Jughead opens this Riverdale episode talking about how “every town gets the hero it deserves.” I thought that was just Gotham City. Jugs continues with, “Riverdale’s is Archie Andrews.” Poor Riverdale.
Archie is going full Batman: Year One, patrolling Riverdale’s alleyways in all black, including a black ski mask. This is not the Pureheart costume from last week. He’s like a more aerodynamic Black Hood. He breaks up a mugging and is rewarded for it with some mace in his face.
Betty recruits Kevin into the Junior FBI class. Kevin says he’s in, but mainly in the hopes of meeting a cute guy.
Molly Ringwald serves as Hermione’s attorney. Veronica sits in on their meeting. So much for Veronica not taking sides between her parents.
Jughead holds a slight grudge about Donna drugging him. Jughead wants to find Moose, but Donna reveals they’ve been texting. Moose is fine. She shows Jughead a photo, but we don’t get to see it. Whatever it was doesn’t pass enough muster for Jughead to think about again this episode, so I guess Moose is fine in basic training? Mr. Chipping shows off his new book; it’s a Baxter Boys novel, Riverdale’s version of The Hardy Boys. Jughead couldn’t be more excited by this news, while Brett just scoffs at his enthusiasm.
Pop is torn. He doesn’t regret helping Veronica alter La Bon Nui’s books to set Hiram up, but he’s too churchgoing to put his hand on a bible in court and lie about it under oath. Veronica offers to talk to the feds on his behalf. She says she won’t let Pop get caught up in this, which to me says that Pop Tate will be dead by Christmas.
Hiram is prisoner #0001. Ah, the benefits of owning the prison you’re locked away in.
Charles teaches the Junior FBI class. He wants them to look at three mugshots and guess as to who is the murderer. Betty gets it right on the first try all three times. She even sees when none of the three choices did it. Or so Charles says. Do we trust Charles? He could just be telling Betty she’s right every time as part of whatever sick plot he’s working on. Charles talks about the serial killer gene that Alice said Betty sad last season. And all I can think is the slow march to Betty being the crazy killer town murderer in the final season goes on. Every season of Riverdale seems to ape another show. This season of Riverdale, it seems to be Mindhunter. Charles even kind of looks like Jonathan Groff!
Jughead can’t find his Baxter Brothers books. Tracey True is the Nancy Drew of the Riverdale-verse. Skeet looks positively exasperated that Jughead wants to read these kids books again, even calling him Boy twice. Skeet associates those books with his own dad, and he’s got enough unresolved father issues to fill a season of Riverdale. Later, when Jughead is reading in bed, he notices a page missing in the Baxter Boys book.
Archie’s boxing gym community center doesn’t have the best rep in the neighborhood. A local shop owner calls it a halfway house when he brings one of Archie’s kids by after catching him shoplifting. Archie pays the $5 the comic cost to get the kid out of trouble.
Mr. Chipping and Mr. Dupont, the original Baxter Brothers writer, announce they’re ready to pass the torch to the next generation. Every Baxter Brothers writer was a student at Stonewall Prep before taking on the mantle. Jughead salivates at the opportunity.
Betty gets some tests done. She has the serial killer gene, but tells Kevin they came back negative.
Masked Archie stops a couple of guys from popping the hubcaps off a car. Is this where Archie finds his Jason Todd? Tobey, the kid Archie saved from the shopkeeper’s wrath, pulls a gun on him and ask who he is. Archie fights him off and tells the kid to tell Dodger he’s done. Tobey runs off.
The next day, Archie and Monroe gives the kids a tough love lecture. If they run with Dodger, they can’t hang at the gym. Tobey is worried that in a few months, Archie and Monroe will leave town for college. He chooses Dodger and heads for the door.
FBI class makes Betty relive her Farm interrogation scene from last season, the one where Polly, dressed as Betty, tried to convince Betty she was a killer like their dad.
In court, Skeet is on the stand, explaining how evidence implicating Hermione was planted after the fact. Some mystery lady watches from the back of the court. A big piece of the case hinges on whether or not Hermione owns a cabin. After this, Molly doesn’t like their chances in court. Veronica suggests changing their plea to guilty, which would send Hermione to jail for life, but Veronica seems very confident that she can convince Governor Dooley to pardon her mom.
Jughead looks through old yearbooks. Francis Dupont was in a writing class just like his. He sees a photo of his grandfather with Dupont. Jughead hunts down Dupont and asks about his grandfather. His grandfather was both a writer and a fighter. Dupont is very interested in meeting Skeet, aka Forsyth II.
Betty flashes back to killing her pet cat as a child. She smashed Caramel’s head in with a rock. Yikes.
Jughead asks Skeet about Grandpa, and if he wants to meet Mr. Dupont. Despite pushing Jughead to attend Stonewall, Skeet’s got a bunch of raw feelings about visiting Stonewall and hearing about his father. From Skeet’s account, Grandpa Jones sounds like a violent drunk.
Veronica tricks Governor Dooley into a meeting. She shows him a file folder of stuff ready to blackmail him. But if he pardons her mom, she promises to never release the file.
The Stonewall Literary Society plays a game of Murder. Jughead pulled the murderer card. Jughead takes out Donna first, who plays it up, falling to the ground. It’s not too long before it’s just Brett and Jughead. Jughead kills him, and Brett immediately calls out that Jughead is the murderer. Ugh, Brent sucks so much. Thankfully no one sides with him and all applaud Jughead for winning to the end.
Charles talks about how studying childhood diaries of serial killers can provide valuable insight into how their minds work. This sends Betty straight to her room and her childhood diaries. She’s shocked by what she finds.
Hermione pleads guilty. The mystery lady leaves the court.
Betty lets Kevin in that she has the serial killer gene, and also how she killed Caramel. Apparently it was Hal who instructed her to kill Caramel and handed her the rock, after Caramel had been hit by a car. That Cooper family, man. Kevin blames her dad, not her. Kevin suggests they back off the FBI training; it’s making them too loopy.
Skeet visits Archie at the boxing gym. Some local business owners have filed complaints against his center. Skeet knows the drill from his time in the Serpents and suggests Archie try to win over his neighbors with a clambake.
Brett can’t let the Murder game go. He calls Jughead a charity case. Oh man, this is straight out of Gossip Girl season one. Brett is Chuck, and Jughead is Dan. Bretty goads Dan, I mean Jughead, into laying hands on him. Jughead regains his composure and backs off before doing something to get himself expelled, namely play Betty and Caramel with Brett filling in for Caramel and a stapler filling in for the rock.
Archie invited local business owners and the press (the press = Alice Cooper) to the gym. He’s expanding their hours to 11 PM and staying open on sundays. He’s looking for help from his fellow local businessmen. Archie is starting a big brothers/big sisters program. And he does so full of swagger, mentioning his mom the lawyer and his best friend’s dad, the town sheriff. That shop owner from earlier looks antsy. A local hardware store owner talks to Archie in private afterwards. He reveals that Dodger is forcing them to speak out against the gym. They all pay Dodger protection money and he’s threatening bad things if they don’t speak out against the community center.
Jughead is home and wants to leave Stonewall. Skeet won’t let him. Man, Skeet really is my favorite part of Riverdale He’s just so great. Skeet admits that The Baker Boys books aren’t from him, they’re from Grandpa. Skeet wants Jughead to go back to Stonewall and do what neither previous Forsyth Jones did, namely graduate high school.
Betty wants to quit the Junior FBI program, but Charles talks her out of it. He tells her that he has the serial killer genes too. He says that’s why he joined the FBI, to learn how to control those genes. He says it can help her as well.
The mystery lady from court is drinking at La Bon Nui as Veronica fields a call from the governor. Really Veronica, you couldn’t take that call from behind the door of your office. The mystery lady is a private investigator out to prove Hiram’s innocence. She tells Veronica about all the information she’s gleaned from Veronica’s sloppiness. Veronica tries to buy her off, but no dice. Oh and this girl is Hiram’s other daughter. WHAT?! V, you have a hermosa!
Back at school, Jughead reads another Baxter Brothers novel and notices another page ripped out. On the following page is the imprint of handwriting from the page that had been torn out. Jughead rubs a pencil over it and finds a hidden message to him from his grandpa offering sage advice. I wonder if it was Skeet who ripped out the original message.
Hiram walks out of court with his secret daughter. He’s not leaving town; he’s running for mayor of Riverdale!
Betty is staying in the Junior FBI class, but more to keep an eye on Charles. It occurred to her that she knows nothing about Charles and wants to find out exactly what’s his deal.
Archie: Year One, with a tire iron, wants to have a talk with Dodger. Dodger isn’t afraid. Dodger runs to his car for his gun , but Bat-Arch is gone when he lifts his head back up from under the driver’s seat, gun in hand.
Jughead tells Mr. Chipping that he wants to be called Forsyth, and that he’ll be entering the So You Think You Can Write The Baxter Boys contest. It looks like Gramps’ message reignited a fire in Jughead! The contestants are told they have to come up with a murder.
Flash forward to biology class spring semester at Riverdale High. Skeet bursts in and arrests Betty, Veronica and Archie for “the cold blooded murder of my son, Jughead Jones.” Wow, that Forsyth Jones III, murderer and murdered all in the same episode! Talk about overachieving! Reggie, Monroe and Kevin look as confused as I do. But really, the most confusing part about all this is the final shot that lingers on Archie’s face. Something’s up. He knows what’s up, but we don’t! Ugh, no one should ever feel less in the know than Archie Andrews does! Oh, Riverdale!