Riverdale Recap: Chapter Four

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By: Packy Smith (@nerfedllamas)
 
Previously on Riverdale: Betty and Veronica’s friendship has now solidified during the “sticky maple” incident. Archie finally got an opportunity to sit in during a Josie and the Pussycats rehearsal and was even allowed to help develop the song that the talented ladies were working on. Betty and Jughead re-opened the Riverdale High School newspaper “The Blue and Gold”. All the while, new developments continued to slowly pop up in the bizarre murder of popular teen Jason Blossom. Although Jason became a missing person on July 4th, his autopsy proved that he died a whole week later. Cheryl Blossom confessed to the Sheriff that she had helped Jason set up the boating accident so that he could run away from home. During the planned escape, Cheryl heard a gunshot but neither she nor Jason were struck by the bullet. Archie later corroborated the gunshot story by confessing to the Sheriff that he had heard the same thing while he was at the river on the morning of the 4th. What Archie failed to tell the Sheriff was that the young teen was at the river having a romantic getaway with his young music teacher Ms. Grundy, as he was trying to protect their forbidden relationship. All of this probably would have worked out fine for Archie if another witness, Boy Scout leader Dilton Doiley, hadn’t just told fellow students Jughead and Betty that he saw Ms. Grundy’s car at the river where Archie was. The events of July 4th are coming into sharper focus which ultimately means that certain ugly truths are coming to light and changing Riverdale and its citizens forever.
 
Recap: Chapter Four – “The Last Picture Show”
 
As night gives way to the dawning of a new day, Jughead’s narration brings us up to speed on the day’s events. It has been a full week since Jason Blossom’s corpse was found, but it’s not the murdered teen tragedy that has Jughead all wound up this morning. There’s a different impending death that is causing the young writer to have copious amounts of angst, the Twilight Drive-In Theater is closing permanently and being demolished to make room for new development in Riverdale. Jughead goes on about how the Twilight is a “piece of town history”, but it is also his place of employment. As the set up continues, we are told that Sheriff Keller has been visiting every family in Riverdale, conducting interviews in the hopes of unlocking any new piece of evidence that might bring him closer to the truth behind the murder of Jason Blossom. With neighbors suspecting neighbors, and the general mood of Riverdale becoming more dour as each day passes, Jughead likens the atmosphere to that of Salem during the witch trials. On top of all of this, Betty finds herself emotionally torn as she tries to deal with the newly gained knowledge that her best friend Archie is likely caught up in a forbidden romance with the school’s music teacher Ms. Grundy.
 
Lying in bed, Betty is updating her diary to include the information that she recently received from Dilton. She admits that this is knowledge that the sheriff is not aware of, including that Ms. Grundy was at the river on the day of Jason’s disappearance and that she might have been there with Archie.
 
Meanwhile at a nice park in Riverdale, Fred and Archie Andrews watch a public classical music performance by a small string section that includes Ms. Grundy on cello. Fred mentions to his son that Ms. Grundy is incredible, to which Archie simply answers, “She’s the best.” After the performance concludes, the Andrews boys approach Ms. Grundy. Fred lets her know that whereas he is more of classic rock kind of guy, he found her performance to be beautiful. Archie congratulates his music teacher on the successful production and hands her a lovely bouquet of colorful flowers. Surprising everyone (the audience included!) Fred invites Ms. Grundy to have dinner with him and Archie tonight.
 
Later that night at Pop Tate’s Chock’lit Shoppe, Jughead, Betty, Kevin, and Veronica are sitting in a booth getting ready to eat. Jughead is lamenting the death of his beloved Twilight Drive-In, asserting that it is “just one more nail in the coffin that is Riverdale.” The beanie crown laden lad is quite upset about the matter, and Veronica doesn’t help by simply stating that in this age of Netflix and VOD there really isn’t a good reason for people to go see a movie in their car anymore. Jughead tries to argue that cinephiles, car enthusiasts, and more regularly attend the drive-in, but when he asks for Betty to back him up she is in another world… and yet she still manages to help his cause by instinctively responding, “totally.” It turns out that the Twilight Drive-In is closing because the city was made an anonymous offer to buy the land, which Mayor McCoy graciously accepted. Jughead invites his friends to come to closing night, wherein he suggests that perhaps he will show American Graffiti as the last film. Betty suggests the James Dean classic Rebel Without a Cause, which earns a wry smile from Jughead. Veronica is down for any film starring Audrey Hepburn or Cate Blanchett. Kevin wants it to be the Matt Damon flick the Talented Mr. Ripley. A few booths down, Cheryl and her minions are dining and snarking about Hermione Lodge working as a waitress at Pop Tate’s. Cheryl goes so far as to say that she would have never let Veronica on the cheerleading squad if she had known about her mother waitressing, as it gives a false message of acceptance that she doesn’t want spreading around the school. When Hermione comes by to collect the money for Cheryl’s tab, the redheaded teen tells Mrs. Lodge to make sure that all of the money makes it into the till, stating that Lodges have sticky fingers when it comes to money that doesn’t belong to them. Veronica gets super pissed about it, but Hermione’s got this as she snaps back at Cheryl, “I went to school with your mother, she didn’t know the difference between having money and having class, either.” BOOM! Fred, Archie, and Ms. Grundy walk into the diner, and just as Kevin is making a crack about the oddness of their being together, Betty springs forth towards Archie. Jughead attempts to get her to reconsider, but it’s far too late for that. Betty convinces Archie to talk to her about “school stuff” outside. Jughead is super jittery about what’s getting ready to transpire. Veronica decides that the suspense is too much and is determined to see what Betty and Archie are talking about, much to Jughead’s chagrin.
 
Archie 1
 
Outside the diner in the parking lot, Betty asks Archie if there is anything he wants to tell her about what is going on in his personal life. He attempts to play it off, but then she lets him know that she is fully aware that Ms. Grundy was at the river on July 4th. She wants to know if he was there with Ms. Grundy, together as a couple. Archie is legit shook by this line of questioning, and immediately asks if Jughead told her. Betty’s eyes bug out at the idea of Jughead already knowing about this, but presses onward asking if Archie and Ms. Grundy are a couple. Just as he is about to answer, Veronica shows up and has heard enough of their conversation to put 2 and 2 together. Betty is freaking out, stating that it could lead to jail time. Veronica feels that it is ethically questionable. Archie fires back at both them, letting them know that Ms. Grundy was the only one who believed in him and his music when he needed it the most. Before Betty can respond, her mother drives up and motions for Betty to get in the car. They drive off, but not before her mother makes a snide remark about Betty still hanging out with Archie and Veronica.
 
Back at home, Betty decides to jump on the internet to see what she can find out about Ms. Grundy.
 
As the night draws to a close, Cheryl and her entourage notice a very peculiar incident as they are jamming to some tunes in her car just outside Pop Tate’s. It appears as if Hermione Lodge is having a rather heated discussion with a member of the Southside Serpents, a dastardly gang that has been causing problems all over town recently. Cheryl snaps a quick photo of the lively exchange and smiles deliciously.
 
The next morning in the school hallways, Jughead is handing out flyers for the closing night blowout at the Twilight Drive-In. Archie catches up with his pal and asks him how hard it would have been to at least give him a head’s up that Betty knew about his relationship with Ms. Grundy. Jughead, in his wonderfully sardonic style, tells Archie that not saying anything to either Betty or Archie about what he knew was the most morally apathetic choice he could make. Immediately, Archie becomes concerned that Betty is going to write about the whole situation in the school paper. Juggie stomps that idea down, stating that Betty would never intentionally do anything to hurt Archie. The crowned teen then asks Archie what his long term goals are for being with Ms. Grundy in the first place. Archie says that he wants to be with Ms. Grundy for however long it lasts, to which Jughead says he can relate as he is trying to hold on to something older than him as well. All joking aside, Archie urges Juggie to let him know if Betty is going to do anything crazy.
 
In the music room, Betty is sitting down with Ms. Grundy for an interview. Betty is writing articles about the teaching staff and is wanting to know more about Ms. Grundy for the school paper. The young reporter starts in with a few questions about teaching experience and previous employment. Ms. Grundy is apprehensive, but gives answers to the other schools that she taught at and why she is no longer at those facilities. Betty follows up with questions about Ms. Grundy performing independent music studies with students like Archie. Ms. Grundy indicates that these studies are not out of the ordinary, and that along with Archie she had tutored Tomoko Yoshido and Jason Blossom. Seizing an opportunity at an ultra bizarre moment, Betty mentions that Jason was “pretty cute, right?” The not-so-subtle question makes Ms. Grundy uncomfortable and she ends the interview prematurely, stating that she has a class to prepare for.
 
Relaxing during a free period, Kevin and Veronica are discussing the woefully slim pickings of eligible young gay males in Riverdale. Kevin wants to go to the closing of the Twilight Drive-In, but wishes it could be on a date with someone. Although she can’t promise him a date, Veronica agrees to take him to the movies in an attempt to be his good luck charm. Just then, Cheryl pops in to give Veronica a hard time. Ronnie tells Cheryl that she is just like a stock character from a 90’s teen movie, and to just get to the point. Cheryl shows Veronica the photo of Hermione Lodge talking to the guy from the Southside Serpents. Victorious, Cheryl shimmies away while Veronica asks Kevin who the Southside Serpents are. He lets her know that they are a gang of criminals (drug dealers, thieves, etc.) that won’t seem to go away. Veronica wonders why her mother had any business with them in the first place.
 
At the Pembroke Apartments, Veronica confronts Hermione about the encounter with the Southside Serpent. Hermione shrugs it off, saying that the Southside Serpent was disrespectful and that she was setting him straight. Veronica indicates that talking to a member of a gang alone like that is dangerous. Hermione down plays her daughter’s concern by telling her that she went to school with that particular person and as such did not feel that she was in any danger.
 
Meanwhile at Riverdale Town Hall, Mayor McCoy is explaining to Jughead why she will not consider saving the Twilight Drive-In. In her summation, the drive-in has become a hangout for transients and other ne’er-do-wells, and projects an image that does not fit Riverdale. She says that the deal to close the drive-in is complete and that Andrews Construction will be demolishing the site on Monday. Jughead, in a last ditch effort, explains the importance of the drive-in to the Mayor, telling her a heartfelt story about how his family spent time there, essentially how it is like a home to him. The Mayor appreciates his story, but maintains that tearing it down and building something new will be better for Riverdale in the long run.
 
Archie 2
 
Veronica and Betty meet with Archie to have an intervention of sorts. According to what Betty has been able to turn up in basic internet searches, Ms. Grundy doesn’t exist until a year ago when she started teaching at Riverdale High School. No record of any kind could be found, and even all of her social media accounts started a year ago as well. The only record of any Geraldine Grundy living in the area was an elderly woman that died 7 years ago. Archie is frazzled by all of this news, but he’s even more upset that B & V feel it necessary to continue trying to paint Ms. Grundy in a bad light. He asks Betty, as a friend, to drop the matter. Reluctantly, she agrees and apologizes to Archie.
 
Later on, Archie and Ms. Grundy are watching an old movie on a projector screen at her home. Archie quips that it’s not the same as going to the Twilight Drive-In, but given the taboo nature of their relationship it’s as close as they can come to going to the movies in public. Grundy doesn’t seem to mind, saying that “it’s perfect.” She notes a bit of tension in Archie and asks him if something is wrong. He plays it off and talks about how they have spent so much time focusing on him and his music and as such he feels as if he hardly knows anything about her. She opens up and tells him that he can ask her anything. Right off the bat, he asks her if she always wanted to be a teacher. Ms. Grundy laughs and feeds Archie a tale about how she graduated from Julliard with the hopes of joining one of the big symphonies at Carnegie Hall or the Lincoln Center. Ultimately, she didn’t make the cut. She says that she once had that career goal as a dream, but in the end that’s all it ever was: a dream. Archie asks her if their relationship is just a dream, to which Ms. Grundy says that even if it is just a dream, that it is a nice one and that they are together and for her that is good enough.
 
Just outside Ms. Grundy’s home, Betty and Veronica are still in full-on investigation mode. Betty pulls a Slim Jim out of a bag and shimmies the lock open on Grundy’s classic Volkswagen Beetle. Veronica wants to know if they plan on committing any more crimes, and if so are they only doing this only because Betty is still hung up on Archie. Betty says they are snooping around Ms. Grundy’s vehicle because Archie is incapable of being objective about the fact that Ms. Grundy may not be who she says she is. While pilfering through the Beetle, Betty runs across a metal cash box that is locked up tight. Asking for a hairpin from Veronica, Betty uses her Nancy Drew skillset to pick the lock. The contents of the box prove to be most interesting: A Minnesota state driver’s license that has Ms. Grundy’s picture but with the name Jennifer Gibson printed on it, and also there is a rather large handgun in the box as well. Both B & V are significantly shocked at finding these new pieces of evidence.
 
On his way home, Archie finds Betty and Veronica waiting for him. Intervention 2.0 begins in earnest. Archie is already done with this conversation, but Betty stands her ground as she and Veronica tell him about the gun and the driver’s license with the name Jennifer Gibson on it. Archie is confused and asks, “Then who is she?” To which Veronica quips, “Obviously some sketch-queen named Jennifer Gibson.” Betty takes it a step further and speculates that Ms. Grundy could be involved in Jason Blossom’s murder. Archie vehemently denies that Ms. Grundy could be capable of murder. Hoping to reach her friend, Betty dials it back a tiny bit and asks him if he has confronted Ms. Grundy about her name or work history. Archie has not, but the wheels of possibilities are spinning in his mind as he walks away from the ladies and into his home.
 
The next day Jughead pays a visit to Fred at the Andrews Construction office. The determined teen tries to convince Fred to give him one week to track down the anonymous buyer of the Twilight Drive-In, before the construction team tears it down. Fred is sympathetic to Jughead’s request, but argues that it is a big contract that can’t wait, and a big deal for his company and also a good pay day to his team. Jughead erupts at Mr. Andrews and tells him that it’s bad enough that he put one Jones out of work, now he’s about to put another out of a job. Fred knows that Juggie is hurting, but defends himself by telling Jughead that his father, Mr. Jones, was stealing material and that is why he was let go. Jughead scoffs, and leaves the office seeing as there is nothing he can do to convince Mr. Andrews to stop the demolition of the Twilight Drive-In.
 
Back at Town Hall, Hermione Lodge drops off a huge cash money “re-election campaign contribution” directly to the Mayor. In exchange, it is revealed that Lodge Industries gets to purchase the Twilight Drive-In lot, apparently a prime piece of real estate in Riverdale. The Mayor lets Hermione know that this deal must remain a secret, and Hermione agrees so long as the Mayor holds up her end of the deal (whatever that means at this point).
Archie finally works up the courage to ask Ms. Grundy some hard questions about her past and her identity. Ms. Grundy tells him that she was married before to a man who was an alcoholic. One time her husband gave her a severe beating that landed her in the emergency room with multiple serious injuries. She gave him a second chance and shortly thereafter she was harshly abused again. Choosing to leave, she got a divorce, legally changed her name, and started over in Riverdale. She finishes her explanation by putting a special emphasis on finding Archie and the special relationship that they’ve cultivated. The couple embrace as Archie attempts to start processing the information that she just gave him.
 
At the Keller residence, the sheriff is hard at work on Jason Blossom’s murder investigation. A peg board full of printed materials, photographs, and strings tacked strategically to items that are seemingly linked together in one way or another hangs on the wall. Kevin brings his father a drink and makes a special note of his “True Detective” wall. The sheriff’s son would like to borrow the truck tonight to go to the closing event at the Twilight Drive-In. They have a fun conversation about the state of same-sex dating in Riverdale, wherein Kevin concedes that he is the only nice gay kid at his school and as such he’ll be taking Veronica to the movies. The sheriff agrees to lend Kevin the truck, but advises his son to stay at the movies and not to go cruising around while there is a murderer still on the loose.
 
Hal and Alice Cooper making an unannounced visit to Fred Andrews. They are concerned about the way that Archie’s supposedly bad influence is having on their daughter Betty, and they bluntly ask for Fred’s help in ensuring that Archie and Betty do not spend any more time together. Fred assures them that his son is a good kid, but Alice counters his argument by stating that she sees Archie sneaking out of the house at all hours of the day. Mr. Andrews asks if they have been spying on is home, and with that the Coopers decide to leave before the conversation can go any further.
 
Meanwhile Archie and Betty are having a conversation about Ms. Grundy. Archie gets his best friend up to speed on what the teacher told him, and even though she is much more relaxed about the topic, Betty is still skeptical. If nothing else, Betty asks Archie to think about his relationship with Ms. Grundy and how it has affected his life and the lives of those around him. Archie reassures his friend that he will take all of it into consideration as he deals with his relationship with Ms. Grundy on his own terms.
 
Archie 3
 
At the Pembroke Apartments, Smithers brings a freshly dry-cleaned dress for Hermione Lodge to wear tonight. She mentions that everything is “in place” and that she is going to the closing of the Twilight Drive-In with Fred Andrews tonight so as to not appear like an “old crone” in front of everyone in the town. I think we can all assume that everything that Hermione is doing at this point is an act that she has to maintain until her husband Hiram is released from jail and allowed to come to Riverdale.
 
Alice is putting freshly folded laundry away in Betty’s room when she finds Ms. Grundy’s pistol buried under some clothes in the dresser. Immediately she finds Betty’s diary and is shocked at what she reads. As Betty makes it home from school, her mother confronts her about the pistol and tells her that she will explain everything in the car.
 
It is closing night at the Twilight Drive-In, and Jughead has taken Betty’s recommendation to heart and put Rebel Without a Cause on the big screen. The drive-in lot is packed as Riverdale comes together to celebrate the legacy of the once popular entertainment venue. Sheriff Keller is slowly patrolling the lot to remind the townsfolk that they are safe. Kevin and Veronica are snuggled together in the bed of his father’s truck, enjoying the movie as Cheryl Blossom drives up and decides to join them. In another vehicle, Fred and Hermione reminisce over watching the horror film Candyman at the drive-in a long time ago, where they shared a kiss. Hermione receives a text and says that she is going to get something from the concession stand. After she leaves, Alice bangs on Fred’s window and tells him that something’s going on with the kids. The Southside Serpents are at the drive-in as well, and they are enjoying the film in the loudest and most obnoxious way. Veronica sasses them into quieting down, stating that she hates when people disrespect her cinematic experience. In a bid to get Cheryl to leave for a bit, Veronica asks her to get a popcorn refill, but Cheryl flips it and has Kevin go get it. Kevin hops out of the truck, and as Veronica scoots over to get some space from Cheryl, she notices Hermione meeting with a Southside Serpent by the side of the concession stand. At the concession stand, Kevin orders a veritable truck load of snacks and drinks. As he is leaving, Kevin is stopped by a young attractive male member of the Southside Serpents. On the other side of the building, while Veronica secretly watches, Hermione gives a paper bag full of money to the same member of the Southside Serpents that she spoke with at Pop Tate’s. The Serpent asks where the rest of the money is. Hermione assures him that the cash equals the agreed upon amount. The Serpent scoffs and tells her that perhaps he needs to speak with her husband, Hiram Lodge. She tells him that for as long as Hiram is in jail, that all transactions will go through her. He tells her to enjoy her movie and that he will be in touch. (brief side note, I feel that it is a genuine missed opportunity that they did not have the king of drive-in movies, Joe Bob Briggs make a cameo to lament the death of yet another drive-in theater.)
 
Over at Riverdale High School, Archie visits Ms. Grundy in her classroom to give her a present. It is a fancy new bow for her cello. She asks if it’s to make her feel better about her tragic past. Archie insists that it is not, that is a thank you gift for her guidance. He tells her that he thinks that they should end the private lessons. Ms. Grundy asks if it is a goodbye gift. The young musician tells her it’s a “see-you-around-the-halls” and “don’t-forget-me” gift, essentially putting their relationship to rest. Ms. Grundy understands, and in her own way even silently agrees with Archie. She gives him a final hug when suddenly the door swings wide open to reveal Alice, Fred and Betty. Alice revels in the perfect timing of catching the couple in an intimate embrace. Ms. Grundy attempts to go on the defensive, but Alice shuts her down quick, asking Archie to spill all the lurid details and to not leave anything out because Betty keeps a meticulously detailed diary. Betty mouths “sorry”, as Archie contemplates his next words carefully.
 
Back at the Twilight Drive-In, Kevin and the young Southside Serpent are making out against chain link fence. Kevin appreciates the interest, but has to go back to Veronica before she becomes suspicious of where he’s run off to. The Serpent understands and introduces himself as Joaquin. Kevin asks for Joaquin’s phone and then proceeds to enter his contact information into it, urging the Serpent to “Use it.” Joaquin notices the last name Keller and asks if it is any relation to the sheriff. Kevin says that it is and asks if that’ll be a problem. Joaquin asks if being a Southside Serpent will be a problem. Kevin casually replies, “I won’t tell if you won’t.”
 
Meanwhile in the music classroom, Alice is on her soapbox calling Ms. Grundy a child predator. Archie steps in to defend Ms. Grundy, but she tells him doesn’t need to and Fred agrees. Archie steps in and states that this was not Ms. Grundy’s doing, that he pursued her. Alice glances over to Fred and quips, “no surprise there!” Betty takes her mother to task over the situation, but Alice tells her that it needs to happen this way, that Betty needs to see Archie for the bad kind of person that he is. Having seen enough, Fred jumps in and pumps the breaks on this whole scenario. Knowing that it is about Alice’s grudge with Archie and not about the forbidden relationship, Fred puts his foot down and says that he and Archie are done here. Betty lets her mother know that she and Archie will always be friends and that this incident will not change that. Archie interjects once more, admitting his culpability in the relationship and asking Alice to not hurt Ms. Grundy just because she is upset with him. Alice, in her sarcastic way, says it is not about hurting people, it’s about doing what’s right and informing the public via her newspaper. Betty has had enough and tells Alice that if she publishes a word about this in the paper that she will come forward, admit to breaking into Ms. Grundy’s car and stealing her property, and that she will personally testify that she made up the story about Archie and Ms. Grundy’s relationship. Stating that it’ll make people think she snapped like her sister Polly, Betty finishes her argument by stating that the whole town will then believe that crazy runs in the Cooper family. Ms. Grundy declares that she will quit and move out of town the following day. Alice agrees to Ms. Grundy’s proposal. Fred says that this is for the best and that he will make sure that Alice keeps her word about keeping this out of the paper. Archie is 100% unhappy about this outcome as he and Ms. Grundy share a brief emotional glance before she leaves.
 
Sheriff Keller and Kevin come home from the movies, only to find that their home has been broken into. Most of the items on the peg board have been torn down and the sheriff’s office has been completely ransacked.
 
Hermione makes it back to the apartment, only to find Veronica waiting for her. Veronica demands answers for her mother’s interactions with the Southside Serpents. Seeing no way out of the conversation, Hermione tells her daughter that Hiram has been paying the Southside Serpents to perform certain tasks to ensure that drive-ins land value would decrease, so that they could buy the land from an offshore account. Hiram has sunk the remainder of the family’s money into this business venture and as such everything must go according to plan if they want to live lavishly like they use to in New York.
 
Freshly parked in their driveway, Fred opens the truck door for Archie and tells his son that he not all of those bad things that were said and that tonight wasn’t his fault. Archie reluctantly gets out of the truck and breaks down crying. Fred embraces his son to comfort him.
 
In Betty’s bedroom, Alice tells Betty that secrets are what drove a wedge between her and Polly and that she will not have her youngest daughter go down the same path. Betty asks her mother to say her name which results in Alice replying “Elizabeth.” Betty uses that as the cornerstone of her argument, that she is Betty, not Polly, and that Archie is not Jason, which means that none of the things that happened to her sister apply to the current situation. Ultimately, Betty tells her mother to stop using Polly and Jason as a reason to control her life. Alice leaves and Betty paces her room until she eventually sees Archie moping in his room in the house next door. She texts an apology and he accepts, adding that “U were trying to help…” They smile briefly at each other. Betty lies down on her bed and updates her diary, narrating that love makes us all do crazy things. She confesses that some of the things she has done recently were a bit over the top, possibly even wrong, but she does believe that having Ms. Grundy out of the picture is a good thing.
 
Jughead packs his belongings up at the Twilight Drive-In. Amongst his possessions are some clothes and an old picture of him and his sister Jellybean. As he gets ready to leave the projection room, it is revealed that there is a cot up against the wall and that Jughead has in fact been living there. Outside the projection room, Jughead spray paints a crown on the wall with the following enscription underneath, “Jughead Jones wuz here.” Collecting his overstuffed backpack, Jughead starts to leave as the Southside Serpent that Hermione Lodge had been dealing with stops him. The Serpent tells Jughead that the powers that be will knock this building and the whole lot of the drive-in down. Jughead jokes that maybe they’ll keep the pieces and in a 100 years rebuild it. The Serpent asks where Jughead will he’ll stay now, and Jughead replies, “I’ll figure it out, dad. I always do.”
 

My hot take on the fourth episode:

 
Betty Cooper totally took Ms. Grundy down. I think the exit of Ms. Grundy, although seemingly handled by Alice, was 100% orchestrated by Betty. Betty knew that the only way she could maintain her friendship with Archie (and potentially still obtain his affection), but also get Ms. Grundy out of Riverdale, was to plant the gun in her clothing dresser and leave an explicitly well documented account of Archie’s affair with the teacher for her mother to find. As long as mother was the accuser, Betty would be in the clear. Bottom line, Betty is playing the game on a level that no one else is operating on right now… and I’m not sure how I feel about shady and manipulative Betty. To her credit, her plan was sheer elegance in its simplicity.
 
Ding-Dong the Grundy is gone! Archie’s affair with his young Mrs. Robinson-esque teacher was a perfectly fine way to add a quick subversive twist to the Archie lore. The problem with this kind of story is it can’t be maintained for any prolonged period of time for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is because it is takes Archie off the dating field in Riverdale. If there is one thing that the show is lacking, it is active romances that viewers can “ship”. Archie magically becoming free to find a contemporary to date will only be a good thing for the show, and again make it feel more like a classic Archie comic.
 
Where’s the new music? With no new songs by the Josie and the Pussycats nor Archie, it left the episode feeling a little off from the last 3 episodes where we got a nice selection of vocal performances. Hopefully we get some new tunes in the next chapter.
 
Fred adjusted to his son’s predicament with Ms. Grundy exceptionally well! The more screen time Fred Andrews gets, the more Luke Perry shows off the nuance in the character. The emotions that he portrayed between finding out that his son was dating a teacher all the way to fighting off Alice when it was clear that she only wanted to attack his son, was some fine acting. Coupled with his acceptance of Archie’s music goals in the previous episode, Fred is slowly becoming one of my favorite characters.
 
Hiram Lodge is trying to buy up significant chunks of Riverdale. It’s good to see that another classic trope from the comic books is bleeding into Riverdale. Hiram Lodge is forever trying to buy up Riverdale and turn it all into investment properties and retail stores. To see that Hermione coming to Riverdale was all part of his plan to bring their family back to wealth and prominence makes total sense.
 
Kevin Keller finding a spot of romance this early in the series is a good thing. It has been mentioned multiple times in Riverdale that same-sex dating options are extremely limited. For Kevin to find a potential boyfriend by the fourth episode of the the first season is great. The fact that Joaquin is mysterious and a bit of a trouble maker should make tap dancing around Sheriff Keller even more fun to watch in the future.
 
Betty’s narration at the end of the episode was a nice change. Don’t get me wrong, Cole Sprouse does a wonderful job performing Jughead’s intro and closing narrations. It was just nice for another character to voice their take on the events. Hopefully they will allow other characters an opportunity to narrate in upcoming episodes.
 

Be sure to tune in for the next episode, where Jason’s funeral is primed to bring long gestating issues to the forefront of the once quiet and peaceful town of Riverdale.


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