Warning: Major spoilers ahead for Riverdale season 3.
Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines) is the Gargoyle King. The Farm is actually an organ farm masquerading as a hippy-dippy wellness cult. Edgar Evernever (Chad Michael Murray) stole someone’s heart. All of this is probably connected. Wednesday night’s latest Riverdale episode, “The Dark Secret of Harvest House,” truly may be a series-best. At minimum the hour is proof the CW show, which took a serious dip in quality and sense last season, is stronger than ever.
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.
At the top of “Harvest House,” Polly Cooper (Tiera Skovbye) — a name everyone pronounces as “Pauly Cooper” — and Alice Cooper (Mädchen Amick) tell Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) she was born with “the serial killer genes.” Then, during a Farm therapy session with Edgar, Betty is supposedly introduced to a physical manifestation of her dark side. Dark Betty tells Our Betty she killed a cat and pushed Polly down the stairs as a child. Later, Polly reiterates the stairs story.
Betty’s second therapy session reveals all. Polly is Dark Betty. Edgar is using sound to manipulate his “therapy sessions.” He then brings a Farm-y in to play whichever individual is conjured by the click-clack of his hypnoballs. For Betty, it’s her dark side. This means Polly is purposefully trying to convince her sister she is inherently evil.
The Farm’s master plan
While it’s totally plausible Polly just wants to mess with Betty’s sanity, it’s also likely Edgar has convinced Polly she needs to manipulate her sibling for the good of the Farm. Because the Farm isn’t about therapy at all. It’s a disturbingly genius organ harvesting front. During “therapy” Edgar suggests where a patient's mental pain has manifested physically. Then, he “removes” it. This is, of course, a con to get unsuspecting people to agree to elective removal surgery of their major organs. Edgar then sells them for profit.
Betty gets her first clue about the scam when she sees a huge scar on Kevin Keller’s (Casey Cott) back after a “minor Farm procedure.” Kevin’s boyfriend Fangs (Drew Ray Tanner) speaks of a similar experience in a similar area spot. Later, she sees Evelyn Evernever (Zoé De Grand Maison) taking an anti-rejection IV for her kidneys. Evelyn stole Kevin and Fangs’ kidneys.
Betty tracks down the Farm’s secret vault of harvested organs and the very lucrative price sheet for each body part. Edgar is in possession of at least one heart, as Betty shows Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) in an effort to knock her out of Farm brain. It works, and Cheryl helps girlfriend Toni Topaz (Vanessa Morgan) escape before Edgar’s henchman can cut into her. Cheryl, unfortunately, sacrifices herself and stays, fighting off the guards while Toni flees.
Betty is also captured and strapped to a surgery chair for “removal.” Considering where her alleged pain “manifested” itself — “I have a stabbing pain in my forehead” she says earlier in “Harvest House” — it seems Edgar is after Betty’s brain. Could that be why he has been so hellbent on getting Betty to join the Farm? Has someone offered big bucks for a piece of Betty Cooper’s genius sleuthy mind?
Moonrise Kingdom tries to kill Jughead
Betty’s man Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) wanders into the woods to stop Gargoyle King acolyte Ricky DeSantos (Nico Bustamante) from killing himself in an “ascension” attempt. Ricky’s backup, a feral pack of uniformed tween Adventure Scouts, are none too happy about that meddling. So, they chase Jughead through the forest, pointy sticks akimbo. Amazing.
Jughead learns the Gargoyle King’s true identity
At least Juggie’s near mauling by middle schoolers pushes him towards his greatest Gargoyle King lead yet. He seeks refuge in the Dilton Doiley Sex Bunker, G&G Den, & Sometimes-Prison, only to find Ethel Muggs (Shannon Purser) waiting for him. They supply some C-plot — eventually coming face-to-face with a failure of a Black Hood — until Ethel finally decides to tell Jughead what he’s been asking all episode: Who is the Gargoyle King?
Ethel says it’s Jason Blossom, back from the dead. Yes, the same Jason Blossom whose murder began Riverdale and we witnessed die in gory detail via security footage. The same Jason Blossom whom Cheryl is talking to at the Farm (lending credence to likelihood the Gargoyle King murders, the Farm, and Edgar’s tattoos are connected). When Jughead digs up Jason’s grave, his body is long gone.
With the season 3 finale next week, we wait to see if “Jason” is actually Jason — and how that is possible — or if Cheryl has a triplet she doesn’t know about.
“Yeah, Ronnie, your dad sucks.”
For some people, breakfast means a quick sip of coffee before starting a difficult day. For Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), it’s overhearing your parents discuss the merits of nefariously purchasing the town you live in. The same town where they recently tainted the water and gave girls seizures.
Ronnie is absolutely beside herself over her dad’s (Mark Consuelos) latest scheme to treat Riverdale like his own personal Monopoly board. She heads over to the Andrews house to complain. Archie couldn’t be less shocked about Hiram’s latest corrupt development, telling his ex, “Yeah, Ronnie, your dad sucks.” Not only is it a hilariously “duh” line reading — but, on a show where archaic references and adult problems fuel teens’ lives, that’s the most anyone has sounded like a real young person in years.
Another adult man fights Archie Andrews, teen boy
Archie Andrews is a junior in high school — a legal minor. However, Red has spent this season fighting weathered adult men, including a sadistic jail captain (Link Baker), a doped-up boxer (Darcy Hinds), and, now, his ex-girlfriend’s dad. This time, at least, Archie has a (terrible) plan for his fight with Hiram.
Ronnie realizes the only way to take her daddy down forever is for the feds to catch him in the midst of many crimes. Since he secretly owns the Bonne Nuit, pinning its illegal gambling, imbibing of minors, and other sins is a perfect legal gotcha. So she has Archie challenge Hiram to a boxing match. This way, Veronica will be able to handle the fight’s betting and all other related misdeeds through the Bonnie Nuit. Then the feds will bust the club, getting Hiram on a laundry list of felonies.
The only problem is, Archie has to keep Hiram busy while the wheels of justice roll into play. Hiram is vicious in the ring. He nearly breaks Archie’s arm and possibly elbows him in the face before Red decides it should be a gloves-off match. Hiram’s brutality only gets worse. He hits Archie in directly his chest. It’s an injury that, in the Barry world, broke a man’s windpipe last week. Archie doesn’t suffer the same fate, but he is headbutted by Hiram, punched so hard his mouth guard is ejected from his face in a bloody arc, and almost hit with a killing blow before Ronnie stops her dad. “I beat you, I’m the better man,” Hiram says with delusion in his voice.
Again. I reiterate. Archie Andrews is a 16-year-old boy. Hiram really needs a less disturbing nemesis. At least he ends up in jail, wearing nothing but the littlest, shiniest boxing shorts, after almost murdering a kid.
I will pay Riverdale to retire “endgame”
“Harvest House” marks the third time someone has used the word “endgame” for a Riverdale relationship this season. The first time was heart wrenching. But now, Archie’s mom Mary Andrews (Molly Ringwald, pretty in a pink wardrobe throughout the episode) is inexplicably tossing it out in casual conversation. With every repeated use of the phase, its OG iconic debut loses meaning. Riverdale, you have to stop.