|“||The two young men had been walking for days. Looking at them, you might think they were brothers. And in a way they were. Brothers. Fearful that Hiram Lodge might catch up to them.||”|
INTO THE BELLY OF THE BEAST — Fearful that he will be caught, Archie hits the road and ends up at a farm outside Riverdale, where he meets Laurie Lake. Meanwhile, after Alice takes extreme measures to ensure Betty's safety from the Gargoyle King, Betty finds herself up against a formidable foe from her past. Finally, after learning that La Bonne Nuit is in trouble, Veronica makes a risky business decision that could cost her everything.
Archie and Jughead pass over a train track. The two of them have been walking for days since leaving Riverdale. Jughead takes photos of the scenery as they pass through. They stop at a pay phone long enough for Jughead to make a call to Betty, though she does not answer. Archie becomes concerned, so much so that he wants Jughead to go back. However, Jughead refuses, reminding Archie that Betty can take care of herself given that she took down a serial killer last year. While Archie on the other hand can’t go five minutes without getting kidnapped or beaten up. And that was before he was marked for death by Hiram Lodge. For now, it’s just the two of them looking for some place to settle.
It isn’t long before Archie and Jughead catch sight of a farm house. Archie wants to stop but Jughead is hesitant. Nonetheless, the boys approach the farm house. They don’t make it far before being held at gun point by the owners of the farm house. With a gun pointed at their backs, Archie and Jughead turn around slowly to the sight of two young women. One much younger than the other. When asked who they are, Jughead lies, telling the women that he is Cal and that Archie is Biff. The older woman sees straight through Jughead, instructing the younger one to shoot them both. Archie then fabricates a story, claiming that they got robbed for their money on the train and that they’ve been walking for days. He explains that they’re just looking for food and water and then they will leave. Fortunately for Archie and Jughead, the women buys into their story, at least the older sister, who introduces herself as Laurie Lake. Her younger sister, Gracie, then lowers her rifle, though she still does not trust them.
Laurie invites Archie and Jughead to stay for dinner. They eat stew, during which time Archie asks where everyone else is. Laurie informs him that a lot of the men in town are working a job down the river. Laurie and Gracie’s father and brother went with them, but they come back every now and then. While Jughead would rather be on their way, Archie prefers to stay the night. So when Laurie offers them shelter in the barn, Archie eagerly accepts. As for repayment, she hopes they’ll be willing to help around the farm. Much like Jughead, Gracie doesn’t want them there either, telling Archie and Jughead to stay out the main house.
After dinner, Archie and Jughead enter the barn, though for Jughead nothing has changed. He still wants to pass on. Something about the farm doesn't sit well with him. He remarks that it’s too American Gothic. Jughead also suspects that Laurie is lying to them about where her brother and father are. Laurie then interrupts, only to bring them more blankets. She and Archie share a longing stare before she leaves. Jughead notices this, telling Archie that they can’t afford any distractions.
First thing the next morning, Archie makes good on his promise with helping around the farm as he begins moving bales of hay. Instead of helping Archie with the farm work, Jughead decides to head into town to take some pictures before they leave. The town in question is like a ghost town. Very few people around. Jughead immediately notices the runic symbols from Gryphons and Gargoyles painted on the building surfaces and the surrounding area. He takes pictures of the symbols. Jughead then approaches an elderly woman sitting alone at the abandoned gas station. He asks her about the symbols. She replies that the town wasn't always like this. At first it was the Jingle Jangle, but now they’re back to Fizzle Rocks, candy laced with drugs. As for the symbols, they started showing up around town at the same time Fizzle Rocks did.
Back at the farm house, Laurie gives Archie a shave. She used to do it for her father, plus Archie did her a great service by moving the hay. He informs her of Andrews Construction and how he’s used to physical labor. Laurie explains that there’s plenty of that around the farm should he and Jughead decide to stick around for a few days. Archie at the very least is willing to stay. Something about the farm feels like home to him. Laurie then sits on Archie’s lap and kisses him. He kisses her back, but stops himself, explaining that he has a girl back home that he still cares for even though they’re no longer together. Laurie questions why Archie isn’t with Veronica if he loves her so. Archie explains that their separation is due to his past with her father. Sometimes when you’re trying to survive, it’s easy to lose sight of who you are, Laurie remarks. With that, Archie comes clean, revealing that his real name is Archie Andrews. And that he’s from a small town called Riverdale that he can’t go back to because of Hiram Lodge, his girlfriend’s father. Laurie forgives him for lying. Around there, everyone’s running from something. She then leaves to prepare lunch.
Jughead continues his tour of the town. He finds a painting of the Gargoyle King on a building wall, so he snaps a photo of it. He then notices a group of girls on the back of a truck playing Gryphons and Gargoyles and eating Fizzle Rocks. He informs them that he’s a level three Game Master who stared out as a Hellcaster. Almost level four. He wonders where the girls learned to play. They learned from their older brothers who used to play before they left town. Speaking of which, Jughead noticed that there weren’t any men in town. He wonders why. The girls explain that they’ve all gone to work to help build a prison. However, it doubles as a drug lab for Fizzle Rocks. When the girls ask where he’s staying, Jughead replies Lake Farm. The girls used to be friends with Gracie, but they fell out. Supposedly over Gracie acting as if she was better than them despite the fact that her father works for the Man in Black just like everyone else’s. Apparently, the town belongs to him. Jughead quickly realizes they’re talking about Hiram.
Laurie returns to the barn with a pan of eggs. After serving Archie, she knocks him unconscious with the pan.
Jughead rushes back to Lake Farm just as Hiram is arriving. Jughead watches from afar as Hiram greets Laurie and Gracie. Jughead then finds Archie tied up in the barn. He unties Archie, explaining that Hiram owns the town and that Laurie’s brother and father work for Hiram, making drugs inside the prison, which all the kids take when they play G&G. Everything is connected. Hiram owns this town and probably many like it. Jughead wants to make a run for it, but Archie wants to stay and fight. He sees this as their only chance to end this. Hiram’s going to walk in thinking Archie’s tied up. Archie’s wants to take advantage of that and sneak attack him. Jughead is very much against this plan. However, Archie seems determined to rid himself of Hiram once and for all. Archie is persistent. He wants to kill Hiram and he knows he can. Jughead agrees that he can, but they have to leave while they still have time. With Hiram approaching the barn, Jughead makes one last attempt to reason with Archie. Asking him that if he does kill Hiram, does he think Veronica will ever forgive him. Archie gives this plan a second thought before deciding to run away with Jughead.
Just outside, Hiram and Laurie approach the barn. They’ve come to an agreement. Laurie turns over Archie in exchange for her brother and father, whose debt to Hiram will be paid. Hiram and Laurie enter the barn to find that Archie is gone, with nothing left behind except the ropes used to tie him.
Archie and Jughead make it out to the road. For a second, Jughead didn’t think Archie was going to listen to him. Neither did Archie. Archie was right about one thing though. Hiram is going to follow them wherever they go and they’re always going to be outnumbered and outgunned. So the plan now is to see Jughead’s mom in Toledo.
At the Pembrooke, Veronica packs her belongings. She tells her mother that she’s leaving. Hermione presumes this is about Archie and that Veronica intends to find him, but that is wrong. Veronica isn’t going after Archie. She’s leaving because Sheriff Minetta is officially missing and the authorities suspect that it may be a possible kidnapping. Veronica finds it convenient that he goes missing just as she gathers ironclad evidence that he coerced the Shadow Lake boys into giving false testimony. Hermione explains that Minetta was a corrupt man who had many enemies. Veronica questions if that was her mother’s murder confession. Hermione is shocked to hear that Veronica just might believe that she’s capable of such an act. Veronica states that she doesn’t know what to believe anymore, which is why she’s leaving. She advises her mother to do the same, but Hermione can’t, stating that Hiram is her husband. Veronica leaves, but not before admitting that Hiram won in finally getting rid of Archie, and now her as well.
Veronica moves into La Bonne Nuit and sleeps on the couch. She wakes up at 6:00 AM the next morning to get an early start at Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe. Pop Tate is pleasantly surprised by her initiative, questioning just how early she arrived, unbeknownst to him that she is living in the speakeasy.
Veronica eventually heads back downstairs, where Reggie is working behind the bar. He asks if she’s still upset about Archie leaving town, which she is, but it’s not the only reason she’s upset. La Bonne Nuit is just barely scraping by. Reggie counters that business is steady. However, one thing Veronica learned from her father is that steady is one bad week away from broke. They’re never going to turn a profit selling five-dollar mocktails to high schoolers who sit around all day playing G&G. Reggie takes this to mean that they need to start a side hustle. This gives Veronica an idea.
She approaches Elio Grande hoping that he can assist in turning her speakeasy into a casino. Veronica states that it’s for one night only. It was initially Elio’s suggestion and she’s done her research. She’s heard all about his exclusive blackjack club in the city. If he agrees to provide Veronica with some games and bring some of his high-roller friends, who are guaranteed to play, she’ll give him 10% of the proceeds. They go back and forth on the percentage, eventually settling on twenty-five. As for how Veronica will cover expenses, the house always wins, she remarks. She’s counting on that to be the case. In terms of startup cost, Veronica took out a second mortgage against Pop’s. With that being said, Elio agrees. The last thing Veronica asks of him is that he keep this arrangement between the two of them.
Some time later, Hiram enters the diner as both he and Hermione are worried about Veronica. They know she’s been struggling since Archie left town. He also heard through the grapevine that she’s hosting a casino night. Hiram is disappointed that she went to a rival family instead of coming to him for advice and help. He also finds it ironic for all her high talk on wanting a legitimate business, but is now inviting a bunch of criminals into her establishment. Veronica retorts that they’re not criminals. They’re Elio’s friends. Hiram asks Veronica how she thinks Elio’s family built their gambling empire. They did it through cheating, and they’re going to rob Veronica for all she has. Veronica then shifts the conversation, making it about Archie, who Hiram chased off. Hiram denies doing any such thing. Nevertheless, he came by to remind Veronica that he and Hermione are still there for her, to welcome her back with open arms. However, Veronica doesn’t want to hear it, telling her father to get out.
Later that day, Veronica hosts Casino night as planned. Thanks to Elio, they’re going to pull in bank. However, Reggie counters that he might break it instead. He claims that Elio is going to wipe them out as he hasn’t lost a single hand all night. Reggie surmises that he’s cheating, which comes as no surprise to Veronica as Elio is a criminal from a family of criminals. Reggie suggests roughing him up and throwing him out but Veronica has a better idea. She approaches Elio and warns him to cash out and walk away while he still can. Elio refuses. He heard of Veronica’s estranged relationship with her father and now believes that he has nothing to worry about. Veronica takes a seat next to Elio, asking to be dealt in. She wants to raise the stakes of the game. One hand of blackjack, winner takes all. Veronica is gambling the deed to Pop’s and by extension La Bonne Nuit while Elio is gambling with all his winnings from the night. When the game seems to tilt in Elio’s favor, he remarks that Veronica will always be welcome at his speakeasy, adding that he might even rename it to "Veronica’s". Miraculously, against all odds, Veronica wins the game of blackjack, retaining her ownership of Pop’s as well as taking all of Elio’s winnings.
As the night comes to an end, Reggie notes that Veronica made some serious money tonight. He admits that he was worried that Veronica could’ve lost it all, but she didn’t. He swears that he thought Elio was cheating, but apparently he wasn’t considering that he lost to Veronica. She then let’s Reggie in on a secret. A couple hours before the doors opened for Casino night, her father summoned her to his study. Some business associates of Hiram's had informed him that Elio has nefarious intentions going into Casino night. Something Veronica’s not aware of. He plans on fleecing Veronica because he thinks she’s weak as she’s no longer under Hiram’s protection. Hiram suggests that Veronica beat Elio at his own game. Like his father, Elio is a compulsive gambler. The best way to beat players like him is fast with no remorse. One hand. Winner takes all. With the deck stacked in Veronica’s favor. Hiram knows of a dealer who Veronica may want to bring in. Johnny Goldwater. Reggie is amazed, stating that Veronica scammed the scammer.
The following morning, Veronica is approached by Pop Tate, who first inquires about Casino night, then informing Veronica that the diner is a family place at heart. It’s been in his family for generations in fact. Crime-free, he says. Veronica explains that neither the speakeasy nor the diner was bringing in enough money. So, she had to bend the rules a bit. Pop Tate pleads with Veronica to not be like her father. Veronica questions if maybe deep down, her father isn’t so bad. However, Pop Tate would beg to differ after hearing the news that Sheriff Minetta’s body was found in the marsh last night. At least they think it is his body. They don’t know for sure because it was decapitated and the hands were sawed off.
At the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, Betty is administered the Rorschach test by Sister Woodhouse. She answers in a manner that’ll make her seem sane by telling the Sisters what she believes they want to hear. The first inkblot reminds her of the Shady Man though she claims to see a teddy bear with a bow tie. The second one looks like the Black Hood, but she says monarch butterfly instead. The final inkblot resembles the Gargoyle King, but Betty says it reminds her of the old jungle-gym at Riverdale Elementary. She used to play on it every recess.
Betty is now in line to receive her candy. Sister Woodhouse informs her that every patient receives Fizzle Rocks for good behavior. However, Betty’s very much aware that they are laced with drugs, leaving her to wonder why the Sisters are dosing them up with the same drug the Midnight Club was on the night of Principal Featherhead’s murder. Betty smiles and takes the candy with her so not to arouse suspicion.
Betty throws her Fizzle Rocks in the trash immediately after entering her room. Ethel then enters the room as she is Betty’s new roommate. Sister Woodhouse thought Betty might benefit from having a roommate who is familiar with the system around there. Ethel hangs her warrior board on the wall. It’s a collage. A visual collection of her destiny. It also helps her manifest her goals. As soon as Betty finds what she needs, she secretly plans on finding the door marked "X" in the basement that Veronica and Toni used when they broke Cheryl out.
Ever since Ethel arrived at the Sisters, she claims to have been having conversations with the Gargoyle King. Betty wants Ethel to introduce her to the Gargoyle King, but Ethel can’t as that’s Sister Woodhouse’s job. The Sisters take patients into the Gargoyle King’s chamber when they misbehave. The other girls are scared of him, but Ethel isn’t. Betty asks for the location of the chamber, but that too is Sister Woodhouse’s job. Betty remarks that Ethel would tell Jughead. Speaking of Jughead, Ethel reveals that she and Jughead shared a kiss, which Betty is already aware of as Jughead told her how Ethel blackmailed him into kissing her. Ethel becomes upset, accusing Betty of always acting as if she’s better than her. As well as her "shallow friends" acting as such. Ethel states that the Sisters isn’t like being at Riverdale High. The rules are different and Ethel is the queen bee. If Betty wants to get better, she has to change her attitude and be honest with herself and others. Ethel wants to start with the fact that Betty threw her Fizzle Rocks in the trash. Betty apologizes. She says that she wants to be Ethel’s friend and asks that Ethel keep this between the two of them. Ethel agrees.
While trimming the hedges outside the facility, Betty notices Claudius Blossom pull up in the Blossom Maple Farms truck. This is odd as the Sisters don’t serve maple syrup in the cafeteria. She then spots Hiram Lodge pull into the facility, leaving her to wonder what kind of business he could possibly have with Sister Woodhouse and how the Blossoms are connected to it. Betty asks one of the other patients if she knew who Hiram was. The patient replies that they call him the Man in Black. He’s an angel donor who helps the Sisters with anything they may need. Betty then recalls her mom telling her that Hiram was the one who brought the Fizzle Rocks to ascension night.
Betty is now wondering what Hiram gave the Sisters and what Woodhouse gave him in return. In search of answers, Betty goes door-to-door, looking for the records room, hoping that she can find her answers in the patient files. At the end of the hallway is a door with a glowing cross above the frame. She concludes this must be the Gargoyle King’s chamber, as previously mentioned by Ethel. Betty can hear a girl’s scream from just inside the door. Betty is frightened. So, she hides in a nearby room as Sister Woodhouse exits the chamber with a deeply terrified patient. Once the coast is clear, Betty approaches the chamber door once more. However, Ethel catches her before she can enter. Betty comes up with a excuse, claiming that she was looking for the medical archives. The lie goes that Sister Agnes sent her to fetch some files and she got lost. Ethel tells Betty that only the infirm are allowed in the infirmary. She and Ethel then return to their room.
Betty begins looking for a pen, a bobby pin that hasn’t been dulled down or a paper clip. She steals one that she finds attached to a batch of papers. As she attempts to leave with the paper clip, Ethel invites her over to play G&G with the other patients. Betty then provokes an altercation with Ethel in order to gain access to the infirmary. She addresses how Ethel is a fake friend for kissing Jughead. Ethel replies that she only kissed Jughead because the Gargoyle King wants them together. She states that Betty is jealous that both she and Jughead are worthy while Betty will never be. Furthermore, she’s never going to meet the Gargoyle King. Betty then fakes have a seizure. Gaining the attention of the Sisters. Sister Woodhouse comes to Betty’s aid, calling for a nurse to take Betty to the infirmary.
Betty fake sleeps in the infirmary while Sister Woodhouse speaks to the nurse. She wants to re-evaluate Betty’s dosage as soon as possible. Once she is alone, Betty gets out of bed and begins searching for the patient files. She picks open the file cabinet and finds her file. Inside, she finds her evaluation report, which reads the following; two doses of Bullio Lapis, mornings only. Sporadic seizures. Patient seems to be responding well to testing. Per H.L, increase dosage after first week. Betty deduces that Hiram Lodge is using patients at the Sisters’ as lab rats and that Bullio Lapis is Fizzle Rocks. Now that she has her proof, Betty plans her escape.
Betty heads into the basement to find the door marked with the "X". She finds the door, however, it has since been bricked up, preventing Betty from escaping. She is then cornered by Ethel, Sister Woodhouse and two orderlies. Betty is held down as Sister Woodhouse force feeds her Fizzle Rocks. As this occurs, Ethel recites a phrase. "My King. My savior. Guide me through the night. Bless me with your darkness, gift me with your flight." Sister Woodhouse then takes a barely functional Betty to see the Gargoyle King. Betty is pushed inside the chamber and the doors shut behind her. She screams out in fear. Afterward, she and Sister Woodhouse engage in another session of Rorschach test. This time around she is truthful about what the inkblots appear to be. The first inkblot appears to Betty as a dead body. The second one as the Black Hood. And the final one as the Gargoyle King, who stands behind Sister Woodhouse as the test is conducted.
- Felicia Carter - SOS Blues
- Jack Nitzsche - Medication Valse
- The episode title comes from John Gilling's 1949 British thriller film of the same name.
- The episode utilizes a unique approach in focusing on mostly single character perspectives (although the first perspective is instead a combination between Archie and Jughead's), with each of their names being highlighted at the start of their respective sequences. This is similar to the approach taken in "Chapter Twenty: Tales from the Darkside".
- The scenes of the Lake Farm are filmed on the same site that was used for the main setting of The WB/CW's American television series Smallville. Coincidentally, the farm was also used in the Elseworlds crossover episode of The Flash to represent the Earth-38 Smallville. Riverdale executive producer Greg Berlanti is known to also serve as executive producer on The Flash.
- The blackjack dealer Johnny Goldwater is named after the Co-CEO of Archie Comics Jon Goldwater.