Riverdale: Cool motive, still illegal
Jughead is upset that the local drive-in, where he works part-time, is closing. Jughead’s narration tries to justify that the drive in theater is needed now more than ever due to the negative atmosphere created by Jason Blossom’s death. Jughead, just admit you want to keep your job for selfish reasons. You don’t need to act like you’re doing this for the greater good.
Speaking of people who try to act better than they are, Ms. Grundy performs at a local music concert attended by Mr. Andrews and Archie. Mr. Andrews invites Ms. Grundy to join him and Archie at Pop’s for dinner. Archie and Ms. Grundy are uncomfortable. What do you do when your underage lover’s father hits on you and asks you to dinner?
Well, Ms. Grundy probably wouldn’t be having these quandaries if she didn’t have sex with minors.
Pop’s is the place to be, as always. Veronica, Betty, and Kevin politely listen to Jughead rant about the drive in closing while Cheryl makes snide comments about Veronica’s mother, Hermione, working as a waitress. Cheryl is displeased that Veronica is popular at school and tries to take the Lodges down a peg by remarking how Hermione must be stealing money like her husband. Veronica wants to stand up for her mother, but Hermione handles herself, telling Cheryl, “I went to school with your mother. She didn’t know the difference between having money and having class either.”
The Andrews family plus Ms. Grundy arrive at Pops’s. Thanks to Dilton Doiley, Betty knows that Ms. Grundy and Archie were at the river when Jason died. She takes Archie aside and confronts him about his relationship with her. Veronica sees them arguing and believe they are fighting over her and overhears about Archie hooking up with Ms. Grundy. Veronica agrees with Betty that the affair is highly unethical, but Betty is more concerned with the fact that Archie lied to the police. Mrs. Cooper drives up and scolds Betty for hanging out with Archie and Veronica.
As Cheryl and her minions are fleeing Pop’s from that well executed burn Hermione delivered, they see Hermione arguing with a sketchy biker guy. She takes a picture as proof and smugly shows it to Veronica. Veronica is all, “So my mom is talking to a guy. Is that a crime?” Kevin explains that the biker is a member of the South Side Serpents, Riverdale’s local gang. They’re a real gang, despite sounding like antagonists from an episode of Happy Days. Veronica confronts her mother about the Serpent and Hermione claims she knew the guy from high school and it was a perfectly innocent conversation.
Meanwhile, Archie checks with Jughead that Ms. Grundy won’t be the subject of Betty’s next newspaper expose. Jughead assures him that Betty will protect Archie’s privacy, but points out that Archie needs to figure out what type of future he and Ms. Grundy actually have. Are they going to wait until he graduates and then go public with their relationship? Or are they just going to date for a couple months and let their relationship casually implode the way most high school relationships do? Or are they going to for the the ultimate Mary Kay Letourneau ending?
While Archie dithers and dathers, Betty takes action to find out exactly what kind of person Ms. Grundy is and her intentions towards her best friend. Under the guise of an interview for the school paper, Betty learns that Ms. Grundy has vague teaching credentials and once privately taught Jason Blossom.
Jughead begs Mayor McCoy to save the drive-in but she tells him the property has already been sold to an anonymous buyer and the Andrews construction company will begin demolition soon. This upsets Jughead even more because his father used to work for Mr. Andrews until he was fired for stealing tools so this is just rubbing salt in the wounds.
Whatever, Jughead. Go read The Perks of Being a Wallflower and cry about it.
Betty tells Veronica and Archie that she did more digging on Ms. Grundy and found zero trace of her. The only other Geraldine Grundy is sassy old woman who died but should have been on this show.
Instead of being freaked out that his “girlfriend” possibly stole someone’s identity, Archie gets mad at Betty for investigating Ms. Grundy. He makes Betty promise to leave Ms. Grundy alone and she agrees.
While Archie is on a “Netflix and chill” date with Ms. Grundy, Betty and Veronica break into Ms. Grundy’s car to dig up more dirt. They find a driver’s license for a “Jennifer Gibson” and a gun. This supports Veronica and Betty’s suspicions that Ms. Grundy is bad person, but Archie believes Ms. Grundy’s story that she’s just a Julliard grad who was rejected by major orchestras and was sad until she found a young, virile teenage boy to lift her spirits.
Betty and Veronica tell Archie what they found and urge him to confront Ms. Grundy and find the truth. Ms. Grundy claims that she took on a new identity to flee an abusive marriage. Archie immediately believes this because he is dumb. Hello?! The lady stole a dead woman’s identity and is creeping on underage boys. He’s not even going to run a cursory Google search to see if there’s anything that could support her story?
Hermione visits Mayor McCoy’s office and drops off the money bags Hiram sent in episode 1. The money is for Mayor McCoy’s re-election campaign and in exchange, Mayor McCoy will make sure no one finds out that one of Hiram’s off shore companies is buying the Riverdale drive-in. They agree the Blossom family in particular can’t find out about the deal. There is still one more cash drop off to make and Hermione plans on going to the drive in’s last movie night with Mr. Andrews as her cover.
At the drive-in, Cheryl invites herself to join Kevin and Veronica to watch the movie. For someone who hates Betty and Veronica, Cheryl spends an awful lot of time following them wherever they go. Still, Veronica doesn’t let Cheryl or a group of rowdy South Side Serpents ruin her night. She shouts down the obnoxious group, much to the approval of the rest of the audience. While basking in the glow of some well-earned self-righteousness, she spots her mother sneaking away to meet a Serpent and overhears their conversation. The Serpent demands more money but Hermione warns him that with Hiram gone, she’s the one he’s going to be dealing with.
While cleaning Betty’s room, Mrs. Cooper finds the gun Betty stole from Ms. Grundy’s car and reads her daughter’s diary entries about Archie and Ms. Grundy’s affair. She rushes to the drive in and drags Mr. Andrews and Betty to the school, where Archie and Ms. Grundy are breaking up. However, the three barge in when the two are having one of those amorous goodbye break up hugs.
Mrs. Cooper gleefully announces that she is going to report Ms. Grundy to the sex offender registry and ruin her life. I’m torn here. Mrs. Cooper is an asshole but Ms. Grundy, whether the story about her abusive marriage is true or not, should face legal consequences for having an inappropriate relationship with a minor. Archie tries to defend Ms. Grundy, claiming that he initiated the affair but Mrs. Cooper uses this as evidence that Archie is a devil child.Betty, fed up with her mother’s antics, threatens to tell everyone how she broke into Ms. Grundy’s car, robbed her, and made up a story about her having an affair with Archie. Everyone will assume Betty had a nervous breakdown like Polly and that prospect frightens Mrs. Cooper more than letting a sexual predator go free so she backs off. Ms. Grundy offers to leave town and never come back in exchange for not pressing charges. Mr. Andrews accepts the deal, much to Archie’s dismay.
Back at the drive in, Kevin gets hit on by a Serpent, Joaquin, and the two have a steamy make out session in private. They agree to see each other on the down low, which is understandable since Sheriff Keller would probably be unhappy with his son seeing a juvenile delinquent. When the Kellers go home, they find that someone broke into their house and stole all the work Sheriff Keller was doing on the Blossom case.
Meanwhile, Veronica confronts her mother about seeing her with the Serpent. Hermione admits that Hiram hired the Serpents to hang around the drive-in and drive down the property values so Hiram could buy the lot cheap. Hermione tries to justify the plan by saying Hiram’s shady plans gave them the lifestyle they are accustomed to, but Veronica is uncomfortable with the revalation. I’d bet she’d be even more uncomfortable if she knew that the reason Jughead was so adamant about saving the drive-in is because he lives there. The Serpent who was working with Hermione approaches Jughead as he packs up his stuff. “So where are you going to live now?” he asks. “I’ll figure it out Dad,” Jughead says, although he seems unsure.
Mrs. Cooper apologizes to Betty for handling the Ms. Grundy thing like an asshole and Betty tells her mom for the millionth time to stop using her fears about Polly as an excuse to control her. Betty texts her apologies to Archie and he forgives her, although he is in mourning for his first love. Ms. Grundy leaves town, true to her word, but not before eyeing some underage eye candy.
Hopefully someone in the next town Ms. Grundy moves to will have Chris Hansen on speed dial.
The Real Archie’s Mysteries I Want Solved:
- Why the hell is the show completely glossing over the fact that Ms. Grundy committed statutory rape? Being a victim of domestic violence does not make it okay to prey on underage boys.
- If Betty knows what a whack job her mother can be, why does she still leave her diary lying around? And at the end of the episode, why does she continue to keep writing in it?
- Also, what exactly did she steal Ms. Grundy’s gun? What was she planning to do with it?
- Hermione says that Hiram sunk the last of the Lodge’s cash into buying the drive-in lot. What the hell is he going to do with it? Riverdale’s only attractions are that it has a diner, Uber service, and a fugitives from a community theater production of West Side Story as a local gang. No one’s exactly running to invest in that place.
- Why is Jughead homeless? If this town is as small as it claims to be, you’d think that it’d be common knowledge as to who Jughead’s father is and his living situation. Also, why does no one buy that child a burger?