Remember when Jughead challenged Bret to a duel at the end of last week’s Riverdale? Well, to quote Aaron Burr in Hamilton, “Okay, so we’re doing this?” Indeed we are, Mr. Burr. Mr. Dupont lays out the rules of the duel. It will be a best of three: fencing, barefisted brawling and a chess match tiebreaker if necessary. Bret picks Jonathan as his second, while Jughead picks Donna. This seems like an odd choice since Donna was one of the people who helped bury Jughead alive. Donna sells Bret as mediocre at fencing, but can we trust her?
Some dude stops by Andrews Construction. It’s Ted Bishop, an army friend of Uncle Frank’s. Wherever this is going, it can’t be good. He’s there to let Frank know that another friend of theirs from the army died of cancer. Archie, ever Mr. Nice Guy, invites Ted over for dinner and to spend the night.
Veronica announces a trip to New York to her parents. Hello, Katy Keane crossover lead-in! To Veronica’s surprise, her parents announce they’re heading to New York at the same time.
Apparently Kevin and Fangs’s videos are doing well, as Toni sees Fangs on the receiving end of a big wad of cash. She wants in, and Fangs is happy to comply. Is it just me or does the tickle video producer seems like a step down in terms of scariness from the likes of the Farm, the Black Hood and the Gargoyle King.
Alice pleads Betty’s case to Principal Honey, but he’s not hearing it. Not only is Betty suspended for a week, but she’s fired from Editor-in-Chief of the school paper and banned from prom. On top of all that, Bret filed a restraining order against her. What? Oh right, she attacked him with a golf club. Fair.
Alice helps Betty on her latest murder mystery, trying to solve Mr. Chipping’s death. Betty doesn’t trust Donna or her story of having an affair with Chipping.
After Archie leaves for school in the morning, Frank gets a frantic phone call from some lady yelling that the guy Ted said died of cancer was murdered. Frank’s confused, and that’s when Ted attacks him. Thankfully, Archie came back for his phone and whacks Ted in the head with a frying pan. In the explanation to Archie later, we find out that Uncle Frank was a mercenary after his army days, and the company must want him dead. Archie says they need backup. But from who? Skeet?
Betty and Alice meet with Mrs. Chipping. She immediately says she doesn’t believe that her husband cheated on her. She says that Mr. Chipping had his demons: drinking and hating getting the Baxter Brothers contract. Betty doesn’t understand why he’d kill himself when he was so close to being done with his contract. Mrs. Chipping doesn’t know the answer but does have a box of Mr. Chipping’s things from work. Betty and Alice go through it, finding lots of army pamphlets.
It was Skeet that Archie was talking about! Skeet is happy to help them deal with Ted.
Round 1 of the duel! Despite being mediocre at fencing, Bret is still better than Jughead, who has never held a foil before this. Round 1 quickly goes to Bret.
New York, New York! Katy Keane and Veronica reunite. It’s like an all-Blair Gossip Girl! Katy and Veronica go on an expensive day trip of shopping and trying on clothes.
Back in Riverdale, Frank lures Ted to the boxing gym. Ted promises to make Frank’s death painless and to leave his family alone. This is such a weird-ass subplot. Frank whistles, and a bunch of Serpents and Skeet storm the gym. As Skeet arrests Ted, Ted tells Frank that Frank broke the code and everyone Frank loves is going to pay. Skeet just needs to keep Ted locked up until 8 AM. Let’s see if he makes it.
Nick St. Clair visits the Maple Club. Remember him? Veronica’s creepy former friend from her New York days? He’s greeted by Toni, who hasn’t met him before and doesn’t know he’s a total creep. But he still manages to give off a completely creepy vibe. Also, he’s clearly underage, talking about wanting to throw a party for himself and all his friends who got into Harvard. Are you trying to get the business shut down, Toni? I think St. Clair thinks this is still the best little whorehouse in Riverdale. Cheryl spots St. Clair, flashes back to when he tried to rape her, and bolts.
Alice and Betty meet up with Moose, now dressed in army fatigues, at Pops. Hey, remember when Moose left Stonewall and Riverdale? I honestly completely forgot about him. He tells Betty and Alice that Mr. Chipping recruited him to play football for Stonewall Prep and also encouraged him to leave for the army. Moose says Bret blackmailed him with a sex tape he shot of him. Did Chipping have some weird army recruiting funnelling scam going where Bret tapes guys in compromising positions and Chipping shuttles them off to the military? If so, this seems very overly complicated.
Betty and Alice comb Bret’s room looking for his sex tape collection, but are caught by Bret himself. Betty point blank asks Bret if he filmed her and Jughead too. He denies having any tapes of anyone, but gives a very OJ If I Did It followup answer.
Katy asks Veronica if Archie is going to join her in New York when she gets into Barnard, but Veronica says she can’t see Archie leaving Riverdale. Wait, is Veronica going to jump ship to Katy Keane next season ala Charisma Carpenter leaving Buffy for Angel? Katy is excited about the prospect.
Katy’s mom is a fashion designer. Wait, Katy really is Blair from Gossip Girl! Katy then drops a bombshell on Veronica, her mom is dying of cancer.
Frank says he needs to get off the radar, make his way up to Alaska or Canada. Archie wants him to stop running, but Frank is adamant. Well, at least he didn’t turn into the town drug kingpin.
Cheryl fills Toni in on what Nick attempted to do to her sophomore year. Oh man, Nick, you are a dead man.
Round 2 of the duel! Bret lands the first hit, a hand punch to Jughead’s face. Then Jughead lays him out with one punch. One punch!
Skeet finds Ted unconscious in his cell. He foolishly opens the cell to a Ted who was only playing possum. Uh-oh.
The Stonewall kids aren’t happy that Jughead tied up the duel. Donna’s in his corner, but no one else is. He’s the recipient of countless shoulder checks in the hallway.
Betty and Alice theorize where Bret’s tape could be. Betty’s best guess is the Quill and Skulls room.
Skeet calls Archie to let him know that Ted escaped. He tells Archie to get somewhere safe. Too late! Ted is right behind him. Somehow Archie holds his own against a trained killer until Ted body slams him through a porcelain sink. A momentary distraction by Kevin lets Archie get away. Ted runs them both down in the Riverdale High hallway. Where is everyone else in the school? Ted proceeds to literally throw Archie around the school. It’s like Archie is fighting the T-1000. Ted’s unrelenting. But a last minute save by Uncle Frank knocks Ted to the floor, unconscious.
Nick St. Clair returns to the rum club. Toni invites him back to a private room, and he happily obliges. Oh Nick! Dead man walking!
Bret wants to raise the stakes of the duel. Loser leaves town! If Jughead loses, he leaves school and loses the Baxter Brothers contract. Jughead doesn’t take him up on it. They sit down to chess. They play fast as Betty and Alice break into the Quill and Skulls room, looking for Bret’s tapes. Betty find a loose stone in the wall with a collection of VHS tapes behind it that would rival Blockbuster. Hasn’t Bret heard of hard drives?
Bret’s watch beeps! Someone (Betty) tripped the silent alarm in the Quill and Skulls room. He requests a recess from Mr. Dupont so that he can investigate. Jughead rushes off after Bret. Alice hears people coming. Bret bursts in on them. Betty accuses him of taping her and Jughead during sex. Bret says the tape is actually the confessions Quill and Skulls members make when they get initiated. Jughead verifies Bret’s claim by telling Betty he made a tape when he was initiated.
Back at the chess game, Jughead throws the match, not giving Bret the satisfaction of beating him for real. He’s done playing Bret’s games.
Archie gets the news that Ted’s been arrested by the feds, but they’re looking for Frank too. Archie convinces Uncle Frank to turn himself in, as the only way to get past this. Frank agrees, but really Archie is the only one who believes him, right?
Hermione fills Veronica in on the real reason her parents went to New York. They were seeing a specialist. Hiram has a neuromuscular disease. His muscles are going to atrophy and he’s very sick. Is this real? I honestly can’t say.
Nick wakes up the next morning in the bed of the private room of the rum club, but is surprised to find Kevin and a shirtless Fangs with him instead of Toni. Toni comes in with a laptop and shows him what he did the night before, playing for him the tickle video that he, Kevin and Fangs filmed together. If Nick doesn’t want this video shown to people, he’ll never step foot in Riverdale again. Kevin, Fangs, Toni and Cheryl watch the video later. Would this video really ruin Nick? He’s just being tickled. Kevin calls Nick “what we can in the industry a first class wheeler.” I have no idea what that means.
The next morning, a shirtless (of course) Archie finds Frank gone. Skeet comes by. He asks Archie what’s next? Archie says he doesn’t know, but he wants to live up to his dad’s example. Skeet is happy with that answer.
Veronica makes the hard choice of reconciling with her dad. She tells her parents that on August 15th, they’ll be moving her into her Barnard dorm and that she’s back to being Veronica Lodge, not Veronica Luna. This gets a “m’hija” from a happy Hiram.
Betty managed to make off with Donna’s confession tape out of Quill and Skulls room. In it, Donna admits to her affair, except it’s not about Mr. Chipping, it’s about someone else, a Mr. Cotter. Except, there is no Mr. Cotter. Donna made it up. Betty no longer thinks Bret is the evil mastermind behind Stonewall Prep and that they should be more worried about Donna.
No flash forward this week on Riverdale. I can’t decide if that is more or less ominous than having oe!