Riverdale Recap: Don't Be a Sap, Archie

Need to catch up? Check out our previous Riverdale recap here.

Riverdale‘s aw-shucks golden boy Archie gets manipulated by the cunning Blossom family this week… and everyone with a functioning brain stem can see it but him.

The town of Riverdale revolves around the Blossoms’ lucrative maple-syrup business. (It’s kinda like Pawnee’s Sweetums factory on Parks and Rec… which would make Jason Riverdale‘s version of Bobby Newport?) Now that the primary heir is dead, the family vultures are descending, hoping to wrest control of the business away from Cheryl’s dad Cliff. Cheryl needs support at the family’s annual tree-tapping ceremony, so she invites Archie to be her escort. Hey, he looks so much like Jason, distant relatives might not even know he’s gone!

Archie hesitates, since he and Valerie are dating, but Cheryl’s mom Penelope hints that she might be able to get him into a prestigious music academy if he complies. So Archie says, “Golly, gee whiz, OK!” (Not his actual words, but you get the idea.) At the tree-tapping ceremony, Archie nobly escorts Cheryl and stands up for her when relatives badmouth her. Plus, he gets a chance to see Polly, who hasn’t spoken to Betty since she moved into Thorn Hill. But Polly just plasters on a big smile and tells him and Betty not to worry. Did Aunt Rose hypnotize her or something?

He does such a good job there, Cliff invites him to a fancy banquet and offers to get him a tailored suit for the occasion: “We can be extremely generous… to the right people.” Plus, Cheryl gifts him with a vintage Les Paul guitar. (In cherry red, of course.) Everyone else in Archie’s life — Jughead, Valerie, Fred — is trying to warn him that the Blossoms are not to be trusted, but Archie just says, “Oh gosh, fiddly-dee!” (Again, not his actual words, but you get it.) He’s a bigger sap than anything the Blossom factory is processing; it’s a wonder he even makes it to the banquet without driving off a cliff on the way.

There, though, the innocence starts to wear off. (Finally.) Polly pulls Archie aside to tell him she’s just playing nice to throw the Blossoms off the scent; she’s convinced they had something to do with Jason’s death. Cheryl gets upset at the way her family looks down on her, and tries to kiss Archie. (!) And as he pulls away from her, he even overhears Penelope scheming with Cliff about Hermione: “Maybe you should’ve sent her to jail instead of Hiram.” C’mon, Archie, even you have to know this is a bad scene!

He does escape that madhouse, and tries to make it up to Valerie for ditching her all week. But she’s over it; she tells him to get lost. (Good girl!) Archie does report back to our intrepid investigators Betty and Jughead, who think that with Cliff sending Hiram to jail, maybe Hiram tried to get revenge… on Jason? Up goes Hiram’s name on the murder board. And back at Thorn Hill, a furious Cheryl scribbles out Archie’s face on the tree-tapping photo… and Polly’s, too.

Let’s see what else what down in “La Grande Illusion”:

PEARLS FROM A SWINE | Ethel is back (she wasn’t eaten by the Demogorgon!) and reading angsty poetry in class. She confides in Veronica that her family is a mess because her parents are broke. Hermione puts it together that Ethel’s parents invested their money with Hiram, and lost everything as a result. Feeling guilty, Veronica tries to give Ethel some of the pricey jewelry her dad bought her. But when she hears that Ethel’s dad is in the hospital after attempting suicide, Veronica breaks down, tearing off the prized pearl necklace Hiram gave her in dramatic fashion.

Veronica and Betty bring Ethel flowers at the hospital, but Ethel’s mom isn’t feeling friendly when she learns Ronnie is Hiram’s daughter, blaming her for what happened to Ethel’s dad. (Really?) At school, though, Ethel accepts Ronnie’s apology, and they start fresh — no pearls required. Veronica draws a firm line with her mom: “I am done lying for Dad.” Good luck at that embezzlement trial, Hiram!

Yearbook Notes:

* Alice Cooper was really rocking tonight, wasn’t she? (Sorry.) She did hurl a big ol’ rock through Hal’s glass office door when he fired her from the town newspaper. But Betty and Jughead stepped in and offered her a gig at their high school paper. Um… that can’t be legal, can it? And will she have to cover things like school lunches and bus schedules when she’s not working on the Blossom case?

* Loved Fred standing up for himself and demanding 20 percent of the cut when he learned Hiram was the one who bought the drive-in land. At least there’s one Andrews boy with some brains!

* Quippy Cheryl was back this week, and I am here for it. Calling Jughead a “hobo,” commanding her Vixens to “scatter,” telling Fred he looked “extremely DILF-ey today”… that’s the Cheryl we know and love. (And are a little afraid of.)

Got thoughts on tonight’s Riverdale? Drop ’em in a comment below.