You know it’s a good episode when there’s not one, but three different instances of The Gang running out of a room because of breaking news. In this episode, it’s because of the three major events of the episode. First, after Betty writes an article defending FP, a wall in the high school is defaced with pig’s blood and a hanging Betty Cooper doll. Then Jughead is transferred to the South Side high school, full of toughs and hoodlums, and The Gang has to run off to rescue him. While rescuing Jughead, Ronnie receives a goodbye text from Cheryl and The Gang runs to Sweetwater River to save her from drowning. They succeed, but Cheryl’s clearly unhinged and burns down Thornhill to cleanse the Blossom family — and because this is “Riverdale,” it isn’t the most shocking moment of the episode.

Let it never be said that this show doesn’t provide for the female gaze. Look at all this glorious Archie torso.

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Enjoy it, because this episode is intense and that shoulder-to-waist ratio will be the smelling salts you need.

 

Let’s kick it off with the remaining Blossoms. The Blossoms are now a matriarchal family, as they were always meant to be. Although, where is Grandmother Blossom?

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Lady Macblossom doesn’t care. Leave her in her widow’s weeds, amongst the spoils of her husband’s ill-gotten sticky gains. And without the quarterly funeral, when else would she get to break out her fabulous fascinator collection?

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Do you think she and Cheryl have a shared collection, or do their fascinators signify yet another passive-aggressive way for them to compete with each other?

 

Cheryl starts handing out her prized possessions – like her HBIC shirt for cheer practice – and Veronica only raises an immaculately sculpted eyebrow.

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Honestly, the serenity with which she approaches this whole thing should be the big tip off that something is not right. A serene Cheryl is deeply unnerving. She has all the trappings of Cheryl – the crushed black velvet top, the choker, the side part with a cascade of lush waves — but the calm washing over her is heartbreaking.

 

Case in point: she apologizes to Jughead without any snark and gives him one of her spider brooches to pawn.

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Granted, she still has another spider brooch and the crystal cherry brooch she’s wearing, but still, this is Cheryl giving up a spider brooch. It’s Cheryl apologizing. Someone should have put her in a 72 hour hold for that alone.

 

A clearly unwell Cheryl lingers on the steps of Thornhill, not wanting to join her mother for the day’s events.

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In her mother’s defense, this appears to just be another example of Cheryl skulking through a drafty house in an inappropriately skimpy outfit, but look at her hair. Have we ever seen such limp, lifeless waves from our fave femme fatale?

I’d excuse Mother Blossom for not noticing in all her grief, but let’s be real — if there’s one thing she would notice, it’s Cheryl’s hair not being up to par.

 

Cheryl goes full Ophelia in the white dress she wore to fake Jason’s death.

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You have to give Cheryl credit for her ability to be melodramatic while in the grips of a breakdown.

Just as The Gang reaches Cheryl, the ice breaks and she falls through, swept away by the current. Fortunately for all of us, Archie finds her and punches through the ice like a ginger Captain America to save her. Then Veronica takes her home to the Lodge apartment, where she and Hermione promptly leave Cheryl alone to go to the jubilee, because that’s how you deal with a suicidal teen.

 

I guess they had Smithers monitor Cheryl, because she makes it home unscathed and decides it’s time for a  change of scenery. So, naturally, she douses Thornhill in gasoline and drops a candelabra to set the manor ablaze.

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TFW you realize that maybe generations of inbreeding lead to perfect hair but poor decision-making. Seriously, is Dynasty-level dramatics a recessive trait that has been concentrated in the Blossom lineage?

If Mother Blossom swatting at Cheryl’s hair while Thornhill burns is any indication, yes. It runs through the Blossom veins like clotting deficiencies in the Hapsburgs.

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Also, where is Grandmother Blossom? Season 2 had better begin with Grandmother Blossom walking out of the ashes of Thornhill like Daenerys with three maple syrup dragons wrapped around her naked body.

 

Let’s look at the less inbred branch of the Blossom family, the Coopers. If the Blossoms can’t help but burn down a house when they’re having a bad hair day, the Coopers are the kind of family who … well, have a fight about one thing when they really are fighting about another thing and then finally confess that btw you have a secret adopted brother.

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Yeah, I know, Betty. It’s a lot to process, and it happens after someone hangs an effigy of you in pigs blood. But hey, at least you look cute in your cotton candy sweater!

 

Now that Polly’s back in the Cooper household, she’s allowed to wear pastels again. It must be at relief to be home and not have to worry about what formal negligee is appropriate for skulking.

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Betty sneaks Polly back into school (I don’t know either) just in time for Betty’s “FP is innocent!” article to be printed up a dozen times, taped to a wall, and then defaced with pigs blood reading “Die Serpent Slut!” This happens during school hours, and between this and the pregnant teens just hanging around for lunch, I think that maybe Principal Weatherbee needs to run a tighter ship.

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Poor Betty. Her sweater game is finally reaching its peak in these last few episodes, and all she gets in return is hatemail smeared in pigs blood.

 

That face you make when you can smell the payphone through your cell phone.

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Juggie’s getting his Jordan Catalano on, and it’s working for him. He’s slumming it in Riverdale’s other school district, the South Side, where he’s making friends and blending in with all his plaid.

I know, Betty. I’m feeling it too. I just like how he’s always leaning. Against stuff. He leans great.

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Betty wears her family colors to speak at the Riverdale 75th anniversary jubilee. She also makes subtle eyes at Archie, which doesn’t bode well for Bughead or for Archie’s recent declaration that he wants to be Veronica’s soulmate. But the maple syrup-infused Dawson and Joey of our time will have to wait till next season.

Shortly after this, they celebrate their victory with Veronica and Jughead at Pop’s, and then split off with their S.O.s  for a sexy teen sex montage. Betty and Juggie exchange adorable “I love yous” and are stopped from doing the deed by a pack of Serpents. Archie, however, cashes in his V card with V.

 

This episode was shockingly light on notable Veronica fashions. We see a new dress from her when she announces her conscious coupling with Archie. It’s definitely a Veronica shape, but this is not in the Lodge family daytime color wheel.

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The rich cobalt is in line with the satin nightgown she wore last week, but I can’t recall seeing V in a blue outfit before. It’s gorgeous and definitely a Veronica silhouette (detailing along the neckline, sexy but not revealing) but it doesn’t feel like Veronica to me because it’s not wine and it’s not paired with her signature berry lip. Plus, it’s missing the daytime pearls. With her dad coming back into town and hiding her relationship from Betty, our girl is all out of sorts style-wise.

 

It’s probably a good thing Riverdale is on hiatus, because the outerwear has been a consistent bright spot but it wouldn’t be seasonally appropriate. The last episode didn’t disappoint with the outerwear, and in a shocking turn of events Betty wore not one but three fabulous coats. But first, let’s admire V’s scallop-edged coat.

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Have we seen this before? It feels familiar, but that could be because I have been dreaming of a coat with such cute detailing. Either way, I love the chic New York feel of it.

 

Less New York, however, is the cropped fur jacket Veronica is repeating from episode 11. Paired with an evening dress it worked for me, but here the crop is just a little too 90s. It’s very “Clueless” the tv show, and V should only be Clueless the motion picture.

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We also get a repeat of Betty’s best peacoat this season, because the costumers wanted to prepare us for Betty’s sudden turn to decent outerwear. Look at this camel coat!

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I had to double-check that this wasn’t the same coat Alice wore to throw a rock through the window of the newspaper (it wasn’t). This is fabulous – I am loving the oversized lapels. And, amazingly enough, this is one of *two* great trenches she wears this episode.

Jughead takes her back to FP’s trailer after the milkshake celebration and tells her he loves her. She’s about as far from Dark Betty as possible in this moment, but with that trench, she’s living up to Jughead’s description of her in the first episode: the classic Hitchcock blonde.

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Dark Betty might be suppressed for now, but Light Betty might be dangerous too, is all I’m saying.

 

Speaking of going dark, check out how hot and brooding Jughead is in his honorary Serpents jacket:

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Rebel Without a Cause? More like Rebel I’d Like to Caress. < /Samantha Jones impression>

 

We get a brief appearance by the Pussycats, and while they don’t contribute much to the story beyond reminding us that Archie is the most talented songwriter ever to bleed on the page, Josie does bring some gorgeous blue extensions to the table.

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In an alternate universe, there’s a great show about the Pussycats trying to break into the music industry. Melanie might even have a speaking role. But for now, they’re relegated to subplots and singing backup to a singing 6 pack of abs.

 

That face you make when your ex-boyfriend wrote a song about a girl who isn’t his current girlfriend.

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And his current girlfriend clearly thinks it’s about her.

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Checking in on Kevin, he appears briefly to interrupt Cheryl as she’s about to admit to suicidal ideation. Why? Because Betty’s locker has been defaced, and he is *here* for the drama.

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Are you confused because Kevin and Betty were super close at the beginning of the season? I am too. But let’s be honest: Kevin isn’t anyone’s friend. He’s just waiting till he can make it to Manhattan and write a book of essays that will one day be described as “David Sedaris meets Truman Capote.”

 

We started out the recap with Archie, and the episode ends with him doing the stride of pride to Pop’s after leaving Veronica’s apartment. His father has asked him to meet for breakfast so they can talk, and clearly he has big news. But first, Archie has to wash his hands, because even if you’re no longer a virgin, hygiene is still important.

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Archie returns from admiring his non-virgin face to this scene:

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Pop’s is being robbed, and somehow DILFred Andrews ends up being held at gunpoint. So what does Archie do?

 

He’s Archie Andrews, you guys.

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He manages to make it worse.