Here we go. The season 3 finale of Riverdale. There are big questions going into this. Who is the Gargoyle King? Who is under the Black Hood’s mask? Is the Farm really resurrecting people?
Last we saw Toni, she was bolting from the Farm. It looks like she made it all the way to the Blossom estate. Toni recaps to Penelope everything we learned last week about what’s really going on at the Farm. Penelope barely bats an eye and doesn’t sound alarmed at all. And then Toni passes out. Penelope drugged Toni’s tea! I’m suddenly feeling much less confident about who I picked to be behind it all.
Sheriff Skeet and Deputy Jughead discuss the possibility of Jason Blossom being the Gargoyle King. Jughead can’t bring himself to believe it’s true. That makes two of us, Jughead.
This might hurt.
Betty’s about to undergo surgery, courtesy of Farm Dad. Wait, those markings on her head; is this brain surgery? Farm Girl interupts. She calls him Dad. And now I’m all confused. There’s no one else around. Why not call him husband? Calling him dad just makes their relationship, whatever it is, that much creepier. I’m so confused as to the nature of their real relationship.
Farm Girl interrupted the surgery because Penelope is here to see Farm Dad. Penelople has no interest in exposing his shenanigans. What she wants is organs. Why?
Jughead asks about Kurtz at the Maple Club. He’s following up on Kurtz having a Maple Club matchbook lodged in his throat when he died. The lady of the night on duty (the lady of the night duty?) tells Jughead that Kurtz only ever visited Penelope when he came by. She also casually says that Penelope’s son Jason comes around all the time too. Is this girl new to town? She wouldn’t be freaked out by the most famous town corpse paying a visit at her office? I get it; there are a lot of corpses in Riverdale and it’s hard to keep track of who’s dead and who’s alive. But still.
Now auditioning for the role of David Koresh is Farm Dad.
Farm Dad looks paranoid. He sounds very David Koresh-like here as he tells Alice about enemies being at the gate and the Farm needing to ascend tonight. Alice wants to find Betty, but Farm Girl says that Betty escaped with Toni. Cheryl hides in the shadows, watching this go down.
Thanks to Hiram’s imprisonment, Veronica and Hermione are now the co-owners of Pops and La Bon Nui. Veronica decides to bequeath the El Royale boxing gym to Archie. As Archie is telling his mom this bit of news, there’s a knock on their front door. There’s an invitation waiting for Archie at the door. Jughead and Veronica received one too. They meet up at Pops to discuss.
Betty wakes up in a fancy bed. It doesn’t look like she’s missing any vital organs. There’s a fancy gown waiting for her with a note. The note says to wear this gown to dinner. Say what you will about the Farm, but they sure treat their post-op patients nicely.
The Gargoyle King…revealed!
Oh wait. We’re not at the Farm anymore. Dinner is hosted by Penelope. Archie, Jughead and Veronica are there as well. When Betty comes downstairs, Penelope tells Betty that she bought her from Farm Dad as part of her silence. Sister Woodhouse emerges from the shadows with a gun. Man, this is quickly turning into a game of Clue.
According to Penelope, Sister Woodhouse taught Penelope everything she knew about poisons. Penelope calls in two more guests, the Black Hood and the Gargoyle King. They unmask. It’s Hal under the black hood! Before the Gargoyle King unmasks, Penelope lets Jughead guess. Jughead quotes some Sherlock Holmes and guesses Chic. He’s right! Chic is alive!
Call me Jason.
Chic now has red hair and looks surprisingly like Jason Blossom. It turns out that the Black Hood didn’t kill Chic, but recruited him instead. Man, every time Hal talks, he just sounds creepier. It looks like Penelope has gone way over the deep end. She was working with The Black Hood since last season, even cultivating Hal’s more sadistic aspects when they had an affair together.
Penelope talks about getting the original Midnight Club together. So it was Penelope who snuck Gryphons and Gargoyles out of the Sisters of Quiet Mercy and not Hermione? Man, I was so wrong.
Penelope wants to play one final game of Gryphons and Gargoyles with the Midnight Children. If they lose, their parents will feel the pain that Penelope felt when her son died. Penelope sounds like George W. Bush when she follows up with “and if you win, you won’t win.”
Survive the Night.
Penelope lets the Midnight Children loose in the woods and tells them to survive the night. The Gargoyle Gang will be hunting them. This includes the Black Hood and the Gargoyle Chic. Penelope is nice enough to give Archie and company flashlights.
Cheryl tries to recruit Fangs and Kevin back to the side of sanity by showing them the harvested organs. Except uh-oh, the organ cabinet is empty. Kevin and Fangs are full in the Farm life;s they’re ready to ascend. Cheryl leaves them, on the hunt for proof of organ harvesting, but can’t find anything. In a darkened room, she comes across someone in a wheelchair. It’s enough to make her scream in terror.
Archie vs. The Bear: Round 2.
The gang finds a Red Paladin card. He must “conquer a grizzled beast in a pit.” Wait, really? Bear fighting? Archie vs the bear round 2! But this time it’s not a real bear, just a guy in a bear costume. He kind of looks like a caveman. Archie goes in swinging and is knocked down immediately. Bear Bro doesn’t sell any of Archie’s punches, and viciously knocks Archie down. But Archie gets back up. The rest of the gang watches. Football player turned boxer Archie shows off his baseball skills when he smacks Bear Bro with a stick. Captain Caveman goes at Archie with a bone, but Archie gets ahold of the bone and gets the upper hand. He knocks Bear Bro unconscious. Point: Archie.
Veronica embraces Archie. Archie doesn’t look so hot. He’s beaten and bloodied.
Alice meets with Farm Dad. She has concerns. She says she’s been hearing whispers about harvesting. Farm Dad addresses her concerns by immediately copping to them. Cheryl bursts in. Apparently, it’s Jason in the wheelchair? Some orderies grab her and drag her away to her room. Farm Dad then asks Alice to help gather the flock like all that craziness didn’t just happen right in front of them and he didn’t just admit to harvesting human organs.
How does it keep landing on a cup?
Veronica has to play a mix of Russian Roulette and Spin the Bottle. She has to choose her closest companion. Betty volunteers. The game involves spinning a bottle and drinking from the cup the bottle points to. However, one of the cups is poisoned. They spin and drink. They have to drink from them all. How is this a game either can win?
With two cups left, Veronica spins and drinks. She’s fine. Uh-oh. Sorry Betty. Except! Veronica doesn’t let Betty drink final cup. She drinks it instead. Penelope comes out of the shadows. She admits that all the cups were all poisoned. It’s a slow acting poison, but they’ll both be dead by sunrise if they don’t find the antidote. To get the antidote, they have to finish the game.
The amazing part of that spin the bottle game was that the bottle always landed perfectly on a cup, How did no one remark on that as it happened?
A+V Forever (or at least, for now).
The gang continues on. Archie professes his love for Veronica. She tells him that nothing happened with Reggie after Archie left last week. She’s in love with Archie too. Archie pledges to not let any of them die. They kiss. Uh, guys, you’re falling way behind here. Catch up to Jughead and Betty already!
Alice breaks out Cheryl and baby Juniper. She leads them to the secret tunnel to Fox Forest, but stays behind to look after Polly.
Nana Blossom wakes Toni. She tells Toni “the hunt is afoot” and I feel like I’m in Get Out. Grandma tells Toni she needs to save her friends but Toni says she needs to save Cheryl.
Jughead vs. Gargoyle Head.
Jughead’s quest is a battle of kings. It’s Gargoyle Chic vs Jughead. They race for a ax. Chic gets to it first. Jughead wants answers as he evades the ax. Why is Chic doing this? His answer is basically, “Because I’m a crazy psychopath. Hi, did you meet me last season?” Chic loses the ax but quickly regains the upper hand and starts choking Jughead to death. But Jughead reaches for a big horn and bludgeons Chic with it. Then Jughead puts his hat back on all badass style. Wait, when did he take it off? Do I rewind for this? (I don’t).
The poison is getting to Ronnie. The gang presses on.Veronica points out that the Gargoyle King existed before Jason Blossom was murdered. That’s a good point. We still don’t know the full story of Ascension Night I.
Cheryl makes it home with Juniper, and reunites with Toni. The Poisons were gearing up for war. Nana tells Cheryl that Penelope has been preparing for this for weeks,if not months. Thanks for the head’s up, Nana. You know you could have called Skeet about this weeks, if not months ago, right?
It’s Betty’s turn to tackle her challenge. She unwraps a gift. There is a gun inside with one bullet. The Black Hood approaches. All you need is one bullet Betty. Pull that trigger. The Black Hood unmasks. Hal tells her she has kill him. He pulls a gun on her. Hal says kill him or he’ll kill her and her friends. The antidote stands behind him. Hal counts to three. Betty cocks the trigger and fires! Wow! Everyone is in shock, including me! Hal goes down in pain. Betty shot him in the hand. Damn, deadeye Betty Cooper. All that gun range time has paid off.
Penelope isn’t pleased with Hal. She shoots him in the head! Right in front of Betty and the gang! Archie grabs the antidote. Jughead says they won. Penelope isn’t letting them win. She commands the gargoyles to kill them all. The gang runs. The gargoyles follow. The sun is rising fast. The gargoyles are all armed. Thankfully, the cavalry arrives in the form of the Poisons going Katniss Everdeen on the gargoyles. Betty and Veronica drink the antidote. The gang lives!
They all got O’s in Apparating
As they flee, Betty asks Cheryl about Alice. They head to the Farm to save Alice. But the only person they find is Kevin. He’s surrounded by the clothes of a bunch of raptured Farmies. Oh boy. Everyone is gone. Alice, Polly, Farm Dad, Fangs, everyone. Betty almost passes out. Okay, let’s not even pretend for a second that the Farmies really ascended. Farm Dad probably just hypnotized Kevin and put him in that room with the clothes in neat person-piles. If anything, this just makes me think Farm Dad is a big fan of Left Behind.
Jughead narrates a montage of Riverdale residents cleaning up their town on a new day. He says that Chic is in jail. Hail is dead. Penelope slipped away into the night. Jughead and a crew clean up the graffiti at Pops. Cheryl brings her dead brother home. You read that right. She doesn’t bring him back to his grave. She wheels him into their house. I’m sure he’s going to be smelling great during summer break.
Rhyming guard tries twice as hard.
The FBI bursts into the Lodge apartment and arrests Hermione in front of Veronica. She’s under arrest for attempting to murder Hiram. At the prison, a guard tells Hiram that it’s done. “Your wife is arrested, as requested.” Is this guy the rhyming guard? I half-expected him to moonwalk away. Hiram even had evidence planted. Both Hiram and Hermione called Veronica m’hija in their final scenes of the season. A double m’hija to end the season.
Archie and Mad Dog box. Archie says he’s thinking about making some changes to the El Royale. He wants to transform it into more than a gym, make it a community center or halfway house to keep kids off the street.
Guess who else is alive?
FBI Agent Smith visits Jughead. He’s been investigating Farm Dad for some time. Betty asks what they were waiting for. Very good question. Agent Smith says they had someone getting close to Farm Dad. Alice was a FBI informant. They knew about the organ harvesting. The FBI is setting up shop in Riverdale until they take down Farm Dad. Oh, and Agent Smith is Betty’s brother! He’s the real Charles Smith! Betty laughs and is like whatttttt? Aren’t you dead? Oh, and since Skeet is his dad, he’s also Jughead’s brother. But then who was Chic living with in Chic’s backstory? Was that all made up by Chic? Was that Agent Smith working a different case and then faking his death? If so, why use his real backstory around Chic?
At Pops, Archie proposes a pact with the gang that they’re done with death cults and murderers for their senior year. They all agree.
Bring on Season 4!
Flash forward to spring break senior year. Archie is shirtless (of course) and covered in blood. Betty and Veronica are in their underwear. Betty says they need to wash and burn all their clothes and Jughead’s beanie. And that they can never speak of this again, will graduate and go their separate ways. Archie throws the beanie into the fire. What. The. Heck?
Billy Henehan writes for The Beat. In his free time, he likes to hunt down foreign language reprints of Todd McFarlane Spider-Man comics.