Welcome back all you Riverdale fans! It’s been a hot minute since we last spoke. How y’all been? Me? I’ve been good. Relaxing. Writing. Reading. Playing some G&G. Ostracizing my child and then shifting all the blame onto them while simultaneously joining a cult that reinforces my fears and convinced me that my very legitimate trauma could only be solved and healed by alienating my child in the most hurtful of ways and burning my past to the ground.
You know, the usual.
And as always, spoilers ahead.
1. No More Mrs. Nice Mom
I gotta say, I didn’t think I could be any more frustrated at Mrs. Cooper than I was before but man, not even three weeks of no Riverdale could keep the fury at bay. And it’s not even like she’s wrong! Betty can be scary and Mrs. Cooper has some very real fears. They may be irrational but most fears are. However, the show has taken great pains to show how Mrs. Cooper has been increasingly abusive in her treatment of Betty, actively ignoring her wishes and attempting to control her every movement. Of course she’d be freaking out!
It doesn’t help that the writers still don’t seem to know how best to handle Betty’s character beyond her busting into every room, yelling at someone, looking pensive and then doing an action that ALWAYS comes back to bite her. They both deserve better. In fact, the scene of the two of them in the bunker was the best scene we’ve gotten from them in a long, long time. It was emotional and Lilli Reinhart turned in a killer performance there.
I guess it was all necessary so that Betty would finally, FINALLY cut her mom loose and go off on her own. For her own sanity and health, that is what she needed to do. But the road to getting there was poorly constructed. I’m just glad we’re there finally.
OH! And Edgar better not be Charlie because I will flip a table.
2. School’s Out (for Cheryl)
I don’t quite get how the show believes this cult works. I still contend there’s something magical, even if their hand-wavy explanation is going to be Fizzle Rocks (it’s not your grandpa’s Jingle Jangle.) However, this episode makes it seem like the sheer fact of seeing these manifestations of their regret is what gets them into the cult. I don’t buy it because we haven’t been given any reason to buy it. Sure, the audience can believe the explanations given and accept that they are the reasons, but unless you do the work to set it up, it’s un-earned and lacks the potency it should.
Case and point, Cheryl. She’s so much smarter and stronger than the episode gives her credit for, reducing all her growth these last couple seasons to “I missed Jason and now that I can see him again, I will MANIPULATE MY GIRLFRIEND into joining this cult.”
Cheryl deserves better. What we saw with Edgar worked because he was there for Cheryl while Betty was stuck in her own head, unable to see how Toni breaking up with Cheryl harmed her and made her feel alone. But now? Come on. Cheryl knows that Jason is very dead. She had accepted it and we were given no indication that this was not the case so saying the footage was faked is utter crap.
I can’t remember if she watched the video originally but still. . .She saw Jason’s dead body! I could have bought if she believed she was seeing Jason’s spirit or something but not that she legitimately believes Jason is alive but stuck in this one room at The Farm. Where has he been all this time? Off in Greendale with Polly? It’s a major problem with the The Farm narrative and one that I can’t see being fixed by the end.
Thank goodness Toni is a mole, and a better one than Cheryl was.
3. Is It My Darkness?
“Dark” Betty returns this week and I both appreciate the way the approached it, from a cinematographic sense and a narrative one, and am wary about the implications. Betty has been pushed closer and closer to Hal these last few episodes and I’m not so sure that’s a good thing for the show. We don’t need Hal around anymore. He’s just around to chew the scenery and be creepy. Why is he being portrayed as the more helpful of the parents? Why do they want Betty to be like him?Continued below
I don’t have any good answers. I do know that the way they dialed up the tension with Betty this week was very well done.
The question of “Am I a monster?” is one that Betty has failed to struggle with this season simply because she’s always been framed as reacting to her mom instead of being proactive. But in “Jawbreakers,” she takes the initiative to be DEEPLY creepy, chloroform her mom, kidnap her, chain her up and then go full sociopath in her delivery when leaving her to sit with the photo albums. If cut together slightly differently, without 17 other episodes of Mrs. Cooper being, well, culty, this would have been much more chilling.
I kinda wish they had leaned harder into that so that when it came time to release her mom, she had fully realized the extent which she had fallen. Still, what we got was a great addition.
Also, why the fuck hasn’t Mrs. Cooper divorced Hal already? He killed, or tried to kill, like, 10 people?
4. Gutter Cat vs. The Jets
I honestly never thought we’d get the return of boxing with Elio, the gigantic shithead, but here we are, watching Archie get beaten up by Randy Ronson, who’s been juiced up on. . .G. I shit you not, the newest drug is just called G. This may be the worst named drug in the history of the show and the fact that these people say it with such confidence and earnestness is hilarious. Elio doesn’t even bat an eye when he says it, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
You gotta love the silliness of it.
Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Luke Perry! I have no idea at what point in production he died so I’m not sure how many episodes of him we have left but until the end of the season, I will keep holding out hope that he will be in the next episode. I’ll save my words on his character until the finale but I’m glad I got at least one more chance to mention him in an episode he was in.
5. Quest of Nails
It seems that this truly is the start of the endgame for the G&G plot line and, can I just say, FUCKING FINALLY. They’ve really be spinning their wheels when it came to this, much like they did last season, making me wonder if a shorter season would benefit the show tremendously. . .the answer is yes, yes it would.
But since that’s not what we’ve got, I’ll just run a couple thoughts on the G&G antics this week because, honestly, I don’t know what to say about Jughead & FP’s hunt for Kurtz other than it was pretty good but relegated to the background pretty heavily. BUT! It did give us my two favorite (funny) parts of the episode: creepy mortician and the constant repetition of G.
Also, damn, if there’s one thing they got right it’s the creepy factor on The Gargoyle King’s outfit. It’s only gotten more unsettling since the start.
That about does it for now! Join me again in a week for the next installment of Gryffins & Gargoyles: The TV Show, The RPG, The Video Game, The LARP. Will we find out more about the farm? Maybe. Will there be stupid names and silly quests? Most definitely. Let me know in the comments what you thought about Riverdale’s return. Until next week, stay strange y’all.
Best Line of the Night:
Betty: “Toni. I’m not a monster, am I?”