“Chapter Four: The Last Picture Show”
Warning Contains Spoilers
I swear every high school drama show has a movie theater that needs saving, or at least the ones that take place in small towns. Not a lot of answers came up in this week’s Riverdale, just more questions, more mysteries, and more drama. We get to see that this town isn’t the quaint place we might’ve thought it was; we get to see the corruption within.
We start off with a very uncomfortable concert starring Miss Grundy and who’s in this audience? Archie and his dad, Fred. After the show, Fred drags Archie over to say hi to Miss Grundy. It is obvious that Fred is attracted to Miss Grundy and appropriately he should be. It’s just he doesn’t know she is illegally sleeping with his underaged son. He thanks her for all he’s done for his son–talk about cringe worthy–and invites her to dinner with the two of them. What a sight to see: the three of them waltzing into Pop’s like nothing is weird. You know who thinks this is weird? Betty. You know what I think is weird? The fact that Betty has a full beautiful strawberry milkshake in front of her and she doesn’t take one sip! I digress; last week Betty discovers that Archie might’ve been lying about being alone in the woods the day of Jason Bloom’s disappearance, so she confronts him about it right there outside the diner. It’s one of my favorite things in shows like this– characters talk so openly about touchy subjects as if no one can hear them. Veronica soon joins the party and finds out about the affair as well; she takes it a little bit better than Betty, as a fun scandal. They both don’t understand where he thinks this relationship is going. Like the naive 15 year old he is, Archie thinks they are together; he thinks they have something special that no one else would understand. Oh Archie, you can’t see that she’s manipulating you.
Good thing he has a friend like Betty, who meddles. She creates this fake interview with Miss Grundy and find outs that she has a connection to Jason Blossom: he too had an independent study with her. She tries to find information on Miss Grundy online, but information only begins a year ago when she moved to Riverdale; she created her Facebook page then, too. It’s like she was only born one year ago. She also discovered that there was another Miss Grundy–an elderly woman who looks a lot like the comic book counterpart–who passed away. All of this is extremely suspicious and any sane person would think this was weird, but not Archie. He just accuses Betty of cyberbullying and still goes back to Miss Grundy. He tells Betty to stop investigating, and this works for about two seconds. Next thing you know, Betty and Veronica are breaking into Miss Grundy’s car! Every teenager on TV knows how to break into a car, I’ve discovered. They find a box with a license that reveals Miss Grundy’s real name: Jennifer Gibson. What else do they discover? A gun. One thing: why did she just leave the box with her real identity just laying around in her car? That’s something you keep in your house hidden away. I loved that Betty took charge and became Nancy Drew. Last week, Veronica dragged her around and this week Betty drags her! Their friendship is the soul of this show.
Betty of course tells Archie about Jason, the gun, and Miss Grundy’s real name. Archie still wants to give her the benefit of the doubt and confronts her. She weaves a story of an abusive husband, that forced her to flee and change her name. This is often the story whenever someone has to change their name, so it’s pretty convenient. I don’t believe her for one second; Archie, of course, does. He does however decide that this relationship might not be the best thing for either of them and gives her a very expensive goodbye gift: a new bow for her cello. He sold one of his guitars to buy it; this guy is such a teenage boy!
Alice Cooper continues to be an overly controlling mother. This time she and her husband march over to Archie’s house and demand that his dad keep him away from Betty. Seriously, this woman is certifiable! Also, while putting away Betty’s laundry, she finds Miss Grundy’s gun! This leads to Alice searching frantically through Betty’s diary for answers and finds out about Archie and Miss Grundy’s affair. So many questions about Betty: why on earth would Betty steal the gun? Is it for evidence purposes? Why did she write about the affair? Why does she still have a diary? Alice drags Betty to the last movie at the drive in in order to expose Archie’s affair to his dad.
She finds Fred and brings him into the room where Grundy and Archie are saying goodbye. Alice is very pleased with herself, thinking she’s finally ruined Archie’s life! She wants to get the police involved and take down Miss Grundy. I didn’t understand at the time why this woman cares so much about ruining Archie. Archie doesn’t get why Miss Grundy is the one at fault, when he pursued her. You are 15, Archie– she is an adult! His dad also wasn’t as upset as he should’ve been; he honestly probably thought it was cool that his son was with this woman. His son was abused, whether he consented to it or not. It’s such a double standard that when a man dates an underage girl he’s a predator, but when a woman dates an underage boy it’s cool and sexy. It’s wrong on both accounts no matter the gender!
Realistically, high school boys don’t look the way Archie does, because real life isn’t Hollywood; their bodies and minds aren’t developed enough to make clear decisions. It’s Miss Grundy’s job to teach her students: she used her position to take advantage of a horny teenager who couldn’t consent. Teenagers are highly impressionable; I wish it was more clear how wrong this whole situation is. Instead, Missy Grundy agreed to quit her job and leave town. On her way out, she pushed down her heart-shaped sunglasses and checked out the local boys one last time. Yeah, this woman has something going on with her, she knew what she was doing.
I don’t buy that Alice Cooper is going to drop this whole story; she’s a reporter and this is juicy. Betty tells her once and for all that she is not Polly and Archie is not Jason, and to stop trying to save them. Alice can’t change what happened to Polly so she’s projecting it onto Betty and that isn’t fair. This isn’t the same story; even though I’m pretty sure Betty is on the verge of a breakdown just like her sister, but that’s probably for a later episode. Alice made a bit more sense in these moments, but I still don’t like her.
Veronica’s mom, Hermione Lodge, reveals that she has been tying up a few loose ends for her husband while he’s in jail. He’s the one that secretly bought the land the drive in is on and is why the theater is closing. She’s been working with the Mayor to do a few deals under the table, so I was very wrong in thinking the Mayor was just. Everyone has a price I suppose. Hermione had been giving money to the leader of the gang ‘The Southside Serpents’. Veronica found out about this and her mom comes clean that her Veronica’s father was still doing business from jail. Hermione isn’t the innocent housewife-turned-waitress we all thought she was.
Kevin gets more screen time this week, which I loved. He and his father have a great relationship! That is so refreshing for a teen drama when so many gay characters don’t have good coming out stories. His father even wondered why there aren’t any nice gay boys for Kevin to take to the drive-in. Well, Kevin does find a nice gay boy at the drive-in; he just happens to be a part of the Southside Serpents. I love that he found himself a bad boy. This is going to be a Romeo and Juliet type story, with Kevin’s father being the sheriff and this boy being a gang member. When Kevin and the Sheriff return home, the murder board the Sheriff created for Jason’s case had been destroyed. Did the Southside Serpents have something to do with this? It’s the obvious choice, but that would be too easy.
We learn quite a lot of about Jughead’s backstory this episode. He works at the drive-in and has so much history going to movies there with his sister, Jellybean. Their parents had great name ideas! Jughead is really passionate about saving the drive-in; he is extremely frantic for most of the episode. He tries to reason with the Mayor to stop the sale, but she is already knee deep in the Lodge deal, she couldn’t help him. I felt so bad for Jughead, he was so upset. He organized the, “Last Picture Show” and screened, “Rebel Without a Cause”. The next morning he is seen packing up a backpack and cleaning up the office. As he leaves he picks up a picture of what I assume is him and sister when they were kids, and a cot can be seen in the background. So I guess he lived there!
Earlier, a conversation between Fred Andrews and Jughead reveals that Fred actually laid off Jughead’s dad a while ago which probably also explains why he and Archie aren’t close anymore. Family drama can put a strain on friendships. We do meet his dad, who is none other than the leader of the Southside Serpents! There is no mention of where Jellybean is, so I’m afraid something might’ve happened to her, or she’s a member of the gang as well. I bet something happened to her though. This would explain why Jughead and his father are estranged. It also explains why Jughead practically lives at the diner and why he’s always wearing the same clothes. One thing that bothers me about the Jughead, is that he isn’t constantly eating! The Jughead in the comics is a human garbage disposal!
I think Jughead might be my favorite character. I love the lone wolf, dark and mysterious types. I also really feel for him now that I know a bit more about his life. He has been through hell it seems. Hopefully we find out more in the episodes to come.
This episode was filled with parental drama. I enjoy that the parents in this show are actually fleshed out characters, instead of just being there because teenagers have parents. I’m glad they utilize the talent they’ve assembled for this show. I hear that Molly Ringwald was cast as Archie’s mom! I didn’t even know he had a mom, she’s barely been mentioned. I guess this show wants the parents to all be played by actors and actresses famous for teen tv shows and films.
Everyone has a secret and everyone has a motive for killing Jason. My money’s on Miss Grundy right now; I don’t think we’ve seen the last of her. Someone I really want to meet is Polly; hopefully she surfaces this season. I think getting her side of the story could really help in solving Jason’s murder. Who do you think killed Jason Blossom?