We continue our recap of the Riverdale series with the first two episodes of the third season, “Labor Day” and “Fortune and Men’s Eyes”.
After a brief hiatus, we are continuing our weekly recap of the entire Riverdale series. After starting with the first episode of Season 1, we’re now into the third season. This is a bi-weekly column (every Tuesday and Thursday), with two episodes reviewed each time, until we begin the fourth season later this year. Catch up on everything you might have missed, including recaps for all of Season 1 and 2, using the links below — or just dive right into to our most recent recap below.
Note: This recap was written before the tragic passing of Luke Perry, who played Fred Andrews (Archie’s dad) on the show. You can click here to read my personal tribute to him. He will be deeply missed.
Season 1 Recaps:
Episode 1: The River’s Edge
Episodes 2 and 3: Touch of Evil and Body Double
Episodes 4 and 5: The Last Picture Show and Heart of Darkness
Episodes 6 and 7: Faster Pussycats! Kill! Kill! and In a Lonely Place
Episodes 8 and 9: The Outsiders and La Grande Illusion
Episodes 10 and 11: The Lost Weekend and To Riverdale and Back Again
Episodes 12 and 13: Anatomy of a Murder and The Sweet Hereafter
Season 2 Recaps:
Episodes 1 and 2: A Kiss Before Dying and Nighthawks
Episodes 3 and 4: The Watcher in the Woods and The Town That Dreaded Sundown
Episodes 5 and 6: When a Stranger Calls and Death Proof
Episodes 7 and 8: Tales From the Darkside and House of the Devil
Episodes 9 and 10: Silent Night, Deadly Night and The Blackboard Jungle
Episodes 11 and 12: The Wrestler and The Wicked and the Divine
Episodes 13 and 14: The Tell-Tale Heart and The Hills Have Eyes
Episodes 15 and 16: There Will Be Blood and Primary Colors
Episodes 17 and 18: The Noose Tightens and A Night to Remember
Episodes 19 and 20: Prisoners and Shadow of a Doubt
Episodes 21 and 22: Judgement Night and Brave New World
Episode 1 (Season Premiere): “Labor Day” Synopsis
After a three month time skip, Archie Andrews is up for sentencing in the case of the murder of a young boy at Shadow Lake — something he was framed for by Hiram Lodge. His mother, Mary, and Mayor McCoy have been working to try and get him free with Betty working as an intern for them. After the jury breaks for deliberation, the judge gives Archie the Labor Day weekend to spend with his loved ones. He proceeds to fix a car with his father, get a Serpent tattoo (having become an honorary Serpent), affirm his love for his friends and family while having a swim with the latter, and make plans with Veronica to stay together. The jury is deadlocked and instead of going through a new trial, Archie takes a deal: affirm his guiltiness and spend two years in the Leopold and Loeb Juvenile Detention Center.
Jughead tries to save the Serpents’ dog, Hot Dog, from the Ghoulies alongside Sweet Pea, Fangs, Cheryl, and Toni. The group is ambushed on Ghoulie territory, and Jughead almost gives up his Serpent jacket when Malachai (the Ghoulie leader) is shot with an arrow in the shoulder by Cheryl. After a stand-off, the Serpents are allowed to leave but Penny affirms that this isn’t over and that the Northside is now fair game. He also talks to Dilton Doiley and his new friend Ben, who have a new game they’re playing called Gargoyles & Griffons. They believe in a being called the Gargoyle King and Jughead finds them performing a ritual to summon him – one that’s gone horribly wrong because Dilton is having a seizure and is completely unresponsive.
Veronica tries to save Archie from going to prison, and her father refuses to help. Her mother tries to convince her to go along with things for her own sake.
Betty has, at first glance, been going to therapy with Dr. Glass, while her mother and sister fall into the arms of the Farm, a church. It’s soon revealed that there is no Dr. Glass and that Betty’s been using fake prescriptions to get Adderall. She affirms her love for Jughead, then finds her mother and sister in the backyard with the Farm. Her infant niece and nephew are held over flames, dropped – but they do not fall in. They float and Betty goes into a seizure.
— Welcome back to Season 3 of the Sweetwater Revue! I’m sure you’re just as excited as I am.
— This show makes me so genuinely angry in regards to mental health. The one time therapy for these teenagers is brought up as a concept, it turns out it’s using an alias to try and get more Adderall. I just want this show to take mental health seriously one time.
— Is this show really going into Satanic Panic territory? Are we really doing the whole ‘D&D is evil and involves a devil-like creature and the gamemaster is controlling people’ schtick? Didn’t we get enough of this in the 80s?
— How were the babies floating? Is this the season where we cross over with Sabrina the Teenage Witch? Is the Farm magic? What kind of name is Edgar Evernever?
— Archie’s going to be in juvie for two episodes, four at most. He’ll either be legally let out or just plain broken out by his friends. I would say that I hope he gets therapy while in juvie, but this episode took out my hopes for any good focus on taking care of your mental health.
— Also, the Leopold and Loeb Juvie? You’re not slick, Roberto. I see your true crime references and your references to your own play. Seriously though, I want a book for the Archie’s Weird Fantasy. He runs a huge amount of the Archie Comics company, so he could probably get it done. If Dog Sees God can go through, so can this.
— I couldn’t give less of a crap about the Ghoulies and Penny Peabody thing. Penny’s getting more annoying than scary at this point. That being said, good on Cheryl for the arrow thing! She’s a lovely shot. Also, I still prefer the Ghoulies aesthetically.
— Mary and Fred are two of the only good parents in this entire show, and I love them both so much. I hope Molly Ringwald comes back more this season.
— So I did a little bit of research and it turns out that, while legally it’s allowed for mothers to represent their sons in court, it’s not advised because the jury might think the lawyer’s being swayed by motherly love. Maybe that’s part of why they were deadlocked?
— I love Cheryl and Toni as a couple. There’s going to be a comic of their adventures on the road, and I can’t wait to read it!
— I also love seeing Hot Dog. Little guy’s a treasure.
— Riverdale Parents Ranking: Fred, Mary, Sierra, FP, the Lodges, Alice & Polly. (Polly more so than Alice: how brainwashed do you have to be to even think about dropping your infants into a fire?)
Top cursed lines from this episode:
“Of course, given the fact that Archie will most likely be walking the green mile while the rest of us are walking the stage at graduation, I understand if you’re not up for it.” – Cheryl, about her end of summer party. (Cheryl, why?)
Episode 2: “Fortune and Men’s Eyes” Synopsis
Archie enters prison and tries to make friends, but is beaten up by some Ghoulies who take his shoes. His cellmate, Mad Dog, tries to help him and insists that Archie should act like the ‘caged animal’ he now is. Instead, he encourages everyone to play football with him and offers up the new sneakers Veronica got him as a prize. Hiram proceeds to ruin that for him as a punishment for Veronica not obeying him by telling the Warden (a personal friend) to have the game broken up as a riot. Archie then fights some guards and ends up as the Warden’s new focus: his new Mad Dog (since the original is apparently dead).
Veronica and Cheryl work together under the Innocence Project to try and get Archie out. In the meantime, Veronica tries to make Archie’s stay easier on him by getting him the aforementioned sneakers and having the Vixens perform ‘Jailhouse Rock’ in an attempt to cheer up the prisoners — only to watch Archie getting beaten. She begins disguising herself as ‘Monica Posh’ to get into the prison after being put on a ‘Do not Admit’ list.
Betty, recovering from the seizure she suffered, and Jughead start trying to look into the death of Dilton Doiley and find help from Mrs. Button, Ben’s mother. They find a twig doll created by Ethel on his floor and Ethel tells them that she and Ben had been dating . After being confronted by a strange creature when Ethel blows them off, the once mentioned Gargoyle King, they find a missing Adventure Scout in Dilton’s bunker (which he apparently had now) and he tells them that Ethel is ‘Princess Etheline’ in the game and that she isn’t dating Ben in real life – only in the game. After confronting her, Ethel doesn’t tell them anything new but instead shows her own fear before having a seizure like Betty’s – while Edgar Evernever’s daughter Evelyn watches on.
The parents of Riverdale gather and try to make sense of what’s going on, and are forced to go back to a night they all promised to never talk about again.
Ben kills himself.
— Rest in peace Mad Dog, we hardly knew ye. Rest in peace, Dilton, you were kind of a dick but you didn’t deserve to go out like that. Also rest in peace Ben, you were barely involved.
— The Innocence Project is a very real and very good organization, which is part of why I don’t understand why they’re advertising themselves on Riverdale of all shows.
— Hey, what the hell was that Jailhouse Rock thing. That made me extremely uncomfortable, even if all the prisoners are around the same age as the cheerleaders. These people are supposed to be sixteen-seventeen right? Did that not seem like a horrible idea to them in canon or to any of the writers in real life? Did that just seem normal?
— They’re really going for this Satanic Panic thing, aren’t they? Why? We already have enough with the Farm, Archie being in jail, the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, Hiram’s continued existence and everything else? Do we need this?
— Speaking of the Farm, I can believe that maybe it was a hallucination but I don’t even know anymore. This show is slowly breaking my brain.
— Why did Ethel have a seizure? For that matter, why did Betty have a seizure? I know the doctor said it was stress but doctors have no authority in the lawless, strange universe that is Riverdale.
— What is with the Coopers wanting to look at corpses in the morgue? What is with this family?
— Is there a Dr. Curdle Senior? Is he dead?
— I still love seeing Ethel doing anything in this show, but this is not a good look for her so far this season.
— Archie continues to have the brain cells of a potato. You’re in juvie, Arch, no one wants to play football with you. That being said, he didn’t deserve to get jumped by the Ghoulies. Maybe that was set up by Penny, who knows anymore?
— Monica Posh, Veronica’s alias, is another reference to Archie’s Weird Fantasy. I just really want to read the book for it someday because it sounds wild.
— Cheryl would be a fine class president and it’s very nice to see her trying to help Archie out. It probably won’t work but still! It’s the thought that counts!
— Riverdale Parents Ranking:I’m only counting the parents who did more than just show up at the end. So: Fred, FP, Alice, The Lodges.
Top cursed lines from this episode:
“That means you haven’t known the triumphs and defeats; the epic highs and lows of high school football.” – Archie. (This dude is explaining how he dropped out of school to sell drugs for his Nana, and you’re going on about high school football. Know your audience, Archibald.)