Credit: Dean Buscher/The CW
Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter
S4 E6
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Hiram is back, y’all. And he’s shirtless! But we’ll get there. First, we have to deal with more of this Archie vs. Dodger business.

Despite Archie and Veronica’s best efforts to employ every downtrodden teen at Pop’s, they can’t save the whole town, and quite frankly, they’re pissing Dodger off. So it’s no surprise when they show up one day and find the community center’s been trashed. Well, at least it’s no surprise to everyone except Reggie. “Who did this?” precious Reggie asks, completely oblivious to everything that’s been going on. Arch calls FP, who promises to put a night patrol on Sketch Alley. So if we didn’t already have proof that FP shouldn’t be a cop, he didn’t have a patrol on a place called SKETCH ALLEY.

But when FP raids the arcade in hopes of catching Dodger, he fails. It seems Dodger is a little too good at keeping his hands clean. More bad news? Dodger knows that Archie is the masked vigilante running around town, a sentence that still makes me laugh. Just as Archie turns the community center into an arcade — because sure — Reggie informs him that “some guy named Dodger” is outside. HAVE YOU BEEN PAYING ATTENTION, REGGIE?! How do you not know who Dodger is??

Outside, Archie has his tenth confrontation with Dodger, and when it doesn’t go anywhere, Dodger shoots up Archie’s house. It’s then that Archie realizes it’s time for him to get his hands dirty … sort of. With Hiram out of prison, Archie gets an idea. After turning down Hiram’s offer of a blank check, Archie asks him to help with the Dodger situation. Hiram, the master of keeping his hands clean, says no, but the next day, Archie and Reggie arrive at the community center to find a beaten-up Dodger wrapped up in a rug. Together, they call an ambulance.

Also happening with Hiram? As Phoebe Buffay would say, “He uses sex as a weapon!” With Hermione attempting to rejoin the workforce as a hostess at Veronica’s speakeasy, Hiram shows up at her place late at night, takes off his shirt to remind her what he’s working with, and reminds her that as his wife, she’d never have to work. He then proceeds to seduce her by telling her, “Some couples, they tie each other up to spice things up, but you and me, we order hits.” You know, because tying someone up is the same as MURDER!! Don’t fall for it Hermione! His abs are great, but living is better!!

But spoiler: She really likes his abs. Not only does she sleep with him, but the next day, they announce they’re planning a vow renewal. Veronica is rightfully flabbergasted by the news, but Hiram knows what’s really getting to her: He thinks she’s jealous of Hermosa. He tries to tell Veronica that she’s his favorite, and Hermosa even shows up at Pop’s to tell her that there’s good in their father, but when Veronica discovers that Hermosa has replaced the painting above Hiram’s desks with a painting of her, well, Veronica ditches the vow renewal ceremony and makes sure her half-sister knows that she’s not giving up her place in this family.

Elsewhere, Cheryl is dealing with the haunting of Thistlehouse. It seems she’s even been staying home from school to protect Nana Rose and the babies from Julian’s ghost. So when Toni convinces her she has to go to school, Cheryl — clearly a Supernatural fan — puts the doll inside a salt circle thinking the evil spirit won’t be able to cross it. And yet, somehow, Dagwood ends up choking on a ping pong ball, which seems rather LARGE for a baby. Don’t worry, the baby is fine, and all of this leads to Cheryl yelling, “Damn you, demon doll!” which brought me so much joy.

One thing that doesn’t bring Cheryl joy, however, is the moment her aunt and uncle show up at Thistlehouse and she faints. Apparently, the family needs Cheryl’s signature to sell the maple syrup business, and she’s almost on board until they ask to see the family’s chapel. Cheryl then snaps and orders them to leave, which only makes them curious. And when they discover that Cheryl’s put a chain on the chapel’s gate, they declare she’s having a psychotic break and they intend to declare her unfit before selling everything.

By episode’s end, Uncle Bedford finds his way to the chapel and discovers Jason, but Toni’s there to … kill him? (She did it in the chapel with a candlestick!) I’m not positive he’s dead — he could be unconscious — but the bigger question is: Why isn’t Toni getting Cheryl help?! If I were her, I’d kind of side with Cheryl’s family? This dead brother thing has gone on too long! But we’ll deal with that, hopefully, later.

On the Betty/Jughead front, Jughead spends the episode solving the mystery of who wrote the first Baxter Brothers book. And how does he solve it? SYNTAX!!! You can tell so much by syntax!! And Jug claims that there’s a clear difference between the writing in the first book and books 2-5. Mr. DuPont supposedly wrote the first five but what if … Jug’s grandfather wrote the first one?!

Thanks to a helpful girlfriend and some literary magazine archives, Jughead finds his proof that the first book was his grandfather’s, but when he brings that proof to Mr. DuPont, the man is LIVID. Mr. Chipping, however, seems willing to help. He agrees that the syntax is all the proof they need — it’s SO obvious!!! (I mean, did you see the differences in syntax?!)

But the day after Mr. Chipping sides with Jughead, he tells the class “I’m sorry Jughead … that I couldn’t help you” and then runs and swan dives out the window!!!! There’s a lot to unpack here guys. Who kills themselves by swan diving out a window?! And I just have to say: Mr. Chipping had no momentum, and that old-school stained glass looked THICK. I fully don’t believe that glass would’ve broken. But all that aside, WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! That feels like such an odd way to kill someone. Then there’s the fact that the rest of Jug’s classmates didn’t flinch when it happened?? Does this happen a lot at this school? Or are we going to find out these kids are robots?

Aaand to wrap up that story: Mr. DuPont is the new teacher, so sucks to be Jug.

As for Betty, she’s dealing with the Charles of it all. When she visits Chic in prison, he tells her that Charles stabbed a man to death when they lived together at a youth hostel. Of course, Charles denies it and even takes a polygraph test, during which he says Chic was the murderer and they dissolved the body in a bathtub. (So clearly they watched Breaking Bad. Or maybe didn’t.) Also on the polygraph, Charles claims that his big secret is that he’s a recovering addict. (He’s lying. But we’ll get to that.)

After Betty’s visit to Chic, Chic tells the cops about the man Alice murdered in the kitchen. Furthermore, he tells the cops where to find the body. Thankfully, FP and Charles are there to take care of it, and together they move the body. And after Charles does THAT, Betty decides he’s trustworthy.

BUT HE’S NOT! The episode ends with Charles visiting Chic in prison and telling him that the plan went “smooth as cream, babe.” BABE! They’re in this together and they’re LOVERS!!! Now THIS is the kind of ridiculousness I want from this show. If only we didn’t have to sit through the boring Archie-Dodger stuff — and the Cheryl-Jason story that will never end — to get here.

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Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter
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