Riverdale: Who's a rock star? I am!

Jughead tells us that fear is the most basic human emotion. You know what’s basic? These stupid narrations. Part of what keeps me from taking this show seriously is Jughead’s wannabe Truman Capote narrations. He doesn’t even have a good narrator voice! Can someone get Kristen Bell to narrate this show? I think I’d enjoy this show more if Kristen Bell was involved. Hell, I enjoy anything if Kristen Bell is involved.

Anyway, we get a flashback to young Betty begging young Polly to stay with her at night because she’s afraid of the dark. Polly comforts Betty and turns the nightlight on so Betty won’t be scared. In present day, Betty is resolved be the brave one and help Polly this time. She invites Jughead to endure an awkward breakfast with Mrs. Cooper blaming him for everything “improper” in Betty’s life.


While Mrs. Cooper is distracted, Betty takes pics of her checkbook and finds that the Coopers are making monthly donations to a Catholic troubled teen’s home. Betty deduces this is where Polly must be.

Back at school, there are auditions for the high school variety show which is a pretty big deal in town now that the drive-in, the only other source of entertainment, is closed down. Reggie heckles Archie during his audition and Archie develops stage fright and runs off. Valerie comforts him and Archie asks her to duet with him so he won’t feel nervous onstage. Valerie tells Archie that unfortunately, the Pussycats have a strict “no collaborations” policy so he needs to suck it up. However, Veronica offers to sing with Archie and makes Kevin give them a slot in the variety show.

Archie also offers to help Jughead and Betty find Polly but Jughead turns him down, saying, “We’re planning a stealth operation so if we go in there with the entire Scooby gang, we’re compromised.”

Does anyone else find it weird that Archie, who is supposed to be the main protagonist of this series, has been sidelined a lot? Betty, Jughead, Veronica, and Cheryl get cool subplots about murder, mystery, and family secrets while Archie’s biggest problem is gaining self-confidence before a big show. I think part of this problem is created by the fact that Archie is so boring. Seriously, try to come up with five personality traits for the kid. He’s as bland as the unsweetened Kool-Aid used to dye his hair but still takes up so much screen time. I mean, why is he even here?

Oh, yeah. I forgot about those.

At The Pussycats rehearsal, Josie is bitchier than usual towards her band mates, demanding absolute perfection. Fed up, Valerie calls her a diva and quits the band in favor of working with Archie. Josie pretends not to care even though Val is the band’s main songwriter. “You know who’s a rock star? I am!” Josie shouts.

Meanwhile, Hermione does bookkeeping stuff at Fred’s construction business and warns him that he is quickly going out of business. Fred hopes to land the construction bid for the drive-in to make up the money and plans to meet with Mayor McCoy to make his case. Hermione offers to host the dinner at her place and the two share a kiss, which Veronica sees.

She confronts Hermione and demands to know if this means the Lodges are divorcing. Hermione is all, “Well, is it technically cheating when your husband is in prison and Luke Perry is throwing himself at you? Isn’t there a hall pass for this kind of situation?”

I am very disappointed in Hermione for multiple reasons. One, she put out a very strong “ride or die” vibe and it turns out to just be “ride away to the next available dude” vibe instead and two, she is thinking with her downstairs instead of her upstairs like every other stupid adult on this show. What is it with them and their inability to date like, well, adults? Ms. Grundy dated an underage student even though she’s supposed to be lying low from an abusive ex, Fred Andrews keeps chasing after a married woman even though he’s still technically married himself, and Hermione is handling her husband’s money but macking on Luke Perry. I know Hiram isn’t a good guy, but he’s probably in prison pining for the day he can can commit more shady dealing in a nuclear family structure just like the good old days.

Veronica interrupts Archie’s rehearsal with Valerie and yells at him as if he’s to blame for their parents dating. She also gets mad that Archie replaced her with Valerie without telling her. “You have zero loyalty, you ginger Judas!” she shouts at him. They get into an argument over whether it’s morally right that their parents date while Val just sits there quietly.

Veronica storms off and joins the Pussycats, who happily accept her as Val’s replacement. You see, Josie’s father is a big time musician and he’s in town for the variety show and Josie wants to impress him with her band. Hopefully Veronica in a pair of cat ears can be sufficient enough.

Meanwhile, Jughead and Betty take a field trip to the troubled teen home and Betty finally reunites with Polly, who is very pregnant. She explains that she and Jason planned on running away together on July 4th but the Coopers somehow got wind of her plans and sent her to the teen home before she could meet him.

Polly asks Betty to help her escape the teen home meet up with Jason again at their getaway car off the highway and Betty realizes she has to be the one to tell Polly about Jason’s death. A mean nun interrupts their conversation and takes them back into the home where Mrs. Cooper is waiting. Turns out, nuns are tattle tales. Before Polly is dragged away, Betty promises to come back and help her escape.

Rehearsals for the variety show are ramping up and so is the tension. Valerie reminds Archie that she gave up a spot in Riverdale’s hottest band for him and Josie reminds Veronica that Mr. McCoy is skipping an important music festival to see them perform. “Yeah, well at least you get to see your dad! Mine is in jail and my probable new stepdad is the father of guy I once made out with!” snaps Veronica.

Josie finally realizes the re are people with bigger problems than hers and apologizes to Veronica.

I don’t know why Josie was stressing so much about her dad: he is a douchey musician. And what’s worse, he’s a douche jazz musician. He wears a fedora–that should tell you everything wrong with this man. But in case that’s not enough proof for you, Mr. McCoy condescendingly tells Archie that he probably doesn’t know who Josephine Baker is and loudly laments that Val, the “soul” of his daughter’s band left. He also makes snide comments about commercialism and capitalism all evening as Fred tries to convince Mayor McCoy to give his company the construction bid. Mayor McCoy explains the buyer has already selected a bid and the only way to reverse it is if the buyer’s company agrees to give to him.

Of course, we know that Hiram’s company is the anonymous buyer and Hermione secretly tells Veronica that Hirman made them the controlling officers of the company and asks for her signature to give the bid to Fred. Veronica will only do it if Hermione stops dating Fred and Hermione is all, “Look, I don’t know how long your dad is going to be in jail and Luke Perry wants to get into my skirt. You’re too young to understand how important this is, but I’m not giving this up.”

So she fakes Veronica’s signatures on the papers and Fred gets the bid.

Betty confronts her parents and demands to know if Mr. Cooper stole Sheriff Keller’s case files and killed Jason. Mrs. Cooper scoffs at the idea. “You think he killed Jason? You think he had the stomach for it?” she laughs.

They tell Betty not to believe Polly’s version of the events and ground her. Jughead sneaks in to visit her and Betty admits that Polly did seem a little crazy and maybe she’s crazy too for still pursuing the case. Jughead tells her that they’re nothing like their messed up families and kisses her, which causes Betty to suddenly remember the stashed car Polly told her about.

Betty tells Jughead that if they find it, it will confirm Polly’s story one way or another. They decide to skip the variety show to go look for it.

Before the show, Archie tells Val that he loves singing with her but she should be with The Pussycats. He explains that Josie’s dad is in town and that’s why she’s been acting meaner than usual and Val feels sorry for her. She makes up with Josie and Josie agrees to share the spotlight in the future. Unlike that douche Archie, Josie doesn’t kick Veronica out of the band just because she has Val back. The four perform “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer and everyone except Josie’s dad likes it.

Meanwhile, Betty and Jughead find the car, which is perfectly intact and has no raccoons or any sort of wildlife living in it even though that’s exactly what would happen to an abandoned car off the road. They find Jason’s perfectly preserved varsity jacket and a ton of drugs. They take pictures and go back to the school to tell Sheriff Keller to call his squad in to gather the evidence. However, when they all return to the car, they find that it’s been torched.

Veronica and Archie also make up backstage and she offers to accompany him as originally promised but Archie finds the courage to sing solo and after the show, he kisses Valerie so I guess they’re dating now and somehow we wandered into High School Musical.

Thankfully, we get back to the good mystery plot when Jughead and Betty race back to the teen home to bust out Polly only to find that she busted herself out.

Free Polly!

The Real Archie’s Mysteries I Want Solved:

  • So I’m assuming this Betty/Jughead kiss means Jughead is not asexual like his comic book counterpart?
  • Why did Mr. McCoy ditch the talent show? I joke that maybe he hates disco but he put up with 3/4 of the song before he walked out. He could have just stayed another 30 seconds and pretended to be a good father.
  • What is Hermione going to do about Hiram? Look, I get that she wants to bang Luke Perry but as Veronica pointed out, Hiram is in jail thinking Hermione is being faithful to him.
  • And most importantly: where is Jughead’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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