Riverdale: Daddy in a coma

“Our story is not over,” begins Jughead’s narration for the season 2 premiere of Riverdale. Hell yeah, it isn’t! Welcome to the town where there’s creepy wig rooms, strange obsessions with maple syrupdramatic funerals, and an absurd amount of crime for a place where the most happening spot is a greasy spoon diner.

Welcome back to Riverdale, y’all.

When we last left off, Fred Andrews had just been shot in the middle of Pop’s diner. Archie rushes Fred to the hospital, and in his narration, Jughead notes that he doesn’t believe in miracles but it was a miracle… that Archie didn’t mess up his dad’s truck with his shitty driving.

Priorities. Jughead’s got them.

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As Archie gets his father admitted to a worryingly retro Riverdale hospital (seriously, why do the nurses and orderlies still have the same uniforms from 1961?), we get a peek into Fred’s mind as he heads into surgery. Fred imagines taking graduation pics of Archie and his friends. “I didn’t think I’d live to see this day,” he says happily. “But you didn’t,” reminds Jughead. The other kids tell Fred he didn’t survive that day at Pop’s.

At Casa Cooper, Alice notices that Betty is moping over Jughead and demands to know if that “beanie-wearing cad defiled you.” Betty admits that she and almost Jughead had sex, but they were interrupted by the arrival of the Southside Serpents. Alice doesn’t know what piece of information to be more enraged by. She demands that Betty block Jughead from her phone.

Before Alice can ship Betty off to some nuns to hide away her sins, she receives a phone call from Archie. Betty quickly informs Veronica, who’s enjoying expensive champagne reserved for her father in a passive aggressive dig towards her mother. Hmm, anyone else think it’s interesting that Archie’s first call about this was not to his new girlfriend or his best friend, but Betty? This doesn’t cause any tension in this episode, but it was teased in the season finale that Archie might have lingering feelings for Betty. Wonder if this will be brought up again…

Jughead is also summoned to the hospital and he takes his dad’s motorcycle. Dumb beanie or not, Jughead looks kinda badass on that bike.

The three arrive at the hospital and immediately hug Archie, who’s still wearing the same bloodstained clothes from the diner. Archie tells them how an armed robber came to Pop’s and shot Fred, and Alice immediately suspects the Southside Serpents. Thankfully, Alice sets aside her hatred for local street gangs to gently ask Archie if he’s told his mother yet.

Archie tries to keep a brave face when he calls his mom, but breaks down crying. Wow. I’ve complained before about how blank and boring Archie’s character is, but in the first seven minutes of this episode, K.J. Apa has demonstrated that he’s got pretty decent acting chops when he’s given something juicy.

Sherrif Keller arrives to take a statement, and Archie gives a surprisingly detailed description of the perp. He remembers the man had green eyes and his ski mask was really a homemade hood. Sheriff Keller asks Archie if he remembers anything else, and Archie takes way too long to say no. This satisfies Sheriff Keller, who thinks the robber was just high on meth or “the jingle jangle”, but Jughead wonders if the man’s motive wasn’t just simple robbery. Already at 16, Jughead is a better detective than the local police sheriff.

Jughead confronts Archie about his hesitance, and Archie explains that Fred fired some Serpents from his construction crew and worries one of them killed Fred as a vendetta. Jughead promises to use his newfound Serpent connections to do some digging. Meanwhile in the hospital waiting room, Veronica is unsure how to confront Archie during this stressful time of need. Betty encourages Veronica to be a good girlfriend and to accompany Archie back home to get a change of clothes.

Before he heads home, Archie is given an update about his dad: Fred survived surgery, but he still isn’t breathing on his own. In Fred’s mind, he’s in his office trailer with Archie. He’s supposed to leave, but he’s not ready to, especially since Archie mentions that their dead relatives are waiting for Fred outside.

Back home, Archie takes that dog he sometimes he remembers he has for a walk and enjoys a hot, relaxing shower.

Veronica joins him in the shower, and they presumably have sex. Alright, Riverdale. This is my breaking point. I told you, I can live with the wig rooms, the “I’m weird” speeches, and Crazy Cheryl’s antics, but I refuse to believe that two 16-year-olds can master shower sex while I, a grown adult woman, still have not. This is ridiculous.

At the hospital, Kevin and Betty gossip about Betty’s relationship problems. Betty frets that Jughead will become a Serpent, and wonders if she can still trust him. Kevin warns that Serpents bring nothing but drama and brings up his failed relationship with Joaquin.

They see Cheryl is also at the hospital, attending to her severely burned mother. Cheryl claims that a strong breeze knocked over a candle, which started the blaze at Thornhill, but we the viewers know Cheryl was the one who set the fire. We also know that Mrs. Blossom was very much unburnt when we last saw her.

When they’re alone in their hospital room, Cheryl ominously tells Mrs. Blossom that things are going to be very different now, and Cheryl will no longer have to put up with her “abuse.” Cheryl also warns Mrs. Blossom that if she tries to tattle on Cheryl, Cheryl will tell everyone exactly what happened with Mr. Blossom in the farm. “If you breathe, it’s because I give you air,” Cheryl tells her as she briefly cuts off Mrs. Blossom’s oxygen.

Back at Archie’s house, Archie yells at Veronica for trying to put away Fred’s clothes and blaming her when he can’t find Fred’s wallet. I know Archie is under a tremendous amount of stress, but he should not be raising his voice with the girl who just had shower sex with him. Veronica is about to leave, but she stays and firmly tells Archie that he won’t push her away during his time of need. Archie cries and then pulls himself together for the fastest suspect lineup ever organized. I think that since Sheriff Keller got scooped by a bunch of teenagers, he just grabbed a bunch of green-eyed men hoping to find the perp before Archie and his friends did. Unsurprisingly, rounding up a bunch of strangers does not solve the case.

Veronica asks Jughead and Betty to see if Fred’s wallet was left behind at Pop’s. Betty thinks Fred’s wallet may have been dumped by the thief, but Jughead believes the robbery was a front for a hit on Fred’s life. Veronica takes Jughead’s theory to her mother and accuses her of being “daddy’s eyes and ears on the ground, calling the shots.” Hermione finally remembers that she’s a Latina momma and tells Veronica that she will not tolerate anymore disrespect from her. “I should slap you for what you’re insinuating,” hisses Hermione. Oh man! Is she going to throw the chancla—or the Manolo Blahnik—at Veronica?

Jughead and Betty arrive at Pop’s and ask about the thief. Pop says the guy never stole anything. “This man, his goal was something else. Darker. Like the Angel of Death had come to Riverdale.”

You know things are bad when Jughead thinks you’re a downer. Pop gives the kids a free meal, and as they eat, Betty admits to Jughead that she’s worried about him becoming a Serpent. Jughead admits that he accepted the jacket, his dad’s motorcycle, and will continue to live at his dad’s trailer because it’s the only way he can feel close to his dad while Mr. Jughead is in prison.

They bring some of Pop’s food back to the hospital, where Josie and the Pussycats and the new Reggie are also there to offer their moral support. Josie tells Archie that they’re ready to give up one of their nine lives for Fred.

When he’s alone with his friends, Archie tells them the full story of what happened at the robbery. The man shot Fred and then put his gun to Archie’s head. Archie closed his eyes and then the man ran away. Archie believes the man took his dad’s wallet and blames himself for not being any braver to stop him. The gang reminds Archie that there’s nothing that he could have done and they comfort him.

Archie goes to check on Fred and finds Cheryl in the room. She explains that since Archie gave her the “kiss of life” when she tried to drown herself in the river, she gave a “kiss of life” to Fred too.

Thankfully, all Cheryl did was leave a huge red lipstick mark on Fred’s forehead and didn’t try to smother him or anything. Archie pours out his heart to Fred’s unconscious body while Fred imagines it’s Archie’s wedding day to Veronica. I bet a lot of shippers are going to be mad about this, but what I’m most annoyed by is the fact that Jughead is still wearing that dumb beanie at a wedding. Fred sees the robber coming down the aisle for Archie and he jumps in front of him to take the bullet. The shock of dying in his dream wakes Fred up from his coma, and Archie is relieved.

I guess because of the low standards of the 1960s nurses, Fred is pronounced okay to go home. Archie vows to protect him if the robber comes back, but Fred assures Archie that it’s his job to protect Archie. Nevertheless, Archie stays in front of the door, armed with a baseball bat.

Jughead goes home to see the Serpents, who have a badly beaten guy with them. The Serpents explain it turns out the guy didn’t have any information on the shooting, but they still brought him over to remind Jughead that whether he likes it or not, he’s now a Serpent. Good thing Betty just offered her unconditional support if Jughead wants to “explore” that option.

Veronica also returns home to an unwanted visitor. Her father is back from prison, and he’s displeased to hear how disrespectful Veronica has been. Veronica ignores him and announces that Fred is recovering. “I know we all must be happy about that,” she says, daring her parents to contradict her.

Over in the next town of Greendale, pervy teacher Ms. Grundy is “tutoring” another aspiring teenage musician. After she sends the kid home, Ms. Grundy is attacked and strangled by the man in the hood, the so-called “Angel of Death”.

Looks like Pop was right. There is something darker going on here.

The Real Archie’s Weird Mysteries I Want Solved:

  • What exactly happened in the barn with the Blossoms? We saw that Mr. Blossom hung himself, but is there something more?
  • Who is the Angel of Death and why did they target Ms. Grundy? I mean, I’m not complaining, since she’s clearly an established statutory rapist, but the killer seems to be going after people Archie is close to. Does this mean Hiram and Hermione are (relatively) innocent?

Did Jughead eat a burger?

YES HE DID! AND IT WAS A POP’S BURGER!

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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  • You have no idea how excited I was to see the season start out on the right foot by having Jughead eat a burger. Also I thought the crown symbol on his motorcycle helmet was a nice touch.

    But seriously, Pop, you know you’re being weird when Jughead “Over the Top Narration” Jones is saying you need to lighten up.

  • I remember saying, “Geez” at the same time Jughead said, “Lighten up”.
    Good audience synchronicity there.