Tonight’s Riverdale was predictably bonkers. Allegiances were formed. Threats were made. Archie looked hotter and doofier than ever. Here’s what went down (spoilers ahead, natch).
We start with Jughead bemoaning about how “everything” and “nothing” is the same at Riverdale High School since it absorbed South Side High. He’s being melodramatic, as always, and notes that Archie is particularly feeling the heat. You see, Archie’s playing detective with the F.B.I. to uncover Hiram Lodge’s scams, and Jughead seems to think he’s in “turmoil” because of it. I disagree, though, because Archie clearly has enough cognitive function to try out for the basketball team. If he has time to shoot hoops, he’s clearly not stressed. So can everyone in this town just calm TF down?
The town’s about to throw a celebration in honor of its founder, General Augustus Pickens, and Hiram and Hermione Lodge and Fred Andrews ask Mayor McCoy if they can sponsor the event to bring the North and South Siders together. Veronica’s in on this meeting, too, which seems innocuous but is probably capital-E Evil. Detective Archie interrupts the meeting, sweaty from basketball practice, and has an awkward moment with Hiram. Archie’s onto your games, dude (and also looks very hot covered in sweat).
Now we’re at the Cooper residence, where Chic is staying after 20+ years of being off the radar. Hal’s not having it, though, and wants to know when Chic is leaving. Chic then starts telling the family about the night Betty rescued him from his hostel owner (who was beating him up) because he wasn’t in the mood to “work.” What the hell…does Chic do? (Apparently, he and Betty both dig their nails into their palms, so that’s probably going to come up again at some point.)
Later, “Special Agent Adams” has a meeting with Archie and tells him he has to get close to Hiram in order to get the information the FBI needs. Archie agrees, and I can already predict this will end badly because he isn’t slick enough to lie.
At school, Betty tells the crew about Chic; they all agree he’s hot but sketch, and Veronica suggests Betty bring Chic to the Lodge-sponsored Augustus Pickens celebration “Pickens Day.” Jughead leaves to go hang with Toni Topaz, and Betty pouts. Archie asks Veronica how he can win points with her dad, and she tells him to go out for the wrestling team because Hiram did that in high school. Sports! Men love sports!
Toni and Jughead’s hang-out isn’t casual: He’s actually interviewing Toni’s Serpent grandfather for an oral history report—and learns that Augustus Pickens, the “founder” of Riverdale, ordered the slaughter of the Uctana tribe, who first owned the land. The survivors went on to form the Serpents. Naturally, this enrages Jughead. He scowls a lot.
Also scowling is Mayor McCoy, who’s not pleased with Veronica’s friendship with Josie. Hermione thinks it’s because Mayor McCoy isn’t cool with how involved Veronica’s become with Lodge Industries. She says she’ll have a “chat” with McCoy if her “coldness persists.” Is Hermione going to…kill the mayor?
Chic Cooper update: Kevin realizes he recognizes Chic from webcam videos on the Internet, which is very scandalous for this small town. Betty goes down a rabbit hole watching his videos and is clearly shook. But her shock is interrupted by Jughead, who tells her all about Augustus murdering the Uctana tribe. It turns out that Barnabus B. Blossom, Cheryl’s ancestor, hired Augustus to do the job. Jughead wants to turn this into a story for the school paper, and Betty tells him to get a quote from Hiram Lodge first. Hiram hangs up on him, and now suddenly he’s my favorite character.
Also scandalous: These wrestling tryouts, which are so homoerotic that Call Me By Your Name is trembling. Archie’s royally flopping in front of Veronica’s dad, which is hilarious. Finally! A thing he’s not good at! Veronica says he can also win her father’s favor by singing with her at Pickens Day if he’s not a natural-born wrestler. That’s a more boring, less sexy course of action, but whatever.
What’s not boring, though, is this Chic Cooper cam-boy revelation. He goes back to the hostel to pick up his laptop and camera but the landlord threw it all out. Betty tells him to calm down and that he can stay with the Coopers as long as he wants. He scoffs at this, because he clearly has more videos to make and can’t do them there. He has to make his coins, Betty! In the greatest act of sisterhood ever, Betty gives Chic a camera and laptop…but he doesn’t even say thank you. WTF?! Listen, you can’t be rude and creepy.
Speaking of rude, Hiram is next-level terrible to Archie about his wrestling flop, saying it takes a “certain kind of a man” to wrestle. This enrages Archie, so he ditches the Pickens Day singing gig, makes out with Veronica in front of Hiram, and decides to give wrestling another shot. This is…not the way to win over Veronica’s father, bro. But that’s Archie for you: making doofy, chest-puffing decisions as per usual.
And it totally backfires: At tryouts the next day, Hiram teaches the guys his “signature move” (LOL, bye) which involves him putting Archie in a fucking chokehold. While Archie is gasping for air, Hiram whispers to him, “I always win” like a full-blown sociopath.
Archie later confronts Hiram at the Lodge house about why he doesn’t like him. Hiram’s basically like, “You’re weak and not good enough for Veronica,” and Archie’s like, “You were in prison, freak.” Archie and Hiram then go running (???) and Hiram gives some speech about how Archie will “never” win their feud and that he’ll tolerate him until Veronica dumps him. They resolve nothing, because toxic masculinity.
Meanwhile, Jughead publishes a hit piece about Augustus Pickens, which pisses off Toni because Jughead name-drops her grandfather in it. But her grandpa is happy about it and says something must be done now that Jughead’s “re-opened the wound”. Oof.
The piece pisses off Mayor McCoy, as well, who tells Josie she can’t sing with Veronica anymore on Pickens Day. McCoy spills everything to Josie about the Lodges and their plans for the South Side, which causes Josie to flip out and bail on singing with Veronica.
Back in Chic land, Betty tells her long-lost brother she thinks she and him have the same “darkness.” Teens! She says she’s cool with his cam “career” and wants to “compare scars” from their joint nail-digging. His response is essentially, “Um, no. Bye” because how else do you respond to “Let’s compare scars?”
Alright, all this wrestling’s getting annoying now: Archie wins a dumb match against Chuck Clayton and grins exactly how a high school jock would. This causes Hiram and Archie to have a semi-nice moment together at the Pickens Day celebration. Mr. Lodge then tells Archie they should meet later that night to “discuss some things,” whatever that means. He’s probably going to murder Archie. It’s fine; I’m fine.
OK, it’s not that: Hiram tells Archie he has to be the “best” if he wants to date Veronica and offers him an internship to learn business ropes. This, conveniently, is exactly how Archie can learn more about Hiram and do what Agent Adams asked. Blah, blah, blah, where’s Cheryl, blah blah blah.
Also at Pickens Day: The Coopers, who get in a huge fight about Chic—in front of Chic. Hal tells Alice about Chic’s cam-boy videos and says “she knows why” they have to kick him out. To this, Alice says she’ll kick Hal out again if she has to. LOL, what other crazy shit is this blond family hiding? P.S.: Penelope Blossom starts hitting on Hal, like, an hour later, so there’s some adultery afoot.
Clearly, the Lodges are hiding something at Pickens Day, too: The Serpents crash it, and Toni tells everyone about the Uctana tribe and how Augustus Pickens slaughtered them. Instead of getting enraged, though, Hiram plays nice and applauds Toni for using her voice to “fight for justice.” He says the South Side can be a place where they celebrate the “rich tapestry” of the Uctana and basically gets everyone to applaud him. Lies! Lies, everywhere!
This isn’t good enough for the Serpents, though, because it’s implied at the end they behead the Augustus Pickens statue in the middle of town. Hiram says he wants the people responsible dealt with “swiftly.” So, is he going to kill them? Why is there so much bloodshed on this teen show?!
Oh, remember that whole “darkness” talk Betty and Chic had? Turns out Chic has this “darkness” too and cams on the Internet to escape it. Betty says she wants to learn how to “escape” as well, and then Chic opens up his laptop suspiciously. So…is Betty about to start cam-ing? Are they about to watch Ozark on Netflix? WTF?