“The Gargoyle King is impressed by my fizzle rock sales!” Let’s take a moment to appreciate that this is a sentence that was spoken on tonight’s Riverdale. I really enjoy how wholeheartedly the show has embraced its own insanity and run with it.
Also in this episode: the Gargoyle King’s identity is “revealed” not once but twice! Riverdale’s got a sexy new mayor! And somebody (finally) shot Hiram Lodge! Here’s five key points from “The Stranger.”
1) Archie’s back… or is he?
Dun dun dunnnnnn. After all that drama about leaving town and crossing the border and starting a new life as a sad lonely mountain man, Archie is now just… back. “I couldn’t keep running,” he casually tells Fred over cereal, even though he has been only been running for like three episodes, and just to Canada! I guess playing a round of Griffins and Gargoyles with ghosts really changes a person.
Archie’s back just in time for the SATs, which he seems surprised to learn he is in no way ready for. Despite Betty and Jughead’s best efforts to catch him up, Archie’s too busy having visions of killing Hiram Lodge to do much learning, and ends up storming out right in the middle of a test. He also storms out in the middle of Veronica serenading him at the speakeasy, which puts a real dampener on their rekindled romance. More upsetting and dramatic than any of this, though, is the moment when Archie orders a root beer float instead of a milkshake at Pop’s. I legitimately thought Jughead was going to cry, and honestly, same!
2) Veggie is dead, long live Veggie.
I was astonished, and not in a good way, when Veronica welcomed Archie right back with open arms. Reggie deserves better than this nonsense! And Reggie aside, Archie straight-up abandoned her with no warning and didn’t give her any say in what was happening, and the fact that he did it to escape her possibly murderous father is no excuse.
Anyway, Reggie is very calm and accepting when Veronica is like “Sorry bro, Archie’s back so we’re done,” and is more concerned about Archie’s wellbeing because he is too pure for this world. But once Archie starts acting strangely like the black-haired stranger he now is, Reggie’s sass comes out: “What if he’s not your Archiekins any more?” And as it turns out, he sure isn’t!
3) Alice and Hal Cooper are still duking it out for Parent of the Year.
Alice drained Betty’s college fund and gave it away to The Farm. Hal told Betty he was the Gargoyle King back in the day just to get her to keep visiting him. I sure hope Betty’s still seeing that therapist!
Hal may be a sociopathic serial killer who seems to be actively trying to channel Hannibal Lecter, but even he’s not here for Alice selling Betty’s future out to a cult. And by the end of the episode, Betty seems willing to indulge Hal’s desire for “father-daughter time” to keep him on her side. To what end? Unclear! But The Farm has now bought the convent that the Sisters of Quiet Mercy used to inhabit, and seem to be stepping up their creepy game just in time to become a major threat for the second half of the season. Oh, and Penelope Blossom has been using Alice’s name to see Hal for “conjugal visits,” but I absolutely refuse to spend any more time thinking about that plot development.
4) Tall Boy is the Gargoyle King?
Honestly at this point, sure! Why not? Tall Boy is not so dead after all, and after the Serpents unmask him thanks to Fangs’ sting operation, he gleefully confesses that it was him who broke into the Cooper house, that he killed Joaquin, and that Hiram Lodge is calling the shots. Tall Boy seems like he could become a handy asset… until Jughead shows up at the bunker to find that the Serpents have killed him, seemingly in self defense. The most interesting thing to come out of this entire storyline is right at the end, when Riverdale’s new sheriff shows up at a Serpent celebration, it’s none other than FP JONES, newly appointed by Hermione! This makes no sense and I love it!
5) Somebody shot Hiram Lodge.
It’s only a surprise that it took this long. Since this moment comes at the end of an episode in which Archie has been having regular fantasies about murdering Hiram, all evidence points to it being him, which of course means that it wasn’t. But as far as Veronica’s concerned, Archie tried to kill her father, and even after everything Hiam’s done, that’s a dealbreaker. Varchie is over, again, and Reggie is waiting in the wings to take over with flowers and support at the hospital. Archie, meanwhile, has installed a punching bag in the middle of his bedroom, and closes out the episode taking out his newfound rage issues with some boxing and day-drinking, while poor Fred hovers nervously in the background like “Uh… son? Everything okay, son?” Betty may have dyed his hair back to normal, but Archie’s soul is still black as a winter’s night. (That’s me trying to end this recap in the tone of a Jughead voiceover. How’d I do?)
Source: Read Full Article