Riverdale Season 3 Episode 1: ‘Labor Day’ Review

[Header Image: Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, and KJ Apa as Archie Andrews | The CW/Netflix]

Riverdale is back for its third season and this was actually a pretty good start to the season. When the episode begins we see that Veronica is working at Pop’s as a waitress and Betty has been doing an unpaid internship with Sierra McCoy and Mary Andrews to work on Archie’s case. We also find out that Archie’s trial has been happening over the summer.

Pretty much right at the start of the episode the Judge has decided to wait until the day after Labour Day to find out what the jury have decided. He advises Archie to spend the time with the people he loves which Archie seems to take on board.

We see the main four have headed to Pop’s where they sit at a table and drink milkshakes like they usually do. While they’re there they discuss how to prove Archie’s innocence now that they’ve got some spare time. They even consider planting evidence but Archie doesn’t want that to happen, instead, he wants to enjoy the time he has left in case he’s sent down.

Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 22.49.47[Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, and KJ Apa as Archie Andrews | The CW/Netflix]

At Cheryl’s pool party Veronica talks to Betty about not being able to speak at the trial and how she hates that fact. Josie, however, shows up and mentions that she knows where the jury are staying and she can get Veronica past the security. If Veronica can speak to just one jury member then they might get a hung jury which will give everyone more time to prove that Archie is actually innocent.

It doesn’t go to plan though. Later, while trying to get to a jury member, Veronica is found by the Sherrif who was tipped off by Hiram. This leads to Hermione and Veronica having a conversation in which the former reveals that she doesn’t believe Hiram at all. If she leaves or turns her back in any way then Hiram will most likely kill her which will leave him alone with Veronica. She’s opting to stay as a prisoner in order to keep herself and Veronica safe.

It was nice to get that confirmation on where Hermione stands but it also broke my heart to know that she’s stuck and I really, really don’t want anything bad to happen to her.

Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 22.58.09[Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge | The CW/Netflix]

At the Serpent’s camp, Jughead talks to Sweet Pea and Fangs. He instructs the latter to find the Ghoulie’s new lair but not to approach them. They know that the Ghoulies are working with Hiram but they don’t know what he’s up to.

As the trio finish talking we see that FP is giving Archie a tattoo and that he’s considered an honorary member of the Serpents. Jughead advises Archie that if he goes down to get in with the Serpents because they’ll protect him. FP also advises that Archie should protect his mind because he knows first hand what prison can do to you. If he stays focused he can overcome anything else.

A little later in the episode Fangs comes back with information that the Ghoulies have Hot Dog who is the Serpents’ dog. Jughead speaks privately with Betty, Toni, Cheryl, Fangs, and Sweet Pea about what to do in order to get Hot Dog back.

During their rescue attempt, before Jughead can walk away, the Ghoulies show up. Jughead and Penny talk a little before she decides that she wants Jughead’s jacket, and she even threatens him and Betty (who might I add has a Serpent jacket on during all of this!). Although Jughead agrees to what she wants, it’s only if the Ghoulies stay away from the Northside. In response, one of them steps forward to threaten Jughead but Cheryl shoots him with an arrow. Penny tells the Ghoulies to kill them all but Jughead gets Cheryl to aim the next arrow between Penny’s eyes. He warns her that Cheryl will shoot and that she doesn’t miss. Although Penny does let him go, she warns that the Northside is fair game now which the idea of a Serpents VS Ghoulie fight isn’t all that surprising.

Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 23.08.16.png[Brit Morgan as Penny Peabody | The CW/Netflix]

It turns out that Polly has been snooping on Betty and has discovered that Betty’s therapist doesn’t exist. Instead, Betty has been forging prescriptions to get medication. Polly says they’re concerned about her and Betty mentions that she’s been refilling a prescription that Alice made her take a year ago. Alice responds by saying that that was before Edgar taught her that pharmaceuticals are bad.

Betty states that she wants nothing to do with the Farm (she shows her disapproval for it several times throughout the episode) and she thinks it’s not helping Alice at all. Polly immediately defends the Farm, mentioning the ways it has helped her and Alice before declaring that Betty can be helped too if she admits she’s sick. She points out that Betty hasn’t mention Hal in months and that she’s living in denial.

Although I’m not going to deny that it might have helped in some way, I don’t trust the Farm at all and this is Riverdale so clearly something shady is going on.

Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 23.11.37.png[Tiera Skovbye as Polly Cooper, and Mädchen Amick as Alice Cooper | The CW/Netflix]

At one point in the episode, we saw Archie sitting alone on the stairs in court. When Jughead, Betty, and Veronica find him he says he was thinking about how all of them (excluding Veronica) used to hang out at Sweetwater Swimming Hole when they were younger. They’ve since stopped going but Veronica mentions they should go again, that Archie should take her when he’s proven innocent.

Later, the main four drive to the Sweetwater Swimming Hole. There they strip down to their underwear and jump into the water. They spend some time in the water together and then later sit around a fire drinking and toasting marshmallows. Jughead suggests that Archie could run, telling him that there’s a road nearby that will take him North and there are Serpents past the border who will help. Archie seems a little stunned at first but is adamant that he doesn’t want to. He knows that he didn’t kill anyone but he could have and he wants to face up to the things he did do.

After this conversation, Betty talks to Jughead about working on Archie’s case since May. She mentions how involved she’s been and admits that Polly and Alice were right about her hiding. Betty reveals that she’s terrified that she’s going to have to face everything come Tuesday. Jughead assures her they’re together in everything and that she’s not going to deal with anything alone.

Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 23.15.56.png[Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge, Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones, and KJ Apa as Archie Andrews | The CW/Netflix]

In court, during the final day of the trial, the jury reveals that they’re deadlocked and it’s not going to change which means there’ll be a mistrial and they’ll have to go through the trial again. The other lawyer puts a deal on the table that if Archie pleads guilty to manslaughter he’ll get time served with two years in juvenile detention. Without discussing it, Archie takes the deal because he doesn’t want everyone to go through the trail again (plus we know he is carrying around guilt). Everyone, even Hiram, looks shocked by the outcome.

Really, it was no surprise that Archie opted to take the deal. From the way he’s acted all episode he knew he genuinely thought he was going down and he had that nightmare earlier in the episode where it was him that shot the boy in the woods. We also saw him begin to put things in order.

Earlier in the episode, we also saw Archie speak to Betty about keeping an eye on Fred and making sure he’s not alone all the time. During the pool party, he makes sure that when Reggie steps up to lead the Bulldogs he helps Jughead keep the peace between the Bulldogs and Serpents (which Reggie does agree to). And he at one point even tries to break things off with Veronica and convince her not to visit him (which doesn’t work).

We see Archie carry guilt with him through the entire episode and although he shouldn’t be punished for murder, he stills thinks he should be punished. And Archie isn’t exactly wrong. Don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t deserve to be sent away and he’s not the only one to make mistakes but he did make some pretty big ones last season. It’s nice to see Riverdale acknowledge that by showing us over and over again the guilt that Archie feels and how he doesn’t get some free pass, he has to deal with the fallout in some way.

Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 23.17.19[KJ Apa as Archie Andrews | The CW/Netflix]

Before Jughead leaves to go to Archie’s last day in court, Dilton shows up at the trailer. He mentions that he and Ben have been playing a what they thought was just a roleplaying game but it isn’t, it’s real. Dilton’s head is clearly all over the place and he mentions that Gargoyle King is real but gives no other details. With him not making much sense Jughead says he has to go to Archie’s trial and offers for Dilton to stay at the trailer and get some rest, promising they’ll talk about it later.

After Archie’s sentencing, Jughead returns to the trailer to find Dilton isn’t there anymore. He does, however, find a piece of paper with a drawing on one side and a map on the other. Using the map he goes to the woods where he finds Dilton and Ben bowed down with carvings on their back. There’s a shrine before them and as Jughead checks to see if they’re okay one of them begins to foam at the mouth.

Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 23.20.05.png[The CW/Netflix]

And that’s not the end of the bizarre happenings this episode. After we see the creepy shrine in the woods we go back to the Cooper household where we see Betty coming downstairs. She hears voices and crying which prompts her to head out back where Alice, Polly, the twins, and some other people are standing around a fire all dressed in white. Suddenly, they drop the babies into the fire but they begin to float into the sky instead of burning. After seeing this, Betty falls to the ground and begins to have what looks like a seizure. Alice, seeing this, runs to Betty and holds her as the episode ends.

Now, in an interview BUILD Series, Lili Reinhart clarifies that there is no magic in Riverdale. She is mostly talking about the Gargoyle King but it does seem to be in general that there is no magic. Now, of course, we know that the new series the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is going to be set in the same universe and that will contain magic but that doesn’t necessarily mean there has to be magic in this show. It would be awesome if there was but the characters of Riverdale could simply not experience magic in there town or lives. I do think magic could have a place in Riverdale if it was on the smaller side but I completely get why they would want to keep in separate.

Plus, Betty could be hallucinating. She already has some pretty strong opinions about the Farm, she’s been taking drugs she hasn’t be prescribed, and she immediately has some kind of seizure after witnessing the twins floating. We’ll have to wait for next week to be sure but I highly doubt there’s going to be magic or at least a lot of it. Again, we’ll find out soon enough.

Screen Shot 2018-10-11 at 23.22.13.png[The CW/Netflix]

Some other things:

  • Fred for punching Hiram was one of my favourite moments of the episode, especially how frustrated and embarrassed Hiram seemed to be.
  • The fact that Cheryl and Toni spent the summer traveling cross country on a motorcycle is amazing and I wish we had seen some of it.
  • Josie and Sweet Pea having a summer fling was unexpected. He clearly wants it to continue so it’ll be interesting to see where that goes.
  • I loved that Betty wanted to be on the frontline with Jughead and how she mentioned that she’s the Serpent Queen.
  • FP declaring that they may not have the Southside but they’re all still Serpents and no one can take that away from them.
  • The hot dads of Riverdale (Fred, FP, and Tom) working together to make sure that Archie comes home and to make sure that Hiram pays for what he’s done.
  • Hiram revealing that he did all of this to punish Veronica for choosing Archie over blood. Honestly, this man’s anger towards a teenager is just embarrassing at this point.
  • We see Veronica confront Hiram a couple of times and even beg him to help Archie, so it was more satisfying when she finally declares that Hiram no longer has a daughter, you go Queen!
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