Welcome back all you Riverdale fans! I am constantly surprised by how well Riverdale manages to come together at the ends of the seasons. The beginnings are always a rockier affair but the endings tend to hit pretty solidly. The same is true this week. Plot lines come to a head, reveals are. . .well. . .revealed, and the technicals are handled at a much higher level than usual.
So, grab your cyanide laced fresh-aid chalices and hook hands and let’s get going! And as always, spoilers ahead.
1. A Memory of Murder
Did I call it or did I call it? Edgar has been brainwashing everyone at The Farm. OK, I didn’t get it exactly right, at least not unless there’s more to it next week, as he seems to be using hypnosis to plant false memories and feelings into the farmies vs using drugs. I still think there’s something in the incenses, as why else would they place such a heavy emphasis on G & its effects with the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, but they may be gearing up to just have it be G&G related. Either way, the Edgar stuff is deeply unsettling and gaslighting at its most extreme.
Much as I enjoy maligning The Farm plotline for the bonkers level of obfuscation the writers have given it, it still freaks me out. This week, it turned that knob up to 11 without leaning too hard into the hamminess. The psychological torture Betty went through is deeply uncomfortable and as the reveals pile up, the whole picture becomes more and more unsettling. Because, you then start to wonder, what else did he put into everyone else’s minds?
They were all afraid of something, hurting, and desired happiness. So Edgar gave it to them in the form of someone close to them but, is that all? Or did he start by putting something into their heads and then removing it, acting like the savior when really he was the problem in the first place? Or maybe he had to change his tactic for Betty who still can’t seem to stop rushing to confront people. Thank goodness Edgar was doing something tangible like stealing kidneys.
2. I Sing the Body Electric
For all the weird that Riverdale has indulged in, I never in a million years would have guessed that this is what The Farm was actually doing. In hindsight, it seems pretty apparent considering the name (what are they harvesting?) but actually using people to harvest organs. *Shudders.*
The whole reveal to Cheryl, snapping her out of her reprogramming, was a really effective scene too thanks to the kidney in a box. Why they saved all of this until the second to last episode, I don’t know, but they made it work. Them running to try to escape, the despair of seeing Kevin & Fangs be totally absorbed by The Farm, Cheryl sacrificing herself to be stuck in the building that has caused her nothing but grief for years, it kept me on the edge of my seat. Granted, Cheryl sacrificing herself was exceptionally stupid. Like, what possible reason could she have had for doing that? The window wouldn’t slow the orderlies down enough for them to escape into the woods? I dunno, that part felt exceptionally forced to give us the slo-mo shot of Toni running & Cheryl being dragged back to hell.
Also, I genuinely thought we’d get our connection between G&G and the Farm this week but nope, it’s still being left in shadows, with the only possible lead being the cliffhanger at the end of the episode, which, again, I don’t trust. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
3. The Autumn People
Reggie and Ethel are both back and I am so for it! I’ve been lamenting their sidelining since, well, since season one but especially since Ethel disappeared after their breakout from the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Now that she’s back, I have to say, not centering much of the season on her and her experiences was a big mistake for Riverdale. I know she’s not core cast like Jug, Arch, Betty, and Veronica but placing her in that position would have made the season feel a bit more open and connected. Plus, it would’ve meant more Ethel, and that’s always a net positive.Continued below
Reggie is also back and man, Charles Melton really captures the charm of Reggie without burying the smugness. I really love the way they’ve characterized him this season, small hiccup aside, and I hope we get to see more of him going forwards. Also, he and Veronica are back together! Haha!
4. The Dragon Who Ate His Tail
Last week, Veronica learned that her father was a giant scumbag. Last season, Veronica learned that her father was a giant scumbag and a mob boss. Two seasons ago, Veronica’s father was in jail for being a giant scumbag. Anyone see a pattern here?
I don’t get why this is news to her anymore! She knows, she’s known, she’s literally spent the entire season trying to get out from under her father’s thumb. Now, this time really is different because it involves the deeds and because Veronica is not Betty, so she keeps her cards close to her chest and doesn’t instantly confront her father. I appreciate that she also acknowledges in no uncertain terms what exactly Le Bon Nuit was doing that was illegal beyond the occasional gambling night because I wasn’t quite certain.
I also love how it was Hiram’s own hubris and need for control that ultimately was his downfall. He didn’t slip up, instead Veronica outsmarted him and used his own pride against him. It’s a fitting end, much more so than being shot by Sheriff Mineta or Archie, especially as it was on the eve of him literally buying the town. What is next for Hiram? I don’t know. Maybe the Gargoyle King will come after him. Regardless, it was so satisfying to see him locked up in jail with Veronica gloating.
I do lament the lack of participation from Hermione in this. She is the biggest casualty of Hiram’s presence in the show so I hope that next season repositions her as the dominant parent in that family.
As for Archie and his fight with Hiram, man was that brutal. I also really appreciate how they continued the trend of overlaying the fights with someone at Le Bon Nuit singing. It fit the mood and the back and forth was a nice interplay showing the interaction between the two establishments. They way they shot it, as well, was a step up from the usual stuff; in fact, the whole episode was visually much more tight. It seemed to be more cohesive, tonally. There was an excitement to the camerawork that could be felt throughout, even when it was a scene that flirted with the line between utter nonsense and terror.
5. One More for the Road
Jughead & his quest continued, bringing him into a fight with the lost boys, scouring the school for a centaur and a jester, and ultimately, into contact with the Black Hood. But none of that matters because we finally learn the second red herring name of the Gargoyle King! That’s right, just like last season’s Tall Boy fake out, this reveal has to be some sort of fake out. If it isn’t, I will be so monumentally peeved because we saw his body back in season 1!
Yup, Jason fucking Blossom is the Gargoyle King and there is no body in the casket in the graveyard. Now, we still don’t know who the Ur Gargoyle King is, and we may never learn who it really was, (my money is on Penelope Blossom or Reggie’s dad at this point,) but there is no way in hell this is Jason Blossom.
Maybe they exhumed his body and propped it up. Maybe it’s whatever the hell Edgar does to hypnotize people who are tripping on Fizzle Rocks. Maybe they legit resurrected Jason and he’s a zombie like everyone was speculating would happen in season two thanks to Greendale being across the river. Whatever the case, it’s clear that he’s now appeared in two places he should be and the one place he should, he isn’t there anymore. Like I said, though, I don’t trust these cliffhangers; they never pan out. So, when the real Old Man Jenkins is revealed next week, I won’t be surprised by the revelation. Who it is, however, is another story.Continued below
That about does it for now! Only one episode remains on this roller coaster ride of a season. So join me again in a week for the end of the G&G saga and all the reveals contained therein. What will happen to Betty? How will she save her friends? Will Jughead solve the mystery of the Gargoyle King? Can you believe a Hiram can lose? Can Archie get over Veronica? I certainly hope so. But until then, stay safe, stay sane, and stay away from Sweetwater river y’all.
Best Line of the Night:
Jughead: “Oh god, I’m going to have to dig up Jason Blossom’s body, aren’t I?”