Riverdale: Blood Ties

Now that Mayor McCoy has stepped down, Riverdale needs a new mayor. A special election is coming up and the Lodges know the perfect candidate: Fred Andrews. He’s a life-long Riverdale resident, a small business owner, and got shot by a deranged (albeit boring) serial killer, so he’s got a tragic backstory that will charm voters.

Fred is hesitant when the Lodges bring it up at dinner, but on the ride home with Archie, he admits that he’s seriously considering it. Meanwhile, the Lodges know that Fred takes Archie’s opinion seriously, so they tell Veronica to whisper in Archie’s ear about how great it would be for Fred to run. However, bringing his dad into the Lodge Mafia is a line that Archie won’t cross. Even someone as dumb and trusting as Archie can see that the Lodges hope to use Fred as their puppet. The Lodges already have one Andrews man as their pliable dummy. They’re not going to get another if Archie can help it.

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Despite his defense of Hiram in the last episode, Archie reaches out to Jughead in hopes that Jughead’s upcoming expose on the Lodges will dissuade Fred from running. He tells Jughead that Hiram secretly purchased Pop’s, and this information is like the Pentagon Papers for Jughead. No one cared when Hiram bought up the Southside, but Pop’s is on the nice side of Riverdale. People are going to care if an evil Mafia overlord prevents them from getting their burgers and shakes.

Since neither Mayor McCoy nor Josie will go on the record about the Lodges, Archie hopes that if Mayor McCoy just talks about the regular “cons” of the job that Fred will lose interest, but Fred is undeterred by the prospect of fixing potholes or facing intense town scrutiny.

Back at Casa Cooper, Betty is trying to prove that Chick is untrustworthy by using Kevin to catfish Chick. Chick is still webcamming, so Kevin pretends to flirt with him an attempt to get more of his backstory. Polly finally comes home, with the twins in tow. I guess that cult didn’t work out.

Alice is happy to have her firstborn son and her grandbabies in the house, but Chick is visibly jealous at the twins’ arrival. Hal also returns to Casa Cooper, but he’s not interested in reconciling. Neither is Alice, for that matter. Hal wants a divorce as soon as possible, so he offers to give Alice half the money he made from selling the Register to Hiram if she signs the papers right away.

The quickie divorce is stopped before Alice can even raise a pen, when she finds out that there’s a public reading of Clifford Blossom’s will coming up and all Blossom relatives are entitled to an inheritance, which would include Hal and the Cooper children. Alice is so furious that Hal tried to divorce her and keep her from getting a share of the money that she bursts into the public reading and announces that she’s going to take every penny she can from the Blossoms. She calls the Blossoms a bunch of “inbreds” and Penelope Blossom “a ten cent trollop.”

Toni is also at the public hearing, to provide moral support for Cheryl, who really needs it any time her family is involved. The will is surprisingly standard: half of the Blossom fortune will be divided among anyone who can prove Blossom blood, and the other half will go to Cheryl. After this is read, Cheryl stands up at the front of the room.

Cheryl announces that for too long, the Blossom family has been “bathing in blood.” She vows that there will be no more blood, madness, or horror in the Blossom family from now on.

“Hear hear,” says a new voice from the back of the room. It’s… Clifford?

But it can’t be! Clifford is dead! And this guy isn’t wearing a hideous wig! Cheryl dramatically faints, and when she comes to, the familiar-looking stranger explains that he’s Claudius, Clifford Blossom’s long-lost twin. Clifford became jealous that Claudius was being groomed to take over the family business, so when they were 14, he pulled a rifle on Claudius and reminded him that the Blossom family curse about twins involves one twin dying—usually at the hands of the other twin. Claudius took the hint and became a sailor, never to return home again. Now that Clifford is dead, Claudius can return to Riverdale.

Back at Casa Cooper, Polly immediately wants the Cooper children to get their blood tests to claim their money. “Between you, me, and Chick, we could run our own farm,” says Polly. What is it with her and farms? That cult did a number on her, I tell you. Chick refuses to get a blood test, claiming he wants nothing to do with the Blossoms. Passing up free money? Hmm… Looks like my theory that Chick isn’t a real Cooper might be right after all.

Betty tries to ramp up the catfishing, but Kevin is terrible at subtle interrogation. He tries to ask Chick about the last time he got tested for STDs and keeps looking at Betty for what to say next. Chick notices Kevin’s eyes darting off the laptop screen and demands to know if someone else is there. Kevin shuts down his laptop and refuses to help Betty anymore, saying that he feels too guilty to lie to Chick, and Chick seems like a nice guy anyway. Chick? A nice guy? Oh, you sweet summer child…

While Betty’s investigation hits a dead end, so does Jughead’s probe into the Lodges. He asks Pop about selling the diner and Pop asks Jughead not to make it public knowledge, because Pop promised his mother that he wouldn’t sell. Hell hath no fury like an angry mom, you know. He asks Jughead not to print this information until Pop’s mother dies.

Jughead doesn’t have the heart to kill an old lady or run the article without Pop’s blessing, so he holds off. Pop goes to the Lodges’ and tattles to Hiram that Jughead knows about the sale. Hiram is furious. The only people who knew about the diner sale are the Lodges and Archie. He suspects Archie is the mole, but Veronica takes the blame, claiming that she spilled the beans at the cabin getaway. Hermione jumps in to say that it was a good idea to distract Jughead with a small truth, which will hopefully keep him from digging further.

Veronica goes to the Andrews’ house, where Fred and Archie are looking at Fred’s sketches for a future Riverdale. She shows Fred mockups of flyers and buttons for his campaign and he picks his favorite. Archie and Veronica get into a fight. She’s angry about the leaks, and he’s mad that Veronica is pushing his father around and worries what will happen if Fred doesn’t go along with the Lodges like former Mayor McCoy did.

“Archie, this isn’t The Manchurian Candidate,” says Veronica, which is probably #1 on the list of things that real high school students would never say. She promises that Fred won’t be corrupted. Archie insists that Veronica tell him the long-term Lodge plan that she brought up at her confirmation, but then Fred interrupts to announce he’s running for mayor after all.

Nevertheless, Veronica is unhappy at how the family business is ruining her relationship with Archie. Hermione tells Veronica that the women in the families do have a thin line to straddle, but they’re the ones pulling the strings.

Mr. Jughead offers to go on the record about how the Serpents were hired to trash the drive-in, but that won’t be enough. Luckily, Jughead gets a call from his own Deep Throat: Mr. Smithers, the former doorman at the Lodge apartment. He tells Jughead that Hiram has been receiving a lot of mail from an inmate named War Boy at Shankshaw (a reverse Shawshank?), a nearby prison.

Mr. Jughead takes his son to meet with War Boy, who gives them the deets on the Lodges’ plan for Riverdale. There must be another snitch at the prison, because the Lodges learn about Jughead’s meeting. Unbeknownst to them, Principal Weatherbee is refusing to run Jughead’s expose, so they decide that the best way to deal with the expose is to get in front of it.

They admit to Fred that their grand plan for Riverdale is to build a for-profit prison. The SoDale housing is intended for employees at the prison and their families. Fred is outraged. Haven’t they seen Orange is the New Black? Prisoners are people too! And for-profit prisons are the literal worst! He withdraws his candidacy and storms out, but Archie stays behind to hear the Lodges out. Hiram promises to create a safer Riverdale, so Archie, who’s been apparently keeping a super detailed notebook about the Lodges’ activities, agrees to burn it and enter a blood pact with Hiram.

Wait, what? Wasn’t Archie against getting more involved with the Lodges? Please tell me that this is part of Archie’s grand plan to make Hiram think he’s on their side but he’s just going further undercover to collect even more dirt. Please? I know Archie isn’t the brightest spark in the flames, but he can’t be this dumb. Anyway, Hermione decides to run for mayor. Might as well just outright control the town.

Back at Casa Cooper, Betty sneaks into Chick’s bathroom to steal some dental floss. He catches her coming out of the bathroom and luckily, he’s more interested in being gloomy and creepy about the twins. “Wasn’t it better when it was just you, me, and Mom?” he asks.

Polly is also getting major creep vibes from Chick, but Betty says the DNA test using the dental floss will show who Chick really is once and for all. The girls return from a shopping trip to find that Chick has taken the twins for a walk by the river. Polly is horrified and is extremely worried about the safety of her babies, but Chick returns home with the babies safe and sound. Polly isn’t willing to risk their safety any longer, so she announces that she’s moving to San Francisco. San Francisco? Where rent is expensive and a good school is hard to find? I really question Polly’s parenting choices.

Anyway, Polly left too soon, because Betty gets the test results, and just like I suspected, Chick is not a real Cooper. Betty confronts Chick with the results. “Who are you?” she demands.

Speaking of fake family members, Claudius is not the friendly long-lost uncle he appears to be. When he hears Hermione announce her candidacy over the radio (of course, the Blossoms get their news from a 1940s radio), he grumbles that he can’t wait to get his revenge on the Lodges. “Nana, then Cheryl,” says Penelope. “Our house must be put in order,” he agrees. Neither of them notice Cheryl eavesdropping around the corner and looking terrified. Cheryl, girl. You’re rich again. Buy yourself a new apartment and get out of there!

The Real Archie’s Weird Mysteries That I Want Solved:

  • So who is Chick? I still think the blonde guy that Alice killed was the real Cooper son, and Chick was his friend or shady associate. The other question is, how did Chick find out about the Coopers and why did he try to pass himself off as their son?
  • Why is Archie suddenly pro-Hiram? Yes, he wants the guy’s approval and he’s dating Veronica, but if Fred doesn’t support the prison, why does Archie?
  • Why doesn’t Jughead just self-publish the article? It’s 2018. Post it on Facebook and then print it out for the townspeople.

Did Jughead Get a Burger?

Sadly, no. There’s no time to eat when there’s a story to break!

Susan Velazquez

Susan is a recent college grad and writer who enjoys all things from the 1980s, snarking on dumb television, and reveling in celebrity gossip. Oh, and she has serious interests like reading historical fiction, getting involved in social issues, and consuming French fries.

TV Show: Riverdale

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  • I think my favorite thing about Fred potentially running for mayor is that no one even suggested the idea that he might not win. I like that everyone was genre savvy enough to realize that if Archie’s dad runs for mayor, he WOULD win. Also, Betty? Just write down your questions for Chick on a note card. What if Chick had asked Kevin to take his shirt off to keep talking? How awkward would that have been for you instead of just giving him some talking points and having him talk at his leisure?