So! Everyone who had your wager on “Betty is Polly” I’ve got some bad news for you, as the mystery of Jason Blossom’s disappearance and murder grow ever deeper and Archie’s superpower of turning women against each other continues to exhibit itself.
This week on… Riverdale!
The main mystery is in Jughead & Betty’s capable hands. After a sneaky reconnaissance into Ma Cooper’s purse to look at her check register (this week’s example of oddly anachronistic content on Riverdale) the intrepid investigators find the missing Polly at The Sisters of Quiet Mercy, a home for troubled youth.
In the b plot, Archie is auditioning for the talent show. Poorly. A little Reggie led heckling (seriously, Mantle! Cut him a break) finds Archie fleeing the stage to seek refuge with Pussycat Valerie. He pleads her to back him up on stage but she reminds him she’s part of a team already. It’s not like a person can be part of more than one team.
Veronica interjects, both strong-arming Kevin Keller into putting Archie on the bill and offering to be his partner onstage.
Of course, a Pussycats rehearsal leads to Josie discovering Val is songwriting with Archie. Josie is enraged to learn this, and orders Val to turn in her ears for hats.
Andrews Construction is threatening to go under unless Fred can get the contract for the big new development (which his accountant happens to be part of the board for? Nice coincidence, that!). They fall into each others arms, just in time to be spotted by Veronica bringing her a plant to brighten up the office/trailer. Ronnie confronts her mom later, afraid her parents will split when her dad gets out of jail for unclear financial chicanery.
The stakes on the variety show get raised, with the revelation that the entire staff of Andrews Construction is coming, as is Josie’s previously unknown dad, who is himself a travelling musician.
Ronnie and Archie have a passionate confrontation over Valerie joining the act (and their impending step-siblinghood) leading to her quitting Archie’s act and joining the Pussycats. Good thing they had a spare set of ears for hats, I’m just saying. Cut hallway walk scene. I always love those.
Thankfully, we get back to the good stuff with Jutty’s (that’s what I call them!) continuing Pollyquest. Betty and her sister who is actually not her are reunited, and we learn that Polly is actually bearing Jason’s child. Gasp!
Jason and Polly had planned to elope, but the Coopers scooped up Polly and had her committed to the Sisters’ care. Polly is also unaware of Jason’s passing, telling Betty of her and Jason’s plans, leading her to a secret getaway.
Back to rehearsals, Veronica is distracted from pussycat plans while Val needs Archie to focus (FOCUS!) on preparing for the talent show.
Betty gets tossed out of the convent, but not before Polly confronts their mother for keeping her in the dark about her fiance’s passing.
One of the most awkward dinners ever follows. Josie’s dad is a cutting conversationalist, taking chunks out of his daughter’s talent and Archie’s musical knowledge over Brussels sprouts.
Ma Cooper goes a bit Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff on her family, oozing hate for Jason and her own husband, but sparing the brunt of her dislike for the departed Jason Blossom.
Fred Andrews’ development offer gets rejected by her owner because, shucks, they can’t do until the buyer gave permission.
Hermione (a.k.a. one third of the buyer) tries to get Veronica on board with giving the gig to Fred, but Veronica won’t do so. Thankfully, her mom is able to simulate Veronica’s signature enough to put the agreement through.
Archie talks through his butterflies with his dad, which parallels a discussion between Veronica and Josie in Pop Tate’s Choklit Shop.
Archie decides to go a bit Nietzschean, deciding he will perform solo, as he was born and died, and saying he doesn’t want to Yoko the Pussycats (although comparing them to the Beatles may be a bit generous).
Valerie rejoins the Pussycats (interrupted by a brief CoverGirl product placement. Okay, not so brief as disturbingly blatant).
Jughead and Betty, meanwhile, interrupt a moment of passion (Jughead kissed a girl!) to go search out Jason and Polly’s getaway vehicle. Stashed away is Jason’s jacket, clothes, and a bundle of drugs (gasp!) Jughead puts his hand right onto. They’re observed by a mysterious figure, which explains why after they leave to get Sherrif Keller they return to find the getaway vehicle in flames. Although I suspect the brick of hash Jughead manhandled will find its way back into play.
The talent show has apparently only two acts; Josie’s dad leaves midway through the Pussycats’ performance, and Archie manages to overcome his stage fright (and a vicious Mantle burn) to perform his signature piece. Post show (which, once again, two acts) he meets Valerie in the hall for a kiss, which reminds me that I need to know their ship name. Archerie? Valerieie? I’m just spit-balling here.
Veronica learns of her mother’s perfidy, and Josie must deal with her dad’s rejection. Jutty’s attempt to recover Polly ends in them finding her room empty, with a bloodstained, shattered window. Duh duh duh!
Every Archie storyline just feels like a distraction from the interesting evolution happening around him. He’s a Degrassi kid in the middle of a corporate infighting and murder investigations. Bring your A game, you ginger goof!
The Polly/Jason story remains the dramatic core of the show, and I enjoyed seeing the evolution of it this week. We must wonder who the mysterious figure in the dark is. Ma Cooper? Cheryl Blossom? An unknown participant? Oh, this is gonna be a good one.