This week’s Riverdale starts off with Clifford Blossom, Principal Featherhead and School Psychologist Wertham conversing over dinner. The three men are clearly in some sort of conspiracy together. They come across as the Riverdale power brokers. Okay, this makes sense for Clifford Blossom, he is the mayor of Riverdale. I can see a case being made for Featherhead. He’s the high school principal, and so much of town life seems to revolve around his school. Wertham is the outlier though. Riverdale the show is definitely suffering a power vacuum without Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) if these three on the movers and shakers around town. The three men are concerned that people are still paying attention to the Muggs murder.
The next day, Jughead (Cole Sprouse) agrees to write 4 full stories on spec in 24 hours. His editor at Pep is behind schedule and short staffed. That night, Veronica (Camila Mendes) wants Jughead to take her to see Diabolique, a French thriller about murderous school teachers. But Jughead needs to come up with four stories first. Jughead pitches a high school themed anthology to Veronica, The Homeroom of Horrors, set in a high school with a narrator that’s a creepy janitor named The Key Keeper. She plays along, listening to each new tale.
The first is Keep Your Head in the Game. Dilton is short, nearsighted and uncoordinated. He’s on the basketball team and is made a pariah by his coach. No one can leave until everyone makes a basket, but Dilton just can’t. The team has to run laps until he sinks one. They run a lot of laps. After practice, Julian stuffs him a locker. Archie (KJ Apa) puts up an argument but just barely. Dilton is claustrophobic. By the time the day janior let him out in the morning, Dilton’s brain is broken. He gabs a fire ax, heads back to the locker and hides. Later, Dilton is covered in blood practicing free throws murmuring “Gotta keep my head in the game” but he’s making baskets not with balls, but with the decapitated heads of his teammates.
Veronica likes any story where Julian Blossom gets decapitated.
Next up is Love You to Pieces. Archie shows up to the Blossom estate on a dark, rainy night. His car broke down. Nana Rose greets him. She invites him in to use the phone, but he asks if he can stay the night. She reluctantly agrees. Archie keeps checking out a portrait of Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) while Nana Rose serves him tea in front of a roaring fire. She one condition of Archie staying that night is that he agrees to lock the door to the guest room and stay there all night. Why? “My granddaughter lives with me, and she’s not in her right mind.” She’s a sex fiend, or at least that’s kind of what Nana Rose implies. She might also be a werewolf or vampire by this description. Later, Archie, horny, leaves his door open for Cheryl. He awakens to the sound of the room door opening and someone pulling back his bed curtains. Cheryl climbs in bed with him. Archie wants to light a candle but Cheryl says “What we’re about to do is best done in darkness”. ARchie survives the night. I guess she wasn’t a werewolf? The next morning he heads downstairs with a smile on his face. Nana Rose explains what’s wrong with Cheryl. She has leprosy. It’s very contagious. Oopsie. Nana Rose then admits to putting down the nails the popped the tires on Archie’s car. Lepper Cheryl puts her hand on Archie’s shoulder saying “After last night, they’ll be together for ever and ever.” Eep.
Jughead explains the moral is “Curiosity killed the cat” or “Don’t’ do heavy petting in the dark without protection.” Veronica says the moral of the story is that a girl will feign an interest in comics to show she likes a boy. Jughead does not pick up what she is putting down. He starts the third story.
The Beehive stars Betty (Lili Reinhart). She can’t land a date, so she heads to a beauty salon for a new look. The stylist offers her a beehive. The only catch: she can’t ever take it out or wash her hair, but she can use hairspray on it daily. The more hairspray she uses, the more the boys notice her. So she uses more and more. But late at night, something very bad happens. What? The next night, Archie and Betty dance at Pops to Elvis Presley’s I Got Stung. Betty collapses and dies on the floor. How? The coroner cuts into her hair to reveal its full of spiders! The hairspray attracted a black widow spider who laid a bunch of eggs. Once those hatched, they ate their way into her brain.
Veronica questions what’s bad in wanting to look good. She also wants to star in a story. Jughead obliges
My Better Half describes Archie to a T. “Archie is a good egg, but a half wit when it comes to decision making.” You could have stopped at half wit there, Janitor. Archie can’t decide between Betty and Veronica, so he chooses both, taking out Betty Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and taking out Veronica Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. On Sunday he rests, and he also drinks a lot of coffee. Betty and Veronica both know about each other. They’re not happy about it, but go along with it. Archie tells them both that they’re his favorite. Julian wants to know Archie’s secret. Archie explains that you tell them what they want to hear. “You’re my favorite” Dilton points out that’s actually four words, with you’re being a contraction. I’m starting to understand why Dilton gets bullied.
Uh oh, Valentine’s Day lands on a Sunday this year. Who will Archie pick? Betty and Veronica tell each other what Archie said about the other. It’s a very The Boy Is Mine situation. Like at the end of that video, they decide to team up, confronting him and making him choose. Archie says neither of them can be his date, because he’s taking out his mom. It’s her first Valentine’s Day without his dad. Awwwww. Betty and Veronica tell Archie they’re staying in, but instead decide to go out to Pop’s together. This isn’t great for Archie – he took out Cheryl. Whoops. Betty has a plan. Veronica and Betty propose a 3-way to Archie. Archie is quick to agree. Betty suggests they meet in Shop class after hours, because it’s soundproof. In the shop room, Betty and Veronica offer him some coffee. Don’t drink it, Archie. He chugs the coffee and then immediately passes out. When Archie awakens, he’s tied to a shop table. Betty drugged him with sleeping pills. They use the shop saw to split Archie in half, literally. Betty gets his bottom and Veronica gets his top.
Veronica notices a pattern in his stories. She calls out Jughead’s sexual politics, saying they’re troubling. She doesn’t like that teen girls are all pictured as shallow, crazy killers. Jughead says it’s just a comic book, brushing off her concerns. This doesn’t fly. Jughead offers to take Veronica to the movies, but she leaves instead. The next day, Veronica and Jughead are through. That’s too bad. I really liked them as a couple, if only briefly.
At another meeting of the Riverdale town rulers, you know, the mayor, the high school principal and the school psychologist, Dr. Wertham gets a front page story in the newspaper, blaming violent crime on comics. He wants to punish the creators of comics to the fullest extent of the law. Jughead’s editor Fieldstone loves his stories so much that he offers him a byline on his stories. No more living in anonymity. Uh oh. “Girls come and go but your name in print? Now that’s a thing that will make people sit up and take notice.” Fieldstone has no idea how right he is.
This was definitely one of the more visually interesting episodes of Riverdale over the course of the entire series, and one of most fun episodes too. But so much for that Uncle Frank cliffhanger on Riverdale last week, huh?