Mr. Honey is not immune to his dose of just desserts. It may be wrapped in a complex situation and a short story, but his karma came calling.
Jughead's essay on Riverdale Season 4 Episode 19 created a fun "what if?" scenario that felt right at home with the '90s cult classic. (It's a shame Katie Holmes or Helen Mirren didn't appear in a cheeky nod to the original movie.)
The chapter was a nice blend of both worlds, but it would've been nice to have had the proper Riverdale Season 4 finale planned. How are we going to make it through the summer with that cliffhanger?!
Ever since Mr. Honey was introduced on Riverdale Season 4 Episode 2, he was a one-note character that was easily and instantly recognized as a villain.
He played the "stern authoritarian" role and caused nothing but grief for the teens. Riverdale loved to dive deep into that trope many times, especially with kicking people off teams or by refusing to print the yearbook.
But, "Chapter Seventy-Six: Killing Mr. Honey" tried to flip this theme on its head with a slight twist: reveal that the teens were the villains all along and that Mr. Honey was just the good guy doing his job.
It's a clever twist in the grand scheme of Riverdale's history because it both works and doesn't work based on the perspective of the evidence. (This is where we get a bit Nancy Drew this review!)
As much as I hate agreeing with him, Mr. Honey was right in his assessment of the teens.
They disregard his authority on many occasions (like getting Ms. Appleyard to quit because they didn't want a cheer coach), and they get themselves involved in dangerous situations. His actions, while rash and unfair, were preparing them for a life outside of this wicked little town.
In past reviews, we've discussed how the Riverdale High teens have reacted to force their way or disregard authority. Like for instance, how Cheryl and Toni thought a song would force Mr. Honey to give Kevin his song back on Riverdale Season 4 Episode 17.
Cheryl: Poor Ms. Bell, you’ve fallen under the monster’s spell.
Ms. Bell: Do any of you have any idea what that man has done for this school? This year alone, he personally arranged for six low-income students to go to colleges on full scholarships.
Jughead: Wait, really?
Ms. Bell: Also, this year’s average GPA is higher than it’s been in decades, and more seniors will be going to college since 1956. Oh, and of course, no students have died under his watch.
The teens going to their parents to get Prom reinstated is just another example of this. Though, this was a full-blown case of manipulation.
All the parents rushed into Riverdale High to help their kids because they thought the mean old principal had a vendetta against them. Of course, Mr. Honey had a vendetta, but if the parents KNEW the full story of what their kids had done throughout the year, they probably wouldn't be so quick.
It's great to have the parents defend their kids and give the touching speech in the diner. However, it didn't make the teens look good in comparison.
On the other hand, all the good Mr. Honey did doesn't erase the bad he caused.
Let's not forget he canceled homecoming, found any reason to cancel Prom, tried to get people kicked out of school, punished Betty without concrete proof, and made rash decisions to spite the teens. The world is a tough place, but there is a level of compromise that is given.
Like, canceling the yearbook because he didn't have time to read Betty's draft was a petty move.
Did he give her a deadline? It didn't seem like it when Betty thought she had the time to complete an entire yearbook by herself and submit a draft. Plus, she found a solution that many leaders would be happy to have.
For someone claiming to "prepare them for the real world," Mr. Honey did not set her up for success.
And the whole debacle with faking a video from the Voyeur was a sociopathic move!
Sure, the teens manipulated their parents to get their way, but Mr. Honey took it to another level just to get the last laugh. He didn't need to cancel all extracurricular activities in addition to the Prom.
That one move proved this had nothing to do with consequences or protecting the teens from the dangers in Riverdale.
Mr. Honey wants to control. He's shown a pattern of similar activities at other schools, and regardless of the reasons, there's no way every school had done enough to justify canceling the Prom.
He may have had a job lined up at Stonewall Prep, but this was his last way to keep the reins.
So, Mr. Honey is a complicated character.
To the teens, he's the big bad wolf who stood in their way at Riverdale High. And as viewers, we witness the character through their narrative, so he's the villain who takes everything away and is ruining the fun.
But for someone like Ms. Bell, he's the hero trying to do his job amidst all the chaos and evil in town. His resume stats at Riverdale High were impressive, and his recommendation letter for Jughead was a surprising move that feels out-of-character for him.
I'm glad he's gone, but it's not the sweety victory that was expected.
Jughead's short story was a campy and dark narrative that suited his character's style. Whenever he writes something, it tends to blend wordiness with the self-sabotaging actions of his characters.
Very reminiscent of our much-loved Riverdale teens, right?
The tone suited Riverdale perfectly as the story felt like a slightly-darker reality of how the characters would typically react. Jughead has a talent for drawing on real-life experiences because he channeled his friends to a T.
The one thing that would stop Mr. Honey is if we killed him. [Awkward silence] Or, scared him enough to leave town. I mean, it would be so easy.Betty
Betty, with her dark and cold sense of control, Jughead standing by in his justification, Cheryl rationalizing her motives, Archie going into reckless survival mode, and Veronica having a change of heart. It's not that far off from how it could've gone.
Reggie's response was the most intriguing because he hasn't been in a situation that involved a dead body yet. I'm glad Jughead recognized this and gave his story character a believable sense of grief and regret.
Reggie wouldn't have been able to rationalize something like that so quickly.
Jughead's change of heart for his short story's plot, while a great learning lesson that benefitted his character development, wasn't great for his university submission.
Don't get me wrong, learning to not bask in the suffering of others is an important trait. Jughead shouldn't fall victim to Riverdale's intoxicating evil; that darkness has lured plenty of people to their deaths and dark sides.
Archie: Is he okay? Is he alive?
Veronica: No, he’s not. He’s dead.
Jughead: R.I.P. Mr. Honey.
The issue, on the other hand, was that it abruptly ended his story and hindered its flow.
The spiraling tale of a group accidentally killing Mr. Honey, then Reggie, and then turning on each other is much more appealing than a short story of teens getting lucky after a prank goes wrong. The original had more character development, narrative progression, and depth.
Hopefully, Jughead can massage the story and make it into an interesting plot because the abrupt end didn't seem like it impressed Betty either.
Did you love that VHS cliffhanger? My jaw was on the floor!
Whoever is creating those tapes has to be someone with a close connection to the main group. The moments captured with the masks (Jughead/Betty in the woods, Clifford killing Jason, Midge dead on stage) are all pivotal moments that shaped the group one way or another.
Someone is using those memories and footage from the Scarlett Suite to deliver a powerful message. Though, what that could be in the biggest mystery yet.
Archie: Is he okay? Is he alive?
Veronica: No, he’s not. He’s dead.
Jughead: R.I.P. Mr. Honey.
We can remove Mr. Honey from the list as the main perpetrator due to his red herring reveal. However, thanks to the latest tape, the culprits could be anyone! It has to be a large group of people involved.
The parents? Remnants of past Riverdale villains (The Farm, the Gargoyles, Stonewall Prep)? Charles and Chic?!
Though, a big clue is in the video itself. How did they know about Jughead's murderous short story? He hadn't submitted it yet to the school, so someone has to know the details of it to make that tape in time.
The plot thickens. (Ugh, can it be fall already?!)
Last Thoughts From Sweetwater River:
The mothers strolling into Riverdale High is a major boss mood.
Did Reggie not hear back from Riverdale community college yet? He should've gotten his letter by now since it's late in the school year.
The head tilt of all the people wearing the masks creeped me out. I love Halloween and scary movies, but that moment got me.
Reggie's senior prank is a classic.
- How did no one mention Betty's first instinct as revenge against Mr. Honey was killing him? Not one single person had a problem with it.
Now, over to you, Riverdale fans!
What did you think of "Chapter Seventy-Six: Killing Mr. Honey"?
Who are the people behind the masks? Has your opinion of Mr. Honey changed now that he's no longer at Riverdale High? Will Jughead get accepted into the University of Iowa?
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 below.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.