Mr. Honey banned Betty from attending the prom, Nick St. Clair returned to town, and Veronica visited her friend Katy Keene on Riverdale Season 4 Episode 12.
Below, our TV Fanatics Becca Newton, Jasmine Peterson, and Meaghan Frey debate Frank's past as a mercenary, the news of Hiram's life-threatening disease, and Jughead intentionally losing the duel to Brett.
Frank turned out to be a mercenary and skipped town after nearly being killed. Did you see this development coming for Frank's story arc?
Becca: The skipping town part I expected. The events of this episode I did not see coming.
Partially, it’s because the Frank storyline never inspired me to do much speculating about what will happen next beyond the broad strokes of Frank will cause trouble and then leave.
Another reason I didn’t see it coming is that the Frank story abruptly changed midstream as opposed to building up naturally from the events of the previous episode, which is par for the course on Riverdale, but it doesn’t help when it comes to making predictions.
Jasmine: I agree. I expected him to skip town at some point, so that didn't surprise me.
I didn't have any strong thoughts or expectations with Frank's story. He seemed shady, but I can't say I cared about how he was shady. And it did seem like there was no structure to his introduction and how his story unfolded.
Meaghan: Mostly because Frank doesn't seem smart enough to be a mercenary.
Frank was never meant to stay, so it wasn't ever going to be a surprise that he left. I am thrilled that he did, though. As annoying as Archie is, he deserves a better parental figure in his life than that.
Riverdale Season 4 Episode 12 introduced us to Katy Keene and her fabulous friendship with Veronica. Will you be checking out the spin-off after learning about her life in New York City?
Becca: Lucy Hale’s guest spot did a better job than the promos did of piquing my interest but not enough to get me to sit down and watch the Katy Keene premiere. I may wait a few weeks and then binge-watch the first batch of episodes.
Veronica: Well, well, well! If it isn’t Katy Keene!
Veronica: It’s so good to see you. It’s been way too long, girl.
Katy: I know something that is going to make you even happier. I hear that the new Pruenz’s Schooler Collection on the fourth floor is to die for!
Veronica: Can’t wait! I need to ooze collegiate cuteness at this interview tomorrow.
Katy: Well, I have already scoped out Barnard-ready options.
Veronica: Well, good thing I’m armed with my mother’s Lacy’s card.
Katy: Well, if that’s the case, I know exactly where to start. Come on!
[They run to the elevator]
Jasmine: It was cute, they were nice together. I recorded it. I'll get around to checking it out to see what the hype is about.
Meaghan: Already watched it and I loved the premiere! Lucy Hale is fantastic as Katy, and her group of colorful friends in the fabulous city of New York kept my interest much better than Riverdale these days.
Hermione revealed that Hiram is sick and could potentially die. Do you believe her story or think it's all a plan?
Becca: It’s a plan and seeing Veronica fall for it hook, line, and sinker is nauseating. Veronica and Hiram’s petty fighting is annoying, but I prefer it over watching Veronica instantly forget the horrible actions her father committed and become Daddy’s little girl again.
Jasmine: At the risk of sounding like Judge Judy: do you know when a Lodge is lying? When their lips are moving.
It's all an elaborate plan again. And I'm starting to wonder if she's been drinking directly from Sweetwater River because she didn't even question if it was a lie. Both of her parents lie like a Persian carpet in a palace and yet she went with it.
I would probably appreciate her becoming daddy's little girl again if we knew she won't go right back to hating his guts and at odds with him the second she finds out he's probably lying.
Meaghan: This family is all insane, Veronica included. She should know better than to fall for a plot like this by her father. He will do anything to keep her under his thumb, and this is a disgusting way to do it.
I am extremely disappointed in Veronica for falling for it, but it doesn't necessarily shock me. Like Jasmine said, she will go right back to hating him and feuding once she finds out he is lying.
We will be stuck in this same cycle forever.
Jughead conceded victory to Brett in their duel because he didn't need Stonewall's validation anymore. Share your thoughts on the duel and Jughead's final decision.
Becca: I liked the structure of the duel, especially because it solved the problem of how to incorporate the obligatory prep school fencing match without making Jughead improbably gifted at fencing.
However, the script could have used another draft because it didn’t achieve the emotional impact, thematic resonance, and character moment it aimed for. Previous episodes could have done a better job of setting up those elements as well.
Toni: Fangs, tell me you’re not selling drugs again?
Fangs: Toni, Kevin and I started this little … side-hustle, and don’t worry, it’s nothing illegal, per se.
Toni: What kind of side-hustle? It looks lucrative as hell. Is this something I can get in on?
Jasmine: It was cool to see him go head-to-head with Brett, but it ends with him forfeiting, which made it anticlimactic. I thought it was more serious than it was and not something you just walked away from.
Meaghan: The Stonewall Prep storyline has felt a bit messy through Riverdale Season 4. Jughead forfeiting is a very Jughead thing to do, but it doesn't make for the best television.
Toni, Fangs, and Kevin took down Nick St. Clair in a revenge plot after he arrived back in town. React!
Becca: Nick St. Clair deserves all kinds of payback, but I despised this storyline.
The script was insultingly dismissive of Toni’s experience as a sexual assault victim. Cheryl should not have gotten pushed to the sidelines during a story involving her attempted rapist.
Finally, the payoff of seeing Nick blackmailed isn’t worth enduring the fetish porn plot.
Nick: You better not show that to anyone, you b****! Or I’ll…
Toni: Or you’ll what?! Exactly! Now listen up, you worm, because I’m only going to say this once. You don’t know me, but I know you. And I know exactly what you did to my girlfriend Cheryl Blossom, and what you’ve probably done to a lot of innocent young women. You will never step foot in Riverdale again. You will not so much as even think about Cheryl Blossom, and you will never assault another woman. Because if you do, I will let the whole world see what was done to you. I WILL RUIN YOU!
Jasmine: Everything Becca said. I have been very frustrated that Toni has been reduced to "Cheryl's girlfriend."
All of her storylines revolve around Cheryl. And even something like HER also being a sexual assault survivor was made about Cheryl.
So, now she got to get re-revenge on Nick because others have gotten revenge on him more than once, right? And I know the whole idea in the first place is that Nick is a toxic male, but it wasn't just fetish porn, it was specifically fetish porn with men that they used to blackmail him because God forbid anyone thinks he's interested in the same sex, I guess.
Ruining Nick beyond repair, the worst thing they could do to him is to reveal he might be into guys?!
If this entire fetish subplot wasn't so disturbing in the first place, or most of Kevin's plots weren't so irritating, then maybe it wouldn't be a big deal, but it was. Also, Kevin's subplot was used to support Cheryl, so it wasn't a storyline for him? M'kay.
Meaghan: Can we please just get a spin-off with Toni and Kevin so they can both get the storylines that they deserve instead of what is repeatedly thrown at them on Riverdale?
If you're going to be taking on having victims of sexual assault, you need to do it respectfully. Like Becca and Jasmine said, pushing Toni's own story aside for Cheryl is a bad move but so typical of how Toni's story has been written since she and Cheryl got together.
The Riverdale writers need a lesson in how to handle having an assemble cast because if you can't manage to give them all good storylines, you need to cut it down.
Kevin deserves more than a creepy fetish porn storyline to make him relevant. I'm just frustrated with it all.
Alice and Betty teamed up to explore the secrets of Brett, Donna, and Quill & Skull. Did you love this surprise mother/daughter investigative team?
Becca: Reinhart and Amick are always great together, but seeing Betty and Alice investigate together reminded me of my grievances regarding The Farm storyline and how teaming the two of them up instead of pitting them against each other would've greatly improved it.
Alice: What’s this?
Betty: My latest murder board.
Alice: Who got murdered?
Betty: Mr. Chipping. Maybe. We let the case get cold, but we know Brett’s a total sociopath. So, let’s find out if he’s a killer too.
Jasmine: I love it when Betty and Alice are on the same page. The two of them investigating together was probably my favorite part of the episode. They both have those investigative instincts, so I like it when they can join forces, and I like separating Bughead sometimes to explore new investigative pairings.
I also enjoyed finding out that Donna was the mastermind.
Meaghan: I adore anytime these two come together! They are such a great dynamic duo and it always instantly makes Alice more likable.
I agree with Becca that it shows a big missed opportunity with The Farm storyline.
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Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.