaking out about his father, Jug heads over to Archie’s, where his best friend nearly mistakes him for an intruder when Jug WALKS IN THE BACK DOOR. Do not tell me that Archie has been “guarding” doors that are actually unlocked. (Fingers crossed that Jug has a key.)
Either way, the besties have a heart-to-heart as Jug talks about his fears — losing his father — before he can’t seem to figure out what has Archie so scared. Really, Jug? He’s holding a bat in the middle of the night and his father was recently shot right in front of him. Why would he be scared?!
The next day, Veronica suggests Archie talk to the school counselor while Betty and Jug ask Mayor McCoy for help with Pop’s and/or Jug’s dad. Long story short, she’s not interested in helping either, so Jug decides to shake her to her core by saying, “You remember this moment. The moment you turned your back on both Pop Tate and my father.” Yeah, she knows. You’re not scaring anybody, Jug.
From there, Jug goes to the Serpents to propose they break his father out of jail, but they have a better idea: Jug needs a snake handler, someone whose livelihood depends on the snakes, and that person is Penny Peabody, a Serpent/lawyer whose office is in a tattoo shop (as if there weren’t enough red flags in this scenario). Her idea is simple: Get the victim’s family to forgive FP in front of a judge and get him time served. So what does she want for said advice? “I do you a favor, one day, maybe you do me a favor.” NOPE. Jug. Pay the woman and run.
Back at school, I learn that jingle jangle is a popular drug that apparently Reggie is dealing, and even Archie is interested. (Those energy drinks just aren’t cutting it anymore.) As for Betty, she’s trying to plan a throwback night for the diner but Cheryl — whose back in charge of the Vixens — isn’t willing to lend a hand. (Also, Josie is a Vixen now?) Then there’s Veronica, who is left to deal with her father when he shows up at school with flowers and asks her to meet him halfway. But Veronica’s not interested. As she explains, the blindfold is off and she can’t just put it back on.
And here’s where the last episode plays into things: The students learn that Ms. Grundy was murdered, and Archie immediately assumes the killer is going after the people he cares about. In an attempt to find out what happened to Grundy, Betty and Archie ask Mrs. Cooper to talk to her coroner friend, who reveals that Grundy was strangled with a cello bow — the same thing Archie gave her — in what was most likely a “crime of passion.” There was no sign of forced entry, and at this point, Archie is the only one who thinks the crimes are connected, and even he doubts it when Sheriff Keller tells him Grundy’s ex-husband has an airtight alibi. (Next: The killer claims two more victims)
As for Pop’s, Betty gets a call saying that Pop is selling to an anonymous buyer. V assumes it’s her parents, but Hiram swears it’s not. So V moves on to bigger topics: Did Hiram hire someone to shoot Fred Andrews? Again, he says no. How could she believe such terrible things? Oh you know, just because of that letter that Hiram wrote last season threatening Hermione if Veronica didn’t testify on his behalf. Only, Hermione wrote that letter…or so she tells V. It’s later revealed that Hiram is as terrible as you probably guessed and he wrote that letter. Just to clarify: Hiram wrote the letter; he also bought Pop’s. #liesfordays
As for Penny Peabody’s idea, Betty and Jug head to Thistle House to dine with Cheryl and her mother in a straight-up greenhouse, where they sit down to dinner in a Poison Ivy-Grey Gardens crossover. Not surprisingly, the Blossoms have no desire to help Jug’s dad, even though they know he didn’t kill Jason. So instead, Dark Betty makes an appearance.
Surprising Cheryl — who only wears red lingerie, naturally — in the Vixens’ locker room, Betty threatens to release the video of Cheryl’s father shooting Jason if she doesn’t testify and help Jug’s dad. In exchange, Betty will hand over all copies of the aforementioned video. “You’re a stone-cold bitch, Betty Cooper,” Cheryl tells her with just a hint of pride in her voice.
The next day, Cheryl testifies and asks for leniency for FP before straight-up lying and saying she saw her father threaten FP. In other words, she gets the job done, and in exchange, Betty hands over the video. As for FP, the judge suggests they reevaluate the case before revisiting sentencing, so for now, it’s a win.
As for Betty’s throwback night, it slowly turns into a success, thanks in part to a free Pussycats concert — they sing “Milkshake” because duh. By the end of the night, Pop announces that he will be staying in business! (He doesn’t mention the Hiram connection because Hiram is only letting him stay on as manager in exchange for his silence.)
Speaking of Hiram, the night is also a win for him and Hermione when Veronica, not realizing that her parents are terrible, agrees to give things another try. But that’s going to end real quick, especially considering that Hiram says Smithers had to go home to care for his ill mother. (Is that code for “dead”?)
The episode ends with FP warning Jug never to contact Penny Peabody again — told ya, dude — and Archie getting his hands on a gun, so that’s definitely going to end well. And then there’s that whole serial killer thing: Remember the students Reggie sold jingle jangle to? Yeah, they were just murdered by the same guy in the ski mask. Find the connection now, Arch!
At this point, I can’t tell if this season is crazier than season 1 or if I just need time to readjust, but I cannot get over that scene at Thistle House. Speaking of which, I need more Cheryl. But what did you think? Hit the comments with your thoughts or find me on Twitter @samhighfill.