Katie Yu / The CW

Riverdale Skeet-Skeet-Skeets Over A Transition Episode

Jughead's bad dad is all over this episode, while Polly emerges from hiding...for a while.

I continue to be impressed with the balance of tones on this show. It manages to combine noir and teen soap and arch self-awareness and camp, usually all within the same hour, while keeping the plot moving at a decent pace. Which can be easy to do in an episode where things happen. This week's episode...was not one of those weeks. The murder-plot stuff inches forward this week, with Polly Cooper turning up in her family's attic after her folks spill the beans about her pregnancy in public (as part of a power play against the Blossoms, see). But most of the episode is character-building stuff for Jughead -- and, to a lesser extent, Veronica -- about their difficult relationships with their parents.

And yet, even when mostly spinning its wheels, Riverdale has a lot to offer. Between the opening reverie where Jughead imagines Riverdale as an idealized small town -- complete with the classic Jughead crown atop his head -- and Veronica's ultra-wry "What decade is this?" quip, this show is having fun commenting on its own image makeover.

Also attempting attitude adjustments this week: Veronica, who's acting out after her mother's light bit of forgery; Juggie's dad, who's attempting to be a decent parent; and Cheryl, who's going to need to pick a side when it comes to the war between the Coopers and her parents.

  1. Kevin
    Boy, it did not take Kevin long to forget that he hated Veronica and sign right on up to be her pet gay while his actual BFF Betty is hunting for her escaped sister. Get a story, Kev.
  2. FP (Jughead's dad)
    Yikes all around. FP is just the stereotypical bad dad from soup to nuts. He's initially too proud to take his job back, after Archie and Jughead convince Fred to make an offer. He then acts weird about no fewer than seven things, including Jughead's possibly being involved with Betty; Fred's attempt to pay for dinner; and Sheriff Keller bringing Jughead in for questioning. Also he's piss-drunk half the time. By the time he slinks off to figure his shit out, it's a relief, and no one's more relieved than Juggie himself. Of course, the closing voice-over reveals Jason Blossom's varsity jacket in FP's home, so welcome to your latest red herring.
  3. Alice (Betty's Mom)
    The Coopers (so: Alice) make a public statement to clear the air about Polly's escape and her guilt, or lack thereof in the Jason Blossom murder. They put their own shame on blast and announce that Polly is pregnant with Jason's baby, because that is how you win a PR war against a wealthier opponent. Roxie Hart taught us that. Alas, they can't fully hide their quasi-WASP-iness, and tell Betty they plan to put Polly's baby up for adoption. Alice, just lie to Betty and she'll be on your side. This isn't rocket science.
  4. Veronica
    In a full-blown feud with her mom over those forged business documents (but honestly, what's a little forgery between family?), Veronica turns to retail therapy this week, earning plenty of eye-rolls in describing her methods of friend collection. See, she usually just rustles up "my fave celebrity gal pal, my best gay, and some dimwitted, sexy, disposable arm candy." There are like six objectionable phrases in that quote ("my best gay" should earn her an overnight stint in bad-ally jail), but it's even funnier that the trio she chooses to fill those roles in Riverdale are Josie, Kevin, and Reggie. Has she ever spoken to Reggie? Doesn't Kevin dislike her? Josie counts as a celebrity?

    Anyway, these acts of spoiled-little-rich-girl rebellion manage to work on Hermione enough that the two of them sit down and work out their ish, which is nice, I suppose. Can't we focus Veronica's ample energy on solving this murder case, though?

  5. Archie
    Archie's reaction to finding out that Jughead and Betty might have something going on is inscrutable at best, though I'm just happy not to have the story drawn out to oblivion that I'm eager to forgive Archie's blah-ness. He does seem more invested in digging into the beef between FP and his dad, and good for him for standing by Jughead above all.
  6. Hermione (Veronica's mom)
    She manages to stare down her rebellious daughter with minimal capitulation, but she's probably got bigger fish to fry, since now she has to juggle FP Jones and Fred Andrews in the same workplace, all while pretending to Fred that she doesn't know anything about FP or the money she owes the Serpents. Points, however, for offering Polly a place to stay, even if it'll probably earn her a hollering from both the Coopers and the Blossoms.
  7. Jughead
    Poor Juggie, grappling with guilt about what Archie will think of him kissing Betty, feelings of inferiority re: his fuckup dad, living in a janitor's closet in the high school. I'll say this, though: Jughead got a body on him.

    The CW

    The CW

    The weirdest development this week sees Jughead hauled in by Sheriff Keller, who says that Jughead's prints are on the burnt getaway car (yes, duh) and that Juggie has a juvie history for starting fires. That's all he's got? Well, that and a loose motive about how jocks at school bullied Juggie, and Jason was a jock at school. Sherriff Keller might be the only character of less use at the moment than Kevin Keller. BE MORE INTERESTING, KELLERS.

  8. Betty
    Tough to tell where Betty stands on the Jughead issue. She kisses him again, though this time it seems to be more in gratitude than anything else. But the way she looks at Veronica when she tells her about the first kiss feels somewhat swoony. Stay tuned. Also, Betty is a terrible liar, which Cheryl rightly calls out. Something to keep in mind for future purposes.
  9. Cheryl
    Cheryl's moods continue to swing wildly from scene to scene. At first, she's so convinced that Polly is her brother's killer that she's sending out threatening social-media posts (hashtag sharpen your pitchforks!). Then, once it's revealed that Polly is pregnant with Jason's baby, Cheryl has seemingly undergone a hashtag trademark change of heart. That baby is her niece or nephew, and she's here to protect it (and presumably the vessel that carries it). And she even manages to put her money where her crimson-lipped mouth is at by tipping off Polly to her parents' ill intentions....
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