Riverdale is promising to look into the past tonight by revisiting the parents years in high school. While this may be entertaining, it’s really about advancing Riverdale’s mysterious game of Gryphons and Gargoyles. My take: this “dungeons and dragons” — oops — Gryphons and Gargoyles” game all tie back to Alice’s second home — the farm. And what is it about this game that has people dying to play?
While the game tie-in is all well and good, I think that the past and present co-existing is even more so. Where else do you have parents and children with connections like the Jones and Coopers. With FP and Alice in one room and Betty and Jughead in the other, isn’t it a little strange that their lives are turning into a mirror? Are there any other secrets to be learned tonight. Could Hermione and Fred secrets lead to trouble for Veronica and Archie? Where in all this does Reggie and Kevin fall? Will we have another death tonight? Many more questions may surface on Riverdale “Dungeons and Dragons” — no “Gryphons and Gargoyles” as the night plays out.
You have to know how the past affects the present. Last week, when Jug saw those “bibles,” we knew it would be something big. In the introduction tonight, Jug calls the game a virus and it seems to have caught on with all cliques in Riverdale. The adults try to talk to the students about the game and the deaths being caused by it. Hermione speaks to the gang’s classes about the dangers and the psychological effect the game has on people. Betty has the doctor doing some digging. Betty gets the dirt. Alice was involved. Confronting Alice, Betty learns about the past. The game was involved with a murder. Alice agrees to tell the story in hope of giving Betty a source of protection.
Alice relates the history to Betty and tells her everything. Alice, the bad girl, finds out she is pregnant. She is also a “Serpent” (believe it or not). Hermione is a goody two shoes who lost her love, Hiram, when he decides to get out of Riverdale and go elsewhere to school. Penelope is — well strange — and has been adopted by the Blossoms from a bad orphanage to be their son’s wife. Fred is the jock and FP has been challenged to streak. He teams up with Fred to take Mantle’s dare. While this was going on, Alice, Hermione, Penelope and Sierra were in the girl’s bathroom. Well, let’s just say a fight breaks out and all six gets detention.
Well, the Saturday detention does resemble the “Breakfast Club” until the fight breaks out. but that’s jumping ahead. The assignment for the first Saturday was a 1,000 word essay (sound familiar). The principal hides in his office. Tom Keller stops by with lunch for Sierra. Wait! Josie’s mom was with a hot dad. With 80s/early 90s music as the sound track, we watch Alice crave her initials into the window sill. None of them have anything in common and eventually things go from bad to worse. We see them getting four more weeks of detention and the game of secrets being told (how else would I have know known the strategies above). This time, Hermione and Penelope gets into a fight with the others trying to stop it. That doesn’t matter to Principal Featherhead who awards all of them four more weeks of detention.
THE PAST GANG FINDS THE GAME
After that first disaster, the six of them bond and becomes friends. Wait! Penelope was their friend. She’s the one that surprises me the most. Anyhow — one rainy Saturday, they decide to break into the teacher’s desk in that room and find a drawer full of items confiscated from students. They also find the Gryphons and Gargoyle book and decide to play. Once they start, they can’t stop. Penelope had heard that someone who played the game had a heart attack which makes it more of a challenge in Alice’s eyes.
So the “Breakfast Club” morphs into the “Midnight Club” because this group of six can’t stop playing the game. Penelope serves as the game master and each take a character that could be compared to who they actually turn out to be. As the game is played, I realize I watch this same game played at a convention back in the 90s. It’s definitely similar to Dungeons and Dragons with dice being rolled and cards being drawn to determine play. During a “couples” play, FP makes a move on Hermione and Fred and Alice bond. While this makes present day Betty laugh, I can honestly see it. It still doesn’t explain though how Alice and FP got together!1
Anyway, back to the past. One night in the school, they run into another group of players that include Hiram, Tom, and Darryl Dilton (dead Dilton’s dad). As the game continues, they play at the school every chance they get and always at the school. One night, all are invited to the Ascension Party. HIram decides to spice things up with some street drugs that are hallucinogenics. (My note: He was into selling drugs as a teen. No surprise considering his “red light” district.) Funny thing though is that Penelope thought Darryl spiced up the game and he thought she did. So, there is still a mystery player out there who is the Gargoyle King playing deadly game.
The gang form a band and perform. So we get a musical selection by the strange band of The Archies (check out the comics if you don’t know the group. “Sugar, Sugar” was the big hit during the 60s.) Alice realizes something is off and the drug makes her throw up in the bathroom. Suddenly, the lights go out and the generator kicks in. When she exits the bathroom stall, she finds the “flip for your fate” written on the walls in red and the chalices set up. Alice sees the Gargoyle King in the hall. In addition, the principal has shown up and Alice decides to split.
The next day, Alice doesn’t see any of the game players and decides they ended up in jail (for playing the game or being in the school after hours, who knows). Running into Hermione, Alice learns that Fred’s dad died while he was high on drugs at the Ascension Party. She goes to the principal’s office but he isn’t in. Later, at Pop’s, Fred admits to feeling guilty over not being with his father when he died. Alice tells all about Featherhead and wants them to tell someone. Penelope tells them to keep their mouth shut.
THE PAST AND THE AFTERMATH
Rumors swirl about where is Featherhead’s disappearance. In true Riverdale fashion, we can’t have a mystery without a body. As the weeks pass, a noticeable smell starts in the school. Opening a closet, Featherhead falls out dead and decomposing (what — heading for the Afterlife series here, gang?). Alice learns that there was blue around his lips and he was poisoned. She wants them to go to the cops and tell what they saw. FP puts the blame on Alice (what and you are together in the present), and Penelope and Darryl gets accused with the crime. Alice realizes that one of the Midnight Club was meant to be the victim. The group decide to get rid of all the game pieces and take the secret to the grave.
As the days pass, they all return to reality and become different people. Fred sales his guitar and goes to work. Hermione goes against her mother and picks Hiram. Sierra and Tom break up while Penelope and Clifford Blossom grow closer. FP goes from jock to gang member, just like dear old dad. Alice — well she’s the most dramatic in her eyes. She leaves the gang behind and moves on to Hal Cooper. Can we say jumping into the fire from where he ended up. Each ignores the others and do not speak.
THE PRESENT AGAIN
Alice has been telling Betty all of this. She admits that Featherhead’s (it may have been Featherstone but I like Featherhead) death was ruled a suicide. Alice thinks one of the Midnight Club was the murderer. While Betty has questions, Alice explains that the game is dangerous. The more you play the bigger your mortal risk. The game “gives you permission to hurt or kill others” (well, I never saw that when I watched Dungeons and Dragons being played!). To Alice, the game is linked to death and wants Betty’s promise to not investigate (yeah, right). Betty admits to seeing the Gargoyle King and thinks it is the same person.
The next day, Betty goes against Alice and starts looking for clues. She finds the initials in the window sill. She finds the goblets in the trophy case. That night, she goes to Dilton’s shelter and finds Ethel and others playing the game. Surprise, surprise. Juggie is there and reached level three. He plans to be the king. Now how can Juggie be the king when we already have an idiot dressed in the costume running around the town.
Next time on Riverdale: Archie is still in jail and gets a surprise visit in the gym. Juggie goes to meet the king. The game gets out of control. Well, at least the first one is accurate but who can tell with the rest. I’ll be watching and hope you will join me!