Riverdale meets Ocean's Eleven? The movie influences were aplenty during Riverdale Season 3 Episode 5.
A week after the cast got their John Hughes vibe on, the tone took a calculated trip to heist movie territory. A master plan was in place to save Archie from his impending doom at the hands of Warden Norton. And everyone needed to be involved in completing the mission.
Disguises, explosives, and twists, Betty and Veronica's plan was a work of art. "Chapter Forty: The Great Escape" kept the momentum going with an excellently well-rounded and developed story.
Regardless of Archie's earlier failed attempt at escaping juvie, I think his days were already numbered.
Warden Norton had the Gryphons and Gargoyles card on-hand that propelled him to seal Archie's fate. Before the final meal, he groomed Archie for his potential death in the ring. The attempt only justified the reason for getting Archie out sooner.
At least before the capture, Archie rectified his mistakes in the riot.
He made the right call in stopping Joaquin and the other fighters from escaping. The guards had caught on to their goal, and things would've only gotten worse for them if they kept pursuing. Plus, the rubber bullets knocked them down already; it was better for them to deal with that than further punishment.
With all things considered, Warden Norton took the attempt with civility and grace. I think deep down he liked and respected Archie.
He didn't have to do the elaborate final meal, but he did it anyway to honor Archie's life. In his sick, sadistic way, he was impressed by Archie Andrews. (During one of our past Riverdale round tables, we hypothesized a few reasons for his fascination.)
Archie: This is ... quite the spread, warden.
[Archie picks up his utensils]
Archie: All this after I tried to escape, how it makes me think that you’re not rewarding me. You’re getting rid of me.
Warden: I’m afraid so. Your final meal before your final fight. You have powerful enemies, Archie.
Archie: I appreciate you being honest with me, warden.
Thanks to Warden Norton's erratic behavior, two things became clear: (1) Hiram paid off Cassidy's friends, and that's how Archie got framed, and (2) the events of juvie were tied to Gryphons and Gargoyles.
Everything seems to be going back to this game! The warden, his guards, Joaquin ... they're all pawns in this gaming mystery.
Whoever is the Gargoyle King, he/she laid out a comprehensive plan. Archie was lucky that Mad Dog was his opponent, and that Joaquin only stabbed him at the side. If anything else had been changed (like being stabbed in the chest/stomach), he would be dead right now.
Archie and friends were extremely lucky that everything went their way for the plan to work.
I liked the complexity of Betty and Veronica's plan to free Archie. The move required multiple roles involved and many steps that were needed before and after his fight. His escape wasn't going to be a simple breakout.
Between Reggie acting as a rich playboy and Josie working as a server, the group had their bases covered. Plus, we can't deny the awesomeness of Veronica in her disguise! (The surprise of her blonde wig snatched all of our wigs.)
Though, there were a few questions that popped up about the execution.
Like, how did Kevin get a job with the delivery company? Did they pay off the drivers to let him enter?
Also, did Josie have to lie her way into being a server? I feel like that role would've required more caution and review by the security guards since she was working the fight.
It's the small details that keep me up at night.
Now, the big question will be whether or not the group can keep the secret.
After all the trouble they did getting Archie out of juvie, their success rests on the ability to keep the truth locked away. No one else knows about the bunker except for the 11 of them, so Archie's location is on their shoulders. However, the group was already afflicted going into the pact.
Jughead, Toni, Cheryl, Sweet Pea, and Fangs had played several rounds of Gryphons and Gargoyles. Based on Sweet Pea and Fang's attitudes, they're deep into the lore. Plus, Jughead is ready to search and go after the Gargoyle King.
In addition to them, Reggie, Kevin, and Josie are going to start playing the game too. They'll no doubt become obsessed followers like the others.
Since Archie's mark related to the game, and the Gargoyle King wanted to get rid of the "Red Paladin," the enemies will most likely continue their search for Archie. Someone is going to betray the group, but whom?
Hiram: Veronica, what do you think you’re doing here?
Veronica: I could ask you the same, Daddy. But I bet my answer is better than yours.
Hiram: Whatever scheme you’ve cooked up ends now.
Veronica: Sorry, Daddykins, this is gonna hurt you more than it’s gonna hurt me.
[Veronica stomps on his foot with her heel, the scene shifts to the bunker]
Jughead: Well played! You’ve impaled the dragon with your concealed weapon.
While the moment was only a quick retort, Veronica hurting her father was well worth the wait.
Of course, Hiram, and his Machiavellian bloodlust would be there the night that Archie was supposed to die. He is in a classification of evil pettiness that knows no bounds. Watching his daughter's boyfriend get murdered shouldn't be a joyful thrill for him.
He deserved her heel crushing his foot! (Though, he deserves a lot more for everything he did during Riverdale Season 2.)
Hiram's fascination with destroying Archie will be his downfall. Hermione's heated assessment of the war accurately pointed out where things will go wrong for the Lodges.
Both Veronica and Hiram were already at each other's throats over the fate of Archie Andrews. Their father/daughter relationship is essentially dead. However, the lengths at which they'll hurt each other by using Archie will be their undoing.
Veronica could get implicated in Archie's escape, and Hiram could get charged in framing Archie for murder. The Lodges will be torn apart with a hollow victory.
[Lowers sunglasses] I’d recognize those abs anywhere.Veronica
"Chapter Forty: The Great Escape" presented an interesting format to its plot structure where the events of the breakout mimicked the Gryphons and Gargoyles game told by Jughead.
I loved this inclusion because it heightened the importance of Jughead's speech regarding the mystery.
There are no coincidences on Riverdale. Everything was connected, and the fact that Jughead's random story for his game mission perfectly matched the real-life plot with Archie helped to reaffirm that theory. While it seemed like a plot device at first, we shouldn't overlook the connection.
Archie was the "Red Paladin," both in Jughead's game and in the game of life. Warden Norton and Joaquin were a part of a new cult. And, the escape attempt matched Jughead's story point for point.
You can't ignore the coincidences.
Betty's dismissal of his theory was an upsetting development because she brushed off several big revelations regarding the case. Let alone the fact that she didn't believe the information from the person she loved.
Big identifiers like the anagram of Riverdale, the two competing factions, and the other similarities to their town were big leads. However, she deemed them the ramblings from her obsessed boyfriend.
At some point, Betty and the others will need to put those pieces together to see the big picture.
Jughead: You’re not seeing the big picture. “Eldirvare,” the realm of Gryphons and Gargoyles, is an anagram for “Riverdale.” The whole game is an analog for Riverdale. The game only exists in Riverdale, that’s why we couldn’t find it on the web.
Betty: Okay, well, that’s a weird coincidence.
Jughead: It’s not a coincidence, it’s all connected. It’s all one big narrative that’s still being written and played.
Betty: Okay, you need to calm down, Jug. Who’s telling you this?
Jughead: The game.
Speaking of Jughead, he completely fell down the rabbit hole of Gryphons and Gargoyles. Creepy Jughead had evil, and a whole lot of obsession, in his eyes.
From the way he spoke to Betty about his new mission, you could tell that he fully immersed himself in the role of game master.
Something triggered his mind to work at a different wavelength to process all these clues. His theory, while brilliant, was also wrapped in terrifying words of wanting to "ascend." (R.I.P. Ben!)
The most terrifying Creepy Jughead moment was the arrow scene.
Jughead didn't even flinch when Cheryl shot the arrow at the apple on his head. The influence of Gryphons and Gargoyles clouded his judgment, and it gave him new self-enforced authority over the others. We could be witnessing the creation of a new reckless Jughead.
Though, from the way he bowed to the Gargoyle King (instead of fighting him/her), Jughead's loyalty might need to be brought into question too.
Last Thoughts From Sweetwater River:
Why didn't Betty just tell Reggie, Josie, and Kevin about the effects of the game? She sent them to investigate their parents without any warnings or clues. That was a tad reckless.
Marty Mantle is a terrible person. The nerve of him to hit his son because he asked about a board game. Hopefully, we never meet that man.
Veronica and Archie ("Varchie") had serious passion in their locker room reunion; however, let's hope they were safe. We don't need a pregnancy storyline on Riverdale.
Who else thought Joaquin was making the moves on Archie at first? His Godfather kiss of death threw me off at first before it made a lot of sense.
Kevin is totally going to try to save Joaquin from this evil Gargoyle King cult.
- Are you happy for Sierra and Tom's wedding? Their happy ending is long overdue, but they didn't need to lie to Kevin and Josie about how they met.
Now, over to you, Riverdale fans!
What did you think of "The Great Escape"?
Will Josie, Kevin, and Reggie fall under the spell of Gryphons and Gargoyles too? How long will the group be able to hide Archie? Did you like the comparison between the G&G match with the escape?
If you missed the latest episode of Riverdale, you can watch Riverdale online via TV Fanatic. Come back here and share your thoughts in the comments.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.