We start, as most episodes do, with Jughead’s voiceover. He recaps what we learned in the last episode, that Dodger is exploiting kids and Archie is working to save them.
Meanwhile, trying his hand at the Baxter Brothers story competition, Jughead finds himself suffering from writer’s block for the first time in his life.
Lindsey: THIS IS THE FIRST TIME YOU’VE HAD WRITER’S BLOCK, JUGHEAD
Hils: Lucky him.
In yet another horrifying scene at Cheryl’s house she wakes up to find her family standing at the foot of her bed holding the creepy doll from the Halloween episode.
Hils: I JUST SCREAMED
“Julian needs a body, Cheryl,” Penelope drones. “So we’re giving him yours.”
Cheryl wakes up in bed. It was all a (horrific) dream.
Lindsey: That is a hell of a nightmare
Except when she looks around her room the doll is there, watching her. I do not like horror movies involving dolls or puppets so this is really freaking me out.
Archie arrives at the community centre to find it’s been trashed. He pushes FP to go after Dodger directly.
After following her brother for a few days all Betty has learned is that he’s a creature of habit who follows the same routine every day.
Lindsey: Is Charles a robot rather than a serial killer?
Kevin suggests Charles is just a lonely gay guy.
Hils: Or Charles knows he’s being followed
He works for the FBI Betty for FFS
With Hiram and Hermione now both out of jail, the fascinating Lodge family dynamic starts up again. Hiram proposes they put the past behind them and live together as one big happy family. Hermione and Veronica look delighted by the idea.
Lindsey: A giant glass of wine is the only way to deal with this conversation
Hils: Right! I am on Team Hermione (and Veronica)
Jughead decides the best way to write a Baxter Brothers story is to deconstruct all of the books. As someone who has written fanfiction for 20 years I can tell you that this is not the right approach.
Hils: Oh Jughead deconstructing the books you loved as a kid is not going to help you write one
Lindsey: Absolutely not
Through his examination of the books, Jughead reaches the conclusion that the first book in the series was written by someone else, and theorises it might have been his grandfather.
Lindsey: OF COURSE IT WAS HIS GRANDFATHER
I have a lot of questions. Like why, if the series of books was stolen from Jughead’s grandfather, did he continue to send the books to Jughead every year? But it’s just a theory at this point so let’s move on.
Betty goes to the prison to visit Chic, who I had honestly forgotten about.
Hils: OMG IT’S CHIC
Lindsey: He’s SO SPOOKY
Chic confirms that he and Charles were lovers and that while they were high ‘some darkness’ took over Charles and he murdered a man they were sleeping with.
Lindsey: Some DARKNESS
All this AND a serial killer gene
Cheryl is understandably reluctant to go to school when there is an evil doll in the house with her baby niece and nephew, so she decides to take action. She puts the doll inside a ring of salt which, having seen many episodes of Supernatural, I know is not a foolproof way to contain a demon or spirit.
Hils: Toni, still the most patient girlfriend in the world
Betty confronts Charles about the story Chic told her and suggests he take a polygraph test.
Hils: FBI agents know how to fake polygraph tests
JFC Betty you are not this dumb
Lindsey: I think she is. She can be very naive
Back at school Cheryl has been told there’s been an accident at home and that one of the twins accidentally swallowed a ping pong ball and nearly choked to death. She rushes home only to find a gap in the ring of salt and no sign of the creepy doll.
Hils: OH MY GOD THE DOLL ESCAPED
Lindsey: DAMN YOU DEMON DOLL -> never were truer words spoken
She heads down to the chapel to find Jason’s corpse with the creepy doll sitting in his lap.
Hils: WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING I HATE THIS
She hears a noise upstairs and rushes up to find three of her relatives waiting for her. It all proves too much and, in true gothic horror style, she faints.
Betty puts Charles through the polygraph test, looking very smug about the whole thing. It apparently doesn’t even occur to her that Charles might know how to fake the results.
Lindsey: Charles out here fakin’ polygraphs and talking about what sounds like the ugliest breakup in history
Hils: He is lyinggggggg
The polygraph shows that Charles is hiding something and he confesses that he’s a recovering addict who attends weekly Narcotics Anonymous meetings. While I suspect that is true, I also suspect that’s not the only thing he’s hiding.
Lindsey: God okay but Betty if you’re gonna do a polygraph don’t let the subject end the test on his terms
Hiram visits Archie, much to Lindsey’s delight.
Lindsey: ARCHIE AND HIRAM TOGETHER AGAIN. I mean. Not like that.
Hiram offers Archie money to help fix up the gym after Dodger trashed it. Archie declines. Apparently he learned something after all the nonsense of the previous seasons.
Lindsey: Has Archie learned a thing?
IS THIS GROWTH?
Hils: OMG CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
Cheryl’s family tell her they want to sell the house. Toni agrees it might be for the best and that they can start fresh somewhere else with no dug up corpses or haunted dolls (okay she doesn’t mention the last part but it’s implied)
Lindsey: TONI SPEAKS SENSE
Unfortunately when Cheryl’s relatives say they want to visit the chapel (the one containing Jason’s corpse and, presumably, the creepy doll) Cheryl changes her mind and says she will never sell.
Hiram breaks into Hermione and Veronica’s home and says he wants to move back in. To remind Hermione what she’s missing out on he removes his shirt and attempts to seduce her.
Lindsey: Gratuitous shirtless Hiram count: 1
Hils: Omg Archie wasn’t shirtless at all last week. Is he ill?
Hermione doesn’t take much convincing, which is understandable. They’re as calculating and manipulative as each other and when he looks at you like this what else can you do?
Lindsey: She might regret this but can’t really blame her
Hils: I mean I would. If I swung that way
Archie lures the kids of Riverdale away from Dodger’s arcade by setting arcade machines at the gym, and Veronica promises to provide burgers, fries and milkshakes from Pop’s
Lindsey: Bribing teenage boys with food is an excellent move
Hils: Must be nice to be rich enough to just give away free food from your business
Cheryl decides to deal with the creepy doll situation by drowning it in a bathtub.
Lindsey: I’m not sure you can drown a doll, Cheryl
An acid bath might be more effective
Hils: The dolls hands poking out is kind of fucked up
Hermione breaks the news to Veronica that Hiram is moving back in, and it goes about as well as you would expect.
Lindsey: Oh my GOD how to explain to your teenage daughter that you fucked your way back into the family home
Jughead and Betty unearth a piece of writing, written under a pen name, that matches the style of the first Baxter Brothers book. Jughead concludes that his grandfather really did write the first book and, for whatever reason, it was stolen from him.
Lindsey: I refuse to believe that a teenager can forensically examine writing without training
Hils: They cannot. But let’s be real all the teenagers in Riverdale do things they shouldn’t be able to do
Because, of course, nothing works out the way it should, Betty returns home to find that Chic has contacted the FBI to report the murder the Alice committed back in season two.
Charles and FP say they’ll take the lead on the case and make sure no one finds out the truth. Why the FBI would let the son and the lover of the accused suspect take the lead on the case I don’t know, but this is Riverdale.
Lindsey: I had forgotten about that murder but there are so many to keep up with
Hils: So many murders
Dodger confronts Archie about being the man in the mask, and because he’s a terrible liar his denial doesn’t have much of an effect.
And, speaking of bad liars, Jughead confronts Mr Dupont about not having written the first Baxter Brothers book. He denies it at first, but quickly launches into a tirade about Jughead’s family. It’s a very strange scene, given how fondly Dupont spoke of Jughead’s grandfather when he first met Jughead.
Lindsey: ‘you people’
We’ve got the Don Cherry of Riverdale here
Hermosa visits Veronica and invites her to Hiram and Hermione’s wedding vow renewal.
Lindsey: WHY are they renewing their vows
Is this the magical power of Hiram’s dick???
Hermosa tries to convince Veronica that there is some good in Hiram that she can’t, or won’t, see.
Meanwhile Cheryl’s family threaten to have her declared insane and committed to an asylum so they can sell the house without her permission. Really, no one on this show has a normal well-adjusted family with the possible exception of Archie.
Jughead takes the evidence about his grandfather to Mr Chipping who says he’ll help bring the truth to light.
Hils: OMG JUGHEAD DON’T TRUST CHIPPING
Lindsey: Like his lack of reaction to the coffin thing should have been a big red flag
When Archie gets home he finds a knife stabbed through his mask into his front door. He’s in the process of trying to convince his mother that they need to go somewhere else until it’s safe when a car pulls up and sprays their house with bullets. How Dodger has gone from one pistol which he keeps stuffed in his pants, to an automatic weapon powerful enough to shoot up a house in a few seconds has yet to be explained.
Luckily Archie and Mary take cover before the shots start firing so no one is hurt.
Archie does the only thing he can and calls Hiram, asking him for help. It’s a glorious scene. Hiram is absolutely dripping in faux sincerity.
Lindsey: I refuse to believe that Hiram has changed lol
Hils: He has not
Chipping gathers his study group and announces they will be studying Heart of Darkness.
Lindsey: Chipping looks a bit shook
After a moment Chipping apologises to Jughead for not being able to help him, and then dives out of the window.
Lindsey: What the actual everliving fuck
Hils: WHAT THE SHIT IS GOING ON
Lindsey: I did not call defenestration and that’s on me
While Jughead frantically yells for someone to call an ambulance the other students in the group just look at him passively. It’s all a bit Village of the Damned.
Cheryl wakes up when she hears a noise coming from the chapel and assumes it’s Julian trying to escape. Julian has, in fact, escaped and is sitting on Jason’s lap again. But the noise was actually caused by Cheryl’s uncle who has broken in to see what she’s hiding.
Hils: Oh that Uncle is gonna die
Cheryl’s uncle gets increasingly aggressive, throwing Toni on the floor and pinning Cheryl to the wall by her throat.
Lindsey: Like the thing is. Uncle Bedford isn’t wrong. It’s monstrous.
But he’s monstrous too
Toni hits him with a candlestick, presumably killing him. So, if you’re playing Cluedo it was Toni, in the chapel, with the candlestick.
Hils: Oh he died sooner than I thought
I thought Julian was going to do it
In the next scene Chic received another visitor in jail. Hils and Lindsey react like two normal sane people just watching their show.
The person visiting Chic is Charles, who is apparently still very much Chic’s boyfriend. He says their plan worked perfectly, that FP led him straight to the body and after they’d disposed of what was left everyone was suitably grateful.
Lindsey: Charles and Chic IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW
Hils: I did not see that coming!
Lindsey: I am sad because I like charles but also I am HERE FOR GAY SHENANIGANS
Don’t prisons take recordings of conversations between inmates and their visitors? I suppose if this is Hiram’s private prison they probably don’t care.
Archie and Reggie arrive at the gym to find Dodger’s bloody, beaten body wrapped in a carpet outside. He’s still alive and Archie calls an ambulance because he’s a good kid who helps people even though not five minutes ago he was asking Hiram to take care of Dodger for him.
This is the first episode that hasn’t ended with a flash forward involving Jughead’s ‘death’. Instead we are shown that Mr Dupont is taking over Mr Chipping’s role as the teacher for the study group.
Lindsey: The new teacher is of course going to be Jughead’s newest nemesis
Hils: I give this episode a solid OMG/WTF