This week we are in a Wes Craven movie, among other things. I really wanted Jughead’s new home to mean that he’s Harry Potter, but Wes Craven has a movie called The People Under the Stairs, so that interpretation has to win out. For now. Not giving up completely on the idea of the Blossoms as the anti-Weasleys.
Jughead starts his voiceover musing on what makes a place feel like home. Warmth, familiarity, love, safety, acceptance, an idealized version of the American Dream? While he’s speaking, we see him sitting in a “typical” mid 20th century American kitchen with the Coopers, Jason Blossom, and Veronica. Jughead looks disturbed every time he notices something new in the scenario. Everyone else is blissfully happy. The room looks like something out of a Wes Anderson movie. Hal hands Jughead the utensils to carve the turkey that’s on the table. Jughead looks over to see his dad alone in a dark, messy living room watching TV. The knife disappears and Archie comes over to ask why Jughead stabbed him in the back. Sure enough, that’s where the knife is.
Then Jughead’s alarm goes off, and he wakes up from his dream back where he was sleeping, in the cupboard under the stairs at the high school. He goes to the locker room to wash up for the day. Archie startles him while he’s at a sink. Somebody finally realizes that Jughead is homeless, and it’s Archie, the second most oblivious person in Riverdale, after Fred. Okay then. Jughead shows Archie his closet. When Fred fired FP, he fell off the wagon and hasn’t gotten another job. Jughead’s mom got sick of the situation, grabbed Jellybean, and went to live with the grandparents. Jughead doesn’t say if she wanted him to go with her and he chose to stay behind, or if she only wanted to take Jellybean. FP thinks Jughead is couch surfing.
Veronica and Hermione are at war over the kissing Fred/forging Ronnie’s signature incidents. Veronica goes on an internet shopping spree to punish her mother.
Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Archie and Kevin discuss Polly’s situation in the student lounge at full volume. Betty’s parents don’t want to go to the police, or have any publicity. One of Cheryl’s minions overhears them, and texts her the information about Polly.
Jughead puts his arm around Betty during the conversation, outing them as a couple. Ronnie and Archie ask them each about it later, and give the couple their approval. Archie also tells Jughead that he’s trying to get his dad to rehire FP.
Cheryl tells her mother and Sheriff Keller that Polly escaped from a nunnery for the insane the night that Jason’s car was burned, so obviously that means that she’s the cold-hearted killer. Before she shares that information, she makes her mother agree to let her back on the cheerleading squad in exchange. Who’s cold and calculating? Then Cheryl tweets to everyone in school that Polly is the killer.
Jughead visits his dad in his run down trailer. Fred has already called to offer FP his job back, but FP turned him down. Jughead asks him to reconsider, so that they can put their family back together.
Betty and Jughead organize a search party through the woods for Polly. Archie apologizes for not being there for her before. Veronica tells Kevin about her war with her mother. The next phase is to go out clubbing on a school night with a select group. Reggie, Kevin and Josie will fit the usual parameters.
The Blossoms show up to search with their own group, dressed for the hunt, with a hunting dog. This isn’t a friendly search party looking for a confused, missing girl. This is a hunt for a murderer on the run. Or a fox. Whichever they find first. The two groups converge, and the Blossoms throw out threats and insults about Polly and what they’ll do to her.
The Coopers counteract the threats and rumors by holding a press conference on the steps of the church. They admit that Polly was in treatment, using it as her alibi, and announce her pregnancy, naming Jason as the father. Then Alice begs Polly to come home. All three Blossoms are upset. It doesn’t seem like any of them knew the truth.
Jughead walks Betty home in the rain. He tells her that’s what people like them do, but doesn’t quite say people who are dating. Betty is, as usual, distracted. She’s worried about Polly, and blames herself. Then she tells Jughead that Polly’s run away before. He asks how far she got the last time. Betty realizes something important, so she gives Jughead a big, slow kiss, and takes off. The kiss leaves Jughead happy. Their relationship will only make progress as long as there is a mystery to be solved, if every kiss is going to depend on Betty solving a clue. Soon Jughead will be paying people to set up small mysteries to keep the fire in their relationship burning. Imagine the crime spree it will take to feed their passion, if Jason Blossom’s murder has only brought them two chaste kisses so far. They are mystery-sexual.
Betty goes home, grabs a flashlight and goes to the attic. Sure enough, Polly has become the horror movie child being kept out of sight in the attic.
Polly says she couldn’t stay at the nunnery/asylum once she knew Jason was dead. They had planned to move to a farm upstate to raise the baby. She still wants to go there. No, Polly, no! You’re in a horror movie this week!! If the escaped convict with a hook for a hand doesn’t get you on the dark country road on the way there, then the haunted farmhouse will be the last house on the left, or it will be on Elm Street. Trust me, the isolated farm house is not a good idea, Polly! They know what you did last summer!
Polly tells Betty that Alice and Hal want her to give the baby up for adoption. Betty says that won’t be necessary now that everyone knows about the baby. Polly wants to keep the baby, and doesn’t want to raise it someplace it isn’t wanted. Betty says she’ll find someplace safe for Polly to stay, if their parents are still against keeping the baby.
FP and Fred meet to talk about the job. They agree to give it a try. Hermione comes in and assumes FP is there to threaten her again. He tells her that he’s trying to go straight. If she leaves him alone, he’ll leave her alone.
Betty asks her parents if Polly can live with them again. They say yes, of course she’s welcome home again. Then Betty asks where the baby will sleep. They both look Betty in the eye and tell her that Polly wants to put the baby up for adoption. Betty talks to Veronica in the student lounge. Cheryl overhears directly this time, and wants to help Polly. She’s family now that she’s carrying Jason’s baby.
FP, Fred, Archie, and Jughead go out to dinner together after FP’s first day of work. Afterwards, FP and the boys jam in Archie’s garage studio. Archie asks about what happened between FP and Fred. FP explains that they started the business together, but when FP got into financial and legal trouble, Fred forced him out. Fred bought FP out, but gave him far less than his share of the business was worth.
Veronica and friends go out to the club. Hermione retaliates by cancelling Ronnie’s credit card, so Ronnie pays cash. She tells her friends that when the police arrested her dad, they seized all of the family’s assets. Her mom told her that no one could take her name. Then her mom forged her name and took it, like it was nothing. It was a betrayal.
Betty meets with the Blossoms at Pops to discuss Polly. They promise Polly all of the financial and emotional support she needs. In reality, they plan to have her declared an unfit mother as soon as the baby’s born.
Jughead goes home with FP. He tells FP that his mom has gotten a job at a call center and is taking classes to get her GED. Jellybean wants to go by JB now because it sounds cooler, but she’s already a pretty cool ten year old. FP passes out on the couch while Jughead’s talking. He’s been drinking all night. Some treatment for alcoholism would probably be helpful.
Archie didn’t know about Fred and FP’s history. Later, he asks his dad about it. Fred says that FP was stealing from the company and selling things on the side. Fred gave him multiple chances. He feels that he was pretty generous. FP was going to drag Fred down with him, so he had to save himself and the company, in order to protect his own family. Archie points out that Fred protected him at the expense of his best friend, Jughead. That’s Fred “It’s not my problem” Andrews. He knew his old friend was a disaster, so he fired FP, and didn’t bother trying to help FP’s family.
Veronica and Hermione negotiate terms for a cease fire. They each explain their reasoning, and Hermione agrees not to see Fred at the Lodge’s house, and to tell Hiram she forged Veronica’s signature.
The sheriff brings Jughead in for questioning. His fingerprints were on Jason’s car, as expected. The sheriff discovered that he tried to set fire to his elementary school once six years ago (when he was NINE) and spent time in juvie, plus he was bullied a lot at school. Along with his father’s reputation, that’s enough to make Jughead a Delinquent in the sheriff’s mind. Jughead is now a suspect in Jason’s murder. He asks for a lawyer and his dad.
FP doesn’t show up, but Betty, Fred and Archie do. Fred tells the sheriff that Jughead was working for him at the time of Jason’s murder. Jughead is released. FP arrives as they are leaving the station. He’s obviously been drinking. He’s angry that Fred stepped in, but Jughead calms him down. Jughead decides to stay with Archie for a while. FP promises that he’s trying to get himself together so that they can be a family again. He just needs a month or two.
Fred forges a time card to prove that Jughead was working for him at the time of the murder. Archie says that it looks like he’s done it before. Fred says that Jughead doesn’t deserve what’s happening to him.
Polly waits at Pops to make contact with the Blossoms, but Cheryl shows up by herself. Cheryl tells Polly that she needs go back into hiding. Her parents aren’t safe for Polly or the baby. Veronica says that her mother won’t mind if Polly stays there.
Hermione seems welcoming on the surface, but there’s something about the way she says, “Anything for Alice Cooper’s daughters.” that reminds me of a spider that’s just trapped two juicy flies. Hermione and Alice hate each other. She wouldn’t go out of her way for Alice’s daughters. Poor Polly. It feels like she’s Gretel, and the witch in Hansel and Gretel just decided to fatten her up for the kill. Metaphorically speaking, I hope.
Jughead and Archie get ready for bed in Archie’s room. Jughead says he’s not ready to give up on his dad yet. FP is drinking and lurching around his trailer. Jason Blossom’s letterman jacket, last seen in his car just before it burned, is hanging in FP’s closet.
Jughead was all giggly after Archie startled him in the locker room. We’ve never seen him that relaxed before, not even with Betty. Does he have feelings for Archie? He’d just dreamed that he’d stabbed Archie in the back, which we were supposed to think was about Betty, but he puts his arm around Betty later, and it didn’t seem like a big deal for either guy. We still don’t know for sure if their falling out was just about Archie ditching Jughead on July 4th, or something more. That doesn’t seem like enough to ruin a life long friendship over. There’s still more going on between them that hasn’t been revealed.
We catch a glimpse of Jughead’s bedtime reading when Archie checks out his closet. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. Yikes. They both say something about his state of mind. Jughead, Polly, and FP have all gone through a metamorphosis that turned them into socially unacceptable, unwanted burdens in some way. FP’s stashed in the trailer park, Jughead’s in the closet, Polly’s in the attic.
FP says that Fred only had Archie and his mother to support, while FP had his wife, two kids, and hospital bills. It was his greater financial need that led him to take on the illegal “odd jobs” that caused Fred to eventually force him out, and his wife to leave him. Assuming that wasn’t just an excuse, what were the hospital bills about? Was there some medical crisis and they didn’t have insurance?
Why does FP have Jason’s jacket? Is he the killer? So far, we have no motive for him, other than possibly defending his son from bullies. It’s possible Jason witnessed something in the woods that he shouldn’t have, and was murdered so he couldn’t talk. The murder might not have had anything to do with who Jason was at all.