I’m not sure how they do it, but the people behind Riverdale manage to make the show even more crazy with every season. We’ve had serial killers, incestous twins, and those seem tame compared to what season three has in store.

In case you needed a refresher on where everyone ended up at the end of season 2, the opening montage shows Veronica working behind the counter at Pops, Betty interning, and Archie on trial for murder. I wonder how people who hadn’t watched the show before, but decided to give it a shot at the start of season three make sense of what they’re seeing on the screen. Archie Andrews, the tamest of American comic book characters, on trial for murder, framed by his girlfriend’s dad. My only advice to them is to hold on, because they ain’t seen nothing yet.

It’s obvious that Archie is being set up by Hiram Lodge, but I will say this, the district attorney paints a very accurate picture of Archie’s violent past. Even if he gets acquitted, Archie really needs to see an anger management therapist. I really like that the district attorney trolls Archie’s music, calling him a sensitive musician in her closing argument.

This court case has a very “Next week on Serial…” vibe to it.

The court took a short recess, but the trial is about to resume. Veronica asks, “Have you seen Archie?” Wait, a murder suspect is allowed to just wander around the courthouse during recesses? Did no one listen the district attorney’s description of Archie as a violent malcontent?

In a crazy move, the judge dismisses the jury for the weekend right as the trial is coming to its close. He gives an ominous warning to Archie to get his affairs in order and spend quality time with his loved ones. Out in the hallway, Mr. Andrews goes full Dylan McKay and punches Hiram Lodge in the face when Hiram tells Archie, “Have a good weekend!” You can take the Luke Perry out of 90210, but you can’t take the 90210 out of Luke Perry!

Cheryl shows up at Pops in a red leather jacket and matching bikini top. You know, for just in case you forgot that she’s hanging with the Serpents now. She invites the gang to an end of summer pool party at her house.

I’d like to point out that all the above went down before we even reached the episode’s title card!

When the show resumes, Betty is hanging out with her mom and sister, Polly. Remember when Mrs. Cooper was worried about Polly being in that cult at the farm? Well, she’s worried no longer. Mrs. Cooper is drinking Polly’s cult’s Kool-Aid by the gallon. To be fair, it was revealed at the end of last season that her husband was a serial killer, so maybe we should go easy on her. Mrs. Cooper wants Betty to stop journaling and throw away all her diaries in order to let go of the past, as per their cult leader’s recommendation. Betty can only take so much of her mom and Polly’s cult talk until she heads over to the Andrews house to join Archie and his dad as they finally fix up Archie’s old jalopy…just in time for Archie to possibly go to jail for a very long time.

Once Mr. Andrews heads inside to watch 90210 reruns, Archie asks Betty to watch his dad. With his mom moving back to Chicago after the trial, Mr. Andrews will have no one if Archie is sent to jail. Betty reluctantly agrees.

Over at the Pembroke, Veronica begs her dad to relent and save Archie. Hiram says it’s beyond his control, right after calling Veronica mija. And with that we have our first mija of the season! I will be tracking how many times Hiram drops his favorite word. In past seasons, a mija drinking game would have no doubt lead to weekly alcohol poisoning. Mija Tracker: 1. 

If there is one thing I’m learning this episode, it’s that the Serpents dress weird in the summer. It’s like it gets too hot for leather and these guys don’t know what to do. Archie gets a Serpents tat straight from Skeet. This is prison-insurance. Skeet then tells him to keep his head on straight. Yes, I know his character’s name is FP, but in these recaps, he’s Skeet! You might as well get used to it now.

Betty comes home to Mrs. Cooper reading all her diaries right in the middle of the living room. Question: Does Mrs. Cooper still run the daily newspaper? She sure seems to be home a lot. When Betty storms out, Polly ominously tells their mom, “There’s something else you should know about Betty.” Dun! Dun! Dun!

The pool party is underway! Sweet Pea and Josie are now a couple! You go, Sweet Pea! (Side note, I keep accidentally type Sweat Pea, which is a much less fortunate nickname). At the party, Kevin tells Moose he wants to make a pact with him to lose their virginity on Halloween if they’re still virgins at that point. A couple of things, are either of them still virgins? Moose and Midge seemed VERY sexually active, and last season Kevin was trolling for dudes in the woods. Moose doesn’t give Kevin an answer.

Archie and Reggie are throwing the football around. Wait a second, is this another new Reggie? Nope, it’s not, I checked. It’s still Charles Melton. It would be funny if we got a new Reggie every season.

Oh hey, it’s Toni! I won’t lie, I completely forgot she and Cheryl were a couple.

Veronica wants to save Archie the only way she knows how: jury tampering. Lucky for her, Josie knows where the jury is sequestered. Veronica hatches a plan to turn a juror.

Dilton is being super creepy at the party, just wandering around the outskirts of it and staring at people. Yes, this is creepy even for Dilton, Riverdale’s resident survivalist.

Jughead gets word that the Ghoulies have taken Hot Dog! This seems like something out of an Archie comic. “Jinkies! The Ghoulies have Hot Dog!” Jughead organizes a stealth mission to rescue the pup. Betty wants in, Jughead says no, but Betty counters that “The Serpent Queen is a warrior queen.” Geez, do they hear the words coming out of their mouths? Imagine someone saying that out loud to you and you not laughing. I can’t.

Back at the Andrews’s house, Archie overhears his parents discussing his case. It doesn’t sound great.

Veronica infiltrates the hotel dressed as housekeeping staff. Just as she’s about to knock on a juror’s door, she’s caught by Sheriff Manetta. Her mom bails her out of her. Mrs. Lodge pleads with her daughter that she’s not a part of Hiram’s schemes, saying “I’m a prisoner, but I’m not his puppet.”

Jughead is ambushed by The Ghoulies and Penny when he tries to rescue Hot Dog. Uh oh, last time Jughead was in this situation, he was nearly beaten to death. Penny promises a repeat performance, but then Cheryl lands an arrow in a Ghoulie and Jughead calls for her to put the next one between Penny’s eyes. He tells Penny that Cheryl never mises. Just in case anyone missed it, Jughead just ordered the murder of a rival gang leader. Jughead escapes with Hot Dog and the gang, but has surrendered the south side to the Ghoulies. He laments about this to Skeet, who says the south side doesn’t matter, they’re still the Serpents. Why is Jughead in charge of this gang again and not Skeet?

Mrs. Cooper and Polly confront Betty. Polly’s big reveal was that Betty’s psychologist is fictional and Betty has been forging her own prescriptions for anti-anxiety meds. Are there any high schoolers that aren’t committing felonious acts this episode?

Betty is saved from her family intervention by the Archie’s car honks. Shirtless Archie at the wheel! I think it’s in KJ Apa’s contract that he be shirtless at least once per episode. Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead head to the local swimming hole. The two couples quickly go at it like, well, teenagers.

There’s an ominous sign at the swimming hole that says “No swimming after Labor Day.” That can’t possibly be foreshadowing about Archie’s fate, can it? Later, around a campfire, the gang suggests to Archie that he flee to Canada. Jughead says the Canadian Serpents will look after him. Archie declines.

Later, Jughead gives Betty a silly hat to match his.

Archie and Ronnie get naked by the campfire. Archie tells Veronica that he doesn’t want visitors in prison. Veronica puts the kibosh on the latest very dumb thing to come out of Archie’s mouth and tells him “You are not breaking up with me tonight, Archie Andrews!” Don’t worry, this won’t be the dumbest thing Archie says this episode.

In the morning, Archie heads to court. Seriously, why is Archie dressed like a waiter?

Before Jughead can leave for the courthouse, Dilton stops by and is rambling. He tells Jughead “I thought it was a stupid role playing game. It’s not!” Welcome to StrangeRiverdale Things. Jughead blows him off to get to court.

At the courthouse, the jury foreman reports that it’s deadlocked 6-6. It’s a mistrial! Yay! Wait! The district attorney offers that instead of retrying Archie, they want to give him a plea deal of 2 years in juvenile detention if he pleads guilty to the murder. Who would possibly take that deal? Archie Andrews, that’s who! I told you he would do something dumber. Against the advice of the his lawyer mother, Archie takes the deal, further cementing his place as the king of bad decisions.

Archie’s mom says they’ll appeal. Can you appeal a guilty plea?

Mr. Andrews, Skeet and Mr. Keller meet up later that night to team up against Hiram Lodge.

Hiram meets with his daughter, telling her that he did all of this to Archie because Veronica betrayed him by choosing to side with Archie over her father. Veronica promptly disowns her father. This show has more daddy issues than Lost.

Back at the Jones house, Jughead sees that Dilton left his RPG map. It matches the town map of Riverdale!

Cut to Archie heading out of town on the prison bus. There’s a weird series of satanic looking symbols on the Welcome to Riverdale sign. Uh oh.

Jughead finds some teens bound up and bloodied in the woods with the same symbols carved into their backs. Carcosa! True Detective: Riverdale.

And if that wasn’t crazy enough, Betty comes home to find Polly and Mrs. Andrews dropping Polly’s twin babies into a bonfire. But the babies float in the air and Betty promptly falls down, having a seizure on the ground.

RIVERDALE!

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