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We conclude our recap of the Riverdale series with episodes 21 and 22 of the third season, “The Dark Secret of Harvest House” and “Survive the Night”.

In this bi-weekly column, we have been reviewing the third season of Riverdale, two episodes at a time. This time, we’re wrapping up with the last two episodes of the season. Catch up on everything you might have missed, including recaps for all of Season 1-3, using the links below — or just dive right into to our final recap below.

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

Season 3 Recaps:
Episodes 1 and 2: Labor Day and Fortune and Men’s Eyes
Episodes 3 and 4: As Above, So Below and The Midnight Club
Episodes 5 and 6: The Great Escape and Manhunter
Episodes 7 and 8: The Man in Black and Outbreak
Episodes 9 and 10: No Exit and The Stranger
Episodes 11 and 12: The Red Dahlia and Bizarrodale
Episodes 13 and 14: Requiem for a Welterweight and Fire Walk With Me
Episodes 15 and 16: American Dreams and Big Fun
Episodes 17 and 18: The Raid and Jawbreaker
Episodes 19 and 20: Fear the Reaper and Prom Night


Episode 21: “The Dark Secret of Harvest House” Synopsis

Archie and Veronica, with Mary’s help, decide to finally take Hiram down. Archie challenges Hiram to a boxing match and allows himself to get beaten to a bloody pulp by Hiram in order to distract him long enough to get arrested by FP and his boys. Hiram says he’s been betrayed by Veronica despite literally everything he’s done and Mary tells Archie that she’s proud of him.  He goes to the Pembrooke to talk to Veronica, only to find her in Reggie’s arms. He walks off defeated.

Jughead tries to uncover the identity of the Gargoyle King one last time, following a chain of leads starting with the jester that gave Betty the letter that led her to the King and the Black Hood and ending with Ricky who, with other children, tries to ascend after failing to protect “the Princess”: Ethel, who apparently hasn’t snapped out of her trance. After making sure the children are safe, Ethel fulfills a promise she made to Jughead and tells him who the Gargoyle King is: Jason Blossom, whose grave is empty.

Betty, now staying at the Farm, notices that Evelyn’s connected to a couple medical machines and starts looking into it. Amidst gaslighting from her family about a faux serial killer gene, Betty uncovers the fact that the Farm’s name is extremely literal: it’s an organ farm for Evelyn Evernever, taking kidneys from teenagers to keep her alive.

After revealing this information to Cheryl (who uses it to get Toni out while staying behind), she’s taken out by Fangs and Kevin and strapped to a chair to have a kidney removed.

Observations 

So the Farm is a literal name, and it means an organ farm. Of course Riverdale would do that.

— RIP to the kidneys of a solid 60 percent of the town at this point, I guess?

— Ethel’s existence in this show makes me happy. I know they’ll never write her well, but it’s always good to see her. And I still have the tiniest spark of hope that maybe she’ll be written decently once more someday.

— Good to see that they haven’t gone back to the ‘dead children well’ this season!

— Having “Daddy Lessons” over the fight felt weird. I don’t know why, but it just does.

— I sure hope Jughead likes girls without one of their kidneys, because oof!

— As soon as they said “serial killer gene”, I had an immediate headache — and that says a lot about this show.

— Hiram’s a lame villain by now. And I’m glad they’ve put him away so we can focus on this garbage game and this even more garbage cult, and be done with this season already.

— Please don’t make Mary say “Endgame”. She’s a grown adult with dignity. Just let her say that she thinks they look cute together and ask about what she wants to do after college like a normal parent.

— Unless this is the fabled crossover with Sabrina, there’s no way that Jason Blossom’s the Gargoyle King. It’s probably Chic dressed up like the King, because he’s a murderous psychopath just like Hal and he looks vaguely like Jason if it’s dark and you’re on drugs like Ethel probably was.

— The fight was kinda lame.

— I appreciate how many friends Mary has, and my heart’s set on Mary staying for the rest of the series and maybe her getting a girlfriend. I can dream. It’s the one thing this show hasn’t taken from me.

— Cheryl sacrificing herself for Toni’s sake is a big show of how much she’s evolved as a character, and I’m proud of her!

— That being said, Toni’s probably gonna die.

Riverdale Parents Ranking: Mary, FP, Alice, Hiram, Hal, Edgar.

Quotables

Top cursed lines from this episode:

“They discovered that you have the MAOA and the CDH13 genes which are commonly called the serial killer genes.” “They tested the rest of us for it, none of us have it, not even Dad.” – Alice & Polly (At least say that she gets it from her dad, you dumbasses. Then, on some level, this would make a tiny bit of sense.)


Episode 22 (Season Finale): “Survive the Night” Synopsis

Betty’s saved from having her kidneys taken from her by Penelope Blossom of all people, who invites her and the other three of the core four to a final showdown. It’s revealed that Penelope’s been the rein-holder of all things with the game, wanting revenge on the town that’s treated her with such brutality by slaughtering the children and destroying the Midnight Club’s lineage. She’s worked with Hal Cooper and Chic, revealed to be the true Gargoyle King, and offers the group a chance at survival: if they survive the night in Fox Forest, she’d let them live.

She has trials for them, all of which they survive.

  • Archie: fight a man in a bear costume. Who’s the man? We never know.
  • Veronica: there’s five chalices, one of which is poisoned. All of her friends drink and Betty’s the one left with the final one, and Veronica takes it and drinks deeply to save Betty. Joke is: they’re all poisoned and the Core Four is doomed!
  • Jughead: defeat the Gargoyle King. He knocks Chic out.
  • Betty: kill the Black Hood to get the antidote. She shoots Hal’s hand and Archie grabs the antidote. Penelope’s enraged, shoots Hal point blank, and chases the kids through the woods with her goons until Cheryl and the Serpents take the goons out and she escapes without a hitch.

After escaping the goons, everyone goes to the Farm to try and save the Farmies. They find no one there but Kevin, who mournfully explains that they “left without me”.

After that comes a period of recovery, and I’ll go character by character for this.

Jughead has the Serpents help to fix Pop’s and repair the town. He and Betty try to find Alice and Polly, with assistance from the outside: Charles Smith, FBI agent and their long-lost brother.

Veronica takes ownership of Pop’s and La Bonne Nuit, but her mother’s arrested for conspiracy to commit murder: something planned by Hiram from prison.

Archie decides to make the gym into a community center and asks Mad Dog for his help.

Cheryl Blossom tries to convince Kevin and Fangs of the truth of the Farm, only to uncover her brother’s corpse having been dug up by the Farm. Alice, to everyone’s surprise, is the one to try and get them both out. She ends up staying behind and giving Juniper to Cheryl to take back to her grandmother. Cheryl reunites with Toni, who was saved by Nana Rose from Penelope drugging her, and the Serpents and Pretty Poisons proceed to shoot out Penelope’s goon squad and save the Core Four from a sure death. The season ends for her with her living with Toni and her grandmother – and Jason’s dead body, Psycho style.

The Core Four meet up at Pop’s and decide to make sure they’ll have a peaceful, normal senior year of friendship and clink glasses, only for it to launch us forward into a gruesome future: Archie, Betty, and Veronica standing around a bonfire and preparing to burn all of their clothes and Jughead’s beanie, soaked in blood and swearing to not talk about what they’ve done. Jughead’s nowhere to be found.

Observations 

— I have a thousand questions and I can’t list them all.

— Penelope Blossom is one of this show’s greatest tragedies. I would have loved her if she wasn’t a homophobic asshole.

–Hal doesn’t deserve to rest in peace and Chic probably just got knocked out, so I’m not saying RIP to either of them. As for the Farmies, odds are that none of them are dead because we don’t see any bodies.

–I expected Jonestown and got Heaven’s Gate without the corpses. I should have expected it with the Veronica quote from a couple episodes back, but I’m still disappointed. Also, good on Kevin for not “dying”.

Can we please be done with Hiram, goodness gracious. Ten bucks says he had another kid with his Mistress and Veronica has a secret sibling, and that’s what he kept from Hermione.

— Alice Cooper being an FBI agent makes exactly zero sense. Also, it doesn’t explain Polly’s deal! Was Polly an agent too? Was she actually into all of this? The hell, Riverdale?

— Penelope’s probably run away to Canada, but the question is: where’s baby Dagwood?

— I personally preferred the original title of this episode, “Apocalypto”. It might have not fit as well, but it was catchier!

What in the name of all that’s good was that scene with Cheryl at the end? Fun fact, there’s an adorable deleted scene where it’s just Cheryl spending time with her niece Juniper! We could have had Cheryl on the road to recovery, getting close to her family and getting better! Instead, she’s hanging out with her brother’s corpse (which the fact that it’s been at least a year since he was buried and he’s still almost perfectly preserved  is a whole thing in and of itself)!

— I do not give a solitary damn about Varchie. They’re boring and seem together mostly because of their shared experiences and lust and that’s it.

— The fact that Betty and Jughead’s shared brother is alive and well makes their relationship weird. I would say I’m sorry but I’m not. They share a sibling, and that makes their whole dynamic a little creepy.

— I loved the Choni stuff, they’re adorable.

— As much as the affirmation of Veronica’s friendship with Betty was adorable, it rings hollow. The two have barely spent a solid forty-five minutes on screen doing friendship stuff this entire season. I wish it didn’t seem so blank, but it does and it makes me sad.

— Archie was decent this episode. I like that he now has a running gag involving fighting bears, and I genuinely think he could do some great things with Mad Dog. It won’t last, probably, but I can hope.

— Jughead’s not dead, but he did probably kill someone in that flash forward.

FINAL Riverdale Parents Ranking: Fred (the eternal top parent), Mary, Sierra, Tom, FP, Myles, Hermione, Alice, Penelope, Hiram, Hal, Edgar. I’m not ranking the rest of the original Midnight Club because they barely did anything this season besides hang around with the core parents.

Quotables

Top cursed lines from this episode:

“Can we explore the craziness that is Oedipus Riverdale after we get the antidote and out of these damn woods?” – Veronica


FINAL THOUGHTS

With that, folks, we come to the mouth of the Sweetwater River and the end of our journey. There will be no Revue for Season 4. Riverdale is a joyfully stupid show, drama for drama’s sake. And attempting to make narrative sense of it takes all of the enjoyment out of it. Does it deserve to be criticized? Absolutely. But there’s a point where you need to let go, and I’ve reached it.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this series. I’ll still be watching Riverdale and maybe I’ll review the soundtrack for the next musical episode (I’ll be returning back to music reviewing), but my days with the Revue are done.

Thank you all for reading and following me on this manic journey. I’ll see you with my next album review soon.

Bonne nuit et bonne chance.

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