This week on Riverdale, the Riverdale High School and Stonewall Prep crews engage in some three-dimensional chess and try to out-crime each other. Before we inhale some Devil’s Breath, we need to cover the main plots of the evening:
JUGHEAD IS DEAD
This is really the bulk of tonight’s episode, so let’s kick it off by saying that Jughead does actually seem to be truly dead (for now; just waiting on the secret twin bait-and-switch, or something). After Archie and Veronica find a semi-fugue Betty with a bloody rock in her hand, the crew burn their clothes (and Jug’s beanie) and head home, where they’re all caught sneaking in by their parents and offer up varying excuses. They convene the next morning, where Betty gets VERY type-A about the rules for acting normal when covering up your friend’s murder, and also reveals that Charles is in on this charade. Betty follows her own rulebook to a T, calling F.P. to read him a script about being worried at not having heard from Jughead, planting a bug in Brett’s dorm while engaging in a war of lies with Donna and Brett, and sending Archie in to start a fight with Brett. During this fight, everyone yells about who killed Jughead, which is surely EXTREMELY suspicious seeing as how no one publicly knows that Jughead is dead yet. Is the entirety of Stonewall in on the murder? Or is this just a writing oversight?
Donna and Brett and the rest of the Stonewall crew seem to anticipate her every move though, and when F.P. and Jellybean track Jug’s phone, they find it in Betty’s jacket (thanks to Stonewall Joan). Betty lies—poorly—to cover this, and then further covers for her poor lying by claiming she’s worried out of her mind about Jughead. That seems to work, at least for the moment, and F.P. calls her the next day to report that a hiker found a bloody rock in the woods where the Stonewall party was. Betty and Charles switch out the rock with a fake one. Betty, it’s probably not a good idea to openly ask Jellybean where her Halloween fake blood is—Jellybean will have no problem turning on you if she thinks you murdered her brother.
Meanwhile, Veronica and Archie are getting increasingly concerned re: why Betty was holding the bloody rock when they found her. Well, just Veronica is getting more concerned, even mentioning the Chuck/hot tub blackout of Season 1; Archie just blindly trusts Betty like the golden retriever puppy he is. When the “preppies” mess with her Barnard acceptance, V puts her foot down: she’ll follow Betty to the end of the Earth, but she needs the truth. So Betty admits that she blacked out and is terrified that she hurt Jug. She mentions the magic word, and Veronica suggests asking Charles for (more) help, since he helped with that whole “tangerine” thing. Charles hypnotizes Betty, who recalls that Donna blew a white powder in her face before she blacked out. This, Charles deduces, was likely Devil’s Breath, which would’ve left Betty disoriented, unable to wield a deadly blow to Jughead, and having short-term memory troubles. Relieved, Betty confronts Donna in the woods. Donna, smarmy as ever, says that she knows Jug’s body will never be found because the RHS crew surely hid it and all the evidence on it will lead to Betty. So for Donna, the game’s over.
That’s when Betty decides to turn the tables and finally play offense: she, Archie, and Veronica orchestrate much of what we saw in flash-forwards all season. The search party. Archie and F.P. finding Jug’s body. Betty and F.P. identifying the body. It’s actually quite heartbreaking when you realize that Archie, Betty, and Veronica are organizing all this while also pretty torn up over Jughead’s death.
In the end, Donna is clearly shook, and Betty gives the speech of her life: “I’m the ultimate wild card. I am the daughter of the Black Hood. The nightmare from next door. I’m training with the FBI and I’m coming for you, you psycho b*tch. Not Joan, not Jonathan, not even Brett, just you. You’re gonna regret ever meeting me.” Chills! And now: we wait.
Mary Andrews, Mom of the Year
Mary just proves herself to be the best mom this week, constantly asking Archie what’s wrong and offering to talk to him, because she clearly notices something is off. She even invokes Fred’s name, saying she knows she’s not Archie’s dad but she wants to help, and begs him to trust her. It’s crushing when Betty intercedes, warning Archie not to spill to his mom. Mary also hooks Archie up with a friend of hers—Brooke—who can connect him with the Naval Academy, and then later opens up to her son and admits that Brooke is her girlfriend. Mary looks so relieved and happy to get this off her chest, and Archie is sweet about it (though the moment is once again interrupted by Betty). In the end, Archie decides to open up to Mary: he seems to start to confess what’s really been happening…
The Lodge Sisters
When Hiram convenes his family for a totally normal will revision, Veronica explodes and calls out her family for lying about what’s going on (with Hiram’s illness). She cries and rips up the will before storming out. This leads to one of the only truly genuine heart-to-hearts between Hiram and Veronica we’ve ever seen: he reveals that he didn’t want her pity, or for her to think him weak, which is why he wasn’t honest about being sick. She tells him she wants to be a source of strength for him, and that she loves him. It is actually very touching! Hiram also asks V to play nice with Hermosa, for his peace of mind, so the two sisters end up asking their father to make them co-executors of his will (sorry, Hermione?). He’s happy, but it’s clearly just for show, because Hermosa keeps nosing into V’s business (and why she said she might defer Barnard) and V snaps at her to “stop being such a suspicious b*tch.” Oh-kay.
Rumordale dot com:
• Donna’s last name is apparently “Sweet.” Because of course.
• “Brett’s just been monologuing about his new Rolex for the last 30 minutes.” Charles must occasionally wonder what he did in a past life to be involved with these crazy kids in this one.
• Veronica and Archie following Betty down this cover-up hole would feel a lot more believable if they’d spent any time together as friends this season.
• It’s nice that the actress playing Evelyn Evernever keeps getting work on Riverdale, but I’m really ready to leave this “a magic word that makes you black out” stuff far behind us.
• Kevin’s musical gets a one-line mention at Pop’s, so here comes Riverdale’s take on Hedwig.
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue