Stop right there! If you’re not caught up yet, check out last episode’s recap here.
Picking up shortly after last week’s end, Jughead Jones narrates comparing Archie Andrews’ internship under Hiram Lodge to a classic mob story — a high-rolling gangster taking an impressionable small town kid under his wing and into his intoxicating lavish lifestyle. Not that lavish, however, as Archie mainly finds himself running Mr. Lodge’s gofer errands such as bringing coffee or getting his shoes resoled. In the midst of this rush, Archie stops to catch a glimpse of his girlfriend, Veronica Lodge, getting her white dress tailored for her upcoming confirmation. (Yes, as in the religious rite, performed like 4 years too late. I told you: the town runs on Riverdale time.) As Ronnie sits down with Arch and explains (for the audience) what a confirmation is and why it’s happening so late, Hiram enters, complimenting his daughter and, showing a change of heart toward the boy, even asking Archie’s opinion on the matter as well. Meanwhile, Sheriff Keller pounds on the door to the Jones’s trailer, met with an annoyed FP and Jughead, who frustrating explain for the hundredth time that they don’t know who has the statue of General Pickens’s head and that it’s profiling to assume it was a Serpent who took it, despite Jug’s scathing article about him and their silent protest. Elsewhere, Betty Cooper is wearing her short black bob wig and her underwear as she puts on a cam-show for a stranger. (Yes, Betty. Girl-next-door, mechanic, cheerleader, home-knit sweaters Betty.) She’s interrupted by a knock on the door, but she quickly disconnects, changes and convinces her mother Alice that she was on the phone with Jughead now God, Mom, let me get dressed in peace.
Later, at school, Veronica is inviting the gang to her confirmation when Betty and Jughead are called to the office by Principal Weatherbee. Due to the outrage over their Pickens Day article — and a threat of legal action for defamation of character from the Lodge lawyer Mr. Sowerberry — they are both suspended from the Blue & Gold school paper indefinitely. As they clean out their things, Jug apologizes that his stupidity affected Betty this time too, and inadvertently makes it all about him AS USUAL by letting slip that he’s being harassed at home too. As he explains about Sheriff Keller’s rounds, Betty questions if he did do it after all… he IS very close to Toni Topaz, and, like the article, it could have been to avenge her grandfather. Jughead brushes this ‘more than friends’ notion aside, but Betty questions further and Jughead admits that he and Toni did hook up once. He asks her the same back, and she lies and says that she hasn’t hooked up with anyone since their breakup. R.I.P. BUGHEAD. In The Pembrooke, Veronica receives a package of well-wishing from the St. Clairs, but chooses not to touch it. However, Hermione notes that Simone St. Clair followed up on the gift — and told her all about Archie’s visit to Nick. Meanwhile, Archie is having Pop Tate double-check a special order for Mr. Lodge at his Chock’lit Shoppe when Pop accidentally lets a comment slip about Hiram being his boss. Archie, concerned, goes to question his wording, but receives a text that makes him immediately rush out in a panic.
In his garage, Archie scolds FBI Special Agent Adams for showing up unannounced, but he points out that Arch has been ignoring his texts and calls. Archie lies and says there’s been nothing to report, but Adams knows about the confirmation and that Hiram’s crime buddies will be attending — forcing Archie to be his unwilling informant for the event. Elsewhere, Jughead comes home to the sheriff at his trailer — but this time not for a raid; he staples an eviction notice to the door, as the whole Sunnyside Trailer Park has to clear out in two weeks on mayor’s orders totally unrelated to the missing head. Speaking of the mayor, Mayor Sierra McCoy and her daughter Josie sit down in The Pembrooke to make amends with the Lodges. Clearly being puppeteers by their powerful mothers, Veronica invites the McCoys to her confirmation, and Josie reluctantly offers to sing a duet with Ronnie during the celebration. Back in the south side, tensions are rising at the Whyte Wyrm gang hangout, as FP gives an impassioned speech about how they ain’t goin’ nowheres. However, Tall Boy points a finger at Jug, accusing him of stealing the head, and Jughead points a finger right back. (Is it just me or does it seem somewhat pathetic when he picks fights with him? He’s a hardcore scary-looking gangster adult man who’s been around in this gang longer than you. KNOW YOUR PLACE.) FP breaks up the fight and promises the Serpents they’ll find a way out of this.
Elsewhere, Archie sits down with Mr. Lodge, who calmly confronts him over the whole Nick St. Clair business. Archie tries to defend his actions… but Hiram is impressed. He likes that Archie is willing to go to such extremes to send a message, and asks him to be his assistant at a private poker game he’s hosting with his ‘business’ buddies at Pop Tate’s the day before the confirmation. THE BOY’S GOT AN IN. Meanwhile, Betty comes home to a mysterious young man named Ben quickly vacated the premises, followed by Chic in a bathrobe, claiming that that was an interview for the Bijou and he thinks he got the job. He reassures Betty that Ben wasn’t a client of his (or at least not a cam client, it seems) and reminds her to never give her address out to a client. In the mayor’s office, Jughead meets with Mayor McCoy to confront her about the evictions and the statue. Realizing that she’s no longer the ally she used to be, he deduces that someone must be pulling her strings. Not confirming or denying anything, she offers him a warning: back down. At the soup kitchen volunteering for her confirmation, Veronica (HAIRNET-LESS) is spooning out broth when Archie, who is volunteering alongside her for the company, tells her about the poker game. Worried, Ronnie pulls him aside and warns him about the dangerous sorts of people her dad associates with, but Archie brushes this warning off as ridiculous.
Meanwhile, Betty meets with Jughead at Pop’s and he asks her for advice on how to save the trailer park. Since the decapitated statue is her pretense for harassing the Serpents, Betty suggests they canvas the town with reward posters. At The Pembrooke, Veronica admonishes her father for inviting Archie into his life of crime. Hiram defends his choice, saying that at some point she will have to choose: does she want Archie brought in in the family business, or spend his life on the outside? Back in the south, Jug puts up a reward poster in the Wyrm before he spots an unfriendly familiar face: Penny Peabody, who Tall Boy brought in to help with their eviction notices. To FP’s supreme disappointment, she explains how Jughead had gotten rid of her and carved off her tattoo, and agrees to help them… if she’s let back in the gang, Jughead is kicked out, and — oh, yeah — she gets to carve his tattoo off with a dirty knife. When they get home, FP and Jug fight over this — FP rightfully calling it messed up and Jughead pointing out it’s no worse than stuffing Jason Blossom’s body in a freezer — and FP blames Jug for the mess they’re in, saying that he will be the death of them before sadly backing out. The Southside Serpents are going to have a vote: does Penny go, or does Jughead? In frustration, Juggie slams his iconic hat on the ground.
Back at the Cooper house, Hal holds to his word — either Chic goes or he does, and he’s got a suitcase at the ready. Betty and Alice try to convince him to make an effort to get to know Chic (who has gotten the job at the Bijou and is offering to pay rent) but he refuses and leaves, with Alice completely unfazed by his exit and nonchalantly brushing the immaturity aside. Elsewhere, Veronica is sitting in the confessional at church and laying out her minor sins when she admits that her biggest concern is her dishonesty with Archie and leasing him down an unrighteous path. The Monsignor understands — and assigns her ten Hail Marys. Later, Veronica is socializing with her aunts when she admits that her confession didn’t give her much peace of mind. Her aunts aren’t much help either, explaining all their own personal minor prayers and rituals that they do to take away their guilt over their complacency in their husband’s actions, and Ronnie feels even more alone and like she can’t drag Archie into this. Meanwhile, Archie is bussing tables at Pop’s for the Lodge poker game when he is introduced to Hiram’s business friends — Lenny, Carl (yes, the Simpsons reference is not lost on me), and the grouchy ‘Papa Poutine’, who spits out Pop Tate’s version of the québécois dish of his namesake. (True story: as soon as they said his name I paused the show and walked out of the room. This season has been a bit too ridiculous for me and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. BUT KEEP READING.) Hiram admits that he owns the Chock’lit Shoppe and asks Papa Poutine to apologize for disrespecting Pop’s cooking, but instead he storms out for some ‘fresh air.’ Later, Archie is plunging a clogged toilet when he overhears Papa talking outside to Lenny about how Hiram has become a problem since he got out of the joint and needs to be removed after the confirmation… permanently.
The next day, at the confirmation, Josie and Ronnie sing a duet of Bittersweet Symphony and Veronica Cecilia Lodge (ooh, a middle name, fancy) goes through all the proper steps to be confirmed. However, when asked to renounce all evil, she sees her parents and hesitates — until she sees good guy Arch smiling behind them, and she regains her nerve and does so. At the bumpin’ after-party, Mayor McCoy approaches the Lodge adults and gives them an envelope, announcing that their purchase of Southside High’s land plot has been finalized. Meanwhile, as Archie is meeting Veronica’s cheek-pinching abuelita, Betty finds Jug alone wallflowering in a stairwell. He admits that he’s stressed about the Serpents potentially kicking him out, and admits to what he did to Penny and why. Sadly, he (RIGHTFULLY) notes that every decision he’s made this season has been a spiral of making things worse, but Betty breaks up his pity party with a good news phone call — someone calling in response to their flyers. Back at the party (WITH THE ABSOLUTE BOP BETTE DAVIS EYES PLAYING), Veronica is dancing with Archie and thanking him for being her light in the darkness, when Mr. Lodge cuts in to dance with his mija. As Archie concernedly stalks off to eavesdrop on a whispering Papa Poutine, Ronnie admits to her dad that she doesn’t want Archie brought into their life of crime; he’s the only thing keeping her good. Slightly disappointed, Hiram respects her wishes.
Outside, Betty and Jughead meet with a creepy scrapyard owner who found the head stashed in an old refrigerator. While he didn’t see who dumped it, he did notice a particularly TALL BOY in a Serpent jacket lurking around lately. (But let’s be real — Tall Boy is literally barely taller than anyone in the Serpents and probably shorter than the ACTUALLY tall ones like Sweet Pea.) At the party, as Papa Poutine leaves, Archie pulls Hiram aside (much to Veronica’s discomfort) into his study and warns him about the coup against him. Deathly calm, Hiram thanks him and advises Archie to go back to the party — as he menacingly picks up the phone. Meanwhile, Betty and Jughead bust into the Whyte Wyrm with FP, stopping the vote in progress. Sitting Tall Boy down, the three accuse him of decapitating the statue and framing Jughead, and he admits to it — saying that Hiram Lodge put him up to it (BOMBSHELL), and he thought it was his chance to get FP and Jughead out of the gang and take over rule with Penny. FP puts it to a vote — and the room unanimously votes to strip Tall Boy of his jacket and exile him from the gang.
Back at the confirmation after-party, Ronnie pulls Archie aside and vaguely warns him about her father. Archie admits that he’s already gathered that he’s a mobster, but it doesn’t change how he feels about her. Veronica tries to clarify the magnitude of things and give Archie the details on his grand master plan and how SoDale is just the beginning, but Archie blatantly refuses to hear any of it (as that would be information he would have to provide to Agent Adams) and reassuring Veronica that no matter how bad it is, he will always stay by her side. Meanwhile, Betty and Jughead plop down in the Sunnyside trailer and decide to investigate Hiram’s motives further instead of confronting Veronica about it. Jug apologizes for shutting her out of his Serpent life, and she goes to leave — but he suggests she stay, and they hook up. WELCOME BACK, BUGHEAD. Breaking up their moment, Betty stops to tell him something… but decides against it and they continue. Elsewhere, Alice and Chic have dinner when a mysterious man knocks on the door, asking for Chic. Meanwhile, Archie meets with Adams in his garage and is advised that Paul ‘Papa Poutine’ Boucher was killed execution-style in his hotel room. Archie lies(!!!) and says that he didn’t hear anything that could implicate Hiram in this at the confirmation. At The Pembrooke, Veronica opens another gift — but this one appears to be for her dad: General Pickens’s bronze severed head. Later, Betty arrives home, glowing from her night, when she hears rustling upstairs. Heading up, she finds in horror her mom thoroughly scrubbing up the blood of the mysterious gentleman — apparently dead — frantically asking if she locked the door behind her.
What!? Just when I was longing for the side plot-decluttered nature of last season, they toss in an ending reminiscent of the first episode! Where’s this going to go next episode? Find out on Riverdale each Wednesday on The CW, on The CW app, or internationally on Netflix! Check out more Riverdale fun stuff on The Game of Nerds!