BWW Recap: The Game is Only Just Beginning on RIVERDALE
Betty and Jughead aren't the only ones getting frisky over murder mysteries anymore.
The third episode of Riverdale's third season, "Chapter Thirty-Eight: As Above, So Below," opens with the Alice and FP action we've been so patiently anticipating. Channeling their children, they are seen lying naked in bed together, discussing the suicide of game-leader and Gargoyle King-follower Ben at the end of the last episode.
We get the same shot of Betty and Jughead immediately after, who are also discussing the circumstances of the suicide (what better thing is there to bond over?). They decide they need to find the game's rulebook in order to track down the Gargoyle king, which is conveniently followed by Ethyl's return to RIVERDALE High post-seizure.
But, oh no! Ethyl is also seen talking to Evelyn, the daughter of Farm leader Edgar! Does this mean the cult of the Gargoyle King is somehow linked to the cult of the Farm? Betty seems to think so.
As Jughead convinces Ethyl to show him what it takes to become "worthy" of the Gargoyle King's teachings in order to gain access to the game's rulebook, Betty decides to attend the first meeting of RIVERDALE High's new "student support group," led by Evelyn herself, to investigate this question. Neither scenarios go quite as planned, as per usual.
Back at Juvy, Archie is forcibly learning what exactly being the prison's new "Mad Dog" entails. After being in solitary confinement for three weeks, the Warden shows him the prison's secret fighting ring, where prisoners go to beat each other up in an abandoned pool while guards place bets on them.
Archie is forced to join and is woken up in the middle of the night to go fight someone, but turns out, all that weight training (and frequent shirtlessness) has paid off - he ends up knocking out his opponent with a single punch, in a quick, easy, and rather anticlimactic victory.
This victory comes at a price, however (even though his "winner perks" include getting an order of Pop's burgers for him and his prison friends to share) - the warden tells him that ending a fight isn't entertaining enough, and that he must make the fight last in order to satisfy the guards' bloodlust. While this throws Archie into shock, his dad comes to remind him that he's a good kid, and will find a way to do what's right.
The next night, Archie lets his opponent beat him up, finally gaining approval from the Warden: "That kid is a star." The Warden then presents him with a wine bottle from Lodge industries, reminding Archie that he is still, ultimately, under Hiram's control. He throws the bottle at THE WALL out of frustration, leading him to discover a secret book the previous Mad Dog left behind, containing some sort of hidden message he seems to think could change everything.
Meanwhile, Veronica is once again thriving, with the highly-anticipated opening of her speakeasy under Pop's: "La Bonne Nuit." With Kevin as the MC and Josie as the solo act, the alcohol-free speakeasy officially opens for business, but not without a threatening visit from everyone's favorite gang-leader, Penny Peabody.
Penny comes to Veronica offering "protection" from the Ghoulies, which Veronica does not accept. It's no surprise, then, when Veronica receives an unwarranted box of Jingle Jangle followed by a surprise "inspection" from the cops. While she luckily dodges the attack, she figures her father is behind it all (what else is new?) and decides to get back at him by blackmailing him. With the help of Cheryl and Toni, she takes pictures of his secret drug lab and tells him she'll send them straight to the FBI if he doesn't back down.
Surprisingly, Hiram doesn't seem to take the news too hard, and even shows up to the club's opening night (bringing Veronica's portrait along as a gift, oddly enough). What's even more surprising, though, is when Veronica invites him in to show him how a "good" business is run (despite the trouble that would be very much like him to cause). As Josie sings an alternative version of "Anything Goes" and people dance the night away, Veronica and her dad almost seem to make amends, which is honestly the biggest plot twist of the night. But, we can never say for sure with that mobster.
Back in cult-ville, Jughead and Betty are doing the best they can to throw themselves into dangerous situations in order to find out what's going on. Jughead is playing Griffins and Gargoyles with Ethyl to try and gain access to the game's rulebook, which goes pretty poorly - Ethyl (clad in a ridiculous princess costume) makes him choose one of two cups to drink, one of which is poisoned, in order to prove himself worthy to the King. He chooses correctly, causing Ethyl to drink from the poisoned cup herself (but not before kissing Jughead, weirdly enough).
Jughead takes her to the hospital and tells her the game is over for good, and that he will destroy the rulebook so nobody else can play the game again. It's too bad his dad has to beat him to doing that, before he gets the chance to even read the book himself.
Yes, FP and Alice have officially involved themselves in their children's investigation! But, not in a helpful way. They seem to know a lot about the game, since Betty walks into a meeting with her family and other cult members and discovers that her mother is somehow connected to Griffins and Gargoyles. Horrified, she confronts Alice about this, who refuses to tell her anything, saying she trusts the Farm with that information more than she trusts Betty (a pretty savage thing to do to your own daughter).
Together, FP and Alice take the book from Jughead's possession, warn him and Betty that the "game is pure evil, and no one's ever gonna play it again," and toss it into the fire, leaving Betty and Jughead at a loss.
But, it turns out Ethyl thought ahead. The next day, copies of the book are now in everyone's lockers, as Ethyl tells the horrifying creature from the woods that she's "done her duty" to the King... DUN DUN DUNNNNN!
So, will Betty and Jughead be able to decode the rulebook before more people start dying because of the game? And what's so significant about the book Archie found, as well?
Our heroes certainly have a lot of reading to do before next week's episode.
Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW