The theme of tonight’s episode? Loyalty, Loyalty, Loyalty!
Last week, we saw just how real the potential implosion of the quartet is and this week the fuse has been lit and it’s hard to imagine another surprise breaking and entering will diffuse it. Lines are being drawn in the sand between families and friends, father’s and sons. And as we finally learn the Lodge’s big plans for Riverdale, we’re left with more questions than answers...
At Sunnyside Trailer Park, Jughead (Cole Sprouse) has turned the trailer kitchen into an evidence room, mapping out all of Hiram Lodge’s recents land acquisitions, trying to figure out what Hiram’s (Mark Consuelos) “big plan” is. FP (Skeet Ulrich) seems to have been assuaged by Hiram’s buying of the trailer park and covering the tenants’ back rent to remember that they’re in the middle of a metaphorical game of chess: strategy is king and the winner “gets” Riverdale.
Over at the Lodges', a very chummy family dinner is taking place between the Lodges and Andrew’s men, as Fred (Luke Perry), Hermione (Marisol Nichols), and Hiram take a stroll down memory lane. When the parents retire to Hiram’s study for a drink, Veronica (Camila Mendes) tells Archie (K.J. Apa) about her parents’
corrupt notion that Fred would make a good Mayor of Riverdale since Mayor McCoy resigned.
Archie is trepidatious about the Lodges' interest in Fred being the Mayor because he knows no favour goes unpunished when it comes to the Lodges. With the special election looming, Fred tells Archie that he has dreamed about being Mayor since he was a kid, and that while Hiram did offer to make a donation to get the campaign funds going, Fred says he wouldn’t run for Hiram, he’d run for Archie and for Riverdale. But, we know this is going to put a strain on Archie and Fred and Archie and Veronica, particularly because Hiram and Hermione want her to nudge Archie, and by doing so, Fred, in the “right” direction, which would be running for Mayor.
Busy huddled over a computer, Kevin (Casey Cott) and Betty (Lili Reinhart) are apparently “catfishing” Chic (Hart Denton), according to Kevin, and it seems like this isn’t the first video chat with Chic. Seeing as Betty has no luck with Chic at home since the “self-defense” cover up, they’ve resorted to relying on Kevin’s charm over video chat to pull personal details out of Chic.
There’s something about Chic’s flirtatious banter that makes you realise he’s been doing this video chat gig for a long time. He’s so adept at controlling the conversation, and that makes me more curious about his past!
Over at Thistle House, Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch)and Penelope Blossom (Nathalie Boltt) find Clifford’s (Barclay Hope) will and learn from his lawyer that the will was kept private until the investigation was closed and that there is going to be a public will reading.
At the Coopers', Hal (Lochlyn Munro) has come to ask Alice (Mädchen Amick) for a speedy divorce. (Is this where the FP and Alice storyline begins?!) He says he can’t believe his family is siding with Chic and Betty protests since she’s very much not in the Chic camp anymore. Alice is agreeable to the divorce because she is still reeling over Hal selling The Register, their newspaper, to the Lodges.
Archie, visibly conflicted by his involvement with the Lodges and wanting to protect his dad, confides in Jughead. Archie tells Jughead about the special election and the Lodges wanting Fred to run for Mayor. Archie doesn’t want his dad to run and become a pawn for the Lodges so he tells Jughead that Hiram bought Pop’s Chock’Lit Shoppe in hopes that Jughead can write some kind of article that will get Fred not to run. Jughead compares Hiram to Dracula, expanding his empire in Riverdale, and that everyone is in danger.
Jughead immediately tells Alice and Betty about Hiram’s shady dealings and details how he’s been shadily acquiring land all over the South Side at marginal costs, such as the Twilight Drive-In, Sunnyside Trailer Park, and South Side High; but Pop’s is in the heart of Riverdale and people are going to care about Hiram buying Pop’s.
Following her parents’ directive, Veronica calls Archie to suggest they collect signatures for Fred’s campaign but Archie can feel the duplicity through the phone and quickly hangs up. Fred shows Archie some old memorabilia from when Fred applied to college to be an urban planner; he shows Archie his renderings for “Riverdale 2020 - a small town with a big future” and I’m reminded of how quaint (and underutilised on the show) Fred really is.
Veronica shows up with button and t-shirt designs for Fred’s campaign and Archie confronts her about how heavy-handed she’s being. Archie says his dad is not a dog on a leash and when he doesn’t listen to the Lodges they’ll push him out like they did Mayor McCoy. Archie tells Veronica he feels her steering him and his dad about running for Mayor and she agrees to ease off.
Later, we see Veronica tell Hermione that she will do the family’s bidding at school but not when it interferes with her relationship with Archie. Hermione tries to explain to Veronica that the women of their family are cunning and manage things behind the scenes just as they had wanted Veronica to do, but Hermione ultimately backs off and says Veronica is right to protect her relationship. It felt as though Hermione was trying to get Veronica to understand her role, but then something changed in Hermione, perhaps her own guilt for not protecting a past relationship(?), and she backs off.
Another surprise Polly sighting! Betty arrives home to excitedly find Polly there with the new baby twins back from the farm. Immediately, Betty is chilled by the visual of Chic holding one of the twins. Polly asks about Clifford Blossom’s will reading and no one seems surprised or upset that this is the first time they’re meeting the twins and that clearly Polly’s motives for coming home are explicitly for the will reading.
Toni (Vanessa Morgan) and Cheryl, (new couple alert) are getting ready together for the will reading showing all the signs of a budding, healthy, supportive relationship (I hope!). Of course, Penelope has something snarky to say but Cheryl invited Toni as emotional support, so that’s that.
During the will reading, we learn that Thistle House will go to Nana Rose (Barbara Wallace) and Penelope gets Thornhill (or what’s left of it). The reading continues: all remaining assets will be divided in half, first to anyone in Riverdale with a “drop of Blossom blood” (I’m immediately envisioning scenes from “Rate Race” of people clamouring to prove they’re apart of the bloodline) and the second half is to be divided by Jason and Cheryl.
Alice shows up, interrupting the reading, accusing Hal of wanting a speedy divorce because he’s about to get a Blossom “pay day” that he doesn’t want to share. Penelope attempts to silence Alice (silly Penelope) to which Alice retorts, “shut your face half melted ten cent trollop” - nothing like an Alice Cooper put down!
As Cheryl has just learned of her inheritance, she gets up to give a speech as Cheryl is prone to do and it is reminiscent of Jason’s funeral (I half expected her to drop some kind of bomb like she wanted be emancipated from Penelope!) Instead, it’s simply a speech that speaks to her desire to clear the Blossom name of all the bloodshed and madness and as she speaks in walks Clifford Blossom (WHAT!?) and Cheryl faints!
Of course, we immediately learn that it is in fact Clifford’s long lost twin brother Claudius who ran away from home to be a Merchant Marine when Clifford threatened him with a gun, jealous that Claudius was being primed to inherit the Blossom empire and not Clifford (Lest we forget twins run in the family).
Back at the Coopers', Polly wants to get a blood test to prove her twins are Blossoms so she can get the inheritance. Chic says he doesn’t want their blood money, and when Betty presses him about not getting the test he says needles trigger him and Alice encourages him in his decision. We know, Betty will not let this stand.
Betty knows Chic is hiding something because he’s turning down a lot of Blossom money. She begs Kevin to chat Chic again and he begrudgingly agrees. Trying to find out if Chic is in fact triggered by needles, Kevin says he just got tested for the first time, and it's negative. Chic congratulates Kevin on his first test, calling it a “milestone” and goes on to say that he used to get tested weekly but catches Kevin looking off camera and asks if he’s with someone.
Kevin freaks out, shuts the laptop, and says he feels bad for Chic because he seems like a nice guy — leaving Betty dumbfounded because clearly Chic is not a nice guy but she also knows now that his motives for not getting the blood test are unfounded.
Jughead asks Pop Tate about Hiram buying the diner and he confirms that it’s true but begs Jughead not to write an article about it while Pop’s mother is alive (she’s 80) because it would crush her to know he sold the diner. (This interaction left me with one question: how old is Pop Tate?!)
Jughead tells Archie he confirmed that the Lodges bought the diner but can’t run the article for Pop’s sake. Jughead says all his sources are on lock down about Hiram which prompts Archie to find another way to convince his dad not to run for Mayor. Archie phones a friend, Josie (Ashleigh Murray), to get her mom, former Mayor Sierra McCoy (Robin Givens) to talk to Fred to kill his buzz about running for Mayor. And Sierra delivers, detailing a laundry list of reasons why being Mayor is no bueno.
Pop, attempting to protect his investor, tells Hiram about Jughead’s questioning and Hiram is pissed! Hiram tells Hermione and Veronica and accuses Archie of feeding information to Jughead but Veronica quickly takes the blame, clearly trying to protect her beau. Veronica tells her father that she told Jughead about Pop’s when they were at the lake house after he had been grilling her, so she opted for distracting him with a small truth and before Hiram looses his mind, Hermione encourages the narrative saying it was prudent of Veronica to give the dog a bone to keep busy with so they can do some preemptive damage control and Hiram agrees.
Jughead, at home with FP, fumes as he rants about Hiram always staying one step ahead of Jughead and seemingly rigging the game. FP confesses to Jughead that Hiram paid the Serpents to trash the Twilight Drive-In so Hiram could buy it for a rock bottom price. FP says he’ll go on the record for Jughead if it will help bring Hiram down but their conversation is interrupted when Jughead gets an anonymous call from a man with info about Hiram Lodge and to meet at the bus terminal.
Jughead meets up with his anonymous informant “deep throat” who turns out to be...Smithers! (I totally thought he was dead.) Smithers (Tom McBeath) says he was someone who suffered at Hiram’s whims and that he coordinated trips for Hiram to Shank Shaw Prison and that Hiram corresponded with the Warden frequently. Jughead is intrigued as he observes that Shank Shaw is not where Hiram served his time. Smithers asks after Veronica and you can tell he misses taking care of her.
Archie is at home doing shirtless pull ups when Veronica storms in fuming off the heels of finding out Archie leaked private information about the Diner and the family to Jughead. Veronica says she fell on the sword for Archie but Archie says he did it to protect his Dad. Veronica says “this isn’t the Manchurian Candidate” and that Fred is “an Untouchable.” (There are so many references to conspiracy lore in this episode!)
Archie says he wants to know the whole plan that Hiram has cooking because if he and his dad are involved then Fred needs to know the whole truth before he runs for mayor. Just as Archie says this, Fred interrupts the couple to let them know he’s definitely going to run for Mayor.
Headed to work at the Bijou, Chic asks Alice for a ride but she declines because she’s preoccupied playing with the twins and he seems frustrated. Later, we see Betty going through Chic’s bathroom clearly looking for a DNA sample: she finds floss. Chic walks in, Betty has concealed the floss, but Chic is distracted saying “...love is finite and people run out of it, they stop loving you and move on to someone else” — he’s clearly not keen on Polly and the twins distracting Alice. Chic says he thought it was better when it was just him, Betty, and Mom and then Chic tells Betty to not use his bathroom again.
At Thistle House, over a Blossom family dinner, which Toni was invited to unbeknownst to Penelope, Claudius talks about his time as a Merchant Marine and finding an island called “Lesbos” which makes Toni and Cheryl almost choke on their food. Wonder if Nana Blossom caught the joke? Probably not because she’s busy telling Claudius to stay with them and Penelope begrudgingly offers him a room.
Jughead, with new intel from Smithers, tells FP that the master plan has something to do with Shank Shaw, FP’s old stomping grounds. FP says he knows someone at Shawk Shank that knows everyone’s business: War Baby. (Oh these names are just too good!) And later, at Shank Shaw, FP and Jughead talk to War Baby and we are lead to believe they get the information they were looking for.
Walking around town, Polly tells Betty that she is creeped out by the way Chic stares at the twins and Betty tells Polly about the DNA sample she got and submitted to a lab to test. Betty thinks her dad might be right that Chic is not actually their brother. Back at home, Polly freaks out that the twins, Juniper and Dagwood (still not over the names) are out with Chic for a walk by the river. Betty is shocked her mother would just let him take the kids like that and Polly all but loses it when Chic walks in with the babies unharmed.
Shortly after the will paperwork has clearly been settled, Polly tells Alice she’s leaving and going West. Why is Polly not pushing for half of Cheryl’s inheritance seeing as it was meant to be split with her brother Jason? And since he’s dead wouldn't that go right to his own children? I digress.
Chic seems pleased Polly is leaving and it's cemented by the fact that we see him cutting Polly out of the family photo, from which he already removed Hal, and all that remains is Betty. Chic clearly doesn’t want to share Alice’s affection with anyone and seems like Betty is the last one in his way. Watch out Betty!
At the Lodges', Archie says Hiram is like Dracula (that was Jughead’s reference!) who bought property all over London so he could move his vampire empire over from Transylvania. But instead of vampires Archie says Hiram is bringing organised crime to Riverdale and Archie says he doesn’t want his Dad to be a patsy for the lodges. Archie threatens Hiram with a notebook Archie has been keeping since his apprenticeship began because he’s looking out for his own family.
Hiram says that Lodge Industries will be legitimate in 18 months and that Riverdale will be virtually crime-free. Hiram says all will become clear soon and promises everyone will benefit from the plans he’s been working on. Archie says he’ll hold Hiram to it and that the notebook will be kept close until then.
When Hiram later learns that FP and Jughead went to Shank Shaw, it’s only a matter of time it’s in the newspapers. Hiram decides it’s time for everything to become clear now, and calls a meeting with Fred and Archie. Hiram tells Fred the plans so he doesn’t hear it from Jughead’s impending article: Southside High is going to be turned into a private, for-profit prison.
Fred is upset and even questions what the SoDale project is really for, and he is told it's housing for people that will work in the prison. Fred says he will not support this and is very upset about the prison and that they’re just telling him. He gets up to leave and expects Archie to go with him but Archie says he’s staying because he wants to hear what Hiram has to say (the betrayal!) What does this mean for the future of the only slightly healthy parent/child relationship!?
Betty reads Jughead’s article, and says the article is his best work and that Hiram is diabolically insane. (I can’t wait to see Alice’s reaction to this!) Now, maybe I’m missing something but I don’t know that a prison is the absolute worst thing in the world like they’re making it out to be. I mean sure it will definitely upset the “Pleasantville-nature of Riverdale, but shady business dealings to open a prison don’t equal “diabolically insane” or maybe I’m just jaded? #Bughead tries to get Principal Wetherby to publish it but he tells them that he cannot publish a malicious take-down of one of the student’s parents.
At what appears to be a press conference Hermione Lodge gives a speech announcing her candidacy for Mayor and as her carefully crafted opus voices over the following scenes it’s clear she is there to bring in a new age for Riverdale...
Claudius says he’s dreamed of getting revenge on the Lodges. (For what exactly? I can’t keep track?) Penelope says they have to deal with Nana first and then Cheryl, who is eavesdropping from the hallway. Claudius agrees they have to put their house in order.
Betty shows Chic the DNA test... “You’re not who you say you are Chic, so who are you?” Which ominously leaves the door open, because he could still be related but not fully. (Does that mean that Chic is Alice’s love child? But with who? FP? I hope so!)
Hiram tells Archie he knew a prison would be a difficult sell and says he regrets not telling people sooner. Archie says he understands Hiram’s point of view, and that Riverdale needs a change. Hiram then initiates Archie into the family with a tradition of cutting their hands and spilling blood onto Archie’s notebook, which he then burns. Hiram tells Archie “we” as in the Lodges come first now. Now that Archie has pledged his loyalty to the Lodges, what does this mean for Fred?!
Hermione’s speech sets the tone for the next move, a move that not everyone knows is coming: opening a for-profit prison in Riverdale. She continues, “...aren’t we all ready for a taste of prosperity?” Jughead narrates, “The Lodges won, time had run out for Riverdale.”
If this is really the big plan they’ve been working on this whole time, it just doesn’t seem all that horrible. Jughead is literally in a gang, how can he think a prison is that bad? I understand him not liking the Lodges having a monopoly on the real estate and I get not liking the way they came to own the property, but still no one in this town is a saint. So curious to see what time running out for Riverdale actually looks like!
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