“Chapter Three: Body Double”
Warning Contains Spoilers
This episode was pretty epic if I do say so myself. This show does not shy away from the dramatics. It was a tad over the top this week, but in a way that was powerful and liberating. While we didn’t find out who killed Jason Blossom, we did get an answer to the question proposed last week: What is Cheryl Blossom guilty of?
It turns out, after clarifying to the sheriff, that Cheryl is guilty of lying about what happened on the fourth of July. She explains that Jason wanted to leave Riverdale for reasons she didn’t reveal just yet. They orchestrated this elaborate plan to fake his drowning and he would contact her later; she waited each day and never heard from him. I guess she knew they would find out she was lying when they discovered his cause of death was not drowning. I figured the bullet wound in his head would tell them that right away, but what do I know? I’m not a pathologist.
She further explains that she still doesn’t know what happened to Jason after that day; it was the last time she saw him. She did say they both heard a gunshot in the woods, and that maybe someone tried to shoot him and missed; this is all she knows. The sheriff (perfectly cast, by the way, him and Kevin look so much a like) isn’t convinced she’s telling the truth. I mean she put on quite the act of grieving sister before his body was discovered and then after she was dancing at pep rallies. It isn’t until Archie confesses he too heard a gunshot, that he starts to believe her. When the Sheriff asks why he was there that early and if he was with anyone, he says he was writing songs with his dog Vegas. He keeps Miss Grundy’s name out of it. She is so unhappy that he confessed–even though they know nothing about her–that she suspends his independent study with her. Luckily, Cheryl is so grateful Archie corroborated her gunshot story, that she offers him anything he wants–except her body. What does he want? To learn music from Josie and the Pusscats, and Cheryl delivers.
We got to see more of Josie this episode! Yay! She had lines and a story to tell, not just a performance break. Archie works with Josie at night each week before they perform at the “Taste of Riverdale” banquet her mom is hosting. At their first session Josie asks him what he expects to get out of this whole experience and he says that it would be great to hear them play songs he writes. Josie is not about that; she goes off on him about how he’ll never know what they go through. How could he write for them when he doesn’t know how they feel? He tries to say he gets it and she quickly shuts him down in such a fantastic way. I think also she isn’t big on outside help. She has to work hard at her music to get anywhere and wants to do this on her own. They are The Pussycats because they, “have to claw their way into the same rooms” Archie can waltz into. After a few sessions, though, she’s lets him help when they get stuck on a verse. He literally just adds one line and she all of a sudden thinks he’s a genius. This is a tv show after all.
Archie has to sneak out to make these sessions though because his father actually grounded him after finding out about his gunshot story. His father isn’t supportive of his choice to follow his music dreams. He meets Miss Grundy at the banquet and explains that he just doesn’t want to sit back and watch his son chase a dream that may never happen and let actual opportunities pass him by. He wants to be supportive, but he also wants assurance that his kid is seeking an attainable goal. She tells him that she thinks Archie is very talented and he should at least try to make it as a musician. Miss Grundy looked so uncomfortable during this conversation. I mean the father of your underage lover asking you about his son and why you took an interest in him, sounds like nightmare fuel to me. This conversation proved helpful, though, since the next time we see Mr. Andrews, he’s soundproofing the garage so Archie has a place to practice while he’s still grounded. This exchange also pushes Archie and Miss Grundy back together in a classroom without closing the door. What is wrong with them? I loved that his dad eventually came around since I can relate to Archie’s situation being a musician myself; it was nice to see his dad try. It warmed my heart.
Can we talk about how awful, creepy, and mean Betty’s mom, Mrs. Cooper, is? Betty’s parents run the town’s paper, so they can publish anything they want. They publish Jason’s entire autopsy report for the whole town to read. What a horrible, insensitive thing to do to his family. Jason might’ve hurt her daughter Polly to a devastating end, but he’s still a human being with a grieving family. The worst part is she just doesn’t care! No wonder Betty is so tightly wound; her mother controls everything she does including her lipstick choices. Betty was just trying out a new shade of red and her mom literally wipes it off her face and tells her she can’t wear it anymore. What kind of mother does that? A sociopathic mother, that’s who. Karma came for her that the banquet when Mrs. Blossom slaps her for publishing her son’s autopsy. It was so amazing. She also has a conversation with Veronica’s mother, Hermione Lodge, and it was adult mean girls at it’s best. They went to highschool together so there’s a lot of history there. Mrs. Cooper is like the resident mean girl of the entire town it seems. I’m not sure anyone in the town actually likes her. I don’t blame them, she is awful!
Jughead turns away from writing his novel this week and becomes a journalist. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Betty tries to revive the school’s newspaper and enlists Jughead’s help in doing so. She wants to cover Jason’s murder and uncover all the secrets surrounding it, in kind of an obsessive manner. In the first episode scoutmaster Dilton Doiley is the first person to find Cheryl Blossom on the fourth of July. Jughead’s first assignment is to find out what he knows and write about it. He discovers that it was Dilton who fired the gun that Cheryl, Archie, and Miss Grundy heard that morning; he was showing his young scouts how to survive–illegally I might add. Jughead blackmails him into giving his statement to the school’s paper rather than the police. Dilton doesn’t want his name out there so he gives them a juicy detail–he tells them that he saw Miss Grundy’s car in the woods that morning, which of course Jughead already knew, but Betty didn’t. It’s just a matter of time before she puts two and two together and figures out Archie’s affair. This will most likely devastate her and may even send her into breakdown. I love Jughead’s detective work, we got to see so much of him. We also got to see him eat which is a quality his comic book counterpart is known for that this Jughead is lacking.
The best part of this episode was Riverdale’s take on “John Tucker Must Die”, in this case it was “Chuck Clayton Must Die”. Chuck Clayton is a football star and the son of the football coach. Veronica goes out with Clay one night, they make out and then he takes her home–that’s it. The next day at school she sees a photo he posted online lying about their date saying he gave her something called a “sticky maple”–I don’t even want to know. He was basically slut shaming her. Veronica is not one of those girls people just walk over; she sticks up for herself. With the help of a reluctant Betty, she confronts him in the locker room to remove the photo. He shames her again and she makes sure he knows he messed with the wrong girl. We do get to see Archie shirtless again– I think it’s in his contract that he has to remove his shirt once an episode.
Betty finds seven other girls who Chuck and other members of the football team did this too. One of them is Ethel Muggs played by Shannon Purser who was Barb in Stranger Things. She tells them that the boys have this secret playbook of all of their conquests. Betty, Veronica, Kevin, and Ethel break into the school that night to find this playbook. Cheryl shows up all of a sudden because I guess she has nothing better to do. I think she shows up because Kevin needed to provide to best line, “And where did you get those thigh-high boots?! They’re amazing.” They find the book and see a point system with Ethel, Veronica, and Polly listed; next to Polly’s name is Jason’s. Cheryl is shocked by seeing her brother’s name and doesn’t believe it–it’s right there Cheryl. You never want to believe the person you love and idolize isn’t who you thought they were. Seeing Polly’s name ignites something in Betty and she devises a revenge plan for justice.
This plan starts out very harmless– Clay is lead to believe he’s going to have a threesome with Betty and Veronica in a pool. Veronica handcuffs him to the jacuzzi and then Betty arrives in lingerie and a short black wig, calls herself Polly, and gets lost in her anger. It was actually quite disturbing. She calls him Jason and demands he apologizes for what he did to Polly. She even turns the water to boiling and pushes his head underwater. They get the confession they want, but Betty totally lost it, scaring Veronica and Clay. This is what happens when you push all your feelings into a box; it eventually explodes. I was almost convinced he was going to die and Betty and Veronica would have to dispose of the body.
He lived, though, and was kicked off the football team along with others; Jughead says over the narration will have, “terrible consequences for the weeks to come”. For now this was the justice the girls deserved and it was all because of Ethel. #JusticeforEthel is what Cheryl hilarious says, paying homage to “Stranger Things” #JusticeforBarb.
I love the writers of the show. They shy away from the usual high school tv drama tropes and add new refreshing ideas to the table. Cheryl teaming up with Betty and Veronica was an unusual choice, but a welcomed one. They don’t like each other, but they have a common enemy. These characters aren’t one note stereotypes and it’s freeing. I loved the feminism in this episode; it was empowering and showed the power of Betty and Veronica’s friendship even more. Riverdale is not afraid to showcase their strong female characters and it’s very different from other shows of it’s genre.
I’m now convinced more than ever that Betty might’ve actually killed Jason and just blacked it out. When a worried Veronica talks to Betty about what happened, she doesn’t remember, becoming an entirely different person. Mental illness runs in her family it seems, so it wouldn’t be farfetched for Betty to also have some sort of sickness too. She has the Polly wig and keeps it in her locker– I’m just saying. She seems like the nice girl, but she has a dark side and it comes out more and more each episode.
I love that each episode ends with Jughead giving us a teaser of next episode. It’s like watching a promo, but not getting spoiled by the images. It also poses a new question that we can brood over the next week. What are the terrible consequences Chuck not being on the team causes?