Last week, Riverdale was full of plots and potential stories. Then they showed the preview and I had to think: where have I seen this before. It was about two hours later that I had seen the same “key” game in an old movie called “The Ice Storm.” Now, that movie is couples who are married who pull keys for a night with a – er — stranger. In this group, only Ron and Chad appear to be married and that one is unhappily. So, if we throw out the rest of the movie’s plot, we have the finding your “friend” for the night. Would they go there with this story? Of course! The real question if what is the gallery owner’s role in all this and what other ramifications will happen? I’m sure results will be vastly differently from the movie!
Oh, my! Was that Kevin talking to a trucker (who we meet later). Evidently, it was because he bought some items home. Meanwhile Archie dresses in his fireman pants to show Betty and that fantasy goes forward. The next day, Jughead and Tabitha are meeting with an expert. Jughead tells his story and she makes note. The anthropologist thinks Jughead is cray-cray and dealing with depression. Jughead is upset and tells her that she is cray-cray. She does give Jughead her card though as she leaves.
Alice and the twins are in the living room with missing posters and the twins drawing. Betty gets a call from Sheriff Kline about a new body being found. Betty rushes off to see if it is Polly. It’s not which makes Alice happy. Meanwhile, it sounds like Kevin and Fangs are calling it quits. (Okay, I’ve been calling him Sweet Pea. Why are those two interchangeable to me?) Just wait folks – new development will appear before episode end. And why aren’t I surprised that the two of them could be parting?
And in different location, Veronica is checking numbers as she plots her future. Smithers arrives (with presents from Chad I presume) and learns about the renovation. The contractor is Archie and she wants the changes quickly. She’s made life changes and is ready to move on.
Later, at school, the group is chatting as Betty, Cheryl, Kevin, Fangs, and Toni arrive. Fangs and Kevin are announces they are engaged and having a baby, Toni’s child. The three of them will raise the child together and Cheryl starts to flip out. She’s mad that Toni didn’t tell her about the new living arrangement. Toni tells Cheryl her history. Toni found out as a college junior that she can’t get pregnant except by in vitro. Toni volunteered to do this for Kevin and Fangs. Cheryl’s upset because Toni is having a baby while she is withering away. Say what? Cheryl, you all but ran Toni off and you are creating your own version of the Winchester Home. Toni offers to try to make a relationship work but for Cheryl this is impossible.
Betty talks to Kevin about what has happened in the search for Polly. She tells him about the casual friend relationship with Archie (wonder what passion would be). Betty is happy and doesn’t want anything to burst her bubble. Jughead is teaching his class about ”Slaughterhouse Five.” Isn’t that a little deep for juniors and seniors? He looks out the hall window and sees flashing lights but nothing is there. He goes on with the study stating ‘Billy is crazy” and you wonder if “Jughead is crazy” should be the question. He decides to join the “Close Encounters” group.
Cheryl, back at the mansion, is painting the art gallery owner as the goddess, Diana. Cheryl tells her story about Toni and the art director tells her to rise above it or – we find out later. Veronica gets a call from Tabitha about Chad who seems to be having a fling. Ronnie says that he’s trying to make her jealous and Tabitha tells her she poured coffee in his lap. Ronnie decides to do a picture from the renovation of Jackson and Archie to chronicle the work. (Of course, she sends it to Chad to get him jealous.) And what’s special about the picture? The two guys look tough and Archie is flexing muscles.
Later at the club, Betty and Archie are at separate tables but Jackson sees the relationship blooming. Cheryl talks to Toni about the office encounter and offers to make amends (watch your back Toni!). Cheryl asks to host a modest celebration for the engaged couple and coming baby. And the game is on as Cheryl tells all that it will be the final blow out from their teen years. It will be a key party with couples formed. They are to act on any and all animal impulses. Just what I expected but I think Cheryl is in for surprises.
Grown-Up Fears and Problems
Polly’s back but it’s only a dream. Betty’s nightmare has changed to the “trash can killer” using Polly to lure Betty into a trap. What can Betty do? She calls Archie for comfort and to help her forget. Later Archie and Jackson talk about Betty. Jackson has guessed about Archie and Veronica still have feelings and Archie admits that is true on his side. Fangs and Kevin are working out and talking about their relationship. They need to talk about their past and secrets. When will all be revealed? The Key Party of course! I’m wondering if this is setting the show up for a murder of a present character? We haven’t had a good murder yet this year.
Betty comes downstairs the next morning to see Alice on the phone. Polly is alive, scared and upset. Polly is in a dark, cold, smoky room. Betty tries to tell Alice that it was a crank call and Polly is probably dead but Alice won’t believe her. Jughead, meanwhile, is in a session and talking about his close encounter experience (cue “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” music). As the group talk about losing time, Jughead flashes back to something that makes him leave. He talks to Tabitha in the parking lot about hearing music and his flashback. Meanwhile Archie and Ronnie renovate and discuss old times and “key party.”
The Key Party
Jughead arrives as does Tabitha. Fangs is bringing one of his casuals, the trucker, Rick. Kevin is really having a hard time with Fangs’ past relationship. Chad treats Archie like dirt and Archie isn’t impressed by Chad. And Cheryl is ready for party games.
Cheryl talks about the feeling of mortality and heading to the age of 30 (just wait for the next ten, etc. Cheryl). The game is that whatever happens being partners that night must be consensual. There will be no redrawing of keys. Oh, and of course, slimy Reggie is there. Ronnie goes first. While she picks Archie’s key, Chad gets upset and protests. Ronnie breaks the rules, puts Archie’s keys back and takes Chad. They leave but is that smoke I’m seeing behind her. Jughead goes next and he is fall down drunk. Have we ever seen him this way before? He picks but Tabitha intervenes and takes him home where he goes to sleep on the couch. Jackson ends up with the art gallery owner. Reggie gets Fangs who later tells Kevin that Reggie is 100% straight. Oh, and we wonder when we see Slimy Reggie kiss Fangs on the lips. Kevin goes next and gets Fangs’ ex. Betty gets Archie’s keys which leaves Cheryl with Toni’s.
Cheryl and Toni talk about their relationship. Toni calls Cheryl a master manipulator. Cheryl has a surprise for Toni. She has created a nursery where they can raise the child together (with Fangs and Kevin nearby). Honestly, I thought we were at the Adams’ Family mansion when I saw that room. Cheryl has made a sanctuary for the child but Toni isn’t have her baby brought into this “house of horrors.” Toni firmly ends the relationship and leaves. At the apartment, Kevin and Fangs talk. Kevin isn’t ready to get married so that whole home relationship is up in the air.
The most honest meeting of the minds from The Key Party is Betty and Archie who talk about the free pass. Archie feels like they’re on the edge and he’s not ready. Archie also admits to Betty that he still has feelings for Ronnie. Betty tells him that they should make sense as a couple with him being the All-American boy and her, the girl next door. Betty is hurt but says she doesn’t want him involved in her “darkness.” Betty, which darkness is it? The serial killer dad, the brother manipulator, the cult leader…? Betty doesn’t know what will be next with Polly and Alice but it’s probably going to be dark. Archie tells her she won’t face it alone but Betty says no. She likes Archie as a friend (famous last words). He is her “light in the dark.” Chad and Ronnie are in the apartment. He thinks she wanted to make his jealous. She agrees but it’s more than that. The party confirms something she has felt for a long time and commercial (no explicits came from my lips but I sure felt giving some!).
Jughead has another close encounter and I question what really happens to him. Does he get beamed up in that single shaft of light? Cheryl and the art director get it on as Cheryl paints. By the way — is she a witch from Sabrina’s Glendale? I never saw that show. Archie is cleaning the fire truck when Ronnie arrives. Ron tells him that she and Chad are getting a divorce and Chad is headed back to New York for good. Archie offers sympathy but Ronnie feels like it was always wrong. Archie knew something was up and didn’t like to see her hurting. She knows he can make it better but Archie admits to the fling he’shad with Betty. Ronnie seems okay with it. She calls them two lonely souls looking for someone. It’s in the past. Now Archie is her present and we see a kiss. Hiram isn’t going to be like this.
Betty gets a collect call from Polly. She’s upset and in the middle of nowhere. Polly needs them to come for her. Arriving at the location, Alice and Betty find the phone booth collapsed and blood. Where is Polly? Is this a set up to lure Betty there? Stay tuned. It will be the midseason finale I’m sure.
Next Week: Betty is seeing a pattern and chased by a car. Has the “trash can killer” arrived? Wll someone die at mid-season?