It’s Homecoming weekend in Riverdale. The Riverdale Bulldogs will be playing their archrivals, the Baxter High Ravens, Poe’s symbol of loss and desperation. Riverdale still wants to appear like an idyllic little town, but the battle with its darker side continues. The overall themes of the episode are homecoming, reunion, nostalgia, and commitment. Home is a place of love and family, but it can also be a dangerous place, where people get hurt and evidence of the family’s crimes gets hidden.
Betty is stretched thin between her commitments, and has tried to hand off decorating for the homecoming dance to Ethel so that she can focus on her writing. Principal Weatherbee suspiciously forces her to drop her writing in favor of decorating.
Hiram’s lawyer informs Hermione that the judge was impressed by Veronica and Hermione’s statements. He’s inclined to let Hiram off with a sentence of time served. I’m not surprised. Embezzlers don’t actually get long sentences. Veronica is shocked, since she seems to think her father is an ax murderer, and is still on her witch hunt against him. Hermione tells her, again, to stop looking for trouble where it doesn’t exist. Veronica doesn’t understand the difference between having a motive and actually committing a crime.
Jughead brings breakfast to FP, and discovers that he’s cleaned up his act. The trailer is neat and clean, and so is FP. FP has read Jughead’s book draft, and wants to talk about it. He’s impressed, but he thinks that Jughead shouldn’t get too involved. He should move on to another story instead of obsessing about this one. Jughead isn’t sure what to make of his dad’s suggestion.
Archie and Veronica discuss their night together. Veronica doesn’t want to start a relationship, since she’s consumed with pinning Jason’s murder on her father, even though she considers Archie boyfriend-worthy. Archie agrees, and wants to help with her investigation. Veronica says they have to pretend that they didn’t spend the night together. Archie wants to try the Bughead method of dating by investigating.
Alice calls Veronica and Betty to the Blue and Gold office to discuss the murder investigation. Alice has decided to take over the kids’ investigation. She considers everyone but the three of them a suspect. How did Veronica make the cut? Doesn’t Alice hate her? She must need the manpower. Even the Pussycats are suspects. Maybe Jason hated music.
Alice asks Veronica about Hiram as a suspect. Veronica is happy to share her unfounded suspicions about Hiram and FP with Alice. Then we move on to “that gay greaser Serpent,” who could be an accomplice. Alice needs to know what FP and Joaquin were “conspiring” about in Archie’s bedroom, so she’s prepared a list of questions for Betty to ask Jughead about them without seeming like she’s actually performing an interrogation. Betty refuses and walks out. Veronica follows, but clearly doesn’t share Betty’s opinions.
Polly is continuing her own investigation of Thornhill. She snoops into Clifford’s dressing room while he getting ready, and sees him preparing to put on one of dozens of red haired wigs. His own hair is white. We’re all as SHOCKED as Polly, right? Thought so. Those were the most obvious wigs, ever. Using the Veronica standard of evidence, let’s assume that Jason probably discovered that his father isn’t a redhead, then tried to get Cliff kicked out of the family, but Clifford killed him instead. Lying about your true hair color must mean something evil!!
Veronica slips back into the Blue and Gold office to tell Alice that she doesn’t have the same loyalty to
anyone the Jones family that Betty does, so she doesn’t mind investigating them. She can potentially throw her own family and Betty’s boyfriend’s under the bus with one gesture. Why waste the potential for that kind of betrayal?
At lunch, Cheryl announces to the gang that she and Polly will be attending the Homecoming Dance together and running for the Homecoming Court. Archie asks Betty if he can sing some songs, since his mom will be there. Betty is not enthusiastic, since all of Archie’s songs are depressing. Veronica jumps in and says that she and Archie will be singing some upbeat covers together.
Archie pulls Veronica aside later, and asks her what’s going on, since she’d turned him down when he asked her to sing with him earlier. She tells him that she’s hoping he’ll help her investigate the murder in return. Veronica explains her theory about FP and Hiram. Archie explains that it’s a big leap to go from vandalism to murder. Honey, when even Archie Andrews can see the flaws in your logic, you really need to rethink your conspiracy theories. Your dress game is flawless in this episode. Please stick to that, and leave the investigating to Betty and Jughead.
Veronica is undaunted. She wants Archie to help her search FP’s trailer. After all, her mother is in denial, and Jughead could be lying. She and her suddenly good friend Alice have cooked up this plot to protect Jughead from getting dragged into something very messy and dangerous. More messy and dangerous than being homeless for months, which Veronica didn’t care about at all. And she thinks Hermione has no idea who her own husband is. Veronica wants to protect Hermione from herself, even though Hiram told Veronica last week that he’d take Hermione down with him. I know Veronica has a lot of fans, but I just can’t. She’s Archie, with better clothes and hair.
Mary Andrews visits Hermione in the construction trailer. She invites Hermione to go to the Homecoming dance with her and Fred. Later she and Fred tell Archie that they’re going to the dance together, but Archie doesn’t care. He’s stopped believing that they’ll get back together.
Penelope brings Polly her daily milkshake from Pop’s and tells her that she’s forbidden from entering the East Wing, where their bedroom is.
Jughead tells Betty that Alice invited him and his father over for dinner so that the families can get to know each other better. Betty realizes that Alice is up to something, but Jughead is so excited about the dinner that she doesn’t say anything. She confronts Alice about it later. Alice manipulates Betty into continued silence.
Jughead tells Archie about his dad’s new attempts to get his life together, and interest in Jughead’s manuscript. To Archie, these are clear signs of potential guilt, not of a husband and parent trying to do right by his family, or a man who can feel the town looking for a scapegoat. He rushes over to Veronica’s to let her know that he’s in for whatever investigating she wants to do. Maybe starting right then in her bedroom.
Polly and Cheryl prepare for the dance. They decide to raid Penelope’s closet for some bling. Cheryl finds Nana Blossom’s engagement ring, last seen with Jason and Polly. They argue about how Penelope could have acquired the ring. Cheryl also mentions that Clifford tried to dye his hair back to red, but the color wouldn’t take.
Penelope later explains that Clifford and Jason argued just before Jason tried to leave town. Jason gave the ring back to Cliff, who gave it to Penelope for safe keeping. Penelope reminds Polly to drink her milkshake.
At the get-to-know-you dinner, Alice tries to subtly go down her list of not-an -interrogation questions. It becomes more and more clear to everyone that it’s an interrogation. Then Hal shows uphaving been invited by Betty, without Alice’s knowledge.
Hal turns the spotlight on Alice. He apparently hasn’t replaced the glass in the door at the newspaper office yet, so he’s getting a bit cold sleeping there.
FP brings up their long ago Homecoming dance, where Alice and Hal were King and Queen. The theme was Castles in the Clouds, a song sung by an orphaned child from the musical Les Miserables. Fred and FP were setting up for their band to play at the dance when FP overheard Alice and Hal arguing about…something that sounded like life and death. He takes a long look at Betty.
Alice tells FP to shut up. FP says that he’s happy to, if she will. He doesn’t care what she thinks of him, but he doesn’t want to be jerked around. Not in front of his son. Hal is quiet through the entire exchange.
Betty suggests that it’s time to leave for the dance.
Penelope spiked Polly’s milkshake so that’s she’s safely passed out until morning. Cheryl asks if the ring story they told Polly was true. Clifford tells her it was, and he can see that Cheryl is his true heir. Penelope asks where the ring is. Cheryl says she flushed it down the drain, so that it can’t be used as evidence against them, now that Polly’s seen it.
Archie and Veronica use the hidden spare key to get into FP’s trailer and search it. Archie is momentarily confused by mirrored sliding closet doors, but he figures it out. They’re mirrors! But they move! How can this be? They don’t find any evidence. Veronica can’t handle this, since she was sure they’d find something to incriminate her father and FP. How can she go on, without definitive proof, right this very minute? She’s breathless with fear and anxiety. Archie grabs her and assures her that not finding anything is a win for the home team. Veronica rewrites a Psalm in Archie’s honor: “Yeah though I walk through the valley of darkness, and Archie Andrews is there with a sports metaphor.” Then they kiss. It’s all very dramatic.
FP drops Betty and Jughead off at the dance. Jughead stays behind in the truck for a moment to tell his dad that he’s ready to move back home. FP suggests that they should move to Toledo to be with his mom and Jelly Bean. There’s work there, the whole family could be together, and they wouldn’t have to deal with the bad treatment they endure in Riverdale. Jughead isn’t sure he wants to leave Betty, but he’ll think about it.
Fred, Mary and Hermione arrive at the dance. Mary, or Molly Ringwald, former teen star, says to Fred, or Luke Perry, former teen star, “Remember when this was our lives?”
Alice finds Mary in the ladies room to make sure that she knows about Fred and Hermione’s dalliance. Or are the three of them polyamorous, Alice wonders? Mary just rolls with it. Like we’ll get an actual healthy polyamorous relationship on primetime network TV anytime soon. Please, CW, prove me wrong.
Betty sees Alice conspiring with Veronica and Archie. The reason for the dinner starts to become more clear. Weatherbee and Mayor McCoy come up to talk to Betty. Mayor McCoy is offering her an internship, but Betty tunes her out. She excuses herself to confront Veronica and Archie. But it’s time for them to sing, so they avoid her questions for now.
They sing Kids in America. Here’s the thing. I really like KJ Apa and Camila Mendes, despite my ambivalence about their characters. They do a fabulous job with this song. I’m completely here for them to become a singing duo next year, as long as Veronica is in charge of the setlists. Her love of the dramatic would come in handy in this instance.
As they sing, the sheriff arrives at FP’s trailer with a search warrant. The police ransack his home, and discover a gun hidden in a metal lock box in the back of a closet. FP looks surprised to see it.
Fred and Mary share a dance. She asks about Archie and Veronica. He says that he thinks they’re dating. Mary says that the Andrews men are such players. What playing has Fred done?
Kevin and Joaquin are also dancing, as Kevin tells Joaquin about his romantic past. Joaquin looks surprised. He always seems surprised by how experienced Kevin is. Jughead asks them where Betty is. Then Kevin spots the sheriff talking to the mayor.
Jughead finds Betty in the hall arguing with Veronica and Archie about their search of FP’s house. He can tell something’s wrong. Archie and Veronica confess. Betty tells him that her mother sent them while they were having dinner. He assumes Betty was a part of it. Betty says she didn’t know what her mother was up to, but Jughead gets her to admit that she knew her mother was up to something. He’s very hurt and lashing out at all three, especially Betty. He tells her he can’t believe he considered not moving to Toledo with his family for her.
They are interrupted when Kevin and their parents find them to tell Jughead that his father was just arrested for the murder of Jason Blossom. Jughead runs out of the school and down the street. He goes back to the trailer to have his reaction in private.
Betty asks Alice if she was the one who tipped off the sheriff about the gun. Alice denies it, but says she’s glad that Betty will be done with Jughead now. Betty says that she loves Jughead. He’s her family, too. She’s going to find him whether her mother wants her to or not.
Hermione and Veronica sit side by side on their couch. Hermione is worried that FP will confess and reveal all of the Lodges’ secrets. Veronica asks what they’ll do if it turns out that Hiram hired FP to kill Jason. Hermione says that then they’ll cut their ties with Hiram. He’ll be dead to them. Finally, Veronica gets the answer she’s been looking for.
Mary Andrews wants Archie to reconsider moving to Chicago with her. Fred overhears and isn’t happy.
Cheryl checks to make sure that Polly is still breathing. Penelope is crying over Jason’s death and hating on FP. Clifford is comforting her. Cheryl looks at Nana Rose’s engagement ring, still in her hand.
Betty goes to Pop’s looking for Jughead. He’s not there, but Archie and Veronica are. They stop Betty, to say that Kevin called to tell them about the gun the sheriff found. It wasn’t there when they searched the trailer. The gun must have been planted after they left. FP is being framed.
Hermione spends a lot of time doing damage control between Hiram and Veronica, and trying to get Veronica to understand the potential consequences of her actions. Hermione has proved over and over again that her ultimate loyalty is to keeping herself and Veronica safe and together. She wants to work things out with Hiram, because he offers the safest, most financially stable life at the moment, but Veronica keeps threatening that.
Hal and Alice’s fight the night of their Homecoming dance must have been about her pregnancy, and whether or not she should have an abortion. What’s interesting is the way FP sounds like an ex-boyfriend in that conversation and in the conversation outside the party in the previous episode, and the way that Alice is so fascinated by him. Was the baby FP’s? Is that why he remembers the fight, and why Hal stayed quiet through the whole conversation at the table?
The mayor and Weatherbee were very interested in Betty this episode. Why were they so invested in having her be in charge of the dance, then offering her an internship during the dance, and wanting her to escort the mayor to the stage? Is she their new mascot, or are they trying to distract her?
Just what are Cliff and Penelope putting in those milkshakes on a regular basis, never mind the occasional sedatives?