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It was a day like any other. Everything seemed normal. Students went to class, the Vixens prepped for the annual pep rally. Couples had their stolen moments in quiet classrooms. {...} But in Riverdale, there's no such thing as normal, as Cheryl Blossom was about to discover.
Jughead


"Chapter Forty-Three: Outbreak" is the eighth episode of the third season of Riverdale, and the forty-third episode of the series overall. It is also the mid-season finale.[2] It premiered on December 12, 2018.

Synopsis

GINA GERSHON GUEST STARS AS JUGHEAD'S MOTHER GLADYS JONES — On the road and running out of places to stay, Jughead and Archie head to Toledo to visit Jughead's mother Gladys and sister Jellybean. Back in Riverdale, Betty inches closer to uncovering the truth about Gryphons & Gargoyles, while Veronica and Cheryl take on Hiram, Hermoine and Penelope after more students fall victim to seizures.[3]

Plot

SPOILERS AHEAD


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The River Vixens have seizures

It was a day like any other as Veronica, Cheryl, Toni and the River Vixens prepared for the annual pep rally. Elsewhere, Kevin and Moose sneak away into an empty classroom, where they make out, during which time Moose suggest they take another hit of Fizzle Rocks. However, Kevin would rather continue kissing. While making out, Kevin and Moose hear Cheryl’s scream from the hallway. They exit the classroom to find all the Vixens, with the exception of Cheryl, seizing on the floor. Kevin tends to Veronica and Cheryl tends to Toni, calling out for help.

At the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, Ethel leads a quest in a game of G&G. Betty joins her. Sister Agnes then comes over to give them their daily ration of Fizzle Rocks, which Betty consumes whilst in the Sisters’ presence, but immediately rushes to the bathroom, where she pukes it up.

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Jughead reunites with Jellybean

Archie and Jughead arrive at a junk yard with Jones Yard written across the front gate. As they approach, they are greeted by a stranger. Jughead reveals that they’re looking for his mother Gladys Jones, lifting his sleeve to reveal his Southside Serpents tattoo. Instead of his mother, he finds his younger sister Jellybean first. She remarks that she thought she smelled something rotten and they give each other a hug.

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Cheryl nurses Toni

At Thistlehouse, Cheryl nurses Toni to health. She’s made Toni tea and the Blossom family physician is on call should Toni feel another spell coming on. While Toni insists that she’s fine, she worries that what happened to her may be contagious. However, there is nothing that will keep Cheryl away. She even invites Toni to move in with her. Toni agrees, so long as she’s the big spoon. The two then proceed to kiss.

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Hiram and Hermione want to send Veronica to New York

Hermione is irate as Hiram attempts to explains that there was a miscalculation and how out of strife, comes opportunity. The timing is perfect, he says. Veronica wakes up in her bed at the Pembrooke to the sound of her mother and father fighting. She enters the study, questioning why she is home. They brought Veronica home when Weatherbee called them to inform them of her seizure. Hiram explains to Veronica that the seizure was a result of all the stress she is under. Which is why they have decided to send her to New York, to finally get some rest and see the best doctors. However, Veronica refuse to leave town given all that has occurred, including Sheriff Minetta’s dismembered body turning up. Veronica questions why they’re choosing now to send her off, but neither Hermione nor Hiram can sum up a response.

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Veronica plots with Reggie against her parents

Veronica shares with Reggie at Pop’s how her parents are up to something and even tried to ship her off to New York. It’s almost as if they don’t want her around for what’s coming next. Kevin, Moose and the rest of the RROTC come barging into the diner giggling hysterically. Veronica initially suspects they’re on Jingle Jangle, but Reggie informs her that it’s not that. Her father’s pulled that off the market and replaced it with some new candy, Fizzle Rocks, dealt not by the Ghoulies, but a new gang, the Gargoyles. Veronica is certain that it all ties into G&G. So, she requests that Reggie do sum sussing for her to find out what he can about Fizzle Rocks. Last year, Veronica helped her parents spin their criminal web and good people got hurt. This year, Veronica feels responsible for taking them down.

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Gladys greets Archie and Jughead

Gladys is thrilled to see Jughead after such a long time apart. She gives him a hug, remarking that he feels like a bag of tire irons, then sarcastically asking if he’s been eating and if he’s now a vegetarian. She then looks over to Archie, almost immediately recognizing him, giving him a hug as well. Under the impression that Archie and Jughead are romantically involved, she comments that she always knew there was something going on between the two of them. Jughead and Archie quickly corrects her, adding that they’re simply on the road together. Gladys then asks what brought them by. She’s asks Jughead why he didn’t call to tell her he was coming, but the last time he called, she told him not to come. Gladys states that was a different time. Now, she has her GED and has has since started a salvage yard of her own, claiming that she is now a legit business woman. However, this alleged legitimate business woman appears to be nothing more than a fictitious claim as Lugnut approaches with stolen tailpipes, asking Gladys where she would like them. She quickly dismisses him, but not before telling him to get the crew together as they celebrate Jughead and Archie’s arrival.

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Alice visits Betty

Alice stops by the Sisters to visit Betty after getting a call from the school board telling her that they’re having an emergency meeting regarding a mass seizure at the school, similar to Betty’s. Whatever caused Betty’s seizure spread to the Vixens. Much to Betty’s dismay, Veronica was one of the fallen. Alice is just glad that Betty’s safe with the Sisters and wasn't at the school for the incident.

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Betty locks Ethel in the chamber

Afterward, Betty convenes with the other patients, and shares with them just how close she had come to the Gargoyle King. Betty claims that he tells her all his secrets and gives her personal quests. When Ethel overhears Betty’s conversation with the others, she confronts her, though Betty persist with her claims of having gotten to know the Gargoyle King, which only angers Ethel. Just to get under Ethel’s skin, Betty lies and says that the Gargoyle King called her his favorite. Ethel calls Betty out, under the suspicion that Betty’s lying, just to make fun of her. Betty denies doing anything of the such. She then baits Ethel into unlocking the Gargoyle King’s chamber. Once Ethel unlocks the door, Betty pushes her inside and locks her in. Her reason for doing so is to convert Ethel. Betty explains that the Gargoyle King isn’t real and that the Fizzle Rocks given to them by the Sisters are causing them to hallucinate. Once the drug wears off in a few hours, Betty is certain Ethel will see the truth. Until then, Ethel will remain locked up. Inside the chamber, Ethel sees what she believes to be the Gargoyle King, and screams out in fear.

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Ethel realizes she's been brainwashed

Betty returns to the chamber hours later to check in on Ethel. Now that Ethel has come down from her high, she realizes the Gargoyle King she thought she saw was really just a gargoyle statue. Betty explains that the Sisters feed them drugs to make them susceptible to visions that they suggest. They let the patients play the game and use their delusions to scare them into submission. Ethel still has doubts, but Betty assures her this is all true. The Sisters are in league with Hiram Lodge as well. Betty thinks that he’s paying the Sisters to test his drugs on patients. Even if this is true, Ethel recalls seeing the Gargoyle King in real life, before being admitted into the Sisters. She saw him in her hospital room. Betty admits that she saw him too. Or at the very least someone dressed as him. At any rate, it doesn’t change the fact that in there, it’s just a statue. Betty now needs Ethel help to learn all that Sister Woodhouse knows about G&G. If they know more, they can prevent more deaths like Ben and Dilton’s from happening again.

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Cheryl informs Veronica of the student board meeting

At Riverdale High, Principal Weatherbee announces over the intercom that they are closing the student lounge, much to Veronica and Cheryl’s disappointment. Given that they’ve already stopped extracurriculars and sports, Veronica suspects that something is going on, hoping that Cheryl can fill her in as student body president. Cheryl doesn’t know much, but emails went out pertaining to a meeting that night regarding possibly closing down the school, with Veronica’s parents leading the charge. This is exactly what Veronica’s dad did with Southside High and she refuses to allow that to happen again. Principal Weatherbee then turns the corner, accompanied by at least half a dozen men in blue hazmat suits. They begin rounding up the "infected". When Weatherbee points out Veronica, she makes a run for it.

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Reggie has suss on Fizzle Rocks

Veronica finds haven in La Bonne Nuit with Reggie. She questions how drugs, gargoyles, mystery men in hazmat suits and secret school board meetings tie in together. While Reggie has not the slightest clue, he did do as asked, providing Veronica with suss. The Fizzle Rocks distributors, otherwise known as the Gargoyles, are giving their product up for free. Veronica’s familiar with this scheme. Hook them with the first taste and they're customers for life. Furthermore, Fizzle Rocks are coming from the Southside prison that Veronica’s dad is building. She concludes that this must be where he moved shop after she, Cheryl and Toni busted his lab at the Whyte Wyrm. Veronica then calls Cheryl to ask for the time and place of the school board meeting.

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Penelope and Alice at the student board meeting

Penelope, Alice, Hiram, and Hermione attend the school board meeting in Principal Weatherbee’s office. Penelope insists that the school be shut down until they know what is causing the seizures. Principal Weatherbee informs her that they’re taking as many precautions as they can. What they should be doing Penelope says is tracking down patient zero and running every possible test on them. Alice cuts Penelope off, stating that tonight’s discussion is about that fate of Riverdale High. Hiram interrupts as he is in favor of shutting down the school, as are most parents given the fact that five more kids have suffered seizures just that afternoon. Which is why Hermione will be signing an executive order shutting down Riverdale High until it is deemed safe.

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Veronica and Cheryl interrupt the meeting

Veronica and Cheryl break up the school board meeting as they have a few matters they would like to address. They reveal that the CDC hasn’t stepped foot in Riverdale High. Veronica points out just how similar this sounds to Southside High, which is now being used as a drug factory. Alice was user the impression that the land was being turned into a prisoner, however, as Veronica reveals, that’s exactly what Hiram wanted them all to think. Veronica suspects that this is just another one of her father’s attempts to trump up a huge parcel of land on the cheap and then expand his ever-growing drug empire, which now consists almost exclusively of Fizzle Rocks. Hermione questions what Veronica’s talking about.

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Hiram addresses Veronica's points

Hiram seeks to address Veronica’s concerns as the point of the meeting is to air out concerns. He admits that when he called the CDC, they wouldn’t send anyone to such a low risk, low priority crisis. They think it’s all psychological, forcing Hiram and Hermione to take initiative. The men they saw in hazmat suits were hired from a private firm to run tests. Lastly, he insists that Southside High is becoming a prison, not a drug factory. He even offers to provide a list of the guards they recently hired. Still, Veronica accuses him of producing Fizzle Rocks and giving it to every teenager for free in order to get them hooked. Hiram ridicules Veronica, stating that he’s also the Gargoyle King, as previously stated by Jughead. Penelope adds that the seizures supposedly also cause hallucinations, and this is worth noting given that Veronica is one of the infected. On that note, Cheryl questions the whereabouts of the seizure stricken Vixens. Hiram reveals that those girls were taken to Riverdale General. Cheryl is not satisfied, demanding real answers. Penelope stands from her seat, almost as if to confront Cheryl, but begins to seize. Alice and Hermione run to her to assist.

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Gladys and Jellybean catch up with Jughead and Archie

At the junkyard, Gladys and Jellybean discover the reason why Jughead and Archie left Riverdale; they’re running from Hiram Lodge. Gladys always knew he was trouble, but she questions what his vendetta is with Archie. They reveal that Archie was the only one who stood up to him. Not to mention that Archie also dated his daughter. Jellybean is pleased to hear that Archie is no longer dating and single. When Jughead tells Jellybean to relax with her excitement, she reminds him that she now goes by JB. Gladys asks if Archie’s spoken with his dad during any of this, which he hasn’t. Archie wishes he could, but it’s too risky. Archie and Jellybean then take off to eat.

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Gladys and Jughead discuss Hiram Lodge and G&G

Once Gladys and Jughead are alone, Gladys inquires further about G&G and just how far invested Jughead and Archie are. Jughead explains that it’s more than just a game. It’s got large implications for all of Riverdale. He’s just trying to figure out who is behind it all. From the sounds of it, Hiram is behind it all, Gladys believes. She then asks about the scar on Jughead’s arm, though it’s not from Hiram. Jughead reveals it’s from Penny Peabody, who Gladys is very familiar with. She recalls Penny always having a beef with her and FP. Gladys never wanted any of this for Jughead. She never wanted him to become a Serpent, let alone a Serpent King. Jughead tells her not to act all high and mighty. She claims to have left Riverdale to get away from criminal life, yet she’s chopping cars and lifting their parts. Gladys admits this is true. But she’s doing so in order to feed all the kids around the junkyard who have no place to go. She couldn’t just leave them high and dry. However, as Jughead recalls, that’s precisely what she did to him.

Archie is ambushed and held at knife point by Penny while walking the junkyard alone. She tracked him down to claim the bounty on his head offered up by Hiram. Penny’s attempt to claim the bounty is thwarted by Jellybean, who is armed with nothing more than a slingshot. When Penny refuses to drop the knife, Jellybean shoots her in the head, knocking Penny unconscious.

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Penny is tied to a chair

Penny wakes up tied to a chair. She is surrounded by a large group of people, among them is Archie, Jughead, Gladys and Jellybean. First off, Gladys isn’t at all surprised that Penny is working with Hiram since she always had unfixed allegiances. She is however surprised that Penny isn't ratting Hiram out yet, leading Gladys to suspect that Hiram must have something on her. While Penny isn’t a snitch, she will say this; Hiram won’t stop until he gets Archie. And there’s nothing anyone can do. Gladys then addresses the fact that Penny carved off Jughead’s Serpent tattoo. Penny states that was business between her and Jughead. Gladys retorts that she’s Jughead’s mother, also making it her business. Gladys grabs a large hunting knife and tells everyone to go inside. Before doing so, Jughead tells Gladys to ask Penny about Gryphons and Gargoyles and how Hiram fits into it all.

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Hiram commends Veronica

Hiram calls Veronica into his study to commend her. The gusto she showed in the school board meeting was audacious. He congratulates Veronica on being right about most of what she said during the meeting. However, his plan is so much bigger than what she’s given him credit for. His plan is going to be biblical. Years in the making. What Hiram wants is what every king wants — a kingdom and legacy. Once things are in place, he’s hoping Veronica will join him. Take a seat at his right hand to help him oversee the new order. Veronica sees her father’s plan as insane, calling him deluded and reminding him that he’s not untouchable. Maybe he is in Riverdale, but there’s a whole world that’ll see what he’s doing, thought Hiram isn’t the least bit concerned. He approaches Veronica, pointing out how he never sees her wear pearls anymore. He hopes she will start wearing them again.

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Gladys informs Archie and Jughead of what she gathered from Penny

Jughead and Archie approach Gladys as she cleans her hands of Penny’s blood. Jughead asks what she gathered from Penny, but Gladys needs a moment to think. Jughead continues to push nonetheless, asking if Penny talked about the game. They know she was tracking Archie for Hiram, but what they don’t know is if it was a quest from her master. Is Hiram more then just the Man in Black. Maybe he is the Gargoyle King. Jughead is so caught up in the game that he can’t see three feet ahead of himself, Gladys says. The big prize isn’t Archie’s head. It’s Riverdale. Hiram chased Jughead out of town just to get him out the way, so that Jughead would be far away when he made his play. It’s not about ascending to the Kingdom, it’s about claiming it. And if Hiram is the Gargoyle King, then he’s responsible for introducing G&G to Riverdale. Archie looks to Gladys for their next move, but not even she has the answer to that. However, at least for the time being, Archie is safe there.

Betty calls Veronica from the Sisters. Veronica’s surprised as she hadn’t heard from Betty in days, under the impression that Betty was at the Farm. Betty doesn't have much time to talk, but she does have a plan that’ll require Veronica’s help.

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Veronica plans with Cheryl

Veronica calls Cheryl to inform her that Betty is at the Sisters and that they have a mission. According to Betty, Hiram's testing Fizzle Rocks on the patients at the Sisters. Moreover, Betty saw Cheryl’s uncle Claudius with them, using Blossom maple trucks to make the delivery. Veronica’s father is planning something big, which he likened to the apocalypse. He could possibly even be the cause of the seizures. So, Veronica is thinking they could ask Cheryl’s mom since she’s in cahoots with Veronica’s father, which Cheryl is more than willing to help with given that Toni and the Vixens have already fallen to the seizures.

While Ethel distracts Sister Agnes, Betty sneaks up behind Sister Woodhouse with a sharpened stick and holds it to her neck, threatening to hurt her unless she complies.

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Archie and Jughead prepare to go separate ways

Gladys awakens Jughead from his sleep to speak with him alone. As it turns out, Penny had a lot to say. The bounty on Archie is also on anyone who is with him or helping him, meaning there’s now a target on Jughead. It’s the same for Archie if returns to Riverdale. He’d be putting his dad and all friends in danger, which is why Gladys wants Jughead to cut Archie loose, for his own safety. Jughead refuses, though little do they know, Archie is listening from the doorway. Surprisingly, he is in agreement with Gladys. Archie doesn’t want Jughead or anyone else getting hurt because of him. Jughead has already done more for him than anyone else. Still, he refuses to abandon Archie. However, given that they were almost captured at the farm and how close Penny came to claiming the bounty, Archie can’t put anyone else at risk, so wherever he goes next, he goes alone. Jughead reluctantly accepts this. Gladys offers to get Archie to the border as she knows a guy who can help. Jughead she says can stay as long as he wants. However, he plans on returning to Riverdale as he has to stop Hiram.

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Sister Woodhouse tied up in the chamber

Betty and Ethel tie Sister Woodhouse to a chair inside the chamber. Enraged by her entrapment, she threatens to strap them to their beds and electroshock the sin out of them. Betty’s seen real darkness, so monsters don’t scare her and neither does Woodhouse, Which is why she couldn’t break Betty. Betty reveals that she knows all about the Sisters’ scam and alignment with Hiram Lodge, how they’re using the patients as test subjects for his new drugs. Sister Woodhouse reveals that Hiram is a generous donor and believer in their mission. Ethel questions if by mission, if Woodhouse is referring to G&G and how they use it and the Gargoyle King to scare the girls and torture children.

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Ethel and Betty interrogate Sister Woodhouse

According to Sister Woodhouse, the children that come in are broken and it is her duty to mix them using whatever tool necessary, including Gryphons and Gargoyles, which they created in a way. Misbehaving children have been brought down to the chamber since the asylum opened. That gargoyle statue scared them into submission. Some of the more disturbed patients created a fantasy world, a game of sorts, to cope with the fear of the one they named the Gargoyle King. The Sisters simply embraced it as a therapeutic tool. It worked because it embeds itself in the minds of the players. It makes them complacent and focuses them. If that’s true, Betty wonders how the game got out into the real world. Sister Woodhouse claims it was never meant to leave the asylum as it is too powerful. A game made of madness that the Sisters helped nurture, Ethel remarks. And now Ben and Dilton are dead. Betty insists that Woodhouse tell the police what she told them about G&G as well as Hiram Lodge’s donations. However, Sister Woodhouse only answers to one authority. With Sister Woodhouse’s keys, Betty and Ethel plan to escape and take the other patients with them. Sister Woodhouse however doubts they’ll leave of their own free will. She then proceeds to scream out for help as Betty and Ethel lock her inside the chamber alone.

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Penelope reveals Hiram's plans

At Thistlehouse, Veronica and Cheryl tie Penelope to a chair and drown her with maple syrup as an interrogation tactic. Penelope tells them that Hiram’s plans will turn Riverdale into something worthwhile. A place where they can all pursue their various enterprises, such as drug dealing and prostitution. Veronica demands specifics on how he plans to accomplish this. Penelope points out that he’s in bed with the mayor and there’s now no law enforcement in Riverdale. Making Hiram virtually unstoppable.

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The patients don't want to leave

Much to Betty and Ethel’s surprise, the patients don’t want to leave. They feel safe there. They play G&G and the Sisters give them candy. Sister Woodhouse was right. They’re all brainwashed just as Ethel was, forcing her and Betty to reassess the situation. Betty refuses to leave them behind, not to mention all the kids in the gay conversion wing. Betty devises a plan to use the game, turning their escape into a quest. The Gargoyle King inspires fear and Betty wants to give them the opposite, that being the Gryphon Queen.

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Gladys says goodbye to FP and Jughead

Gladys packs lunch for Archie and Jughead as they both prepare to leave, but to different destinations; Archie to the border and Jughead to Riverdale. There’s a knock at the door. It’s Fred. He gives Archie a hug. Just outside stands FP, waiting to take Jughead home. He is greeted by Gladys and Jellybean. FP is shocked at how big Jellybean has gotten since he’s last seen her. He asks for a hug. In response, she sarcastically asks for a dad and walks off, a response that FP admits was warranted. Gladys insists that Jellybean misses him, but that she would rather fight it than admit it. Like mother, like daughter, FP replies. When Jughead comes out, FP hands him his Serpent jacket and the two share a hug. FP heard Penny was around causing trouble, but Gladys assures him that Penny was dealt with. She then hugs Jughead goodbye. FP sends Jughead to warm up the bikes, allowing him and Gladys to speak alone. He thanks Gladys for the call. She then hugs FP and kisses him on the cheek.

Veronica and Cheryl approach Kevin, Moose and the other RROTC cadets at Pop’s. Veronica informs them that their meals are on the house and that she needs them as back up. When Kevin asks what this is about, Cheryl dramatically stomps on the table and tells the cadets that they’re going to war.

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The Gryphon Queen

The patients gather around Ethel as she starts the quest. She tells them that their goal is to escape from the Gargoyle King’s fortress. And to help them do so is a Queen to lead them into the light, that Queen being Betty, who while dressed up as the Gryphon Queen, tosses on the floor the head of the gargoyle statue, stating that the King is dead. As planned, the patients play along, escaping the asylum with Betty and Ethel leading the charge.

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Archie and Fred part ways

Archie dyes his hair black in a rest-stop bathroom. He returns to his father, who is waiting for him just outside. They’re at the last stop before the boarder. Fred is thinking that he and Archie could go together, living off the land, father and son, teaching Archie carpentry as his father taught him, but both he and Archie knows he can’t do that. Fred also can’t get Archie to change his mind and come back home as it is too dangerous given the bounty out for Archie. So, he is forced with no other option but to say goodbye. After a hug, Fred opens the truck door and Vegas hops out. Archie takes him and they head towards the boarder.

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Hermione made the call to quarantine Riverdale

Hermione sits in her office, drinking, when she is interrupted by Veronica, Cheryl, Kevin, Moose and the other RROTC cadets. They know the endgame and so Veronica attempts to relieve her mother of her mayoral duties. Veronica tells her to step away from the phone before she makes the biggest mistake of her life. Hermione informs Veronica that she can’t depose her as she’s an elected official. Furthermore, Veronica’s too late. The order went out ten minutes ago. She was just about to call and tell Veronica. All their phones receive a message simultaneously as a siren begins to sound throughout town.

Betty and Ethel, while guiding the patients to freedom, have not the slightest idea what they’ll do with them now that they’re free. Alice pulls up. With all hell breaking loose, she had come to get Betty out of the Sisters. While Alice is just in time, it’s not just Betty she’ll be taking with her as the patients needs somewhere to go as well.

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Jughead and FP are locked out of Riverdale

Veronica, Kevin, Moose, Pop Tate and the cadets stand around the diner in sorrow as the sirens continue to sound off. Cheryl and Toni lay in bed doing exactly the same at Thistlehouse. Meanwhile, Archie makes his way towards the border with Vegas at his side. As FP and Jughead arrive at the town boarder, their path is blocked off by armed officials. The town sign now reads "Official Quarantine Site. No Trespassing". The town is officially under quarantine. The governor’s orders. No one in or out. As FP and Jughead approach, the officers draw their weapons and demand that they turn around and leave.

Hiram speaks with the governor over the phone from his study. The town being quarantined is part of his plan to keep the rest of the world from stopping him. After hanging up, Hiram raises his glass to the Gargoyle King, who is in the study with him.

Cast

Starring

Guest Starring

Co-Starring

Soundtrack

Trivia

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References

  1. Final Adjusted TV Ratings for Thursday 13th December 2018 - SpoilerTV
  2. Season 3 Episode Title - Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa‏ (@WriterRAS) - Twitter
  3. Riverdale - Episode 3.08 - Outbreak - Press Release - SpoilerTV

Episode Guide

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