Riverdale has only got two episodes left of season 3’s first half, and the storylines show no sign of slowing down before the winter finale next week.
Last time, Archie may have been exonerated from his jail stint (not that he was in there anyway), but he decided that to protect himself and Veronica from her father Hiram he was going to leave Riverdale, to her heartbreak.
Don’t worry though, as Archie has his best friend Jughead by his side throughout/
Betty, meanwhile, was left in a dire situation when she was forcibly admitted to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy by her own mother Alice, in a bid to keep her safe.
But little does Alice know, the Sisters harbor the exact evil she wanted to protect Betty from.
This week’s episode, The Man in Black, did a little format change with named chapters to the installment.
Archie and Jughead
Laurie Lake (guest star Riley Keough) gives Archie a close shave
(Image: The CW)
Having been on the road for days now and Betty not answering their calls (but Jug thinks she can handle herself), Archie and Jug week refuge on a fam where a young girl holds her at gunpoint until her sister has them lower their guns.
The elder sister says she is Laurie Lake and the younger sister is Gracie. Laurie offers the boys food and a place to stay in their barn. Jug and Archie ask about where the rest of the family is and Laurie says her father and brother are working away, which Jug later tells Archie he doesn’t believe.
Jug notices sparks fly between Archie and Laurie, as Archie earns his keep by doing chores.
Jug goes into town to take photos but finds Griffins and Gargoyles symbols dotted around town. Jug asks an old woman about the symbols and she says the town has changed due to drugs – jingle jangle and fizzle rocks.
Laurie shave Archie (he’s tookess naturally), she then straddles him and they share a passionate kiss. Archie rejects her, however, after thinking of Veronica. Archie tells Laurie of why he’s on the run and confesses his true identity and relationship with Hiram Lodge.
Jug takes photos and finds Gargoyle King graffiti before spotting young girls playing Griffins and Gargoyles and taking fizzle rocks. The girls reveal all the men left town to build the prison for ‘The Man in Black’ – Hiram Lodge – who Laurie and Gracie’s dad works for.
Jug returns to the Farm but Laurie has already knocked Archie unconscious and Hiram has turned up, Jug covertly frees Archie. Archie wants to stay and kill Hiram with a pair of shears, prompting Jug to say that they need to run and Veronica won’t forgive him.
Hiram promises Laurie that in exchange for Archie then the Lake family debts will be wiped – but the boys are already gone.
On the run again, Jug suggests to Archie they go to stay with his mum, Gladys.
Veronica hits the tables on a casino night.
(Image: The CW)
Hermione finds Veronica packing her bags to leave her parents’ home after Sheriff Minetta goes missing just as evidence came up against him. Veronica asks Hermione to leave with her, but she refuses.
At La Bonne Nuit, Veronica sleeps at her bar and gets up to clean Pop’s diner early. Reggie tried to comfort Veronica as she fears for the future of the bar, until he suggests a side hustle – making it a casino.
Veronica cuts a deal with rich kid Elio to get big spenders in and she’ll cut him in.
Hiram shows up at Pop’s and wants Veronica to return home and not do business with Elio and his criminal connections. Hiram tries to appeal to his daughter, but she rejects him.
The casino night is successful until Elio cheats his way through to potentially bankrupting the bar, but Veronica warns him to walk away. Elio refuses until Veronica wages Pop’s and the bar on one hand of Black Jack against him, until Veronica wins and gets a lot of money in for the bar.
Veronica then reveals to Reggie that her father warned her of Elio cheating and planned to con her. Hiram persuaded Veronica to stack the deck in her favour and she won.
Pop bemoans Veronica letting crime into their property and he asks her to not be like her father, but she’s already coming around to Hiram. Pop reveals that they found Sheriff Minetta’s decapitated body with his hands sawed off.
Betty is a patient at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy.
(Image: The CW)
Betty is in the Sisters of Quiet Mercy and tries to play the game to ensure her eventual release, completing a Rorschach test with Sister Woodhouse by using (fake) innocent answers and pretending to take her meds (fizzle rocks).
Betty is given Ethel Muggs as a roommate but she plans on escaping through the same door that Veronica broke Cheryl out through in season 2. Ethel reveals that she speaks to the Gargoyle King in his room at the institution, with Sister Woodhouse sending girls there who ‘misbehave’. Ethel tells Betty that she isn’t scared of the Gargoyle King. Ethel tells Betty that Jug is more into her than Betty – prompting an argument between them, Ethel saying she’s better than Betty and is the Queen Bee.
Betty tries to appeal to Ethel, but she is aware that Betty isn’t taking her fizzle rocks.
Betty helps take care of the garden when she spots Claudius Blossom make a supposed maple syrup delivery before then spotting Hiram Lodge turn up to meet Sister Woodhouse. An inmate calls Hiram “the Man in Black”, and reveals he is a major donor to the Sisters.
Betty remembers that Hiram was the one who brought fizzle rocks to the school on the night Principal Featherhead died all those years ago.
Betty searches for records until she finds what she believes to be the Gargoyle King’s chamber. Betty tried to enter until she hears a scream – she hides and sees a frightened young girl taken out of it by Sister Woodhouse. Betty then tries to go inside until Ethel stops her and orders her to return to their room.
Betty tries to act normal and takes a paper clip to try and use to get in the room. Ethel asks Betty to play Griffins and Gargoyles, and Betty gets an idea to start a fight with her over Jughead, who Ethel claims the Gargoyle King wants to be with her and they’re a ship. Betty mockingly calls them “Ethelhead”, prompting Ethel to accuse her of being jealous and not worthy to meet the Gargoyle King.
Betty then fakes a seizure to get into the infirmary so she can have access to medical files. Using her paper clip she gets inside and finds her medical file, where she deduces that Hiram Lodge is using the patients to test fizzle rocks and he has recommended her dose be upped to Sister Woodhouse.
Armed with proof, Betty flees to her escape route but finds it bricked up, to her horror and Sister Woodhouse, the orderlies, and Ethel find her there. Betty is force fed jingle jangle and then Woodhouse suggests that she needs a talking to from the Gargoyle King.
Betty is taken inside the King’s room, where she is bathed in red light and screams.
The episode ends on Sister Woodhouse giving Betty another Rorschach test but this time she responds honestly to testing and envisions the Gargoyle King – who she is now brainwashed into serving.
Another mad cliffhanger from Riverdale until next week.
Gina Gershon as Gladys Jones in Riverdale
(Image: The CW)
In next week’s midseason finale, Outbreak, Jug and Archie visit Gladys Jones and Jug’s sister Jellybean, Veronica and Cheryl team up against their parents, and Betty edges closer to the truth about Griffins and Gargoyles.
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Riverdale drops new episodes weekly on Netflix.