After a multi-week hiatus (and a much-needed break for me) Riverdale is back and stronger from its absence. In an episode that catapults off the character introductions of the previous few episodes (something that seemed tedious in the moment), the drama is H.E.R.E.
The last few episodes dragged because they were building character backstories. We met Polly and FP and Mr. Cooper and the Blossoms (even crazy Nana). So when everyone appeared in this episode, there wasn’t the need to have a lead-up. We know these people. Things have been teed and now Riverdale is winding up to hit it out of the park.
Andrews Construction is going through a tough time. Clifton Blossom has stolen all of Fred’s crew out from under him—forcing Fred to halt breaking ground on the drive-in property. That way, Fred and the mysterious buyer (the incarcerated Mr. Hiram Lodge) will be forced to sell the property, which Clifton will promptly snap up.
And as Fred popped open another beer to sip, I watched his sad turtle face and wondered if he had voted for Trump. I believe he did, and I don’t begrudge him for it. Middle America, single father, working class. Few jobs, struggling to make ends meet for his gorgeous son—I could believe that Fred would fall for the Trump rhetoric.
However, Archie and the Gangbang Boys show up to work as Fred’s crew—Archie, Juggie, Kevin (remember her?) Moose (remember him? He and Kevin almost fucked in the woods before Jason’s corpse cockblocked them—corpse-blocked?) and Random Extras 1-3. It’s never fully addressed if they should be in school, only that they’ll do work after football practice and weekends. Because that’s what back-breaking construction work should be—an afterschool hobby.
“Come on,” Hermione says, trying to convince Fred, “desperate times…” She trails off, and I have to wonder exactly what she would’ve ended that sentence with. “Desperate times…call for a disregard for child labor laws?” Where is Lewis Hine when you need him?
After a hard day at work, the boys file into that work-cabin-aluminum-can thing for some ice-cold sodas. Kevin pushes back his gelled hair away from his dirt-smudged face, looking like Lumberjack Ken—the doll that young gay boys everywhere would’ve wanted for Christmas—when Moose, looking for his phone on the lot, stumbles upon some thugs smashes a crowbar into the…electric-thingy? Unclear. They beat up Moose, and I totally thought Kevin would cradle Moose’s head in his lap and do a Spiderman-kiss, but that didn’t happen so I’ll have to find something else for my “Sad Gay Spank Bank.”
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In my head, the reason why Kevin has been so absent—so absent that it’s revealed that that Southside Serpent he hooked up with at the drive-in is his boyfriend
now—is because he’s off filming an entirely separate show. It’s just him and Serpenty (Joaquin?) sipping phosphates at Pop’s and searching the shelves of Riverdale’s version of CVS for generic-brand douches. It’s called Keller High Water
and I’m working up a spec script to pitch to the CW. But back to our regular programming.
Actually, this entire episode had a very political, us-versus-them undertone. When Chief Keller rolls his stubbly face to the scene, he really “can’t do much.” Archie points out that if this were Clifton Blossom asking for help, Keller would help. And that, Archiekins, is the premise of the “haves” and the “have-nots.”
While the Gangbang Boys—Archie, Moose, Kevin and KEVIN’S BOYFRIEND—go to a Southside Serpent bar, for…reasons (?), Betty, Veronica and Juggie throw Polly a “You’re a Teenager but We Have No Concept of Age-Appropriate Behavior” baby shower.
While there, before Cheryl BURSTS in with a black Gothic pram, Polly asks Betty to be the baby’s godmother.
“Me?” asks round-eyed Betty. “Yes,” answers Polly. “If anything happens to me, I want you to raise the baby.” I’m unclear about the legality of “godparent” in general, since my godmother only sent me the occasional birthday card and I was the altar boy in her wedding, but how binding is this proclamation? Especially when both people involved are not even 18?
Archie and the Gangbang Boys stomp into the bar—and side bar, Archie really knows how to wear a pair of jeans. Like those are definitely an athletic cut, and his muscular thighs are filling those things To. The. Brim—to ostensibly look for the thugs who beat up Moose. Because they’re stereotyping (political commentary) and assume the Southside Serpents are evil. Archie gets into a fight with a guy in a beanie (dark) and as it gets physical, Beanie says, in a brief moment, that Archie isn’t the first little prep to come in here causing trouble.
Jason? Rememer when Jason was dealing drugs—yeah that was for the Serpents. So it seems like FP has a motive for burning up Jason’s car; no trace, no conviction.
The boyz find out that Juggie’s dad is a Serpent—which, duh—total drama. Archie bursts into Polly’s shower to reveal Jughead as a lil baby ssssnake. This isn’t even the most dramatic thing about the shower. Polly screaming at Mrs. Blossom and her mother is the most dramatic thing, followed closely by the creepy-as-fuck rocking horse that Madame Blossom gifts to Polly. Fuck.
After a terse resolution, Polly reveals to her mother and Betty that Mr. Cooper tried to convince Polly to get an abortion. Alice is horrified and shocked—and this is a woman who claimed that she was pissed she didn’t murder Jason Blossom—and eventually throws her husband out for it. But the rift between the parents Cooper pushes Polly into the cold, creepy embrace of the Thorn Hill Blossoms. And as the grand mahogany door closes, you can see the white skullish face of Mrs. Blossom in the crack.
The episode seemed largely stand-alone, but that’s because you didn’t let me finish
, hunhy. In back-to-back scenes, we get a whiff of some nefarious action from darksided DILF FP Jones. He gives Kevin’s twunk boyfriend the task of hiding Jason’s jacket, when we find out that FP is the one behind Kevin’s burgeoning new relationship—entirely to get to Chief Keller. Poor Kev. He really has had a rough go of it. Then FP offers himself and his dudes as Fred’s crew. Uh-oh.
Now what Riverdale has to do is begin to tie together the threads they’ve laid out. This will be a 13-episode season, so we’re well past the halfway mark. What sort of security does Jason’s jacket provide FP? What did Alice mean when she said she was “capable” of things? Who told Hiram Lodge about Hermione and Fred, and is that really why he sent thugs to the site? Why does Betty keep wearing blue? Does Jughead have a bald spot from wearing that beanie? Did he get his beanie from Beanie Guy?
Next week: La Grande Illusion
- Is it winter in Riverdale? Is there a reason that we are being punished with no Shirtless Archie?
- Polly went from being, like, 8 months to 3 months. Seriously, she was so pregnant at the asylum.
- “Nana has dementia…and gypsy blood.”
- “Do you think you can waltz in here with a bedbug-infested rocking horse, wave a blank check around, and steal my daughter?”
- Cooper tried to get Polly to have an abortion
- A WOMAN’S CHOICE (SOCIAL COMMENTARY)
- Archie would be SUCH a DILF—I can’t handle it omg