The battle for supremacy spread throughout the town of Riverdale.
Whether it was Archie vs. Randy, Betty vs. Evelyn or Toni vs. Evelyn, everyone picked a fight on Riverdale Season 3 Episode 18. The emotions and threats were strong this time around. It's surprising that the only fists flung were INSIDE the boxing ring.
With everyone trying to win the war, the conflicts became more intense than ever. Especially when a familiar enemy returned to raise the stakes in the chaos.
Betty's struggle to save Alice from the clutches of The Farm has been a heartbreaking ride. Every time she got a little bit closer to reaching her mother's heart/mind, the mist of Edgar Evernever held on too strong.
"Chapter Fifty-Three: Jawbreaker" was the turning point in her character's progression toward making a tough adult decision: she had to let her mother go once and for all.
After all the debates, the fires, and the kidnapping, Betty had no other options left; Alice wouldn't crack. She couldn't keep her mother prisoner forever and fall deeper into this toxic mess. It's a shame that all her hard work and pleas amounted to nothing.
Lili Reinhart and Madchen Amick were positively magic in their scenes together.
Both actresses exuded the complex emotions of struggling daughter and brainwashed cult member. But, it was them showcasing the emotional toll that this problem had taken on the characters that truly made them shine. You could feel their exhaustion and heartache.
Their complex journey over Riverdale's three seasons brought them to this moment. Betty couldn't hold onto her mother forever.
No one can ever say that Betty didn't try to save Alice. Her partnership with Hal and Toni produced some good (and expensive) ideas that, in theory, might have worked.
Faking Charles' gravestone had the right intent in mind, but Alice was never going to deny what she saw in front of her face. To her, Charles was there in flesh and blood hugging her. Which Riverdale will absolutely need to explain how this discovery worked for Alice and Cheryl.
On the plus side, now Betty has a tombstone to mourn her dead brother. (Yay, I guess?)
Betty: The past is part of who you are. You’re Alice Cooper! You bought a house on Elm Street. You painted our door red.
Alice: I lived with a murderer in that house!
Betty: You raised me and Polly in it too! Bad things happen, but you can’t get rid of your past because then you’d lose the good parts too.
Alice: There’s been so much pain.
Betty: I know, I know. But, that’s what makes us stronger. Edgar doesn’t see that.
Kidnapping Alice and keeping her trapped in the bunker probably pushed the situation too far. However, I understand where Betty's mindset went with her line of thinking.
If she took Alice away from the toxic spell of The Farm, her mind would clear up and see reason. That type of plot has been done to death with other cult-related storylines, like on Veronica Mars and The Simpsons.
But, Alice was too far gone for this to work. And, she savagely burned all the photos from her photo album as revenge, which I think will be her biggest regret coming out of the cult storyline.
She will never get back those treasured memories.
The best of Riverdale Season 3 Episode 18 came in the form of Betty's confrontation with Evelyn. Betty snapped ... and I was here for every second of it.
Just like her letting go of Alice, she let go of any civility in approaching the situation. If given the chance, she would've let Dark Betty out for an hour of unrestrained fun. And her ending it by taunting Evelyn to ask around for Betty's reputation was priceless.
Evelyn: We have copies of those tapes, Betty. And copies of those copies.
[Betty walks to Evelyn and presses her to a locker]
Betty: Let me make something very clear. You and your dad may have brainwashed my mom, but I see right through your enlightened Farm-y c***. So, stop messing with me, stop messing with my family, and stop messing with my friends. Better yet, don’t even think about coming near me and my mom ever again.
[Evelyn tries to break free, but Betty pushes her back and presses her arm to Evelyn’s neck]
Betty: Because if you do, Evelyn, I will kill you. And if you don’t believe me, ask around. People will tell you what I’m capable of.
[Betty walks away, Evelyn looks scared]
Come to think of it, what kind of reputation does Betty have around Riverdale High?
Evelyn had pure fear splashed across her face. She'll definitely think twice about her next clapback to Betty in the future.
During Betty's chat with Edgar, did you catch his little slip-up about his "miracles"?
His reasoning about Alice needing The Farm made sense, but when he went into his justification for the reunions with dead loved ones, he revealed more than he intended. He essentially alluded to these loved ones being imaginary and visionary than actually being alive. Edgar knows that it's all in their minds.
We as the viewers deduced this, but he never discussed that with anyone in town. He's bringing people on a mind trip to make them believe whatever they want to believe so that they can achieve this vision quest.
And his own "backstory" seemed completely made up. Of course, the leader of a cult would have this profound journey in the desert and be enlightened by a stranger.
Mark my words, the truth of Edgar Evernever is going to be more shocking and duplicitous than even we realize.
I love the new partnership between Betty and Toni. Who else is excited about this undercover plot?
Toni will accomplish what Cheryl was unable to do. Whereas Cheryl had the insecurities over Jason's death that Edgar preyed on, Toni came into this with pure hatred over The Farm trying to break them apart. And of course, she had a love for Cheryl.
Toni: Evelyn, what are you doing?
Evelyn: Toni, you’re detracting Cheryl from her studies at The Farm. But, I’m not going to let you ruin her.
Toni: Ruin her? B****, I love her, and she loves me.
Evelyn: The Farm is fulfilling Cheryl in ways you can’t even begin to imagine.
[Toni slowly walks to Evelyn]
Toni: I find that hard to believe.
NO ONE comes between Toni and her girlfriend!
The best way for Toni to save her true love is to tear apart the group from the inside. This undercover plot is a smart idea; let's hope Evelyn or Cheryl don't discover the truth.
Speaking of relationship drama, "Chapter Fifty-Three: Jawbreaker" teased the possible reunion of "Varchie." For those of you who are keeping count, Archie is still in a relationship with Josie!
Veronica went out of her way a lot to help Archie with the tournament, like making deals with Elio, the news segment, and the boxing gear.
Sure, they're friends, and you do things for your friends, but we can't ignore the sparks that lingered between them. A jolt of electricity popped up in Archie's living room with a near-kiss that got shut down early on.
These little seedlings could grow into a messy relationship drama that tears up Josie/Archie. Maybe this will be how she leaves for the Katy Keene show/New York?
Regarding the boxing tournament, does Archie's victory count if he defeated Randy while his opponent was under the influence?
Like, from a match standpoint, Archie will get the win and all the acclaim that comes from it. BUT, from an internal honor standpoint, does this provide a little asterisk to the situation? Archie didn't win before, but this was how he finally defeated his enemy.
I'm happy for him that he's putting a lot of effort into the El Royale.
Archie isn't known for sticking to a commitment or having a clear head about anything. This gym, on the other hand, changed things around for him. He put his all into boxing; it's great that his character developed motivation and pathway for his future.
Fizzle Rocks is one plot that just won't die on Riverdale. When we think we've escaped the last batch of drama, a new packet pulls us right back in.
Though, this time Riverdale tackled it from the angle of a contaminated batch of drugs that caused rage-fueled episodes around town. Compared to some of the past instances of Fizzle Rocks, this twist added a stressful and exciting element to the progression. It's a shame that it only lasted one chapter.
The violent outbursts, the foaming of the mouth, and the erratic behaviors made the afflicted victims extremely creepy. Their reactions to the drugs felt very reminiscent to zombie flicks like 28 Days Later or World War Z.
If Riverdale were a horror movie right now, the town would be overrun with deranged zombies.
(Episode idea: For a Halloween-themed episode of Riverdale Season 4, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa should consider adopting the themes of Afterlife with Archie to make the town deal with a zombie apocalypse. THEN, Sabrina Spellman from The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina shows up to explain that it was a spell that misfired or part of the devil's work. #PerfectCrossover)
Kurtz truly was a sloppy drug dealer. He created a contaminated batch that could easily be traced back to him and he nearly caused the deaths of multiple people. It's almost like he wanted to get caught in all this.
To those of you who accurately guessed that the Gargoyle King would return, congrats! You've earned the right to say "I told you so!" for another day.
The plot seemed unfinished after the Gargoyles were defeated and the Sisters of Quiet Mercy died. In particular, the identity of the 90s GK had been left unanswered, so we needed to know who killed Principal Featherhead and the other recent victims.
I felt bad for Jellybean being trapped in all this.
Firstly, she clearly was ignored by her family members, and when she finally thought she made a friend in Ricky, he turned out to have lied to her all along just to kidnap her for the Gargoyle King. That's a tough way to go in an already bad situation.
Hopefully, Jughead and FP are able to find her in time. The Gargoyles have a major leverage piece since they've claimed her as "The Little Princess."
If Archie's turn as The Red Paladin is anything to go by, things don't look too good for her.
Last Thoughts From Sweetwater River:
As someone who loves the original Jawbreaker film, it melted my heart hearing "Yoo Hoo" by Imperial Teen as the group walked down the hallway. Seriously, you all need to watch the movie. So iconic!
- Poor Baby Teeth! He didn't stand a chance when the Gargoyle King wanted to send a message. He got it worse than most of the other victims.
Cheryl: Good morning, my dear Riverdale High constituents and comrades. A lot of you have been asking about The Farm’s student advocacy group. Well, here’s the skinny: Sign-up sheets are posted throughout the school; the club is open to all students. Where the one becomes many, and the many becomes one. So, uncap those pens, sharpen those pencils, and sign up. A little birdie told me it’s what all the cool kids are doing
- Doesn't it take a long time to get a gravestone made? Betty needs to spill where she got this expedited job done.
There's no way the FBI or the Riverdale police will allow Hal to be freed from his cell, right? Right?!
- Even though they are frenemies, Elio and Veronica have major chemistry together. If they ever got together or started dating, I wouldn't be surprised. Though, he'd be like a mini Hiram so ... thank you, next.
Now, over to you, Riverdale fans!
What did you think of "Chapter Fifty-Three: Jawbreaker"?
What will Toni discover while being undercover? Could a romance reignite between Archie and Veronica? What evil does the Gargoyle King have in mind for Jellybean?
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.