Monday, July 15, 2024

Riverdale And Whole Lot of Bad Decisions

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In “Chapter Forty-One: Manhunter”, Archie and Veronica follow some promising leads, Betty confronts the Midnight Club, and Jughead is doing… something.


After last week’s late-night encounter with the Gargoyle King (GK), Jughead runs back to the bunker to tell Betty. But before that, he followed GK to some secret meeting with his worshippers. Archie suggests that this may be the “new gang” Joaquin ran off to. They assume this strengthens their “Warden Norton = GK” theory, however, that goes down the drain quickly when on returning home, Betty finds out from her mother that Warden Norton has ended his life. Betty asks Alice if she knew Norton back in the Midnight Club days, but Alice denies it.

Later at the bunker, Varchie, after having sex on the same old mattress Bughead regularly uses for their needs as well (for the love of God, please tell me these children at least wash the damn sheets!!!) discuss what Warden Norton told Archie at their last supper – Hiram Lodge paid off the witnesses to testify and they’re probably hiding somewhere in the mines at Shadow Lake. Archie wants to go look for them, but Veronica insists she can find some evidence of coercion in Archie’s case files.

At school, Sheriff Minetta is looking for Archie’s escape accomplices. When he questions Josie of her whereabouts, she starts having a seizure. Betty notes that Evelyn Evernever is yet again present during it. After the incident, Betty and Jughead do some research at the library and find a connection between Warden Norton and their parents—the Warden was an RROTC instructor at the same time the Midnight Club was operating. Betty comes up with a plan to finally get the parents talking, while Jughead and the Serpents are gonna look for Joaquin.

At the bunker, Archie’s current babysitter, Kevin, notices his stab wound is getting worse. With some help from Betty, he gets Archie to our favorite creepy coroner, Dr. Curdle Jr. After getting all patched up, Archie has no intentions on returning to the bunker and instead asks Kevin to help him find the witnesses in hiding.

Meanwhile, the Midnight Club is gathered at Veronica’s speakeasy after receiving invitations from the Gargoyle King, who turns out to be just Betty (seriously, just how stupid these people are?). After confronted with all the facts, parents are finally starting to crack. Hermione says she thinks Penelope Blossom has poisoned the chalices that killed principal Featherhead, assuming Penelope grew…the cyanide…in her greenhouse (oh brother). In return, Penelope claims it was Daryl Doiley, who allegedly was in love with her and wanted them to ascend together, but was rejected. He tried again when they were already adults and married, but after another rejection, he killed himself in his garage.

While the rest of the parents seem satisfied with her answer, Betty is reluctant to accept it. Even if Daryl really did poison the chalices, that still doesn’t explain who’s GK in the present time. After Betty confirms she and Jug saw him in the woods, and Jughead is still playing the game, FP rushes home to deal with it, and the rest of the parents leave as well.

Back at the trailer, Jughead is on his way to meet the Serpents who finally found out Joaquin’s location. However, his plans are cut short by FP who came home just in time to cuff him to their fridge so the boy wouldn’t run away.

At the Lodge penthouse, Veronica is casually browsing through Archie’s case files, with little regard to any discreetness. She notices ten minutes have been cut from Sheriff Minetta’s interrogation of one of the witness boys. Hiram also notices she notices, so he makes a phone call to Minetta to deal with it.

Betty finds cuffed Jughead and sets him free so he can go find Joaquin, while she and Dr. Curdle Jr. check Daryl Doiley’s autopsy report. They find no mention of carbon monoxide in the file because as it turns out, Doiley was put in his car already dead. The real cause of his death? Oleander poisoning.

Meanwhile, now with Veronica’s blessing, Archie and Kevin continue their witness searching near the Shadow Lake, when they see Sheriff Minetta, presumably doing the same thing. At the same time, Ronnie has broken in into her mother’s office, having a suspicion Hiram might’ve hidden the incriminating missing footage of the interrogation on her computer. And lo and behold, she finds in no time… On the freaking desktop! Good hiding spot there, Hiram. She manages to send the video file to her email before getting arrested for breaking and entering.

Jughead and the Serpents finally caught Joaquin and demanded some answers. Joaquin says that being the Warden’s pawn was his way of surviving the juvie. He also mentions Warden Norton was someone’s pawn himself – following orders of some game cards he received. When pressed about telling who was giving Norton orders, Joaquin says it was someone Jughead knows. A man in a black suit. Since Hiram Lodge, apparently, is the only person in Riverdale to actually own a nice black suit, naturally, Jug goes to confront him about being the Gargoyle King. By himself.

Jughead: *spews dramatic nonsense*; Hiram:

Their chat is interrupted by a call from the Sheriff’s department where Veronica is being held. Hiram gets there and naturally, Veronica immediately shows her cards to daddikins. When finally given her call, she contacts Fred Andrews and tells him about her findings and Archie’s plan to find the witnesses. She also asks him to contact Attorney McCoy.

Betty sits down with Tom Keller to question him about Daryl Doiley case since he was the sheriff at the time. When Betty accuses him of a coverup, Keller insists he was just protecting the Midnight Club. He also hints Penelope might be the real killer since she’s growing oleander in her greenhouse. Their conversation is cut short by the call from Fred Andrews.

At the mines, covered in G&G symbols drawings, Archie and Kevin finally find what they were looking for – missing witnesses. Unfortunately, Sheriff Minetta got to them first, since all three boys are shot. One of them is still breathing though, so Archie and Kevin get him to the hospital. The boy, sadly, doesn’t make it, and Archie feels like it’s pretty clear Hiram won’t stop going after him, no matter what it takes.

At the Serpents’ camp, Jughead and his crew find Joaquin’s dead body, with the same “sacrifice” symbol Warden Norton branded Archie with. They don’t know who did this, but Jug is sure Archie is their next target.

Betty gets together with Penelope to ask her about Daryl Doiley’s poisoning. Penelope claims it wasn’t her cause she’d never use oleander because it leaves traces (and Penelope ain’t no amateur bitch). Instead, she points finger at Alice, who at the time, wrote a whole article covering Doiley’s “suicide”.

Betty goes home to yet again confront her mother, but they get interrupted by the nightmare-like visit from the Gargoyle King himself. The terror suddenly ends when out of nowhere, FP arrives through the window. After he leaves, Alice says it’s no longer safe at their house, so she’s going to stay at the farm. When Betty naturally refuses to join her, Alice admits she was anticipating it so they come up with another solution – sent Betty to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy.

After receiving a call about a shot boy at the hospital, Fred Andrews and Tom Keller get there and find Kevin, but no Archie. Kevin says he ran away and gives Fred a not he left for him.

Meanwhile, Attorney McCoy gets Veronica out of jail and finds out about the evidence Ronnie found. I guess they work it out pretty quickly because later that day Veronica already is throwing the “welcome back” party for Archie. However, Archie calls to rain on her parade and tell her he’s not coming. Even with Minetta behind the bars, Hiram is still out there and he’s not planning on getting Archie off the hook. So Archie decides to leave Riverdale. He also tells Ronnie she shouldn’t be worried, cause he’s not doing it alone. As the camera pans out, we see Jughead is also there, with his bag ready.


As the title says, this episode is full of bad decisions all around. From Hiram keeping crucial evidence on a fucking desktop of his wive’s PC, to Veronica not being able to keep her mouth shut around her father, to Archie… Well, bad decisions seem to be his brand at this point.

One of the most upsetting things this episode was Alice’s decision to institutionalize Betty. What an insult! After everything this family’s women have been through, after what they know about that awful, awful place, the fact Alice still goes through with it? Unbelievable.

The juvie plot went away as quickly and contrived as I predicted it would. Don’t even wanna waste any more time talking about it. Ok, I say one(!) kinda related thing – KJ Apa’s crying acting? Is not it.

On a positive note, the “Scream” homage was really cool. But should we take it as a foreshadowing of FP’s role this season? Or was it done just to throw us off?

If you thought this episode made some questionable choices then boy, oh boy, you better buckle up for the next one!

Images courtesy of CW

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