This week on Riverdale, Veronica tried to be a better version of herself and attempted to befriend Ethel (Shannon Purser) while Archie agreed to escort Cheryl to her family’s maple syrup tree tapping event. Meanwhile, Hiram Lodge’s actions continued to haunt his wife and daughter and Betty desperately sought a way to connect with Polly after she abandoned Betty and her parents to live with the Blossoms. Needles to say, nothing went according to plan.
As the episode opened, the Blossoms and Coopers continued to scheme with Alice declaring she was going to write a scathing article about the Blossom clan and Cheryl approaching Archie to escort her to her family’s prestigious maple syrup tapping event (the Blossoms own the maple syrup trade). Thanks to intervention by Penelope and a promise of putting a good word in for Archie with Cheryl’s great uncle, who is on the board of a prestigious music academy, Archie eventually gives in and attends the event.
At the event, the Blossom board of trustees is circling, out for blood and Clifford’s head. Cheryl steps forward to take Jason’s place and taps the first tree of the season with Archie by her side. Later on, Clifford Blossom invites Archie to another Blossom family event – a banquet – as Cheryl’s escort.
That night, at the Andrews, Cheryl barges in with a thank-you gift for Archie, an ’84 Les Paul guitar, and gives Archie a peck on the cheek. Fred immediately advises Archie to give the guitar back and cautions Archie about the Blossoms, saying they’re using him – a sentiment Valerie also shares later when the two talk.
While getting fitted for a suit for the banquet, Archie talks to Clifford and asks if he can help Fred, and Clifford is impressed by Archie’s concern for his father. Clifford promises to talk about it after they get through the banquet.
At the banquet, Clifford pulls Archie aside and says he’s willing to help Fred out. When Archie and Clifford start talking about Cheryl, Clifford says that if Archie stays by Cheryl’s side, he can help create the right kind of picture for the board of trustees.
When dancing begins, Archie and Polly dance and Polly says Betty needs to stop asking about her. She reveals that she believes the Blossoms had something to do with Jason’s death and so she’s there to investigate, but she must act the part.
When Archie sees Cheryl and her dad argue, he follows Cheryl outside. Cheryl reveals that Jason was always the golden boy and her family basically hates her. Archie says he thinks Cheryl is “awesome” and Cheryl appreciates his kindness and candor and the two share a kiss before Archie pulls away and storms off.
As he’s storming off, Archie overhears the Blossoms talking about the construction deal, promising that Hermione Lodge would crumble. Penelope says to Clifford, “maybe you should have sent her to jail instead of Hiram.” Later, Cheryl catches up to Archie and confronts him about leaving, saying he’s “just like the others” because, in the end, he only attended because he wanted something from her parents (their recommendation for music school). But Archie can’t stick around to defend his actions and immediately sours his relationship with Cheryl.
Elsewhere, Archie confronts Valerie and reveals to her that her concerns about his time with the Blossoms were well-founded, but Valerie isn’t having it and says she’s done with Archie.
At school, Archie reveals what he overheard to Jughead and Betty and the two determine that Clifford sending Hiram to jail could be a motive for the Lodges killing Jason.
Elsewhere in the episode, Veronica reached out to Ethel and invited her to dinner while Hermione finally came clean with Fred about Hiram’s behind-the-scenes dealings that have been affecting his construction business.
At the Lodge’s, Veronica, Kevin, Betty, Hermione, and Ethel talk over dinner and Ethel reveals her parents might have to sell the house and that it’s crushed her dad. When Veronica happens to mention Ethel’s last name, it piques Hermione’s interest. Hermione pulls Veronica aside and reveals that Ethel’s father invested with Hiram and lost everything as a result. Ethel and her family were simply a victim of Hiram’s illegal dealings; a fact that doesn’t sit well with Veronica.
At Fred’s business, Hermione reveals the truth that his construction contract is due to Hiram’s dealings. Hermione also reveals that Hiram was the one who hired the thugs to take down his business. Hermione’s position in all of this doesn’t sit well with Fred at all.
Back at the Lodge’s, Veronica brings out some of her finest clothing and jewelry and offers them to Ethel in her attempt to make amends for what her father did to Ethel’s family. Veronica reveals that the pearls she wears are from Hiram. Ethel isn’t swayed by the gifts though; she’s just happy to have a friend in Veronica.
The next day at school, Kevin approaches Veronica and tells her Ethel’s dad tried to commit suicide, which sends Veronica into a spiral. She breaks down in the bathroom, ripping off her pearl necklace.
At the hospital, Betty and Veronica show up to offer their condolences. While there, Veronica comes clean to Ethel and her mom about her father and Ethel’s mom immediately turns on Veronica while Ethel hears of Veronica’s father’s involvement for the first time. Ethel’s mom challenges Veronica to tell the truth about her father and make sure he stays behind bars.
At home, Veronica reveals her interaction with Ethel to Hermione and says she is done lying for her father.
At school the next day, Veronica approaches Ethel and apologizes for everything her family did. Ethel says it’s not Veronica’s fault what her father did and says Veronica was there for her when no one else was and offers her a seat.
At the Coopers, Betty tells Alice the news Archie discovered about Polly; Polly is at the Blossoms to spy on them – she didn’t abandon them. Alice reveals that she was genuinely afraid that she had lost Polly for good. Jughead and Betty then ask Alice to come write with them at the school newspaper since Hal fired Alice from the Riverdale Register earlier in the episode.
At the construction business, Fred tells Hermione he is staying on the job but he wants a bigger share of the profits and says he and Hermione are over, they’re now just business partners and nothing else. Fred is tired of the Lodge’s meddling and he wants to do everything above board.
As the episode ended, we saw that Cheryl Blossom’s rage was ramping up and that she’s basically done with anybody and everybody. Look out, Riverdale, Cheryl’s coming for you.
Continue on to read the review of season one’s ninth episode, “La Grande Illusion.” It’s separated so you can tackle all of the juicy Riverdale drama in chunks and explore the episode’s key moments and highlights. Click Next to scroll through, or jump straight to the part you’re most interested in: