[Ashleigh Murray as Josie McCoy | The CW/Netflix]
At the start of this weeks episode, we discover that Archie has been put in solitary for refusing to be the Warden’s next Mad Dog. We also find out that it’s been three weeks since the last episode and Fred has been going to the Warden to talk about visiting Archie, even threatening to get lawyers involved.
It’s not too long before we find out what the Warden wants. It turns out that prisoners are fighting in a place called “the Pit” (which is just an empty swimming pool). Archie has a hood put over his head when he’s taken there, suggesting that no prisoner knows exactly where it is. It turns out that Joaquin was temporarily tagged as the new Mad Dog and when we first see the Pit, Joaquin is losing a fight. So he doesn’t die, Archie agrees o take his place. Afterward, he is taken to an outside gym where he meets the team
An underground fighting ring wasn’t exactly what I was expecting but it’s also not entirely surprising as well. It would explain why the Serpents and the Ghoulies don’t mess with him, but also why they seem to listen to him (like when he defended Archie’s suggestion of having a football game). When Archie asks one of the team what happened to Mad Dog, they simply warn him about asking questions. No doubt this whole fighting situation is going to get a lot darker as time goes on. I’m also still wondering if Mad Dog is actually dead or not.
We actually see Archie fight twice in this episode. The first one ends far too quickly. We didn’t need his teammate or the Warden to tell us that it was unacceptable. Luckily for Archie, his next fight lasted must longer and was considered an appropriate show for the Warden and the others watching. The thing I loved most about this is that Archie imagined speaking to his Dad about it all.
After he wins, Archie gets his rewards in the form of Mad Dog’s old stuff and a bottle of rum made by one of Hiram’s companies. In anger, he destroys all of the rewards and ends up discovering a little rock hammer hidden in one of the books. This prompts him to suggest that he and the team break out of juvie. Although it’s only Joaquin that verbally agrees to it, I’m sure the others will too. Especially if Archie can prove it’s possible. I doubt it’ll happen straight away, but it’ll be interesting to see them plan and execute the escape.
This episode also saw the start of Veronica’s speakeasy which is being called La Bonne Nuit. She’s employing several of her friends and they will only be serving mocktails in order to keep things legal. Of course, this is Riverdale and things don’t go easy. At one point, Penny Peabody shows up to offer protection and even threatens Veronica and the speakeasy. Later, after a shipment of Jingle Jangle is sent to La Bonne Nuit, the Sherrif shows up to do an inspection. He looks around a little and after he can’t find anything illegal, he drops a hint about the Sherrif’s department needing donations.
Realising that it was her father who set it all up, Veronica goes to get help from Jughead, only to receive it from Cheryl and Toni instead. The three of them decide that they need blackmail material and decide to break into the Whyte Wyrm which is now a Jingle Jangle factory. After they get the evidence, Veronica warns Hiram that she’ll go to the FBI if he tries anything. I really loved seeing Veronica, Toni, and Cheryl working together to find the blackmail material, I just wish we had seen more of it.
From there La Bonne Nuit has a pretty successful opening. Lots of people show up, even Hiram. He brings along the painting of Veronica that he used to have hung up in his office for her to put in La Bonne Nuit to finish the place off. He mentions that he’s proud of her, and to prove she knows what she’s doing, Veronica invites him down. I was actually surprised by the speakeasy, it was a lot more impressive than I expected and I’m excited to see more of it. I’m also not sure if I believe Hiram. I’ve always believed that Hiram does genuinely love Veronica so him being proud is believable, but I’ve also believed that he would turn on her in an instant so I’m not sure how much I trust him right now. Like always, I suspect he has something up his sleeve.
[Charles Melton as Reggie Mantle, and Camila Mendes as Veronica Lodge | The CW/Netflix]
The other big story in this weeks episode was the continuation of the Gargoyle King. Betty and Jughead have been using Dilton’s bunker because their parents have been watching them like a hawk. They talk about how Ben didn’t scream when he jumped and that there must be some kind of rulebook. We also see that Betty suspects the Farm might be connected to the game.
I’m so happy that someone finally questioned the possible connection. At first, we see Bety investigating the Farm and Evelyn. She finds out from Ethel that Evelyn has started a peer support group at school which is a student chapter of the Farm. Betty ends up lying about having more seizures and wanting the Farm to help her. Later, Betty comes home to find members of the farm there in the living room.
This whole interaction was insane. Firstly, having to go through different levels/steps in order to meet Edgar makes it sound even more like a cult. Secondly, I can’t believe Alice told the Farm about the dead body they disposed of. Betty was right in saying it could hurt FP and Jughead too. After she tells her suspicions that the Farm is connected to the game, Evelyn says the Farm only found out about all of that when Alice told them and that they’re not talking about Alice’s past. Next week is the flashback episode to when the parents were teenagers so presumably, we’re going to get all of the answers we need about their connection to the game and this is a good set up for that.
Another insane moment was when Alice talks to Betty in her bedroom and mentions that she trust the Farm more than she trusts Betty. I get the feeling this is going to come back to bite her. I don’t think that every member of the Farm is up to no good but I don’t think there are good or pure intentions by the Farm as a whole. Sooner or later Alice is probably going to realise that after she’s alienated Betty and potentially others. Hopefully, she comes to her sense before then though.
[Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper, and Zoé de Grand’Maison as Evelyn Evernever| The CW/Netflix]
While Betty is getting more information, Jughead goes to get the rulebook. He plays the game with Ethel in Dilton’s bunker and at some point during it, he is presented with a choice of two cups, one of them containing poison. He refuses at first but Ethel says he can’t advance further if he doesn’t take this step and promises to give him the rulebook (which she calls the King’s scripture) if he does it. Jughead rolls the dice and drinks from one of the cups. As he’s handed the rulebook, Ethel drinks from the cup that contains poison.
We quickly see that she’s alive and in hospital, strapped down to her bed as she’s on suicide watch. Ethel warns that she’ll tell people that Jughead mixed the drinks if he forces her to tell her parents the truth about the game. He promises that no one will play the game again or get hurt by the Gargoyle King, and as he leaves she thanks him for helping her finish her game.
Thinking that things will be okay from now on, Jughead and Betty go the speakeasy but afterward, when they arrive back at the trailer, they discover that FP and Alice have found the rulebook. In anger, and seemingly out of fear, FP destroys the book by throwing it into the fire. Although they try to stop him at first, Jughead and Betty seem to think it was a good idea to burn the book and suggest that this really will be the end of it.
[Skeet Ulrich as FP Jones, and Mädchen Amick as Alice Cooper | The CW/Netflix]
We quickly discover, however, that it’s not. We see Ethel speaking to the Gargoyle King in hospital. She mentions that they’ll all play the game before she bows down to him. Alongside seeing this, we see Jughead arrive at school to find that everyone has been given a copy of the rulebook. I doubt everyone will play the game but some will and it’ll probably be too many people to stop so easily.
As I said, we’re getting a flashback episode to explain what the parents are hiding. The fact that they all came together despite the fact there’s ongoing feuds among them, really shows how much this game scares them. I also wonder if the episode will give us any clearer indication if the Farm has something to do with it. Edgar could very well be the Gargoyle King. Alice mentioned earlier in the episode that you have to go through several stages to meet him, although she’s spoken about him regularly, there’s no definite indication that she has actually met him. He could very well show up in the flashback episode and be connected to when the parents played the game.
Also, the way Ethel treats the Gargoyle King is almost the same way that Alice and Polly treat Edgar. The fact that these two characters both have a large amount of influence can’t be a coincidence. There’s also the fact that both the Farm and the game showed up at the same time, and that both Ethel and Betty had seizures. They’ve got to be connected to some degree, it’s just whether or not the members of the farm are aware of it or not. Hopefully, next week’s episode will give us more clues.