Riverdale recap: The Lodges are on trial

Samantha Highfill

Remember when Edgar was wearing a leather jacket and preparing to blast a rocket into the sky? I miss those days. Because now we’re dealing with trials, Jughead vs. Bret: Chapter 20, and the worst offender of them all: VIGILANTE ARCHIE.

So the good news is that Archie isn’t still wearing his Halloween costume. The bad news is that he’s found himself a mask and now spends his night “patrolling the shadows of Sketch Alley.” Well, if the name is any indication, at least he’s in the right place? As Jughead puts it, “every town gets the hero it deserves,” so I’m not sure what Riverdale has done, but apparently it deserves Archie, the vigilante who gets hit with mace on his second outing!! Honestly, give that girl your mask. She’s earned it.

While we’re on the Archie story, let’s dig in, shall we? Apparently, Archie, a teenager himself, is now responsible for molding the young men of Riverdale with his community center? Do we want them ALL to start fighting bears?! He and Monroe are trying to make a difference with the community center, but when they find out that some of the kids at their center run with Dodger, they kick them out. As they explain, those kids will either end up in juvie or dead, and as Monroe tells them, “Trust us, you don’t want to go to juvie.” But also … they probably don’t want to die?!

Not surprisingly, it doesn’t take long for FP to show up. It seems local business owners have been lodging complaints against the center, and FP recognizes the move. The Serpents used to deal with it all the time — no one wants a gang around. (This isn’t a gang but sure.) FP advises Archie to do what the Serpents used to: Have the neighbors over for a clambake! Let’s all take a moment to let that sink in: THE SERPENTS USED TO HAVE THE NEIGHBORS OVER FOR A CLAMBAKE! Now that’s a spin-off I’d like to see!!

But naturally, Archie ignores that advice and instead holds a press conference where he bullies his neighbors into joining his cause by reminding them that the sheriff is his best friend’s dad. (If a teen ever said that to me, I might slap him in the face.) Then he gives them all some “friendly advice” to “get out of my way.” Again, THIS IS A TEEN. Imagine being a local business owner who has worked their whole life to open a coffee shop or whatever. They must hate this kid!!

Surprisingly, one of them doesn’t. A business owner comes to Archie and explains that they all pay Dodger a protection fee. So when Dodger asked them to complain about the community center, they did it. And that’s why Archie ends the episode by putting on his mask and going to Dodger with a declaration of war: leave town or Archie will … paralyze him? Ugh, Archie. Stop making threats and also, if you won’t stop, get better at them!

Elsewhere, Betty gets Kevin to join her at FBI training class, which turns out to be a real mistake. When Betty seems to possess the gift of identifying serial killers — cases that took professionals years to crack — simply by seeing their photos (!!!) she starts to wonder if it’s because she has the “serial killer genes,” a phrase that will never get old.

Betty goes to the doctor to confirm that she has the genes — they’re still there! — and then starts to panic every time Charles brings up a serial killer trait because she has them all. Animal cruelty in her youth? She killed her cat, Caramel! Keeping detailed diaries? She has tons of them! But here’s the thing: Her diaries are covered in flowers and kept in a hatbox, and she killed her cat after it was hit by a car and her father forced her to put it out of its misery. So odds are, Betty’s not a serial killer.

She is, however, finally growing suspicious of Charles. So for now, she and Kevin are going to stay in the FBI training program to keep an eye on this half-brother, who also has the serial killer genes and is so questionable he belongs in Sketch Alley! (See what I did there?)

Switching gears to Veronica, she is dealing with the two papers she has to write, her mother’s trial, and her father’s upcoming trial. Oh, and also her secret sister?! Basically, what happens is that Veronica comes up with a plan to free her mom: Hermione pleads guilty, and then Veronica blackmails the governor until he pardons Hermione. And it works! But the problem is that Hiram is also set free.

See, when Hiram needed help, his secret daughter, Hermosa — who also loves pearls — showed up in town and started recording Veronica’s conversations with the federal prosecutor, which resulted in the prosecutor dropping the charges against Hiram. So now, not only is Hiram a free man but apparently, he’s running for mayor? I’d say that’s insane but I’d like to remind you all that FP is sheriff despite having no qualifications. In fact, being a gang leader means he’s the opposite of qualified?

And speaking of FP, let’s wrap things up with Jughead’s story this week, which has everything to do with the Baxter Brothers mystery books. Jughead learns that Mr. Chipping is the latest ghostwriter of his favorite series from when he was a boy, a fact that makes him pull out all his old books and take a walk down memory lane. And when the originator of the series shows up at the school and remembers Jug’s grandfather, Jug starts asking FP questions. But if there’s one thing FP hates talking about, it’s his dad.

So, with no answers from dad, Jug returns to school to win a game of “murder,” which is their very inventive title for a murder mystery game. He then discovers that he’s at the school not because of his writing but because he’s a charity case. Apparently, it’s a thing the school does every year, taking in one student and whatnot.

Initially, Jughead wants to quit Stonewall Prep, but FP doesn’t let him. Instead, he tells Jug that it was his grandfather — FP’s father — who sent him the Baxter Brothers books growing up. And when Jug discovers that each book is missing a page where his grandfather wrote him a note, he enters the school’s competition to become the next ghostwriter of the series. (Kids: Let me just note that achieving your dreams is never going to be this simple. The author of your favorite book is not going to show up at your school and give you the franchise. Sorry.)

Last but not least, in the latest flashforward, FP barges into the school and arrests Betty, Veronica, and Archie for the “cold-blooded murder of my son, Jughead Jones.” So again I say: IS HE REALLY DEAD?!

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