|“||Gryphons and Gargoyles. Serpents and Ghoulies. Riverdale was a veritable jungle of mythological creatures, species jockeying for power, and the dark heart of it all...||”|
GLADYS RETURNS TO RIVERDALE — As Veronica attempts to steer Hiram away from the drug business, Gladys' return to Riverdale throws a wrench into her plan. Betty grows concerned when Alice decides to take her commitment with The Farm to the next level. Elsewhere, Archie's rush to get into the boxing ring lands him in hot water, while Cheryl's attempt to send the Serpents a message causes tension between her and Toni. 
Gladys prepares breakfast for Jughead in the early hours of the morning. FP enters the living room after a long night on the couch. Gladys offers him the bed, but he declines. Jellybean then heads into the kitchen to grab a cup of coffee, which FP initially questions, but decides to let go. As he heads out, he tells Jughead to call him should trouble arise.
Hiram calls Veronica into his study as he readjusts back into business after his shooting. In the short time that he was laid up, some valuable equipment and stock went missing from his prison. Veronica puts the blame on her mother, stating that she said that it had to be destroyed because of the feds. Tall Boy, an ex-Serpent, tried to kill Hiram. FP, also an ex-Serpent, is now Sheriff. And Gladys, a Toledo Serpent, is back in town after years away and suddenly Hiram is out of very valuable assets, leaving him to conclude that the Jones played him. Veronica disagrees however. Still, Hiram is convinced they had the help of someone close to him to pull this off.
Archie and Josie grab a booth a Pop’s. He proposes that they skip school and catch a movie at the Bijou. Unfortunately, Josie has a meeting with her college adviser. She hopes they can meet up after school, but Archie will be training with Tom by then. While there aren’t any college scholarships for boxing, stepping in the ring keeps Archie in a good head-space and helps him focus. With growing interest in Archie, Josie jokingly tells him not to go messing up his face as it is growing on her.
While on their way to class, Betty informs Jughead of her mother’s upcoming baptism with the Farm. Usually, she would be rubbing the Farm in Betty’s face, but now it is as if her mother is shutting her out, which terrifies Betty even more. Betty failed in her attempt of digging up dirt on the Farm. She couldn’t even find a single photograph of Edgar Evernever. Jughead suggests that Betty pretend to embrace the baptism as it may allow for her to keep a closer eye on her mother. He and Betty then enter the class for a meeting of the Swords and Serpents only to find that their numbers have greatly depleted. Sweet Pea and Fangs inform Jughead that they’re down another eight members. All girls. They’ve all deceived to join Toni and Cheryl’s gang, the Pretty Poisons. Jughead orders everyone to fallback as it is his duty to make things right considering that this is only happening because he exiled Cheryl and Toni. Jughead believes that if he can talk to Toni and get her back into the Serpent fold, then the others will follow.
Meanwhile, Archie begins his training with Tom in the local gym. The first thing Tom learned while boxing in the army is to keep your hand up, and so he passes this onto Archie. He makes Archie aware of his habit to telegraph his punches. If he does that in the ring with an experienced fighter, he won’t stand a chance. Archie wants a real fight, but Tom doesn’t think he’s ready. Archie needs to learn technique and until then, he won’t be fighting anyone. Archie is persistent as he wants to know if boxing is a viable option for him. Tom tells Archie to slow down as boxing isn’t something you want to do half-assed.
Veronica supplies Gladys with this week’s payment as part of their previously agreed upon payment plan for the drugs Veronica burned. Veronica tells Gladys that Hiram suspects she and FP are behind his recent troubles, and that Gladys came back to Riverdale to steal his drug trade. Gladys couldn’t care less about Hiram being fired up. She even suspects that Veronica’s only telling her this because she’s worried that Hiram will find out that Hermione tried to sell his business out from under him. Gladys orders Veronica to be her spy, and in return, she’ll slightly ease Veronica’s debt. Veronica refuses to do so, which Gladys doesn’t take kindly to. She’s now in a race with Hiram to rebuild the candy trade. Gladys explains to Veronica that they both want the same thing, for her to rebuild the candy trade and to keep Hiram out, meaning it would be in Veronica's best interest to help her.
Archie overhears Elio trying to arrange a fight for his fighter Randy Ronson, and offers to be his opponent. While Archie doesn’t have any wins under his belt, he’s more than willing to fight. Elio agrees, but with one condition. He needs Archie to guarantee him that he’ll lose. If Archie takes a dive, it’ll help build his reputation. First step at becoming a champ is fighting a champ, but Archie has to pay his dues. But in this case, Archie also gets paid $5,000 if he goes three rounds with Elio’s fighter. Randy gets another win and Archie gets on the board. Elio even offers to pay Archie half of the money upfront. The other half will be paid after the fight.
Veronica shares her concerns with her father. She knows that he’s been dealing drugs, but it’s all gone now, along with the equipment he’s been using to manufacture them. Veronica thinks that this is an opportunity to go clean and build a new empire. She suggests that he refocus on his prison. He could fill it with criminals, making more money by imprisoning drug dealers than selling to them. Hiram likes the sound of this, but it’s small thinking. He has an idea of his own. Hiram recalls that Penny used the Ghoulies to manufacture and sell candy. Now that she’s missing, her gang is leaderless. If Hiram gains control of the Ghoulies, then he regains hold of the trade.
Not only is being in the Serpents her birthright, she’s also their family, so Jughead arranges a meeting with Toni at Pop’s to ask that she return to the Serpents. Toni agrees, but only if Jughead makes her queen, however, Jughead can’t do this because of Betty. He wonders what the Pretty Poisons are doing for Toni that the Serpents can’t. Toni explains that it’s an opportunity to lead. She rules them and they’re a sisterhood. However, Jughead thinks that they’re nothing more than Cheryl’s vanity project, which angers Toni. Before leaving, she tells Jughead that the Serpents are no longer a family.
Alice prepares for her baptism with the help of Evelyn and Polly. Betty watches from the couch, extending her support or at least pretending to, unbeknownst to the others. Betty then discovers the release forms that her mother signed that exculpates the Farm in case of bodily harm or death during the baptism. Alice snatches the form away from Betty, claiming that it’s standard. Evelyn explains to Betty that Alice is on the verge of discovering something that some people spend their whole life looking for and never find, so Betty shouldn’t stand in the way of that. Polly then adds that Betty is behaving just as Edgar said she would as she is a detractor.
Veronica informs Gladys that Hiram is going after the Ghoulies because they’re the cooks and the runner, so if Gladys wants to win this war, she needs soldiers to fight it. Gladys is pleased with this information, granting Veronica another day.
Archie is approached by Tom as he trains at the gym. Tom has learned of Archie’s fight with Randy Ronson, who’s 12-0 with 10 KOs. Archie has to prove himself and Elio is giving him the chance to do that. But Randy fights dirty, Tom explains. He sucker-punched one of these opponents before, which resulted in serious injury. And Archie is still not ready for a fight, so Tom gives him an ultimatum, either he cancel the fight or find himself a new coach.
Just outside Thistlehouse, Cheryl teaches an archery class to the Pretty Poisons. Toni returns not long after to inform Cheryl how Jughead attempted to convince her to rejoin the Serpents. He had the audacity to call them a vanity project, which still angers Toni, and so she plots on a way to put him in his place. Cheryl draws her bow and arrow, and fires, telling the girls that it’s time to show Jughead just how poisonous they can be.
Sweet Pea and Fangs are approached by Cheryl, Peaches 'N Cream, and the Pretty Poisons as they are leaving Pop’s. Sweet Pea sarcastically remarks that that he and Fangs don’t want any trouble from their sorority. Cheryl demands respect, to which Fangs questions the consequence of should they not. Cheryl explains who they are and why they’re there. They’ve come to deliver a message to the Serpents, that they’re not to be dismissed or trifled with. The ladies proceed to surround and attack Sweet Pea and Fangs, who choose not to defend themselves.
Afterward, Sweet Pea and Fangs retreat to Sunnyside trailer park, where their wounds are tended to by Jughead and Gladys, who advises Jughead to get his people in order or else more will defect and more gangs will start to emerge. Eventually, the Serpents' cut will become minuscule. They need numbers and Gladys knows for a fact that the Ghoulies are up for grab. They’ve been leaderless ever since she took care of Penny. Gladys tells Jughead to recruit them, though he is reluctant given their past. But if Jughead wishes to see the Serpents continue on, then he’ll have to do as told by his mother and tame the Ghoulies.
Toni approaches Cheryl after learning that she and the other girls jumped Sweet Pea and Fangs. Cheryl explains that she was sending them a message as the Serpents needed to know that the Pretty Poisons aren’t to be trifled with. Toni is furious. The purpose of their gang isn’t to air out Cheryl’s petty grievances or personal vendetta. It’s for protection and community. So now she questions who’s truly leading the gang, her or Cheryl. Cheryl says that it’s Toni’s gang, and in that case, Toni tells Cheryl to never deploy the Pretty Poisons that way without first consulting with her.
Josie approaches Archie and tells him that she performing at La Bonne Nuit tomorrow night and that she would like for him to be on the guitar, unfortunately, he has his first fight that night. Archie reveals to Josie that he’s being paid to throw the fight, which Josie disapproves of. Archie explains that it’s a short cut to get his name out there. However, Josie still isn’t convinced that being paid to get beaten up is a good idea. Archie reminds her that he’s an ex-con who walked out of the SATs. While he has admittedly been dealt a bad hand, Josie believes it’s up to him to change that even if Archie is being offered $5,000. She believe that he’s worth more than that.
Betty approaches Kevin in the student lounge to ask for his help. The Farm is a cult and no one else but Betty seems to be worried about it. The only way to get dirt on a cult is to find an escapee. While researching online, Betty found dozens of articles of stories of people who have escaped the Farm. Betty has in her possession a list of over thirty people who have escaped. Betty needs Kevin’s help in calling them, but he refuses. After Moose left town, Evelyn began helping Kevin and said that she would introduce him to some cute gay Farmies. Betty can’t believe that Kevin is considering joining the Farm, and so he tells Betty to stop seeing the worst in people.
Jughead arrives at the Sheriff Station, where he informs his father of his intentions to take over the Ghoulies. FP is very skeptical, but Jughead believes it can work, stating that the Ghoulies just need a strong leader. Jughead wants to be that leader, but he’ll need to find a way to persuade them to agree. Jughead wants to be able to tell them that they’ll have immunity from the law should they agree to join the Serpents. FP questions if Gladys put Jughead to this, which he claims she didn’t. While it’s risky, boosting their numbers is their only chance of survival. FP agrees, so long as he doesn’t have to sign anything.
Hiram asks Hermione if she’s been in touch which Governor Dooley since he hasn’t been returning his calls. Hermione claims that she hasn’t since the quarantine. She asks if Hiram plans on having Donald over as she noticed that their best bottles of rum has been put out, but he isn’t. Hiram has instead invited Gladys over since she’s returned to town.
Veronica barges into the Jones’ trailer to confront Gladys and remind her of their agreement. Veronica makes payments and delivers information, and in exchange, Gladys stays away from them. While this is true, Gladys informs Veronica that it was Hiram who called her, not the other way around. Still, Veronica threatens to tell Jughead about Gladys’ plans to take over the drug trade if she moves forward with this. Gladys is amused. She doesn’t care if Veronica tells Jughead as there’s nothing he can do about it. Hiram, on the other hand, will bring pain to Hermione should he find out that she went behind his back. Gladys proceeds to tell Veronica that if her meeting with Hiram doesn’t go her way, she would reveal everything to him regarding Hermione’s betrayal.
Archie calls Elio to the gym to return the money and explain that he won’t be throwing the fight. Unfortunately for Archie, that isn’t an option. Elio doesn’t just arrange fights, he arranges bets on fights and a lot of dangerous men have put down a lot of money in anticipation of Ronson beating Archie. If Archie doesn’t show up, they’ll go after Elio, who’ll direct them to Archie. Also, if Archie attempts to go rouge in the ring and win the match, Ronson will end him. Any deviation from their initial agreement will end badly for Archie.
Jughead meets with Verne, the last standing member of the Ghoulies, at Pop’s. Verne reveals that after they lost Malachai, then Penny, most of the Ghoulies went to the Gargoyles and started playing G&G. Now that Tall Boy is dead, Jughead asks if Verne knows who their leader is. The closest thing they have to a leader is a guy named Kurtz, who’s keeping the game going.
Jughead follows Verne’s instructions to what appears to be an abandoned house of sorts. Jughead shines his flashlight around the room, causing the nearby Gargoyles to cower. He also stumbles upon a game of G&G being played by several Gargoyles. Jughead eventually finds Kurtz. He’s come to talk. One leader to another. Jughead introduces himself as the Serpent King. He’s come to make an offer. They’re all wanted for the making and dealing of Fizzle Rocks, but if the Gargoyles join the Serpents, Jughead can promise them immunity from the law. Kurtz does not fear the law and doesn’t need immunity. He’s looked into the eyes of the King and his is the only law. The law of Gargoyles carved in stone. Persistent in getting the Ghoulies to join, Jughead requests to be Kurtz Game Master. However, Kurtz believes that G&G is more than just a game. According to him, they’re living a prophecy and everyone else are just sacrifices waiting to be made. Kurtz says that the Gargoyle King will decide and choose, and only the worthy will ascend.
Archie finds Tom at the gym and reveals that Tom was right. Archie thought the fight with Ronson would elevate him, but he now realizes that he’s not ready. Archie then reveals how Elio paid him to throw the fight, and now Archie has no choice but to fight Ronson and worries that he’ll kill him. Archie’s only chance of survival is with Tom in his corner. Tom’s seen Ronson’s work. He’s strong, but he wasn’t in the Army. Nor did he have to endure juvie.
Veronica purposefully interrupts her father’s meeting with Gladys. Veronica and Gladys exchange pleasantries to keep up the rouse that they’re strangers. Veronica requests to sit in on their discussion. While initially hesitant, Hiram agrees. Gladys takes a seat and asks what the purpose of the meeting. Intimidation, she suspects. Rumor has it that Hiram’s starting from scratch. Hiram and Gladys proceed to go back and forth until Gladys proposes that she focus on the drug trade while Hiram focus on his prison. Hiram finds it interesting that Veronica made the same pitch. Unbeknownst to Hiram, just as Gladys is about the reveal the truth about Hermione’s betrayal, Veronica interrupts. She agrees with Gladys’ proposal and will help her father see it through just like he’s always wanted. After thinking it over, Hiram agrees to the proposal, but he’ll need a steady stream of prisoners. He assumes that FP, Gladys’ husband and town Sheriff can see to that. As for Hermione, Hiram says that she’s a non-factor.
From the Blue and Gold offices, Betty begins to call the list of escapees from the Farm, but most aren’t so willing to talk. Betty then gets a call back from one of the escapees, who doesn’t want to talk over the phone as the Farm may be listening, but is willing to meet with Betty in person.
The night of the fight has arrived. Archie tells Elio that he isn’t throwing the fight. This both angers and confuses Elio as he doesn’t understand what Archie hopes to accomplish by this. With their initial agreement, everyone walks out happy, however, Archie isn’t for it. He gives Elio his money back and tells him that the deal is off. In response, Elio tells Ronson to kill Archie in the ring.
Jughead returns home to find FP, Gladys, and Jellybean eating dinner. He reveals to his mother and father that the Ghoulies no longer exist. They’ve joined the Gargoyles. They’re the same guys just in a different mask Gladys states. She still thinks Jughead should’ve recruited them, but Jughead doesn't. He wants to find another way to save the Serpents as Gargoyles aren’t the answer. Jughead explains to them just how deeply lost the Gargoyles are into G&G.
Betty convenes with Martha, the escapee from the Farm, in the bunker. She recalls that the Farm had locations similar to the bunker. Martha left the Farm six years ago. She and her sister Marigold joined at the same time. Martha ran away after she died. It happened during one of their ceremonies. The Farm believes that if you can get close enough to death, you’ll see the truth. They claim that you have to survive an extreme ordeal to achieve ascension. Martha continues to explain that the promise of the Farm and the first step towards it is the baptism. Martha’s sister Marigold, drowned during hers. Realizing that her mother may be next, Betty rushes off to stop the baptism.
While Josie performs at La Bonne Nuit, Tom prepares Archie for his fight with Ronson. Archie takes several nasty blows. He attempts to fight back, but Ronson gets the better of him.
Elsewhere, Betty races down to the Farm’s new facility to stop the baptism. She calls, but her mother doesn’t answer.
Back at the fight, Archie has made it through the first two rounds. Tom tells Archie that Ronson is going to try to end it in the third round and that they can use this to their advantage. He advises Archie to slip the right hand and catch him with an uppercut. From the crowd, Elio signals Ronson to end Archie. Josie arrives just as the final round commences. She roots for Archie from the crowd, as does Tom. Just as it seems as if Archie is gaining control, Ronson head-butts him. The fight is then broken up. Tom rejoins Archie in his corner to coach him through the final minutes of the fight. He assures Archie that he’s done great, but if he wants to win this fight, he has to knock Ranson out and then the fight commences. The bell sounds to signal the end of the match not long after, just as Archie is gaining control. There’s a split decision, but ultimately, Ronson wins the fight.
The women of the Farm gather for Alice’s baptism. Evelyn seems to lead the event. This is a day of rebirth. It is important to remember that birth is no easy fear, Evelyn says. It is a trauma to leave the comfort of their wombs. They push, tear, and spread forth. Crying and gasping for air. Today, Alice will rip off the weight she has carried, break through the barriers restraining her and she will emerge into the light of her destiny. Evelyn asks Alice if she’s ready. Alice replies that she is. Polly helps Alice into a steel tub of water and hold her underwater. Even as Alice gasps and fights for air, Polly forces her down until she is unresponsive. Betty, having ran across town, finally makes it to the facility, barging into the chamber and demanding that the baptism be stopped. Betty pulls her mother from the tub and performs CPR. Fortunately, she manages to revive Alice.
Josie waits for Archie after the fight. He asks about her show. She says she killed it, much like Archie did during his fight. She’s glad he didn’t throw it, which is a win to her. She then asks if he wants to get a milkshake at Pop’s to celebrate. Instead, they head to Archie’s place, where they have sex.
Hiram approaches Hermione after getting off the phone with the Governor. He told Hiram that Hermione made a contribution to him not a day after he was shot. Around the same time that Hermione was getting rid of his business holdings. Veronica comes to her mother’s defense. She admits to burning her father’s drugs and equipment. She explains that Hermione was just covering for her with the story about the feds. Veronica did it for all of them and she doesn’t plan on apologizing. Hiram takes this in and then tells Veronica that she burned $75,000 worth of drugs and equipment and that’s how much she owes him.
As Jughead and Jellybean watch a horror film, several Gargoyles barge into the trailer. Jughead pulls out his knife and Jellybean her slingshot. Surprisingly, the Gargoyles did not come alone. It seems they are now under Gladys’ command. She did what Jughead couldn’t. She tamed the Gargoyles. She then tells them to take off their masks. Kurtz is one of the Gargoyles at Gladys’ disposal. Jughead explains that this can only end badly, which may be true, but they’re desperate by Gladys’ standards.
After getting her mother home, Betty calls Martha, but she does not answer. She wanted Martha to tell Alice about just how dangerous the Farm is. Betty takes a seat next to her mother and carefully explains how Polly held her underwater and tried to kill her. However, by Alice’s account, she was reborn. She saw it all. Her purpose and destiny, just as Edgar said. And now that she’s been baptized, Alice can purge the last thing in her life holding her back, that being the house. Alice wants to sell the house so that they can all be together at the Farm, herself, Betty, Polly, Juniper, Dagwood, Evelyn, Edgar and all the other Farmies.
- Riverdale Cast feat. Ashleigh Murray - We Don't Need Another Hero
- Liily - Toro
- Scene: Jughead speaks with Kurtz.
- Ghostess - You Got Me Hypnotized
- Scene: Archie and Josie make out.
- Cheryl tells Toni she's been as clear as "a bottle of sparkling San Junipero water." San Junipero is an episode of Black Mirror, where in a virtual town of the same name, two women from different backgrounds fall in love.