Riverdale Season 3 Episode 20 – TV Review
At one point this episode, Betty says “I just want this to end.” And I could not fucking agree more.
How the hell did Riverdale manage to botch even the prom episode (thankfully, only Junior Prom. So they’ll have another chance later)?
Dear God, please let Season 4 bring us back to form.
TL;DR Archie is back to his insufferable boxing drama (now with added Molly Ringwald); Veronica finds out Hiram actually owns the diner and speakeasy (BUT WHO FUCKING CARES!?); Jughead and Betty try lure out the Gargoyle King; but an escaped Black Hood Hal gets in the way.
So now Riverdale’s combined everything that sucks about Season 3 with something that sucked about Season 2? Were they campaigning for a cancellation or something? What the fuck?
So fuck me, let’s toss Archie to the side as quickly as we can. He’s back to boxing, but Molly Ringwald is in town to say “that’s not okay.” Except when he could possibly do it to earn a scholarship to a naval college? What? Archie also stupidly overbooks himself for two matches on the same day, but even after almost killing himself and passing out, Molly ends up happy for Archie because he’s found something he’s passionate about. Who cares? Meanwhile, Veronica supports her not-boyfriend throughout, but suddenly Pop pipes up with an earth-shattering secret: Hiram gave Veronica a fake deed to the diner, and he actually still owns it (and the speakeasy by extension). But who cares? Meanwhile, Jughead learns from Jelly Bean of some book of the Gargoyle King’s, the Gospel, that contains his secrets or some shit. He finds it, and it details some ritual to lure out the ol’ GK, which he and Betty enact at Junior Prom. Things go awry when Hal, having apparently survived the prison transport bus crash and now suited back up as the Black Hood, attacks Betty before she can approach the Gargoyle King. Betty stumbles upon a couple of arbitrary murdered extras, but the Black Hood and the Gargoyle King get away. Meh? Betty is also back on “just walk in and say hi when you feel like it” terms with The Farm, despite their mad zombie rush from last episode, and she ends the episode by warning Alice that she’s probably next (Betty also waltzes in earlier to accuse Chad Michael Murray of being the Gargoyle King, but it doesn’t pan out). And in super minor subplot territory, Cheryl’s bid to win prom queen alongside Toni is squashed by Chad. But, like, who cares?
Do you remember how Who Cares was the infection that ended my coverage of Arrow? I’m not liking this one bit, Riverdale.
Fuck, let this season just be over already. This episode doesn’t even have a nourishing Betty subplot.
Why I hate this episode:
The only even slightly redeeming thing about Archie’s subplot is that he spends much of it shirtless. But is that enough, anymore?
Molly Ringwald is also a conspicuous stand-in for Fred, and it’s awkward having that hang over the show. It’s not really Riverdale’s fault, but it doesn’t help the episode at all.
If you thought Veronica’s speakeasy season-long arc was arbitrary and disengaging already, this latest development just keeps the eye rolls a’ comin’. Just fuck the fuck off. Veronica chooses to withhold revealing this to Hiram and is going to scheme against him or something. But. Who. Cares.
Betty’s multiple friendly visits to The Farm make no fuckin’ sense. She had to flee from being literally mobbed by them last episode. What’s changed?
Given that Riverdale’s being coy about actually showing us that Hal has escaped, I’m prepping for some garbage reveal of the Black Hood actually being somebody else. But I just don’t care at this point. I don’t even care about finding out who the Gargoyle King is. I just want him to go away (also, place your bets that it’s Hermione).
Riverdale still can’t figure out how to portray the Farmies. One minute, Cheryl and Fangs are alien-like cult zombies. The next, Cheryl is back to her old, queen bee self, and Fangs is just hangin’ out doing normal gym guy things. Make a decision, show!
I also realised (stupidly late, I know) that The Farm is likely just using Fizzle Rocks or some equivalent to hallucinate up the dead relatives. You know that’s all it’s going to be.
The original prom theme of Fire & Ice gets flicked away by Betty and Jughead as part of their GK ritual scheme, but they make a passing comment about how nobody understands it as a way to convince Cheryl to agree. Bitch, it’s not that complicated. Someone wears blue/white, and someone wears red/orange. And it would have allowed for much more creativity than your stupid replacement theme of “renaissance or something idk.”
Nobody seems that concerned about the multiple murdered teens from the prom. Not even Betty, who saw a decapitated corpse. I guess that’s just a regular weeknight for the characters of Riverdale these days, huh?
Cheryl has flat, braided bullshit for hair at the prom. The continual ruining of Cheryl’s hair has been one of the worse post-Season 1 problems of this show.
Oh, and the episode ends with Betty accepting an offer from Chad to stay at The Farm for safety from the Black Hood. I’m fuckin’ over it.
But it’s not all bad:
Betty gives some ever-reliably good reaction faces whenever something fucking stupid happens to her this episode, which is a lot. So thanks for that.
The best scene of the episode is when Betty confronts Chad about being the Gargoyle King because she thinks he will have some incriminating runic tattoos on his back. So he just shucks his shirt off and lets us all revel in his shredded-ness. Hot, shirtless dudes is one of the (very) few things Riverdale hasn’t forgotten about what made it successful in the first place.
I’d like to believe that Hal’s bus crash escape is a Michael Myers allusion.
Jughead’s renaissance outfit is cute.
Betty gets the best line of the episode with her “I just want this to end.” Same, sis.
My recent whinge about Archie’s missing bear attack scars seems to be my bad, as we do see them ever so faintly in a couple of shots this episode. Sorry, Riverdale.
One of Archie’s boxing matches happens mercifully offscreen. It was such a relief.
Oh, and here’s shirtless Chad, because there is so little else to compliment this episode about, so I’ll use this one twice: