|“||What makes a place feel like home? Is it warmth and familiarity? Some idealized, make-believe TV version of the American Dream? Is it love and acceptance? Or is it simple safety?||”|
|— Jughead Jones|
THE SEARCH IS ON — When a major piece of evidence is mysteriously destroyed, new rumors begin to swirl as to who was really behind Jason’s murder. Tensions build when Jughead’s father returns to the fray and it’s revealed that he and Fred have some unresolved issues between them. Meanwhile, Veronica takes matters into her own hands after her fight with Hermione. Cheryl approaches Betty with an unexpected proposal that leaves Betty torn.
The episode unfolds with a strange 50s style dream sequence of Jughead's, which he describes as some kind of idealized, make-believe version of the American dream, where he is engaged to Betty, Jason Blossom is alive and the Coopers are loving parents who approve of both their daughters' relationships. In the dream, the Cooper family, Jason, and Jughead, as well as Veronica and Archie, are sitting down to a big turkey dinner and as Jughead starts to carve the bird, the knife disappears from his hand. Archie then walks up, and calmly asks, "Dude, why'd you stab me in the back?" before turning around, where the carving knife is embedded between his shoulder blades. Jughead is then woken by his phone alarm and is shown living out of Riverdale High School.
Ever since the closing of the Twilight Drive-In, Jughead has been living out of a forgotten closet under a staircase at the high school. It isn't long before Archie makes this discovery after bumping into him in the boys' locker room early that morning, to which Jughead explains that things aren't good at home. His dad has fallen off the wagon since Archie's dad fired him from Andrews Construction. He hasn't had a job since. Making matters worse, Jughead's mother left with his sister Jellybean to live with their grandparents a while back. Archie invites him to stay at his place, but Jughead declines, saying that his situation is only temporary. He's more concerned that Betty might find out that he's effectively homeless, to which Archie becomes confused as to why Jughead would care about Betty finding out.
After learning that her mother had forged her signature for the new development contract, Veronica retaliates like only a Lodge woman would, by purchasing a number of expensive items, which they can not afford. The money that they do have is barely enough to cover their living expenses, not that Veronica cares, as she asks Smithers to take her item to her room.
Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, and Kevin convene in the student lounge, where they discuss Polly, and her escape from the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, as well as Jason's car, which was set ablaze on route 40 shortly after Betty and Jughead discovered it. Jughead comforts Betty as she begins to worry even more about Polly. Archie and Kevin then suggests going to the police with this information, but ads Jughead explains, Sheriff Keller answers to the Blossoms. Unbeknownst to them, Ginger, who's standing several feet behind them, is texting all of this information to Cheryl Blossom.
Having noticed how close Betty and Jughead have grown, Archie confronts Jughead on his relationship with Betty. Jughead explains that they had a moment, which Archie is fine with, he was simply curious. He then informs Jughead that his dad is willing to give Jughead's dad a second chance, but only if FP wants it. Much like Archie, Veronica also noticed the comfort Jughead has been providing Betty during this troubling time. Betty reveals to Veronica that she hasn't been in a great place emotionally for the past few days, and Jughead has been there for her. Given that he helped Betty during her time of need, Veronica approves of their relationship. They then head off to find Polly.
At the Sheriff Station, Sheriff Keller tells Penelope Blossom that there are forensics going over every inch of Jason's car, and that they're close to a break in the investigation. Cheryl interrupts with a break of her own. She wishes to trade the intel she got from Ginger with her mother and Sheriff Keller in exchange for permission to reclaim her rightful place as queen of the River Vixens. Penelope agrees, and so Cheryl reveals that Polly escaped a group home the same night Jason's car was torched, leading her to suspect that Polly killed Jason. She even takes the liberty of tweeting her theory of Polly being Jason's killer using numerous hashtags.
Back at school, Kevin informs Betty and Veronica of Cheryl's tweet; #PollyCooperKilledMyBrother, #NowhereToHide, and #SharpenYourPitchforks. With this, Betty is in a race against time to find her sister, and save her from the Blossoms' grasp.
Jughead returns to his family trailer at Sunnyside Trailer Park. Inside, the trailer is a mess, though he disregards this to ask if his dad would consider going back to work for Fred Andrews. However, Fred had already called, and FP turned him down out of pride. He reasons that Fred fired him, and what kind of a man would he be if he went back, "hat in hand?". Jughead insists on FP getting rehired at Andrews Construction and start rebuilding their family.
Determined to get to Polly before the Blossoms can, Betty and Jughead organize a search of Eversgreen Forest, consisting of Alice, Hal, Reggie, Kevin, Veronica, Josie, Melody, Valerie and Archie. They instruct the group of volunteers to scour the woods near Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Archie apologizes to Betty for not being there for her when she needed him. Betty tells him it's okay. Veronica splits off with Kevin, and the two of them discuss the "Cold War" between Veronica and her mother. She hates having to fight with her mother, but that's exactly what she'll do until her mother admits that she forged Veronica's signature in order to further her relationship with Fred Andrews. It's Hermione's turn to make the next move, however, if she doesn't, Veronica will have to force her hand, which she would usually do by going out on a party bender; dancing with her favorite celebrity gal pal (Josie), her best gay friend (Kevin), and dimwitted arm candy (Reggie). The search is interrupted by the arrival of the Blossoms. Penelope, Clifford and Cheryl demand to know of Polly's whereabouts. They are accompanied by Sheriff Keller. The Blossoms suspect that if Polly broke out once, she could've done it before, when she supposedly murdered Jason.
After the search, Alice decides to go in "damage control mode", and address the press outside a church about all the rumors concerning Polly. The Blossoms have their version of the events, but they don't have the entire story, which gives the Coopers a momentary advantage. Betty is doubtful that she can do this, but Alice is giving her no choice. She, Betty and Hal will present a united front. Alice speaks to the press, as well as the town, explaining that all the rumors are false. Archie, Jughead, Cheryl, Penelope, Clifford and many others are in attendance. While it is true that Polly was seeking treatment in a private care facility, she was under strict observation, including during the time of Jason's death. Alice then reveals to the entire town that Polly is pregnant with Jason's baby, before looking into the camera, and pleading with Polly to come home.
That night, Jughead and Betty hold hands as he walks her home, reminding her that there is a killer on the loose. Betty can't help but blame herself for Polly running away, however, Jughead believes that Betty did the right thing by telling Polly the truth, even if it resulted in her running away from the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Betty recalls the first time Polly ran away from home. She was 9. Polly and Alice got into a huge fight, and she disappeared for hours. The whole neighborhood was out looking for her. Jughead asks how far did she get, which leads Betty to realize where Polly is hiding — the attic at their house. Betty gives Jughead a kiss, and then rushes home, heading straight up to the attic, where she indeed finds Polly.
As Betty wraps Polly's wounded leg, she asks how she got into the attic without anyone seeing her. Polly replies that she knows every entrance and exit of the house, plus their father has yet to fix the cellar door. Polly explains that she couldn't just stay at the group home, waiting for Jason, who would never come for her. Polly reveals that she and Jason had a plan to move to a farm upstate and raise the baby. Polly still wishes to fulfill that wish, as their parents are pressuring her to give the baby up for adoption, but she has no resources or money. Polly refuses to have her baby raised in a home where it isn't wanted. Alice and Hal then come home. Betty begs Polly to give her a few days to find her someplace safe to stay in Riverdale
The next day, a humbled FP goes to see Fred about that job offer. Fred tells FP that it wasn't his idea, but Jughead and Archie's. While coming back isn't easy for FP, he feels like this might be his last chance to have his son look at him like he's something other than a piece of garbage. So they decide to work things out. As Hermione enters the trailer, Fred introduces her to FP, unbeknownst to him, FP and Hermione had some shady dealings in his capacity as a Southside Serpent. After Fred excuses himself to take a call, Hermione asks him what he's doing there, to which he replies that he's only there because Jughead asked him to step up. He also reassures her that he's good with Hiram and they won't have a problem, if there's no reason for one.
At the breakfast table, Betty questions her parents about Polly and their feelings towards her baby. They insist that Polly is welcome back, but when Betty asks about the baby, Alice lies and says that Polly agreed to give it up for adoption, which Betty knows isn't true. While it is a very difficult decision for a young mother to make, Hal and Alice state that it is the only option.
Betty meets with Veronica in the student lounge to discuss her family troubles. Betty is conflicted. She doesn't want Polly to run away, but if she can't live at home, then she could possibly rent her an apartment. Veronica offers to help Betty and Polly, as the pregnant mother was hiding out in the attic of the Cooper house, with no place to stay. Betty declines the gesture, reasoning that Veronica has her own problems she's dealing with, but Veronica insists as Polly needs doctors and important things like prenatal vitamins. Cheryl interrupts their conversation, as she says that what Polly needs is her family. Betty and Cheryl enter an empty classroom as Betty tiredly asks Cheryl what she wants, to which Cheryl says, what they both want — for the baby to be safe. It doesn't take long for Cheryl to find out that Betty knows where Polly is. She tells Betty she wants to help however she can. She even offers to ask her parents for money to find Polly a place to live and provide her with medical necessities. Betty refuses to involve them, however, Cheryl reassures her that the baby is a game changer, they're on the same team now.
Archie and Jughead sit in the trailer as FP and Fred return from a successful first day back at work. To celebrate FP returning to work at the Andrews Construction, Jughead, Archie, Fred, and FP go to Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe for dinner where the two fathers tell stories about their younger years, like how they spent an entire summer fixing up a bus they named the Shaggin' Wagon. This was before senior year, when Fred started a band and they gained a lot of attention, despite being awful. Fred claims that FP was the big man on campus during their high school years. For one, he single-handedly defeated their rivals the Baxter High Ravens. Unlike FP, Jughead prefers to write, thinking up stories, he takes after his mother in that respect. When Archie reveals that Jughead works on the school paper with Betty, FP inquires about the nature of his relationship with her, but Jughead deflects back to their high school band, the Fred-heads. When it's time to pay, Fred and FP get into a dispute over the check.
Despite it being a school night, Veronica prepares to head out clubbing. Hermione rules against it, but Veronica states that she has a get out of jail free card. Veronica wants her mother to admit what she did, by forging her signature to get Fred the contract to the development. Veronica worries that her father will think that she betrayed him. Hermione claims that she will tell Hiram the truth, but she can't do it in that moment, so Veronica heads out as planned. She parties at the night club the Roving Eye with Josie, Kevin and Reggie. After a bit of dancing, they find a booth, and discuss Veronica's current troubles at home. When her father was arrested, the police, lawyers, and courts took everything from them, including the clothes off their backs, but her mother sat her down and told her not to cry because there as one thing that no one could ever take from her, which was her name. However, after being told that no one could ever take her name, that's exactly what Hermione did, like Veronica was nothing.
Later in the night, Jughead sits back and watches as FP and Archie practice music in the garage. FP remarks that Archie is far better at playing than Fred. This leads Archie to ask FP about something he mentioned earlier about Fred owing him. FP reveals that he and Fred started Andrews Construction together. They initially struggled. FP had Jughead, Jellybean, their mom and hospital bills to pay. Unfortunately, he got into trouble after working some odd jobs to support his family. Fred bailed him out, but he then wanted to part ways as FP was a liability. He even made FP sign a paper that the bail money was him buying FP out of the company, never mind that FP's share of the business was worth far more than that.Still upset of this great injustice, FP then takes a sip from his flask.
Meanwhile, Betty finally meets up with the Blossoms. Clifford and Penelope make overtures to Betty, too. They don't just want to support Polly financially, but emotionally — emotional support that a young mother-to-be needs. Penelope then asks Betty where Polly is, to which Betty replies that she doesn't feel comfortable telling them. She reassures Betty that Betty and Polly are part of the Blossom family now, and that she's willing to protect them ferociously. This will only happen if Betty's willing to trust them.
Archie had no idea about FP and Fred's partnership. Jughead was initially oblivious to the fact as well. Archie reasons that his father must've had a good reason, even if he can't think of one. Jughead then leaves, hiding his father's flask in the couch before taking him home.
To no surprise, Hermione finally strikes back. She cancels Veronica's credit card and reports it stolen, which is surprisingly a good thing because it means that she is ready to negotiate, Veronica concludes. The club manager explains that he's suppose to call the cops. Reggie welcomes this as he'll be happy to explain that they're minors. Josie adds that her mother is the mayor, which would make things much worse for the manager.
Once home, Jughead puts his father on the couch, where he mentions that he spoke with his mom over the phone, who now works at a call center and is taking online classes in the hopes of finally getting her GED, which Jellybean is helping her study for. Speaking of Jellybean, Jughead also mentions that she wantds to be addressed as 'JB' from now on because she thinks it sounds cooler. He remarks that she's a ten-year-old who listens to Pink Floyd on vinyl, how much cooler could she get?. However, Jughead notices that his father has passed out while taking off his boots and that he hasn't heard a word he's said.
Fred enters Archie's room to see how the jam session went. Archie says it was fine until FP told him how Fred screwed him out of the company he helped found. Fred replies that FP was a mess, who was stealing from the company and selling stuff on the side. Fred gave FP many chances, bailing him out multiple times. Fred claims that he did the best he could, but when someone is drowning, you can try to save them, but not if they're going to drag you down with them. Archie replies And who cares if Jughead ended up drowning too?
Veronica finally returns home, where they settle their differences through a negotiation. Hermione explains that she has feelings for Fred Andrews, but she can't say what it means yet, as she doesn't know what this means yet herself. As for Hiram, he made his own decisions, which distanced him from Hermione and she now has to make her own decisions about moving forward with her life. She asks Veronica to accept her affair until they get more information. In addition, she believes partnering with Andrews Construction is the right thing to do as Lodge Industries needs to work with legitimate business going forward. In return, Veronica demands that whatever is happening between her and Fred can't happen at the Pembrooke, and that she has to tell Hiram about forging her signature. Hermione agrees to both as long as the clubbing and online shopping comes to an end.
The next morning, Jughead is taken into custody and brought down to the Sheriff Station by Sheriff Keller as a suspect in Jason's murder. His and Betty's fingerprints were found on Jason's torched car as expected, but Jughead has a surprising juvie record from six years prior when he almost burned down Riverdale Elementary School, which, according to Jughead, was an accident; he was just playing with matches. Sheriff Keller also has Jughead's school records. Jughead has a rough history. He was bullied a lot of by the football team. Keller unfairly suspects him as the killer due to his background and being from the wrong side of the tracks. However, Jughead refuses to talk, asking for a lawyer.
At Thornhill, Penelope recalls Cheryl saying that Polly was a party girl. She asks if Cheryl ever saw Polly do drugs, to which Cheryl replies that she's not sure. Penelope's merely asking as they wouldn't want an unfit mother raising the child.
Back at the station, Betty is allowed to speak to Jughead alone after his interrogation. She's sure of his innocence, especially since all evidence against him is circumstantial, but he fears that he's becoming a scapegoat. As for FP, he has not yet arrived, but Archie and Fred are just outside, talking to the Sheriff. Fred covers for Jughead, claiming that Jughead was working for Andrews Construction during the week of July 11th. With that, and Fred willing to provide proof, Sheriff Keller lets him go.
FP arrives to the station late, just as Archie, Fred and Betty are leaving with Jughead. He is irate, surmising that Sheriff Keller is just merely trying to throw him in jail. As FP becomes angry, he threatens violence against the Sheriff, pushing past Fred as he heads towards the station. Jughead grabs his father by his jacket, and begs him not to make things worse. FP complies, asking if Jughead is coming home with him. Archie interjects, explaining that Jughead can stay with them. FP looks Jughead in the eyes, and promises him that he's going to go straight, and then get their family back together. They then share a hug, before parting ways.
Back at The Pembrooke, Hermione and Veronica sit at the table, as Veronica comforts her mother while they wait for Hiram's call from prison. She holds her hand as they tell Hiram over the phone that Lodge Industries is partnering with Andrews Construction.
Meanwhile, at Andrews Construction, Fred forges a time card for Jughead during the week of July 11th. Maybe Fred should've given FP another chance way back when. Either way, Jughead doesn't deserve what;'s happening to him.
Afterwards, Archie meets with Betty, Polly, and, Veronica at Pop's as they wait for the Blossoms to arrive. Once Betty and Polly talk things through with them, they will speak to their own parents. Polly tells Betty that she's thankful and that Betty is her guardian angel. Soon, Cheryl arrives at Pop's — alone. She looks sad as she walks up to the group. Polly approaches Cheryl. Cheryl tries to touch her pregnant belly, but pulls her hand back, unable to. Polly tries to comfort Cheryl, reassuring her that Jason really did love her and he never failed to express his love for Cheryl. Betty, then, breaks the moment as she curiously asks where the Blossom parents are. Cheryl warns Polly of her parents' ill intentions. They don't care about Polly, they just want the baby. Polly begins panicking, not knowing where to go, the attic isn't an option. Veronica offers to help, knowing her mother would want to help too. When they arrive at Veronica's place, Hermione welcomes them with open arms.
Back at Archie's place, Archie makes Jughead's bed as he apologizes for their fathers. Jughead then says that he still hasn't lost hope for his father. There's still hope left for him. When Archie then asks if he thinks his father will show up for work tomorrow, Jughead replies You never know. I hope.
Meanwhile, FP continues his disastrous drinking habits back at the trailer. Surprisingly, in one of the closets hangs Jason Blossoms varsity jacket.
- Jack Strachey - Lambs in Clover
- Wild Future - I Can Feel You Now
- Scene: Archie discovers that Jughead's living in a closet at the high school.
- Cappa feat. Almighty Chief - Killin' it
- Unions - Bury
- Scene: Betty and Jughead lead a search through the Eversgreen Forest in search of Polly.
- The Vertebrats - Diamonds In the Rough
- AURORA - Warrior
- Scene: In the student lounge, Betty tells Veronica that she doesn't know what to do with her situation with Polly. That's when Cheryl interrupts.
- Tove Lo & Seeb - Moments
- Jai Wolf feat. MNDR - Like It's Over
- Scene: Veronica, Kevin, Josie and Reggie find a booth to sit in at the Roving Eye, where they discuss her mother's recent betrayal.
- Charlie Faye & the Fayettes - One More Chance
- Fefe - Born To You
- Scene: Archie and Jughead talk about their fathers / FP walks past a closet in the trailer, where Jason's varsity jacket hangs.
- Kevin: "You guys, oh my God!"
- Veronica: "What?"
- Kevin: "Cheryl just tweeted, "#PollyCooperkilledmybrother, #nowheretohide, #sharpenyourpitchforks""
- Betty: "Oh, no! We need to find Polly before the Blossoms do."
- ―Cheryl starts the hunt for Polly
- Veronica: "When my dad got arrested, the police...the lawyers...the judge...the courts... They took everything from us. Our houses, our cars, our club memberships, our yacht. Even, I'm not kidding, the clothes off our backs. Anyway, my mom sat me down at the edge of my canopy bed and she told me not to cry, because there was one thing in this world that nobody could take away from me. Not ever."
- Reggie: "Your trust fund?"
- Veronica: "My name, Reggie. Which, after telling me nobody would ever take it, that is exactly what she did! Like it meant nothing. Like it was nothing... Like I was nothing."
- ―Veronica opens up to Josie, Kevin, and Reggie at the club
- Hermione: "Why are you even here?"
- FP Jones: "My son asked me to try and go straight, okay. Now you gonna make that hard on me? Dudley Do-Right doesn't know I'm a Serpent, so I'd appreciate it if you'd keep that to yourself... Because here's the thing about snakes, you don't step on'em, they got no reason to bite."
- ―Hermione encounters FP after he's rehired at Andrews Construction
- Sheriff Keller: "You have a long and rough history, Mr. Jones. Bullied a lot."
- Jughead: "Yeah. My name is 'Jughead'."
- ―Sheriff Keller interrogating Jughead
|“||Hope. A word so close to home, and as tricky. As much as we wanted Jason’s killer caught, and the town, our home, to feel safe again, every day that passed, our hopes dimmed more and more. There’s that old, cliched saying, “It’s darkest before the dawn.” But sometimes… There’s just darkness.||”|
|— Jughead in narration|
- The episode title comes from Edmund H. North and Andrew Solt's 1950 noir film of the same name, which is an adaptation of Dorothy B. Hughes' mystery novel.
- The style of Jughead's dream is a throwback to the classic Archie comics. Particularly his crown, the style of clothing, and Veronica's bangs.
- This episode marks the last official appearance of Ross Butler as Reggie Mantle.
- Jughead makes three references:
- Wes Craven — An American film director, writer, producer, and actor, known for pioneering the genre of horror films, particularly slasher films.
- Paradise Lost kids — Three men who – while teenagers – were tried and convicted, in 1994, of the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Damien Echols was sentenced to death, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. was sentenced to life imprisonment plus two 20-year sentences, and Jason Baldwin was sentenced to life imprisonment. The prosecution asserted that the children were killed as part of a Satanic ritual.
- Metallica — An American heavy metal band formed in 1981.
- Kevin makes two references:
- Jughead's stash of books includes The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.