Riverdales Worst Plot Gets an Unsatisfying Conclusion

first_img ‘Riverdale’ Season 4 Trailer Toasts to a Mysterious Senior YearSDCC 2019: ‘Riverdale’ Cast Spills Details on Core ‘Mystery’ for Season 4 Stay on target Even the town of Riverdale isn’t totally immune to the march of progress. At Pop’s Chock’lit Shop, Jughead laments the closing of the local drive-in movie theater. He tries to get his friends to suggest movies for its closing night, but Betty is distracted. She now knows Miss Grundy was at the river on the morning of July Fourth. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that she and Archie were there together.Meanwhile, Archie’s dad has continued flirting with his son’s abuser, and the three of them are having dinner together. At Pop’s, because I guess that’s the only restaurant in town. Betty confronts Archie outside, and Archie basically admits to everything. Before Betty can get too mad, her mother shows up. Angry that Betty is hanging out with Archie and Veronica, she demands to take Betty home.Also at Pop’s, Cheryl Blossom is back to her old mean self. Looks like last week’s change of heart was only temporary. Seeing that Veronica’s mom is working as a waitress, Cheryl implies that she’s a thief and decides to take her insecurities out on a food service worker. Fortunately Pop’s isn’t a corporate establishment, and Hermione Lodge can get a good burn in about money and class without losing her job. As she’s leaving, Cheryl sees Hermione talking to a biker gang member outside by the dumpsters, assumes something sketchy is going on and takes some pictures on her phone. Veronica sees the photos and asks her mom what’s going on. Her mom insists she was just catching up with an old high school friend and nothing more. Veronica isn’t quite convinced but accepts the explanation.Marisol Nichols as Hermione Lodge (Photo: Dean Buscher /The CW)Now that Betty knows about Archie and Grundy, she’s determined to find out everything she can about the music teacher. After a quick search on Searchster (everyone’s favorite search engine), she finds out that Geraldine Grundy was an older woman who died a few years ago. The photo she finds looks a lot more like the Miss Grundy of the Archie Comics. Later, while pretending to interview Grundy for the school paper, Betty learns that she used to tutor Jason Blossom. When she presents Archie with all this information, he asks her to let it go.She doesn’t, of course. While Archie and Grundy have an illicit meeting, Betty and Veronica break into her car. Inside a box, they find an old drivers license with Grundy’s photo and the name Jennifer Gibson. They also find a handgun. When they tell Archie what they found, he’s initially angry but confronts Grundy about hiding her identity. She tells a story about fleeing an abusive relationship, moving away and changing her name. Archie believes her, not realizing that this kind of self-preservation is exactly what predators do.Later, Betty’s mother is putting away laundry and finds the gun, because Betty kept it for some reason. She reads through Betty’s diary for information and learns everything. This leads to probably the least satisfying ending to a storyline Riverdale has had so far. Betty’s mom grabs Betty and Archie’s dad, and they all head to the school where they catch Archie and Grundy together. So far, this show has done an impressive job portraying this abusive relationship for what it is. Grundy is a monster taking advantage of a young boy. Even all through this episode, the writers take the time to make it clear that everyone, except for Archie, realizes this.Lili Reinhart as Betty Cooper and KJ Apa as Archie Andrews (Photo: Dean Buscher /The CW)That’s why it’s baffling that they botch the resolution so hard. The problem stems from Betty’s mom just wanting to ruin Archie. She doesn’t care that Grundy is a statutory rapist, it’s just how she plans to convince Betty not to hang out with Archie anymore. We saw how willing she was to blame the victim during last week’s slut-shaming episode. This is just a logical extension of that. The problem is because Betty’s mom acts so reprehensibly, Grundy is let off the hook. She quits her job and moves out of town, free to abuse some other kid. Betty, to protect Archie, threatens to lie about why she broke into Grundy’s car. So, the secret stays relatively secret. Grundy leaves town, and it’s unclear as to whether the show wants us to feel sorry for the statutory rapist.It sucks that the show focused so much on the most disappointing plot because the b-plot this week was so much more interesting. We learned Riverdale has a biker gang called the South Side Snakes. It turned out that Hermione and Hiram Lodge had been paying them to hiss at and intimidate people at the drive-in to make the property value go down. Then, they’d buy it from the mayor for cheap, develop it and make money. Veronica catches on to the plan and confronts her mother about it. Unsurprisingly, her mother isn’t all that happy about going from wealthy Manhattanite to small town waitress. She wants her old life back. Veronica meanwhile is happy with who she’s become in Riverdale. That’s about all we get from their story, although it ends with a surprise. Jughead had a reason beyond nostalgia for wanting to save the drive-in. He was living there. Now that it’s being torn down, he has to figure something else out.Cole Sprouse as Jughead Jones (Photo: Dean Buscher /The CW)This episode was a step down for a series that’s been consistently pretty great so far. The Grundy-Archie storyline was always the least interesting, but at the very least, the way they were handling it seemed promising. That’s why it was so disappointing that it ended this way. They hinted at something much more interesting with the discovery of the real Miss Grundy, but that went nowhere. It’s possible the show will come back around and address all of these complaints, but after this letdown, I’m not sure I’d want them to. If there is a silver lining, it’s that Riverdale‘s worst story is over with. And now that we know more about Jughead’s situation, I’m much more interested in seeing where the show takes him. That’s really what Riverdale‘s needed since the series began: More Jughead.last_img read more