Percival knows how to terrorize every single person in Riverdale. He's toying with them like a spider to the fly.
In the case of Riverdale Season 6 Episode 13, he used their fears against them. And in some hauntings, the nightmares that kept them up at night.
This chapter was a nice trip down memory lane, even though the pacing stopped again for Percival's torment. His villain control keeps growing and growing.
"Chapter One Hundred and Eight: Ex-Libris" was an eye-opening chapter that balanced spooky chills and nefarious thrills.
Nightmares and fears are a great way to learn more about characters as it shows us more of their thoughts and inner influences. Even for a show in its sixth season like Riverdale, we'll always welcome more backstory and development for the characters.
Thankfully, we got plenty of character development and then some!
Plus, the references to past storylines pushed characters in a great direction and fixed past Riverdale plots. The callbacks did a lot of heavy lifting to bring Riverdale's story back around.
When Percival Pickens started taking personal items as collateral, you knew he had something sinister up his sleeve. Missing library books are valuable items, but having a shotgun nearby to get them gave his evil vibe away.
Come on, a library book? The group should've put two-and-two together quicker.
Percival is a petty villain, but he wouldn't need something unless he had a bigger plan for them.
Percival Pickens: Besides, they’ve served their purpose.
Betty: And what purpose was that?
Percival Pickens: Collateral, Ms. Cooper. What other purpose would I want?
His plot of using the items to torment the group was an exciting move. He cut right to the heart of their issues, and he could manipulate them using something that was already hurting them.
The personal touch worked the best, especially for storylines we'd never forget on Riverdale.
For example, Archie deals with Ms. Grundy's ghost and the cello. The growth from this storyline alone was a breath of fresh air!
If you had told me back in 2017 that Riverdale would eventually acknowledge Ms. Grundy's relationship with Archie during Riverdale Season 1 as "grooming," I wouldn't have believed you.
The series made their romance look sexy and scandalous, but it was a problem then. And it's still a major problem now.
Let's never forget Archie started hooking up with Ms. Grundy when he was 15/16. Don't let KJ Apa's abs fool you; their affair started before his sophomore year.
Betty being there for Archie and recognizing that Ms. Grundy groomed him as a minor was a huge growing moment for the show. If only other series had realized their mistake. (*Cough* Pretty Little Liars *cough*)
I loved how Archie confronted his past trauma from Ms. Grundy and discussed how it affected his life. It's a self-aware side of him that doesn't happen often, but it feels real and raw when it does.
Ms. Grundy's ghost still haunted him, even after all these years. It affected his passion for music, relationships, and memories of Riverdale High.
All the references to Ms. Grundy tied the theme together of him needing to give up the ghost.
Betty: Do I really have to do this, Cheryl?
Cheryl: I’m afraid so. These objects were in Percival’s possession. Most certainly they’ve been polluted…tainted by some dark enchantments.
Veronica: Cheryl, where’s your trunk?
Cheryl: Oh, I already burned Jason. A second cleansing isn’t necessary.
Ms. Grundy's cello had the most screentime, but the sunglasses were the biggest surprise. Those hearts were a pleasant subtle nod we hadn't seen since Riverdale Season 1 Episode 4. You can't think of Ms. Grundy without the cello and those glasses.
Hopefully, Archie will keep growing and confront his past with Ms. Grundy. He hit a breakthrough that will help him long-term in the future; this plot is something Riverdale shouldn't brush under the rug.
The same goes for Betty and the memories of Hal.
Smelling the bleach opened up some hidden stories that no one had processed. Hal killed many people as The Black Hood, but who else could've been his victim?
You see, those dark secrets that we all carry in our hearts. I am those secrets, Kevin. And only I can release you from.Percival Pickens
This plotline was an exciting turn because of how real the possibilities could be.
Hal was a prolific serial killer, so there could be a treasure trove of bodies hiding from his past crimes. And knowing how Betty still had an unresolved history with her father, this twist gave us a juicy mystery that needed to be solved.
It didn't feel like a tacked-on plot pulling from a dry well. We might not even have scratched the surface of their many layers.
Reggie's nightmare would've been more sympathetic had he not joined up with Percival. Or if he had not shamed Veronica for always being in a relationship.
She can do whatever she wants with whomever she wants.
Before that, he seemed genuinely hurt that his dyslexia was acting up again. Percival using that fear made him even more of a villain; it's the type of play that is more sinister than sneaky.
Are we surprised he turned to the dark side? Not a little. Reggie loves power, and he has a thing for being the henchman to a powerful Big Bad. It's more of a habit on his part.
Kevin, too, fell into a bad habit of joining up with Percival and hooking up with him.
Are we surprised Kevin and Percival got together? Once again, nope.
The easiest way to get to Kevin was to play with his need for validation and toy with romance. Plus, he was already siding with Percival as his deputy. Taking the book from Kevin only finished tipping him over to his side.
Kevin and Reggie are pretty predictable in their plans. It would've been more shocking had they turned against Percival, but I guess the Big Bad needs more lackeys to get the job done.
Jughead came in to save the day by finding the replacement books, which was a great move. The odds of finding all the books they needed in Riverdale would've been low; his search was the only way to solve the problem.
Plus, the curse on his hands looked painful! He needed to do something, or the sores would've been too much to handle.
Though, I feel he'll come to regret not burning his grandfather's book.
Cheryl made it clear that burning the items would've cleansed the curse and cut Percival's connection. Percival could still have a way to mess with Jughead's mind by not burning it.
Could this be how Tabitha predicted Jughead's death on Riverdale Season 6 Episode 11? That book might be foreshadowing his death.
Veronica leaving Hiram's painting with Percival might open herself up to more spells from him. She should've never left some power in his hands.
Like, she accidentally killed Heraldo because of Percival's meddling. What's not to say his next spell won't do something worse?
His death, it seems, was sealed with a kiss.Dr. Curdle Jr
On the other hand, Percival may have accidentally given Veronica the perfect weapon to take down her enemies.
The black widow kiss superpower is a deadly move that cuts deep. All she needs is one peck to deliver plenty of damage.
Reggie should watch out. Now that he's playing on Percival's side, there's no telling if Veronica will lure him with a deadly kiss to get him out of the way. All is fair in love and war.
Last Thoughts From Sweetwater River:
Archie, Jughead, Betty, Cheryl, Tabitha, and Veronica now have superpowers. Who will be the next hero, and what will their power be?
We need Cheryl's level of cool and calm energy about ghosts in our everyday lives.
- "#Barchie" shippers, you were so close to having the baby. If only the pregnancy test had been positive.
Now, over to you, Riverdale fans!
What did you think of "Chapter One Hundred and Eight: Ex-Libris"?
What does Percival have planned next for the town? Can Reggie and Kevin be swayed back to the side of good? Which secrets about Hal are left to be uncovered?
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.