Tonight’s Riverdale was dark, bloody, and, honestly, pretty terrifying. Two more people were shot. Betty blackmailed Cheryl. This wholesome town is falling apart. I won’t waste your time with more build-up, so let’s just get to the good stuff. Spoilers ahead, obviously.
Some miserable troll has vandalized Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe. The owner, Pop, is devastated by this, and I seriously can’t handle this normally-jolly man looking so sad.
Remember, Archie’s now on a mission to protect his father, Fred, from the shooter who’s still at large. His method for doing this last week was sitting in the hallway wielding a bat; this week, it’s guzzling soda and bringing Fred toast in bed. Archie seriously needs to simmer down; he keeps calling Sheriff Keller to learn more about the shooter, but Keller (smartly) isn’t returning his calls. Archie’s an unstable child, people. He should just drop this case and go back to being shirtless and singing or whatever he did last season.
Veronica’s very hot (but probably still evil) father, Hiram, pesters her about having dinner with him and her mother. Privy to her father’s criminal ways, she says “never.” Again, smart move. He’s sketch.
The Core Four is very sad that Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe is in shambles, so Betty and Veronica start planning an event to save it. Meanwhile, Jughead meets his father’s (F.P.) lawyer at the sheriff’s station. I literally forgot F.P. was in jail because I care so little about the Jones family. F.P.’s facing 20 years in jail, so Jughead’s naturally shook about that. He starts crying. Even his beanie quivers. Archie’s too distracted with Fred’s shooter to be a good friend about this.
Jughead asks a South Side Serpent to help him bust F.P. out of jail; the Serpent laughs at this, calls Jughead a child (he is), and says a “Snake Charmer”—whatever that is—is who Jughead needs to contact. The “Snake Charmer” is, apparently, a Serpent lawyer named Penny Peabody. She tells Jughead having the Blossom family forgive F.P. in front of a judge would help his case. But taking advice from Penny was a mistake: F.P. frantically calls Jughead and tells him not to talk to her anymore and that he doesn’t want to “be in bed” with a “Snake Charmer.”
Archie confronts Sherriff Keller about why the police is sleeping on Fred’s shooter. He volunteers to go patrolling with the police to find the perp, which sounds like something a 9-year-old boy would say. Archie’s essentially a toddler who wants to play Cops and Robbers, and Sherrif Keller’s like, “Yo, just chill and drink your Capri Sun.”
Lurking Betty notices Archie hasn’t been sleeping in his room, so she asks Veronica to confront him about it. He tells Veronica’s he’s been staying up all night downstairs with a baseball bat to stop Fred’s shooter if/when he shows up. Veronica’s response to this is pretty much, “I’m rich and gorgeous and don’t know how to handle this; go see the school counselor.” Honestly, that’s how I’d react too.
Jughead and Betty go to Mayor McCoy and ask her to turn Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe into a town landmark; she refuses, and then Jughead asks her if she’s cool sending F.P. to jail for a murder he didn’t commit. She’s pretty whatever about it, which means she’s my new favorite character. Jughead threatens Mayor McCoy and tells her to remember this as the day she turned her back on Pop and F.P. This is supposed to be dramatic, but I think Jughead is ridiculous, so I’m unfazed.
A new character, Midge Klump, asks Reggie Mantle about something called “Jingle Jangle.” Spoiler: It’s a drug, because Reggie says he can “score some” for Midge and her boyfriend, Moose. Archie also asks Reggie for “Jingle Jangle” to help him stay awake and keep guard of his house. Reggie agrees, and also adds that “Jingle Jangle” will give Archie a lengthy erection, which, gross.
Betty goes on some rant to Veronica and Kevin about how Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe is sentimental to her, which is why she wants to save it. Blah blah blah. Their powwow is interrupted by Veronica’s dad, who shows up with flowers to talk to her. Veronica says she can’t go back to the way things with were with him because she now knows what a crook he is. I mean, true, but he’s also a damn snack.
Cheryl. Is. Here. The first thing she does is call Veronica and Betty “Humpty” and “Dumpty.” Thank God. Josie is the Riverdale Vixens’ newest recruit, but she has one request: to be in front. Betty asks Cheryl if the Vixens would perform at their “Save Pop’s” event, to which she replies, “I did not emerge from the frozen depths of Sweetwater River nor the flames of Thornhill to allow my Vixens to sling milkshakes at some death-cursed diner.” She’s a national treasure.
Archie finds out about Ms. Grundy getting murdered, and he flips. He obviously thinks this hit and his father’s shooting are connected, and he asks Alice Cooper to investigate. Because Grundy was strangled with a cello bow and Fred was shot, Alice says the likelihood of the crimes being committed by the same person is slim. Obviously, Archie doesn’t believe this. He thinks Grundy’s unstable ex committed both crimes, but Sheriff Keller shuts down his hysterics. Again, just drink your juice, Archie.
In a heated confrontation at the Lodge house, Hiram claims he isn’t responsible for Fred’s shooting. Veronica then asks Hiram about the letter she received that said Hermione would get hurt if she didn’t testify on his behalf. As it turns out, Hermione herself wrote that letter to coerce Veronica into testifying. This family is shady, shady, shady (but also sexy, so it’s fine).
Jughead and Betty go to Cheryl’s new house to beg Cheryl and her creepy mom to accept F.P.’s in-court apology. Cheryl calls Betty and Jughead “Hobo” and “Bride of Hobo” and refuses their request.
But wait! Dark Betty makes a brief, psycho appearance to blackmail Cheryl into testifying on F.P.’s behalf; she says she’ll wide-release the video of Clifford Blossom shooting Jason if Cheryl doesn’t. Cheryl complies—and even tells the court Clifford threatened F.P. to force him into covering up Jason’s murder. Damn. After Cheryl does this, Betty honors her word and gives Jason’s death tape back.
A chat with Jughead suddenly gives Veronica a change of heart about her hot-but-evil parents: She wants to start over with them, but this is a bad idea. Hiram and Hermione told Veronica they made a “charitable donation” to save Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe; however, they actually bought it from under Pop’s nose.
Wait! Hermione lied! Hiram really did write that letter threatening Hermione’s life if Veronica didn’t testify for him. And they definitely have a suspicious agenda for buying the Chock’lit Shoppe! These two are slimy snakes, and Veronica has no idea! S.O.S!
At the “Save Pop’s” event, Archie can’t stop staring at this dude in the parking lot wearing glasses. His name is Dilton Doiley, and Archie apparently asked him to get him a gun. They meet on a deserted bridge to complete the transaction. Archie’s officially off the rails.
But not as off the rails as this masked shooter. At the end of the episode, he shoots two more people: Midge and Moose, who were high off the “Jingle Jangle” Reggie gave them. More carnage! Why is this friggin’ show so violent now?!? I need an adult.