[Header Image: Mark Consuelos as Hiram Lodge | The CW/Netflix]
The episode starts with the revelation that Archie is still alive after the bear attack (not really a surprise) and he’s finally returning to Riverdale, realising that he can’t keep running. We see his chest throughout the episode and the area where the bear struck him seems to be healed and even scarring over, implying it’s been a while since the last episode in canon.
To be honest, there’s not too much to discover with Archie this episode. He does two major things. The first one is to reunite with Veronica and it seems like they’re going to pick up right where they left off. However, due to Archie’s struggle and Veronica believing that he might have shot Hiram, the two ultimately decide that their relationship is really over by the end of the episode. Part of me is glad. While I’m sure they will eventually reunite and be a couple again, I’m hoping this means we’ll see a lot more of Reggie and Veronica. They’ve developed quite the relationship so far and I’m intrigued to see more of it.
The other thing Archie tries to focus on is the SATs. He is advised to retake the year but tries to prep for them anyway. However, when it comes to taking them, he walks out during and by the end of the episode. We can see that he’s struggling with everything that has happened to him and more than once he is plagued with images of the dreams/hallucinations he had after the bear attack. By the end of the episode, Archie is found using a punching bag in his room, which is described to look like a cell by Fred.
In the promo for next week’s episode, we see Archie pointing a gun at Hiram. It seems like things are only going to get more and more intense and what we’ve seen of Archie in this episode is only the beginning.
In this episode, Betty discovers that Alice has taken all of her money and donated it to the Farm. After talking to Sierra McCoy, Betty realises that her father’s signature was forged and in order to pursue legal action, she has to get him to sign papers proving that he never agreed to drain Betty’s funds. I’m a little concerned about what Alice is doing but I do stand by the fact that eventually, something will happen that will open her eyes and make her truly see how she’s hurting Betty by siding with the Farm all the time. I get why she does it, she was hurting and they really helped her. I’m more concerned that bad writing is going to continuously put Alice down this path that goes too far and completely dismisses any character development she had in the past.
Betty does go to visit Hal but he wants a manual of G&G in return for the signature. Betty manages to get the manual and Hal mentions Ascension night, revealing he knows about it because he sent the invites to the Midnight Club, dressed up as the Gargoyle King, and poisoned the drinks. He says he wanted to kill as many Midnight Club members as possible and that because he was the King in the past, he could defeat the Gargoyle King now. We find out before the end of the episode that that isn’t true. Alice never told him about what happened but Penelope Blossom had during her visits to him in prison. Betty does declare she’ll never come to see him again but she arrives home to find Alice and members of the Farm. Alice has got her dream job and Betty’s money was used to buy the Sister of Quiet Mercy which will be the Farm’s new headquarters.
I was actually pleasantly surprised by the scenes with Hal. He does seem to genuinely care about Betty but maybe it’s just his way of getting her on his side and turning her against Alice. I wasn’t really expecting him to be in this season so I really have no predictions of where he might go but I’m curious to see more of these conversations between Hal and Betty. Especially now that she seems to be moving further away from Alice who will most likely see the Farm even more. Now that it’s moving to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, I wonder if we’ll actually see Edgar.
Elsewhere, Fangs has been undercover and is about to meet the Gargoyle King. During the meeting to make that happen, the Serpents swarm and unmask the Gargoyle King, revealing it to be Tall Boy. It turns out that it was him that scared Alice and Betty back in episode 6 and that he killed Joaquin. Jughead gives Tall Boy a choice, either help them get to Hiram or Sweet Pea and Fangs will rip him apart. It’s not too surprising that he agreed to the former but I was a little shocked to see him. I didn’t think we ever would again but it makes sense. Tall Boy is a good size to be the Gargoyle King and he’s definitely someone who would work for Hiram.
With Archie’s help, the Serpents set up a meet between the Gargoyle King and Hiram in which Tall Boy makes the call. Hiram agrees to it but he also appears suspicious and during the actual meet, it’s Claudius who shows up and we see FP has dressed as the King. The former is taken into jail and Jughead returns to the bunker to find that Tall Boy is dead. He really did not last that long.
Something pretty significant happens with Hiram this week. First of all, we find out that he wants the Sisters of Quiet Mercy (to live in with Hermione) and that he wants to make Claudius the new Sherrif. However, things don’t go completely to plan. As previously mentioned, the Farm ends up buying the Sisters of Quiet Mercy and Claudius is arrested. After he doesn’t show up to the meet with the Gargoyle King, Hiram brags afterward about being one step ahead only to be shot immediately after. He does survive but is seemingly going to be out of commission for a while. Finally, someone did something. It’s not a permanent solution but at least it puts Hiram on the sidelines for a little while so we can move through the current storylines and hopefully at a faster rate.
Everything, including this, leads to some pretty interesting endings. Hiram is laid up in hospital after being shot, Claudius is found dead in his cell, Betty begins to visit Hal after she realises that he’s the only one who might understand how she feels about Alice’s recent actions, Reggie visits Veronica (and Hiram) at the hospital, and while the Serpents are celebrating and Jughead, Sweet Pea, and Fangs are trying to act normally after Tall Boy’s death, a cop car rocks up only to reveal that FP Jones is the new Sheriff. Prior to this particular reveal, we saw him meet with Hermione who said “I think it’s time” to which he smiles. They clearly have been planning this move all along and I wonder if either of them had anything to do with Hiram getting shot and I also want to know what the rest of their plan might be.
It seems like Hermione and FP have had this up their sleeves for a while and we’ve known that Hermione hasn’t been completely on board with Hiram, she’s mostly with him to stay on his good side. So I’m curious as to when all of this started and what else is going to be revealed in the coming weeks.