Riverdale Season 3, Episode 16 Recap: The 6 Wildest Moments Of Musical “Big Fun”

Photo: Courtesy of the CW.
Please keep all chainsaws away because the second Riverdale musical is here, and I’m going to enjoy every ridiculous second of it. This time around, the students of Riverdale High School are performing Heathers: The Musical, a worthy successor to last year’s Carrie riff. It’s a potboiler of Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch)-Toni Topaz (Vanessa Morgan) angst, cult-provided magic mushrooms, ghosts of murdered performers of yore, and Chad Michael Murray freaking everyone out. Yes, Chad Michael Murray’s long awaited Edgar Evernever has arrived on Riverdale, and it is appropriately chilling.
So, let’s get down to the most bonkers moments of the episode and try to unravel them. They’re in no particular order, because Riverdale excels in the chaos.
Chad Michael Murray Rises
Let’s skip dinner and go right to dessert. “Big Fun” closes out the musical episode with the emergence of unnerving cult leader Edgar Evernever (Murray). With his stylish white duds and perfect facial hair, we finally understand why women of means are flocking to the mystery man behind The Farm. This man is a dime.
While Edgar’s surprise appearance would be shocking enough to qualify for the classic Riverdale cliffhanger spot, the scene gets much creepier. As Edgar stands in the middle of the auditorium ominously clapping, countless Farmies, also clad in white, pop up throughout the audience to join him in the exact same rhythm. Eventually, a thunderous roar of cult-y applause rises up in the crowd. A terrified Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) realizes the Farm has a greater sway in Riverdale than she ever dreamed.
The Farm — which Betty also sees sponsoring a bizarre all-white ritual between new couple Kevin Keller (Casey Cott) and Fangs Fogarty (Drew Ray Tanner) — might be much harder to banish than the Black Hood.
An Almost Threesome
Three teens almost had a threesome in the middle of the Riverdale High auditorium’s stage. Why Toni had to use that exact space to seduce a half-naked Sweet Pea (Jordan Connor) and Peaches (Bernadette Beck) is unclear. The one thing we do know is that the trio’s suspension-worthy tryst is only thwarted by the apparition of Cheryl Blossom singing Heather’s bop “Dead Girl Walking.”
Everyone Finally Makes Sense
One of the biggest problems of recent Riverdale episodes is that logic has escaped everyone in its midst. The teen soap may churn out more plot-related whiplash than anything else on television, but characters’ motivations, at least, make sense. For example, Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) and Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) broke up for good because Veronica believed it was possible her on-again, off-again boyfriend tried to murder her crime boss dad. Trust was gone. Relationship was over.
However, the conflict between Cheryl and Toni has never tracked in the same way. There might have been a tug of war over the Pretty Poisons, but Cheryl’s excommunication and last week’s Choni “breakup” felt like drama for drama’s sake. This week, Toni comes to that same conclusion by asking her ex-ish girlfriend, “What are we doing? What are we even fighting about?”
The answer is absolutely nothing. This realization forces Cheryl to admit her traumatic upbringing — and Jason’s (Trevor Stines) murder — made her extremely sensitive to the slightest change in Toni’s romantic behavior. It’s a much-needed reminder of Cheryl’s dark past and the way it colors her much brighter present. Choni, friends, is back on.
Elsewhere, the Riverteens take stock of their life and wonder how it got so unmanageable. A cast-wide rendition of Heathers' “Seventeen” anchors this mediation as everyone pines for the days when they went to school and did normal teen things like have crushes on fellow students. As Riverdale continues to spin into gangland, drugged-out confusion, it’s a good point to bring up.
That’s why it’s so satisfying to see Archie and Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray) decide to simply date and see where things go. How very 16 (yes, all these traumatized youths aren’t even 17 years old, as the Heathers song would suggest).
Reggie Mantle, Genius?
When Ronnie and Archie broke up earlier this season, the former told the later they were “endgame.” It was heartbreaking. Yet, Reggie Mantle (Charles Melton) floats the possibility he and Veronica are the ones who are actually meant to be. The most compelling evidence for this theory is the fact Reggie breaks up with Veronica during “Big Fun” because she's using him as an emotional crutch for her parents' divorce.
Reggie recognizes that isn’t a real foundation for a relationship. So, the football player ends things until Veronica is in a better place. This way, if Veggie does get back together, it will be for The Right Reasons. As the Bachelor has shown us, that’s the only way to create a lasting love.
Cole Sprouse Was Conned Into Singing
When the first Riverdale musical premiered last year, much fuss was made over the fact that Jughead’s portrayer Cole Sprouse would not sing. Those days are over.
With “Big Fun,” Jughead is holding a tune and barely hiding a smirk four minutes into the very earnest proceedings. At the crescendo of the episode, Juggie and Betty share an emotional duet in the aforementioned “Seventeen.”
While we could pretend TV’s craziest kids are ready to go back to the good old days of milkshakes and bowling that “Seventeen” idolizes, we know that’s never going to happen. As proof, Bughead wraps their song about lost innocence, grabs a couple of Slushies, and goes to burn down the former Jones trailer, which Juggie’s mom Gladys (Gina Gershon) turned into a mobile drug lab.
Honestly, J.D. and Veronica would be terrified.
A Back-Door Preview Of Katy Keene?
The future of Riverdale's latest prospective spin-off is a mystery, but “Big Fun” might be our biggest clue as to what the very musical Katy Keene might look like. The episode is directed by Maggie Kiley, the same woman who is helming the Katy pilot. Greetings and salutations to the future of the Riververse.

More from TV

R29 Original Series