It’s musical time in Riverdale! And with tonight marking the show’s second musical episode, I firmly believe that this entire show should be a musical. The musical episodes are just SO GOOD. And this one wasted no time in diving right into things…
Hermione comes to the school concerned with the students performing Heather: The Musical as it’s about teen violence and suicide, and this is Riverdale after all, a place where a student was murdered at the end of the last musical. (R.I.P. Midge). So yeah, Hermione kind of has a VERY VALID point. But Kevin is determined to change her mind, and he does so with a song. Singing “Beautiful,” Kevin is joined by Veronica, Archie, Josie, Betty, and even Jughead (whose unrelated mission this week is to shut down his mom’s drug lab). And by the end of the song, Hermione has a realization: “Are all of you this miserable?” she asks a group of TEENS IN HIGH SCHOOL. Yes, OF COURSE they are!! And apparently, that’s enough for her to okay the musical because the next thing we see is Kevin talking to his cast.
Kevin informs everyone that he’s brought on Evelyn as his co-director and Toni as his choreographer and neither decision sits well. Betty thinks Evelyn is using the musical as some sort of Farm recruitment mission, and the entire point of this musical for Cheryl was to give her some space from Toni. So … let the drama commence!
Before rehearsal, Evelyn leads the cast in a meditation about how they’re going to explore their personal trauma through art. In other words, Betty is totally right about her using this play to get students to join the Farm. But things get far more interesting when Cheryl and Toni battle it out singing “Candy Store,” which ends with Cheryl shoving her ex.
Evelyn then announces that the Farm, which is sponsoring the play, is throwing them all a party that night. But when Veronica heads home to change, she discovers that her parents are separating, which is arguably the least surprising thing that’s ever happened on this show? Hiram says he’s going to be staying at the Five Seasons indefinitely. As for why they’re separating, Hiram knows that Hermione sold the drugs out from under him while he was in the hospital. And surprisingly, Veronica’s upset. On the one hand, I get it. She’s a teen. Of course, you want your parents together no matter what. But also, your father is terrible and your mom tried to have him killed so did you really see a happy ending in their future?
At the party, they all perform “Big Fun,” Evelyn gives Kevin a shroom brownie, and then Reggie and Veronica hook up! I wish I could say more, but we very quickly cut to the next day, where Evelyn decides it’s time for every member of the cast to share a secret. It’s then that Kevin and Fangs connect over the fact that Midge has been haunting them. And then there’s Sweet Pea, who outs Josie and Archie’s relationship, which leads directly to Veronica revealing that her parents are splitting up. And while all of this is going down, Jughead is casually chilling next to Betty eating a bag of chips. This dude has a mom who’s selling drugs and he is straight CHILLIN.
All of those secrets being revealed leads to Archie asking Josie if she wants to make it official — she doesn’t, yet — and Reggie telling Veronica that they shouldn’t be seeing each other right now.
(Next: Edgar Evernever makes his big entrance!)
But Reggie and Veronica’s relationship is not the only one on the outs. When Toni has the gall to wear an all-red outfit to school — Cheryl’s signature color!! — Cheryl tells her that here at Riverdale High, Cheryl invented red. “I am red,” she says, a sentence that I’d like all of us to let sink in for a moment. Cheryl then tells Toni to pack her things. She wants her gone by Monday. And that leads us to a Toni number where she ALMOST has a threesome with Peaches and Sweet Pea but stops them before they can completely strip? Again, Hermione might’ve had a point about this musical…
Elsewhere, Jug has the Serpents looking for his old trailer, because he’s convinced that Gladys is using that as her lab, and Betty borrows Jug’s camera to spy on a closed Farm meeting. From the looks of it, the meeting is some kind of wedding for Kevin and Fangs? Everyone’s in white and they kiss while singing “Our Love Is God,” and I’m very confused as to why everyone looks like they’re wearing 3-D glasses? Is this a Heathers thing? Or did they all eat some shroom brownies before the ceremony?
But when Betty shows Principal Weatherbee the photos as proof of the Farm using the play to recruit members, he reveals that he, too, is part of the Farm.
As for Jug, he was right: His mom has turned his childhood home into a drug lab, and just as he starts wondering when their lives went from worrying about who sat next to you on the bus to drug lord moms and serial killer dads, he and Betty — along with Toni and Cheryl — start singing “Seventeen.” And Jughead doesn’t just sing, guys. He SINGS. And watching him and Betty sing about wanting to be normal, while Cheryl and Toni also reconnect, is arguably the best moment of the episode. Both couples end the number with a kiss.
And speaking of couples, Josie shows up at Archie’s boxing gym and they decide to make things official. So there’s that.
Then there’s poor Veronica, who asks her father to come home, at which point he tells her, “I found out that your mother tried to have me killed. Twice.” So yeah, I think it’s safe to say that marriage, unlike Hiram, is DEAD. But Veronica doesn’t stop there. She asks her parents to attend the musical together in order to make one last happy memory … though they look anything but happy sitting next to each other in the audience.
On the way to opening night, Jughead and Betty enjoy a very quick, casual date where together, they set his trailer on fire, thereby destroying his mother’s lab and his childhood home. Romantic, right? They then join everyone else on stage for the final big group number (during which FP looks highly disturbed by his son singing). When the number ends, the audience is silent, until someone toward the back starts a slow clap. And then he stands! Dressed in all white, it’s none other than Chad Michael Murray as EDGAR EVERNEVER!! “I knew my dad would like it,” Evelyn says as more members of the Farm, all dressed in white and including Principal Weatherbee, stand alongside Edgar, all clapping in unison. It’s a truly incredible and VERY creepy entrance for this much-talked-about character, and I love it. (I also was not NOT attracted to him when he winked. Just saying.)
And that brings us to the end of yet another Riverdale musical episode. Once again, they might’ve just created the strongest hour of the season.