Thank you, Mrs. Burble! You are a treasure who should make another return to Riverdale in the future.
The unthinkable happened on Riverdale Season 4 Episode 8: the core characters went to therapy. (Seriously, they did!) The one thing they desperately needed to do has finally happened, especially after all the cult, serial killers, and drug plots they've experienced.
The characters achieved so many breakthroughs and delivered one of the best Riverdale episodes ever.
"Chapter Sixty-Five: In Treatment" experimented with a new format to approach their storylines. The framework could best be described in two phases: (1) the individual guidance counselor sessions where every 10 mins were dedicated to each character, and (2) the combined results of the post-session.
I loved this approach because it gave each main character the chance to dig deeper into their development and character thoughts. This chapter is some of the best performances the cast has done on Riverdale to date.
You could feel the real and raw emotion exuding from them as they spilled their inner thoughts to Mrs. Burble. Plus, without the distraction of secondary plots or backing music cutting into their sessions, the story was more focused on setting a direct narrative.
No ambiguity or dramatics to undercut the moment. Riverdale wanted us to know how these characters felt after everything they experienced these last three seasons.
It's a powerful choice that had great results. And with the talents of Gina Torres helping the characters work through their issues, the scenes felt warm and thought-provoking.
Like I said above, Mrs. Burble/Gina Torres should return to do more sessions!
Out of all the sessions, Alice and Betty's joint meeting broke me the most. How could you not cry after Alice's tearful confession?
If anyone needed therapy the most, it would be this mother/daughter pair. Everything Betty said about her mother was spot on!
Ever since Riverdale Season 1 Episode 1, Alice controlled Betty's life and did horrible things to her daughter. Alice crossed the lines on many occasions; the cult storyline was no excuse for her actions.
Betty dishing out the laundry list with zero remorse of how Alice wronged her is the type of energy we all need to take into 2020!
Alice wasn't treating Betty with respect. Anyone who searches rooms, reads mail, and breaks into their daughter's diaries have no boundaries or care for who Betty was as a person.
Someone needed to call her out. Perfection that it happened to be a trained psychologist.
Alice's admission about infantilizing Betty is the biggest breakthrough their relationship could have. Had Alice not faced the truth and kept doing what she did, Betty would've lashed out and left from being controlled.
She has every right to leave if Alice wasn't going to treat her like an adult. Neither Betty nor Alice could keep living like that.
Mrs. Burble: Ms. Smith, Betty’s education, her relationship, her behavior, I think those thinks make you afraid. Afraid that Betty is growing; that may even be why you gave away her college money. Because if you can control her, you can hold onto her childhood just a little bit longer. Does that sound about right?
Alice: It’s just I’ve already lost two children. First Charles, then Polly, and now Betty. Growing up, leaving for college, moving out, moving on … it just feels like I’m losing you too.
Betty: Mom, that’s what happens. Kids grow up and they leave; I can’t be your only hope.
Alice: But I love you.
Betty: I love you too, but that’s not an apology. That does not justify the horrible, unhealthy things that you have done. How you keep suffocating me. And why me? Why are you doing these things to me?
Alice: Because I love you.
Betty: But you love Polly too! She’s in an asylum. She needs you; she needs your help. So, why can’t you do this to her?
Alice: Because I love you more! I love you most!
[Alice is shocked and runs away from the therapy session]
Regardless of Alice loving Betty the most, that type of love is obsessive. Betty can't be her mother's only hope at family sticking around.
Alice has an abandonment issue that goes way beyond this drama. She should consider continuing therapy to work on those unresolved fears.
Hopefully, Alice starts giving Betty more room to grow. Betty has literally stopped serial killers, arrested drug dealers, and solved crimes; she doesn't need to be protected from the world.
Similar to Betty, how has Cheryl not gone through therapy after everything she's experienced? She's gone through the most traumatic plots, from family deaths to conversion therapy.
Regardless of Mr. Honey being the reason for the review, therapy was something that Cheryl should have done a long time ago.
What was eye-opening about her session was that it exposed the pain she carried from before Jason's death to now. Cheryl has always tried to portray the strong "Cheryl Bombshell," but she was hurt from the pain her family inflicted on her.
It was a breakthrough for Cheryl to confide in someone else and unload those fears.
And, even though we as viewers knew that something was off (come on, she stuffed her dead brother as a mannequin!), having her recognize her spiraling state gives us hope that she can make better decisions in the future.
Cheryl deserves a happy life full of love, but Mrs. Burble was right, she needs to take the time to work on herself.
Who do you think is tormenting Cheryl? My money is on Penelope Blossom or Nana Rose.
It's a little too convenient that the story of Julian arrived in time for the house to be haunted. A calculated story if we ever heard one.
Whether it was both of them or separate, the seeds were planted to drive Cheryl insane and mess with her Blossom fears.
Kudos to Mrs. Burble for spotting the truth with logic and reason!
Archie’s session was the one that gave us the most hope for the future … until he ruined it again.
After the reckless and thoughtless decisions he has done, someone had finally gotten through to him. Mrs. Burble made Archie listen to reason and recognize his own faults; a feat that seemed impossible.
I know I’ve criticized Archie a lot, but I never thought we would see the day where he would own his hero complex and work to change his behavior.
Mrs. Burble: Doesn’t that resonate with you? Because everything that you’ve told me feels like it could be fueled by grief-induced anger.
Archie: Like I said, Mrs. Burble. I’m just trying to help.
Mrs. Burble: But to do it safely, we just have to acknowledge and work on the anger…
[Archie gets up]
Archie: WHY?! I know I’m anger, Mrs. Burble! I’m not an idiot. Look at all the crappy things that have happened to me, to my friends, to my dad. They make me angry. You … talking to me like I’m a moron, that makes me angry.
Mrs. Burble: Understandably.
Archie: And it hurts. I hurt all the time. And all I want to do is make sure no one else does, but I’ve screwed it up.
K. J. Apa did an amazing job expressing Archie’s hurt and the fear his character held in his heart. He shined with his subtle nuances of going from defensive teen to emotionally reactive.
Archie has never been this open with anyone, even Veronica or his parents. This confession was the first glimpse into his mindset of why he does the reckless things he does. Now we know why.
His teary-eyed reveal is a powerful moment and it made him a sympathetic character again. (Though, let’s acknowledge that this doesn’t excuse ALL his actions. We’re not that forgiving.)
However, he had to go and ruin it by continuing his secret life as a vigilante.
I was rooting for you. We were all rooting for you! How dare you! (I’m channeling my inner Tyra Banks right now.)
Archie proved the adage that someone can’t change unless they’re willing to put in the work to do so. If he wants to fight crime as a vigilante, that’s the risk he needs to live with.
Thank you, Mrs. Burble. You listed out all the consequences and stressed the dangers, but Archie refused to listen. You can only do so much.
Mrs. Burble’s read on Veronica and Hiram’s situation was spot on!
Ever since Riverdale Season 2, Veronica has been trapped in this spiraling war with her father. Their determination to defeat and control the other is obsessive. Both will never be happy since they will never agree to compromise.
Mrs. Burble: Are you jealous of your sister?
Veronica: Absolutely not! She can have him; they deserve each other.
Mrs. Burble: Yet, I’m sensing animosity?
Veronica: Sensing?! I despise that man! I want nothing to do with him.
Mrs. Burble: But you willing live at home.
Veronica: Well, yes, but…
Mrs. Burble: You obediently come when he calls you. Veronica, I don’t think this is hate, it’s obsession. You and your father are obsessed with each other.
Veronica: You’re diagnosing me with daddy issues? How very “Intro to Psych”.
I loved that Mrs. Burble called out Veronica’s enabling of Hiram because, for as much as she’s pushed him away, she has just as easily gone back to him. It’s a character development flaw that has frustrated me in the past and made her inconsistent.
Veronica needed to face where she placed Hiram in her life. Without that ultimatum, she would’ve continued their love/hate relationship.
Her decision to turn down Harvard, however, was a terrible move. Harvard was her dream school! She shouldn’t have given that up because Hiram muddied the waters with her acceptance.
Mrs. Burble told her to accept the admission and to let Hiram go.
Just like Archie, Veronica doing the complete opposite made zero sense. No wonder she and Archie keep going back to each other; they’re both stubborn and choose the toxic path.
All Veronica will get from her war with Hiram will be pain, loss, and trouble. She was so close to being free of him! Anyone else sad that reality slipped from our fingers?
Jughead’s epiphany was a positive change that will not only help his investigation, but it will do wonders for his life.
Mrs. Burble was right; he focused too much on his victim complex. For all the things he criticized others for doing, he equally strived for that same power and recognition. And he spent a lot of energy trying to prove himself to those same people he hated.
Jughead: Maybe I should put down the conspiracy theories and do the homework? You’re underpaid, aren’t you?
Mrs. Burble: And overqualified. Which means I don’t expect anyone to change habits overnight. If you’re going to see this mystery about the Baxter Brothers authorship through, don’t fall back on conjecture or righteous anger. Do the work. You know, investigate.
Reclaiming the Baxter Brothers series might’ve been about getting the truth, but it’s also about getting his grandfather and family the recognition they deserve. Jughead wants to rub it in Stonewall Prep’s faces that the Joneses are successful.
By facing his own fault, Jughead can focus on what matters in life. Plus, the way he thanked FP for everything he did for their family was so cute!
Jughead isn’t the most sensitive character, so this hug was a sweet welcome for their family.
Last Thoughts From Sweetwater River:
Why were there no sessions with the guidance counselor for Toni, Kevin or Reggie? They have baggage to unpack too.
Jughead not applying to any universities didn't seem like his character. He's talked about wanting to leave Riverdale and get away from the craziness; applying to school would've been the next natural step.
Mrs. Burble looked unfazed when Cheryl admitted to stuffing her brother like a mannequin. Either she didn't understand the reference or she's neutral about the whole situation.
Really, Alice? You didn't think that Betty and Jughead were having sex?! They had nights away together and they sleep in the same bed. The truth speaks for itself.
Poor Betty. Hopefully, she gets accepted to her next top choice for university. OR, she gets accepted after being waitlisted so that she and Veronica can be roommates together!
- Of course, Brett and Donna had to be involved with pining Jughead's murder on the trio. There is definitely something shady going on with this investigation.
Now, over to you, Riverdale fans!
What did you think of "Chapter Sixty-Five: In Treatment"?
Who is trying to convince Cheryl that she's crazy? Will Betty get accepted into a university? Will Archie ever give up his vigilante ways?
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.