In the end, it was all so simple.
As the Riverdale episode walked us all through the Stonewall Prep mystery step-by-step, I found myself wondering how it didn’t occur to me that the Stonewall Four and the Baxter Brothers novels were connected.
The link was so obvious and right there waiting for all of us, but alas, it goes to show you that Riverdale’s writers always know what they’re doing even if the episodes sometimes seem outrageous, unbelievable, or a mix of both.
When the puzzle pieces began falling into place, the fourth season of The CW campy drama turned out to be its best one yet.
While the Gargoyle King, the Farm, and the Black Hood were all compelling and intricate mysteries in their own right, this season dove into the heart of a “whodunnit” while layering on a “whydunnit” on top for a classic “locked room” mystery.
It was incredibly satisfying to see Jughead and Betty present their case to the Stonies and watch the smug little faces squirm. Well, mostly Donna and Mr. DuPont’s. Brett was entirely too confused for his own good to the point that it was hard to believe we ever thought that he was the mastermind behind all of this.
As the layers were peeled back, the true villain of the series was revealed. Mr DuPont stole the Baxter Brother’s franchise (then just one novel) from Forsythe, killed all three members of the original literary society who knew about it to cover his tracks and prevent the truth from tainting his career.
He then built a whole franchise and a “prestigious school” on the murderous lies.
Each new writer that took over the Baxter Brother’s franchise needed to prove they could commit the perfect murder before they could write it. With this in mind, Jughead was never going to win the writing competition, and he was solely there to draw out his grandfather, the one loose end that DuPont wanted to kill and shut up.
Considering how easily Jughead found his grandfather, you’d think a savvy man like DuPont who managed to have a huge body count and cover it up would have found him without going through all this trouble, but that would defeat the whole point of the series.
When DuPont was cornered with the truth — that his life’s legacy was a sham and built upon the blood of others — he refused to go down as a fraud. Death was better than a tainted legacy and thus, he jumped from the very same window that Mr. Chipping did, which was obviously going to happen. How did they not foresee that?
While DuPont deserved a fare harsher punishment, it’s better than nothing.
However, the fact that Donna and DuPont weren’t in cahoots was shocking. There was a brief moment where it seemed like Donna was simply a victim despite her deranged scheming, but it was quickly revealed that she had her own motive for going through with enforcing the perfect murder with her classmates — she wanted revenge.
Remember when Hermosa dug up some dirt on Donna that tied it all together for Jughead? Well, the dirt was that she was the granddaughter of Jane Dallas Brown, one of Mr. DuPont’s original three victims.
Her beef was never truly with Jughead or Betty, they were merely victims of a much grander plan which was to take over the Baxter Brothers and have DuPont pay the ultimate price.
Unfortunately, she messed with the wrong sleuthing detectives who stop at nothing to get answers.
Also, Joan didn’t hit Jughead hard enough to kill him. Honestly, that was mistake number one because their plan was foolproof and gave them all alibis.
All of their problems would have been solved had Jughead remained dead, but instead, he used all his time pretending to be dead in Dilton’s doomsday bunker (which could come in handy now with the coronavirus and all) to solve the mystery that’s been plaguing his life since he transferred to Stonewall Prep.
Donna’s desire for revenge was justified, but since she also killed innocent people who were just casualties of a bigger fight, which doesn’t make her any better or any less guilty than DuPont.
As for Chipping, he was driven mad by the guilt of what he had done to secure the contract. He brought Moose there under false pretenses because he was the perfect target to be killed, however, he began to feel bad and thus, gave Moose and out by recruiting him to the army before he took his own life.
Almost every loose end was tied up as we went through what happened that night in the woods, shortly after as Betty, Archie, and Veronica truly didn’t know if Jughead would survive, and in the weeks leading up to their takedown.
I said almost because there are still some things left unanswered. Riverdale is a sucker for a mystery within a mystery and while Charles may have been instrumental in saving Jughead and helping them plan the perfect murder, we also know he has a vendetta of his own (with his boyfriend Chic) against the Cooper/Jones family.
When is that going to be brought back into play? Also, are they responsible for those odd and stalker-ish videotapes?
The series goes into their musical episode next week which finds Kevin taking charge in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Is that when we’ll also address the untapped feelings between #Barchie?
Cheryl made sure to note that it was obvious Betty and Archie weren’t just “faking it” with their fake relationship. There are some real feelings there, but does it matter when these couples are so strong and rooted in themselves?
Other Murder Capital of the World Musings
- Jughead brought honor back to his family and retrieved what was stolen from his grandfather. Does this mean they will take over the mysteries of Tracy True?
- Redeeming his grandfather’s name also reunited FP with his father. Moreso, it gave FP a reason for why his father abandoned them in the first place and it wasn’t because he was a good-for-nothing dad but because he wanted to protect himself and his family.
- Riverdale is a complex town plagued by darkness and murder, but it was incredibly satisfying to see everyone working together in unison and being able to keep the secret so that Jughead could blow the lid off of the Stonewall conspiracy.
- There’s nothing more enjoyable than Jughead and FP beating Brett with brass knuckles to get those sex tapes back. Man, that guy got a good, well-deserved beating. And I’m sure it felt good for Jughead to just get it out of his system.
- Even Hermosa helped, which may be the first step in patching up her relationship with Veronica.
- And seriously, Dr. Curdle Jr. for the win!
- Is anyone else mad that Cheryl wasn’t in on the whole thing?
- So… just to clarify — Jughead didn’t have a plan to expose Brett and get those sex-tapes back? If Joan succeeded in killing him, that would have been the end of our boy. One little oversight saved his life.
- Food poisoning is code for five-feet under, right?
- No one ever really dies in Riverdale, do they?
- Mysteries aside the focus of the next few episodes will be to getJughead and Archie to the graduation line — no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
All-in-all, Betty and Jughead proved they’re the perfect couple by crafting the perfect (fake) murder and solving 8 murders, stopping DuPont, and getting closure for the families.
It’s a good day in Riverdale, and that’s rare, so let’s cherish it as we wait for the other foot to drop.
Rivervale Review – Deal with the Devil (6×03)
The devil came to Rivervale on Riverdale Season 6 Episode 3… and he was acquiring souls left and right.
Going by the clever name of Lou Cypher — Lucifer — the devil had his sights set on Kevin Keller, Jughead Jones, the Tate’s, Betty Cooper, and Veronica Lodge.
And through his manipulation, he was pretty much able to cash in on all the souls he required, and then some.
The thing about the devil is that he’s an intriguing figure.
Everyone wants to know more about such a dark and devious presence.
And Rivervale hasn’t been spared of its own darkness. All those residents have darkness living inside of them — a sense of unfulfillment and insecurity t that the devil easily preyed on.
Inspired by the folk lore “The Devil’s Holiday,” the episode also set the ground for a battle between good and evil right in the heart of the weirdest small town.
I mean, seriously. First serial killers and now the literal devil?
It’s shocking that Rivervale, Riverdale, or whatever the town is calling itself these days still has any residents.
Mr. Cypher targeted Kevin by promising to give him Broadway and Vegas all wrapped up in one. And if there’s anyone who feels stifled by small-town living on this series, it’s Kevin. He jumped at the opportunity almost immediately.
And the series, well, they jumped at the opportunity for a musical number. I wish the devil put an end to that, to be honest.
Next up on the list was Pop Tate, who suffered some kind of cardiac arrest. At the hospital, Tabitha learned that the Tate family made a deal with the devil, but Pop wanted to spare his father, so he offered up his soul instead.
However, the devil was in the mood for negotiations and offered her a deal — he’d give up Pop’s soul for the diner instead.
While it seemed like a no-brainer, Pop immediately told Tabitha not to sign the diner over as it’s much more than walls and concrete.
Pop’s explained that the diner is the soul of Rivervale offering refuge and comfort to all those in need. It’s this crazy town’s safe haven, and without it, who knows what might happen.
Well, where there’s the devil, there’s also an angel by the name of Rafael, who offered up Tabitha and Pop the Virgin Mary’s tears from the crucifixion to slip into the devil’s drink.
Once he took a sip, he was banished, they were protected, and Pop’s was consecrated and blessed.
Is it a stretch? Yes. But really, I’m just glad Pop’s is safe and sound to welcome in anyone else who needs a place to seek out shelter.
Also, word is that it will serve as the battleground for what’s to come… whatever that means.
Jughead was intrigued by the devil’s arrival that he reached out to snag an exclusive interview.
Always the writer.
The devil made him a compelling deal: publish the tell-all and never write again or hear the secrets of the universe but keep them to yourself.
Obviously, the wise decision was to get the scoop and lock it up, but Jughead needed the world to hear the story, so he hit upload on that bad boy and relished in the glory.
That is until he put fingers to his typewriter keys and found that the devil wasn’t joking when he said he’d never be able to write again.
And without being a writer, Jughead was…. no one.
He signed his soul over to the devil in a jiffy and accepted eternal damnation in exchange for the freedom to write.
Honestly, the devil was probably laughing at how easy it was to just snatch up souls for any old reason in this town.
Jughead walked right into his plan and didn’t even know it!
Betty’s face-to-face meeting with the devil came as a brush with TBK, the Trash Bag Killer.
It didn’t really make all that much sense, but Betty was triggered by it. And when she called Glen, she realized that she wasn’t actually talking to the serial killer who tortured her, she was confronting the actual devil.
When she heard the screams of her father, Hal, and Polly suffering in hell, she ended it by stabbing TBK only to realize it was Glen under that mask.
Betty dove headfirst into the darkness and murdered someone… and there’s no coming back from that. Well, I guess that’s the second person she’s killed because Archie’s blood is still on her hands.
Either way… Soul = gone.
The funny thing that no one seemed to realize is that the devil is a master of illusions. He could’ve told Jughead any grand ole’ story and he would’ve believed it. Same with Betty — the devil clearly manipulated Glen, so he could’ve been lying about Hal and Polly also.
And finally, there was Reggie and Veronica.
After hearing that the devil was a silent investor who had come to collect a soul, she confronted Reggie, who asked her to outsmart the devil.
So, she invited Nick St. Clair over for a glass of fizzy, and as he began to confess all his misdeeds and crimes, he basically handed himself over to the big red guy.
However, that’s when Veronica found out that Reggie actually sold out her soul instead.
Rather than get mad — although, she did initially — she got even.
Veronica beat the devil by offering him a deal from her skimmed profits and one soul from the casino monthly. And the first one was… well, Reggie.
Sorry bud, you kind of deserved that one!
In this five-episode event, Rivervale has killed Archie, Toni, Reggie, and Glen. Ouch.
It’s interesting to see these characters really give themselves over to the folklore because it makes for some ridiculous television and storytelling, but it also feels like a pointless season.
What’s the point of all of this?
It’s so bizarre that it’s hard to make sense of it in Riverdale context.
Next week’s episode brings the arrival of Sabrina Spellman from Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, though, from the looks of it, Kiernan Shipka is not going to be tapping into the half-witch, half-mortal character after all.
How will she play into the narrative?
What did you think of the devilish episode? Sound off in the comments below!
Riverdale Review – La Llorona (6×02)
Did I just watch an episode of Nancy Drew on Riverdale?
It almost felt like “Ghost Stories” was the perfect crossover opportunity to bring our favorite supernatural Horsehoe Bay detective to Rivervale.
But don’t be fooled — Betty, Toni, and Cheryl did a fine job handling La Llorona.
You have to give it up for the series for embracing Latin American culture for this one, while also making a poignant point about the sacrifices of motherhood.
La Llorona was summoned by Darla, a Ghoulie, whose son was accidentally killed by Toni.
The ghostly spirit, who was drowned in Sweetwater River along with her babes, was coming for the soul of Baby Anthony, however, Toni didn’t think her innocent son should pay the price for her mistakes, so she sacrificed herself by taking on La Llorona’s suffering.
As she descended underwater, she handed baby Anthony to Betty and urged her to protect him, which is fitting considering La Llorona erased Betty’s pregnancy.
It’s funny that these women are devoted to finding a murderer when just last week, they willingly sacrificed Archie to make the maple trees more fruitful.
Honestly, this show gets weirder and weirder.
And since it’s set in Rivervale, which I’m guessing is simply an alternative universe of Riverdale, it’s hard to really get invested in any of the storylines.
It seems like a cheat to introduce and get away with the wackiest storylines.
Admittedly, it did feel weird watching an episode without Archie, but the hour was so jam-packed, he was barely missed.
The series claimed its second victim with Toni, so it doesn’t seem like many of our favorites will live to see another day by the time the five-episode event is finished.
Tabitha and Jughead dealt with their own relationship woes as they found out that they were living in the apartment plagued by a couple’s murder-suicide.
When they discovered a hidden room, they seemingly unleashed the couple’s spirits and began turning on each other. Tabitha wanted to bash Jughead’s head in on a few occasions, but thankfully, she stopped herself and realized that their relationship was stronger than murder.
Good for them, I guess?
As for Ronnie and Reggie, well, their storyline felt pretty forced. Reggie bought back the car he had in high school in hopes of reliving the glory days.
That was fine and dandy until Veronica realized that Bella was a tribute to his driver’s ed teacher who was fired for having inappropriate relations with students.
Reggie denied the whole thing, and Ronnie felt terrible for smashing his car considering his father just died.
However, it turns out Reggie lied about the abusive relationship? Or, at least, it seems like it.
It’s unclear why this was such an important storyline to tell, but I’m also at the point where it doesn’t seem like any of these storylines hold any merit at all.
Did Riverdale sell you on its ghost stories? Or do you think it should be left to the professionals?
Riverdale Season Premiere Review – Welcome to Rivervale (6×01)
Curses, babies, and a shadow town — that’s how Riverdale Season 6 kicked off.
Or should I say Rivervale.
Embracing the vibe of the Twilight Zone influence, the season tapped into some folklore horror for the first of its five-episode event that promises to do what Riverdale does best — deliver the most outrageous and outlandish storylines.
We’ve seen it all on this show, and admittedly, I’ve grown to be pretty fond of not knowing how crazy things will get when I tune into an episode.
However, the episode was weird, even by Riverdale standards.
The “shadow world” of Rivervale seems far removed from Riverdale, but the plot also echoes what we’ve already seen set up in Riverdale Season 5.
Jughead kicked things off with a tour that set the scene.
He and Tabitha are taking the next step in their relationship by moving in together, Ronnie and Reggie are the town’s power couple as they plan for the build of their casino, and Betty and Archie are planning to start a family.
Like Betty couldn’t help but emphasize just how much she wanted to have Archie’s baby.
And by the end of the hour, she was, as she put it, “with child.”
Unfortunately, it was all part of Cheryl’s plan to crown Archie as the Maple King and then sacrifice him to appease the ancestor Abigail Blossom so that the maple trees would be fruitful.
Yes, I said sacrifice.
Cheryl somehow managed to convince everyone in town to join in on the ritual by giving them what they wanted.
Baby Anthony has colic and is driving Toni and Fangs bonkers? Cheryl has some herbs for that.
Fred and Alice can’t get to the next step in their relationship? She has a remedy.
And so on, and so forth.
It almost seemed as though Cheryl cursed everyone just so she could swoop in and be the savior.
And in turn, everyone gave her their loyalty.
Archie has always had everyone’s best interests at heart, but in one weak moment, everyone in town turned against him and let him die a grim death as a human sacrifice.
In what may be Riverdale’s craziest scene to date (and again, the series has explored aliens), Cheryl stabbed Archie, who was clad in an antler crown, before pulling out his still-beating heart and holding it up for the town to see.
Rest in peace, Archie. You truly didn’t deserve any of that.
Archie will seemingly remain dead for the remainder of the five episodes, which kind of puts a dent in my theory that Rivervale is just a terrible nightmare he’s having while in a coma following the explosion at his house.
After all, the fifth season ended with Hiram Lodge’s planted bomb exploding under Archie’s bed as he lay with Betty.
The fact that Archie referenced the ticking and the bomb as part of a bad dream makes me think that this is all just part of his imagination while he recovers.
Therefore, it makes sense that the plot echoes what’s already been established — Cheryl’s wrath and removal from Riverdale, the casino, Jughead and Tabitha’s relationship, etc. Archie’s mind is taking what he already knows and exaggerating it as many nightmares tend to do in a way that doesn’t really make sense but leaves you scarred regardless.
It’s also an interesting move on Riverdale’s part to kill off the main character and explore the next few episodes without Archie as the anchor.
Will the other characters thrive without Archie around?
And who else will be added to the body count as the series continues to draw inspiration from classic horror?
Let us know what you about the premiere in the comments below!
Are you digging the revamped Riverdale? Or do you think the series has gone totally off the rails?
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