I’m just going to say it: I don’t like Frank. I didn’t trust him before this episode, but any man who punches the gorgeous Tom Keller in the face is DONE in my book. But Frank and Tom weren’t the only two battling it out this week. Let’s break down this episode of Riverdale battle by battle, shall we?
Betty vs. Bret (and also her father, and also sometimes Jughead)
These days, Betty is devoting all her energy to defeating Bret in the quiz show, at least when she’s not having sex with Jughead, angry at Jughead, or taking out her rage on her father’s grave. It all starts when Jughead lets it slip that he got into Yale and then Bret lets it slip that Jughead is writing about the Black Hood — sorry, the Brown Hood — in his Baxter Brothers novel. Then, to add to Betty’s no good, very bad day, Charles tells her that the reason she didn’t get into Yale is because her father was a murderer and they didn’t want that getting out.
After Betty takes a sledgehammer to her father’s gravestone — in a very weird slow-mo moment — Jughead shows up and apologizes for the Baxter Brothers novel. She apologizes for saying he didn’t deserve Yale, and the two of them seem good… for now. In fact, they’re better than good because somehow Jug gets the Yale recruiter to come to the quiz show and agree that if Betty wins, she’ll get another shot at Yale. Because THAT happens.
Approximately 50 questions and one Mean Girls reference later, Betty wins!! And she didn’t even use the answers her mom slipped into the green room! Sucks to be a rich kid when the final question is about cars, amirite? Bret probably has a driver.
However, the win is short-lived because apparently Betty is dumber than I thought. She tore up the answers her mom left her, and then she threw them out IN THE GREEN ROOM?! Come on, Betty. That’s a rookie move. Naturally, someone pieced them back together and accused her of cheating, an action that gets Betty and Alice both suspended.
And here’s where things take a turn: A pissed-off Jughead thinks Bret set Betty up, so he challenges him TO A DUEL, which is a thing that kids in the Quill and Skull society do?! What year is it?! Bret agrees, and then we cut to four weeks later as a crying Betty tells Archie she’s not sure how to go on without Jug. Archie then takes her hand, in a moment that feels like it could be about more than friendship, and tells her they’ll get through it together.
Cheryl and Veronica vs. Hiram
After Cheryl and Veronica get a scientist to confirm that their maple-based rum is different enough from Hiram’s molasses-based rum, they make an incredibly stupid move and take the product to Hiram to let him know that the rum war is back on. Why tell him?! You’re just asking for what happens next: After the ladies reopen Le Bonne Nuit as a dance club where they can sell mocktails and hand out samples of their rum, Hiram enters with the police for a raid. And once he finds the bottles of rum they’re hiding behind closed doors, he… takes a sledgehammer to them? I’m pretty sure that’s not how raids work, but man does this episode love sledgehammers. Did the writers just discover them or something?
The one good thing that comes out of the raid is Cheryl gets an idea: They keep Le Bonne Nuit open as a distraction and move their rum business to the Maple Club. In other words, they’re reopening Penelope’s old brothel as a “social club offering exclusivity, discretion, and high-end maple-centric liquor.” Is this where I insert my weekly reminder that these are TEENAGERS?!
Cheryl asks Penelope to run the club as a live-in manager, which is an upgrade from the cellar (which must have a shower considering how good Penelope looks). But to get the gig, Penelope has to agree to wear a mask and an ankle monitor.
Tom Keller vs. Frank Andrews
When Archie makes Frank the new foreman of Andrews Construction, he replaces Tom Keller, and — surprise! — it’s a bad decision. Not only does Frank let everyone leave work early to get some beers while Tom stays behind and balances the books, but he turns down a job that would have brought in some serious money and pisses off the crew. THEN he steals — or, as he puts it, “borrows against his future salary” — $200 so that he can gamble. In his defense, he does it in the hopes that he can make enough money to pay the guys their Christmas bonuses, but it’s still a truly terrible idea.
After Tom and Frank get in a fistfight, Tom quits and Archie has a chat with his uncle. The gambling worked, and Archie is able to give everyone a bonus, but when he asks Tom to return — this time as foreman — he says no. He doesn’t want to be anywhere near Frank when he takes down Fred’s company.
Kevin vs. Tickling?
After a truly weird date with some guy named Terry, Kevin gets into making tickling videos? Guys, what is happening?! Not only does Kevin make a video for $5,000 — apparently he’s a natural because of his “great laugh” — but then he invites Fangs to get in on the action. Honestly, I’d rather this show not write Kevin a story than give him THIS.
All in all, I’m not a big fan of the episode. The Cheryl-Veronica stuff is fun, but I don’t care about Frank, and this tickling business is a bridge too far, friends.
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