THAT EPISODE WAS SO BONKERS THAT MAYBE IT WAS GREAT? Welcome to the inside of my head after witnessing Betty disarm a bomb with a bobby pin, Edgar make a rocket and dress as Evel Knievel, and all of the other madness that just occurred! Let’s get into it. (Warning: I’m starting with the more boring stuff to get it out of the way.)
We start with Monroe telling Archie that he caught his little brother Malcolm hanging at an arcade known for being popular with drug dealers. Translation: They need that community center now! They have to keep the kids out of the arcades at all costs!!! But there’s a problem, and it’s not Archie’s IQ for once — though that is always, just generally, a problem. They need money. In order to properly renovate the gym and install a second bathroom, they have to find roughly $40,000, and because Archie refuses to take charity from his girlfriend, he spends the episode trying to come up with other ways to make money. Veronica’s idea? A car wash where all the teenage boys take off their shirts and show off their abs! And it works! If you consider $400 a success … which they don’t. As Veronica puts it, “I think I overestimated the financial pull of your pectorals.”
Mary tries to convince Archie to come back to Chicago with her, but doesn’t she realize that Chicago is far too cold for him to be shirtless all the time?! During their chat, Mary lets it slip that he has a college fund. To that, Archie says, “I have money?” Um, you have a college fund. There’s a difference. Then again, this kid isn’t going to college, let’s be real.
After Archie tells his mom that he’s not giving up on Riverdale, he goes and grabs a hoodie and a baseball bat, fully proving mom’s point that “no one is safe” in Riverdale. Archie then heads to the arcade, beats up the drug dealer and some nearby kids and then steals their money. Again, never going to college. This guy belongs in Riverdale.
But as Monroe later informs Archie, they can’t use the money he stole because it’s dirty. They have to clean it first. So Archie, who refuses to accept money from his girlfriend based on principle, is TOTALLY FINE asking his girlfriend to launder money for him?! Little does Archie know that Veronica already gave Mary a check for $40,000, and she’s also too smart to go anywhere near dirty money. She advises Archie to burn it.
In the end, Mary shows up at the community center to say goodbye, suitcase in hand and everything, when she sees Monroe teaching kids how to throw punches. And that image just warms Mary’s heart so much that she wheels her suitcase into Archie’s office and tells him she’s staying in Riverdale and wants to help make his community center a non-profit organization! Aren’t moms the best?!
Elsewhere, Jughead spends the episode getting to know his new school, and I’d like to formally apologize to you all about the fact that I totally missed that this guy’s name is BRET WESTON WALLACE. Well played, Riverdale writers. Well played. But before we get to the Bret of it all, let’s talk about Moose! Because he’s back! And he’s Jughead’s roomie! And he … goes by Marmaduke now?! And, for the record, he’s bisexual, a fact that Jughead learns when he walks in on Marmaduke with Donna. Perhaps the biggest shocker of this episode? Moose getting someone to sleep with him with a name like Marmaduke!!!
In class, Jughead clashes with Bret. They criticize each other’s writing, and in the end, they both suck! Although I would like to call out the moment when, after Bret started antagonizing Jughead by attacking his trashy family, Jughead tells him, “Try writing a compelling drama instead of starting it.” Is this consider a diss in a preppy school?
And to wrap up that story, I should mention that Bret ends the episode by revealing Moose’s past — including his name and I never thought I’d be so happy to call somebody “Moose” again! — and the fact that his dad impersonated the Gargoyle King. So much for getting laid, buddy!
Meanwhile, at Thistlehouse, Toni tries to hire a night nurse to help with Nana Rose and the twins — because Cheryl and Toni are kind of raising twins on their own?! — but Cheryl fires him when he goes into the basement. And speaking of the basement and Cheryl’s dead brother, A RAT CRAWLS OUT OF HIS STOMACH!!!!! And just as Cheryl’s sewing it up with red thread — naturally — Toni walks in. Cheryl then calmly asks her girlfriend, “You’ve never met Jason, have you?” Can you imagine what’s going through Toni’s mind right now?!
Okay, last order of business before we can get to the good stuff: Hiram escapes prison — apparently, he can come and go as he pleases — to tell Veronica that he changed his name from Jaime Luna to Hiram Lodge back in the day. As he tells her, he wasn’t born Hiram Lodge, he became him. In other words, he’s Bane-in-reverse now: “I merely adopted the dark; I wasn’t born in it.” Of course, Veronica defies him instantly, but instead of Veronica Gomez, she changes her name to Veronica Luna. Oh and Hiram’s back in prison. For now.
FINALLY! Let’s talk about some of the craziest stuff Riverdale has EVER done!!! Okay SO, now that the FBI knows where Edgar is staying, Betty wants to know what they’re waiting for, to which Charles says, “Have you ever heard of Waco, Betty?” And honestly, that’s the most I’ve ever liked Charles.
But when Edgar calls Betty from her mom’s phone and makes some demands, things really get going. For starters, I love that the last time we saw Edgar he was this very mild-mannered, charismatic guy who loved nothing more than a good vest and a harvested organ. And now? He’s doing his best “Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” impression with his yellow flowered shirt that he REFUSES to close. It’s almost like this wardrobe change is supposed to tell us everything we’re meant to know about his mental state. When he was okay, he put thought into his wardrobe and wore vests. Now, he won’t even button up a shirt let alone a vest! Look out, this man is unhinged!!!
When he calls Betty, Edgar asks for $250,000, passports for his followers, food, water, AND a bus — all of which he’d like in five hours, because that’s a reasonable time frame?!
The governor refuses to negotiate with a cult leader, so the next time Edgar calls Betty, Charles tells her to buy them some time. She then proceeds to put the call on speakerphone and NOT mute it. Instead, whenever Charles speaks, she simply holds the phone behind her back?! Edgar can definitely hear him!! These FBI agents suck.
But it doesn’t really matter because all Charles wants is for Edgar to release a hostage and it seems he already has: Just then, Polly enters the FBI station wearing a bomb strapped to her chest. AND HERE’S WHERE WE NEED TO TALK.
Betty is standing next to her FBI agent of a brother, surrounded by other trained professionals, and Charles turns to the TEENAGE GIRL in the room and tells her that SHE needs to figure out which wire to cut. I’m sorry, WHAT?! Literally, anyone else in this room would be more qualified!!! Then, to make things better/worse, Betty instantly deduces which wire needs to be cut. Of course, she’s wrong, and the timer starts ticking down even faster. Charles, who’s 4 feet away and really should just get in there and help, tells her to locate the pin on the dead man’s switch but apparently, Edgar took it. So while Charles tells everyone to get back because the bomb is about to blow, Betty refuses to walk away. She can’t stop thinking about how they need a pin … a pin … where can she get a pin … OH MY GOD HER ICONIC PONYTAIL IS FULL OF BOBBY PINS!!!!
Betty then proceeds to …. disarm a bomb … with a bobby pin. So I guess she’s MacGyver now and WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!
THEN, Polly tells Betty to give Edgar what he wants, so Betty takes matters into her own hands: She goes to Veronica for the $250,000, she goes to Toni for the passports, and then she somehow manages to steal a bus from school?! Maybe they heard about her bomb move and decided to give her whatever she wanted?
Betty then pulls up to Edgar’s motel where Evelyn promptly knocks her out. She wakes up in a room next to her mom. They’re both tied up as Alice explains Edgar’s plan: Evelyn is going to drive a bus full of Farmies off a cliff AS A DISTRACTION while Edgar takes off IN HIS ROCKET!!!! No, he didn’t buy a rocket. He BUILT one. As for Alice and Betty, they’ll be tied to the front of the bus as shields. So when Edgar loses his mind he REALLY loses it.
But let’s not forget that Betty is a secret agent now, so she successfully breaks them both out, takes Evelyn’s gun, and starts loading Farmies onto the bus to try to save them. And here’s where I have another issue: The Farmies just obey Betty and Alice?! They try to throw in a line about how, if you speak with authority, cult members will do anything you say, but I … don’t agree? These people worship Edgar. It’s why they’re in this cult. They also know that he dislikes Alice and Betty. They wouldn’t just follow them onto a bus!!!
To be fair, Fangs does try to yell that Betty’s a traitor, but Betty, the assassin, knocks him out before he can. Then there’s Principal Weatherbee, who lost a finger when Edgar thought he was the mole, poor dude. Speaking of Edgar, Alice turns and spots him, which leads us to the greatest visual of the episode: Edgar is watching from above, posing on a stairwell like he’s in GQ, wearing his Evel Knievel jumpsuit under a leather jacket with a popped collar and reader, I laughed SO hard.
Alice takes the gun from Betty and goes after Edgar. She finds him on the roof about to climb into the rocket he clearly modeled after a toy he had as a child. Does this thing even have a roof?! The aerodynamics of this are all wrong.
Apparently, this is Edgar’s great plan to ascend, and he’s made himself a jumpsuit with his name on the belt! But when he pulls a gun on Alice, she shoots him dead. As she tells Betty when she asks what happened, “Edgar ascended.” BOOM. ROASTED.
The episode then ends with Jughead trying to act like his day was even half as interesting at Betty’s before the doorbell at his house rings and on his doorstep they find … a tape? So if they watch it they’ll die in 7 days?! We’ll find out next week!
I truly don’t know if what I just watched was off-the-rails terrible or great. I’m going to be honest, all of the stuff outside of Betty’s story was just fine, but the fact that the writers went SO INSANE with Edgar means I’m giving this episode an A. I’m not entirely sure why, but if they’re leaning into it, I guess I will too?
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