It’s been a while since we last saw Riverdale, but the town is just as twisted as you remember.
The show is finally putting some time into storylines from the supporting cast. That means some real development from the likes of Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch), Toni (Vanessa Morgan), Josie (Ashleigh Murray), and Kevin (Casey Cott).
But make no mistake, this week’s episode focuses on our central quartet’s relationships with each other — and just how fragile their foursome truly is.
Cheryl Blossom’s relationship with her mother is continuing to deteriorate. When Cheryl asks her mom if she’s tired of her new “lifestyle,” her mother’s response is simply to rip Cheryl’s self esteem to shreds. She calls her “deviant” and reminds Cheryl that she’s loveless, cold, and alone. Just the kind of sweet morning chat you’d expect in the Blossom household.
Cheryl’s mood continues to sour when she finds that Betty (Lili Reinhart), Jughead (Cole Sprouse), and Archie (K.J. Apa) are all going to Veronica’s (Camila Mendes) family cabin for a weekend getaway. It’s not the trip itself that pisses Cheryl off; it’s that when she tries to invite herself, Veronica denies her invitation.
The trip is “couples only.” Another reminder that Cheryl is alone. She storms off and decides to seek payback in the form of a phone call.
Once the couples make it up to “Lodge Lodge,” as Veronica calls it, Jughead gets a phone call from Cheryl. Her message is simple: Betty and Archie kissed at Christmas. With tongues. “It seemed pretty serious,” she adds before hanging up.
Enter Toni Topaz. We all know that Cheryl is mean because she’s hurting, but Toni is the first person in a long time to see past Cheryl’s mean exterior to the girl inside. When Toni asks why Cheryl decided to make that call, Cheryl explains that “I need no reasons, I simply am.”
To which Toni replies, “You’re in a lot of pain.”
Naturally, Cheryl yells at Toni for touching her, shouts some Southside Serpent insults and runs away. And we pretty much don’t see her for the rest of the episode, until the town of Riverdale heads to the movies for a
very obvious plug for screening of the movie Love Simon.
After seeing her mother heading out for another night on the town, Cheryl decides to head to the movies alone. And it’s Toni who approaches her again, asking if she’s okay.
Honestly, when was the last time someone asked Cheryl if she was okay? Can you remember? I can’t.
In any case, the answer — as you probably expected — is that she’s not okay at all. She’s living in “purgatory” at home.
Toni handles this moment of vulnerability from Cheryl really well. The two end up sitting next to each other at the movies. And after, they head to Pop’s to have some shakes. That’s when Cheryl starts crying.
It’s also when she tells us about her past. How she once loved a girl named Heather, who was her best friend in junior high school. But when Momma Blossom saw them sharing a bed together, she called Cheryl “deviant.”
This scene could have gone a lot of ways. Cheryl could have been horrified by the fact that she was open with someone and ran away; she could have responded to any sympathy by lashing out.
But instead, Toni simply says, “You’re not loveless. You’re not deviant. You’re sensational.”
It’s enough to dry Cheryl’s tears and make her smile. Is this the beginning a of healthy relationship for Cheryl? Hopefully yes. At the very least, she’s not so alone anymore.
Josie & Kevin
When you’re a kid, it’s easy to forget that parents have their own lives, filled with loving and cheating and drama. In Josie and Kevin’s case, they came to terms with that reality tonight.
Josie’s mother, Mayor McCoy, has been hooking up with Kevin’s father, Sheriff Tom Keller (Martin Cummins) in secret. We first learned this when Betty decided to stalk Sheriff Keller (because she thought he was the Black Hood for some stupid, very-Betty reason).
The relationship between the Mayor and the Sheriff is still going strong. How strong? Well, Josie’s mom confesses to her daughter that Mr. McCoy knows about the affair. Naturally, Josie blurts out the d-word — “divorce” — and her mother doesn’t correct her. Instead, she warns her.
Kevin’s mother, who is still abroad, doesn’t know about the relationship. Hell, neither does Kevin. And until Sheriff Keller has told them, Mayor McCoy would like Josie to stay quiet. But when has Josie ever stayed silent?
Kevin was already having a tough week. He wanted to see the
heavily promoted movie Love, Simon, but with someone he cares about… like Moose (Cody Kearsley). But Moose is already planning to go with Midge (Emilija Baranac).
“[Midge] knows all about us,” Moose claims after inviting Kevin to join the couple. “She’s cool with it,” Moose adds. Kevin passes on the offer. “It’s a little too Big Love for me.”
So when Josie invites him to Pop’s, and the conversation shifts from the school musical to his father cheating on his mother, Kevin is already in a bad mood.
He confronts his dad — and even guilts him about being a crappy role model while his mom is risking her life. And when Mayor McCoy confronts Josie about spilling the beans, all Josie says is that “Kevin deserved to know the truth.”
But she quickly learns that it wasn’t her place to tell them, not just to spite her mother because she could have hurt them. “I wasn’t trying to hurt them,” Josie says, but her mother is too angry to listen.
Kevin goes to the diner for a pre-movie dinner and bumps right into Moose and Midge, who invites him to join their booth. Midge starts suggesting some Serpents for Kevin to date, which is awkward, and then she asks how Moose and Kevin became friends — making things awkward immediately, but also proving that she doesn’t know anything about them. Eh hem, Moose.
Kevin, though exasperated, tells her a lie: They were lab partners. In biology.
But the night is saved by Josie. They have a heart-to-heart, enjoy the movie together, and then invite their parents to Pop’s to come clean about the affair. It’s almost too neat and tidy an ending for their storyline, but when Kevin adds that not even everyone involved in this “conversation” is at this “table” right now — and Tom’s face contorts ever so slightly — you remember: We still have Mrs. Keller’s homecoming.
Archie, Jughead, Betty & Veronica
The bulk of the episode was about our central foursome, who go on a couple’s trip. Veronica assumes it’s just her father being generous. But the truth is that Hiram (Mark Consuelos) needs to have a “business meeting” and doesn’t want to risk Veronica’s safety. We know this is the truth because he tells Archie alone — and asks him to keep it (and the presence of their bodyguard) a secret.
Archie agress. I’m pretty sure Archie would agree to drink toilet water for Hiram Lodge right now, if Hiram sad it in a deep enough voice by the fire.
In any case, the trip is just what everyone needs. Betty has been haunted by the “accident” in her home. Worst yet, Chic (Hart Denton) is always creeping around her house. CREEPING in all caps. He pops up out of nowhere and has the most unsettling smile, which Jughead gets to see up close when he picks up Betty for their trip. Even Jughead, boy leader of a chain gang, is creeped out.
Jughead agrees to the trip for one reason only: To see if Veronica has dirt on Hiram. “Please not investigate my best friend,” Betty asks. But come on, we all Jughead loves a good mystery.
Lodge Lodge is cute, even though it’s remote and has no mailbox or number. It seems like the weekend will be chill, until Jughead gets Cheryl’s call and immediately looks heartbroken.
Veronica already knew about the kiss and thanks Archie for trusting her with the truth. “It shows how strong we are together,” she says.
Meanwhile, Jughead tells Betty he’s not mad about the kiss, but he is wondering why she didn’t say anything — especially when he told her about Toni.
“After everything that we’ve been through, I’m not intimidated,” Jughead says before they hear Veronica and Archie’s mattress squeaking.
Best line of the night goes to Jughead: “Is that their response to everything? Can’t they just have a conversation?”
Their evening drinks are sprinkled with questions from Jughead about Hiram’s business. Veronica reads it as tension following the kiss reveal. Her solution? “Clothes off, swimsuits on.”
Once the four of them hit the hot tub, Veronica reveals that, “When Archie told me [about the kiss], I absorbed it and processed it. But has the thought of it haunted me? A tiny bit.”
Veronica thinks the best way to clear the air is if she and Jughead kiss. Arche does NOT like this idea one bit. Jughead quickly agrees after seeing Archie’s reaction, adding that it will “level the playing field.”
“It’s just a stupid kiss, right?” They kiss and I never wanted Vughead to happen more. Also, I have never seen Archie and Betty look so angry about something and have no control over it — and let me just say that it was GLORIOUS.
That night, Betty tells Jughead that she and Veronica kissed, before slipping into her Dark Betty costume. “I packed this in case you needed a distraction,” she says.
Archie isn’t over it quite so easily. He does a million angry pushups at the foot of their bed (yes, these teens are sharing beds like they grown), and tells Ronnie that he’s just “getting my daily workout in.” Before he hops into bed and turns away from her to sleep. Cue squeaking springs — the first time Veronica and Archie learn that Bughead have had sex.
The trip would have been fine except Veronica follows Archie the next morning and finds him chatting with Andre from security. Archie, the innocent boy that he is, tells Veronica the truth. Her response is to go shopping in town with Betty.
While shopping, Veronica decides to flirt with a guy name Cassidy. I swear you could smell the suspicion on him. It’s clear that he has ulterior motives, but Veronica just wants to have a little fun.
While the girls are away, the boys have a heart-to-heart. And Jughead admits that it’s hard to believe all four of them get along so well. “ The four of us are in a powder keg,” he says. “All it would take is one match and we would all blow up.”
When Veronica gets back, she makes a new rule for Archie: “It’s me and you. Not you and my dad.” Yeah, okay. Let’s see how that goes.
You’d think the drama is over, but this is Riverdale. The drama is never over.
Two things happen: Jughead gets a phone call from F.P. — the eviction notices are all gone. Hiram Lodge bough the trailer park, but he’s letting the Serpents stay. Jughead is suspicious, but everyone suggests that he “take the win, bro.”
But later, Betty finds out that Hiram has also bought The Riverdale Register. And now the two couples are divided. Naturally, Bughead thinks Hiram is trying to buy all of Riverdale, control the press, and do other terrible things as part of a devious plan. The worst part is that Bughead suggests that Veronica planned the trip to distract them.
“I’m sorry we don’t spend our time being mopey and tragic,” Veronica says. She also calls out Betty’s costume kink. Jughead decides to take a dig at Archie’s lack of intelligence. But it doesn’t matter. Moments later, a group of men in black hoods break into Lodge Lodge with weapons.
Home invasion is terrifying, but Archie looks more angry than frightened. When Veronica is forced to grab her wallet from the bedroom, she also hits a panic button. But she tells the masked man that she knows who he is. It’s Cassidy, from the store, in case you didn’t get it.
They have the money, but they’re no done yet. “Get on your knees, hands behind your backs,” Cassidy tells them. Just before things get all Walking Dead on us, the security alarm goes off.
Veronica says they have 30 seconds before “guards who will shoot first and ask questions never” show up. The men run away, but not before one of them snatches the necklace from around Veronica’s neck and yells “screw you rich bitch.”
Big mistake, bro. Archie chases after him right away. He tackles him in the dark, but his efforts are unnecessary. Andre, the Lodge security guy shows up and promises to handle it. And he does. A gunshot rings out as Archie heads back to the house.
The group friendship is temporarily mended thanks to the home invasion. Archie tells Hiram what happened, of course.
“Did it bother you what Andre did,” Hiram asks Archie.
“The night we stopped the Black hood there’s only one thing I regret,” Archie starts. “I had him and I hesitated.”
Hiram nods in understanding, adding that when it comes to protecting your family “You never ever hesitate.”
The show closes with Juggie dropping Betty off at home, and telling her that there are two types of home invasions — one happens under your nose after you let someone in.
In other words, watch out for Chic. Jughead’s narration ends by noting that Betty is “far from safe.”
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