No one can ever say Riverdale takes the subtle approach when it comes to storytelling. The drama comes roaring in full steam ahead.
A perfect example of this is everything that went down on Riverdale Season 4 Episode 3. A bomb scare, a takedown of a cult, a masked figure fighting crime, a rat-infested dead body, shenanigans at Cruel Intentions High, and a car wash.
Brace yourselves, Riverdale fans. We're in for a wild one this week.
"Chapter Sixty: Dog Day Afternoon" is a tricky hour that sums up Riverdale's guilty pleasure (and at times, frustrating) quality.
The series' progression is fast-paced and pushes these characters through many stages of character development in a short time. However, the characters get placed in plots or twists that can best be described as "sheer insanity."
The town started as an idyllic small community with a few dark soapy secrets, but now it's the crime capital of the States. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if Riverdale is part of the Arrowverse or one of its multi-verses. (Opportunity for a Crisis on Infinite Earths connection, anyone?)
When in doubt, we'll accept the fun craziness of the series; Riverdale is peak guilty pleasure drama. However, the show can't forget some sense of realism. That quality slips often, and when it does, it's a full slide.
Don't get me wrong though, Riverdale Season 4 Episode 3 is a good episode; it's fun, shocking, and has the roller coaster energy that Riverdale typically now delivers.
But, the show keeps trying to one-up its energy to the point that it constantly feels like every episode the message is to hold their beer to see what they can do.
One such instance was Archie.
I'm taking back what I recently said about his character. Three episodes into Riverdale Season 4 and Reckless Archie returned to fight another day.
It's understandable why he wanted to make the gym into a thriving community center. The place will help people in need and make the town a better Riverdale. However, his desperation kept clouding his judgment!
He could've found another way to get funding for the gym. He didn't need to use his own college money or steal from the criminals; there were other options that Mary provided, but he refused to look. All Archie did was put himself into danger yet again.
And, dare I say, he acted like a petulant child who didn't get his way.
It's great that everything worked out for him in the end, with Mary making it non-profit and different funds coming in. But, everything could've gone south had Archie's luck not helped him.
Seriously, his bad decision could be summed up by the disguise and bat he brought to fight Dodger!
Archie: What’s the haul, Ronnie?
Veronica: A little over four.
Archie: Grand? That’s great.
Veronica: Hundred, Archie. I think I overestimated the financial pull of your pectorals.
[The boys sigh]
Veronica: Hey! We’re just getting started. Maybe we could do a “Magic Mike” night at La Bonne Nuit? Or, dare I say, you boys go “The Full Monty”?
[The boys groan]
Veronica: We’ll figure something out. We always do.
Archie fought a bear and lived, so I didn't doubt he would survive his reckless fight. However, his common sense took the biggest beating. We don't need a repeat of Archie's bad decisions during Riverdale Season 2.
Do better, Archie!
Veronica's heart was in the right place, but she enabled him by writing that cheque. Money can't solve everything, and Archie has to deal with his consequences.
I liked her decision to go through with changing her name. She took a definitive stand against Hiram, and she made it clear that she's nothing like him.
Going with Hiram's original last name was a petty move of the ultimate shade. Even after hearing his backstory, making that decision rubbed it in his face that she wanted to remove him from her history. There's no way Hiram's pride withstood that savagery.
Though, let's hope Veronica hasn't made a grave error.
Hiram's story warned of how powerful and dangerous his original family was. So, by taking the Luna name, she could be opening the door for that world to impact her life.
Toni needs to get Cheryl help ASAP!
Cheryl showed all the clear signs of someone on the edge of a breakdown. Darius didn't even do anything wrong, but Cheryl was ready to bring out the inner Red Queen and be off with his head. She couldn't have anyone come close to shattering her secret.
Darius: I went into the basement…
Cheryl: Halt! You went down to the basement, specially I ordered you not to. You didn’t go into the chapel, did you?!
Darius: No! Miss Cheryl…
Cheryl: Thistle House has never had rats!
Toni: But Babe, we did hear something last night. Remember?
Cheryl: You’re right, Ti Ti. And suddenly, I am feeling the presence of a rat. A 6” tall rat with muscles and bedroom eyes. Darius, I knew you were a mistake from the beginning, so … you’re fired. Tootles!
When the rat emerged from Jason's dead stomach, that should've been the trigger sign to Cheryl that she needs help. Instead, the panicked expression on Toni's face will be the gamechanger to place our hopes on.
Will she convince her girlfriend to get help or will she cover it up and enable Cheryl's behavior?
The events at Stonewall Prep are falling into place exactly how we expected Brett to act. You could smell the pretention off of him from the moment we met him on Riverdale Season 4 Episode 2.
He didn't just come for Jughead; he (metaphorically) went straight for Jughead's beanie in a power play that failed miserably. Jughead didn't do anything wrong! All he did was share his opinion about the short story in a respectful way.
Donna: But, a word of advice, Newbie. I’d watch your back around Brett.
Jughead: Why? What is his deal?
Donna: He’s a diplo-brat. “Son a diplomat.” Thinks it gives him immunity to do whatever he wants.
Jughead: Like beat me up?
Donna: That’s not how Brett fights. Okay, it’s psychological with him, and he’s not afraid to play dirty.
Jughead: Okay, I’ll take your advice.
Brett's ego is so fragile! If that's the way he handles criticism, he's going to get eaten alive in the real world.
If he had paid more attention or treated people better, his story might've received a vote from the writing salon. Instead, "psychological gameplay" is only going to take him and Jughead down.
Side-note: I don't trust Donna yet. She could be a "Kathryn Merteuil from Cruel Intentions" in sheep's clothing!
The one connection between Jughead's war with Brett and the exposure of Moose's past was Donna. Donna was in a romantic relationship with Moose and she could've exposed his secrets to everyone.
Plus, her murder mystery story won the game, so she might have grander aspirations that haven't gotten exposed yet.
We need to keep our eyes on her because if Brett tends to play mind games with people to attack, he could be using others to make the moves. Or, there might be more conniving people waiting at Stonewall Prep to hurt Jughead than the typical rich boy we know all too well.
(Looking at you, Nick St. Clair!)
After the surprising cliffhanger on Riverdale Season 3 Episode 22, The Farm storyline has ended in a bang.
What a long and strange journey this road has been to get to this moment. Betty promised that she would take down the cult, and she played her part to make it happen. But, Alice gets the distinction of putting the final nail in the coffin of stopping Edgar Evernever.
The entire Farm plot during this chapter was another case of Riverdale's sheer insanity.
Firstly, why would the FBI/Charles have Betty cut the chord of an active bomb? Let that sink in: a TEENAGER defused a BOMB.
The room was filled with police officers and an FBI agent with more experience of disarming explosives than a teen detective. Sure, Polly was anxious and reacting erratically, but Betty could've talked her down to let a professional do the job.
Thankfully, Betty was quick-witted enough to use her hairpin to save the day, but this could've ended horribly.
Riverdale wanted the visual of Betty defusing the bomb. All common sense would be for Charles (the FBI agent) to step up and help.
Secondly, why didn't Betty give Charles the heads-up about delivering the goods to Edgar and The Farm?
Edgar never would've known that Charles and the FBI would be on standby. She could complete the goal of getting the demands, but she'd have her brother and the agents awaiting nearby if something bad happened.
With Betty going in alone, she put herself, her friends, and her mom at risk of dying during the mass suicide. This decision is a habit that Betty needs to break; she's done this many times before.
The Black Hood. The Gargoyle King. The Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Betty keeps going head-first into dangerous situations without any back-up. She's showing her reckless side too.
And lastly, the rocket. We can't forget the hilarity of the rocket escape plan and Edgar wearing his Evel Knievel costume.
Edgar Evernever truly is a deranged and psychotic man.
Betty: I’m just happy this nightmare is finally over.
[Doorbell rings and a mysterious VHS is found outside]
Jughead: Famous last words.
Did he think his man-made rocket would fly him off to safety?! Flying that machine would've given Riverdale another round of fireworks since their Independence Day celebrations.
It's scary to think that the same person who thought of building a rocket ship also had the intelligence and power to create a dangerous cult.
At least, he's gone, and The Farm will no longer terrorize Riverdale. We can all hope.
Last Thoughts From Sweetwater River:
Did Veronica forget that both Archie and Reggie (and maybe Monroe) are all 17 years old? They're minors and they can't do her "Full Monty" or "Magic Mike" show.
Who had the lack of common sense to place Hiram as a prisoner within his prison? And does his flexibility mean he could've escaped all this time?
Everything Mary said to Archie about his future and Riverdale were true. He should start listening to his mother.
Betty knocking out Fangs was strangely satisfying. He did her so much wrong. She shouldn't forgive him, Kevin, Alice, and Polly quite yet for all the pain they caused her.
- Nana Rose's warning by the fire: Could this be a twist of Cheryl and Jason being triplets?
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Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.