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In This Week's 'Riverdale,' Tabitha Tries to Save Martin Luther King, Jr. and Drinks a Milkshake Out of the Holy Grail

By Dustin Rowles | TV | April 26, 2022 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | April 26, 2022 |


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Welcome to another weekly edition of The CW’s Word Salad: The Series. In this week’s episode, our old supervillain pal Percival Perkins has decided that he wants to run a train through Riverdale and tear down Pop’s Diner to make room for a train station. Tabitha and Jughead, however, find a workaround: Turn it into a historical landmark. Percival hates the idea and sends a goon into the diner to put a bullet through Tabitha’s head.

The stress of having a bullet zooming toward her skull triggers Tabitha’s superpower: She’s chronokinetic, i.e., she has the ability to travel through time. Her first stop is 1944, where Tabitha is now “Theresa,” and for convenience’s sake, I’m going to continue using the names of these characters in the present, since they are played by the same actors.

In 1944, Tabitha discovers that she has a guardian angel named Rafael (who takes the form of Jughead in 1944). Percival, meanwhile, is trying to turn Riverdale into a sundown town — a town where Black people are arrested (or worse) for being out after curfew. Also, for some reason, all the people in 1944 Riverdale have southern accents. At Pop’s Diner, Tabitha takes in a Black couple trying to escape arrest, and when Percival surrounds the diner, Tabitha sends Rafael out to show his “true form,” which makes Percival’s “eyes start to bleed and his mind snap in two.” Harsh. Tabitha talks the sheriff out of turning Riverdale into a sundown town, but then Percival comes back in and shoots at Tabitha again.

This time, she travels in time to April 3rd, 1968, the day before MLK’s assassination. Rafael (now in the body of Toni) tells her that she can’t stop the assassination because it’s a fixed point in time (Doctor Who logic). After the assassination, the Black locals congregate at Pop’s to grieve the loss of MLK, and Percival shows up to arrest them “before they instigate a riot.” Somehow, Tabitha gets J. Edgar Hoover, the goddamn director of the FBI, to shut it down and fire Perkins. Perkins retaliates by planting a bomb in Pop’s that … blows up on Tabitha and she travels again.

This time, she’s in 1999 and white supremacists are vandalizing Pop’s Diner under Percival’s mind control. Betty is now the guardian angel and Percival owns a curiosity shop. In this shop exists the Spear of Longinus, said to have speared Jesus during the crucifixion, and also, the actual Holy Grail. Tabitha initially believes that the Grail is supposed to be her talisman, and then in the curiosity shop, Tabitha defeats Perkins in a sword fight (but Perkins disappears/time travels before dying).

Finally, Tabitha jumps back into the present, and this time, she throws something at the goon who was going to shoot her and knocks him out. Tabitha reveals to Jughead et., al, that she believes she is being trained for a war against Percival. “He’s not human. He’s the personification of evil,” she tells them. Pop’s is where the final battle will take place, and the diner — not the Holy Grail — is her actual talisman. She also traveled to the future, and she saw the apocalypse, and Riverdale is ground zero.