Riverdale recap: Percival uses literature as a weapon
If Percival Pickens weren't evil enough, now the man hates literature?! That's one of the main discoveries of this week's Riverdale, which sees Percival use overdue library books as a way to target Riverdale's citizens. But first, we got an answer to last week's cliffhanger...
Betty is not pregnant. And Archie is bummed about it. Betty assures him that it will happen someday and that perhaps "the universe just wants us to stop the bad guys first." Sure, but how many bad guys do you have to stop because Riverdale seems to have an endless supply.
But at least for now, the bad guy who needs stopping is Percival, whose latest plan involves closing the Riverdale Public Library in order to open a hotel to service the new railway. Why does that bring Percival to the homes of all of our heroes? Because he's trying to recover all of the overdue library books? Man, what do you care, the library is closing! Also, how does EVERYONE in this town have an overdue library book of at least 10 years? Does no one return library books?!
One by one, Percival informs everyone about their books and then takes something personal as "collateral" until the books can be returned. How they all didn't immediately figure out that this is really all about the collateral is beyond me. Anyway, here's how it goes down.
Jughead's book is The Metamorphosis, and until he finds it, Percival takes the book his grandfather wrote and dedicated to him.
Percival then heads to Archie's, and clearly he doesn't know Archie if he thinks that guy reads! But apparently, many years ago, Archie checked out Songwriting From the Heart, a real American classic. Percival takes Archie's guitar as collateral.
Veronica is overdue on Kiss of the Spider Woman and he takes her painting of Hiram.
Cheryl is overdue on Flowers in the Attic, a book she last read with Heather, and he takes the trunk containing Jason's bones as collateral.
Betty never returned Small Engine Repairs — perhaps she and Archie are a perfect match — and Alice hands over her diary as collateral.
And Reggie never returned a workbook that teaches children with dyslexia how to read. But the joke's on Percival this time, because Reggie knows where that book is and immediately hands it over, which means Percival can't take anything else as collateral.
Finally, Kevin has to find his copy of Lord of the Flies, but Percival doesn't take any collateral from him.
Percival uses their items as totems for a spell, tormenting them with things from their past. Archie starts seeing Ms. Grundy's corpse and is reminded of their time together and how she "groomed" him, according to Betty. Betty smells bleach and remembers, for the first time, catching her father cleaning what must've been blood out of their family car when she was 12 (and reading Small Engine Repairs). Jughead's hands start to dry out and bleed, and at one point, he literally peels off a fingernail. Is he turning into a cockroach like in The Metamorphosis or is he getting his grandfather's eczema? Neither is great!
Reggie's dyslexia comes back with a vengeance and Veronica starts seeing spiders everywhere, my true nightmare. Then there's Cheryl, who thinks she hears Heather in her home. Things escalate from there: When Veronica invites Heraldo over for some sex, she wakes up the next day to his dead body. It seems he was bitten by a black widow, but as the coroner tells Veronica, it was too high of a dose for one spider ... and it entered his body through his lips. Let's just hope that twist isn't permanent.
Speaking of kisses, Kevin is the first to hand over his book, at which point Percival tells him he never has to feel like Piggy from Lord of the Flies again and then he ... KISSES HIM! But Kevin isn't the only one who's now on Team Percival. Reggie ends the episode with one of my favorite confrontations to date when Reggie shows up at Percival's shop and says "Something funky's going on." Look out, guys! Reg has cracked the case!
He then asks Percival if he's a wizard, but Percival quickly corrects him: "I'm a magic man, you might say." Somehow, that's even dumber? Either way, Reggie tells him he'd like to learn a little magic himself. So this is now the second major villain Reggie is going to help? Sweet track record, bro.
Thanks to a helpful man on Sketch Alley, Jughead tracks down all of their books at a shop in Pennsylvania and they head to Percival's shop to get their stuff back. Well, everyone except Veronica, who says Percival can keep the painting of Hiram. They all then head to Cheryl's to burn their now tainted belongings. Except for Jughead, who keeps his grandfather's book safe and says the most Jughead line ever: "It's a book, I'm not burning it. What would Ray Bradbury say?" Honestly Jug, if you respect books so much, why didn't you return yours to the library?!
And that brings us to the end of Percival's latest attack. We've now lost two members to the dark side, and I'm very confused why Percival seems to be listing a bunch of people as his allies? I still have no idea what Percival's ultimate goal is, but if he loves using people's traumatic pasts against them, he's going to have unlimited ammunition in Riverdale.