This is a Blossom-centric episode and I AM HERE FOR IT. Cheryl coerces Archie into being her date to the most holy of days, the Blossom Tree Tapping Ceremony. He’s nearly seduced by the Blossoms’ promises of color-coordination and access to a top music school, but even Archie’s smart enough to realize that the Blossoms are Bad News. Also Bad News? Ethel’s parents are having problems, and Veronica’s dad is the reason. 

Behold, the Blossom family as they once were: the Targeryens of Riverdale. Impeccably dressed, possibly inbred, sipping maple syrup like it’s a dessert wine.

Jason is clearly the weak link here. Cheryl’s deconstructed leather jacket is aces. Mother and Father Blossom both look like they could go fox hunting at any moment. And Jason’s wearing jeans? Come on. If he were Chuck Blossom, he’d be wearing plaid slacks and a bow tie made of actual maple leaves. Step it up, dead Jason.

 

I don’t know if the Riverdale writers got an advanced screening of Get Out or if they know there’s nothing more sinister than a bunch of rich white people gathering for a time-honored tradition, but this opening was straight from the mind of Jordan Peele.

By the time this show ends (hopefully in 15-20 years) they’ll have cast every ginger in Canada.

 

To greet the Members of the Board (or Maple-based Sex Cult Members, tbd), the remaining Blossoms and Polly assemble. Father Blossom is in what is clearly his uniform – Rich Man sweater, jaunty cap, grimace of disdain. Despite several inches of snow on the ground, Mother Blossom and Cheryl wear miniskirts, as the Maple Gods demand.

I know that fellow recapper L-A is already salivating over Mother Blossom’s dress (she loves a good stripe) but it’s even better in detail:

I KNOW. IT’S STRIPED *AND* IT HAS HOUNDSTOOTH VIBES. Paired with the herringbone blazer, Mother Blossom isn’t taking any chances proving her preppy bonafides. The brooch is either an heirloom or an amulet that summons a maple syrup golem.

As for how Polly’s adapting to life in the house that syrup built (RHOP?) … her black choker and dark red dress suggest she’s at home, but the blue stripes in her blazer hint at her double-agent status. Then again, Cheryl’s blazer is blue too, so I could be overthinking.

 

Speaking of wardrobe clues, maybe Archie should have taken a hint from Cheryl’s spider brooch, which she loved enough to take off of her blazer once she got to school.

Archiekins, when someone’s brooch of choice is a giant arachnid, don’t go their weird maple rituals. That’s how Rosemary wound up carrying Satan’s baby.

 

Archie falls for it and attends Tap It Fest. As expected, he’s horribly underdressed, but at least we’ve found the one place Archie won’t wear his letterman jacket. Meanwhile, Cheryl’s cape is fabulously dramatic, as expected.

Look at how it cascades! How can anyone look at that cape and think Jason was the better twin?

 

To buy Archie’s attendance to the Blossom banquet, Cheryl presents him with a fancy guitar. This is where the comics diverge from the show, to me: comic book Archie would be ogling Cheryl, not the guitar. TV Archie is less interested in girls than comic book Jughead.

Even Cheryl’s like, “DO YOU NOT SEE MY LEGS THOUGH.” Girl, unless you’re shaped like a Stratocaster, he’s not looking.

 

Speaking of legs …

We don’t get any ArchieAbs this week, but here’s Archie having a conversation with an adult man while wearing boxers.

 

Here’s a dinner party I do not want to attend:

They’re definitely dining on human flesh, right?

 

Cheryl has the good sense not to trust Archie to dress himself for the big dinner. Instead, her family commissions a vermillion tuxedo. I am assuming the tie is a clip-on, because no way did Fred Andrews tie a bow tie that well.

The tux is sharp, but the real show-stopper here is Cheryl, because she’s Cheryl and every day is the season finale of “Dallas” for Cheryl.

Dinner with the board? Time to break out the illusion netting and thigh high slit! Totally appropriate for family and business associates. Nothing screams “trust me to appease the Maple Gods” quite like a rhinestone choker.

If running the Maple Sex Cult doesn’t pan out, I would absolutely watch a season of The Bachelorette starring Cheryl. Not only would she bring the crazy, but her Rose Ceremony dresses would be maximum drama.

 

Case in point: instead of telling a pensive Chris Harrison that she’s having a difficult time “trusting the process,” Cheryl would just sit alone in the interview room wearing a satin robe, scribbling out the faces of men who have wronged her. Like so:

Also in Cheryl’s burn book? Double-agent Polly (who’s pregnant with twins, just like Grandmama Blossom predicted).

While waltzing with Archie, Polly revealed that she’s trying to uncover the secret of Jason’s murder. It looks like her cover is safe for now, but after she says goodnight to Cheryl, Cheryl scribbles out Polly’s face in the picture too.

 

Lost in the shuffle? Val, who has finally realized she deserves a Kurt Cobain, not an Ed Sheerhan.

I absolutely love how Val’s never fallen into the 1950s prep vibe of all the other women. She (and the other Pussycats) are the only characters really working toward a life beyond Riverdale. Her wardrobe is perfect for a town with more than just a maple syrup empire (and possible sex cult).

 

I feel like the town of Riverdale doesn’t appreciate how #blessed it is to have both the Blossoms and the Lodges. Two houses, both alike in dressing to kill. This is what one wears to breakfast in the Lodge household:

Just a mother and daughter, fully coifed and ready to face the day. Hermione’s tangerine blouse is a welcome change given that the color palette on this show is mostly red, merlot, camel, and blue.  Meanwhile, Veronica’s working a statement collar in lieu of her daytime pearls (which play a major role in her plot).

 

Ethel’s back and she’s brought some Livejournal poetry! Her teacher is clearly not having it with Ethel’s cry for help, but Veronica is.

Also, a headband, a statement bow, and a brooch? I’m calling it now – Ethel killed Jason. Only a madwoman would try to work this Waldorf/Lodge/Blossom trifecta. Kevin would agree with me.

 

At a totally chill day of pampering with Veronica, Ethel wears that same headband with a floral patterned top and a rust colored cardigan.

In the real world, Ethel would be wildly overdressed for a spa day. I’d be in yoga pants and a shirt I caught from a t-shirt cannon. But this is Riverdale, and she’s dining with Hermione Lodge.

An off-the-shoulder top with a boob window and an entire bottle of white wine while dining with minors? Hermione Lodge is her own Real Housewives of Riverdale.

 

In the real world, Veronica would be quietly slinking under the table while Hermione slurs about how having Veronica ruined her figure. But in Riverdale, Veronica’s wearing a fabulous laser-cut top and listening sympathetically to Ethel’s sob story.

Again, no daytime pearls, probably because she was worried Ethel would cry on her shoulder and the salty tears would damage her pearls. Good call, V.

 

 Veronica tries to assuage her guilt over Ethel’s family’s poverty by sharing her closet with Ethel. Alternately, she tries to get Ethel to stop stealing her statement collars.

Finally, we get the story behind the daytime pearls: they were a guilt gift from her father, and she cherishes them. I hope this doesn’t come back to haunt Veronica later in the episode!

 

Look at how happy Ethel is to gain access to Veronica’s closet! To be honest, that would also be my face if Veronica Lodge befriended me, even if it was mostly because her father ruined my family.

Okay this bow is just too much. Also, the checkered fabric and red top makes me think that Ethel is a secret Blossom who was kicked out of the clan for her inability to accessorize.

I mean, look! Her mother isn’t even a redhead! Forget #JusticeforEthel, how about #GeneticTestforEthel.

 

When Veronica hears that Ethel’s father attempted suicide, she’s devastated. Fortunately, she gets to sob beautifully while wearing a plaid dress that looks gorgeous on her.

Most importantly, though, Veronica’s breakdown leads to Veronica destroying her daytime pearls!

She collapses on the floor sobbing. I think she’s 90% crying because of guilt, 10% because she’s wearing stilettos to school. V, you’re not in Manhattan anymore. You don’t have to do this to your toes.

 

Veronica and Betty visit Ethel at the hospital. Veronica apologizes for her father, Betty realizes that she has the worst outerwear on the show.

How is this a jacket that comes in sizes for teen girls? What designer hates teen girls this much? And more importantly, how dare Alice Cooper let her daughter leave the house in this while saving this gorgeous camel coat for herself?

This is right before Alice throws a rock through the window of the Riverdale newspaper (her husband’s fired her). Total Cheryl move, and I’m on board with the two of them going “Thelma and Louise” by season 3 and punishing all who have wronged them. They can pick up Blair Waldorf on the way.