Riverdale: Baby on Board
Hello, everyone! Welcome back to Riverdale, where there’s only one high school and one restaurant but there’s an Uber service that will take you to teen nightclubs.
As much as I like ragging on Riverdale and its strange economy, I was surprised how much I missed it during this little hiatus. There were no Alice Cooper petty levels to rank, no obligatory shirtless scenes of barely legal males, or any pretentious Jughead narrations. And it’s all here, everyone!
So let’s get snarking.
Jughead tells us the Coopers are the Stepfords of Riverdale: they seem perfect on the surface but really they are mind-controlled robots created by Glenn Close. Wait, that’s a different Stepford. But the Coopers are those people who hire a professional photographer to take their family portrait in the living room.
And then one day Polly and Jason hooked up, broke up, secretly got back together, secretly got pregnant, secretly got engaged, and now there’s a very public murder investigation and a very public family feud that goes back to over who stole whose maple syrup business.
If that’s not the whitest thing to fight over, I don’t know what is.
Polly is now living with the Lodges and now that she’s been freed from the creepy covenant, she can finally give a statement to Sheriff Keller. She explains the drugs in Jason’s car as one-time deal with the South Side Serpents to raise money to start their lives somewhere new. Jason was supposed to deliver the drugs but obviously, he was unable to complete the job. Because he got murdered and everything.
At school, the gang (which now officially includes Cheryl now that she’s #TeamPolly) discusses Polly’s predicament. The Coopers are willing to take Polly back but only if she gives up the baby while the Blossoms are willing to raise their grandchild but want to take custody away from Polly. Veronica scoffs that this is just “an annoying situation”, not a real problem. According to Veronica, a real problem is getting invited to both the Vanity Fair and Elton John’s post-Oscars party in the same year.
Veronica suggests hosting a baby shower and inviting both families so they can bond over their grandchild. She tells Jughead that as Betty’s boyfriend, he is obligated to attend. Archie looks uncomfortable when the b-word is mentioned. Ooh, will the infamous Betty and Veronica love triangle be re-centered around Betty instead of Archie? On the one hand, it feels weird to mess with such an iconic love triangle, but it is refreshing to have Betty and Veronica be friends instead of romantic rivals. Also, Archie is so bland in this incarnation that it’s hard to imagine Veronica and Betty actually fighting over him. That’s like getting a meal with someone and then arguing over which one of you gets to have the unseasoned chicken breast. It’s like, why would you do that when there’s better options on the menu?
Mrs. Cooper barges into the school and pulls Veronica and Betty aside to yell at them for harboring Polly. The girls tell her that they’re going to have a baby shower and Betty begs her mother to come. “Your choice is whether you want to be a part of Polly’s life,” she tells her.
Meanwhile, Fred is ready to begin construction on the old drive-in lot. However, his crew announces that they are quitting because the Blossoms promised them a very lucrative project. It is entirely plausible that the Blossoms are adding a secret attic or a basement dungeon or whatever Gothic addition they want to the house but Fred knows the Blossoms are purposely blocking his construction because they’re mad they lost the bid to the land.
With the Blossoms bribing every construction crew in town, Fred’s bills are piling up. He admits to Archie that they are in financial trouble and if they don’t find a crew, Fred will go into even more debt.
Polly agrees to the baby shower because she hopes it’s a chance to reconcile with her mom and prove to the Blossoms that she is good mother. Hermione pulls Veronica aside and hisses that the Blossoms and the Coopers will just get into a huge fight and ruin their pre-war apartment.
She also reminds Veronica that the families have this crazy feud and the Blossoms can’t know that Hiram bought the drive-in lot because then they’ll go on a bigger rampage. Still, Veronica begs for the shower to happen and Hermione agrees. She even convinces Alice to attend.
To help his dad, Archie rounds up his friends from the football team to help break ground. It’s so sweet that I may have gotten a toothache but seriously, why are Archie’s subplots always something out of Leave It to Beaver? First, he has stage fright and then he helps his dad at work. I predict that next week, Archie’s baseball will fly through a neighbor’s window and he’ll be conflicted over whether to admit the truth.
Despite the excellent opportunity to have a bunch of twenty-year old men in hardhats walk around like it’s the “Work from Home” music video, there are no shirtless CW males in this episode.
After a long day of work, Moose has the misfortune of being outside when two hooded figures sneak onto the site and sabotage the equipment and beat him up. Sheriff Keller comes by to take statements because that’s all his job consists of. Archie believes the Serpents are behind the attack but Jughead is doubtful because the Serpents never bothered the drive-in before. Archie also adds that the Blossoms are behind the sabotage but Sheriff Keller is all, “Whatevs. I guess we’ll never know.”
No wonder Jason’s murder hasn’t been solved.
Archie vents to Val that he needs to do something and he gets Kevin’s Serpent boyfriend to take them to the local Serpent bar so Moose can ID the attackers. He tries to recruit Jughead to come along but Jughead refuses. I don’t have to tell you that a bunch of high school kids showing up at a known criminal bar is stupid,but Archie does it. He even wears his letterman jacket to the bar! Apparently, the kid doesn’t know the meaning of subtlety. He also doesn’t know the meaning of “smart” because he picks a fight with a random Serpent. He’s lucky that Mr. Jughead breaks up the fight before it begins. Archie accuses Mr. Jughead of being in with the Serpents (which is true) and messing with his dad’s business because he’s still mad about being pushed out. Mr. Jughead ignores Archie’s ranting and calls Fred to take him home.
It’s time for the baby shower! Despite Polly’s worries, Mrs. Cooper does show up. “I’m so glad you’re here and you’re safe,” she tells Polly. “You and the baby.” This sweet moment is interrupted by the arrival of the Blossoms, who bring in a ridiculously impractical antique carriage as a gift.
Cheryl asks if she can be godmother, but that job has already been promised to Betty. Side note: isn’t making a relative the godparent kind of redundant? Isn’t already expected that as an aunt, you would take active interest in raising the child. My roommate tried to explain to me that she has a close bond with her godmother/aunt because of that added responsibility, but it still doesn’t make sense to me. Personally, I don’t have godparents so maybe that’s why I don’t get it. It’s also probably why my spiritual side is very underdeveloped.
The Blossoms and Alice’s passive aggression veers into straight up aggression when the gifts are opened. Alice gives Polly her old nightlight to pass down to her children and the Blossoms give Polly an antique rocking horse.
The festivities are temporarily interrupted when Archie barges in to confront Jughead about his dad being a Serpent but thankfully, everyone is like, “Goddammit Archie this day is not about you. Take it outside because we’re about to see some real drama here!” Thankfully, Archie leaves so Mrs. Blossom and Mrs. Cooper can get into a screaming match over who Polly should live with. Polly breaks it up and cries that it’s their stupid fighting that drove her and Jason to secrecy and ended up causing his death. She runs away and Mrs. Cooper follows to apologize. Polly still doesn’t want to move home with her because Mr. Cooper tried to coerce Polly into getting an abortion.
After the shower, Jughead admits to Polly that his dad is a Serpent. She tells him that she doesn’t care and they go to meet his dad. Their visit is not the usual “introducing your significant other to your parents” meeting. Jughead and Betty have their detective hats on and ask what Mr. Jughead knows about Jason. He tells them that the Serpents hired Jason to make a delivery and when he disappeared, they assumed he just bailed with the drugs.
And they just let it go? If the community theater West Side Story wardrobes weren’t indication enough, the Serpents are terrible criminals.
Mr. Jughead denies killing Jason but after Betty and Jughead leave, he calls over Kevin’s Serpent Boyfriend to hide the Jason’s stuff. Serpent Boyfriend is a little hesitant about leading Kevin on, which totally breaks the first rule of the criminal handbook: never fall in love.
I mean it, the Serpents are so terrible at crime.
Jughead believes his dad and that’s good enough for Betty. They kiss and there’s this weird red glow.
Jughead apologizes to Archie for lying about his dad being a Serpent and the next day, Mr. Jughead rounds up some Serpent buddies to be Fred’s new construction crew. Privately, he tells Hermione that the vandals who attacked the site were former convicts from Montreal, where Hiram has connections. He suggests that Hiram found out about Fred and Hermione’s relationship and he ordered the hit to punish them.
Back at Casa Cooper (can I call it that or are they too white for that?), Mrs. Cooper confronts Mr. Cooper over making an abortion appointment for Polly. “You did to Polly exactly what you did to me!” she hisses.
Whoa. Hal tried to coerce Alice into getting an abortion too? I have a strong urge to donate to Planned Parenthood now.
He tries to justify his actions, claiming that Polly is ruining her life and he was just trying to help fix the mistakes. Mrs. Cooper informs him that Polly is moving in and kicks him out for not being supportive. “I will not raise a child that has Blossom blood!” he yells.
Oh my God. He is literally acting like the Blossoms have cooties.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Cooper’s scenery chewing was a waste in this episode. Polly takes a taxi (Oh, I guess Uber wasn’t in service?) to Thornhill and decides to move in, which is an awful idea.
I mean, look at Mr. Blossom’s toupee. You can’t trust a man who has so much money but has terrible hair.
Just look at our current president.
The Real Archie’s Mysteries I Want Solved:
- Seriously, why weren’t the Serpents pissed when they thought Jason ran off with the drugs? The Serpents are running a very lax drug cartel here.
- Why do the Blossoms think that antiques from the 19th century are appropriate baby gifts? Get Polly a Babies R Us certificate.
- I thought Hermione confessed to the romance with Fred over the phone already. Why are they treating it like someone ratted her out?
- Can Nana Blossom be in more episodes? I just love this creepy Gothic lady making creepy predictions. BTW: she believes Polly is carrying fraternal twins. On that note:
- Has Polly seen an obstetrician? How far along is she? I’m a little worried.
- Did Jughead Eat a Burger? No, he didn’t. To be fair , there weren’t many scenes where he would have had an opportunity to do so. Burgers aren’t really appropriate baby shower food.
Eagle-eyed user JamSanJose spotted Jughead with a burger during a Polly/Jason flashback. However, the burger appears untouched.
Why wouldn’t he eat that burger when it’s right in front of him? Why does he look so spaced out?
The mystery continues, folks!