We open inside a nightmare. Jughead has dinner with Betty and her family. Veronica attends. Jughead rises to cut the roast. It flashes to his father, passed out in a chair. The knife disappears. It’s in Archie’s back.
Jughead awakens in a sleeping bag in a cupboard under the stairs of Riverdale High. He showers in the locker room, where Archie surprises him. It’s unclear why Archie showed up to the school at this god awful time and how he found Jughead in the shower, but “In a Lonely Place” is an episode with a coolly mysterious line of logic. Like the meaning of the “S” on all of Jughead’s shirts or Veronica’s sexual preferences, Riverdale rationale remains elusive.
Having discovered Jughead’s living situation as a result of his deadbeat dad and absent mom’s split, Archie offers Jughead stay with him. Jughead refuses, simply requesting that Archie doesn’t tell Betty. When the group meets in the student lounge, Betty informs them that her parents don’t want the police or the Blossoms getting involved in the search for the escaped Polly. Behind them, one of Cheryl’s cronies overhears and begins texting rapidly. Jughead puts his arm around Betty’s shoulders in comfort. Veronica capital-N Notices. In the hallway, she’s so supportive of them (some might say too supportive… some might say verging-on-jealousy supportive… some, not me, but some). Archie’s supportive, too, when Jughead finally spills the beans. Archie says his dad can also give Jughead’s dad another chance on the job, if he wants.
At the police station, Mama Blossom and Sheriff Keller converse as Cheryl bursts in, armed with gossip. Somehow she uses this information as leverage to convince her mom not to send her to boarding school in Europe and to let her captain the Vixens again. After solving all her problems from two episodes ago (seriously, HOW does she get away with this?), she tells the adults about Polly’s escape. She also tweeted that Polly is a murderer. Sheriff Keller literally cannot believe he’s being dragged along like this by teenagers.
Jughead approaches the trailer park where his father lives. Daddy Jones, AKA “FP,” is very grumpy and looks like a living corpse. They chat; FP clearly blames Jughead’s mother for abandoning them and taking Jughead’s sister with her.
The next day, the Coopers’ allies meet in the woods to help search for Polly. While walking, Archie apologizes to Betty for not being there for her regarding Polly. Betty understands. Veronica and Kevin talk about her mom; she dishes that she’s going to get back at her by being irresponsible. She’ll go clubbing with “my fav celebrity gal pal” (Josie), “my best gay” (Kevin), “and some arm candy” (Reggie). Kevin says “Cool” in his very best John Oliver voice.
Hell bent on foiling plans, the Blossoms show up with the police. Penelope Blossom and Alice Cooper face off. It’s extremely boring, because I hate both of them and neither are interesting characters. But anyway, the Blossoms think Polly killed Jason. In front of everyone, the Coopers spill that Polly was pregnant, so there’s no reason to think she murdered the father of her unborn baby (actually, I’m pretty sure accidental pregnancy is exactly the definition of “probable cause”).
Jughead walks Betty home in the rain and I ship it, oh god, I ship it so much. Betty blames herself for Polly running away, but Jughead tells her she did the right thing going to see her. Betty fondly remembers a time Polly ran away when she was nine–and suddenly has an epiphany. She kisses Jughead (oh god! oh god!) and runs home, climbs into the attic, and finds Polly hiding. Betty helps her bandage her wounded ankle and Polly tells Betty she can’t reveal herself to their parents, because they will put her baby up for adoption.
FP stops by Andrews Construction. Fred officially offers him his old job. Just as Hermione accidentally walks in on this flannelfest, Fred has to take a phone call, which leaves FP to give her a warning about keeping their collective crime-related secrets from Fred.
When Betty asks her parents what will happen when they find Polly, they lie to her about the adoption plan, claiming it’s Polly’s wish. At school, Cheryl corners Betty and asks to help Polly and Jason’s baby. Archie, Jughead, and their dads have dinner at Pop’s. The dads reminisce about their high school band. FP seems to really miss it. He emasculates his son for being a writer for some reason. Archie comes comes to his defense, but Jughead is still silently like, Can someone please kill me before my anxiety does? They get ready to leave; Fred snags the check before FP can and FP becomes aggressive, snarling at Fred, “You owe me this.”
At the Crazy Riverdale Sex Club, Veronica lives the bisexual dream, dancing sandwiched between Josie and Reggie (Betty who?) until they retire to a corner. Kevin asks if “going Black Swan” (lesbian referenced NOT MISSED) is making her feel better and Veronica explains that this is just how Lodge women operate. She vents about how her family lost everything, and Hermione did the unforgivable: she took her name and forged her signature. Josie, nodding in support, makes sure Veronica hydrates.
Archie, FP, and Jughead jam out in the Andrews’ garage. FP asks if there’s beer, but Jughead hastily stops him. Archie, sweet, stupid, doe-eyed Archie, asks what he meant about Fred “owing” him. FP reveals that he and Fred started Andrews Construction together, only Fred bought him out cheaply because he was a “liability.” All FP wanted was provide for his two children and wife. He pulls a flask out of his jacket and takes a swig. Later, while FP is distracted, Jughead stuffs the flask into Archie’s couch cushion, and the two leave without it.
In a secret meeting at the extremely public diner, the Blossoms tell Betty they want to support Polly, which weirds Betty out. At the club, Veronica’s card is declined, which satisfies her. Hermione reported the card as stolen, which means “she’s ready to negotiate.” At home, Jughead helps his father lie down on the couch. He starts to tell him fondly about talking to his mom and his sister, but FP falls asleep.
Archie is upset by the story FP told. When Fred tries to tell his side (that FP was stealing from the company and reselling product), Archie laments the ways this decision affected Jughead. When Veronica gets home, the Lodge women do indeed negotiate (“as your father would want,” wtf). Veronica agrees to accept Hermione’s affair with Fred as long as Hermione tells Papa Lodge about forging V’s signature.
At school, Principal Weatherby and Sheriff Keller discover the murder wall in the journalism classroom. They take Jughead to the station. On the way out, Jughead begs a bystanding Betty and Archie to call his dad. At the station, Sheriff Keller builds a case against him: Jughead was once in juvie for trying to burn down Riverdale Elementary School (“I was playing with matches”), and was bullied by the football team Jason captained (“My name is Jughead”). Seething at the implication that he killed Jason and torched the car, Jughead refuses to say anything more.
At Thornhill, Mama Blossom asks Cheryl some invasive questions about Polly’s past, including drug abuse. Cheryl says she has no knowledge of Polly using drugs, but the questions perturb her.
Betty sits with Jughead at the station. When Jughead asks about his dad, Betty dodges the question. In the hall, Fred Andrews lies to Sheriff Keller about Jughead’s alibi–he claims Jughead was doing some work for him the day of the murder. When Jughead is finally released, he, Betty, Archie, and Fred collide with a stumbling FP outside. He threatens to hurt Sheriff Keller for suspecting his son. Jughead talks him down. Archie offers for Jughead to stay with them, but after an extremely long pause, Jughead reaffirms that he will stay with his dad.
FP takes his son by the collar and insists that he’s going to turn his life around. He just needs time. Jughead’s lip trembles, his face contorts and then relaxes, and he says he believes him. FP hugs him and takes off. Feeling unwanted, Jughead lingers. Betty takes his hand.
Later, Fred fakes a clocking ticket to complete Jughead’s new alibi. The kids gather at Pop’s, where Polly sits totally out in the open waiting for the Blossoms to arrive. Only Cheryl shows up, however. After a brief second of shock seeing Polly’s ballooned belly, she tells them she needs to hide. Her parents don’t want to help. Veronica immediately offers residence at her place, and Hermione welcomes Polly graciously.
Turns out Jughead won’t stay with his dad after all; Archie rolls out an inflatable mattress for him on his floor. Jughead holds Archie’s guitar on his lap as if unsure what to do with it. They have a brief conversation about FP in which Jughead says he’s not giving up on him quite yet. Meanwhile, FP himself has gotten drunk again and slumps into the chair in his trailer, Jason Blossom’s jacket hanging like a skeleton in the closet behind him.
- The fact that Jughead was in his comic book attire while in his dreams is everything to me.
- “Honestly, guys, we should just move.”
- Veronica calling Jughead Holden Caulfield.
- I can’t believe Jughead’s sister is named Jelly Bean Jones. Sometimes the comic-book-ness of Riverdale comes back in very charming ways.
- I’m confused as to why Alice Cooper had to make a statement in front of the press when like… she is the press? Doesn’t her family run the newspaper?
- “My mom sat me on the edge of my canopy bed and told me not to cry.”
- “Your trust fund?”
- “Yeah, my name is Jughead.”
- What the fuck was Jason’s jacket doing in FP’s closet? THIS IS GETTING RIDICULOUS.
- Apparently FP stands for Forsythe Pendelton. Full name Forsythe Pendelton Jones II. I’m screaming about this.
- Archie was pretty good this episode, which is to say that he was a side character in the better characters’ plots, lol. But was it just me or was he a little jealous at the Jughead/Betty romance? Not explicitly, necessarily, but the distance between him and Betty is palpable now, especially after last episode when she wasn’t even involved in his variety show gambit. Plus, Jughead, his other best friend, doesn’t have a lot of time for him now. Kid must be getting lonely, and it showed through a little in this episode. It’s sad.
- I’m like, pretty sure Penelope Blossom doesn’t have the authority to “give” Cheryl the Vixens back. Also, why is a sophomore captaining the cheer squad. Does anybody who works in TV understand how high school sports work.