Last week’s Riverdale was about a statue. This week, it was about Veronica and our central quartet making choices that cost them their innocence, in every sense of the word.
These days, Archie Andrews (K.J. Apa) is working for Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos). He’s a “small town kid ushered into a dangerous, but intoxicating life of crime,” as our narrator — Jughead (Cole Sprouse) — announces at the open. But that’s not exactly true. We all know the real reason Archie is keen to get close to Hiram has less to do with an interest in his lifestyle and more to do with helping our alleged FBI Agent Adams (John Behlmann).
In any case, the episode focuses on choice. For Jughead: Will he let Betty back into his life? For Archie: Will he keep conspiring against the Lodges? And for Veronica (Camila Mendes): As Archie gets in deeper with her father and her family, is she comfortable with him committing to her family’s dangerous lifestyle too?
While Archiekins is running daddy’s errands, Veronica is prepping for her confirmation. She’ll be asked to renounce Satan by the same Monsignor who baptized in front of the entire Lodge clan (including her dear abuelita). It’s a big deal for her family, but especially for Hiram. During her dress fitting, Hiram tells her, “You made me the happiest and proudest father.”
He even goes so far as to ask Archie, “Isn’t she a miracle?” Archie agrees, but he’s pretty easily swayed by anything related to his beloved Veronica.
Veronica decides to extend her “chosen family,” a.k.a. the show’s central cast, invitations to her confirmation too. The dress code is “Catholic chic,” of course.
With the ceremony days away, the Lodges start to receive apologies in the form of gifts. It’s all very much a teen drama echo of The Godfather.
Mayor McCoy (Robin Givens) and her daughter Josie (Ashleigh Murray) pay the Lodge family a visit and offer an apology gift: a performance by Josie. It’s pretty clear that neither Josie or Veronica are interested in the offer; Josie looks irritated and Veronica flat out says that she planned to sing at her confirmation— alone. But they strike a deal: A duet. The song? “Bittersweet Symphony” which Veronica knows from Cruel Intentions. How fitting.
The St. Clair family — yes, that includes attempted rapist Nick St. Clair (Graham Phillips) — sends along a large gift. Veronica is disgusted by the gesture, but Hermione (Marisol Nichols) explains it’s an apology. She also lets Veronica know that she’s aware of Archie’s “unfriendly” visit to Nick at his boarding school.
The cat’s out of the bag, but rather than getting angry, Hiram is pleased with Archie. So much so that he invites him to a poker game. And Veronica isn’t happy about it. Why? Because she doesn’t want sweet, innocent Archie to get tangled up in her father’s affairs. And she tells him as much while the two are volunteering in matching red outfits at the soup kitchen. And no, Veronica didn’t take off her pearls to serve soup to the needy.
She asks Archie to “play it safe.” But when has Archie EVER played it safe? Name a time. I’ll wait.
In addition to warning Archie, Veronica tells Hiram she isn’t sure about including Archie in family business. Hiram tells her that she has to make a choice: Let Archie in on the business completely or shut him out.
She heads to confession and begs for forgiveness. She fears that she’s leading Archie “down an unrighteous path.” But her Monsignor offers no council or guidance. When she meets up with her mother, abuelita, and aunts later, they all discuss the methods they use to calm their guilty consciences. Their husbands and “the risks they take” are dangerous. They light candles, pray for protection, donate to charities. But Veronica looks unconvinced.
Confirmation day arrives and everything goes off without a hitch. As Veronica is asked “do you renounce Satan,” she pauses and looks into the crowd. She spots Archie, face lit up, smiling at her with encouragement. It’s enough to make her smile (and a light shaped like a halo pop up behind her head, which was so eye-roll worthy, but okay).
At the party, Veronica introduces Archie to her cheek-pinching abuelita. But she also tells him that he is her "beacon in the night.” She comes clean, telling Archie, “my dad, he’s a —”
“Monster,” Archie interrupts.
Guess what? Sweet Archie doesn’t care about how bad her dad is or what trouble her family is getting up to in Riverdale. He begs her not to tell him the details. And lets her know, “You could never say anything that would scare me away.” We'll see.
When Hiram Lodge finds out about Archie attacking Nick St. Clair, he doesn’t get mad. He’s actually impressed with Archie.
“I respect a man that will go to such extremes to send a message,” Hiram says, before inviting Archie to an underground, high-stakes poker game with some of his associates. It sounds like the Riverdale version of Molly’s Game to be honest.
There’s just one problem: Archie is still working for “the FBI.” Agent Adams wants Archie to keep his eyes and ears peeled for information that could help his case — at both the confirmation and the poker night. He even tries to convince Archie to wear a wire. But Archie refuses.
Despite Veronica’s warnings that her father’s business is unpleasant, Archie helps at the poker game along with Pop Tate (Alvin Sanders).
The table of Hiram's “friends” includes Lenny from Chicago and Papa Poutine from Canada, who insults the food and Pops (which Hiram does NOT stand for) before conspiring behind Hiram’s back. Why? Same as every reason for a coup from movie mobsters: the leader is going soft.
But Papa Poutine should be more careful about where he’s whispering secrets because Archie hears him through a bathroom window. Archie sits on the information until after Veronica’s confirmation, when Archie accompanies Hiram to his study before warning him about Papa Poutine and the coup.
Hiram takes it all in calmly and tells Archie to head back to the party, before making a phone call that we never get to hear.
And when Veronica tries to come clean about her family, Archie seems to decide that he doesn’t need to know the Lodge family dirt. He needs to keep his girlfriend safe.
The next time Agent Adams comes around, it’s with news; Papa Poutine is dead. He asks Archie if he may have any information connecting Hiram to the crime.
Sweet, innocent Archie makes a choice: He lies.
Jughead and FP (Skeet Ulrich) start this week with questioning from Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins). He wants to know who beheaded that Pickens statue and of course he assumes it was a Serpent because they commit all of Riverdale’s crimes, right? (Wrong, but whatever)
Shout-out to Jughead for calling out the Riverdale P.D. for putting tons of time and money into vandalism and little to no effort into capturing a serial killer.
But the police aren’t the only ones coming down on Jughead; he manages to get suspended from the school newspaper staff — along with Betty (Lili Reinhart) — for their article about Pickens. Which basically means there’s no more paper, right? Cause isn’t it just them and a dusty typewriter?
Shortly after, Jughead, FP, and all the Serpents get eviction notices. Only in Riverdale does an entire series of families get evicted at once as part of a political scheme. In any case, they have 14 days to vacate, by order of the mayor.
Jughead decides to pay Mayor McCoy a visit that quickly turns into a shouting match and ends with her warning him to “back down.”
But Jughead can’t back down. Not when Tall Boy (Scott McNeil) and FP are blaming him for the police and the mayor turning up the heat on the Serpents. So he and Betty decide to try and track down the statue head — and thereby force the mayor and police to move on. In other words, “find the head, save the trailer park.”
There’s just one problem with the plan: Penny Peabody, aka The Snake Charmer (Brit Morgan), has returned to town. Tall Boy brought her back to fix things. But he also lets everyone know about the time Jughead carved out a piece of Penny’s arm, basically breaking the Serpents’ code. Penny says she’ll help if Jughead is kicked out of the Serpents and she gets to carve up his arm with “a dirty knife.”
It’s enough to push FP and Jughead into a father-son battle that ends with FP saying that Jughead “will be the death of us.” The good news? Shortly after Veronica’s confirmation, Betty and Juggie get a call from an old man at a junkyard who found the bronze statue head.
Best part? He saw the guy who dropped it off. That guy was Tall Boy. When they get back to the snake den, with the head, FP and Jughead basically destroy Tall Boy in front of all the Serpents and Betty. Jughead tries to claim “she’s one of us,” but Toni (Vanessa Morgan) rolls her eyes as if to say, “She doesn’t even go here."
The confrontation ends with Tall Boy voted out of the Serpents and Jughead put on probation. But it’s not all bad; Jughead ends the episode with Betty straddling his lap, telling him after an awkward pause that she wants all of him.
Betty starts the episode with her “Dark Betty” wig on. She’s dabbling in some phone sex before school and it’s only a matter of time before she gets caught by Alice (Mädchen Amick). But for now, she’s safe. Her biggest concern is who stole that bronze statue head.
After getting suspended from the paper, Jughead explains the “heat” he and the Serpents are facing, but Betty steers the conversation to their relationship. She brings up how he and Toni look like they’re a lot more than just “pals.” And then she asks, “Did anything ever happen between you two?”
Jughead tells her the truth; They hooked up after Archie delivered Betty’s breakup message. Toni gave him the tattoo and then Juggie and Toni “did some stuff, but not everything.” Jughead uses the awkward conversation as a moment to ask if Betty has “done anything with anyone.”
We all know she kissed Archie. But this is Betty, so she lies to him.
After her heart-to-heart with Jughead, Betty is warned by her creepy brother Chic (Hart Denton) that she should never “tell those guys” on the phone where she lives. “Boundaries are the key; they keep you alive,” Chic warns.
Also, quick note here that Ben (Moses Thiessen), Miss Grundy’s replacement Archie and concession stand employee, was at the Cooper house. Chic says it was because Ben gave him a job at the theater. But it’s suspicious. The last time we saw Ben leave someone’s house (Miss Grundy), they were found dead shortly after.
Chic has caused a rift between Alice and Hal (Lochlyn Munro), who gives the ultimatum: Either he goes or I do. But Alice isn’t interested in Hal’s hurt feelings and sends him packing to an Airbnb. Meanwhile, Betty is on the hunt for the bronze head thief.
When Tall Boy confesses his sins, he admits that it was Hiram Lodge who set the entire bronze head plan into motion — asking Tall Boy to create a mutiny so that the Serpents would get evicted. Naturally, the bronze head is sent to the Lodge household wrapped up like a present and delivered after Veronica’s confirmation.
But Tall Boy’s questioning is also the first moment that Jughead officially stands up for Betty being there, with him, doing Serpent things. Yes, Toni rolls her eyes, but if you’re a Bughead fan then it’s a BIG DEAL.
Bughead is on their way to being Bughead again. As Betty tells Jughead, it’s nice to hear him saying “we” again. He only had to ask her to stay before she started kissing him. But for the briefest of moments Betty paused because she needed to tell him something.
That something is undoubtedly that she kissed his BFF Archie. But when she sees Jughead looking more innocent and vulnerable than he has in quite a while, Betty makes a choice: To lie. Again.
The episode doesn’t end there for Miss Cooper. Caught in her afterglow, Betty arrives back home to the Cooper house unaware that Chic and Alice were paid a visit by a stranger.
While walking towards the dining room, Betty finds a trail of blood. And at the end of that trail is Alice Cooper, on the ground, wiping the floors clean with gloves and rags while the stranger who paid them a visit is dead on the floor.
“Elizabeth, did you lock the front door?” Alice asks Betty, with no Chic in sight.
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