If I were to rank the places I absolutely do not want to be on Halloween, it goes as follows:
- A legit haunted location (Think: The Stanley Hotel)
- A haunted house
Because Riverdale is both a legit haunted location and a haunted house … mixed with actual murderers. (But I hear the milkshakes are good.)
We start the episode with last week’s mystery: What’s on the tape?! Well, sorry to disappoint, but so far the tape is just 6 hours of, as Betty puts it, “our house,” which I’d like to address: Apparently, FP and Alice are not only together, but now their families are living together in the Murder House?! Things do move quickly in Riverdale! Anyway, everyone around town has been getting tapes, and they’re all the same — they can watch the outside of their houses for hours on end. And I love how closely Archie sits to the TV. Do we think he … didn’t recognize his house at first? Wouldn’t be the dumbest thing he’s done.
The tapes don’t include any messages whatsoever, so they have the entire town on edge wondering who’s watching them so closely. And seeing as how it’s the day before Halloween, it’s not the best time to be so jumpy.
Over at Thistlehouse, Toni asks Cheryl if they can finally bury Jason, who’s currently watching them carve pumpkins with his unchanging eyebrows that I can only assume are tattooed on his corpse? But we really need to address how he hasn’t fully decomposed. What kind of chemical are they using to keep him around? Long story short, Cheryl agrees to bury him but warns Toni that “he’s not gonna like this.” And she’s right. By the time they make it back inside, there’s a doll waiting for them. Cheryl claims that Jason’s ghost is mad, so Toni promptly throws the doll in the trash. (In other news, Toni must love Cherly a lot for STILL BEING WITH HER DESPITE HER OBSESSION WITH A CORPSE.)
At Stonewall Prep, Jughead finds a brochure for the Army in Moose’s things. Apparently, the kids at school are calling him “Gargoyle Boy,” which honestly isn’t as embarrassing as Marmaduke, but okay. Jug then heads to class, where Bret threatens him by mentioning the Stonewall 4, four students that vanished from the school without a trace over the past 30 years. More on that later.
Then, at Riverdale High, Betty runs into two kids dressed as the Gargoyle King and the Black Hood. I know teenagers are the worst but are you kidding?! They dressed up as the two serial killers that recently terrorized their town, one of whom is Betty’s father?! Who thought this was okay?! Not Mr. Honey, who quickly makes the students take off their costumes.
And speaking of the new principal, Reggie gets Kevin to agree to help him trash Mr. Honey’s office that night, which results in the most boring story of this entire episode. I’ll sum it up for you: They get caught. Mr. Honey is very mean and tells Kevin he’ll never get into NYU after tonight. Kevin then gives up Reggie, and Mr. Honey says to Reg, “Do you think this has anything to do with your father abusing you?” HOW IS THIS OKAY?? Then, after Reggie cleans up Mr. Honey’s office, he walks outside to find that his car has been trashed. One thing is for sure: This guy is not a princiPAL.
Okay, let’s get to all the real Halloween stuff, shall we?
While Jughead starts researching the Stonewall 4, Donna offers him coffee, drugs him, and he wakes up in a coffin. That’s where he remains for the rest of the night. The end. For now.
In order to keep Dodger from harming anyone — he’s mad about Archie beating him up — Archie and Monroe host a Halloween party at the community center. Thankfully, Veronica’s friend Katy Keene — wink! — is able to make them all last-minute costumes. For Archie, she crafts PureHeart The Powerful, which looks as terrible as it sounds. Then there’s Monroe, who’s The Shield? Sure.
But of course, two teens in spandex can’t protect an entire town of teens, so when Dodger and his buddies show up and refuse to leave, Archie calls FP. And when FP doesn’t pick up, he leaves him a voicemail? Can he not just call 911? Like, generally?
FP does eventually show up, but he’s too late. Dodger shoots Eddie, one of the teens, in the leg. And even though Eddie will recover, Archie wants to do more. So as Veronica suggests at the end of the hour, maybe they clean up the streets. (You know, between third and fourth period maybe?) And Archie seems to want to do it while wearing his spandex? Please tell me this is a joke. Or maybe not. I did laugh every time he tried to be tough while wearing those white boots.
Veronica spends all of Halloween “closing up” at Pop’s because just as she’s about to head out to the party, a very creepy truck driver pulls up and asks for a home-cooked meal before he gets back on the road to see his family. And she LETS HIM IN. Let’s talk about this: For starters, we’re to believe that Veronica cooks this meal? And who wants to tell this guy that the very definition of a HOME-COOKED MEAL means it’s not made at a restaurant?!
But that’s not the guy’s biggest problem. After spending what I can only assume is HOURS together, Veronica hears a news report about a serial killer who escaped Shady Grove Treatment Center. He’s called The Family Man, and he’s known to force his victims to cook them meals before murdering them. Welp, way to go V! Instead of serving the guy his pie, she runs … downstairs to her club. Not out the front door that was RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER but down to a place that does not have an exit!!
Thankfully, she has a plan. Although it relies on this guy carrying a lighter. And what do you know? He does! So she cuts the lights and fills a bowl with alcohol, and the moment he puts his lighter up to his face, she pours the alcohol on him and runs, leaving him to burn in the club.
Toni and Cheryl
Toni and Cheryl — or should I say Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy? — stop making out when they hear one of the babies crying, which is a good reminder that these two are basically teen moms. But when they find that the babies are perfectly fine, Nana Rose points them to the chapel. That’s where they find the doll Toni threw out in Jason’s old wheelchair.
Something’s clearly going on, so Cheryl suggests a seance to talk to Jason. Toni caves, but all they find out is that the spirit’s name starts with J, and Nana claims it isn’t Jason at all. She says it’s Julian. Who’s Julian you ask? Cheryl and Jason’s triplet! It seems Cheryl ate him in the womb and Penelope was so distressed that she bought a doll and REARED IT AS IF IT WERE A CHILD alongside her children. Because that’s normal. Then, once Cheryl and Jason got too old, Penelope put the doll in the attic, and now, Julian’s spirit is haunting Thistlehouse.
At this point, Toni’s had enough! She knows that Cheryl is playing with her: Making it seem like things were better when Jason was around. So Toni compromises: Cheryl can dig up the CORPSE OF HER DEAD BROTHER if she buries the doll in its place. Not sure how that’s a compromise, Toni! Surely a doll can’t be as creepy as a DECOMPOSING HUMAN!!
But it doesn’t matter, because the plan doesn’t work. The next day, even after digging Jason up, Toni finds the doll back on her bed. Cheryl admits to the Halloween foolery, but she says she has no idea how that doll got back into the house.
Betty’s plans for Halloween are simple: Hand out candy and watch movies with Jellybean. But when you live in Riverdale, nothing can be that simple. Someone starts prank calling Betty and claiming to be the Black Hood while reciting lines from When A Stranger Calls. Just as they get to the epic “it’s coming from inside the house” line, Charles shows up with a pizza in hand. Betty tells him about the call and the helpful half-brother offers to trace it.
Their plan works, and Betty finds out the call is coming from Shady Grove Treatment Center, where Polly is staying. Betty then calls her sister to tell her that she’s dead to her, but before Polly can explain, Betty hangs up. So I’m going to go ahead and say what we’re all thinking: IT WAS CHARLES! Polly sounded genuinely shocked by the accusations, and it was Charles who told Betty where the call came from.
Speaking of Charles, he tells Betty she’d be a good candidate for the junior FBI program, something she discusses with Jughead the next day once he escapes his coffin. (Mr. Chipping lets him out. Turns out, it’s part of some truly terrible initiation at this twisted school.) Jughead, who returns to his room to find that Moose has completely vanished, asks Betty, “Are you warming up to OUR half-brother?” And I thought Cheryl talking and her dead brother’s corpse was going to be the most uncomfortable thing about this episode!
Anyway, just as Betty tells Jug that she trusts Charles, we see that he’s listening in on their phone call, which also leads me to believe that he’s the one who sent the tapes. This guy might just be surveilling the entire town.
Betty says she’s sorry she wasn’t there to help Jug when he was stuck in a coffin, and he tells her, “Deep down I know that if I ever really went missing that you would be the one to find me.” Cut to Betty and FP standing at the Riverdale Coroner’s Office in the near future just as the coroner pulls back the sheet to reveal … JUGHEAD!!!
So are they actually killing him?! Maybe they will and then he’ll be the next ghost to haunt Thistlehouse! (I’m joking. I still don’t believe they’ll go there.)
Overall, the vibe of this episode was perfectly suited for the occasion. After all, Riverdale is made for Halloween. But the Archie and Reggie/Kevin stuff, I could’ve done without.