Riverdale Goes Snooping Behind Jughead's Back
Juggie's dad is the prime suspect for Alice Cooper's suddenly on-and-popping detective agency.
Things go from bad to good to worse for Jughead this week. After the surprise birthday party that pained him so last time, Juggie is surprised by a suddenly clean-shaven dad who's actually interested in his life and his hobbies. Of course, that's probably because Jughead's hobbies include investigating the Jason Blossom murder. Everybody else can see exactly why FP is all of a sudden so interested in his son's life, but Juggie is wearing the blinders of a broken-home kid hoping for the best from his nogoodnik dad. Which is why everybody else (or, more specifically, Archie, Veronica, and Betty's mom) have to go behind his back to see if FP really is up to something. Turns out: he is! A locked-up gun in his home is enough to get him arrested and charged with Jason's murder.
HOWEVER (twist!), Veronica and Archie didn't find a gun when they were snooping, so now they think FP was framed. Rather than, say, that they just missed the gun while they were hastily ransacking the place? Occam's Razor suffers another crucial blow.
- Mary (Archie's Mom)
Look, I have positive memories of Molly Ringwald too, but long gone are the days when you could stuntcast her in something and have it work out. It's hard watching her, as Mary Andrews, sharing scenes with Hermione Lodge and Archie and having her convey no emotions with her face. Is she happy about being back? Sad? Wistful? Bittersweet? Vengeful? Willful? Stubborn? Haunted? We'll honestly never know. ALSO, Mary quipping to Alice that she doesn't think "polyamorist" is a word is the second time in two episodes that a character has been haughty about something despite being wrong about it. (Last time it was Betty saying there were four musketeers, and don't even @ me about D'artagnan).
- FP (Jughead's dad)
After a few weeks of having an improbably steady hand on the gearshift of this whole town, FP finally skids off the metaphorical road -- arrested and charged with Jason Blossom's murder, all before he could haul ass out of town to Toledo. Obviously he didn't do it. There's still one more episode before the season finale, after all! But even all the stuff he did do (acting as Hiram Lodge's paid thug, mostly) could be enough to keep him in jail. Maybe his gay little minion Joaquin can bust him out of the slammer.
Is Polly supposed to be smart? I'm genuinely asking. She volunteered for her little Crimson Peak adventure so that she could snoop on the Blossoms and get to the bottom of who killed Jason. Of course, we cannot thank her enough for unconvering the delicious secret that Clifford Blossom is an undercover silver fox who keeps a room full of ginger wigs. ("Ginger Wigs," says RuPaul, "after this week's performance, you have hell toupee. I'm sorry, my dear, but you are up for elimination.") But the Coopers are supposed to have this great matriarchal streak of dogged reporting, and yet Polly doesn't seem to blink an eye at the SUPER-suspicious "daily milkshake" Mrs. Blossom keeps bringing to her. Lucky for her that she has Cheryl keeping her eye on the ball. Or, rather, the ring that Jason proposed to her with. So I suppose it's at least one more week of her reenacting The Handmaid's Tale and waiting for everybody else to make the save.
Bad week for Juggie all around. His friends do a whole bunch of snooping around on his dad behind his back (after previously planning that surprise party behind his back), and then he ends the episode with his dad arrested and (possibly) framed for the murder of Jason Blosson. But also JUGHEAD WITHOUT A HAT OH NOOOOO.
What happened to Betty the ace reporter? Where did those newshound instincts go when it comes to Jughead's dad? It's not like playing the good cop to her mom's bad cop wins her any more points with Juggie anyway. And now she's gonna go around being pissed at Archie and Veronica? Well, it'll be nice practice for when she finds out they slept together.
So I guess the best we can hope for this season is for Kevin to dance with his Mata Hari of a boyfriend at the Homecoming dance despite their relative lack of chemistry or decent dialogue, all while literally every other character is doing something interesting. Cool, great.
Eleven weeks in, and it's still impossible to know whose side Cheryl is on and why. At this point, the show has lost all ability to surprise us with her. She's still a delight from a costumes-and-quips angle, but as one of the show's many mystery boxes? Just let us know when she picks a lane.
Solving other people's problems (in this case snooping on FP with Veronica in order to protect his best bud Jughead) seems to be a better story option for Archie than dealing with his own problems. Mostly because all his other problems seem so narratively preordained. He's obviously not going to leave Riverdale with his mom. He obviously is going to end up dating Veronica sooner or later, so there's not much in the way of sympathy for him and his longing. And despite the fact that he and Veronica put on a rather spirited rendition of "Kids In America," it's just impossible to care about Archie's music career.
Veronica's whiplash-inducing flip-flops about whether she wants her dad to be found guilty or not continue this week, and she seems intent on proving that her dad paid FP to kill Jason. It's consistent for her in an episode in which she's equally intent on making sure she and Archie don't fall back into bed again. Still, that Homecoming performance with Archie shows that there's only one superstar on that stage, and she has jet black hair.
- Alice (Betty's Mom)
Betty's mom has the right idea for a change, pursuing an investigation of FP's sketchball ass and not being dissuaded when Betty asks her to knock it off because, you know, Jughead's a sweetie. It took a while to get used to Alice's (and Madchen Amick's) odd rhythms, but this week she's taking charge and unleashing quips -- referring to Joaquin as "that gay greaser Serpent," for instance. Kudos.