- Archie: "Ronnie, when I first met you, you were it for me. Everything I could have ever wanted. I saw our whole future."
- Veronica: "Because we're endgame, Archie."
- Archie: "I hope you know how much I love you."
- Veronica: "If you loved me, you would come home."
- Archie: "Come on, Ronnie, you know in your heart I'm right about this. It just hurts to admit it."
- Veronica: "Don't you make me say goodbye to you, Archie Andrews. Because I don't wanna hear it back. I can't. I can't, I..."
- Archie: "Goodbye, Veronica."
- ―Archie breaks up with Veronica
THE COVER-UP — After confronting the parents, who were part of "The Midnight Club" twenty-five years ago, Betty follows some strong leads in hopes of finding out who the true Gargoyle King is. Meanwhile, Veronica's attempt to prove Archie's innocence lands her in hot water. Finally, Archie turns to Kevin for help making things right.
In Dilton’s bunker, Betty watches over a sleeping Archie, wondering what the runic symbol branded on his rib cage could possibly mean. Before long, Jughead returns to inform her of his run-in with Gargoyle King. Jughead followed it through a clearing only to learn that the Gargoyle King is not alone. He was accompanied by ten of his disciples around a bonfire. They were all wearing mask, and Jughead describes them as being a gang of gargoyles. Betty wants to go after them, but Jughead would rather not take the chance. When they begin to wonder who the disciples might be, Archie utters Joaquin's name. He recalls Kevin telling him that Joaquin spoke of joining a new gang. Given what they now know about Warden Norton playing G&G and Joaquin doing his bidding, this only further confirms Betty and Jughead’s suspicion that Warden Norton might be the Gargoyle King.
Betty returns home after a long night out only to be immediately confronted by her mother. Alice informs Betty of the manhunt currently underway to find Archie. When Alice asks of Betty’s involvement, Betty denies any connection to Archie’s breakout. Alice then reveals that Warden Norton killed himself last night and that he was found with blue lips. Given this revelation, Betty asks her mother if she knew Warden Norton because he had ties to Hiram Lodge, who is also a member of the Midnight Club, much like her mother. Alice claims to have no knowledge of the Warden.
Archie and Veronica lay up in bed together in Dilton’s bunker. Archie tells Veronica that he believes the Shadow Lake boys are in the abandoned mines and that he just needs to get to them to prove his innocence. However, just outside the bunker, there’s a manhunt underway for Archie; roadblocks, checkpoints, wanted posters, etc, Veronica explains. Nevertheless, Archie learned from the Warden that the boys were paid off, meaning they are the only ones who can clear his name. While it may be a long shot, Veronica recalls Betty working on Archie’s case with his mom and attorney McCoy at his house, meaning the case files are there. Unfortunately, they had been through them all. Archie tells Veronica to keep his whereabouts a secret from his dad as he doesn’t want him to get wrapped up in it. Veronica explains that they had no choice but to break him out. However, Archie reminds Veronica that the reason he took the plea deal was to spare everyone from another trial. Still, they helped him because they love him. Now, she needs him to trust her and stay put.
Under the suspicion that Archie had help escape Leopold and Loeb Juvenile Detention Center, Sheriff Minetta heads down to Riverdale High, along with Hermione, to confront those who he deems to be suspects. In the classroom is Veronica, Betty, Jughead, Cheryl, Josie, Kevin, Reggie, Sweet Pea, Fangs, and Evelyn. Sheriff Minetta informs them that hiding a convict and information from the law is a felony offense. So, whoever aided and abetted Archie is just as much a criminal as he is. Reggie claims that he was busy all day, welcoming the sheriff to check his browser history. When the sheriff turns his attention to Evelyn, she explains that she never even met Archie, plus on Mondays, she attends meetings for the Farm. When the sheriff asks where Josie was during the time of the breakout, she struggles to come up with an alibi, eventually settling with her being alone in the music room. Sheriff Minetta will be looking into all their alibis. As he continues to antagonize Josie, she suddenly has a seizure. Cheryl rushes to her aid, catching Josie and telling the sheriff to back off.
Betty convenes with Jughead in the Blue and Gold, where she informs him of Josie’s seizure. First Betty, then Ethel, and now Josie. They wonder what the connection could be. Just as Jughead was ready to write off Warden Norton’s connection to the Midnight Club and the Gargoyle King, Betty makes a discovery. Warden Norton was the RROTC instructor of Riverdale High twenty five years ago. This proves that their parents have only continued to lie to them. Featherhead was the first blue lip death on record. Somehow, Betty has to figure out how to force their parents into telling the truth, though this will involve Veronica’s speakeasy. In the meantime, Jughead will rally the Serpents as they have to find Joaquin. He was the Warden’s accomplice, making him their best chance at figuring out what was going on in the Warden's mind.
At Sunnyside Trailer Park, Sweet Pea and Fangs inform Jughead that Sheriff Minetta is trashing tent city in search of Archie. Much like the manhunt for Archie, Jughead orders every Serpent to be on the lookout for Joaquin. Serpents just don’t shiv other Serpents, Sweet Pea remarks. However, according to Archie, Joaquin did it because of Warden Norton, and when the Warden confronted Betty, he called Archie the Red Paladin. Plus, the Warden poisoned himself with cyanide and blueberry fresh-aid. Not to mention he worked at Riverdale High before the detention center. The question they must now ask is if he was playing G&G with someone or for someone. And since he’s dead, Joaquin is the only one who can know the answer. Jughead warns Sweet Pea and Fangs that Joaquin may not be alone, as he suspect that Joaquin’s one of the Gargoyle King’s disciples.
As Kevin watches over Archie, Archie informs him that his wound is getting worse. As it turns out, Archie’s stab wound is infected. So, Kevin turns to Betty, who directs him to the local coroner, Dr. Curdle Jr. She insist that he bring small bills. Betty then heads down into the speakeasy, where the Midnight Club, that being Alice, FP, Hiram, Hermione, Penelope, Fred, Tom, Sierra, and Marty are awaiting her arrival. She had sent them all invitations. However, they were under the impression that the invites were from the Gargoyle King. Betty wants to get all the secrets out, and she sees this as her only option.
Hermione reminds Alice of their pact, how they promised that they would never talk about the Midnight Club again. Alice reasons that she told Betty in order to protect her from playing the game, which she isn’t. However, her friends are playing, leaving Betty to question if any of them actually care, to which Sierra replies that she should be with Josie, who just had a seizure earlier that morning, instead of rehashing their past which she seems to be irrelevant, at least to her. Betty argues that their past is very much relevant as Josie is by playing G&G, along with Kevin, Cheryl and Reggie. Betty then makes everyone aware of just how abusive Marty Mantle is towards Reggie, such as giving him a black eye. Fred remarks that it was bound to get out at some time, their secret that is, so he’d much rather address it so that their kids at least know the truth. Betty wants to start with Warden Norton, who was also the RROTC instructor at Riverdale High twenty five years ago. Given that Tom was a cadet back then, Betty asks if the two ever played the game together, but they didn’t. Hiram had business dealings with Warden Norton leading up to his death. Betty wants to know the specifics of those dealings and whether not not Hiram knew that he was playing G&G. While Hiram refuses to inform Betty of his business dealings, he does tell her that he had no clue Norton was playing.
Betty then asks about ascension night, wondering if Norton was present. FP explains that they have no way of knowing as they were high, hallucinating gargoyles. Much to Alice’s surprise, FP also saw the Gargoyle King that night. Hiram states that all this is merely a waste of time. As he attempts to leave, Hermione convinces him to stay. Hermione decides to indulge Betty. Betty wants to know who poisoned the chalice. Hermione informs her that given the fact that the Game Master is responsible for setting up the game, her instinct is telling her that the culprit is Penelope. Hermione suspects that she grew the poison in her greenhouse. However, as Penelope explains, you can’t grow cyanide. Penelope then reveals that Darryl Doiley poisoned the chalices. Both he and Penelope were Game Masters. He was secretly in love with her and wanted the two of them to ascend together. But, Penelope said no. She assumed the chalices were emptied afterward but clearly they were not. Years later, Darryl came to Penelope, riddled with guilt and seeking comfort. Penelope refused him again given that they were both married with families. She was also afraid of revisiting that night. Darryl left. The next day, he was found dead in his garage, with the engine to his car running and windows up. Betty isn’t buying Penelope’s story. Even if this is true, that doesn’t explain who the current Gargoyle King is. Betty and Jughead saw it in Fox Forest and they’ve been trying to track him down ever since, which is why Jughead began playing the game. All this is news to FP, who grows increasingly aggravated. He then leaves to deal with Jughead, with everyone else following him out. Before leaving, Alice asks Betty if she’s satisfied, but she’s not. Not even close.
Jughead gets a call from Fangs, who tells him that the Centerville Serpents saw Joaquin at the last resort youth hostel. He and Sweet Pea are on their way to retrieve him. When they do, Jughead wants Fangs and Sweet Pea to take him into Fox Forest. FP returns to the trailer just as Jughead plans to meet with the others. FP takes him by surprise and handcuffs him to the refrigerator. He claims that Jughead’s addicted to G&G. Jughead disagrees, claiming that he simply needs to ascend in order to find the Gargoyle King. FP then takes Jughead’s phone away, tossing it out of his reach, on the table, before leaving.
At the coroner’s office, Dr. Curdle Jr. tends to Archie’s wounds, telling him to keep it clean and dry. As for the infection, he has some antibiotics, which he retrieved for Archie after Kevin paid him in small bills as requested. Kevin wants to get back to the bunker, but Archie plans on finding the Shadow Lake boys, who he believes are hiding out in the abandoned mines. Kevin questions just how far Archie will get on his own. When Archie asks for his help, Kevin reluctantly agrees.
While going over Archie’s case files, Veronica comes across an edit point in Sheriff Minetta’s interrogation footage of one of the Shadow Lake boys. Hiram enters, curious as to why Veronica has Archie’s case files. But Veronica simply promises him that Archie isn’t going to be behind bars ever again.
Once in his study, Hiram calls Sheriff Minetta as there are too many variables up at Shadow Lake, that being the boys who falsely accused Archie. Hiram wants the sheriff to take care of them.
Betty enters the trailer to find Jughead handcuffed to the refrigerator. Fortunately, she has a bobby-pin and is able to free him. Jughead informs Betty that his father did it as he doesn’t like Jughead playing G&G, which Betty takes fault for as she unintentionally revealed this to FP during their sit down. Speaking of which, Jughead wonders how that went. Betty informs him that Penelope Blossom claims Darryl Doiley poisoned the chalices, which is pretty convenient given that he’s dead. Neither Jughead nor Betty are buying this story, which is why Betty has already contacted Dr. Curdle Jr to ask if he can pull Darryl Doiley’s autopsy report. Betty will have to handle this on her own as Jughead is off to meet with Sweet Pea and Fangs.
As they’re leaving the coroner’s office, Kevin gets a call from Veronica, who asks where he and Archie are. She then demands to speak with Archie, who takes full responsibility. He tells Veronica that he’s headed for Shadow mines to clear his name. However, Veronica’s already in the process of doing just that. She found ten minutes of missing footage from the interrogation of the Shadow Lake boys. She suspects that her father is hanging on to the deleted footage somewhere. She suspects that it may be in her mother’s office. Nonetheless, this does not change Archie’s plans.
As Archie and Kevin move throughout Shadow Woods, Kevin wonders what exactly Archie plans to do if they even find the boys. Archie does not respond, as the two are forced to take cover at the sight of Sheriff Minetta, who is also headed towards the mines.
Veronica sneaks into her mother’s office. She’s guesses her mother’s password, which is Veronica’s birthday. After gaining access to the computer, Veronica discovers a file labeled with the same runic symbol on Archie’s hip. Inside the file is the deleted interrogation footage, which consist of Sheriff Minetta bribing the Shadow Lake boys with $10,000 to say they saw Archie kill Cassidy Bullock. Veronica emails the video to herself. Before long, her mother’s assistant and a deputy comes barging in. It turns out that Hiram and Hermione specifically said to call the sheriff department if Veronica ever broke in again. Veronica is then placed in handcuffs and taken away.
Jughead catches up with Sweet Pea and Fangs, who have captured Joaquin. They’ve tied him up and in the process of doing so discovered a gargoyle mask on his person, meaning he is one of the Gargoyle King’s disciples. Jughead has a lot of questions, but he starts with why Joaquin shivved Archie instead of protecting him. The Warden said Joaquin had no other choice. Joaquin explains that in juvie, you’ll do anything to survive, even if that means being the Warden’s pawn. However, in some ways, the Warden was a pawn too. Joaquin saw him with game cards that told him what to do. Whoever sent the cards wanted Archie dead. From the moment he was locked up, he was marked. Jughead asks if by marked, Joaquin is referring to the symbol that Warden Norton branded on Archie’s hip. However, Joaquin is not. He reveals the brand in which Jughead is referring to means sacrifice. It means that Archie had to die. Joaquin is seemingly under the impression that Archie died. Jughead informs him this is not the case. When Jughead asks who was giving the Warden his orders, Joaquin refuses to answer. Jughead pulls out his knife as Sweet Pea and Fangs hold Joaquin up. They threaten him. With no other choice, Joaquin tells Jughead that he saw Warden Norton meet with him once. Joaquin says that Jughead knows him. The man in the black suit, he says.
With the information gained from Joaquin, Jughead confronts Hiram at the Pembrooke, under the suspicion that Hiram is the Gargoyle King. Jughead believes that Hiram met Norton in high school and all this time, he’s been sending him cards on how to torture and then kill Archie. Jughead states that the Ghoulies and the new gang of gargoyles are his soldiers and the south side is his kingdom. The game is how Hiram’s been communicating with Norton. Jughead then accuses him of killing Featherhead. Hiram denies all allegations. But if homicidal parents is what Jughead is looking for, Hiram directs him to Clifford Blossom, Hal Cooper and even Jughead’s dad, FP.
Hiram heads down to the sheriff station after learning that Veronica had been arrested for breaking into Hermione’s office. He wonders what she was hoping to find. Veronica asks if her mother even knows what her father has hidden on her computer, to which he replies that Hermione no longer has a computer. Veronica then reveals that she has requested to speak to a lawyer. Hiram obliges. Veronica’s one call is to Fred. While Archie asked her not to say anything, Veronica reveals that Archie’s headed for the mines with Kevin to find the boys that testified against him. Veronica’s intuition tells her that Sheriff Minetta is doing the same. Veronica then tells Fred to tell Archie that she found what she was looking for. She only needs to get it to a judge. And lastly, Veronica asks that Fred call attorney McCoy for her.
Betty discovers that Darryl Doiley’s autopsy report shows no mention of carbon monoxide poisoning after meeting with Dr. Curdle Jr, who reveals that carbon monoxide was not the cause of death. While Darryl Doiley was indeed found in his car with the windows up, there was no traces of carbon monoxide in his system, meaning he was dead beforehand. It turns out that Darryl Doiley was actually poisoned with Oleander. Dr. Curdle Jr. thinks that Doiley’s death was a murder disguised as a suicide. Betty then asks who was the active sheriff at the time of the murder as she wants to question the person who closed the case. Dr. Curdle Jr. informs Betty that Tom Keller was the current sheriff.
Betty arranges a meeting with Tom at Pop’s. She address the fact that Darryl Doiley’s case was ruled a suicide despite the fact that no carbon monoxide was found in his lungs. Tom realizes that this is nothing more than another one of Betty’s ambushes. However, he states that the didn’t kill anyone. However, Betty believes that he’s at least complicit in a cover-up and wants to know who he’s protecting. Tom is protecting the Midnight Club, he claims. Even still, someone murdered Darryl Doiley and whoever was pulling the strings back then could be responsible for the recent deaths. Tom tells Betty that it could’ve been any member of the Midnight Club, but only Penelope grows Oleander in her greenhouse. He knows this because he saw it when he was investigating Jason Blossom’s murder. Tom then gets a call from Fred and exits abruptly.
Archie and Kevin arrive at the mines, where they find runic symbols related to G&G scribbled on the cave walls. Also drawn on the walls is the Gargoyle King. Archie and Kevin proceed further into the mines, only to find that the Shadow Lake boys have already been murdered by Sheriff Minetta. However, one of the three boys is just barely still alive. So, Archie and Kevin tend to him.
Sweet Pea and Fangs await Jughead’s return at Sunnyside Trailer Park. When he does arrive, they inform him that someone is sending them a message. Under a plastic tarp lays Joaquin’s body. His lips are blue and he has the sacrifice symbol on his forehead. They have not the slightest clue who the culprit might be. Possibly the gargoyle gang or Hiram, but not even that is a certainty. Recalling that Archie has the same mark on his ribs, Jughead rushes off to find him, leaving Sweet Pea and Fangs with the body.
Fred and Tom find two of the three Shadow Lake boys dead in the mines. Tom then reports the killing. In doing so, he discovers that police were just called to Shadow Lake hospital after a boy was brought in critical condition with gunshot wounds.
As he is still a wanted man, Archie hides in a corner at Shadow Lake hospital. Kevin joins him only to inform him that the Shadow Lake boy they rescued didn’t make it. Archie blames himself, stating that death follows him wherever he goes. However, Kevin reminds Archie that the Shadow Lake boys were criminals and that they were part of the reason Archie was in juvie to begin with. Nonetheless, they didn’t deserve to die for it. Hiram Lodge has done everything in his power to destroy Archie. And he won’t stop until Archie’s dead. Even if by some miracle, Archie’s innocence is proven, he doesn’t think he can ever return to Riverdale.
Veronica is released from her cell after attorney McCoy posts her bail. Veronica asks how Josie’s doing. Sierra states that she’s resting. As for Veronica, she sarcastically asks if one has proof of coercion and tampering of evidence, would that be enough to free Archie.
Betty arranges another meeting, but this time with Penelope Blossom, who requests that Betty call her auntie. Given that Darryl Doiley actually died of Oleander poisoning rather than carbon monoxide poisoning as initially reported, Betty asks if Penelope grows that in her greenhouse. Even if Penelope wanted to poison Darryl Doiley, she claims that she wouldn’t use Oleander as it leaves traces. She came to see Betty out of the kindness of her heart, but since Betty’s looking for someone to accuse, Penelope points her in the direction of her mother, Alice, who wrote the article reporting Darryl Doiley’s suicide.
Betty confronts her mother about covering up Darryl Doiley’s murder. Someone staged his death to look like a suicide and thanks to Sheriff Keller, there wasn’t a murder investigation. They all have a hand in the cover-up. So, Betty wants to know who her mother is protecting. Before Alice can reply, the lights go out. Someone is banging at the front door. Alice asks who is it, but no one answers. She opens the front door only to see that no one is out there. As they shut the door, they see the Gargoyle King standing in the living room. Someone then tries to force their way in through the front door, but Alice manages to lock it. Terrified, Alice and Betty run upstairs into Betty’s room, where they find a skull and Darryl Doiley’s headstone laying on Betty’s bed. Darryl’s name has been crossed out and Betty and Alice’s name has been spray painted on it. FP then comes climbing through Betty’s window. He was looking for Jughead, but Alice slammed the door in his face. Alice then reveals that the Gargoyle King is in the house with them, and so FP consoles her.
Fred and Tom arrive at Shadow Lake hospital. They are immediately greeted by Kevin, who after giving his dad a hug, passes Fred a note from Archie, who has already taken off.
Veronica returns home and informs her mother how her father left her in a jail cell. Veronica admits that while she shouldn’t have been in her mother’s office, it was worth it as she found the deleted tape of Sheriff Minetta coercing witnesses. And now, attorney McCoy is meeting with a judge to overturn the conviction, meaning that Minetta is going down. And if Hermione or Hiram go down with him, so be it, as far as Veronica is concerned.
They’re no longer safe and Alice believes that attack was only the beginning. It’s become apparent that Betty has on intentions on stopping her investigation no matter the consequences. With the house no longer being safe, Alice is moving to the Farm with Polly and the twins. However, Betty refuses to go, which Alice knew would happen. So, Betty, unfortunately is being taken to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Sister Woodhouse enters the Cooper house with two orderlies, who take Betty away. Alice feels as if she has no other choice. As Betty is taken out, her phone rings. It’s Jughead. Alice presses decline.
While setting up a welcome home party at the speakeasy for Archie, Veronica learns from Kevin that Archie is gone. Archie then calls Veronica from a pay phone. She informs him that attorney McCoy worked it out with a judge and Archie is a free man. Archie thanks Veronica for all she’s done for him. She asks where to pick him up, but Archie has no intentions on coming home. While Sheriff Minetta may be going to prison for a long time, Hiram is still free. And Archie can’t escape him as long as he and Veronica are together. And everyone close to Archie will be a target, including Veronica. Again, Veronica asks where he is, but Archie doesn’t say. He begins to cry as he recalls when he first met Veronica. She was everything he could’ve ever wanted and he reminds her just how much he loves her. On the other end of the phone, Veronica starts to cry as well, telling him that if he loved her, he would come home, but he can’t, as they both know Hiram will never stop. Kevin comes to comfort Veronica as she cries hysterically.
Archie hangs up the phone, saying goodbye to Veronica as he is joined by Jughead. They packed bags containing money, a change of clothes, and food. Jughead questions if Archie is sure about this, which he is. Leaving is Archie’s best option, which both he and Jughead agree on. Jughead then reveals that Joaquin is dead and that the symbol Archie has branded on his hip, was also on Joaquin’s forehead. It means sacrifice. While they don’t know who is behind all of this, they’re sure Hiram is somehow involved. As they proceed down the train tracks, destination unknown, Jughead asks if Archie’s ever hopped a train before, which he hasn’t. Jughead comments that he’ll figure it out.
After getting situated at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, Sister Woodhouse sees Betty to art class. In route, she speaks of her and Betty’s past, in which Betty hasn’t always agreed with their practices. Regardless, she assure Betty that they will make her well and that she’s safe with them. Once in art class, Betty immediately realizes that everyone there is painting pictures of the Gargoyle King.
- Johnny Western - The Ballad of Paladin
- The episode title comes from Michael Mann's Manhunter, a 1986 American crime horror film based on the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris.
- The scene where Veronica breaks into Hermione's laptop mirrors the scene in "Chapter Thirty-Two: Prisoners" where she breaks into Hiram's safe. In both instances, the password and combination, respectively, is her birthday. She also says "always my birthday" in both scenes.
- The scene where FP climbs through Betty's window and hugs Alice directly parallels the scene of Billy Loomis (portrayed by Skeet Ulrich) sneaking into Sidney Prescott's room in the 1996 horror film Scream.
- The scene where Archie and Jughead are walking down the train tracks as The Ballad of Paladin plays is a reference to the 1986 American coming-of-age film Stand By Me.
- Final Adjusted TV Ratings for Wednesday 28th November 2018 - SpoilerTV
- Season 3 Episode Title - Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (@WriterRAS) - Twitter
- Riverdale - Episode 3.06 - Manhunter - Press Release + Promotional Photos - SpoilerTV
- Riverdale Star Skeet Ulrich Reacts to This Week's 'Cool' Scream Homage - TVLine