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.
Riverdale Review – Things That Go Bump in the Night (6×15)
Saving Riverdale goes hand-in-hand with saving Pop’s. The friendly neighborhood ghosts ensured that Tabitha Tate was well aware of that on Riverdale Season 6 Episode 15.
As the small but mighty town prepares for a full-on good versus evil with Percival Pickens at the helm of the bad team, Tabitha attempted to salvage her family’s business first and foremost.
But every time they tore down Pop’s iconic facade, something went awry. When she saw a ghostly flashback, she tapped Cheryl and Heather, a self-proclaimed witch schooled by a coven in Greendale (hmm sound familiar) for help communicating with the spirit. It was then that she clued into the fact that the diner has been a refuge not only for the living but also for the dead, who were also very much aware of Percival’s plans.
Percival also knew that the spirits were standing in his way by bearing witness to the eldritch evil that they referred to as a ghost train.
It was complicated, even by Riverdale standards, but it confirms that Percival is some kind of evil entity that knows all too much. And the eldritch terrors, well, we’ve come across those in Greendale, so it’s a good thing that they have Heather on hand for intel and information.
The introduction of Heather also bridges the gap between Cheryl and the supernatural. She’s dabbled in it, but the fact that she’s a witch has never been established out loud until now. Heather’s confession about herself prompted Cheryl to be very open about her involvement in the supernatural. Cheryl has pretty much been guiding her powers of pyrokinesis all on her own — sans a few texts from her robust library — so it’ll be nice to have a guide who can help her lean into those powers.
And, of course, Heather is a librarian, so she’ll be able to lend a hand with Cheryl’s idea of expanding Thornhill into a local library. After all, plenty of people already use the location as a source of information.
Am I shipping Heather and Cheryl? I’m not convinced just yet, but maybe it’s because I’m still holding out hope — like many fans — that a Choni reunion is coming. However, I do think that Heather and Cheryl’s interests align better than Choni’s ever have, so that’s an exciting shakeup.
Toni has her hands full in her fight for custody of baby Anthony. She and Fangs are going up against Kevin, and since they are open “gangbangers,” there isn’t much working in their favor. But when the lawyer informed Toni that a healthy family front could persuade the judge, Toni decided to propose to Fangs despite being more and more aware that they aren’t soulmates.
As a mother, I totally understand where Toni is coming from. A mom would do anything for her child, and if that means she has to see eye to eye with Fangs and make him believe that they are destined to be together, so be it.
Fangs is trying his best. I can’t say I agree with his choice to go work for Percival knowing the danger that he poses to the town, but his actions are coming from a place of love, just like Toni’s. He wants to be there for baby Anthony and provide for his family, and Percival’s offer is allowing him to do it. The idea seems to be that he’s selling his soul to take care of his loved ones, but it’s possible having a personal tether can keep him safe from any mind control.
We should all be blaming Kevin for starting this mess to begin with.
We rarely see Jughead and Veronica team up, but boy was it incredibly fun. Veronica came up with a brilliant plan to bring in more revenue to the casino and stick it to the shareholders that were doubting her.
Listen, when you have a friend that can read minds, why not exploit it for profit? And thus, Forsythe the Fantastic — The Seer of the South Side was born. Everyone loves a good magic trick, and this act surely delivered.
And naturally, the haters wanted a piece as well. Reggie immediately hit up Veronica and attempted to blackmail her if she didn’t give him a cut of the profit.
Reggie dangled the fact that Veronica ordered the hit on her father against her, which isn’t entirely fair considering he was only privy to that information on a personal level.
Veronica wasn’t here for any of it, so she called up Jughead to see if his abilities extended to memory wipes as well. Sure enough, Jughead was eager to strengthen his powers, and before Reggie could even say “blackmail,” he forget exactly what he had against Veronica.
Unfortunately, he was aware that he lost a crucial bit of information, so he told Percival, who is now aware that Jughead’s powers are intensifying.
And based on what went down with Frank and Archie, he’s also aware that Archie figured out a way to become invincible.
Having Frank try to undercut Archie clearly underscores just how dangerous Percival’s manipulations are. Frank was always Archie’s biggest cheerleader, so there’s no way he would willingly try to sabotage his nephew’s business. And despite Archie’s best efforts, Frank wasn’t strong enough to use Fred’s memory as a tether.
Archie wouldn’t even know Frank was pulling a fast one on him if it wasn’t for Betty’s ability to see people’s auras. When Betty saw Frank glowing in a red hue, she knew that he wasn’t being truthful about his decision to call a truce.
Betty tried to hone in on her abilities so that she could determine why she was able to see some dangerous auras and not others.
She confided in an FBI agent — Drake — who was definitely helpful, but her help was also slightly concerning. Why didn’t she question anything Betty was saying? Why did she ask Betty if she’s happy living with her boyfriend? It was strange. Why didn’t Betty see any red flags there?
Betty initially thought that her blindspot was anyone with the serial killer gene, but when she tested Dagwood and Juniper, she realized that one of the twins had the gene, but it wasn’t the one glowing in red. I’m glad they are incorporating the twins into the mystery, but I truly don’t want them to be the inhabitants of evil. And I’m really glad Betty saved that cat before Butterscotch met the same fate as Caramel.
Alice dug into Betty when she realized she took the twins from her, and her tirade ended with her informing Betty that she was the villain and has always been bad.
Betty definitely seemed shocked and hurt by the outburst, but it was also leaning into her own biggest fear as she saw a red aura around herself in the mirror.
Who does Betty pose a threat to? Herself? Her loved ones? Juniper and Dagwood? The town? And does Drake know more than she’s letting onto?
Overall, it was an intense night of Riverdale that laid a lot of the groundwork for the final battle.
It’s pretty clear that Percival is going to come for Veronica and Jughead for their little “act,” and will likely take a stab at Pop’s new setup at the El Royale, but if they keep being one step ahead of him and keeping him on his toes, maybe they have a shot at winning this after all?
What did you think of the episode? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Is Moose the TBK on ‘Riverdale’?
Riverdale Review – Venomous (6×14)
I have no idea where Riverdale’s crazy train express is heading, but I do know that I’m fully on board.
Honestly, once you embrace that mess that Riverdale is, you start enjoying the episodes for every sliver of ridiculousness.
There were some grade-A moments on Riverdale Season 6 Episode 14 as the sad superhero squad attempted to wield their powers against Percival. A battle for Riverdale’s soul is imminent, and while they’ve all been graced with superpowers, none of them have been able to see them as a true blessing. Until now.
The episode also reunited some old couples — and yes, there’s definitely some nostalgia about those OG romances, even if you are a present-day Barchie fan.
Archie’s attempt at eliminating palladium as his weakness wasn’t working at first. In fact, it was killing him. He turned to Cheryl for some help in making himself immune to the palladium, but micro-dosing was actually killing him even quicker.
Eventually, Cheryl turned to the ancient alchemists for a solution and decided that the best option was to forge Archie. I didn’t really catch onto what the plan entailed, but basically, it boiled down to Archie chanting a Latin alchemical spell while Cheryl used her powers of pyrokinesis for the foraging.
It was — dramatic, to say the least, but it seemed to do the trick.
Archie was forged, and he became the most powerful being in Riverdale. And hopefully, more impervious to anything that Percival could conjure up on his end.
The decision to pan from a fiery-red, potentially deathly spell over to a product placement for Smartfood popcorn was quite hilarious.
It was yet another subtle reminder that Riverdale can get away with anything and none of us will even question it.
There seems to be a lot of product placement going on this season — don’t worry, Canva, we see you! — and I wonder if that’s how the series was able to secure another season at The CW amid mass cancellations. I’m not complaining in the slightest.
Also turning to Cheryl for some wisdom was Veronica, whose “power” was the kiss of death. It definitely didn’t present as a power at first, but once she got a handle on her abilities and knew that if she kept her chill, she wouldn’t accidentally kill anyone with her venom, she was able to turn it into her power.
The Kiss of the Spiderwoman — any Katy Keene fans here?
The raven-haired goddess — as Cheryl referred to her — rocked those goth looks, and as someone who despises musicals, I quite enjoyed her dark rendition of “Toxic.” Hopefully, Britney Spears enjoyed it as much as Archie did. When have we ever seen him let loose like that? Immortality looks good on him.
Archie’s new power was also able to help Veronica get back to her main character energy. If I’m understanding correctly, he sucked the venom out of her when he kissed her? Betty’s quip was also a subtle way of acknowledging fans who have been slightly peeved that Veronica, a former main character, was sidelined this season. They see you, they feel you.
Since Archie and Veronica fell back into old ways, so did Betty and Jughead as they teamed up once again to solve a mystery.
Seeing them back in action reminded me of how much I missed these two working cases together. I love Tabitha, don’t get me wrong, but Jughead and Betty are the OG’s.
Anyway, Betty wanted Jughead to use his powers to get into her subconscious and help her answer any lingering questions about her father.
Jughead sifting through Betty’s mind was cleverly presented as him looking through the Betty comics — it’s always sweet to see the show acknowledge its roots.
Upon entering the darkest abyss of her mind, he unearthed that Hal Cooper was grooming Betty to be a killer since birth. He also found out that Alice has the serial killer gene and knew all about her husband’s penchant for killing. In one specific instance, he threatened to kill her if she didn’t help him bury the body of a deputy who came to investigate his crimes.
Admittedly, I’m not really interested in exploring Betty’s darkness anymore. I feel like most of the characters have moved on from their previous storylines, but they keep pushing this aspect of Betty down our throats. I’d love for her to fully grow into who she is now because honestly, it almost feels like two different characters and personalities sometimes. The Betty we see grabbing drinks with Vee and having a romantic night with Archie is not the same woman we see exploring this darkness. They have to pick one and stick to it.
Throughout the episode, particularly with Jughead and Betty, flashes of previous memories kept flickering through what seemed to be the fabric of the universe. Is this proof that the memories of the characters in an alternate reality are blending with the characters of this reality?
Even Archie experienced somewhat of deja vu when Jughead said “I contain multitudes” in reference to his comics. Was the multitudes a slight nod to multiverses?
And finally, Cheryl reconnected with Heather, who blew into town in spectacular fashion. She’s a librarian in Greendale now, and from the promo, seems to be dabbling in magic of her own, which isn’t surprising considering our dear friend Sabrina Spellman also resides in Greendale.
I know the consensus among fans is that Cheryl and Toni have to get back together, but I’m not opposed to exploring Cheryl’s past if it allows us to make a full circle and reunite the soulmates down the line.
- Cheryl has the power of pyrokinesis and yet she trusts a Magic 8 Ball to make decisions about her love life.
- I love the shade Cheryl and Nana continuously throw at each other. There’s love there somewhere.
- Betty telling Jughead that he “banged around” in her subconscious had to be a bone that the writers threw Bughead fans.
- It almost seemed like the cast had fun with this episode and just basked in the insanity of their characters.
What did you think of the episode? And where do you think we’re heading this season? Does the Riverdale four (+ friends) have what it takes to stop Percival now that they are fully in control of their powers?
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