Archie and Jughead star in On The Road. Jughead is taking up photography on their walkabout. We don’t see what he photographing, if it’s going to play a part in the Gargoyle King plot, or if Jughead is just trying to maintain his artistic spirit.
Archie’s hair continues to be insane. He looks like he should be starring in an anti-Jingle Jangle PSA.
Archie convinces Jughead to check out some sleeping arrangements. They’re immediately met by a girl with a double barrelled shotgun. Jughead introduces themselves as Cal and Biff from Centerville. This almost gets them shot. The sisters are Lori and Gracie Lake.
Lori explains that all the men in town are working a job down the river and only come back every so often. That doesn’t sound suspicious at all. Lori convinces them to stay the night. Oh, this is sure to end well.
What are the chances Archie ends up shirtless with Lori by the end of the episode? Even Jughead thinks that and basically tells Archie to think with his brain for once.
I think I’m going to start tracking when he get our first shirtless KJ Apa of each episode. It’s at the 05:23 mark tonight. Arch is moving hay bales for Lori. Jughead wants to make sure they stick to their goal of getting on the road ASAP…after Jughead heads into town to take photos. Jughead, if you’re in such a rush to leave, why bother with the photography?
Archie is shirtless, and Jughead is wearing a flannel and an lined denim jacket. I do not understand Riverdale weather.
Oh! This is no idle hobby. Jughead is hunting signs of the Gargoyle King and finds his markings graphittied on a junked fridge. Wait, I thought G&G was hyperlocal to just Riverdale? Jughead finds more G&G runes about town. They’re in Athens. Also, what is Jughead hoping to find by photographing these fridge tags?
He spots one person on this trip into town, an old lady who tells him that the symbols started showing up in town the same time fizzle rocks did, the new drug of choice in these parts. Jingle jangle is so last year.
Proving that he’s the king of bad decisions, Archie is getting a straight razor shave from a girl who almost had him shot the night before. And of course, he’s shirtless. Lori gets on his lap. I’m looking forward to the future episode where Archie tells Ronnie “We were on a break!”
After kissing Lori but thinking better of it and stopping, Archie continues his three season long streak of bad decisions by immediately telling Lori his name isn’t Biff, it’s Archie Andrews. You know, the Archie Andrews convicted for murder who is all over the local news? Yup, the one and the same. Pleased to meet you.
He says he’s from a small town called Riverdale. Okay, they’ve been walking for a day, so how much ground could they really have covered? “I’m from a small town called Riverdale.” “Oh, you mean, the one three towns over?” I guess they did hop a train at one point, but really, how far could they have gone?
Jughead finds some girls playing G&G and eating fizzle rocks. Jughead gives off total creepy older teen vibes when he sidles up to the girls’ pick up truck. The girls tell Jughead about “The Man in Black.” He’s the one in charge of the prison/fizzle rock factory where all the men in town are working. The man in black always gets driven around in a black car and wears a black suit. Jughead immediately realizes they’re talking about Hiram. Because who else wears a suit in this whole state?
Lori makes Archie eggs and then hits him on the back of the head with iron pan. Between football, prison UFC and this, I wonder what Archie’s concussion count is at by now. Maybe his constant bad decision making is the show creators’ commentary on concussions. As I’m wondering that, we finally get the title card. I miss the days of title cards happening in the first two minutes of TV shows.
Jughead sneaks back to the farm just in time for Hiram to pull up in his black car. He finds Archie bound and gagged in the barn. Jughead wants to run. But Archie suggests they stay and fight. Seriously, Archie, even for you it’s too early in the episode for you to have this many bad ideas. Jughead points out they are both outnumbered four to one and literally outgunned. But Archie’s like, yeah, they might have guns, but I’ve got a hedge clipper!
Lori is selling out Archie to Hiram to clear her father and brother’s debt to Hiram. She takes him to the barn. Oops. Just ropes, no Archie.
Archie and Jughead are hightailing it. I’m legitimately surprised that Archie is still wearing a shirt. Also, Jughead must smell so bad in all those layers.
Back in Riverdale, Veronica is packing her bags. Like a Billy Joel song, she’s moving out. Manetta’s gone missing, just as Veronica got the dirt on him.
Veronica moves into her speakeasy. This seems less than secure. But the night passes without incident. Pop is surprised to find Veronica in uniform and cleaning up as he arrived to start the day at the diner. That night, she tells Reggie she’s worried about the profit potential of the club. Veronica brings in her friend Elio to start a casino in the speakeasy once a week. Veronica took out a second mortgage against Pops Diner to fund this. I’m sure this ends well.
Hiram shows up at Pops looking for his daughter. When exactly is Veronica is school? Also, WHEN IS HIRAM GOING TO CALL VERONICA MIJA AGAIN? The big news in this conversation is that Hiram says he heard Archie has been cleared on all charges. I wonder if this is just an easy way for the writers to let the audience know Archie’s free and clear or if Hiram is hoping to lay a trap when Veronica tells Archie this to get Archie back to town. Maybe both?
Well, that didn’t take long. The casino is up and running, and the place is packed.
What’s up with Reggie’s pants?
Reggie warns Ronnie that Elio is on a hot streak. He hasn’t lost a single hand all night. Reggie offers to rough him up. Veronica points out Elio is a real mobster and Reggie is a high schooler playing bartender.
Veronica offers to play Elio for the deed to Pops. Elio draws 20, Veronica 19. Ronnie tells the dealer to hit her. She pulls a 2. 21. Ronnie wins. Boom. Veronica explains it as “The house always wins.” This seems like the same logic Lucas used when he bet all of Joe’s money to save Empire Records on one round of roulette.
Veronica reveals that Hiram warned her earlier that day that Elio planned on fleecing her. Hiram tells her to bet big with the deck stacked in her favor. But more importantly, he calls her mija and I can finally bring back the mija tracker! MIJA TRACKER: 1. Hiram recommends a dealer who get Ronnie the cards she needs.
But how was Elio cheating?
Pop isn’t thrilled about the basement of his diner being used as a casino. He warns Veronica about becoming her father. Veronica says that maybe deep, deep down, her father isn’t so bad. Did one shifty dealer recommendation make her forget the last two seasons of this show?? Oh, and Manetta’s body was found in a marsh, at least they think it’s his body because it was decapitated and his hands were sawed off. Maybe I’ve read too many superhero comics, but anyone else thinking that’s not actually Manetta’s body?
Over at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, Betty is being given a rorschach test. She sees a dead body in the ink blot but says a teddy bear. One looks like the Black Hood but she says butterfly. Going by her internal monologue, if this was our introduction to Betty, I would think she was a serial killer.
They keep the kids drugged here and call it candy. The Sisters are doping them all up with fizzle rocks. Betty dumps her fizzle rocks in the unlined trash can of her room, which seems to be the easiest place to get caught having dumped your fizzle rocks. Come on, Betty! That’s an Archie move! You’re better than that.
Betty gets a new roommate. It’s Ethel, who immediately hangs up a Gargoyle King vision board and tells Betty she talks to the Gargoyle King on the reg. Ethel tells Betty Sister Woodhouse takes girls into the Gargoyle King’s chambers when they misbehave. And suddenly Riverdale is turning into The Keepers.
Wasn’t Betty’s sister and Cheryl both here in the past year? When did this place turn into Gargoyle King central? Hmmm, should I be suspicious of Polly and Cheryl?
Ethel tells Betty she’s the queen bee here. Ethel scoops up the fizzle rocks from the trash and I’m convinced she’s going to force them down Betty’s throat. Amazingly, she agrees to keep that their secret.
While gardening, Betty spots a Blossom Farms Maple Syrup truck pull up. But wait, the Sisters don’t serve maple syrup in the cafeteria! And Claudius Blossom is making the delivery! That’s like Jeff Bezos showing up to your door with your latest Amazon Prime order. And then Hiram pulls up! Sister Woodhouse gives Hiram an envelope. They call Hiram the man in black here too. It’s like no one has heard of Johnny Cash on this show.
Betty puts two and two together that Hiram brought the fizzle rocks to the original G&G ascension night.
Betty sneaks around later and finds what she thinks is the Gargoyle King’s chambers. She sees a screaming girl being dragged from there by Woodhouse. But when she goes to inspect, she’s caught by Ethel, who tells her “Only the infirm go to the infirmary.” Ethel is so creepy.
Since only the infirm get to go the infirmary, Betty gets up in Ethel’s face in the rec room. I seriously think she’s going to channel Archie and prison fight Ethel, but instead she fakes a seizure to get sent to the infirmary.
Betty gets where she wants to go and breaks into the infirmary to get into her own file. “Per HL, increase dosage after first week.” Betty thinks Hiram Lodge! I think Hermione Lodge!
Betty finds the door Veronica marked with the X when they broke Cheryl out…but it’s been bricked up! Ethel and Woodhosue have her restrained and dump fizzle rocks down her throat. Ethel says some weird prayer to the Gargoyle King. High as a kite, Betty is brought before the Gargoyle King. She screams.
Betty is in Woodhouse’s office again taking another round of rorschach tests. This time she answers each one honestly. Dead body. The Black Hood. The Gargoyle King. Woodhouse is pleased. Either the Gargoyle King is standing right behind Woodhouse, or Betty thinks he is. Either way, it’s bad news.
And then then Betty recites Ethel’s Gargoyle King prayer internally. “My King. My savior. Guide me through the night. Bless with your darkness. Gift me with your flight.” Betty’s gone full fizzle rocks! Someone get Jughead!
Billy Henehan writes for The Beat. In his free time, he likes to hunt down foreign language reprints of Todd McFarlane Spider-Man comics.