It has been a minute since the last episode of Riverdale. So long, in fact, that I forgot entirely who the Coopers were. Thank god “The Outsiders” started with a brief profile of the Cooper family–high school sweethearts married with two perfect blonde daughters. Everything went well until Polly and Jason began their forbidden romance and (gasp) got knocked up. A series of flashbacks tells us Polly was a cheerleader (wait, didn’t Alice Cooper flip almighty shit when Betty wanted to be a cheerleader?), she and Jason occasionally fought, but everything seemed to be working out when Grandma gave Jason the family engagement ring and he found out Polly was preggers.
An unsung background hero of these flashbacks: Cheryl, who at one point showed up wearing a shirt that simply said “Bitch.” Classy.
Back in the present, Sheriff Keller interviews Polly, who tells him Jason made a one-time drug deal with a biker gang “on the other side of the tracks” to get fast cash. “The Serpents?” Well, obviously. Betty comforts her sister, who thinks it must be the gang that torched the car and caused her to lose every memory of Jason she had left.
As the girls deal with murder drama, Archie and Jughead play video games and joke with each other. Fred Andrews pops by to tell them the exciting news: he’s starting construction on the drive-in tomorrow.
At school they all catch up, Betty revealing that Polly’s trapped in the middle of the Blossoms and the Coopers, who each want different things for her and the baby. Veronica vents about her rich people problems for a second before having the charitable idea of a lifetime: What if she threw Polly a baby shower?! Jughead asks apathetically, “Am I expected to come to this thing?” Veronica tells him of course he is, he’s Betty’s “boyfriend.” Everyone goes quiet but Betty grins; she knows she’s a hot commodity around here. “Relax, guys, it’s just a word that starts with the letter ‘B’.” Just like “bisexual,” am I right V?
Construction on the drive-in is about to begin when Anonymous Construction Worker #1 tells Fred Andrews that Clifford Blossom is paying his crew for two years of consecutive work, starting tomorrow, so they’re pulling from the job. This horrifies Fred and Hermione, who both have a stake in this.
Polly’s mom barges into the student lounge, having learned that Veronica is harboring Polly. But Betty one-up’s her pretty fast by telling her she’ll regret not being a part of her daughter and grandkid’s life if she doesn’t come to the baby shower, which, by the way, she thinks is an “amazing idea.” Veronica gives Betty a “thanks bae” smile.
At home, Archie extracts the news about the construction team from a hesitant Fred. After some prodding he reveals he’s trying his best to keep the company above water as it is.
At breakfast the Lodges, Betty, and Polly discuss the baby shower. Polly wants her mother to come–and, to everyone’s surprise, Mrs. Blossom. In private, Veronica implores her mother to convince Alice to attend and support Polly. Hermione vents about the stress of keeping the secret of Daddy being the buyer on the construction site. They call Mr. Lodge “Daddy” a lot on this show.
Fred learns by confronting Clifford that he’s halting construction to bleed Fred out, which is a dick move if I ever saw one. Later he vents to Hermione who is still extremely stressed about this Daddy situation. This conversation is interrupted by a noise outside–it’s Archie and the guys wearing construction hats.
Hermione and Alice meet at Pop’s for a frank but sensitive conversation where Hermione convinces her to come to the baby shower. She reminds Alice of their shared past of young motherhood. As this happens, the boys start work on the construction site. Moose low-key hits on Kevin, and Archie and Jughead have a conversation about their dads and how they have their backs, but I hear virtually none of it because Jughead is wearing a tanktop and his arms happen to be my exact sexuality.
After work, Moose heads back to find his phone, but gets jumped by two vandals who had been destroying all of their hard work. They beat him with metal things and tell him as long as they keep working, they’re going to keep coming back. Sheriff Keller shows up (alone–does this poor man have no one else working for him?). He doubts that Clifford is behind it, so an outraged Archie suggests the Serpents. Either way, Keller can’t do anything without IDing the guys. He’s only one man, after all. One very, very tired man.
At the Lodge’s, Veronica third-wheels a conversation where Polly asks Betty to be the godmother of her child. In his room, Archie vents to Val about the construction site. She tries to help him but he bolts out in the middle of their conversation and totally leaves her alone in his room (why, Archie?) only to meet up with Jughead, Veronica, and Betty at the diner. Jughead has just told the girls what happened, and Archie wants Jughead to help him find the Serpents who he suspects of the crime. Kevin’s boyfriend (Joaquin!!!!) can apparently get them into the bar where the Serpents hang out. This makes Jughead freeze up–none of them know his dad is a Serpent–but Archie leaves him behind before he can say anything.
At the bar, Archie tells Moose to keep an eye out for the guys that jumped him. The
Slytherin Common Room bar is covered in neon green snakes and crawling with gangsters. Archie, also filled with aggression, starts a fight with a gangster named Mustang who throws him onto a pool table. Before anything can happen, FP comes down the stairs and the room goes quiet. Outside, Archie accuses FP of attacking the construction site to continue his feud with Fred. But it wasn’t his doing, and FP isn’t interested in squabbling with Archie. He already called Fred to come get him anyway.
At the baby shower, everyone is in a light mood. When Alice Cooper shows up, she and Polly embrace and Alice says she’s glad she’s here and that she’s safe. Shortly afterwards, Cheryl busts in with the ugliest (and apparently most expensive) stroller she could find and declares she wants to be the baby’s godmother. Uh. Awkward. Mrs. Blossom also reaches out, hoping Polly can forgive the way she previously treated her.
When Fred arrives at the bar and gets Archie into the truck, he also suspects FP for a second before FP reminds him that he owes him for taking care of Jughead and wouldn’t do something like that. But he’ll ask around to see if anybody knows anything. FP comments that Fred should keep a closer eye on his kid.
Gift giving has begun and Crazy Grandma Blossom declares Polly is having twins. Alice gives her a touching totem from her past–her childhood nightlight. Archie shows up in the middle of this and moves quickly toward Jughead at the back of the room. He outs Jughead’s dad as a Serpent in front of Betty and Veronica, who immediately jumps into action and drags Archie out the door by his ear. Betty just looks stressed.
Mrs. Blossom gives Polly a family heirloom as well–a rocking horse–and invites Polly to stay at Thornhill. This causes the two mothers to start a catfight in the middle of the room, which is pretty lame, I mean like, this poor girl. Polly stands up and shouts that Jason died because of this family feud and she can’t take it. Unfortunately, the acting in this pivotal scene is Just OK.
After the party, Betty all but begs her mom to have some chill. Alice apologizes to Polly for real this time and asks her to come home, but Polly is still hesitant because of her father–who, as it happens, scheduled an abortion appointment for Polly without her consent (“He didn’t even ask me what I wanted”) and without telling Alice at all.
At the Andrews’, Archie explains he was trying to help, but Fred calls him reckless. He can’t understand how he’s doing everything he can but he’s still failing at his job and at being a father. Archie comforts him, telling him he wants to protect this legacy because it’s a part of their family.
Jughead has been waiting for Betty this whole time and literally LEAPS from his seat when she walks into the back room, confessing immediately that he should have told her about his dad, but he was too ashamed of it at first. Riverdale’s Number One Girlfriend Award-Winner Betty Cooper tells him that if they’re going to be together, she wants to know everything about him; she’s not afraid.
But they do need to talk to his father, so they go to the trailer park together and reveal their knowledge of the drug deal between the Serpents and Jason. As FP explains that he took the deal with Jason because he seemed like he would keep his word, Jughead stares him down. “Anything else you want to ask?” Jughead point-blank asks if he had anything to do with Jason’s murder. FP denies involvement. They share prolonged eye contact again–a son trying to see through his father, a father sneering his son down like he’s done for his whole life.
When Alice Cooper gets home, she immediately confronts Hal about the abortion appointment he made behind her back. The conversation gets heated; she shoves him away, accusing, “So you did to Polly exactly what you did to me.” (Looks like Alice really was a teen mom, and Hal was a dick back then, too.) Hal refuses to accept Polly back into their household, so Alice kicks him out, threatening that she’ll do something “they’ll both regret” if he doesn’t leave.
Jughead arrives back at the Andrews place and offers his apologies to Archie as well for not telling him about his dad, and pleads for him to understand that he’s confused as to how to feel about his father. Archie tells him he can talk to him about anything, and they agree that they are like brothers.
Unbeknownst to the kids, FP is back at his trailer, stuffing Jason’s jacket–the one we saw hanging in his closet last episode–into duffel bag. He throws this “insurance” at Jaoquin, who apparently is just dating Kevin because they need an inside line to the Sheriff (WHY DOES KEVIN GET NOTHING?). Joaquin expresses some guilt over this, but FP reassures him, “We all got a part to play… including me.” Later, he shows up at the construction site with other Serpents, offering to be the crew Fred needs. Is this all part of his plot, too?
After Fred accepts the offer, FP corners Hermione. While he was snooping around, he learned that the guys who jumped Moose came from Montreal… where Mr. Lodge is imprisoned. Someone ratted her affair with Fred out to Daddy, and Daddy’s not happy.
Polly, ignoring her mother and Betty’s wishes, shows up at Thornhill. The Blossoms welcome her with sinister smiles. Betty and her mother grieve, fearing they’ve lost Polly forever.
- OK so FP is clearly up to something. “We all have a part to play” but who is pulling the strings, huh? My guess is honestly that Daddy has something to do with it–that is, Papa Lodge–because he was the mysterious buyer who bought the drive in and has worked with the Serpents before. He could be pulling all the strings to buy out Riverdale and, I don’t know, make it a resort or something. That would mean that Jason’s death was just a casualty in this whole mess.
- No offense (but also full offense) but the actors who play Hal and Polly are not selling me their roles here. It’s making the Cooper family drama rest a lot on Alice and Betty–those actresses are more than capable but it’s still a lot.
- I SHIP BUGHEAD SO MUCH! I’M A BUGHEAD! BUGHEAD IS A WORD THAT BEGINS WITH “B”! THEY’RE BOTH SO CUTE AND THE CUTE IS MAXIMIZED WHEN THEY’RE TOGETHER! MAXIMUM CUTE!
- It is very statistically unlikely that Polly would have twins in the womb unless fraternal twins appear elsewhere in her family tree (again, I ask you, how old are Polly and Betty in relationship to each other!?!?!? ARE THEY OR ARE NOT THEY TWINS???!). The only type of twins that is genetic is fraternal twins, not identical twins, and that’s always carried through the mother, not the father. Sorry Riverdale, but there’s no mini Cheryl and Jason in there.
- I still don’t really understand why Cliff had to block Fred from construction. He said something like, “That land was what we built our livelihood on” but like… has that ever been mentioned before? Nah. Seems like the Blossoms are just the writers’ tool to do basically whatever they want. Plothole? Doesn’t matter! The Blossoms have money and are probably behind it!
- Outsiders reference NOT missed, just in case anyone thought I had missed it. I HAVEN’T. I’m just not interested.