• Category: Episodic Recaps
  • Written by Linda Martindale

'Riverdale' Recap: A Tale Of Fantasy Or Reality

When last we were in Riverdale, things look bleak. The Riverdale High kids were getting into Gryphons and Gargoyles.  Even the Serpent King, Jughead, was ready to play the game.  Did he go too far under? Betty, on the other hand, knows the scoop about the parent’s part in the game.  She was surprised but I think she was in for more.  And poor old Archie can’t shake the prison blues or in his case, the black and blues.  So where will Riverdale take us tonight?  It’s Riverdale so hedge your bets.


Okay, when did the game and prison become the same thing?  As Jughead narrates, we see a link between G and G and the prison situation that Archie is in?  What gives?  Of, I get it.  The escape from the Game Master’s situation in G & G is like the prison break that Archie and his friends want to make from Warden’s L & L demented jail.  Only thing is that Archie and company forgot that guns are involved.  As they run, the guards come and fire “real ammunition.”  The warden doesn’t play it safe with juvies!  Meanwhile, I have to wonder just how far Jug will go into the game to investigate?  My guess, he’s already too wrapped up to realize he’s now part of the cult.  Will he end up on the “farm?”


Let’s just call tonight’s episode a “Tale of Two Riverdales.”  The one Riverdale exists in the real work and has lines that run to Hiram.  The fantasy version runs to an unknown source.  My question is:  Is it unknown?  If Hiram Lodge, as the warden says, has eyes everywhere, why couldn’t he behind the other as well.


Okay, this is too intense not to just put Archie’s story here (including spoilers).  If you want to watch the show first, don’t read this until afterwards.

Let me just state what we all knew from the season premiere.  This whole thing was rigged.  First, after the failed prison break attempt, the Warden marks his prizefighter with a brand.  Archie now will carry that brand for life!  Personally, I couldn’t believe that they would go to these extremes but they did.  As weeks go by, no word is heard about  Archie but he’s the one being blamed with the prison escape and a supposed murder during a riot that the warden starts.

As time progresses in this fight club, Archie realizes that things are changing.  When the Warden treats Archie to a meal before a fight, Archie realizes that this will be his last fight.  What the Warden doesn’t know is that Veronica has a plan going on to save Archie (we’ll get to that in a few minutes).  Archie asks some key questions and learns that each of the people who testified that Archie pulled the trigger was paid $10,000.  Now, they have seemingly disappeared.  Archie’s next question is what I’ve been waiting for weeks to hear.  The Warden won’t admit that he’s in Hiram ’s pocket but he does admit that Hiram is a puppet master and pulling the strings.  Hiram Lodge is controlling everything.

As Archie prepares for the fight, Joaquin enter.  Ever heard of being betrayed by a kiss?  Joaquin not only gives Archie a kiss but sticks a knife in his ribs/stomach area.  Archie is facing a fight while possible bleeding to death.  A guard comes in and drags Archie out.  For his betrayal, Joaquin gets his freedom and Archie . . . well, I’ll return to that story shortly.


Veronica is trying to figure out a way to free Archie.  The Innocence plan isn’t working so she must go another route.  She calls in Elio (I hope that is right) whose family has casinos.  He knows how to find out what’s going down at the L and L prison complex.  So it doesn’t take long for him to call Veronica and tells her to prepare for a date.  The date is at, of course, L and L pool where they witness the Warden’s fight club.

Veronica isn’t going to let this stop her.  She talks to Reggie, Josie, and Kevin and get them to agree to help her.  She works on a plan but she needs more help.  Again, wait for it because it is beginning to come together on what is going on.


Betty has gone to Dilton ’s bunker and finds the game going on.  Jughead has gotten into the game in a big way.  He’s becoming the “game master” and it scares Betty.  She also needs some support but it won’t come from Jug.  He thinks that if he plays the game enough, he can figure out what is going on in the fictional town of an anagram of Riverdale, Everidale.  (Okay, so the spelling is off?) The two warring groups in the town (Serpents and Ghoulies) are echoed in the fantasy version’s warring tribes.  Betty realizes that Jughead is hooked in the game and nothing that Betty or his dad says can draw him out.  In fact, Jug thinks that FP knows more than he’s telling.  When Jug mentions Alice’s version of what happened in the past to FP, he denies it.  Maybe it’s the fact that we know what has happened, we could see this coming, right.


Are you confused?  If not, you may be as the action continues.  While Veronica arranges an escape plan for Archie with Betty, Reggie, Josie, and Kevin’s help, Jug is promising the Serpents a new game of G & G.  Cheryl, Toni and Sweet Pea are really into G & G.  When Betty asks Jug and the Serpent’s help with Archie’s escape, Jug sees it as the element of the game that was missing.   He now knows how he will play the game with Cheryl and the other Serpents.

Say what!  This I hadn’t seen coming.  Is what Archie is going through in prison a version of G & G being played?  Apparently, it is because we see the two having parallels.  Archie must fight Mad Dog but the fight is only a pretense.  Lodge wants it to be the way Archie dies.  In fact, he’s there for the fight and recognizes Veronica and tries to stop her.

Veronica, Reggie, and Josie cause a distraction inside, Kevin is trying to open the drain pipe and Betty comes to his aid.  Kevin has seen Joaquin running to freedom and goes to catch him (he doesn’t, of course).  Meanwhile, the same scenario in a fictional world is playing out in the G & G game that Jughead is heading.  As the fight starts in the real world, Cheryl must fight in Jug’s game.  Veronica signals the gang to launch smoke grenades’ and Mad Dog realizes that Archie will need a head start.  He breaks it off and allows Archie to leave.  Jughead’s narration of the game follows a similar path.  When the Warden and Hiram realize what is happening and orders the guards out, Jughead is taking the Serpents through the same pattern in the game.  As Archie escape the tunnel and Betty helps him to escape, Jug announces that Cheryl is safe in the game.  While we think it is Betty and Archie trying to outrun the guards, the play is similar in the narration of the game.

By now viewers have to be confused or so intrigued there is no leaving the show.  What are we watching?  Are the two stories merging?  The Warden and the guards think they have Archie and his helper but it turns out to be Betty and Reggie.  With a threat, the guards and Warden leaves and Archie is taken to a car and loaded into the back seat.  As the game ends, Archie falls down the tunnel into Dilton’s bunker.  Jughead’s group is confused but it is Toni who patches Archie up.  Veronica swears everyone to keep this a secret because the bunker is the only safe place for Archie at this time.


I’m going to leave the Archie bit for last because I think the implications of it is strong so bear with me.  When Veronica returns home to do some “damage control,” she finds that Hiram and Hermione are fighting.  She sees the two of them making the “detention center” situation worse and Archie being the victim of the resulting mess.  She basically calls both of them “control freaks.”  She also knows that this mess with Archie will destroy them all.  She leaves Hiram and Veronica staring after her as she slams the door.  I don’t even think Hermione knows how bad the situation is?

The parent’s role is going to have to be discovered.  Not only has FP denied what Alice has said but Josie’s mom and Kevin and Reggie’s dad are in denial mode.  What could have happened that makes them lie and clam up?  Add to that the fact that there is an “all points” out on Archie that makes him sound like a dangerous wanted criminal.

We don’t see Hermione’s arrival at the detention center, but we see the reaction from the Warden.  Not only does he know G and G, but he also has the “tools” to play the game.  He is viewing a card when she is announced and he pulls out not only a book but a game piece.  He grabs a goblet, fills it with water and poison.  He drinks the poison before Hermione comes to his office and dies.  What knowledge of the Gargoyle King did he take with him to the grave?

And what about Archie?  Remember the brand that the warden put on him after the failed escape attempt.  The symbol is from the Gryphons and Gargoyle’s game.  It represents the Red Paladin which Jughead understands but I didn’t.   What role does Archie play in this game?  And let’s not forget Jughead.  As he leaves the bunker, he runs into the Gargoyle King and falls down to worship.

What does all this mean?  Is the game building a cult?  Does it have ties to the farms?  Are Jughead and Archie going to be on opposite sides?  More importantly, can they wrap this up before the break for winter?   Does anyone else have a headache because I sure do!

Next episode on November 28th:  The game gets more complicated.  What can the teens find out from their parents?  How did Kevin and company find Joaquin and what does he know?  What does the brand symbol on Archie really mean?