If you felt the awkward seeping out of your TV screen as you watched the Wednesday, December 6, episode of Riverdale, you’re not the only one. “Chapter 21: House of the Devil” saw Betty and Jughead handing their detective duties over to Archie and Veronica and let’s just say things got real messy from there. Here’s what you missed.
Opposite of Death
Archie (KJ Apa) and Veronica (Camila Mendes) were romping it up in his bedroom, in the Andrews garage, in the Pembroke, using sex as a way to defy death and The Black Hood. All these intimate encounters led Archie to tell Veronica he loves her, but classic TV dilemma: she didn’t say it back. So, when Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Jughead (Cole Sprouse) asked Veronica and Archie to investigate a lead in The Black Hood case, the pair leapt at the distraction — especially after Veronica discovered her parents had received a letter from the masked murderer.
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Archie tried to broach the “L word” topic with Veronica time and again, but she kept shutting him down. They instead focused on the case. Their task was to dig into the Riverdale Reaper murders and see if there was a connection to The Black Hood. Veronica and Archie’s research took them to the same house The Black Hood sent Betty to a few weeks ago (when he forced her to put on a black hood and look at herself in a mirror). There they found the sheriff’s case files and evidence that the family that was killed had three children, though only two were killed.
V and A took this information back, along with the surviving child’s name, to Betty and Jughead. Apparently, Joseph Conway was adopted by a local family, changed his name and attended a school in Riverdale, so Archie and Veronica decided to comb through old Riverdale High yearbooks to see if they could find the young man, based on an old photo they found in the sheriff’s files. Eventually their diligence paid off; they came across a student named Joseph Svenson, who just so happened to be the creepy janitor who was lurking around Josie (Ashleigh Murray).
Archie and Veronica confronted the janitor and, having looked in The Black Hood’s eyes, Archie determined he was not their killer. Mr. Svenson claimed the man who murdered his family had been killed years before, so the Riverdale Reaper probably wasn’t The Black Hood either.
With their investigation on hold, the couple headed to the Whyte Wyrm for FP’s retirement party. Archie assured Veronica it was OK if she couldn’t say “I love you” back, but his passive aggressive response to her “Thank you for understanding” suggested otherwise. This couldn’t have been a more uncomfortable time for a duet of “Mad World,” but the karaoke list obviously doesn’t know how to read a situation. Veronica ran off stage before the song was over, and as she left the bar, she told Archie, “I can’t let myself go there with you.”
The Serpent Dance
Jughead found out his father was getting out of jail, so he and Betty were focused on getting him home. Bughead and Alice (Mädchen Amick) — who tagged along in her typical overbearing yet entertaining way — picked FP (Skeet Ulrich) up from jail and took him to lunch. FP told them he was retiring from the Serpents — he’d joined AA and got a job at Pop’s. He was on the straight and narrow, and he wanted the same for Jughead. But Juggy contested that he had to stay in the Serpents. He had big plans to sit down with Mayor McCoy to discuss a compromise to bring the Southside back from the brink.
Betty suggested they throw a retirement party for FP at the Whyte Wyrm. Knowing that his father wouldn’t be around to keep an eye on Jughead anymore, Betty asked Toni how she could be part of his world and become “Serpent adjacent.” An old timer informed Betty she would have to do the Serpent dance. With that naïve glint in her eye, Betty repeated, “Excuse me? Serpent dance?” The Serpent dance was basically a striptease, and it was clear Dark Betty had seen an opportunity to claw her way out.
Meanwhile Penny Peabody was still threatening Jughead. He insisted he was out, but she argued that their arrangement was ongoing. She even brought up Betty, calling her Jughead’s “soft underbelly.”
Alice confronted FP about Betty and Jughead’s increasing presence in the Serpent world, and there was also some weird (sexual?) tension between the duo’s parents when Alice said she didn’t want Bughead making the same mistakes she and FP made. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but please don’t let Betty’s long-lost brother also be Jughead’s long-lost brother.
Things escalated at FP’s retirement party when Betty took the stage to finish Archie and Veronica’s karaoke song and do her Serpent dance. FP came up to make an announcement when Betty was done — he wasn’t retiring after all. FP had found out about Jughead’s deal with Penny and he’d agreed to make it his problem. Feeling his father’s disappointment, Jughead pushed Betty away and told her he didn’t want to drag her down like he’d done to his father.
So, are Riverdale’s two main couples over? That suggestive look Archie gave Betty as he glared at her from his room window is making us nervous.
Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) and Josie made a brief appearance in this episode. We got another hint of Cheryl’s obsessive crush on Josie when she tried to give her a massage in the girls’ locker room but was interrupted by the janitor. Hopefully we’ll get more answers about this pair soon.
Riverdale airs on The CW Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.