The Baxter Brothers writing contest has reached its culmination! Jughead finishes reading his entry, The Case of the Boy in the River. Wait a second, that’s Riverdale season 1! Is each season of Riverdale a new Baxter Brothers novel? I mean, it makes sense. Mr. Dupont is impressed, even calling it outstanding and naming Jugs the new ghostwriter of The Baxter Brothers. Bret would like to lodge a protest. Dupont ignores him, and gives Jughead a contract, but also warns Jughead to play by the rules.
Over a the Pembrooke, Veronica announces that she didn’t get into her safety school, Dartmouth. She tells Hiram that she still has her Columbia interview. Why would you tell him this, Veronica? Clearly he’s tanking your admissions at other schools after you turned down Harvard. If Hiram can get you into Harvard, he can just as easily keep you out of other Ivies. Also, out of all the Ivy League schools, why isn’t Veronica of all people on Riverdale not applying to Wharton?
Skeet confronts Archie about his nighttime activities. Skeet tries talking Archie out of it and offers to help him at the Riverdale Community Center in return for giving up the vigilante life. But what Skeet doesn’t realize is that Archie didn’t choose the vigilante life; the vigilante life chose Archie. Archie is the night! The Riverdale night!
Jughead wants FBI Agent Charles Cooper to look into his grandfather’s whereabouts. Charles basically says that the FBI has more important things to do, but agrees to do it anyway.
Bad news for La Bon Nui. Pop’s liquor license was revoked, by none other than the town mayor, Hiram Lodge. Veronica’s plan is to host a booze filled blow out the night before their license runs out.
Alice wakes Betty in the middle of the night. She tells Betty that Polly attacked a nurse at Shady Grove. They watch a video of the attack. We don’t see it, but when Betty looks at the video, she’s stunned. Here’s the kicker, the nurse that Polly disfigured, her name is Betty.
When Betty visits Polly, Polly is bound to a bed, claiming she doesn’t remember the attack. She repeatedly cries, “I didn’t do it,” like a freaked out toddler.
Eddie, the kid that ID’d Dodger’s family on Thanksgiving, offers to find Dodger for Archie, but Archie turns him down. He wants Eddie to stay safe. I’m sure Eddie is going to listen to this.
Veronica meets with her abuela, Hiram’s mother. Veronica wants to know how her dad learned to make rum. It turns out he used his mother’s own rum recipe, which she’s going to teach Veronica.
Charles found Jughead’s grandfather’s PO Box. Apparently he lives in the woods, also apparently the FBI isn’t that busy. Or Charles is lying. Hashtag-Riverdale-paranoia is a real thing, people.
Just as Betty tells Alice that Polly received a call about an hour before she attacked the nurse, their phone rings. Alice answers and then looks like she was activated Bourne Identity style. She goes glass eyed and grabs a knife from the drawer. Run Betty! Betty figures out Alice is hypnotized and snaps her fingers. It gets Alice out of her trance. Betty announces that they need Charles to trace that phone call. Or Charles is behind this, Betty!
Hiram is excited to see his mother, until she slaps him the face for the way he’s been treating his daughter. Veronica holds it over him that she now has the family rum recipe too. Hiram looks like he’s seen better days.
Mary Andrews (Molly Ringwald) tells Archie that Vic, the Andrews Construction foreman, wants to buy them out of the company. Archie doesn’t want to sell, and now wants to fire Vic for even having this idea. Whoa, calm down, Red. Don’t you have your hands full with the Community Center and, i don’t know, high school?
Charles tells Betty that the calls received from Polly and Alice came from the same place, Shankshaw Prison. Betty suspects Farm Girl, who is locked up there.
Jughead finds his grandfather’s cabin in the woods, and is met by a gun wielding old man. He must be Grandpa, because he calls Jughead “boy.” Jughead makes an introduction and Grandpa leads him inside.
Cheryl sits with Jason and the Julian doll in the house. It’s filling with the misty smoke of the roach bombs she set off throughout the house. What a way to kill yourself. Yuck. Cheryl, you’re better than this! Penelope Blossom comes coughing into the room. A gas mask wearing Cheryl doesn’t look surprised. Well done, Cheryl. Well done.
Jughead asks Grandpa about Mr. Dupont and The Baxter Brothers. Grandpa tells Jughead that his facts are mixed up. Mr. Dupont bought The Baxter Brothers from Grandpa for $5000 when Grandpa dropped out of school. The success of The Baxter Brothers drove him to drink and be awful to his family. He gives Jughead the advice to “seize the opportunities he’s being given.”
Archie is upset. Dodger’s brothers put Eddie and some other Community Center kids in the hospital. Skeet reluctantly agrees to deliver street justice to them with Archie. They don’t even wear masks, though Skeet does trade in his Sheriff’s uniform for Serpents’ leather. Skeet headbutts one brother and Archie pummels the other.
Cheryl has Penelope locked up in front of an audience of Toni, Nana Rose, Jason and Julian. She’s putting her mother on trial for gaslighting (Cheryl), attempted murder (Archie and the gang) and murder (Hal Cooper).
Skeet liked beating up the Dickinson boys and delivering street justice. But he’s also glad Archie is going to give all this violence up.
Betty questions Farm Girl at jail, and Farm Girl admits to it immediately. Aren’t these calls monitored? She says it was all Edgar’s idea before he died, that when people hear the trigger word, tangerine, repeated three times in a row, they become Betty and need to kill Dark Betty, who I guess is the closest person to them at the time named Betty. She says tangerine twice but Betty hangs up before she get the third one out.
A hooded gunman enters Pops and shoots Skeet! He lives, but lands in the hospital. Archie is convinced its Dodger. Fangs Fogarty, back in a Serpents jacket, runs in to confirm that. So Fangs is cured of the Farm and back with the Serpents?
Betty is worried about what would happen if she heard the trigger word three times. Charles suggests trying it there in safety. He says tangerine three times, but he pauses between two and three, so did he really say it? Or is tangerine not really the trigger word?
Cheryl says Penelope is guilty of being hateful to her rotten core. Her sentence is…going to have to be revealed later, because we cut away to…
La Bon Nui, where the alcohol is flowing on their final night. Shoshanna Rutherford, the recruiter from Columbia, beckons Veronica over to her table. She was told that Veronica’s assistant told her assistant to come see her thriving business. Oh, Hiram. Veronica is barely fazed, saying she wants to speak with Ms. Rutherford, but first has to put on a musical number.
Archie, no mask, comes at Dodger and his mom with a bat. Mom tells Dodger to shoot him but Dodger wants to brawl. He throws away his gun and Archie tosses his bat. Veronica sings Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting as Dodger and Archie trade face shots. Dodger ends up on the ground and is kicked in the face by Archie. He grabs a hubcap and hits Archie in the face. He then pulls a switchblade, but Archie is amazingly the better fighter here and beats Dodger unconscious against the wall. He only stops when Dodger’s mom begs him to stop. The kids from the Community Center arrive just in time to hear Archie say he’ll kill Dodger and his mom if they ever come back to Riverdale.
Hiram tells Veronica that he patented his mom’s rum recipe. Oops. He’s convinced Columbia will frown upon the night Vernonia just put on, but are you kidding me? What college wouldn’t want a high school senior with this kind of business and musical theatre acumen?
Betty is having a freak out. She sees young Betty who asks her if she’s there to kill her. Betty’s hands are covered in blood. The world goes dark around her and she’s standing outside her house, the only blood on her hands from her nails digging into her palms too deep.
Jughead visits Skeet in the hospital. Archie secretly watches from the doorway when Jughead tells Skeet that he found Grandpa and that Mr. Dupont offered him the Baxter Brothers contract. He tells Skeet that Grandpa regrets how he treated Skeet. Jughead wants them to meet. Skeet says he’s stuck in the hospital and couldn’t say no if he wanted to.
Penelope wakes up in Dilton’s bunker. Cheryl locks her in, Desmond on Lost style. I’m hoping for a montage in a later episode of Penelope going through her morning routine while listening to Make Your Own Kind of Music.
Charles says Tangerine three times again, sending Betty into a trance. She finds herself as a child, about to kill Caramel the cat and takes the rock from her. She tells her to go play instead. Young Betty thanks her. For a second I thought that Betty was going to then smash Caramel’s head. She comes out of the trance and is fine. Or is she?
Veronica meets Ms. Rutherford, who is more impressed than anything else after the show Veronica put on. She wants to hear more of Veronica’s story. Looks like Veronica is headed to Columbia, Gossip Girl style.
Jughead returns to the cabin in the woods. Grandpa is gone, and it doesn’t look like he’s coming back. Classic Grandpa
Cheryl says to Toni that it’s time to bury Jason. Toni asks if she’s sure. Why would you ask that, Toni? This time, just agree completely immediately. There’s a dead body in your living room!
Archie is sitting in the dark. Mary finds him. She’s worried about him. He’s battered, cut and bruised. He tells her that he wanted to kill Dodger. He calls himself a monster, but Mary says he isn’t. He asks how does this end and I thought we were going to get one of those flash forwards.
Instead, it’s Jughead at Skeet’s room with no Grandpa. Skeet isn’t happy but he isn’t surprised either. He pushes Jughead to sign the Baxter Brothers contract.
Up at school, Jughead signs the contract. A note is slid under his door that says “NORTH WOODS A.S.A.P.” A ring of torches have been set up in the woods. Jughead’s writing workshop classmates are dressed as Hogwarts students. It’s time for some quidditch! Oh wait, never mind, they’re initiating him into the Quill and Skull Society He smashes a skull with a rock, pulling out his secret society pin.
Veronica gets a call from Cheryl. The gang meets Cheryl at the banks of the Riverdale River. Cheryl gives Jason a viking funeral, pushing him off on a boat and setting it aflame. The fire quickly engulfs him.
Later, when Archie is all alone, a man comes to the Community Center. It’s Frank, his dad’s brother. Oh boy. This guy couldn’t show up during daylight hours? I’m immediately suspicious of any Riverdale relative that comes out of the woodwork, especially in the dead of night
Betty wakes up in the middle of the night. She sits in front of the mirror and says tangerine three times. Alice, downstairs, hears glass smash. She comes upstairs to find Betty heading back to bed. Betty says “I wanted to make sure it was gone, the dark part of me, and it was,” before calmly turning off the lights. That’s when Alice notices the smashed mirror. I don’t think it’s gone, Betty.
Flash forward to four weeks later. Archie runs up to Jughead lying on the ground, bleeding from the head. He turns back to Veronica and Betty and says, “He’s dead. What did you do, Betty?” Betty looks confused, holding what’s either two rocks or a broken skull in her hands. Veronica looks shocked. So do I.