Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter
S4 E19
  • TV Show

Let me start by saying it's not fair to judge this episode by typical Riverdale season finale standards, because it was never intended to be the season finale. The season, of course, was cut short when production halted due to social distancing measures, and this was simply the last episode they completed.

However, this hour did provide at least one answer in regard to the Mr. Honey of it all. Sort of. I think it did? I'm never sure. But let's get into it! The hour was broken into two stories: The fictional short story Jughead was writing to try to get into the University of Iowa called "Killing Mr. Honey," and real life.

Credit: Katie Yu/The CW

"Killing Mr. Honey"

In Jughead's twisted tale, the students decide to scare Mr. Honey with a prank: They kidnap and mapleboard him? For those wondering, yes, that's waterboarding but with maple syrup. Seriously, all of these kids need therapy.

In the story, the prank goes wrong — although I'm not sure how that was a "prank" in the first place — and Honey ends up dead. But once they get rid of the body (a typical Tuesday in this town), Reggie can't handle the guilt. He nearly tells the truth at school, which results in Jughead, Betty, and Archie deciding to cut his breaks. They kill Reggie! And Veronica seems to be the only one who has a problem with it!

So basically, in Jughead's story, they're just more extreme versions of themselves.

The Real World

After Mr. Honey refuses to publish the yearbook because Betty is two days late turning in the finished product, she suggests they kill him, which is what gives Jug the idea for his story — and which no one flags as disturbing! Betty's alternate suggestion: Scaring Honey enough so that he will leave town. That's where Reggie, Kevin, and Archie come in. While Betty hopefully heads off and talks to someone, the three of them sneak into Mr. Honey's office and pull the ol' superglue trick. By the end of the next school day, Honey is being rolled out of the school stuck to his desk chair and his phone.

Upon seeing this, Betty says, "I still think we should've killed him." Again, NO ONE BLINKS AN EYE — this is not normal!

As expected, Honey retaliates: He vows to cancel prom unless someone cops to the prank. Instead, Betty decides to research her enemy, and what she finds is that Honey has canceled prom at every high school he's worked at. So, they decide to do the one thing they never do: Get their parents involved.

If you really think about it, it's a genius plan: Between all of them, the group of parents consists of multiple ex-sheriffs, an ex-mayor, the current mayor (and kingpin), a lawyer, and a journalist. Needless to say, the plan works and prom is back on!

At least until Honey shows Betty, Jughead, and Charles a videotape that was delivered to the school. It contains creepy, highly detailed footage of the school, and seeing as how Honey considers it a threat, he once again decides to cancel least until Betty catches him in a reflection of the video and shows Charles. However, they don't think he's the town voyeur. At this point, the town voyeur has moved on to bigger things. Clearly, Honey is a classic copycat.

Just like that, Honey is fired. As he's exiting the school, he informs the students that he's lined up his next gig over at Stonewall Prep as the new headmaster (and his salary has tripled). Before the students can feel too good about what they've done, Ms. Bell, the front office woman, drops by to inform them that Honey was the best principal they've had in years. He got full scholarships for six low-income students, raised the average GPA, and had more seniors heading off to college than have gone since 1956. Not to mention the real achievement: No students died under his watch! (So was Mr. Honey...actually good??)

Before leaving, Ms. Bell hands Jughead the letter of recommendation Honey wrote him for the University of Iowa. Jug reads the letter and decides to change his short story: Now, they call 911 when they find Honey unconscious and save him. (It's the right moral choice, but I will admit it makes for a much less interesting story.)

Then, Jughead and Betty get a new video delivery. This one contains footage of the cabin where Veronica's mom killed Sheriff Minetta. Seconds later, Betty and Jughead are at the cabin, surrounded by pizza boxes and beer bottles. They find another tape, and this one features a group of people wearing masks that resemble Betty, Jughead, Archie,  Veronica, Cheryl, and Reggie — and together, they all stab a tied up Mr. Honey.

So not only did the person responsible for these tapes have access to a draft of Jug's story, but they...have a lot of accomplices?

As I mentioned before, this wasn't written as a finale, so it didn't have quite the normal impact of a Riverdale finale, but I do think the mystery of the voyeur is strong enough to carry over to a new season. Plus, we still have to get to prom!

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Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter
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  • Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
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