With production halted on Riverdale, this week’s episode will be the penultimate episode of the season. Next week’s episode, “Killing Mr. Honey,” will operate as the season finale. It will be the 19th episode of the season, three episodes short of what was planned for the year before production was halted because of the Coronavirus.
It’s just as well, because after spending all season long on the Jughead murder storyline (which was resolved two episodes ago before the Hedwig musical episode), Riverdale somehow figured out how to skate even further off the rails. In this week’s episode, Riverdale tackles snuff films, tickle p*rn, and bootleg rum.
Did I mention that Riverdale is about high-school students?
Remember at the beginning of the season, when various Riverdalians started receiving mysterious voyeur videotapes containing static footage of their homes from a distance? They finally return to that mystery, when another videotape surfaces containing footage of someone wearing a Jughead mask being bludgeoned by someone wearing the mask of his girlfriend, Betty. I’ll cut to the chase here: The investigation leads to Ethel Muggs, who has long been obsessed with Jughead. We eventually learn that Ethel also has a Jughead/Betty sex tape, although Ethel did not record it. Ethel found it in a sketchy back room of a video store, which carries bootleg VHS tapes. Everyone seems to have VCRs to play them, which may be the strangest thing in all of this. In addition to the sex tape, there is also a snuff film containing footage of Clifford Blossom shooting and killing his son, Jason Blossom, the very murder that kicked off this series.
Where did these videotapes come from? That remains unknown, although we learn that Mr. Honey — the principal of Riverdale High — is a huge fan of those backroom videotapes. In fact, it’s how he snuffs out Kevin and Reggie’s tickle p*rn ring. This week, Kevin and Reggie decide to leave their … pimp? … to start a tickle-p*rn business of their own. Basically, they get a lot of high-school kids together, they tickle each other (while fully clothed), and they sell the videotapes for a lot of money on the underground market, which is where sketchy Mr. Honey finds a copy and shuts down the whole operation. It’s probably also why next week’s episode is called “Killing Mr. Honey.”
Meanwhile, Veronica and Cheryl have teamed up on a Maple rum operation, which they are selling to college kids. However, they soon learn that they are infringing upon the territory of the Malloy family, who regularly sell their rum to these college kids (wait? Is there a Riverdale College, too? And why is selling rum to college kids such a lucrative endeavor? When did college kids start drinking rum?). Anyway, the Malloy Family tells Veronica to back off and they threaten her and Cheryl. Later, Hiram Lodge gets wind of it and holds a gun to the Malloy son and threatens to shoot him. He backs off before pulling the trigger, however, and pays the price when the Malloy son beats the crap out of him. Hiram later returns to confront the father, but this time, he pulls the trigger, murdering the senior Malloy.
Finally, there actually is one storyline appropriate to high-school students. After their staged kiss a few episodes ago, Archie and Betty’s feelings for one another are rekindled. Archie goes to his father’s grave and he’s all, like, “Betty or Veronica? Who should I choose, Dad?” And his dad is like, “…” because his Dad is dead. In the end, Archie ends up writing a song for Betty, but she quickly shuts him down, because — confused feelings or not — she loves Jughead, damnit, and that’s that.
Header Image Source: The CW