Riverdale recap: Hedwig brings out Riverdale's relationship drama
Every year, I feel like I say that the Riverdale musical episodes are some of my favorites, and this season, as they took on Hedwig and the Angry Inch, I feel the same. Sure, the musical numbers are fun, but that's not why these hours work. Instead of using the time as an escape from the season's plot, the show uses the musical episodes for some of the series' biggest twists, from deaths to Edgar Evernever's arrival to ... Betty and Archie kissing (and NOT regretting it)!
The episode kicks off with the cast singing "Wicked Little Town" as they watch the third round of videotapes that were recently delivered to their doorstep. (Yes, Jughead has a new mystery to focus on.) That is ... after he finishes his homework. Betty, the amazing girlfriend that she is, has talked to all of Jug's teachers and prepared a color-coordinated binder for him, and seemingly, with one paper per class, he can catch up in time to graduate with his friends. (My only question: It's not like he wasn't at school. He was actually, supposedly, at a much better school. Would his credits not transfer?)
But apparently Jug's near-death experience changed him, and now homework is simply too boring. So he asks Charles if he can help try to crack the videotape mystery in his spare time because that's how the FBI works, I guess! (Post-death Jug is also incredibly dramatic because he equates writing a few papers with how "Sisyphus must have felt." Okay, so maybe nothing's changed there.)
Elsewhere, Hiram is skipping some of his doctor's appointments to hit the gym. When he's nearly crushed during a bench press, Archie lets it slip that he knows about Hiram's "condition," so of course, Hiram swears him to secrecy where Veronica is concerned.
At school, Kevin is organizing a variety show when Mr. Honey sweeps in and bans his song. Kevin wanted to sing a song from Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and when Honey says no, well, we get a song from Hedwig. Then Fangs gives Kev a "stick it to the man" style pep talk, advising him to "go rogue."
Meanwhile, Archie also signs up for the variety show, but he's not going it alone. As he later tells the core four, he signed them up as ... The Archies! "What was the me-me-mes taken?" Jug quips. But Veronica approves of the name, and they all agree to rehearse later. But for now, they have to head to the music room, where Kevin, in full Hedwig garb, is performing "Tear Me Down." (The best part? When he kisses Archie.)
Naturally, Mr. Honey hates it, unplugs the speaker — only after the song's done — and then kicks Kevin out of the variety show. But thankfully, Kev's got a sleepover with the girls planned, and they know just how to cheer him up. (Hint: It involves singing and wigs!) By the end of the number, they have a plan: Everyone agrees to perform songs from Hedwig at the variety show. The only problem? When Cheryl brings the idea to Mr. Honey the following day — with a killer performance of "Sugar Daddy" — he promises to ban everyone who performs a song from Hedwig from the senior prom (a.k.a. the ultimate punishment for teens — although in Riverdale that's probably death). So, when they all show up wearing Hedwig wigs in the hallway later, Mr. Honey cancels the variety show completely.
And now it's time to get into some couple drama. When Hiram collapses, Archie tells Veronica that her dad's been working out at the gym, and she goes off on him for not telling her. At the same time — as they all sing "Exquisite Corpse" — Betty finds Jughead blowing off his homework to watch videotapes, and he's all, "death changes a person."
After both couple's fight, Betty and Archie end up being the only two at rehearsal. When they start singing "The Origin of Love," we're treated to flashbacks of Betty and Archie's relationship, dating all the way back to the pilot. And by the time the song is over, they kiss! And we're not talking tentative car kiss, they KISS.
The next scene shows each of them appearing to feel guilty as both Jug and Veronica return with excellent apologies, but as soon as they're alone, they're looking at each other longingly out their bedroom windows. They then reprise "Wicked Little Town" as they reenact the school dance from the pilot, and it's clear that these feelings are not going away.
With the variety show canceled, Kevin gets the idea to put it on at La Bonne Nuit, and we end the night (and the episode) with The Archies performing "Midnight Radio" as the core four exchange a lot of glances. Betty's looking at Archie! Archie's looking at Betty! Veronica's looking at Archie! Jughead's looking at Betty! HOW WILL IT ALL END?!
As The Archies (and Kevin) perform on the roof of Pop's, Jughead notices everyone recording them, and he starts to get paranoid about the videotapes. He then goes back to the bunker, where he watches a videotape of someone in a Jughead mask getting hit over the head with a rock by someone in a Betty mask. So yeah, someone's really watching them (and I feel like it's Charles?).
I'll say it one more time: I'm a big fan of Riverdale's musical episodes.