Stop right there! If you’re not caught up yet, check out last episode’s recap here.
Jughead Jones kicks off this week in a frantic writer’s block — panicking through narration that Riverdale is running out of time, and he still has no hard evidence of Hiram Lodge’s supposed crimes. His dad, FP, comes home from a long shift at Pop Tate’s Chock’lit Shoppe, and, upon seeing Jughead’s frenzied ‘murder board’, urges his son to drop it; Hiram saved them from eviction. Jughead doesn’t buy the faux-kindness due to Hiram’s purchase of the Riverdale Register to silence dissenting voices, and pushes on. Meanwhile, the Andrews and Lodge families have dinner at The Pembrooke, as the adults reminisce about old adventures they had as teenagers. As the dinner winds to a close, Hiram invites Fred Andrews to his study with Hermione to try his famed aged rum, leaving his daughter Veronica behind with Archie. Elsewhere yet, Betty Cooper is pouting to urge Kevin Keller to continue with their secret (in-between-episodes, apparently) mission — catfish her brother Chic via gay webcam chat to learn more about what he’s hiding. Kevin gives in, and, following Betty’s behind-the-scenes charades directions, gets Chic to agree to divulge some private information. Back at the Lodge’s, Veronica fills Archie in on her parents’ plan: there’s going to be a special election to replace Mayor McCoy, and they think his would make a great mayoral candidate. Archie is uncomfortable with this, and discusses it with his dad over the drive home. Fred admits that he’s always dreamed of being mayor, and he honestly thinks that he could make a difference. He notes that while he is considering it, and the Lodges have offered to make a donation to his election campaign, if he decides to run it will be for the good of the town — not for Lodge Industries.
In Thistlehouse, Cheryl Blossom enters the study to find her mother sitting with a strange man, who Penelope introduces as their estate attorney Mr. Lazenby. It appears Clifford Blossom left a secret will to be unsealed via public reading, delayed as it was to be revealed only after the conclusion of the inevitable investigation into his drug-running side business. Cautiously concerned with who the secret beneficiaries may be, the Blossoms agree to host the will reading the following day. Likewise, more drama is happening at the Cooper house – as Hal Cooper sits down with Betty and Alice and unceremoniously asks for a divorce. Nobody is terribly surprised or upset, especially since his now-revealed extramarital affair with Penelope Blossom, but he states that this about her siding with Chic. Though Betty sides with Hal over that, Alice agrees to entertain the idea as she’ll get half the Register sale money if they end things. The next morning, as Hiram and Hermione convince a reluctant Veronica to coerce Archie to talk to his dad about running, Arch sits down with Jug and asks a favour. Explaining how he doesn’t want his dad in any deeper with the Lodges after all he knows, he asks if Jughead can publish a tidbit of information to make his dad hesitate: the fact that Hiram bought Pop’s. Jughead freaks out over this, now aware that this gradual acquisition of the town isn’t just contained to the south side.
Later, Jughead explains Hiram’s tactics to Betty & Alice — he purchases devalued plots of land at incredibly low discounts. Realizing this will impact the town’s local ‘care level’ more than the south properties, Alice suggests he talk to Pop Tate about it. Meanwhile, Ronnie calls Archie and subtly suggests they canvas for his dad, but he quickly realizes what she’s doing and blows her off. Elsewhere, Betty comes home to a surprise: Polly, along with her babies, surprised to meet their brother. Ignoring Alice’s offers that she hold Juniper, Betty quickly snatches up Dagwood from Chic as Polly reveals why she’s in town — to go the will reading with their dad, something she’s shocked to find he hadn’t told the family about. Back at Thistlehouse, Cheryl is raising her wardrobe for something to complement new
gal-pal LOVE INTEREST Toni Topaz’s aesthetic as her guest for the reading (YES!) when Penelope interrupts, annoyed at seeing the two of them together, and snaps that they hurry up. Toni agrees with Cheryl: she’s a nightmare. Back at the Andrews home, Fred is showing Archie some of his old college sketch ideas for town betterment (a cool reference to futuristic Archie Comics series Archie 3000) when Veronica interrupts by waltzing in with campaign logo and slogan ideas. Making the assumptive sell, she goes to print off shirts and pins of the one Fred said he liked when Archie pulls her aside and confronts her about her pushing. He states that he doesn’t want his dad to be her parent’s lapdog to be pushed out when he doesn’t conform like McCoy, and makes her promise to ease off him.
That evening, the Blossom will reading begins. Thistlehouse is left to Nana Rose, the now-rubble Thornhill is left to Penelope (ha!), and then the bombshell: half his fortune will go to Cheryl, and the other half to be divided equally amongst anyone who can prove they have a drop of Blossom blood in them. At this, Alice storms in and causes a scene by accusing Hal of only wanting a divorce so as to not split his inheritance, before she’s escorted off the premises — but not before threatening to tear him apart legally, with her new attorney: Sierra McCoy. (Toni even quotes season one Kevin Keller: ‘This is riveting; I can’t breathe!’) After her inheritance is announced, Cheryl gives a rousing (and unnecessary) speech at the dais about ending Blossom bloodshed, when she is applauded by a new arrival in the back of the study — Clifford Blossom. GASP. Meanwhile, Jug sits at the Chock’lit Shoppe and asks Pops the question outright. Pop Tate sadly admits that he made the deal with Hiram to keep the diner afloat, but it has been in his family for generations and he promised his ma he would keep it in the family. Begging, Pop asks Jughead not to tell anyone about the deal for as long as his mother is still alive, as it would break her heart.
Elsewhere, Cheryl awakens from her shock-fainting spell with her mother’s smelling salts, believing she had a daymare — until she sees her dad again, wheeling Rose into the room. However, he is quick to clarify that he is her dad’s secret twin brother Claudius Blossom, because cheesy Archie Comics tropes, amirite? He tells Cheryl how he was the heir to the Blossom empire, but when they were boys Clifford had threatened to kill him as part of the Blossom curse — that one of the twins will always meet a violent end — and he fled home and joined the Marines. Later, as the Cooper ladies and Chic sit around the table discussing their blood tests and potential inheritances, Chic nervously opts out — saying, unconvincingly, that needles trigger him. Back at The Pembrooke, Veronica announces to her mother that she’s done using Archie for their needs, as it’s hurting their relationship. Reluctantly, Hermione allows this, though noting the Lodge women are always the whispers in the gangster men’s ears. Later, in the Blue & Gold offices, Betty is suspicious of Chic’s blood test refusal and convinces Kevin to look into it. With her direction, he sparks a cam convo about STI testing, but Kevin starts getting distracted by Betty’s frantic pantomiming from behind the computer and Chic takes notice. Panicked, Kevin slams the laptop shut and announces that he’s done playing her brother. At the trailer park, Jug confirms to Archie that Pops sold the diner but he can’t publish it and admits that he’s out of witnesses, but Archie suggests he asked the wrong McCoy.
Sitting with the real McCoy in the diner, Archie asks Josie for assistance in convincing his dad not to run for mayor, sans the shady bits. Later, the McCoys sit down with the Andrews and Sierra explains the more difficult behind-the-scenes parts of being a public leader. As this is happening, Alice refuses to drive Chic to work as she’s busy playing with the twins. Though entirely polite, Chic clearly takes this as a personal grievance and flares down Polly. Elsewhere, Pop Tate meets with Hiram at the Lodge home to tell them what Jughead was asking about. Hiram has a fit over this and calls a family meeting, concerned that someone inner-circle is leaking their secrets. He gets close to accusing Archie when Ronnie takes the rap, saying that she threw Jug a guppy during their weekend getaway at Shadow Lake to steer him clear of the trout. Hiram is still furious, but Hermione calms him and reminds him that this was a clever play. Meanwhile, Jug sits with his dad and laments Hiram beating him at the game, when FP admits there’s one witness that hasn’t been approached yet: himself. He tells his son about the Serpents trashing of the Twilight Drive-In and offers to go on record, but Jughead holds off as he is interrupted with a call from a mystery man, asking him to meet him at the Riverdale bus terminal in 20 minutes for intimate details of the Lodge’s plans.
Elsewhere, Archie is working out in his garage when Veronica storms in in a fury. She goes off on him for leaking her family’s secrets and admits that while her parents’ business can get shady, Fred will always be safe; an incorruptible untouchable. She questions his loyalty, and Archie asks what it is he’s loyal to; what is their master SoDale plan? Veronica defers to her father just as Fred excitedly peeks his head in and announced he’s officially running for mayor. Meanwhile, Betty is snooping around Chic’s bathroom when she find DNA in the least-disgusting way you’re gonna find it in a bathroom: a bloody piece of his dental floss. As she sneaks out with it, Chic confronts her and menacingly tells her that love is finite; now that Polly is back in the picture, Alice’s love for him is used up — before demanding she never use his bathroom again. As this is happening, Jughead covertly meets with his Deep Throat at the terminal. The man reveals himself to be Smithers, the former Lodge butler, and tells Jug how he used to arrange transportation to and from Shankshaw Prison for Mr. Lodge, as well as collect mail from the warden. Eating dinner at Thistlehouse, Uncle Claudius tells the family of a beautiful island he once visited — Lésbos — much to the icy disdain of Penelope, while Cheryl and Toni choke on laughter. Much more charming than his brother, he promises, with a wink and a smile, that he plans to stay this time and ensure Nana Rose is well taken care of.
Jug meets his dad at Pop’s working the late shift, and tells him what he learned; only he can’t get ahold of the Shankshaw warden via phone. However, FP knows a guy from his old stomping grounds, War Baby, that knows everyone’s business, and they set up a visitation with him. Meanwhile, Betty and Polly walk home from shopping away their Blossom inheritance and discuss the creepiness of Chic, and Betty expresses doubts that he’s even their brother. As they get home, however, Alice, already acting like a grandma by knitting in silence alone, informs them that the babies aren’t there — Chic took them for a walk around the river. Betty and Polly understandably panic and freak out and Polly reveals how she really feels about Chic to their mom — before he enters with the twins, safe and sound in their double-stroller. Elsewhere, Archie sits with Hiram and confronts him about his property purchases, and threatens to expose Hiram with his never-before-mentioned journal he kept when he was undercover if his dad is ever compromised. Hiram won’t divulge much, but promises that when SoDale is complete Riverdale will be the safest and most crime-free small town in America, and that Lodge Industries will be 100% legitimate. The next morning (man, Chic loves his breakfast) Polly comes downstairs and announces that she’s leaving as soon as everyone has a chance to say goodbye to the grandtwins — heading west to San Francisco perhaps. Chic calmly encourages this, and faux-politely suggests that she give them their address when they get there. Later, he smugly cuts Polly out of the family picture, right next to his cut-out Hal.
Super-tense, quick cuts back and forth! Hiram comes home from his morning jog to a very worried Hermione and Veronica who break the bad news — Warden Jeffries called, and they think that the Joneses know about their plans after their visit to a well-informed loose-lipped inmate. Panicked, Hiram asks them to get the Andrews over ASAP as he changes. Zip! In the offices of the Blue & Gold school paper, Jughead has just finished showing Betty his article on the SoDale plan, and she agrees that Hiram is diabolically insane. Admitting this is Jug’s best written work yet, Betty suggests they go to take it to Principal Weatherbee immediately to publish it — exactly what the Lodges don’t want. Zip! Back with those same Lodges, they sit with the Andrewses so they can hear the story from their own mouths before they read it in the papers. Zip! In his office, the Bee tells Betty and Jug they are not allowed to publish the article; a malicious takedown of a student’s parent is not appropriate school paper material. Zip! Fred expresses outrage over what he’s just been told, and finally spills the beans: the Lodges plan to turn much of the south side into a large, private, for-profit prison — and plan to turn the rest of the SoDale project into housing for all of the new workers brought to work it. Mr. Andrews announces that he can’t support a greed-project built on the bones of a high school, and storms out, telling them to save it for the next sap they try to get to run for mayor. Archie, however, stays behind; he’s seen firsthand much of the crime this town has to offer, and wants to hear more about this plan to stop it.
Resolution montage! Some time later, a crowd of townsfolk amasses at a campaign rally outside city hall (with Kevin Keller filming on his cell phone) as Veronica Lodge hypes the crowd for the ‘next mayor of Riverdale’: Hermione Lodge. As pretty much every decent person in town rolls their eyes, Hermione gives an inspiring speech — juxtaposed with Fred Andrews dramatically receiving his shipment of Andrews for Mayor campaign buttons. (Reconsidering, perhaps? Let’s hope!) As Penelope and Claudius listen in to this speech on the radio, Claudius remarks aloud how he longs to get revenge on the Lodge family — but Penelope reminds him to stay focused on their plan: Nana Rose first, then Cheryl. Terrified, the latter overhears this while pressed flush against the outer wall, eavesdropping. Meanwhile, Betty confronts Chic about his lab results — asking who he really is, because he isn’t who he’s been saying. Finally, Archie sits with Hiram in his study, who admits he knew a prison would be a hard sell and expressing regrets for not telling them sooner. Arch admits that he would have opposed the idea before Jason and the Black Hood and his dad’s shooting, but now he understands the necessity of it. Taking part in an ancient Lodge tradition, Archie and Hiram each slice their hands with a blade and drip the blood onto the compromising journal, before Archie tosses it into the fire with Mr. Lodge warning him that there’s no turning back or changing his mind now. As Hermione concludes her speech, Jughead remarks via narration that the Lodges have finally won; Riverdale‘s time is up.
What a rollercoaster, and finally a reveal of the long-drawn-out SoDale project’s purpose! Check out Riverdale on The CW every Wednesday evening, or on The CW app or international Netflix every following Thursday! Peep out The Game of Nerds for all your fandom fun stuff!