If you are wondering what to expect from this week’s episode of Riverdale, “Fortune and Men’s Eyes,” it opens with Archie stripping down to his briefs while a guard holds a phallic-sized flashlight to Archie’s mouth before hosing him down.
This show is not subtle. In fact, it basically turns prison into what appears to be the Magic Mike dorm rooms. This is meant to be juvie, but it looks more like the All Boys Shawshank Revue. Everyone is cut, no one wears a shirt, and everyone looks like they’re on the verge of yanking off their tear-away pants and breaking into song. That includes “Mad Dog” (Eli Goree), Archie’s cellmate who — like Archie — is without affiliation. The Serpents tattoo FP gave Archie doesn’t come with as many benefits as Archie had hoped; the Serpents offer him protection from the Ghoulies, but only if Archie agrees to shiv someone. Archie begs off but comes up with a better idea. He stands in the middle of the prison yard and gives his, “We’re not gonna take this anymore” speech — which somehow does not get him beat up — and he proposes to settle the ongoing rift between the Serpents and Ghoulies with a … football game. A sweaty, muscly, tackle-each-other and roll-around-in-the-prison yard football game, which even ends up having its own halftime festivities when Veronica and the cheerleading squad show up to cheer the Serpents on outside the prison fence to “Jailhouse Rock.”
You know who doesn’t like that kind of moral support, right? Veronica’s father, Hiram, who hates that Archie hasn’t been shivved yet. Hiram calls his buddy the prison warden, and the warden breaks up the football game with a good, old-fashioned prison riot. In the meantime, Mad Dog — who had been enjoying special privileges — disappears, with the guards claiming that he was killed in the prison riot (Mad Dog wasn’t around for the prison riot because he didn’t play in the football game, so something is clearly amiss). The Warden, however, decides to offer Mad Dog’s position to Archie Dufresne, although I’m guessing it’s not to do the Warden’s taxes. Let’s all take a moment, however, and pour one out for Mad Dog’s abdominal muscles.
Elsewhere, Veronica gets in a tiff with Cheryl about filling Archie’s position as Student Council President. She ultimately begs off and lets Cheryl have it so that Veronica can devote her time to starting a chapter of the Innocence Project in Riverdale with the blessing of the mayor, who happens to be her mother. Sure, why not? High school juniors are always starting their own Innocense Project chapters. She’s determined to get Archie out of prison, and even after her father gets Veronica banned from Archie’s visitors’ list, she gets around it with a new name (Monica Posh!) and a blond wig. She’s completely unrecognizable!
Outside of the prison, Betty seems to be fine after her seizure, while Alice and Polly try to gaslight her into believing that she was hallucinating the floating babies. Betty and Jughead, meanwhile, are on the case of the Gargoyle King, who seems like a cross between Slenderman, Dungeons and Dragons, and True Detective’s Yellow King. Dilton Doiley is dead (cyanide), but Ben Button (BENJAMIN BUTTON) survives the poisoning. Turns out, however, that Ethel Muggs (BARB!) is all mixed up in whatever is going on. Ethel and Ben Button may have had a fling going, or it may have just been a part of the role-playing game and Ethel can’t tell the difference between reality and RPGs anymore. It doesn’t really matter, though, because Ben throws himself out of his hospital window. “I’m going to be with Dilton now,” he says. “We both flipped a coin. He was scared to ascend. But I’m not … it’s all part of his plan.” The Gargoyle King’s plan.
To Dilton, Ethel, and Ben, the role-playing game is real, and they are sacrificing themselves to the Gargoyle King.
Ethel, at least, is still around, but she is reluctant to talk to Betty and Jughead. When she starts to say too much, however, she falls into a seizure, and the one common link between Betty’s seizure and Ethel’s seizure is that the new spooky girl, Evelyn. She was also hanging out with Betty, Polly, and the floating babies on the night of Betty’s seizure.
However, if nods toward Slenderman, the Yellow King, and Shawshank Redemption weren’t enough, the episode ends with nods toward IT and the first season of Channel Zero. All the Riverdale parents get together, put aside their differences, and decide to work together because “the secret we buried all those years ago” has resurfaced. The blue-lipped cyanide deaths of Dilton and Ben fit a pattern, recalling a night the parents all vowed never to speak of again. It looks like they’re going to have to break their vow, however. “It’s happening again,” Hermoine says. “To our children. ALL our children.”
I think we all know how this ends … in a friendly game of football between the shirtless Serpents and the Gargoyle King.
Header Image Source: The CW