It might be 2020, but nothing’s changed in Riverdale: Bret is still the worst, Veronica still hates Hiram, and Cheryl is still the HBIC of the Vixens … for the most part.
It’s Spirit Week at the school, the week leading up to the big state championship football game! Thanks to Monroe, the Bulldogs have finally done something right and made it to the big game where they’ll face … the Stonewall Prep Stallions? Okay, hold on. You’re trying to tell me that this private school full of rich kids with names like Bret Weston Wallis has a good football team?! That might be the most unrealistic thing Riverdale‘s ever done. Sports is like the ONE THING public schools have over private schools! DON’T TAKE THAT AWAY FROM THEM!
But of course, there’s a catch: The Stallions are good because they cheat. As Betty discovers while writing an article on the game, the Stallions consistently injure the star player of their opponent and yet somehow have never been caught? As Bret tells Betty in a scene that will make you hate him even more than you already do: “Sweetheart, it’s not a knitting circle.” I’ve honestly never wanted to punch a fictional character in the face so bad. He explains that football is “social Darwinism in uniforms.” According to Bret, “Football is a sport of gladiators and you win by debilitating and slaughtering your enemies.” So it’s official: The only thing worse than jocks talking about football is intellectuals talking about football.
And cue the Stallions taking a golf club to Monroe’s knee, after which the Bulldogs show up at Jug’s new school and start a fight where Bret seems genuinely surprised that he can bleed? Does he think he’s a god?
Ultimately, Archie’s uncle picks him up from jail after the fight, which brings us to Frank! Remember Frank? He’s been staying at the community center for a while now, and Archie decides it’s time for them to tell his mom. Spoiler: She’s NOT a fan of Frank but decides he can work at Andrews Construction until he screws it up. Archie and Frank then bond over boxing, which leads to the greatest line of the episode as Archie excitedly tells Frank, “Well this one time I boxed a bear!” Oh, Riverdale. Never change.
But things eventually get complicated with Frank, as they always do. After Archie learns that his dad took the blame for Frank’s DUI back in the day, he confronts his uncle. They talk it out, but when Frank offers Monroe some drugs to play through the pain, Archie’s not too happy … but then Monroe plays well enough to get an offer to play at Notre Dame and suddenly Frank is sleeping at Archie’s house! Family’s complicated! (One note: Frank claims that Monroe is a grown man and he is NOT. He’s literally in high school and probably barely 18. That is all.)
Speaking of the game, we should talk about the Vixens. When Mr. Honey brings in the cheer squad’s new coach, Ms. Appleyard — who wears a sports bra to coach teens? — Cheryl has them go on strike, at least until Honey threatens to ban them from prom. In the end, Cheryl locks Ms. Appleyard in a classroom so the Vixens can do their thing … and they do. However, their musical number isn’t good enough to cheer the Bulldogs to victory.
And here’s where we need to discuss something: This is the STATE CHAMPIONSHIP and yet the final score of the game is 7-6!!! Are these the worst teams in history?! THAT’S ONE TOUCHDOWN A PIECE. What has been happening this whole time?! Anyway, the Bulldogs lose when they don’t land a two-point conversion and it’s less than exciting.
While all of this has been going on, Veronica’s been doing what she does best — fighting with Hiram. She launches her rum, which she’s somehow able to sell despite the fact that she came up with the recipe and SHE’S NOT EVEN OLD ENOUGH TO CONSUME ALCOHOL!!! Who would buy rum from a child!? Well, not many people get the chance before Hiram delivers a cease and desist. It seems a chemist compared their rums and decided the recipes are too similar. But by episode’s end, she gets an idea: Combine her rum with the Blossom maple syrup!
Also, at some point during the football game, she keys Hiram’s car I guess? She should know by now that Reggie’s epic revenge plans are anything but epic.
Over at Stonewall Prep, Jughead gets a new laptop — a welcome gift from Quill and Skull — and a Yale interview despite NEVER APPLYING. Because that happens. DuPont claims his friend is the recruiter and that he slipped him some of Jug’s stories. Jug is hesitant seeing as how it’s Betty’s dream school and she was rejected, but ultimately, he sits down for the interview, at which point he’s praised and then … offered a spot? THIS IS NOT HOW COLLEGE HAPPENS, KIDS!!!
Speaking of things Betty doesn’t love, she also discovers that Jug is in a secret society in this episode when she sends Veronica into a Stonewall party as part of an undercover operation. Ultimately she and Jughead work it out but according to the flashforward that takes us one month into the future, Bret claims Betty gets what she wanted: Jug isn’t going to Yale (because he’s dead) and Bret and Betty are?! So somehow Betty got in? I’m still very confused about all of this.
One more thing you should know: As the final part of Jug’s initiation into Quill and Skull, he had to divulge his “deepest, darkest secret,” which isn’t a thing I believe people can just come up with on-demand. Donna’s has to do with an uncle who made a pass at her when she was 13 and led to her cutting herself. Bret is about a night he spent with a hooker at 14 because he was scared his father would kill him if he didn’t. And Jug goes with a night where he watched some drunken businessmen beat up the guy who used to protect him from junkies when he was homeless. He says not doing anything to help is his greatest shame, a story he hasn’t even told Betty. I weirdly don’t feel like it’s even remotely the darkest story he has, but we’ll go with it.
Overall, it was a fairly uneventful episode back. Mostly, at this point, I’m just excited we’re getting closer to answers about Jughead’s death (and I hope they’re juicy.)
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