Riverdale Season 3 Episode 2 is pure nightmare fuel and I can’t stop screaming
Gotta say, I’m not super impressed with the Gargoyle King!
by Nian Hu
If you thought the season premiere was bonkers, then boy do I have news for you! Season 3 Episode 2 was jam-packed with all kinds of fun and confusing things. We see Archie make an absolute fool of himself in jail, we meet a sinister bitch named Evelyn, we hear Cheryl show off her nonexistent vocal chops again (ugh), and we get our first look at the Gargoyle King himself. Let's dive right in, shall we?
First, Archie shows up in jail and IMMEDIATELY makes a giant ass of himself
Let's start with the most relatively straightforward plotline. Seeing Archie in prison was perhaps the sole highlight of this otherwise bewildering episode. This kid is basically the epitome of privilege. I mean, he literally founded a neo-Nazi group in the last season. The Red Circle sounds like either an app that helps you track your period or an underground society of rich white boys trying to act tough. In Archie's case, it was the latter.
Unfortunately he has learned absolutely NOTHING from his ill-advised stint as a white supremacist and he proceeds to make an absolute jackass of himself in front of all the guys in prison. "If we weren't here, we'd be in high school joining clubs and trying out for sports!" he proclaims to his jailmates. Goddammit Archie, you privileged asshole!
A Ghoulie quickly sets the record straight. "Not me, I dropped out in fourth grade to run drugs to support my nana," he says. Undeterred, the ginger idiot plows forward. "That means you haven't known the epic highs and lows of high school football," he responds with a truly astounding level of confidence. Are you FUCKING kidding me, Archie? This dude was literally a drug mule supporting his entire family from the age of 10. I'm pretty sure he's experienced some "epic highs and lows" of his own, such as, you know, running away from the cops and living a life of abject poverty. But sure, go ahead and try to relate to him!
Next, Betty and Jughead start investigating and run into the Gargoyle King
Here's where shit starts getting crazy. At the end of the last episode, Jughead discovered Dilton Doiley and his friend Ben Button prostrated before a winged totem with carvings on their backs and foam dribbling out of their blue lips. We find out at the beginning of this episode that Dilton is dead (may that creepy motherfucker rest in peace) and Ben is still alive, but in a coma.
The promise of a double murder-suicide proves to be too arousing for Betty and Jughead, who (if you remember from the previous two seasons) use murder investigations as their preferred form of foreplay. Ooh, a boy was found drowned in Sweetwater River? Sooo hot! "Maybe you and I could investigate this together for old times' sake," Jughead says in a husky voice to Betty. She gets up, clearly aroused, and starts kissing him. "I'll try to see if Dr. Curdle can get us into the coroner's office," she whispers seductively in his ear. Jughead immediately busts a nut.
After they have some hot and heavy sex over Dilton's dead body, the murder investigation is underway. The two of them wander into the woods at night to meet Ethel Muggs, who seems to have some involvement in this whole thing. But they don't find Ethel. They find the fucking GARGOYLE KING. Cue screams!
Except, wait. Is THIS your king? I'm sorry, but the Gargoyle King just isn't scary. Even Betty was confused when she first saw it. "That's probably Ethel, right?" No, Betty, that is most certainly not Ethel. And I have no idea why you'd think that was Ethel, considering it's a twelve-foot tall pile of sticks and random forest debris. And honestly, I'm insulted on behalf of Ethel. I get that she's not the hottest character in the show, but did you really have to do her dirty like that?
The Gargoyle King just kind of stands there with sticks jutting out of its head while the two of them have a half-whispered debate about whether or not it's Ethel. Then Betty comes up with the brilliant idea to start running. The two of them jog away at a leisurely pace while the mass of sticks slowly lumbers after them. Next thing you know, Betty and Jughead are chilling at Pop's diner. "Good thing it doesn't run very fast," Jughead says. "Too big to be Ethel," Betty adds. Wow, no FUCKING shit?? This is some Sherlock Holmes-level detective work right here!
Remember that moment at the beginning of this episode when the coroner's son examined Dilton's corpse and said, "Whatever it is, it's darker than what happened to Jason Blossom, or the Black Hood. I believe it's the true face of evil."
Uhhh, okay I guess.
Then we get a flashback to Season 1 when cheerleaders burst into song while Archie plays football
Back to Archie in prison! I gotta say, the whole Gargoyle King plotline has been moving really seamlessly in Archie's absence. It's almost as though he has no significant role whatsoever to play in the primary story! Being relegated to the B-plot is probably the best thing that ever happened to this pushup-loving redhead.
Archie has somehow convinced everyone in prison to play a friendly game of football. For a man who seems to have two working brain cells, he is surprisingly persuasive! Nobody is wearing any padding, which seems like an absolutely terrible idea from a safety perspective, but this is jail I guess. As the sweaty boys toss a football around and slam each other into the ground, Veronica shows up with the Riverdale Vixens. They dance around in their cheer outfits and then — oh GOD no — they start singing. Even Cheryl attempts to sing a few lines of "Jailhouse Rock." Cheryl, baby, no.
This entire scene is a massive flashback to Season 1, when the central conflict was whether Archie should pursue music or football. Remember when THAT was a thing? Though Season 1 feels like a decade ago, it really wasn't so long ago when we watched football star Archie zigzag across the field while the Riverdale Vixens strutted their stuff and sang a lovely old-timey bop underneath the bright stadium lights. Ah, those were simpler times!
Then we see yet ANOTHER person have a seizure, and this creepy bitch Evelyn is maybe behind it all
After their not-so-terrifying run-in with the Gargoyle King, Betty and Jughead confront Ethel for blowing them off. They also accuse her of not actually dating Ben in real life, which seems to deeply offend her. "It's more real than you philistines can understand!" Ethel shouts. Philistine? Girl, you're playing a Dungeons and Dragons-inspired board game. Please don't get ahead of yourself here.
Next thing we know, Ethel starts having a goddamn seizure in the school library. Damn, first Betty and now Ethel? What the fuck is going on here? Suddenly, Betty looks up and locks eyes with a sinister figure standing across the room. It's that fucking farm bitch Evelyn!!
Evelyn, if you don't remember, made a brief appearance earlier this episode. She introduced herself to Betty as the daughter of Edgar — you know, the dude who runs the farm-cult-thing that Betty's mom and sister are sort of involved with. "I won't say anything about what happened the other night," Evelyn says casually. Wait…what? "Your seizure, of course!" Betty is fucking shook, and so are the rest of us. That was the night when she saw her family throw a pair of babies into a fire, remember? Well that's…creepy and weird. And the fact that Evelyn is spotted AGAIN now that Ethel is having a seizure? Does this bitch cause seizures or something? Honestly, I'm more scared of this creepy ginger-haired she-devil than I am of the Gargoyle King.
Next, all of the ridiculously attractive adults in Riverdale convene and reveal that they are harboring a dirty little secret
Remember that part when I said that seeing Archie in prison was the best part of this episode? I take that back. THIS glorious two-minute segment is by far the highlight of Season 3, Episode 2. It features the oddest but most attractive collection of people in one place that I've ever seen. We have the Hot Dads of Riverdale (Fred Andrews, Tom Keller, and FP Jones) along with the Evil Hot Dad of Riverdale (Hiram Lodge) as well as the Good-former-mayor Hot Mom of Riverdale (Sierra McCoy), Good-but-potentially-brainwashed Hot Mom of Riverdale (Alice Cooper), the Maybe-good-but-definitely-married-to-an-evil-guy Hot Mom of Riverdale (Hermione Lodge), and the Definitely-very-evil Hot Mom of Riverdale (Penelope Blossom).
None of these people should belong in a room together. I'm frankly surprised that all of them were able to engage in civil conversation without, you know, punching each other in the face. I mean, Hiram literally sent Fred's son Archie to prison and ordered the death of FP's son Jughead! They've also all pretty much slept with each other, which is weird to think about. Alice has fucked FP, Hermione has fucked both Hiram and Fred, Sierra has fucked Tom, and Penelope is an escort so she's definitely gotten with every dude in the room.
However, it seems that they've temporarily put their differences aside to discuss something far more important — a "secret that we buried all those years ago," according to Hermione. Apparently, they all want this secret to stay buried SO BAD that they're even willing to work with Hiram, the literal supervillain who's planning on taking over the entire city and turning the place into a for-profit prison. "Don't you keep Sheriff Minetta on a short leash?" Sierra begs Hiram. "Can't you make it go away?" Unfortunately, not even Hiram and the entirety of Riverdale's corrupt police force can stand a chance against the teenage detective Jughead. For a 16-year-old boy, he is surprisingly hard to corral. Can't you just, like, ask FP to ground him or something? Y'all are adults, for fuck's sake!
Finally, the episode ends with someone committing suicide — as if this show couldn't get any darker!
Just when you think you've seen it all — floating babies, dead boys with runes carved on their backs, a giant pile of sticks — this show hits you with something else. Riverdale has always been dark as hell, and it's toyed with the concept of suicide before when Cheryl attempted to drown herself at Sweetwater River. But never have we seen an actual suicide committed on this show — until now.
Betty and Jughead are at the hospital after Ethel's mysterious seizure, and they decide to check on Ben while they're there. They walk into his room at the nick of time. Ben is perched beside an open window that appears to be several floors above the ground. "I'm going to be with Dilton now," he happily tells the shocked couple as he teeters inches away from his death. "We both flipped the coin. He was scared to ascend, but I'm not."
Terrified, Betty tries to stop him by reminding him that he has a girlfriend. "We will be reunited in the kingdom one day," Ben tells her calmly. "All of us will. It's all part of his plan. You'll see soon. You'll fly, too." And with that ominous proclamation, he falls out of the window to his death.
Fucking hell, Riverdale! Every episode, we stray further from God's light.