Riverdale is back after what seemed like the longest and most awkwardly scheduled mid-season break in the history of mid-season breaks. Thank God for “Previously on Riverdale…” because I didn’t remember anything from last episode, which was four months ago. Who takes a mid-season break in April only to return right before the start of every other show starting up its regular season? Riverdale, that’s who.
Did you forget that Veronica (Camila Mendes) was getting blackmailed by the man she trying to divorce too? What about Hiram releasing his inmates, who trashed the town and Riverdale High?
This week’s episode starts with Principal Weatherbee, Alice, Archie (KJ Apa), and Kevin (Casey Cott) surveying the trashed school. Arter decided that Archie of all people could handle getting the school rebuilt (I wouldn’t trust that craftsmanship), Alice says “Well, let’s get started. I guess it’s back to remote learning.” Look at these guys referencing 2020. Also, as the parent of a kindergartener, let’s please not get back to remote learning in nearby New York City, k thanks.
Veronica acquires a huge opal from a connection in Africa. Someone in the writers’ room watched Uncut Gems during the hiatus. I’m looking forward to the reveal that Veronica has been harboring a secret out-of-control sports gambling problem too. Just please, no facial mole with a long hair coming off it. Smithers fills Veronica in on what happened in Riverdale. She rushes back to town and to Archie, but Archie rebuffs her after finding out she didn’t succeed in having Chad sign the divorce papers (and slept with him instead). Archie doesn’t want to be involved with a married woman again.
Penelope Blossom started a church while in jail and plans to have services at Thornhill now that she’s out. Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) and Nana’s reactions to this news say it all. Also, isn’t Penelope an escaped convict? It seems pretty easy to get rearrested if you’re holding regular masses in your own home.
Betty (Lili Reinhart) stakes out the truckers at the rest stop in full trucker disguise. Tabitha (Erinn Westbrook) calls saying Jughead is missing. A dude holds up Pop’s, but Tabitha takes him out with a bottle to the head. Sheriff Keller interviews the robber in the hospital later, but he isn’t talking.
Dodger Dickerson and his mom, Darla, hold up Veronica’s store and steal her opal. “What the hell just happened?” Veronica yells. I was thinking the same thing.
In his press conference, Governor Doole says, “…in the town formerly known as Riverdale.” Ouch. Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) then offers a bounty on the prisoners he secretly freed. Archie wants to cash in on Hiram’s bounty to help rebuild the town. Trusting Hiram to pay on this feels like a losing bet.
Dooley isn’t happy with Hiram blowing up the prison. And he wants his share of palladium from under the prison. Hiram lowkey threatens him, but Dooley doesn’t back down.
Veronica enlists Reggie’s (Charles Melton) help in getting the opal back. He’s reticent, but caves to her.
Betty swings by Pop’s Diner. Tabitha fills her in on Jughead using psychedelics and then going missing.
Darla Dickenson, in a Night Nurse cosplay, knocks out Sheriff Keller, and calls someone saying in 2 hours Jeremiah, the robber from Pop’s earlier, won’t be talking to anyone. I think it’s safe to assume it’s Hiram on the other end.
Betty and Tabitha check out the bunker. Betty wants to read through Jughead’s manuscript for clues. She says it might be a bit cringey. Someone has clearly read Jughead’s first drafts before.
Jughead lives! He’s warming himself by a trash can fire. Some dude in a suit offers him money and then jumps him. These businessmen have weird kinks. Jughead sees a shadow that freaks him out before he passes out.
Archie enlists Uncle Frank, Fangs, and Kevin. Fangs has a hot tip on where the convicts are hanging out.
Betty calls Jessica, Jughead’s drug-delivering ex. Jessica offers to help come look for him. What a trio. Let’s get all of Jughead’s romantic interests over the years and team them up. What could go wrong?
Penelope holds her first mass. It’s very tent revivalist. Cheryl interrupts, Penelope talks about drinking the sweet water of a son who died for the sins of this world. Jesus? No, her son, Jason Blossom. Penelope passes around a plate. ABG: A. Always. B. Be. G. Grifting.
Over at the docks, Archie and company bust in on the convicts. Archie and friends don’t have guns, which a well-armed con points out, but Reggie does. Veronica wants Archie to find her opal, but he’s tired of Veronica, who went to New York City against his wishes, slept with her ex, and came back without the divorces papers. I mean, fair.
Jughead is nursed to health by a homeless guy. His name is Doc. Jughead gives him a fake name, Henry. In a flashback, we see that Jughead once saw Doc get jumped and did nothing to help him. He still feels guilty about it.
Hiram calls Governor Dooley, wanting to set up a meeting. However, there’s a guy standing over Hiram’s shoulder demanding his own share of the Palladium. Going by the barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat, this guy’s a fan of The Walking Dead.
Jessica, Betty, and Tabitha inspect Jughead’s place. It’s a mess. Jessica suggests looking through other places he’d likely stash his drugs, like his classroom. Wait, really? His classroom? Oh, Jughead. The school is supposed to be trashed, but Jughead’s classroom is immaculate aside from an askew set of blinds. Even the flag is still standing.
Hiram’s kidnapper calls Veronica. Dodger is there. He has her opal.
Kevin is worried about his dad. Veronica calls, asking for help. Ted is Hiram’s kidnapper. He and Archie have history. That history being he once threw Archie through a bathroom sink.
Jessica wants Jughead’s manuscript. She then suggests the three of them take shrooms too to retrace his steps. When Betty and Tabitha decline, Jessica then pivots to wanting to head back to the city, but not before eating at Pops with the two of them. Betty and Tabitha are not suspicious in the slightest, which baffles me.
Jughead wakes up to find Doc missing but quickly finds those business bros beating on Doc. Jughead helps him out this time, scaring off the business bros before passing out.
Ted wants Veronica to come alone. Archie wants to drop in like Batman, catching them by surprise.
In the dumbest move of the episode, Betty and Tabitha allow Jessica to drug them via shroom topped fries. Betty plays for them a voicemail where Jughead really lays out on Betty. She’s been holding onto that message for years. I’m amazed she was able to find it so quickly. You should see how long it would take me to find something like that from so long ago. I’d just be starting and stopping different messages. Is this it? No. This one? Nope. Wait, this one?
Jessica doesn’t want their relationship to be fodder for Jughead’s new novel like he did with Betty. Betty understands and gives her the manuscript. Jessica then leaves them in the bunker with a record playing.
Penelope now has church robes. We get a musical number as Cheryl joins the first church of Jason Blossom intercut with Tabitha and Betty tripping together in the bunker.
Veronica brings Hiram’s safe to Ted and company. Archie and his gang bust in like Batman ‘66. I half expect POW and WHAM to pop up on the screen with every hit the way this fight is choreographed like an Adam West Batman episode.
Cheryl sees a vision of Jason. Is she tripping? Momma Blossom put psychedelics in that sweet water?
Archie with a flying punch takes out Ted!
Veronica and Archie recap over coffee at Pop’s. She wants to get back together, but he’s firm on not doing so until she’s divorced.
Governor Dooley is in the hospital. Hiram visits, saying Dooley isn’t getting any of the palladium and to stay out of Riverdale. Wow, this really is not a great week for New York governors.
Jughead is feeling a lot better. He tells Doc, “Something happened to me in New York. Something horrible, I can’t remember what. I keep getting these delusions that are like images, memories maybe. I know I can’t go home until I figure it out.” Jughead admits his name isn’t Henry, but Doc already made him as Jughead. Jughead apologies for not helping him as a teen, but Doc just gives him some fatherly advice. Man, I miss Skeet.
In the bunker, Tabitha and Betty wake up from their trip. Betty realizes she gave Jessica Jughead’s manuscript. Tabitha wants to help Betty find the missing girls. Oh right, remember that plot point from this season? Tabitha has a message from Jughead. He’s heading out of town. He hitches a ride in a truck out of Riverdale. Uh-oh. He’s NYC bound or at least thinks he is.