[Header Image: KJ Apa as Archie Andrews, and Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones | The CW/Netflix]
We pick up this episode of Riverdale with Jughead and the other Serpents. He is the game master and as he reads out what is happening in the game, it turns to a voiceover and we see Archie sitting outside in Juvie. He watches the guards as Joaquin approaches. It seems like their plan is to mess with the electricity and escape over the fence before the power comes back on.
I mean, was it any surprise that plan didn’t work? They were out in the open, it was the middle of the day, and it was only the start of the episode. I did, however, appreciate that Archie went back for Joaquin when he tripped and how he covered Joaquin as they were being fired on.
After the escape attempt, Archie is strapped down to the bed with the Warden in the cell with him. They discuss the escape attempt and the former tries to take all the blame and in response the Warden brands him.Much later in the episode, we find out that Archie is having his final meal before his final fight. Considering this is it for Archie, the Warden gives him the information he needs, confirming that . When asked if he’s owned by Hiram, the Warden mentions that his soul belongs to he who resides in the Kingdom. He’s got to be talking about the Gargoyle King, right?
When asked if he’s owned by Hiram, the Warden mentions that his soul belongs to he who resides in the Kingdom. He’s got to be talking about the Gargoyle King, right?
Back in Dilton’s bunker, we pick up where we left off last week with Betty walking in on the Serpents playing the game. She tells the story about their parents playing the game back in high school. Jughead suspects that they’ve been playing the game off board this entire time, citing saving Hot Dog and the battle between Ghoulies and Serpents as quests and tribes, and he uses the fact that their parents played the game to confirm this. Betty dismisses him and says he doesn’t make any sense, but I actually think he does. It would tie the game into everything even more and as Jughead says, the game only exists in Riverdale and is completely and utterly connected to the town.
You mix that with the Warden and Joaquin playing the game as well as Archie being a part of multiple people’s quests. There’s definitely something bigger going on here and it’ll be interesting to see where the it goes from here.
Later, Jughead and the Serpents go back to the Serpent base where Fangs and Sweet Pea have gotten into the bow and arrows and are messing around. The two of them are practicing and want to take the game off board, but Jughead refuses. This was a great moment because it shows that Jughead isn’t completely lost to the game yet. He knows it is safer to play on the board rather than off.
Fangs and Sweet Pea don’t want to be foot soldiers in the game as well as in real life. To prove he’s the rightful leader and game master, Jughead stands against the tree with a can on his head and gets Cheryl to shoot it. He tells Sweet Pea to do the same if he wants to prove himself. I mean, he still doesn’t seem completely lost to the game yet, but it’s clearly affecting him in a lot of ways.
In the trailer, Jughead and FP talk about the latter playing the game in high school. They try to discuss who it could have been back then. Jughead says that Betty thinks it was the game master 25 years ago but he thinks it could be someone from before then. He sounds a lot more lost to the game at this point, but it would be interesting if the game went further back, before the parents played.
When it seems like Jughead isn’t interested in investigating, Betty tells Josie, Kevin, and Reggie about their parents playing the game back when they were teenagers. I think Reggie’s reaction was my favourite of the three, especially mixed with how offended Josie and Kevin looked.
Josie and Kevin go to get food with their parents and try to ask about their past through the guise of wanting to know how they got to know each other. Kevin also asks if they ever played G&G but both Tom and Sierra lie about it and feign any sort of interest.
We discover later that they’re planning to get married, and that when Reggie asked his dad about the game, he received a black eye. Just as Betty is about to explain what is going on, Veronica shows up to explain what’s been going on with Archie.
A lot goes down before we see Veronica interrupt them. First, we see the return of Elio in this episode as Veronica enlists his help in getting to Archie and potentially getting him out of Juvie altogether. She agrees to help him out in return but she doesn’t seem so confident afterward. Plus, we don’t actually know what she owes him just yet.
A little later in the episode Veronica gets a phone call from Elio saying she can get to Archie by being his date. We can assume it’s to one of the underground fights which is proven when they show up there later. She watches Archie fight before sneaking into the locker room to see him. The two of them discuss breaking him out, this time from where they do the underground fighting, planning to use a drain under the pool as the escape route.
Right before his next fight, Archie is with Joaquin who kisses him right before stabbing him. Before he does it, Joaquin mentions that the Warden said he could ascend if he did this, which basically confirms that he’s been playing G&G as well.
The rest of the fight goes ahead and it turns out that Archie will be facing Mad Dog. I knew he couldn’t be dead but to see the confirmation was so great! Everyone gets into position to start the escape plan, Veronica, Reggie, and Josie are among the crowd, Betty is outside messing with the cars, and Kevin is where the drain ends. As the latter is struggling to get the grate open he sees Joaquin running. The two exchange words and we see that Joaquin has joined another group and urges Kevin to get away. I kind of wish we got more of an interaction, but perhaps we’ll get some later.
Back in the fight Archie tells Mad Dog his plan to escape and it turns out that Hiram is there to see Archie’s final match. Veronica gets past her dad and she, Josie, and Reggie throw their cans into the pool and it turns out they’re homemade smoke bombs. As the ring before cloudy, Mad Dog says he can’t fit into the drain, that he’s tried, but he says he’ll keep the guards away so Archie can escape.
Luckily, Betty gets the grate open just as Archie shows up, and their little reunion was adorable. As the Warden and his men prepare to go after them, a bike races by and they chase after it. It turns out that it was Betty and Kevin on the bike, not Betty and Archie, and they’ve pulled the Warden and his men away so that Veronica can get Archie to Josie and Reggie who have a car waiting nearby
For a quick second can we just appreciate how badass Betty Cooper was during that chase scene and confrontation with the Warden.
It was so interesting to see the game the Serpents played along side the escape because they matched up perfectly. When Archie gets into the car, the Warden asks Kevin where the Red Paladin is, while in the Bunker, after they get the Red Paladin away in the game, Jughead mentions he doesn’t have an ending to the story.
At this point, Archie falls into the bunker and he’s cleaned and patched up. He explains about being stabbed and being branded, and the others promise to catch him up to speed as well as offering to take shifts to stay with Archie in the bunker.
After this point, there are a lot of little conclusions and cliffhangers. First, at the Lodge household, Hermione yells at Hiram about the underground fight ring and the fact that he knew about it. She points out that both he and Veronica are obsessed with Archie and it’s going to destroy them. She goes to sort things out and at the end of the episode, we see the Warden kills himself.
In Pop’s, Kevin, Josie, and Reggie decide to play the game so they can get some answers. While they’re there, Archie’s escape is announced on the radio.
And finally, in the bunker, Betty and Jughead talk about how the brand on Archie looks like something from G&G and Betty says the Warden called him Red Paladin. They’re about to go through possibilities but Betty encourages Jughead to go and get some sleep. On his way home, Jughead sees the Gargoyle King.
It looked like he might be about to bow down to the King but he also could be crouching to get out of view. Honestly, there’s a lot of answers we need and no doubt we’ll get some in next week’s episode and the rest we’ll have to wait a little longer for.