Riverdale has its first supervillain.
Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter
S6 E9
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Oh, Percival Pickens. Somehow, you're proving to be more annoying than your name.

This week's Riverdale saw Percival — and his powers of persuasion — start his takeover of Riverdale in a major way. One citizen at a time, Percival started brainwashing people. It seems this guy has a superpower of his own and it's not unlike a vampire's compulsion. He can ... make people do things? And then there's the added problem that Jughead can't read his mind. As our recent superheroes eventually deduce, they've got their first supervillain on their hands.

This week, Percival's main target is Toni. After he writes a scathing review of the city — which, LOL that Riverdale gets a review in the paper like it's the latest Scorsese movie — he decides that the town's biggest problem is the war between the Ghoulies and the Serpents. His solution? Disbanding the Serpents.

Toni's actually kind of into the idea? Or at least a version of it. She tells Fangs she thinks the Serpents should be less of a gang and more of a political activist group, because that's a simple pivot. Fangs rejects that idea in the subtlest of ways: By housing a huge duffel bag full of weapons in their home, which the cops then raid. Did I mention that Percival is a cop now? Welcome to Riverdale, here's a gun and a badge! Good thing they can explain away this madness with his mind control abilities, whatever those are exactly.

While Percival works to get Toni thrown off the town council, our superhero team of Betty, Jug, and Archie are trying to beat him at his own game by going around town and getting people on their side. But the problem is that most people hate how Betty now wears sunglasses inside, so they say no. Just kidding! I mean, the sunglasses are dumb, but no one seems to comment on them, which is insane in its own right.

Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, KJ Apa as Archie Andrews and Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones
Lili Reinhart, KJ Apa, and Cole Sprouse on 'Riverdale'
| Credit: Bettina Strauss/The CW

The only person they really get on their side is Veronica, who has witnessed Percival's wicked ways in her own casino. (He convinced a patron to commit suicide.) Cheryl/Abigail, however, wants nothing to do with the ancestors of her murderers. Sitting down to talk in a full latex dress, she swiftly sends them away. Although, if light hurts Betty's eyes, she should really move into Thornhill. That place is allergic to light.

Speaking of Abigail, she spends the episode trying to kill our superhero trio and reincarnate Thomasina into Toni's body. Oh, she also wants to kill Fangs. BUT she succeeds at absolutely none of it! More on that later.

After a drive-by shooting at Pop's, Percival succeeds in convincing everyone to remove Toni from the town council. Then, Toni gets a visit from her social worker after an anonymous tip that things might not be safe for baby Anthony. And when they go to check on him, Anthony's missing from his crib.

Long story short, the Ghoulies have him. And here's where I should mention that Abigail is a Ghoulie now? Or she was for at least the amount of time it took her to buy that red leather outfit — which let's be honest, Cheryl already owned — and throw a Molotov cocktail at Archie. Thankfully, our boy is invincible, so he survives. Jug then pays Britta a visit to read her mind and find out the real story about Cheryl, at which point he says, in all seriousness, "If you think it really loudly, I might be able to hear it."

Together, Jug, Archie, and Betty work with Britta and Nana Rose to perform a banishment on Abigail, who winds up inside of a doll and locked away by episode's end. Translation: Cheryl is back!

While all of that was going on, Toni was working to get Anthony back. The Ghoulies challenged the Serpents to a rumble outside of a tunafish warehouse — a classic spot for a rumble — but when the Serpents showed up, it was a trap: The cops came prepared to kill them all. Thankfully, the only thing that could work against Percival's mind control was Toni's smartphone! (What a message that sends, amirite?) She pulled out her phone and instantly started a livestream. As she put it, "The whole world is watching." Girl, calm down, how many followers do you even have?!

Eventually, Toni gets to reunite with baby Anthony, at which point Kevin tells her he's filing for primary custody. And if that's not Percival's final move against Toni, I don't want to know what is.

As for the Ghoulies, the police killed everyone except Twyla in the raid to get back baby Anthony. But as the coroner later tells Betty, the Ghoulies' gunshot wounds appear to be self-inflicted, meaning this Perkins guy can influence many people at once. And did I mention he took Toni's spot on the town council? Just what Riverdale needs!

One other thing I should mention: Reggie and Veronica's fight of the week revolves around Reggie's father. It seems he has a bit of a gambling problem, and Reggie doesn't want to address it. He doesn't tell Veronica this, but we later find out it's because his father's doctor gave him 1-2 years left to live, and all Reggie wants is for his father to be happy during that time, no matter what it takes.

And that brings us to the end of our latest Riverdale. I have to say, I'm happy to have Cheryl back, and I'm not against the idea of a supervillain, I'd just like his powers explained sooner rather than later. But first and foremost, please find a solution for Betty's headaches that is better than "wear sunglasses at all times." Thanks.

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Chapter Thirteen: The Sweet Hereafter
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