Riverdale: Drink that maple syrup Kool-Aid
As ridiculous as it sounds, the town of Riverdale was founded on the Blossom’s sweet, sweet maple syrup business. Everyone consumes Blossom maple syrup, even the Coopers. I was hoping there would be a shot of Alice Cooper using Aunt Jemima or some alternative just for spite because the petty level would have been awesome. Anyway, the maple syrup biz is in trouble because Jason was set to be the heir and now he’s dead and Cheryl is considered unfit to lead because she’s a girl.
I mean, she’s a little crazy too, but everyone’s rationalization why Cheryl can’t be CEO is just because she’s a girl. I guess we shouldn’t be surprisedby the Blossom family’s antiquated ideas. They seem to live life like they’re in a 1800s Gothic novel.
Alice interrupts Betty and Jughead’s early morning debriefing/makeout session to announce that she’s going to write a scathing expose on the Blossoms as revenge for the Blossoms stealing Polly to Thornhill.
Come on, Alice. I know you’re angry and sad that your marriage is falling apart and your daughter won’t come home but using the power of the press to blast people you don’t like is pathetic.
Betty tells her mom to hold off until she can make contact with Polly. Since moving to Thornhill, Polly has ignored all of Betty’s calls. Understandably, Betty is worried that Polly is being held prisoner at Thornhill and wants to make sure she’s okay.
Meanwhile, Hermione informs Veronica that they have to testify at Hiram’s trial. “We may have to shape the truth a bit,” says Hermione which is code for “Lie your ass off.” She also admits that Hiram knows about her affair with Fred Andrews. Veronica is tired of the secrets piling up and tells Hermione that she needs to tell Fred abut the Lodges being the anonymous buyers of the drive-in so he doesn’t get hurt.
At school, Cheryl finds Archie in the music room and invites him to the Blossom’s maple syrup tapping ceremony to kick off maple syrup season, which is a thing apparently. Archie turns her down because he has a girlfriend and that sounds an awful lot like a date–a really weird date, but still.
In class, Ethel reads a depressing poem from the point of a view of a corpse.
Veronica immediately recognizes it as a cry for help and asks Ethel if she’s okay. Ethel admits that her parents but won’t say why and to cheer her up, Veronica invites her to hang out with their friends. Kevin is all, “Wtf? I want to be around fabulous straight girls, not weird depressing ones. You’re a terrible fruit fly” but Veronica explains that when she was a Rich Bitch, she severely bullied dorky girls like Ethel (she made one girl drink gutter water, an incident that must be making some therapist very rich right now) and sees this as a chance to atone for her sins. I’m sure Gutter Water Girl has different ideas as to how Veronica can do that, but it’s nice to see this version of Veronica strive to be a better person.
Even though “no means no”, Penelope Blossom shows up at school to talk Archie into accepting Cheryl’s invitation. She mentions offhandedly that she was going to get Principal Weatherbee to summon Archie if she hadn’t run into him in the hall, a conversation I would have loved to see. I imagine it would have gone something like this:
Mrs. B: I need to speak to Archie Andrews and it’s important. Can you call him on the P.A. system?
Principal W: Sure, what do you need him for?
Mrs. B: He turned my daughter down for a date and I want him to change his mind,
Principal W: Okay, these helicopter parents are going too far now.
“Say you’ll reconsider escorting my daughter to the tapping,” she says, probably intending it to be just as dirty as it sounds. Penelope offers to sweeten the deal by getting Archie into some fancy summer music program and he immediately accepts. The rest of the gang is skeptical and warn Archie that favors from the Blossoms have strings attached. Jughead jokes that Archie is whoring himself out for college. Betty is the only supportive one because she wants Archie to check in on Polly at Thornhill.
Thankfully, Archie doesn’t listen to the naysayers so we get to see what this tapping ceremony is all about!
Key things to observe: everyone is dressed in matching black, gray, or red outfits except for Archie who showed up in navy blue.
Cheryl explains to Archie that the board of trustees want to oust the Blossoms because of the bad PR generated by Jason’s death and Polly’s pregnancy. Cheryl knows the board doesn’t think much of her but it’s her job to do the opening tap for the ceremony and she’s nervous. Archie gives her some words of encouragement and Cheryl taps the tree successfully.
Ethel comes over for quiche but is not feeling it. She admits that their dad lost their saving and they might have to sell their house. When Hermione learns Ethel’s last name, she pulls Veronica aside and reveals that the Muggs family are one of the victims of Hiram’s deals and are going to testify against him. Veronica is disgusted that her mom just dismisses the Mugg’s misfortune as “the risk of doing business with your father” and tries to make it up to Ethel by giving her expensive presents. Ethel tells Veronica that she doesn’t need to bribe Ethel into being friends.
On their way back from the tapping cereony, Archie and Cheryl overheard some board members talking trash about Cheryl. He immediately calls them out and tells them Cheryl is a lot smarter than anybody gives her credit for and they’re assholes. Clifford overhears and impressed, he invites Archie to be Cheryl’s escort to a Blossom banquet later in the week. Archie accepts, much to the delight of Alice. She gets excited about the possibility of using Archie as a spy for her expose on the Blossoms’ trouble while Betty is sad that Polly is still ignoring her, especially since Cheryl reveals at school that Polly is expecting twins.
Cheryl stops by the Andrews house. On her way in, she tells Fred that he looks very DILF-y.
She drops off an expensive guitar as a “thank you” gift for Archie and kisses him on the cheek goodbye. After Cheryl leaves, Fred tells Archie he needs to give it back and that the Blossoms are using him. Archie insists that they are just being nice. Oh, what a 180 Archie has done. Last episode, he was accusing Clifford of sabotaging Fred’s business and ready to fight any Serpents. Now that he gets some nice presents, he thinks the Blossoms are A-Okay.
Instead of giving back the presents and listening to his dad’s warnings, Archie decides to ask the Blossoms for more favors. During his tux fitting, Archie asks Clifford to stop sabotaging Fred and help out the family business. Clifford accepts and everything is groovy in Archie-land except for all these annoying people who keep telling him that something is wrong. Val tells Archie that Cheryl went up to her and basically bragged about stealing Archie away and warns him that Blossoms are going to want something big in return for their favors. Archie brushes her off, but at the dinner, Clifford takes Archie aside and tells him that the board likes the look of Archie and Cheryl together, if you know what I mean.
At the dinner, Polly takes Archie aside and asks him to make Betty stop reaching out. She reveals that she’s spying on the Blossoms because she believes they had something to do with Jason’s death. Archie gets distracted by this suspicion when he notices Cheryl storming off after an argument with her father. Never one to resist a lady in distress, Archie follows her. Cheryl tells Archie that she knows everyone at school hates her but it’s different when her own family does too. Archie gives her another pep talk and Cheryl interprets this to mean that Archie wants to make out.
Archie makes her stop and tries to leave but Cheryl reminds him that the Blossoms will take away all of their nice gifts, including the music program. Archie decides it’s a small price to pay in exchange for getting away from all the crazy. On his way out, he overhears Penelope and Clifford talking about how they know the Lodges bought the drive-in lot and joke about how they should have sent Hermione instead of Hiram to jail.
Meanwhile, Alice and Betty go to Hal’s newspaper office to pitch their expose but he reveals that he changed the password on their newspaper computer and fires Alice as a reporter. “You kicked me out so I’m kicking you out,” he tells her.
Alice throws a brick through the window at him in fury.
Betty vents about her parent’s failing marriage to Jughead, who urges Betty to stay strong because she’s the only one keeping her family together. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a teenage girl and yet, Betty accepts it. Speaking of families with major problems, Kevin tells Veronica that Ethel’s dad attempted suicide. Veronica runs crying to the girl’s bathroom and dramatically rips off the pearl necklace her father gave her. Betty comforts her.
Veroincia and Betty visit the Muggs at the hospital and offer their condolences and Veornica admits that her dad is responsible for the bad investments. Mrs. Muggs is outraged and tells Veronica that her father deserves to be behind bars and she should tell the truth about what a horrible person he is. Veronica agrees and tells her mother that she is done lying and Hermione should be too. Hermione admits to Fred that she and Hiram are the anonymous buyers and although he is initially furious, he agrees to stay on the project but calls off their affair for good.
Betty tells Alice about Polly spying for the Blossoms and Jughead offers Alice a job on their school paper so she can still write her expose.
To be fair, it does have the same budget and circulation as the town’s paper so it’s not too much of a step down. Jughead and Betty also discuss that if the Blossoms put Hiram in jail and if he has cronies everywhere, perhaps he was the one behind Jason’s murder too.
Archie tells Val that she was right about the Blossoms using him but she still dumps him and looks for opportunities for more screen time elsewhere.
Poor Archie. He’s got no girlfriend, no summer music program, and back at Thornhill Manor, Cheryl has just added him to her hit list.
The Real Archie’s Mysteries I Want Solved:
- Archie is number one on Cheryl’s hit list but Polly is too. What did Polly ever do to her?
- When exactly is the timeline between Hiram getting convicted/arrested and Jason’s murder? Jason was murdered on the 4th of July so the Blossoms must have snitched on Hiram before then.
- Did Jughead Eat a Burger? No, but there were a lot of loving shots of maple syrup in this episode.