Well, it might be a new year, but if there’s one thing you can believe, it’s that Riverdale is just as crazy as ever. This week’s midseason premiere caught us up on the state of things: Archie is living that cabin life with Vegas in Canada, and the town of Riverdale had its quarantine lifted but is experiencing a very high crime rate, mostly because Cheryl and Toni like breaking into houses together. It turns them on. Then there’s Veronica’s speakeasy — which is busier than ever — and Betty’s house, which is also … busier than ever.
Not only does Alice allow Jug to sleep over in Betty’s bed, but she allows all of the children from the Sisters of Quiet Mercy to sleep on her living room floor. But when Betty discovers that one of the kids is sneaking Fizzle Rocks — classic Tyler — Betty discovers the drugs came from a Serpent. So naturally, Jug calls a Serpent meeting to order, during which he puts an end to all illegal activity by Serpents. Break the new code and they will be exiled.
Meanwhile, Reggie is driving some beer across the border — why is his truck so old? And why isn’t Archie running a brewery by now? — when the Gargoyle Gang attacks him on behalf of Hiram. It seems Papa Lodge wants 10 percent of Veronica’s earnings, but she only wants to give him five. When the two finally meet, Hiram asks for 15, and Veronica agrees to 10, but when she tries to cook the books, things backfire. If Veronica wants his protection, he wants a full 15 percent … as well as the very fancy egg that Cheryl and Toni stole from his apartment.
That brings Veronica to Jug’s doorstep. If he can get her the egg back, she agrees to employ the Serpents as her protection, thereby eliminating the need for Hiram altogether. Of course, Jug has to exile Toni, Cheryl, and Fangs — who was the one dealing Fizzle Rocks — to make the deal, but he does it. And by the end of the episode, the Serpents make sure the Gargoyle Gang knows they’re Team Veronica.
Back at Betty’s house, Alice is sick of housing all the children, but Betty doesn’t want to send them to the Farm. She’s their Gryphon Queen! She has to take care of them! (But she can’t even find them some new clothes?) Betty’s plan is to keep them safe until they can get the nuns to testify against Hiram, but the only problem is that the nuns have taken a vow of silence. Sucks, right? BUT WAIT! WHO IS THIS NEW WOMAN IN BETTY’S HOUSE?! Wouldn’t you know it’s a super helpful social worker (whom we’ll probably never see again) with JUST the piece of knowledge Betty needs!
Apparently, the church disbanded the Sisters of Quiet Mercy for cruel and inhumane practices — can you imagine? — and they haven’t been nuns for more than 60 years. Translation: A vow of silence won’t hold up in court. And so, Sister Woodhouse agrees to testify against Hiram, though I’m not sure McCoy knows how the law works if she thinks she can tell her exactly what to say on the stand? (Next: Archie doesn’t look so good)
But that doesn’t matter anyway because by the end of the episode, Hiram posts the nuns’ bail and they rush back to the Gargoyle King’s chambers and drink cyanide. As for the kids, Alice ships them off to the Farm. So yeah, Betty’s not having a lot of luck. (Also, Tyler claims he saw the Gargoyle King in the forest, so that’s … weird.)
As for Veronica, she returns the egg to her father … in pieces. And it’s accompanied by a note that says: “New deal. No deal.” She then sings her heart out at her speakeasy until Reggie returns AND THEY KISS!! I, for one, am super into this couple. Sorry, Arch!
Actually, speaking of Archie, he gets attacked by a bear. I’m not even kidding. And I know what you’re thinking: DON’T WORRY, VEGAS IS FINE. (Was that just me?)
After Archie is attacked in the woods, he and (a totally fine) Vegas make it back to the cabin and put in a distress call before he does a truly terrible job dressing his own wounds. Also, when asked how severe his injuries are, he says “it’s bad,” so the poor dude isn’t even good at distress calls.
What happens next is … confusing. I guess he passes out? Or he’s hallucinating? Either way, suddenly he’s sitting in the cabin with Cassidy Bullock and the three dead guys from the mines and they want him to play G&G. They claim it’s the only way he can get back to Riverdale (or Eladrevir, if you prefer). Archie’s first task is to defeat the Black Hood, so he goes back in time to the moment before the Hood shot his father and he takes him down. Suddenly, he’s playing the game with Warden Norton, and now his task is to kill the Gargoyle King/Man in Black/Hiram.
And so, Archie stabs Hiram, no questions asked. And that gets him to the final level: He’s playing with Betty, Jug, and Veronica, and his task? To kill the guy who got himself into this mess: Himself. With a bat in his hand, he finds himself in his own bedroom telling his father that this is all his fault for being weak and stupid. (Wait, is Archie literally beating the dumb out of himself and is suddenly going to be super smart now?! I wouldn’t hate it.)
Archie smashes his own face in and it … works? Well, I don’t know because I don’t know what it was. All I know is that by the time help finally gets to Archie, he’s lost a lot of blood and he’s lying on his bed with his eyes open. So maybe it didn’t work. I’m confident that he’s not actually dead, but I am curious to see how that game plays into anything moving forward.
All in all, the episode was totally and completely fine. The Archie stuff was so weird, I thought I wasn’t going to like it, but now I’m on the fence? At the end of the day, I’m just so, so happy that Vegas is okay.