Did you guys forget that Archie was in juvie? Because I definitely did. But thankfully, that story came to an end with this week’s episode, though it’s an end that makes absolutely no sense. Also, why didn’t they break Mad Dog out?! Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself.
We start with the excruciatingly annoying Jughead — Jughead on G&G is next level — leading the Serpents in a game of G&G while Archie and Joaquin attempt to break out of juvie by climbing a fence … while the guards watch? Hey, what did you expect from Archie Andrews, some sort of genius escape? Of course, it fails, which lands Archie in hot water with the warden. As for Jug, he’s in hot water — though not hot enough, if you ask me — with Betty, who walks into Dilton’s bunker to discover that Jug’s new favorite word is “ascend.”
Betty starts to tell Jug all about their parents, but the more information Jug gets, the more annoying he gets. Jughead’s theory is that they’ve all been playing this game for a lot longer than they even know. After all, the Serpents and the Ghoulies are the warring tribes. Their mission to rescue Hot Dog? What if it was a quest? Most importantly, the realm in the game is called Eldarvire — spelling? — which is an anagram of Riverdale. Furthermore, Jug thinks the entire game is an analog of Riverdale.
Hearing all about Jug’s mission to become a game master and meet the Gargoyle King, Betty decides to leave her annoying boyfriend to his game in the bunker — but without even trying to slap some sense into him?! — while she tries to figure out which of their parents is to blame for Principal Featherhead’s death. Her thinking is simple: If they can figure that out, maybe they can figure out who is running the game now.
While Betty fills in Reggie, Kevin, and Josie and gets them to talk to their parents, Archie finds himself strapped to a bed. Apparently his punishment for leading a failed escape is to be branded BECAUSE THAT SEEMS FAIR. When Veronica gets word about the failed escape, she puts in a call to her friend Elio, who gets her an invite to fight night, where apparently the worst security guards in the world work. This is a fight club filled with juvenile delinquents who are currently serving time, and yet Veronica gets 20 minutes alone with Archie in a locker room?! But don’t worry guards, it’s not like they’re going to be smart with their extensive time together. Instead of using that time strategically, teenage boy Archie immediately picks Veronica up and decides now is a good time to have sex. Thankfully, that only takes, I’d guess five minutes, and then they’re able to come up with a plan: He might not be able to break out of juvie, but he could break out of this place. (Honestly, if they had skipped the sex, they probably could’ve snuck out the back by now based on the security level I’m seeing.)
Archie tells Veronica that there’s a drain under the fighting ring (at the bottom of the pool), so they make a plan for Archie to try and crawl through the drain. When? Archie says his next fight is coming up fast, and Veronica decides that’s when they’ll break him out. Ummm except “my next fight is coming up fast” is not a date! You need an actual plan, guys!!!
From crazy town to crazier town, Jug is in his trailer when Toni and Cheryl ask for his help. It seems Sweet Pea and Fangs have stolen Cheryl’s bow and arrow because they want to train for quests in the real world. But it’s Jug’s decision when they go off-board, and to prove that he’s the man in charge, he asks Dead Eye — I’m sorry, Cheryl’s name is Dead Eye?! — to shoot a can off her head. Of course, she does it, and it’s not even the riskiest thing in that scene if you ask me: Did you see Cheryl’s white jeans?
Jughead then tells Sweet Pea it’s his turn, and when he doesn’t want to risk it, Jug is all “I’m game master. Don’t defy me again.” Ugh, booooo. I wish Cheryl had hit Jug with that arrow.
FP tries to talk some sense into his son, but when Jug makes it known that Alice told Betty all about the Midnight Club, FP doesn’t have much ground to stand on. And as for the other parents, Reggie’s father apparently punches his son in the face when he asks about the game — suddenly I’m wondering why there isn’t more backstory for Reggie? Are we just accepting this abuse and moving on? — and Kevin and Josie’s parents lie to their kids before changing the conversation by announcing their engagement! If you ask me, Sierra is smart to lock Tom down. Talk about the real hottie of Riverdale. (Next: Archie escapes)
Just as Betty is figuring out what to do next with her investigation, the entire thing gets put on pause: Veronica needs everyone’s help breaking Archie out of juvie. Betty tries to get Jughead involved but when he starts talking about how it’s the perfect addition to the next “quest” that he’s planning, she leaves him and the other Serpents in the bunker.
As for Archie, he’s having his last dinner with the warden, who informs him that his next fight will be his last. Knowing that, Archie decides to try to get some answers, and apparently, the warden is totes fine giving them. Archie asks how Hiram framed him for murder, and the warden informs him that Hiram paid each of Cassidy Bullock’s friends $10,000 to lie under oath and say they saw Archie pull the trigger. As for those friends, they’re now in hiding. With one last question, Archie asks the warden if Hiram owns him too, but the warden claims “My soul belongs to no mere mortal.” The warden believes that the judgment of men is the job of “he who resides in the kingdom alone,” our first hint that the warden could very well be playing G&G and talking about the Gargoyle King.
And here’s where things get interesting. As Jughead and the Serpents play a game of G&G about rescuing the Red Paladin, his voiceover perfectly matches Veronica and company’s rescue mission of Archie. So could everyone be playing G&G without realizing it?
As for that rescue mission, it gets off to a bumpy start when Joaquin does what the warden tells him to do in order to “ascend,” which is kiss Archie and then stab him. By the time Archie walks into his final fight, he’s wounded, and that’s when he realizes he’s going to be fighting MAD DOG!!!! My favorite character is back!!!
While Archie fights my precious Mad Dog, Veronica comes face-to-face with her father on the way to execute her plan, but it’s nothing the stomp of a stiletto can’t solve. She, Josie, and Reggie all get into place before dropping soda cans that are homemade gas bombs — because sure, I’ll believe that these kids know how to make those — into the pool. With the distraction set, Mad Dog promises to hold off the guards while Archie goes for the drain. (Again, Mad Dog is the BEST.)
At the other end of the drain, Kevin finds Joaquin in the woods — so does ascending mean escaping? Kevin goes after him, leaving Betty to unlock the grate and help Archie out. Thank goodness Archie’s tattoo proved that he’s one large human antibiotic, otherwise I’d be real worried about all of the crap that just got into his OPEN ABDOMEN WOUND.
Kevin, unable to track down Joaquin, returns for the final part of the plan: Betty and Kevin (posing as Archie) lead the cops on a motorcycle chase through the woods, thereby giving Veronica, Reggie, and Josie enough time to get Archie to Dilton’s bunker, where Toni patches him up.
There, Veronica makes everyone in the bunker swear to keep the secret of the bunker’s location and the breakout that just happened. Suddenly, they’re all their parents. The only problem? Do they think Arch is just going to live in this bunker forever? Usually, when someone breaks out of prison, they have to go on the run or at the very least make it to another country. This is, shockingly, a terrible plan!
Veronica has to return home, but Jughead and Betty agree to sit with Archie and keep watch while he sleeps. They briefly discuss the fact that the warden called Archie the “Red Paladin” and branded Archie with a runic symbol from the game before Betty tells Jug to go home and get some rest.
As for the warden, he’s in his office holding two cards: One that says Red Paladin and another that says “Kill the Red Paladin.” Clearly, he failed the second card, so he puts some cyanide into a blue drink and takes his own life.
Then there’s Reggie, Kevin, and Josie, who decide to start playing the game too. And finally, there’s Jug, who spots the Gargoyle King in the woods on his way home, and then he kneels.
I will say that although I find Jug and just about anyone who’s playing the game to be incredibly annoying, I’m kind of into the idea that Riverdale is nothing if not one huge game of G&G. If we were to find out that everything that’s happened in this town has been the work of some creepy tree creature, well, it actually might make more sense?