Pep Talk: Riverdale Episode 302, "Fortune and Men's Eyes"

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Riverdale 302 Fortune and Men's Eyes

Okay, I've got to quit saying how messed up RIVERDALE is, because every time I do so the writers find a way to make things even darker and more twisted.

Last episode, Jughead (COLE SPROUSE) found two bodies in the woods, with runes carved into their backs, while Betty (LILI REINHART) saw her mother (MADCHEN AMICK) and sister Polly (TIERA SKOVBYE) drop Polly's twin babies into a bonfire -- right before they floated up into the air and Betty collapsed in a seizure.

But the thing you were supposed to remember was that Archie went to a juvenile detention center, framed for a murder he didn't commit (but certainly knew about).

So we start this new episode of Archie and the Ever-Shrinking Cast of Regulars with the news that Dilton Doiley is dead. The other boy found with him in the woods is in a coma. And Betty, well, what she saw was clearly an hallucination brought on by the seizure, itself a symptom of being under too much stress. Nope, nothing weird going on here at all. Oh, the babies? They're napping, leave them alone, no need to go in and see them.

Naturally, Jughead and Betty decide to team up once again for Riverdale's rendition of THE X-FILES, when they learn that Dilton and the other kid, Ben Button (MOSES THIESSEN) had a third player in their little adventure in the woods: Ethel Muggs (SHANNON PURSER). What were they doing?

Role-playing games in Dilton's hidden underground survivalist bunker. Yes, RIVERDALE is going to delve into the "Dungeons and Dragons leads to worship of the occult" trope. Only in the case of RIVERDALE, it might just be true. When #Bughead discover a lost scout hiding in the bunker, one of Dilton's troop, they learn the were set up by Ethel, and, when they confront her -- she goes into a seizure herself!

The common factor between Ethel's seizure and Betty's earlier one is the spooky ever-presence of the new girl -- Evelyn Evernever (ZOE DE GRAND MAISON -- a case where the actress has a spookier name in real life than does her character). She's the daughter of Edgar Evernever, whom you may recall runs "The Farm" where Polly and Alice Cooper have been getting spiritual therapy. Things are getting decidedly supernatural -- except that they're carefullly skirting the line where the writers could still pull a Scooby-Doo and reveal the wires and sheets if they so desire. The parents warn Jughead and Betty off their little investigation, but we learn that all the adults of Riverdale are secretly concerned that a secret from their past is coming after their children. Apparently they had time to delve into a hellis boogeyman when they weren't running from the Black Hood years ago.

By the way, the show's really suppsed to be about Archie (KJ APA), right? Well, he's getting by in juvie, and he's trying to bring peace between the Ghoulies and the Serpents by uniting them to defy the expectations of the guards and participate in a football game instead of a fight. This...actually happens. Only it's too far against the warden's desires, and he sends in his troops to "break up the riot" under the watchful eye of Hiram Lodge (MARK CONSUELOS). While it may seem a bit corny that Archie could pull off THE LONGEST YARD, this scene is so eminently watchable in that it brings in Veronica (CAMILA MENDES), Josie (ASHLEIGH MURRAY), and Cheryl Blossom (MADELAINE PETSCH), along with the rest of the victims, to do a pep cheer set to "Jailhouse Rock." This is definitely something designed for the so-called "male gaze," and speaking on behalf of all males, it worked. Unfortunately, the end result is that Veronica is placed on the banned visitors list, Archie's cellmate goes mysteriously missing, and Warden Norton (WILLIAM MACDONALD) has decided that Archie is going to be his new number one guy -- which I suspect means Archie gets to represent the warden in some version of FIGHT CLUB.

Bubbling subplot alert: Kevin Keller (CASEY COTT) is feeling ignored by Moose Mason (CODY KEARSLEY) after Moose's dad takes over the school's ROTC. Wondering if Moose is ashamed of their gay relationship, Kevin decides the best way to stay close to Moose is to uniform-up and join. This shouldn't be awkward at all.

Grade: 
4.5 / 5.0