Riverdale: Death diner for cutie

I have only one thing to say about the townspeople of Riverdale: these hoes ain’t loyal.

Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe has been open since the 1950s and it’s the local hangout for kids and adults alike. But you have one little shooting and all of a sudden, Pop’s is a ghost town and you got local vandals labeling it a “death diner.”

By the way, local vandals? “Death diner” is a terrible insult.


At the Andrews home, Archie is guzzling energy drinks by the canful, trying to maintain his energy up so he can keep the household running and also be on the lookout for the return of the Angel of Death/The Green-Eyed Man/The Little Black Hood/Whatever Dumb Name We Have for the Guy Who Shot Archie’s Dad.

Mr. Smithers, the ever loyal doorman, tries to help Veronica avoid her father, but Hiram catches Veronica when he comes back from his morning run. He tries to ask Veronica to have a family dinner with him, and Veronica shoots him down with this following zinger: “To quote that New Yorker cartoon, ‘How about never? Does never work for you?'”

Jughead and his dad meet with their lawyer, who informs them that they don’t have a lot of options for cutting a deal.

The best deal the lawyer can secure is a 20 year sentence. If Mr. Jughead doesn’t take it and the case goes to trial, he could be looking at twice that. Jughead goes to the Serpents and asks if there’s any way they can bust his dad out of prison and smuggle him into Canada. The Serpents laugh at Jughead’s Escape from Alcatraz plans and tell him that there’s a better option: meeting with Penny Peabody, the go-to Serpent lawyer.

Penny runs her operation from the back of a tattoo shop, but she has some surprisingly good legal info. If the Blossoms can publicly forgive Mr. Jughead, it might cut more time off his sentence. Jughead asks Penny about payment and she smoothly tells him that he can just owe her a favor. No wonder her office operates in the back of a tattoo shop: Penny’s got to start taking checks and money orders. Rent doesn’t get paid with just favors!

Veronica hears from Betty that Archie’s room has been unusually empty and quiet, so she confronts him about it. By the way:

Archie admits that he’s been staying up late to keep watch on the house, because he’s afraid the Angel of Death will come after him. Veronica suggests that Archie should talk to a therapist or a counselor about his fears. That’s a very reasonable suggestion, so of course Archie doesn’t take it. Well, he almost does, but then he chickens out when our resident douche, Reggie, makes Archie feel self-conscious about seeing a counselor.

The writers have really made up for season 1 Reggie being such a dud. Season 2 Reggie is a drug dealer, who sells “jingle jangle” (yep, that’s the real name of the drug Sheriff Keller was talking about last episode. Really, these townspeople need to name things better) to Riverdale students like Midge Klump. Yeah, I bet Midge needs drugs. Reggie’s nickname for her is “The Klumpster.”

Archie asks to buy some jingle jangle (God, I cringe every time I have to type that) to help him stay up late, and Reggie agrees to sell it to him.

Meanwhile, Betty has decided to make saving the diner her crusade for the episode. She and Jughead go to Mayor McCoy to beg her to make Pop’s a designated landmark, or make a statement of support. However, Mayor McCoy refuses, afraid of facing political backlash if anyone else gets shot at the death diner. Mayor McCoy also refuses to use her connections to help Jughead’s dad’s case. “I want you to remember this moment when you turned your back on Pops Tate and my father,” snarls Jughead as he and Betty storm off.

Hiram shows up at the high school to try to make amends with Veronica, but she’s still pissed at him. She and Betty head over to Vixens practice, where Cheryl has reclaimed the team leadership duties from Veronica. “Although Veronica, were they ever really yours?” Cheryl asks. As her first act as the re-appointed Vixens leader, Cheryl makes Josie a Vixen and turns down Betty’s proposal to have the Vixens host a fundraiser to save Pop’s.

Time is running out to save Pop’s! Alice tells Betty that Pop’s has been sold to an anonymous buyer. Sound familiar? Veronica flies into a rage and accuses her parents of buying Pop’s in an attempt to buy her love. The Lodges deny any knowledge of Pop’s buyer, so Veronica decides to up the stakes. “Let’s talk about Mr. Andrews,” she says, looking pointedly at Hermione. Oh my God. Is Veronica going to tell Hiram about Hermione’s affair with Fred?

Instead, Veronica asks Hiram upfront if he ordered a hit on Mr. Andrews.

Hiram denies it, but Veronica is still determined to see her father as a villain. She produces the letter he sent to her, threatening Hermione if Veronica didn’t testify on his behalf. However, Hermione reveals that she wrote the letter to make Veronica testify.

At Riverdale High, Principal Weatherbee announces the death of Ms. Grundy. Instead of celebrating the death of this statutory rapist, Archie worries that the Angel of Death is killing the people near him. As a favor to Archie, Alice bribes the mortician to get the details on Ms. Grundy’s death, which are all completely wrong. The mortician thinks Ms. Grundy knew her attacker and it was a crime of passion. Archie is suspicious of the fact Ms. Grundy was strangled with the cello bow that he gave her, and remains convinced that despite all appearances, there’s something connecting the crimes. He tells Sheriff Keller about Ms. Grundy’s abusive ex being a possible suspect, but Ms. Grundy’s ex has an airtight alibi. Archie worries that maybe he’s going crazy.

Maybe if Archie was better rested, he could figure the connection out. As of now, he’s really not doing himself any favors staying up all night with a baseball bat, especially since his security methods suck. Jughead just walks in the backdoor, and Reggie pops by wearing a homemade hood to scare Archie and all Archie does is tackle him. “Only a dumbass takes a baseball bat to a gun fight,” laughs Reggie.

Now, this is the part where Archie would realize he’s absorbing way too much stress right now and would go to talk to a therapist, install a security alarm, and stop trying to be a vigilante. Instead, Archie is dumb, so he buys a gun off Dilton Doyle.

Jughead and Betty go to Thirstle House AKA Thornhill Manor: The Remix, which I think is is just the guest house of the original Thornhill Manor. If so, it’s still a nicer home than you and I will ever set foot in. Mrs. Blossom is recovering fabulously like an ’80s soap opera diva, and Cheryl is running the household with a manicured fist. Jughead and Betty ask her to testify for Jughead’s father. Betty reminds Cheryl that technically, Mr. Jughead was just an accomplice in Jason’s death so that must be some forgiveness. Cheryl does want to move on from Jason’s death, but she can’t do it if Mr. Jughead, a living reminder of it, walks around Riverdale free. After dinner, Jughead jokes that maybe they should blackmail or extort the Blossoms to get them to cooperate.

The two eat have a last supper at Pop’s before the place gets sold the anonymous buyer, which is revealed to be a local liquor store chain, Chugmo. I mean, it. Get better naming rights, Riverdale! Jughead sadly asks Pop’s to make Mr. Jughead’s favorite order so he can have one nice meal before he spends the rest of his life in jail. This breaks Betty’s heart and she decides that it is time to stop playing nice with Cheryl.

Sher corners Cheryl in the girl’s locker room, where like any ordinary sixteen year old girl, Cheryl is parading around in expensive lingerie and doing her makeup to red mood lighting.

Betty still has a copy of the video of Mr. Blossom killing Jason, and she threatens to release it publicly if Cheryl doesn’t testify on Mr. Jughead’s behalf and let the Vixens host a fundraiser for Pop’s. “You’re a stone cold bitch, Betty Cooper,” Cheryl says admiringly. Blackmail does the trick, and Cheryl turns on the crocodile tears for the judge, even claiming that she overheard Mr. Blossom threaten Mr. Jughead to help kill Jason in a bid to make Mr. Jughead look more sympathetic. This five-minute testimony is enough for the judge, and he agrees to review Mr. Jughead’s sentencing. Mr. Jughead is relieved, until he finds out Jughead enlisted the help of Penny Peabody. He warns Jughead about getting in bed with “snake charmers.”

Jughead finds Veronica sulking and offers to be her shoulder to lean on. Veronica frets about her dad being a bad person and Jughead tells her to appreciate her dad because at any moment, he could be taken away, like how Archie’s dad almost died and Mr. Jughead is still on track for prison. I feel like this is terrible advice. It’s like telling someone who has a steaming pile of crap in front of them to just suck it up and eat it, because someone might take the plate away at any moment. Veronica’s dad sucks, full stop. He’s embezzled money, he has no qualms about engaging in criminal activities, and it’s really creepy how he’s always talking about how great it is that Hermione is blindly loyal to him. Veronica shouldn’t have to forgive Hiram just because her friends have pretty decent relationships with their dads. Nevertheless, she welcomes Hermione and Hiram to the fundraiser at Pop’s diner, and agrees to a fresh start.

The fundraiser goes off without a hitch, and Josie and the Pussycats (minus Valerie, with Cheryl filling in because every single actor on this show just so happens to be musically talented) perform a cutesy pop cover of Kelis’s “Milkshake” that I’m still not sure how I feel about. On the one hand, I’m impressed how they turned a Kelis song into a twee pop song. On the other hand, a Kelis song should not be a twee pop song. Judge for yourself.

Alice is at the fundraiser to write a story on the paper, and she notes the presence of several Serpents and spots Reggie dealing “jingle jangle” to Midge and Moose. She sarcastically congratulates Betty on giving the Serpents a foothold on the north side of town, but really, she should be worried about the Lodges’ foothold in Riverdale. Pops announces that the Lodges made a generous donation to keep the diner afloat, but Hiram confides in Hermione that he bought the diner and is just letting Pops stay on as manager.

Pops seems kinda dumb, so I bet he really thinks Hiram just gave him a donation, and all those documents he signed were some kind of “donation acceptance” paperwork.

Hiram also thanks Hermione for saying she wrote the letter to Veronica. “Once again, your loyalty knows no bounds,” he tells her.

Everyone returns to their respective homes, and Veronica is surprised that loyal doorman Smithers is no longer there. Hiram claims Smithers went overseas to take care of his sick family. Yeah, and I’m sure when he’s done there, he’s going to go live at a lovely farm upstate. Veronica looks a little nervous as she realizes that perhaps she was right not to trust her father after all.

Midge and Moose want to keep the party going, so they park by the river to do some jingle jangle. I want to say they’re vaping it, but it also looks like they’re just sucking on Pixy Stix. Maybe “jingle jangle” is just some weird Northeastern slang for colored powdered sugar candy? They start to make out, but they’re interrupted by a man approaching their car with a flashlight. Is it a cop? No, worse, it’s the Angel of Death. In a move straight out of a slasher film, the Angel of Death shoots Midge and Moose for no other reason other than being sexually active teens.

I guess you can say it was a death cab for both of those cuties.

The Real Archie’s Weird Mysteries I Want Solved:

  • So Alice saw an underage boy dealing drugs, and instead of reporting it to the police, she decides to just guilt her daughter and claim it’s her fault for Riverdale’s increasing crime rate? Petty Level: Very
  • Did the Angel of Death really kill Moose and Midge, or was it a copycat? Archie doesn’t even know Moose and Midge well, so the M.O. of killing Archie’s close friends doesn’t fit here.

Did Jughead Get a 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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