Riverdale: We can be heroes

Why does the Blossom family take their maple syrup so seriously? Why did they have their super elaborate maple tapping ceremony at the beginning of winter when any New Englander knows that maple syrup season begins at the end of winter?

Because it was all a front for their drug cartel.

It makes so much sense now. How do the Blossoms afford their ridiculous, gothic mansion and ridiculous antique baby carriages for teen mom baby showers? Because they have Pablo Escobar money!

You know, last week, when Mrs. Blossom showed Cheryl the “dirty, sticky truth,” I now realize she was talking about black tar heroin.


Alice and Jughead co-narrate the beginning of this episode as they type up their respective write-ups on these events. I must note that Jughead needs to step his game up if he wants to continue this faux-lisophical musings because Alice has a more witty, biting delivery. Anyway, they explain that Clifford was using maple syrup as a cover to smuggle heroin and when Jason found out and threatened to snitch, Clifford killed him and then tried to pin it on Mr. Jughead.

“And he would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for us meddling kids,” notes Jughead.

Actually, Clifford would have gotten away with it if he didn’t throw off Jason and Cheryl’s plans to fake Jason’s death. If he had dumped the body far, far away from Riverdale, Cheryl would have thought she helped Jason escape and poor Polly would have just assumed Jason ditched her and the babies.

Agony Booth Murder Tip: If the guy you’re planning to murder is already planning to fake his death, just go with his plan. Don’t over-complicate things.

Mayor McCoy announces her plan to oust any corruption and drug trade in Riverdale so Sheriff Keller offers Mr. Jughead a deal: if he names names, then he will get a shorter sentence. If he doesn’t, he could face up to 20 years in prison. He will be like a male version of Piper from “Orange is the New Black.”

Meanwhile, Casa Cooper is the perfect image of domestic tranquility. Hal and Alice are back together, Alice is writing for the town paper again, and Polly is back home. Betty complains to Archie that her “Greek suburban tragedy” is going to implode again if she lets her parents go back to their Stepford ways.

However, it seems like all anyone wants to do in this town is just put on a happy face and pretend the bad stuff never happened. Mayor McCoy asks Archie and Betty to participate in the town’s Jubilee because they are the town heroes who caught the bad guy. Archie asks why Jughead, who was a founding member of their How to Solve a Murder Club, isn’t being asked to do something at the Jubilee too. Mayor McCoy claims that Archie and Betty, two perfect clean cut kids, are the heroes Riverdale needs.

Jughead is cool with being excluded from the town’s festivities, especially since he doesn’t need any additional attention when he’s trying to convince his dad to take the Sheriff’s deal. Betty is annoyed Mayor McCoy and Sheriff Keller haven’t even mentioned that Clifford was the head of the drug trade and keep trying to blame everything on the Serpents. She announces that she will write an article for the town paper and stand up for Mr. Jughead.

Veronica also stands up–literally, not metaphorical–to announce that she and Archie are dating. Archie asks if Betty is okay but hello, it’s been 13 episodes since Betty freaked out at the school dance/memorial and told Archie she wanted to be a power couple. She’s totally over Archie and genuinely happy for this Archie/Veronica romance but Archie keeps shooting her wistful glances and tries to tell Betty that a part of him always wondered what it would be like if they got together. Betty shuts that down immediately.

Back at Thornhill, Cheryl weeps as Mrs. Blossom hysterically claims that their family has been cursed since the Blossom/Cooper split and how maybe Clifford had the right idea about ending their lives now before the next tragedy strikes. This comment appears to set something off in Cheryl and at school the next day, she appoints Veronica head of the Vixens. Veronica is suspicious as to why Cheryl is giving up her beloved “dictatorixship.”

Meanwhile, Hermione informs Fred that she fired all of the Serpent crew out of fear of the Mayor McCoy crackdown on crime and she and Hiram want to buy Fred out of the development deal. Fred is annoyed Hermione fired the crew without telling him but is willing to consider her offer.

The kids prepare for the Jubilee and Archie asks Josie if they can perform the song about friendship he wrote.

Similarly, Betty’s hard hitting article gets shot down by Alice. Alice points out that Betty has a clear bias and even if she didn’t, it’s too risky to publish. The whole town blames the Serpents for drugs and if Betty defends them, she will become a target too. Betty decides to ignore her mom and publish it in the school paper. They both have the same circulation, anyway.

Betty is just trying to focus on her burgeoning journalism career and all Veronica wants to talk about if Betty is really okay with Veronica dating Archie. “Oh my God yes,” insists Betty. “I’m dating Cole Sprouse. Do you know how many ten year old girls in 2005 wish they were me?”

Speaking of 2005, I bet Jughead wishes he could go back to a simpler time when his biggest problem was Mr. Mosby yelling at him for running in the lobby. Now he comes home after school and there’s a social services lady who tells him that Fred can’t be his legal guardian because Fred has DUI and doesn’t make enough money. Therefore, Jughead will have to be placed in foster care.

At school, Cheryl continues her obvious cry for help by offering Jughead her expensive brooch as an apology present. The signs are really obvious here, people! Cheryl is clearly going to attempt suicide. To be fair, it’s hard to focus on Cheryl when someone writes “Go to Hell Serpent Slut” on Betty’s article and hangs a Betty doll with a noose in front of her locker. Alice is understandably frightened for her daughter but Betty is determined to stand by her man and tells Alice that she’s sick of hiding secrets. She asks what Mr. Jughead knows about Alice’s high school past and Alice admits that in high school, Hal got her pregnant and they disagreed how to handle it. Alice went away to the nunnery and secretly gave up their son for adoption.

Wow. Hal is even a bigger douchebag that I thought. We already know he tried to pressure Alice and Polly into getting abortions and now we learn he basically abandoned his then-girlfriend during her time of need.

Why did Alice continue having kids with this guy? He doesn’t seem very enthusiastic about them.

Jughead decided to just accept his fate and transfer to South Side high, which looks like an inner city school from the 90s.

Archie, Betty and Veronica run to the school to save Jughead before he goes to “the dark side”, but Jughead is actually pretty happy at South Side. Everyone is gloomy and wears lots plaid–he’s in paradise. He and Betty promise not to let Riverdale’s “civil war” split them apart and Veronica gushes how those two are soulmates.

Cheryl sends Veronica a suicide text that she’s going to be with Jason and the gang rushes to stop Cheryl from drowning herself in the frozen river. Cheryl hallucinates seeing Jason’s corpse underwater and freaks out.

Thankfully, Archie punches through the ice and saves her. Veronica takes Cheryl back to the Lodge Penthouse but Hermione is unhappy that a Blossom is hanging around but whatever, it’s time for the Jubilee! Veronica confronts Archie for looking at Betty and Jughead “wistfully” and he claims he was looking at them as #relationshipgoals for him and Veronica. Veronica buys this obvious lie and the show goes on. Josie tells Archie that because he saved Cheryl, they will play his dumb friendship song.

Thankfully for the rest of us, we don’t have to hear the whole thing. Archie keeps looking off to the side as he plays. Is he looking at Veronica or is he looking at Betty?

Jughead goes to see his dad one last time and reports that the South Side isn’t so bad. Mr. Jughead tells his son that he’s made a lot of mistakes and now he has to pay. He makes Jughead promise to be there for their family, but if I were Jughead, I would just cut ties. His mom didn’t want him to come to Toledo and basically ignores him so screw her. Jughead gets to the Jubilee in time to hear Betty’s speech, which she changes upon seeing him in the audience. She scolds the audience for turning on each other and reminds them that all of them, even Jughead, are part of the town. Jughead leads the slow clap and Betty gets a standing ovation.

After the Jubilee, Fred tells Hermione that he has decided not to sell and he doesn’t care if it makes Hiram uncomfortable. Meanwhile, the kids have milkshakes at Pop’s to celebrate.

The couples split up into their respective pairs to go have sex. Archie and Veronica go all the way but Jughead and Betty get interrupted before they can round second base. The Serpents stop by and tell Jughead that as a thank you for Mr. Jughead not snitching, they will take care of Jughead while he’s on the South Side.

Back at Thronhill, Mrs. Blossom finds Cheryl holding a candelabra in the gasoline-soaked living room, talking about how fire will be the perfect purification for them to start over. She sets the house on fire and horrified, Mrs. Blossom watches the mansion burn.

In the morning, Archie meets his dad for breakfast at Pop’s and while he goes to the bathroom to wash up, a masked gunman holds the restaurant up. Archie is tempted to play the hero again sp Fred stands up to distract the gunman. The gunman shoots Fred and flees while Archie cradles his dad’s body.

Jughead notes that this seemingly random shooting was anything but random. Duh. Masked gunmen don’t burst into cutesy diners every day and it’s no coincidence this happened after Fred told Hermione he wasn’t going to sell.

We asked who shot J.R. but now it’s time to ask, “Who shot Fred?”

The Real Archie’s Weird Mysteries I Want Solved:

  • Where will Cheryl and her mom live now? It’s going to take a while to build a new gothic mansion.
  • Will Jughead go to the dark side? They do have pretty sweet jackets.
  • Where did Archie’s feelings for Betty come from? He was super into Veronica last time I checked. This conflict feels a little forced.
  • Was Hiram or Hermione behind the shooting? Presumably, Hermione told him Fred didn’t want to sell. That’s one way to get your shares of the deal…
  • Will Betty’s long-lost brother appear?
  • Did Jughead Get His Burger? Yes! Finally! It was a school cafeteria burger though, not from Pop’s.

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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