I feel like I’ve maintained a pretty steady attitude about this season thus far: Confused but loving it. But after this episode, I’ve got to admit, I’m more confused than I am loving it. I’m not disliking it, by any means, but my confusion has simply trumped every other emotion at the moment. Are you confused by this recap now? Great! Welcome to my world!
The episode starts with our first mass seizure — because one-person seizures are SO last year — which hits the Vixens, including Toni and Veronica. So, of course, Cheryl takes Toni home to care for her, where she also asks her to move in with her, which simply reminded me that we haven’t seen much of these two this season. As for Veronica, her parents take her back to the Pembrooke to look after her, but she quickly overhears them talking about how Hiram wasn’t supposed to go through with something if Veronica could get sick. So basically it sounds like Hiram is the mastermind here, which is not shocking.
But when Hermione and Hiram try to send Veronica to New York, she realizes something big must be coming. Veronica asks Reggie to find out some info on the Gargoyles handing out fizzle rocks while she tries to stop her parents.
While all of this is going on, we catch up with Betty, who is NOT taking fizzle rocks! Well, she’s taking them, but she’s making herself throw up after. Yay Betty! One character we can count on! And when Betty hears about the mass seizure at school, she realizes she needs to speed up her plan. Step one: Manipulate Ethel into taking her to see the Gargoyle King, which is incredibly easy. All Betty does is pretend she’s the King’s new favorite, so Ethel takes her to his chambers so they can compare relationships. Once there, Betty shoves Ethel inside and locks the door. She explains to Ethel that the King is nothing but a hallucination, and once the drugs wear off, Betty will come back and Ethel will see the truth.
And it works! Betty returns a few hours later, and Ethel is sitting there with nothing but a statue of a gargoyle, and I instantly have questions. If the Gargoyle King is a hallucination, how did Alice see him that night at the school when she wasn’t high? Or what about the time he showed up in Betty’s home? Honestly, if the twist were that everyone in Riverdale was high all the time, this show might make a lot more sense.
Betty claims that the King they’ve seen while sober MUST BE someone dressed up as the King, but again, that raises some questions. Regardless, Betty enlists Ethel’s help in essentially kidnapping Sister Woodhouse and tying her up in the King’s chambers so that they can finally get some answers. But they do that only after B calls Veronica, a not-very-great friend for not realizing Betty was missing, and gives her a mission: Veronica and Cheryl need to get answers out of Penelope, but we’ll get to that.
As for Sister Woodhouse, she reveals that the game was started at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. For years, they used the gargoyle statue to scare kids into submission, so some of the students created the game around the idea of the Gargoyle King, and then the Sisters started using it to help focus the patients. But the game was never supposed to get out. With that, Betty and Ethel leave Sister Woodhouse behind and take her keys. They’re going to break out, and they’re taking the other girls with them. (So, apparently, Sister Woodhouse is the only person that works there if tying her up allows them all to run free?! What happened to the one-adult-to-every-five-kids ratio or whatever?)
Before we get to the breakout, let’s catch up with Jug and Archie who successfully reunite with Jug’s mom — who immediately assumes Jug and Archie are a couple — and sister, who prefers “JB” to “Jellybean.”
Gladys quickly invites them to stay for dinner, where Jug catches her up on the G&G of it all before he calls her out on the fact that her “legitimate” business is more of a chop shop. But none of that matters when Penny Peabody shows up and tries to take Archie back to Hiram. Thankfully, JB saves the day with her handy slingshot, which allows Gladys to get some alone time with Penny, otherwise known as the woman who sliced up her son’s arm. (Next: Hiram makes a big move)