This post contains spoilers for Riverdale season 4 episode 4
It’s Halloween in Riverdale and why do one scary story when you can do several at the same time?
We start immediately where we left off, with the mysterious VCR tape that was left on the front porch. Jughead, Betty, Alice, FP and Charles all gather around the TV to watch it. Why there’s a VCR player in the Cooper/Jones house is not explained. Jughead, at least, comments that it’s anachronistic.
Hils: Who even has a VCR player?
Lindsey: Ahahah thank you Jughead. It IS anachronistic
Just skirting the fourth wall there
It transpires that just about every household in the town has received one, and all the tapes contain are hours of footage of the outside of the recipients house, showing that they’re being watched. Which is creepy, yes, but not really by Riverdale standards.
Alice and FP appeared to have jumped right back where they left off with their relationship before Gladys showed up, turned out to be a criminal mastermind, and then Alice joined a cult undercover for the FBI (I love this show).
I’m not sure an FBI agent would be allowed to stick around to help a small town sheriff deal with some strange tapes, but Charles is definitely suspect. More on that later.
Probably the most disturbing scene in the entire episode is Cheryl and Toni happily carving pumpkins together. We pan back and
Lindsey: OH MY GOD
Hils: I JUST SCREAMED
Wow Toni is remarkably chill about the corpse sitting at their table
Lindsey: This. Is. Fucked. Up.
Toni convinces Cheryl to bury Jason (who knows how much time has passed between her finding his body in the previous episode and now) and Cheryl ominously warns Toni that Jason isn’t going to like it. Why Toni didn’t run for the hills as soon as she found Cheryl with her brother’s corpse I don’t know.
Back to Stonewall Prep and Moose says he’s thinking of dropping out of school to join the army. You have to feel sorry for Moose. He keeps getting caught up in the stuff that’s happening to everyone else.
Betty, understandably, is a little on edge with people in Riverdale dressing up as the Gargoyle King and the Black Hood. I do like it when shows have continuity and characters experience fallout from what happened to them in previous seasons. It’s all too common for characters just to come back in a new season like nothing had ever happened.
Apparently, the community centre got opened somewhere between the last episode and this one. Veronica proposes they throw a Halloween party to keep the kids away from Dodger, who Archie beat up in the previous episode. She says she’ll sort out costumes for Archie and Mad Dog and you just know this is going to be good.
Meanwhile, back at Stonewall Prep, Bret has moved from snarky comments about Jughead to not-so-subtle threats. And, apparently, Mr Chipping has no problem with this.
Cheryl and Toni return from burying Jason to find a creepy doll sitting on the couch. Apparently this is Jason’s ghost who is mad at Toni for making Cheryl bury him. Cheryl doesn’t seem particularly concerned that her brother is now seemingly haunting them.
Lindsey: Cheryl is NOT well
Hils: She really isn’t
Donna, who was last seen beating Bret and Jughead in the story writing contest, drugs Jughead so Bret and the rest of their group can teach him a lesson, or get him to leave.
Lindsey: You did WHAT to Jughead?
Hils: GDI Donna I thought you were the nice one!
So, by the time the title screen appears, we’ve got creepy video tapes, a possible haunting, and an urban legend about disappearing students that may or may not be true.
Yeah, this is definitely a Halloween episode and done in true Riverdale style.
Last episode, Veronica had Archie and Mad Dog cleaning cars while shirtless. This week Veronica has them wearing spandex superhero costumes for Halloween. She knows what she likes, we have to give her that.
Lindsey: OH MY GOD SUPERHERO ARCHIE AND MAD DOG
Hils: Mad Dog is totally not Captain America
Lindsey: SO HERE FOR KNOCK-OFF CAPTAIN AMERICA MUNROE
Betty and Jellybean are spending the evening at home. Jellybean is dressed as Rosie the Riveter and Betty is dressed as Laurie Strode from the original Halloween movie.
Lindsey: Oh good work, Betty. Dressing up as a character from Halloween isn’t going to end badly at all.
Trick or Treaters come to the door and of course they’re dressed as the Black Hood and the Gargoyle King.
Hils: Who the fuck lets their kids dress up as a serial killer who JUST LAST YEAR literally murdered people that everyone knew .
Jughead wakes up to find that he’s been buried alive. Again.
Lindsey: Oh shit Jughead.
Hils: Oh god no no no no
I have major claustrophobia and just the thought of being buried alive freaks me out.
In true Halloween style, Betty receives a creepy phone call from someone claiming to be the Black Hood who asks if she’s checked on the children lately.
Lindsey: Oh NO the ‘go check on the children’ thing I haaaate it.
Hils: Well, she did dress up as Laurie Strode
Veronica is getting ready to lock up the diner when a creepy trucker arrives and asks if he can get a meal before he gets back on the road to return to his family. Not suspicious at all.
Archie and Mad Dog run off Dodger who tries to crash their party, but we almost certainly haven’t seen the last of him.
Cheryl and Toni, dressed as Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn respectively, are settling down for some Halloween sex when they hear the twins crying on the baby monitor. Only because this is Riverdale, and it’s Halloween, instead of crying babies there’s Nana Rose saying she could hear Jason crying in the chapel.
Lindsey: Oh, good, spooky Nana is even spookier at this time of year
And spooky doll is even spookier than usual too.
Because, of course, when Cheryl and Toni get to the chapel to investigate the crying, the creepy doll is sat there even though Toni threw it away.
Hils: CREEPY DOLLS ARE NOT FUN
I’m glad I have all the lights on. I am so bad at horror movies.
Cheryl suggests they have a seance to talk to Jason, which is a bad idea at any time of year, never mind on Halloween.
Meanwhile Jellybean decides to prank Betty by pretending to be dead. Which is fine, after everything Jellybean knows Betty has been through.
Lindsey: JELLYBEAN YOU LITTLE SHIT
And, with perfect timing, just as Betty recovers from that, the phone rings again.
It’s ‘the Black Hood’ who tells her the call is coming from inside the house.
Hils: THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE
Lindsey: OH GOOD THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE THAT’S WHAT WE NEED
Generally, at least once per episode, Lindsey and I fall into all caps. That’s just the sort of show Riverdale is.
Hils: Charles is making the calls. I’m calling it now
Lindsey: I WAS JUST ABOUT TO SAY THAT
There’s a knock at the door. It’s Charles.
Well, you can’t get them all right.
Jughead is still buried alive and starting to panic.
Hils: Okay, I know darkness is scary but that fire is burning what little oxygen you have
Yes, it’s easy for me to be pragmatic when I’m not buried alive.
Veronica serves a meal to the creepy trucker who shows her a photo of his family who he says are angels.
Hils: Trucker is a ghost. Calling it now
Lindsey: See, I went murderer
Spoiler alert: One of us was right.
Dodger moves to lurking outside the community centre with his gang and to show he’s serious he shows Archie his underwear. Oh, and the gun he’s carrying.
Now, I’ll admit that I know very little about gangs, or guns for that matter, but that does not look like a safe or comfortable way to carry a gun.
Of course no one at the police station answers the phone because I’m sure they have better things to do than confront guys with guns threatening a bunch of kids.
Meanwhile, back in ‘this is a terrible idea’ land, Cheryl’s seance doesn’t contact Jason but Julian. We then hear the rather disturbing story of how Penelope Blossom was originally expecting triplets but that Cheryl had absorbed him during the pregnancy. Unable to cope, Penelope bought the creepy doll and raised it as Julian alongside Jason and Cheryl.
Naturally Lindsey and I processed this development with a calm and rational demeanor.
Hils: WHAT THE EVER LOVING FUCK
THIS WHOLE FAMILY IS INSANE
Lindey: ABSOLUTELY BATSHIT
Toni agrees to dig up Jason and bury the doll in his place, making her the most tolerant girlfriend on the planet.
Lindsey: Okay, Toni, there’s appeasement and there’s whatever the fuck this is
When the character of Mr Honey was introduced, Lindsey and I were expecting another Principal Snyder. It transpires that Mr Honey is far more manipulative than that, using Reggie’s abuse against him and ruining Reggie’s car in revenge for a Halloween prank. It’s actually quite disturbing. Reggie has almost replaced one abuser for another.
Charles helps Betty trace the calls to her house. Part of me still thought he was the one making the calls, and that he’d made the last one while standing outside the house so he could then knock and remove suspicion from himself. But then a call comes in while he’s sitting right there and it turns out the prank calls have been coming from Polly. Whatever institute that’s doing her deprogramming clearly isn’t doing a very good job.
It’s nice all the little nods to famous Halloween movie franchises there are in this episode. Betty mentions going trick or treating up and down Elm Street when she was a kid.
Betty calls Polly and lays into her in a way we don’t see from Betty very often.
Hils: “No, bitch, it’s your sister.”
Lindsey: Betty is maaaaad
Interestingly Polly doesn’t confirm or deny that she was the one making the prank calls which leaves it open for Charles to still be involved somehow.
Veronica’s creepy trucker turns out to be a creepy serial killer, escaped from a mental institute. Because of course. It’s Riverdale, and it’s Halloween. Got to get all those tropes in there.
Veronica manages to take him down by herself by dropping a makeshift molotov cocktail on his head and then knocking him out with a chair.
Hils: Veronica is a badass!
Everything is back to normal in Thistle House. Normal being Cheryl combing the hair of her twin brother’s corpse while Toni watches in horror.
Jughead gets let out of his coffin. Not buried alive but simply left in a coffin in Mr Chipping’s office, who lets him out and tells him not to take it personally.
Lindsey: Don’t take being buried alive personally, Jughead.
This is fucked up.
Hils: Chipping was totally in on it
Lindsey: Oh for SURE
I would bet he was the ringleader
Veronica suggests to Archie that they clean up the streets which prompts him to say he’s going to need a mask. Superhero Archie in the next episode?
And just when we thought the creepy doll storyline was over Toni finds it sitting on her bed. Cheryl admits to gaslighting Toni earlier, which is reason enough for Toni to run, but promises she isn’t now. Nana Rose insists it’s the ghost of Julien.
Lindsey: Cheryl was absolutely gaslighting her. Get out Toni
Get the fuck out of that relationship
Hils: RUN TONI RUN NOW
Moose has vanished. He’s either joined the army, dropped out of school, or something more sinister has happened to him.
Charles is revealed to be listening in on Betty, and smiles when she tells Jughead she thinks he’s the real deal.
Hils: HAH! I KNEW HE WAS UP TO NO GOOD
Lindsey: Oh, he’s not the real deal
And, as all the episodes this season have, we end with a flashforward to what appears to be Jughead’s body being identified by Betty and FP in the morgue.
Hils: WAIT WHAT?
Lindsey: Are we to assume that Jughead actually dies at the end of this???
Hils: There’s no way
Lindsey: JESUS RIVERDALE WHY YOU GOTTA DO US LIKE THIS
Hils: How can he be dead? He’s narrating it
Unless he’s narrating from the afterlife
That was definitely a solid episode of Halloween TV. Parts of it (Veronica’s and Cheryl’s storylines in particular) were genuinely creepy, it was full of classic Halloween tropes and it still managed to advance Jughead and Archie’s plots.
The next episode sees Hiram and Hermione on trial, which promises to be entertaining. Hiram is always fun to watch and he’s Lindsey’s favourite so I’m sure she will enjoy it.