Let me start this recap by saying that tonight’s episode was dedicated to Luke Perry, who died Monday after suffering a massive stroke on Feb. 27. The outpouring of love and countless stories that have surfaced in the days since should tell you everything you need to know about Perry, and in my own experience, he was nothing short of one of the nicest actors I’d ever met. He will be missed, though Riverdale fans still have a little more time with Fred Andrews, as you saw in tonight’s episode.
Getting to this week’s episode, I’m happy to report that things have gotten better since last week, though I find it hilarious that the main plot of this episode is that even a child is smarter (and more interesting) than Archie Andrews. Let’s start at the beginning: Archie, unable to pay for his gym membership, agrees to start helping out around the gym, and on his first day of clean-up duty, he and Josie discover that a young boy named Ricky has been sleeping at the gym. According to Ricky, he was at a shelter, but a group of older men branded him with the same sacrifice mark Archie has from G&G. Now, Archie offers to let Ricky sleep in his garage.
Speaking of where people sleep, Alice is trying to sell Betty’s! Alice is in full-blown realtor mode as she tries to get rid of the house where Betty grew up, but Betty’s doing everything she can to sabotage the sale, like reminding people that her house has a nickname: The murder house on Elm Street! For every nice story, there’s one about how her dad was the Black Hood. Talk about a rich history!
At school, Betty catches Veronica, Jug, and Archie up on things in the first meeting of the core four we’ve had in FOREVER!! Sadly, it doesn’t last long and is pretty much ruined when Kevin walks through with the Farm and gives Betty the stink eye. Of all people, they had to take precious Kevin, didn’t they?! Anyone else would’ve been bearable!
When the Farmies get into a fight with the Poisons AND the Gargoyles/Serpents, Principal Weatherby warns both Toni and Jughead to get their gangs together, which is just a hilarious sentence from a principal. He’s not saying: “Gangs are bad, you shouldn’t be in them. You’re children!” He’s saying: “BE BETTER GANG LEADERS, CHILDREN!”
As for Veronica, she’s dealing with the fact that Gladys and Hiram are acting like they own Le Bonne Nuit. And seeing as how she owes them both money, she doesn’t exactly have a lot of leverage. Oh wait! She has an idea! She clearly needs more money, so why don’t they make their secret speakeasy into a secret casino?! Because again, these are teenagers. Running a secret casino can’t be any harder than studying for their SATs! (Just kidding, they already took their SATs!)
Back in gangland, Kurtz fesses up to robbing the chemistry lab as one of their “quests,” which leads Jug to ask FP for help. The Gargoyles now outnumber the Serpents, so what’s he supposed to do? “Outthink them,” is ultimately FP’s advice, and he suggests giving the gang members purpose. Remember how teens need homework? So do teens in gangs!
And thanks to Archie, they have their first assignment: After some gang members find Ricky at Pop’s and he runs away, Archie enlists Jug and the Serpents to help find him. Arch also calls Ms. Weiss, who agrees to look into Ricky’s case. Ultimately, they find Ricky at the old Gargoyle Gang headquarters because he’d heard they cleared out. This kid is either super smart or something weird is going on. The answer? Both! (Next: Ricky has a secret)
After Archie officially takes Ricky in — at least until they find him a home — Ms. Weiss reveals the truth: Ricky is Joaquin’s little brother and is supposedly dangerous. Ricky, knife in hand, then tells Archie that he has to finish what his brother started and kill him. It’s the only way the Gargoyles will let him play the game. As for the brand on Ricky’s arm, he did it to himself! And now, he cuts Archie before Fred gets home and Ricky runs off.
Fred quickly bandages his son up and assures him he’s not stupid — don’t lie to him, dad — and then finds the “Kill the Red Paladin” card on the kitchen floor. I’d also like to talk about something for a moment: All Archie ever does is box. It’s the only thing he’s supposedly “good” at. And yet he couldn’t dodge one swipe from a small child???
As for Betty, she spends the episode trying to save Kevin from the Farm’s truly terrible rituals. First, he has to hold his hand over an open flame, and then he has to walk across burning coals!! And when Betty threatens to publish a story about the self-harming rituals, they threaten to tell everyone about the man Alice killed. (Remember: Alice told everyone at the Farm all her dirty secrets.) So when Betty returns home to find out that Alice has sold it, she takes matters into her own hands and BURNS IT DOWN. Well, she at least starts a fire, it’s TBD if the whole thing will burn down. Either way, Dark Betty is BACK, y’all. (Although Alice said the house had been bought by an anonymous buyer. If I were Betty, I might’ve found out who that was before torching the place. What if Hal was trying to surprise his daughter? He wouldn’t. He sucks. But still.)
Then there’s Veronica, who comes up with a plan to get her casino back: She hires the Pretty Poisons as her muscle and together, they keep Gladys and Hiram out … at least until they’re ready to play by Veronica’s rules.
And that brings us to Jug, who has to deal with Kurtz after Kurtz tries to kill Fangs by dropping him headfirst from the second story stairwell at school. (Would it have killed him? Debatable.) But we’ll never know because Sweet Pea and Jug are there to break his fall, so Fangs is fine, but let’s focus on something Jug says to FP about the incident: “He would’ve snapped his neck or even worse!” What’s EVEN WORSE, Jug? A snapped neck pretty much ensures death — aside from very special cases — so I’m real interested in what’s worse than death.
However, the incident gives Jug an idea. He brings FP to the next Serpent meeting where he announces that the Serpents have a purpose again: FP is going to deputize them, and they’re going to partner with the Riverdale Sheriff Department and help work investigations. They’ll be FP’s eyes and ears in the community. They’ll get paid and receive school credit. The only person not interested is Kurtz, who walks out.
So let’s break this down: Not only is the Sheriff’s Department hiring teenagers to help work investigations, but they’re hiring literally the worst, least trustworthy teens in the entire town of Riverdale. They’re GANG MEMBERS!!! If this town weren’t already screwed, it definitely is now.
I only have one other thing to add: Jug ends the episode by suggesting that Archie finally put an end to the G&G of it all, so I’m hopeful that we’re about to get to some answers. Fingers crossed.