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We continue our recap of the entire Riverdale series with episodes 7 and 8 of the third season, “The Man In Black” and “Outbreak”.

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

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


Episode 7: “The Man In Black” Synopsis

JUGHEAD AND ARCHIE: After fleeing up into the forests to escape Hiram Lodge, Archie and Jughead end up on a farm. One minor gunpoint scare later, Laurie Lake and her sister Gracie allow them to stay there while their father and brother are down river. Archie helps around the farm while Jughead tries to understand what’s going on around them while still doing research on G&G – which has made its way up to there too. As he learns that the town they were in was essentially destroyed by Jingle Jangle and Fizzle Rocks (candy mixed with drugs), Archie ends up kissing Laurie in the barn. Jughead finally talks to some girls and learns that everyone in town works for ‘The Man in Black’: Hiram Lodge. After freeing Archie, who was trapped by Laurie Lake, he and Jughead run away before Hiram can catch up to them. They make a new plan: go to Toledo and meet with Jughead’s mom.

VERONICA: Fed up with her family, Veronica moves out of the Pembrooke and into La Bonne Nuit  – which is faltering along with Pops. She meets up with Elio who agrees to have a one-night-only casino set up, and bring some of his gambler friends, for ten percent of the profits. Ignoring her father’s warnings and banishing him from her shop, the casino night kicks off with Elio fleecing the place for all its worth and Veronica finally challenging him to a game of blackjack – with the deed for Pops’s hanging in the balance, winner take all. She wins, but it turns out that she actually took her father’s advice by hiring a dealer friend of his. Pops is reasonably upset by the fact that she’s bringing illegal gambling into his diner, but even more upset by the thought that Veronica doesn’t see her father as that bad since Sheriff Minetta might have turned up dead.

BETTY: After undergoing an ink blot test, Sister Woodhouse gives Betty Fizzle Rocks for ‘good behavior’. Betty throws them away before seeing her new roommate, Ethel Muggs. Ethel promises to keep the facts about Fizzle Rocks a secret after showing Betty her vision board, affirming that she’s the queen bee at the school, and making Betty promise to do better. Betty witnesses Hiram and Sister Woodhouse making a deal, and finds a chamber with a glowing cross above it: the chamber of the Gargoyle King. After fighting with Ethel and faking a seizure  to get into the infirmary, she discovers that the  Bullio Lapis she’s been dosed with is Fizzle Rocks and that Hiram is using the girls as guinea pigs. A failed escape attempt later, she’s captured, drugged, and tortured in the Gargoyle King’s chamber until she’s subdued.

Observations 

— Bless this show for having an episode that’s neatly divided up into segments so it’s easy to follow. Most of the reason why the synopses for this season have been so long recently is because I have to sort out everything that’s going on and make it make sense. Episodes like this and ‘Tales from the Darkside’ help me keep my head on straight.

— Archie continues to have the brain of a squirrel.

— So, Hiram’s just a supervillain now isn’t he? He owns everything from here to New Guinea, he’s testing drugs on teenagers, he’s manipulating his child like a puppet. Why hasn’t this show given him a fluffy white cat to pet?

— The Gargoyle King looks like a slightly more dirty version of the deer costume  Terry Bradshaw wore on the Masked Singer. This isn’t scary, it’s just intensely stupid.

— I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t care about the nuns. We had enough of them during season 2 when Cheryl went through conversion therapy. We don’t need cultist nuns, we can get that from American Horror Story with much better results.

— Kudos to Shannon Purser for how well she’s portraying Ethel as an absolute asshole, but I suspect that Ethel’s still just as drugged up on the Gargoyle King’s influence as she ever was.

— Do y’all remember that Every Villain is Lemons association of evil that came up late last season? Is this when it comes back?

— I don’t really have many comments on the Veronica portion of this episode, she looked lovely and it was fine.

— Most of my comments on that front are me just wondering how she’s able to run a speakeasy and casino legally since she’s only sixteen. But clearly the law matters just about as much as mental health does in this series so who cares anymore?

Riverdale Parents Ranking: The only parents that showed up were the Lodges so the ranking doesn’t work this time.

Quotables

Top cursed lines from this episode:

The phrase ‘Ethelhead’. Riverdale, I’ve already accepted that you don’t like Ethel that much but can you please leave her be.


Episode 8 (Mid-Season Finale): “Outbreak” Synopsis

The entire Riverdale High cheerleading squad, on the edge of having another pep rally, has a mass seizure that includes Toni and Veronica, but not Cheryl. Over tea in Thistlehouse, Cheryl asks Toni to move in with her and she agrees despite them only having dated for like six months.

Meanwhile, Hiram and Hermione make plans to send Veronica back to New York – which she refuses to abide by. She goes back to the diner and finds the RROTC boys (Reggie, Moose, Kevin) giggling over Fizzle Rocks that Hiram brought into town and makes a promise to stop her family. Through Reggie, she discovers that the drug lab she found has been moved to the prison Hiram’s making and that he’s trying to destabilize the northside of Riverdale just as he did the South. She and Cheryl try to stop the closing of Riverdale High, only to be cut off by Hiram spilling lies and her own seizure.

Jughead reunites with his mother and sister in Toledo, rejoicing in seeing Jellybean while attempting to re-establish a relationship with his mother Gladys. Archie’s instantly liked by Jughead’s family (Gladys even thinking that Jug and Archie are a couple) but is jumped by Penny Peabody who followed them there for the bounty on Archie’s head. After being knocked out by Jellybean and interrogated about everything, Penny is beaten up by Gladys. Archie decides to flee to Canada instead of staying in Toledo while Jughead goes back to Riverdale to help his friends (FP awkwardly showing up to take him home).

After getting one last hug from his father and ownership over Vegas the dog, Archie begins the trek into Canada.

Alice visits Betty at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, telling her how happy she was that Betty wasn’t there for the seizure incident. Back to her senses and as soon as her mother is gone, Betty locks Ethel in the Gargoyle King’s chamber to force a detox so she’ll see just how manipulated and high she’s been. It works, Ethel’s reformed to the side of good once she understands how badly she’s been pulled around, and the two decide to work together to stop more deaths. They question Sister Woodhouse and use G&G to their advantage, making Betty into the Gryphon Queen and managing to coax out all of the fellow inmates at the Sisters into fleeing with them to the Cooper home.

Veronica, the RROTC kids, and Cheryl rush to the mayor’s offices to stop Hermione from doing anything else after learning what Hiram wants to do. But they’re too late: the episode ends with Riverdale under complete quarantine and Hiram in charge of everything, raising a glass to the Gargoyle King.

Observations 

— I need you all to understand the amount of frustrations I go through trying to figure out what’s going on in this show. I’m a hundred percent sure by now that one of two things are happening: every single writer on this show is taking this completely seriously and they’ve all dived headlong into crazytown, or this is all just one big melodramatic joke. At this point, either is possible.

— That being said: what the hell was this episode???

— I wasn’t even able to mention the fact that they got the information about the endgame from torturing Penelope Blossom by waterboarding her with maple syrup. This all sounds fake! But it’s not! It’s all real!

— Every time Hiram talks to Veronica, it seems more and more like he wants to have sex with her. It makes my skin crawl, and I suppose that helps solidify him as a villain, but still!

— Why is Cheryl exempt from having a seizure? She and Toni have been playing the game and Veronica hasn’t! Also, I can understand why Cheryl wants Toni to move in – Toni’s not in a very good place right now and Cheryl wants to help, but they really shouldn’t be moving in together this early.

— We finally got to see the mythical, Pink Floyd-loving Jellybean Jones! She’s a good egg, I like her.

— Yay for a reformed Ethel Muggs! I feel like they’re not going to do anything with her now, but still!

— We also finally met Jughead’s mother which means we have another parent to wrangle into the Riverdale Parents Ranking! Welcome to the ranks Gladys, you’re already doing better than most of the parents in town.

— Fred is, has been, and forever will be the best parent of this whole show. We love Fred Andrews in this household.

— Seeing Jughead and Archie bond this episode made me like Jughead a little more. It’s good to see him not acting all broody for once.

— So, before we wrap up this portion of the Sweetwater Revue, I’m going to try and establish where we are at this point: Hiram is in control of all of Rockland County, Betty and Ethel are now the adoptive moms to a huge amount of brainwashed teens, Archie’s going to Canada to escape prison, Jughead and FP are trapped outside town, and the rest of the squad is trapped inside with Hiram Lodge the sociopath.

Riverdale Parents Ranking: Fred, Gladys, FP, Alice, Penelope, The Lodges.

Quotables

Top cursed lines from this episode:

“I’m cuckoo bananas for you, Humphy.” – Cheryl

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