We continue our recap of the entire Riverdale series with episodes 5 and 6 of the third season, “The Great Escape” and “Manhunter”.
In this bi-weekly column (every Tuesday and Thursday), we will review the third season of Riverdale, two episodes at a time. 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.
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 5: “The Great Escape” Synopsis
Joaquin and Archie attempt to escape juvie, failing when Archie doubles back after getting over the fence to help Joaquin. He’s captured by Warden Norton, who brands him for leading the attempted escape and then makes him a huge meal before his ‘final fight’ (revealing in the process that Hiram paid Cassidy’s friends off to say Archie killed him and that he subscribes to a ‘higher power’). After being ‘judas kissed’ by Joaquin (who was promised to ascend by the Warden, a devotee of the Gargoyle King), Archie’s stabbed. Still, he fights a newly alive Mad Dog who gives him a running start.
Jughead, it turns out, has been playing Gryphons and Gargoyles with the other Serpents since at least the Hot Dog rescue mission. Betty tells him what she’s learned from her mother to try and convince him to stop, but Jughead insists that he’s playing for research so he can understand the Gargoyle King’s psychology. He cements his place as Game Master by having Cheryl shoot a can off his head William Tell style, even as Sweet Pea objects (he didn’t try the can thing). Despite his father giving him warnings too, he keeps playing and intertwines the adventure with Archie’s breakout.
Veronica gets help from Josie, Reggie, and Kevin to get Archie out, along with Elio – the son of some mobsters – who takes her to a fight of Archie’s so she can see him again (they have sex in the locker room). Along with Betty and Elio, they all work to get Archie out through distraction, smoke bombs, and various levels of destruction. The group swears secrecy on Archie’s whereabouts and separates with Betty taking the first watch over him after some talk about Norton’s place in the game.
Josie, Reggie, and Kevin learn about the Midnight Club. The latter and former talk to their parents about it and Sierra and Tom confirm that everything about them as people and a couple is true, while insisting that they didn’t play. They then reveal their engagement.
Norton kills himself as Jughead bows to the Gargoyle King in the forest.
— I apologize that the synopsis isn’t in exact order, but I had to fit in so much.
— Why does it feel like a good 75 percent of Archie and Veronica’s relationship is just sex?
— I’m so glad we get more of Josie and Kevin this episode. I don’t care about Reggie as much but still! It’s refreshing to get more content than just the Core Four.
— Joaquin stabbing Archie was a little bit of a surprise but I suppose it was understandable from his perspective, brainwashed by the game as he probably is along with most of the town.
— Josie, Kevin, you’re both smarter than this, you both know how bad that game is.
— Speaking of the game, I actually really enjoyed Jughead being a DM. I play D&D a lot myself (I’d go on and on about my characters but this isn’t the time or space for it) and while I still hate this entire plotline (because we don’t need a new Satanic Panic) I enjoyed Jughead finally putting his pretentiousness to good use by being a Dungeon Master!
— Never knew Reggie was a metalhead!
— Monica Posh returns with a new last name!
— Elio’s probably not coming back that often.
— I will commend the show for this: Archie didn’t immediately get out of prison! There were a couple episodes where he was in jail! Four, which is double the usual count! Good on Riverdale for trying dramatic tension! They failed at it but still!
— Good on FP for making some form of effort in being a good dad. Better than Alice.
— Did all of Reggie’s friends just skim over the fact that his dad hit him for asking about the game? Cause it looks like they just skimmed over that to talk about the Archie thing. I hope they come back to it.
— I called the thing about Warden Norton being a G&G devotee when he started talking about the higher power while eating with Archie. It was either that or he was a Farmie and they might be one and the same at this point.
— So did Joaquin learn about the game in San Junipero or did he learn about it in juvie?
— Mad Dog lives! Good for him! He’s probably dead after this but good on him for still being alive!
— Congrats for Sierra and Tom! I always rooted for those kooky kids.
— Riverdale Parents Ranking: Fred, Tom & Sierra, FP, Hermione, Reggie’s dad, Hiram
Episode 6: “Manhunter” Synopsis
Reinforced by the branding in Archie’s side and by Kevin confirming that Joaquin said he was going to join a new gang, Betty and Jughead try to figure out if the Warden was the Gargoyle King. Betty’s confronted by her mother, who denies knowledge about the Warden as she denies knowledge about the breakout. After the Sheriff questions her and all the others, Josie goes into a seizure. She and Jughead try to discover the truth about the whole affair after finding that Norton lead the RROTC at Riverdale High, sending Sweet Pea and Fangs to find Joaquin while Betty makes all of the Midnight Club come to La Bonne Nuit for an intervention/confrontation.
Penelope reveals that Daryl Dilton poisoned the chalices and that they were both game masters. He loved her and wanted to ascend with her but she refused. He later committed suicide after she rejected him a second time when they were older. Betty doesn’t believe her and badgers her for the truth, finding none. She comes back to find Jughead handcuffed to the fridge by his father, releases him and they separate.
Jughead finds Sweet Pea and Fangs with the captured Joaquin, who had a gargoyle mask on his person. Manipulated by the warden and dragged along by his own fear, Joaquin confirms in his own way that he saw Hiram meet with the Warden once. After failing to confront Hiram, he returns to find that Joaquin has been killed – poisoned and marked with the same symbol that was burned into Archie’s skin meaning ‘sacrifice’.
Archie, meanwhile, gets an infection in both his brand and stab wound and is treated by Dr. Curdle Jr after Kevin takes him to the doctor and pays him. They try to find the three manipulated boys from Shadow Lake, only to find that the Sheriff has killed all but one. Archie feels horribly guilty and decides to run away from home and escape Hiram. Kevin comforts Veronica when she gets a call from Archie announcing that he’s leaving town and breaking up with her. Burdened and devoted to his friend, Jughead comes with him.
Fed up with her daughter, Alice has Betty committed to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy – where she finds them all painting the Gargoyle King.
— I know all of these summaries are getting very long but don’t blame me, blame the fact that this show refuses to actually calm the hell down and I have to write everything down so it makes some modicum of sense.
— Rest in peace, Joaquin. May you find peace in the great servers of San Junipero.
— Kevin was such a good friend this episode, and I hope we get more of him and Josie (who I’m sure is okay) this season.
— Alice, you tried the Sisters of Quiet Mercy with Polly and she ended up resenting you until she joined the Farm. I know you’re brainwashed but in what universe do you think that would work at fixing anything? I want to see how Season 1 Alice would react to Season 3 Alice.
— Honestly, good for Archie that he’s leaving home. Get out of Riverdale, there is no good here because Hiram and bad writing are destroying all of it.
— So did Jughead just not question it when Betty didn’t answer his call? After everything that’s happened in this episode?
— When did the Gargoyle King get to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy?? How long has this game been going on!?
— I’m a hundred percent sure no one’s going to do anything about the fact that Reggie’s father hit him.
— If Riverdale is going to do anything big with Penelope this season, pardon me if I don’t give a damn. I refuse to support anything she does after the conversion therapy crap. Nathalie Bolt isa very good femme fatale though.
— Hiram Lodge is a supervillain, and not even a very good one.
— I’m like a hundred percent sure Dr. Curdle Sr is dead.
— Archie will be back in three episodes, I’m calling it now.
— Riverdale Parents Ranking: Fred, Tom, Sierra, Penelope, Hermione, FP, Alice, Marty, Hiram.
Top cursed lines from this episode:
“We’re endgame, Archie.” – Veronica (I took the deepest sigh through my nose at this line.)