In all fairness, they don’t HAVE to visit it at night, but it does make it more fun. By reading a newspaper story about the murder, they piece together what happened, and it takes Veronica all of five minutes to discover something Sheriff Howard never solved in his entire life. (Honestly, the cops in this town should be ashamed.) By looking at the height measurements on a doorframe, she realizes that there were three kids in the family…and only two were killed by the Reaper.
In the corner, they find Howard’s files, and in his files is a photo of the Conway family — all five of them. Okay, so maybe Howard knew about the other kid, but if he did, why did he spend so much of his life investigating this? Because by the time Archie and Veronica identify the kid, they get all the answers they could ever need. Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Archie and Veronica find out that Joseph Conway, the survivor, changed his name, was adopted by a new family, and attended a local high school. So, they compare the photo they found to old school yearbooks until they find him: It’s Svenson! The janitor! (You know, if you wondered why he kept popping up in episodes lately.)
Archie and Veronica confront Svenson, and he tells them that he saw the man who killed his family. Furthermore, the next day, he identified the man and a group of guys took him and killed him. Or so he says. He claims it was never reported, so no one knew about it. (He at least could’ve told poor Sheriff Howard and given that guy some peace.) And now? Archie tells Veronica that Svenson isn’t the Hood. He doesn’t have the eyes. So that was a dead end…or was it? By episode’s end, Svenson is looking at some photo of a group of men. Could they be the ones who killed the Reaper? Is one of them the Black Hood? Ugh, I feel like I sound like Jughead right now.
Speaking of Jughead, it’s time for FP’s party, where the Cooper women steal the show. Betty lets her hair down! Alice is wearing dark lipstick! And yet, it’s Archie and Veronica who take the stage.
After Veronica realizes she probably can’t say she loves him because she’s never heard her parents say it, he tells her it’s okay — she doesn’t have to say it back. But of course, he’s a teen so he’s hoping that by saying that, she’ll say it back. And when she doesn’t, he’s not happy. And to make things more awkward, they then have to get on stage to sing “Mad World” because that’s a good karaoke song in Riverdale, I guess? (What’s wrong with “Pour Some Sugar on Me”?)
But about halfway through the performance, Veronica storms off stage. Outside, she tells Arch that, for whatever reason, she can’t say it back. And then she gets in a car and heads home. So it seems they just broke up.
AND NOW WE’VE MADE IT TO THE MOST CRINGEWORTHY EVENT OF YOUR LIFE. When Veronica runs out, Betty takes over her karaoke performance. But she doesn’t just sing. Oh no. She starts TAKING OFF HER CLOTHES. And then before you know it, she’s doing a pole dance in lingerie to a room filled with her boyfriend, her mother, her boyfriend’s father, and about 50 other strangers, many of whom are ADULTS. Reminder: Betty is a teen! Also, of all the critiques in the world: “Mad World” is a terrible striptease song.
For some reason, Alice lets her daughter finish her performance, after which FP puts his jacket around her shoulders and escorts her off stage. FP then announces he’s not leaving the Serpents. Actually, he’s NEVER leaving the Serpents. Why? Because Jughead broke his heart when he did the one thing FP asked him not to do — he got into bed with Penny Peabody. So now, FP is in, and Jug is out.
Outside, Jug realizes that his dad was on the right path until he messed it up, and after watching Betty’s traumatizing dance, he can’t ruin her life too. So he breaks up with her.
And now we end with my happy scene: As Jughead’s voice-over talks of “feelings that had long been buried” shaking loose, we see Archie look out his window at the girl next door. And, as Jug says, Archie sees Betty “as if for the very first time.” As they both make eye contact, Archie smiles. (Thank God he didn’t witness that striptease. It would’ve ruined everything.)
So there you have it: Betty’s striptease scarred me, but her final look to Archie almost made up for it. And I find it next to impossible to think about anything else from this hour. (Unless you want to talk about Alice Cooper’s Serpent lipstick. I’m here for that.)