On a traditional teen show, a sexy, sexy car wash for a good cause would be the main story of the episode. Especially when that event serves up 1950s nostalgia porn and abs like the scene found in Riverdale’s newest episode, “Dog Day Afternoon.” But the fundraiser for Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) and Monroe Moore’s (Eli Goree) community center is over somewhere around the 10-minute mark.
“Dog Day” has more important things to get to than sudsy torsos. There are cult storylines to wrap, rockets to see, and corpses to uncover.
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.
Betty is forced to play phone tag with a deranged villain (again). Also Betty is the FBI’s best agent.
One of the most unsettling parts of Riverdale season 2 was watching Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) suffer through forced phone calls with the Black Hood, a serial killer who was obsessed with her (and ended up being her dad). Every time The Chordettes’ “Lollipop” went off on Betty’s phone, your spine tingled.
Betty has to experience that very particular hell once again over “Dog Day.” Rather than go through the FBI to plan his cult’s escape, holed-up Farm leader Edgar Evernver (Chad Michael Murray, doing a spectacular Tyler Durden impersonation this week) repeatedly calls Betty from Alice Cooper’s (Mädchen Amick) phone. Someone really needs to explain why Betty’s number is Riverdale’s psychopath hotline.
It’s possible Riverdale’s worst villains flock to Betty because everyone in town behaves like she is a working field agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Her brother Charles (Wyatt Nash), an actual FBI agent, treats her like a coworker, filling her in on classified missions, allowing her to listen in on operations, and giving her free reign to wander around the office like Quantico’s top grad.
When Polly Cooper (Tiera Skovbye) shows up to the FBI’s office with a bomb, none of the actual agents are tasked with saving her. Instead, Charles inexplicably tells Betty how to defuse a bomb and trusts her snap judgement on which wire to cut to stop the explosive. When teen girl Betty is wrong, neither Charles nor his many colleagues step in to help Polly and Betty. Instead, Charles gives Betty the very complicated steps to locating the kill switch for the bomb.
Apparently everyone was right to trust Betty because she rips a pin out of her hair and stops the explosive with just two seconds to spare.
Chad Michael Murray gets a rocket
Since the FBI is apparently useless, Betty fulfills Edgar’s hostage demands, which include $250,000, a school bus, and passports. When Betty drops off the goods in hopes of exchanging them for her mom, she is knocked out and tied up next to Alice. This is how Betty learns Edgar plans to have his wife/fake daughter Evelyn Evernever (Zoé De Grand Maison) drive the Farm’s newly acquired school bus off of a cliff as a distraction (Betty and Alice will be affixed to the front of the vehicle as shields, naturally).
As police focus on the runaway bus of cult worshipers, Edgar will escape on his rocket. Because Edgar has been building a rocket for some time. We see Edgar’s rocket in the final act of “Dog Day” as Alice goes to stop him from escaping. The sight of Chad Michael Murray wearing an Evel Knievel suit and proudly standing next to a rocket while backed by a flapping American flag is a glorious fever dream.
It is also a sight we don’t get to enjoy for long. Edgar ruins everything with his cult babble and attempting to kill Alice. She shoots him dead before he has the chance. Goodbye Edgar, you beautiful organ trafficker.
Moose’s life is ruined (again).
When Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) moves into Stonewall Prep, he is delighted to learn good old Moose (Cody Kearsley) — now going by the apparently more proper Marmaduke — is his roommate. Stonewall is Moose’s fresh start after a breakdown over his father’s monstrous behavior and some time in a mental health facility.
After Jughead and big man on campus Bret Weston Wallis (Sean Depner) butt heads over their writing, Bret ruins Moose’s life in retaliation. Bret distributes the newspaper story about Moose’s dad being a Gargoyle King — which Marmaduke was keeping secret — shaming Moose out of Stonewall and possibly shattering his sanity again. Justice for Moose.
Archie disappoints me personally.
Archie makes a great case against vigilante justice at the midpoint of “Dog Day.” Then, after his mom Mary (Molly Ringwald) says he should maybe not invest thousands of dollars in a crime ridden town life Riverdale, all of Archie’s senses vanishes. Within seconds, Archie is wearing a handkerchief over his face and wielding a baseball bat to intimidate a new gang of Riverdale miscreants.
Archies leaves the scuffle with a battered body and a duffle bag of $40,000 in cash. Archie stole $40,000 from hardened criminals. This is very bad.
Hiram admits jail is a joke.
There has always been something hilarious about Hiram Lodge (Mark Conseulos) pretending the prison he built could hold him. We are finally disabused of that notion when Hiram shows up at the Lodge penthouse in his finest sweater to tell off his daughter Veronica (Camila Mendes) for wanting to change her name.
At least the conversation inspires Veronica’s official name change to Veronica Luna, honoring her father’s patronymic before he turned to a life of crime.
Cheryl’s dad is definitely alive.
At last, Toni Topaz (Vanessa Morgan) learns her girlfriend Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) has her twin’s preserved corpse tucked away in the basement of Thistlehouse. Yet, Toni finding Cheryl in the Blossom chapel sewing up her brother’s body after a rat burst out of it isn’t the Blossom storyline most likely to radically change the remainder of season 4. Instead, that award goes to a supposed throwaway line Cheryl hears her grandmother Nana Rose (Barbara Wallace) croak during some nighttime fugue state.
“Penelope, there you are,” Nana Rose tells Cheryl, assuming she is her mom (Nathalie Boltt). “I thought I saw the triplets burning in the fire.”
If Rose thinks she is talking to Penelope, it’s likely she is speaking about her other children — her sons. While we originally assumed Cheryl’s supposedly dead dad Cliff (Barclay Hope) was a twin, he may just be a secret triplet instead. That would mean it is possible Cliff hung his previously unknown secret brother to fake his own death in season 1, Claudius (also Hope) was murdered in season 3, and now Cliff is still out there alive.
If this twist comes to pass, you heard it here first.