This week’s Riverdale can easily be divided into two parts: The insane mystery of the Gargoyle King, which Jughead and Betty are determined to solve, and the way more insane story of how one red-headed boy brought out the good in every inmate of a juvenile detention center. Let’s get into it!
I want to start with Archie and his time in juvie, because we have so, so much to discuss. First and foremost, we should talk about the warden, who loves Shakespeare and feels the need to pull Archie aside just to tell him that there’s a music room. So … great?
Cut to us meeting Archie’s roommate, Mad Dog, otherwise known as my new number one crush on Riverdale. Mad Dog has clearly been there for a while: He’s got a TV, a record player, a bunch of books, and the ability to do a freakish amount of pull-ups, a skill that’s really only gained when you’re in prison and your workout options are restricted to push-ups and pull-ups. Archie walks into his cell and says one of my favorite sentences in the history of the show: “Hey, I’m Archie. You’re Mad Dog, right?” That just makes me laugh. But Archie being Archie misses the opportunity to bond with Mad Dog over their shared love of upper-body workouts, and instead, starts asking questions.
Mad Dog doesn’t say much to Archie at first, but he does warn him about his fancy sneakers. And when the Serpents refuse to protect him — turns out Joaquin is also in here and let’s them all know Archie’s a fake Serpent; plus, Archie refuses to shiv a Ghoulie in the yard — the Ghoulies ambush Archie and steal his shoes. So yeah, he should’ve listened to Mad Dog.
When Veronica and Reggie bring Archie — so Reggie visits Arch before, I don’t know, Jughead? Or Betty!? — a new pair of shoes, Archie gets an idea. This is a place filled with liars and violent young men. You know what they need? FOOTBALL! If only they knew the “epic highs and lows of football” they wouldn’t commit crimes! They wouldn’t hate one another!! The most absurd thing about this pep talk? THAT IT WORKS. Once Mad Dog and his eight sidekicks that I like to call his abs stand by Archie, everyone agrees to play, and truly this might be more insane than levitating babies. Imagine if these kids had heard a pep talk from Coach Taylor! They could save the world!
BUT WAIT. THERE’S MORE. During the football game, Veronica and the Vixens show up to perform “Jailhouse Rock” for the inmates. I’m not even sure where to begin with this one. For starters, in what world can you just perform a song right outside the fence of a juvenile detention center?! Also, which one of you thought, “I know what song they’ll relate to, ‘Jailhouse Rock.’ Because THEY’RE IN JAIL.” Way to throw that in their faces. But my favorite detail of this entirely insane interaction might be the moment the guys stop watching and go back to playing football like they’re over it.
And you know who’s definitely over it? Hiram, who pulls up to let his daughter know that he’s friends with the warden, and as of tomorrow, Veronica will be banned from visiting her beau. After Hiram drops that news, the warden unleashes a bunch of guards on the inmates, and they treat the game like a riot so that they have an excuse to beat the prisoners. The worst news? When Archie returns to his cell, THE WISE AND BEAUTIFUL MAD DOG IS GONE. The guard claims he’s dead, and the warden claims Archie has been “tapped” to replace him. But we all know Archie is no Mad Dog. QUICK! GET JUGHEAD AND BETTY TO SOLVE THE MOST IMPORTANT MYSTERY OF THE SEASON: WHERE IS MAD DOG?! (Next: Jughead and Betty meet the Gargoyle King)