Katie Yu/The CW
March 28, 2018 at 09:00 PM EDT


TV Show
run date
K.J. Apa, Cole Sprouse, Camila Mendes, Lili Reinhart, Madelaine Petsch
The CW
We gave it a B+

This season of Riverdale has been an emotional rollercoaster. It feels like every episode is an experiment where the writers test to see just how much Riverdale they can inject into any given hour. Sometimes it’s far too much, other times it’s not enough, and in the case of tonight’s episode, I’d say they channeled Goldilocks and got it “just right.”

We start with a quick catch-up on what Cheryl’s new life is like. In short, she’s miserable. Her hair is in a ponytail. And her only sanctuary is Sisters of Quiet Mercy’s weekly movie nights where she gets to imagine life outside of these hateful walls. Every other day of the week, she seems to be doing physical labor in the hopes that lifting heavy bags will make her straight? Talk about some sound logic!

Meanwhile, outside of those four walls, high school has turned into a political war zone as Jug and Betty face off against Veronica and Archie AND Josie and Reggie. So far, Reggie and Josie’s campaign slogan seems to be “we’re chill,” and I’m not going to lie, they have the best argument for why they should run the student body.

Then there’s the other political campaign: Fred versus Hermione for mayor. Fred’s campaign? He never went to New York and left Riverdale behind! Also, he never went to prison! (He’s got you there, Hiram.) The campaign is putting the Lodge and Andrews families at odds, and all poor Archie can think to do is ask, “Can’t this be a fair fight?” Once again our poor, sweet, dumb Archie just doesn’t get it.

He does, however, have a ridiculous amount of confidence for a teenager who’s won a few football games in his life. When the Lodges get home to realize Hiram has some unexpected guests — scary mobsters Lenny and Carl — it’s Archie who steps forward as if he’s Hiram’s bodyguard and not a confused prepubescent teen who’s failing math. But Hiram tells his guard dog to step down. He’s got this handled.

That leaves Archie to head home, where his mother asks that Archie stand by his father’s side when he announces his campaign run on Friday. Archie agrees, so you instantly know that will never actually happen. (Spoiler: It doesn’t.) Quickly running back to his owner’s side, Archie gets the update from Hiram on what Carl and Lenny want. It seems they’re a little anxious about Hermione’s mayoral run and the fact that it will undoubtedly bring unwanted attention from the authorities. Hiram has the idea to take the guys out to dinner to calm them down, and Archie wants in. Hiram’s response? “You do always find a way to make yourself useful.” DOES HE?! And proving that Hiram is dumber than Archie, he tells Arch that he’s in.

Elsewhere, Betty and Alice have real problems when the authorities find the dead guy’s car in the swamp. FP tells everyone to lay low and act normal. Why we’re taking advice from someone who’s been to prison, I’m not sure. But rest assured Jughead will go against his father’s advice in about 10 minutes.

After, the Serpents let Jughead know that they’re not going to vote for him for student body president if Betty is his co-president — she is the “turncoats daughter” after all. (Clearly, Sweet Pea is a history geek.) He and Betty then decide that their “normal” is to investigate something when the world tells them they shouldn’t, so they ask Kevin what he knows about the car. Kevin, the world’s most underused weapon (whose hair is obviously full of secrets), tells them that the owner claimed it this morning. So wait, the owner’s not the dead guy?

Nope, it seems Dwayne — AKA Chic’s dealer, AKA the dead guy — was big on borrowing his girlfriend’s car. Her name is Darla, and after Betty serves Chic some realness — “Gee Chic, have you ever actually been helpful in any way to anyone?!” — he decides to give Darla a call, which of course only makes matters worse because, well, Betty was right.

But before we get into that mess, it’s time for Reggie and Archie to arm wrestle for the Bulldogs’ vote. Because SURE. Ultimately, Archie wins the macho contest, after which he heads to Hiram’s dinner. The bad news? Carl and Lenny want 25 percent of the prison project and when Hiram says no, Archie steps up and attempts to give an intimidating speech about not underestimating Hiram, but all it gets out of Carl and Lenny are a couple of hearty laughs. And listen, you all know how I feel about boy toy Archie trying to stand up to these guys. It’s ridiculously insane. BUT what I really won’t stand for is them calling Archie a “zit-faced high school kid.” Archie might be a dumb jock but his skin is FLAWLESS!!!

After Hiram tells Archie he’s a “good boy” — as if you needed further proof that he sees him as a dog — Arch returns home to find Jughead helping his father with his campaign announcement. And yeah, it’s awkward.

Speaking of awkward, let’s get back to the whole “Chic calls Darla” thing. Once again proving he’s useless (and/or evil), Chic brings Darla into the Cooper house, where she promptly demands $10,000 in exchange for her silence. Of course, the bank is already closed so that means the Cooper family is about to enjoy a full night of zero sleep and about a million board games until Betty can hit up the bank in the morning. That’s right, they’re sending a teen to withdraw $10,000 from her parents’ joint checking account, because any bank in its right might would let THAT happen. (Next: Toni and Veronica rescue Cheryl)

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