Riverdale recap: Josie and the Pussycats are back
This week's episode of Riverdale, if anything, feels like a backdoor pilot for a show called The Pussycats. I don't think it's an actual backdoor pilot... but it could be.
We kick things off by catching up with Melody and Valerie as adults. Melody has written a successful book that Tyler Perry has optioned for a movie. And it seems like Valerie, whose boyfriend is ready to get married (even though she's not), might star in that movie? At least that's what Melody wants, but Tyler Perry has another idea.
As for Josie, she's achieved her dream: She's a multi-platinum recording artist who recently... vanished? Apparently she up and left in the middle of her tour and no one knows where she is. But we do! Josie's back in Riverdale!
As she sings "It's All Coming Back to Me Now," she revisits the town she's been gone from for so long. At least until Hiram, who's staying in the hotel room next to her, complains about the noise and Josie tells him, "Damn Mr. Lodge, nice to know you're still a little bitch." Honestly? ICONIC. Possibly my favorite Josie moment of all time. And now that she's a bigger deal than Hiram Lodge, she tells the hotel that they can move HIS room if he has a problem with her music. So far, I'm loving this Josie.
The next day, Josie visits the high school because she wants to use the music room to do a little recording and songwriting. Mr. Weatherbee agrees so long as she agrees to teach a music class, which is where Archie finds her.
That night, Josie goes out to drink with the gang, which is where we get some more great Riverdale names: Josie's been featured on "Entertainment Tomorrow" and "Vanity Flair." But as they all try to catch up, Josie realizes something: These people weren't good friends to her. She lets them know that they were more like acquaintances in high school. Need she remind Cheryl that she once sent her a pig's heart? Well, she does! As for this reunion, Josie's not interested. She came to Riverdale to make an album and that's it. So she leaves drinks early.
As she leaves, Josie runs into Sweet Pea... and then hooks up with Sweat Pea. Because they were definitely more than acquaintances in high school. She then goes to meet up with Melody and Valerie, whom she called earlier. She lets them know that she wants to write about their hometown on her next album, and she'd love to have them join her on one of the tracks. And cue up another musical number or two as Melody and Valerie prove they still have what it takes on the stage at the Whyte Wyrm. Afterward, when Melody and Valerie call Josie out for ditching them, she's forced to face her own past mistakes. Josie admits her wrongdoing and apologizes to them both. They agree to think about singing on her album.
Josie then reunites with her mom, who figured she'd come to Riverdale. And this is where we learn why Josie "vanished" from her tour: She was in Berlin when she got the news that her dad had a heart attack and died. So, she turned around and walked away from everything. Just then, her mom pulls out an urn of her father's ashes. Does it feel like poor, very rushed timing? It sure does! But apparently, dad's last, very specific request was for his ashes to be spread all around the country at some of his favorite towns and places. Honestly, it's a bold request, but good for him I guess.
Right after Melody decides to turn down Tyler Perry if Valerie can't star in her film, Valerie gets a call from Josie's mom telling them the truth about Josie's dad. Together, they find Josie and agree to record a song together. Josie then comes around to Veronica's idea to put on a one-night-only concert to help save Riverdale. Just like that, the Josie and the Pussycats reunion is happening at the Whyte Wyrm, which it seems is sadly the nicest (and largest?) venue in town. Honestly, with the number of people they can fit in that space, they probably raised like $50?
The concert is a success in many ways, including sending Toni into labor. And apparently, her labor is lightning fast, because there's no time to go to the hospital after one contraction, and Fangs and Cheryl deliver the baby in the back of Pop's. I have a lot of questions about why we couldn't get to the hospital but also, I don't care how hard you clean that place, if I hear that a woman gave birth in the back of a diner, I'm never eating there ever again.
Speaking of Pop's, I should mention that the other big story this week is Tabitha trying to franchise Pop's. Veronica hooks her up with Alexandra Cabot, who's interested in investing, but when Alexandra tries to suggest they change — wait for it — the MILKSHAKE RECIPE, Tabitha obviously declines. The audacity!
(Insert Little Shop of Horrors musical number, which is Toni's very random and startling reintroduction to the show... before the birth, obviously.)
But what do you know, apparently someone giving birth at Pop's is what changes Alexandra's mind! Suddenly she wants to franchise Pop's without laying a finger on the milkshake recipe. So that's something. Oh, and Toni has a boy named... Tony?
The episode ends as Josie asks Valerie and Melody if they want to come on tour with her and help her spread her father's ashes, a sentence that only works in Riverdale. Melody also intends for it to be a book tour? I don't think they know how any of these things work.
But regardless, they're off! And so is Sweet Pea, who tells Josie, "I could be your anything," and she agrees to let him on the bus. But wait! Just before Josie and her mother leave, a musician who knew her dad shows up. He claims he was with Myles in New Orleans before he passed, and says he got mixed up in some voodoo and petty crimes. He thinks Myles was murdered. So naturally, New Orleans is going to be stop number one... on this new show?! After all, the episode ends with them saying to "remember our names because you're going to be hearing from us again." If that's not a backdoor pilot, I don't know what is.
All in all, I was happy that Josie and the Pussycats returned and finally got a full episode. Would I watch a show about them traveling around on a bus, spreading ashes, selling books, singing songs, and maybe solving a murder? Never say never.