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Recap: 'Riverdale' Finally Reveals the Identity of the Gargoyle King (And It's Dumb)

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 16, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 16, 2019 |


OK, so here’s how the season finale went down: Chic is the Gargoyle King. Yes, Chic. But he’s doing the bidding of Hal, who is the Black Hood, who has been doing the bidding of Penelope Blossom the entire time. So, basically, Penelope — pissed that she was sold off as a child bride to the Blossoms as a child and grieving over the death of her son, Jason, in season one — had had an affair with Betty’s Dad, Hal, in season two. During that affair, Penelope cultivated Hal’s murderous thirst and motivated him into becoming the Black Hood. It appeared that he had killed Chic last season (we never saw the body), but in reality, Hal gave Chic a chance to survive because he’d seen some sort of psychotic kinship in his eyes, and Chic devoted his life to carrying out Hal’s mission, which was, in reality, Penelope’s mission to make the town suffer and to eventually punish the Midnight Children. In other words, Chic was Hal’s puppet who was Penelope’s puppet.

So, Chic is the Gargoyle King, but he is also Jason Blossom, at least according to Penelope, who had also deluded herself into believing that Chic — with dyed red hair — is her son Jason. Meanwhile, Penelope also puts the midnight children — Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead — through some sort of deadly scavenger hunt, but they somehow survive it after facing off against Hal in the end. Toni, who had escaped The Farm with the help of Cheryl, and Cheryl who had escaped the Farm with the aid of Alice, got the Serpents and the Pretty Poisons together to stave off Penelope’s henchmen and save Archie and the Gang. An enraged Penelope kills Hal, who is actually the only major character who dies in the finale. Penelope ultimately escapes while Chic is imprisoned, and because he’ll be put into prison with Hiram — who is now a prison kingpin who also framed Hermione for conspiracy to murder from inside prison — I expect Chic will return next season, probably as Hiram’s right hand. And that pretty much wraps up the Gargoyle King storyline

Meanwhile, back at the Farm, Edgar Evernever — seeing that the jig is up with the organ harvesting operation — decides to “ascend” with the remaining members of the Farm (sans Kevin, who he leaves behind to tell the story). We actually have no idea what happens to Alice, Polly and Edgar (they just disappear), but, we do find out that Alice has been an FBI informant the entire time. She only joined the Farm to protect Polly and to rat the Farm out to the FBI. But here’s the twist: Her FBI handler is none other than Charles, the son of … Alice and FP, which also means that he’s Betty’s half brother and Jughead’s half brother, although Betty and Jughead — who are f**king — aren’t concerned over the fact that they share a half brother.

Yeah. Riverdale is a hell of a show.

In the meantime, the episode ends with Archie and Veronica (who have reconciled romantically) drinking milkshakes with Betty and Jughead at Pops and talking about how they’re going to stay away from murders and have a nice normal senior year. Flash-forward to Spring Break next year, and we see Betty, Veronica, and Archie — covered in blood — throwing their clothes in a bonfire (including Jughead’s beanie) and talking about how they’re never going to talk about what happened in what is expected to be a season four storyline that pays homage to both A Secret History and You Know What You Did Last Summer. Oh, and in a nod to Pscyho, Cheryl is playing dress-up with the corpse of her dead brother. Nice.

Am I sticking around for another season of Riverdale? I don’t know, y’all. I can watch any terrible show for 13 episodes, but 22? Riverdale seasons are way too long, and because it aborts arcs left and right (how many fake Gargoyle Kings were there this year?), it’s a struggle to keep up with what matters over the course of nine months. I wouldn’t even mind how ludicrous it was if it maintained some continuity, but nothing about making Penelope Blossom the puppet master behind the Gargoyle King and Black Hood and reprising season one and season two storylines in the season three finale really made much sense. Also, it’s not that much of a “twist” to reveal that a truly evil character is … evil. The fact that Penelope is not dead, and left in the wind to reappear in subsequent seasons is even more frustrating. There are no stakes in Riverdale because no one truly faces any consequences. They just disappear for a few episodes or, in the case of Hiram, spend some time behind bars before returning more powerful than ever. I don’t even mind how preposterous the show is; I just wish something would stick, and I hate that previous storylines are revised to serve future storylines. At least American Horror Story resets each season. Riverdale is a show that is sinking in a quicksand of its own making, and it has run so far away from its original premise that I don’t think it can ever get back to it.

Then again, I do love The Secret History. And Mad Queen Cheryl is an appealing lure. So, uh, we’ll see.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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