|“||With your blessing, we'd like to make Pickens Day bigger, more of a celebratory event. Sponsored by Lodge Industries. And Andrews Construction co-sponsoring.||”|
Pickens Day is a town-wide event sponsored by Lodge Industries and Andrews Construction. Hiram and Hermione Lodge hosted Pickens Day alongside Fred Andrews as the means to unite the North and Southside as well as pay respect to Riverdale's founding father, General Augustus Pickens.
Planning for Pickens Day
Hiram, Hermione, Veronica, Fred, Mayor McCoy and Sheriff Keller attended a meeting at the Andrews house, where they discussed the students who had been transferred to Riverdale High a week ago. While they were fine, their parents were in Mayor McCoy's office everyday to demand that she reopen Southside High. Which is why Hiram, Hermione and Fred had discussed how their new neighborhood could use something positive to focus on. With Mayor McCoy's blessing, they'd like to make Pickens Day a celebratory event. Sponsored by Lodge Industries with Andrews Construction co-sponsoring. Mayor McCoy surmised that they wanted to make Pickens Day a commercial event for the SoDale, similar to their open house, though as Veronica pointed out, the open house was for investors while Pickens Day would be for North and Southsiders alike. Two halves of a whole coming together. Mayor McCoy worried that trying to distract people with a party would backfire, resulting in violence. While the Southside Serpents had been laying low, they were wild cards and reasons for concern. Having prepared for just that scenario, Hiram, Hermione and Fred had offered to hire the Serpents as security for the event since FP had told Fred that the Serpents were looking for work. Furthermore, the party would let the Southside know that they haven't been abandoned. The meeting, unfortunately, came to an abrupt when Archie returned home.
At the Five Seasons hotel, Josie asked Veronica why couldn't the two of them sing a duet at Pickens Day rather than reviving the Pussycats and searching for new members. Veronica replied that it could be just the two of them, but the Pussycats were a brand that shouldn't sit fallow. Just then, Sierra returned home to the sight of the two of them with audition posters. Whose idea was this, Sierra asked, to which Veronica claimed responsibility. Sierra was displeased to hear about their plans to reunite the Pussycats given that Josie was supposed to be focusing on her solo career. Hoping to avoid any further conflict, Veronica suggested that they bill it as a special event, one-night only. However, Sierra rudely replied that she was talking to Josie. In fact, she'd rather they continue the conversation at a later time, once Veronica was gone.
The Truth Behind General Pickens
Toni's grandfather and one of the founding members of the Southside Serpents, Thomas Topaz, agreed to an interview in his trailer with Jughead. In this interview, he told Jughead that the snake and the laws were all based on Uktena tradition. The Uktena, he explained, is a horned serpent and/or a water serpent. Before the founding of Riverdale, all the land belonged to the Uktena. Thomas laughed hysterically when Jughead asked how did the Uktena evolve into the Serpents. They didn't evolve. They were all slaughtered. When his grandfather was a baby, there was a raid, and it was led by Riverdale's very own General Pickens. The battle lasted all of 12 minutes, but the slaughter was total and savage. General Pickens, whose statue stood proudly in Pickens Park, was responsible for the massacre of men, women and children. Yet the Northside honored him every year in spite of this. When Thomas' grandfather died, they formed the Serpents as a way to keep the family together. Jughead asked how no one knew of this, though according to Thomas, some were aware. However, as Toni put it, this was a direct result of the whitewashing of history.
Jughead interrupted Betty and Kevin's discussion in the Blue and Gold offices to run his story by her. He noted to having taken a liking to Kevin's new Gossip column. The readers loved it, not to mention that Betty needed to fill the space after Jughead left for Southside High. Jughead handed Betty his story and told her that when he interviewed Toni's grandfather for history class, he had some pretty intense things to say about General Pickens. He then took it upon himself to do a bit of follow-up research. Jughead discovered that General Pickens was hired by Barnabas B. Blossom to remove the Uktena tribe by force. In doing so, he killed 400 innocent men, women and children. To make matters worse, the last remnants of the tribe, the Serpents, were being squeezed out of existence. Thomas lived in a trailer the size of a broom closet. And Hiram Lodge was planning on honoring General Pickens instead of trying to make amends. Jughead believed this was a story they needed to tell. Betty agreed, asking if he was going to get a quote from Hiram Lodge.
Following his conversation with Betty, Jughead called Hiram to ask him about how General Pickens massacred the Uketna tribe and stole all their land that he was building on. Realizing that this could mean trouble, Hiram abruptly ended his call with Jughead.
Toni confronted Jughead after he published a Blue and Gold article addressing General Pickens and the massacre of the Uktena tribe. The article read "General Pickens was a murderer and ripples from his gruesome acts continue to be felt today. Descendants of the victims are still being displaced. So I challenge the Northside, instead of honoring men like General Pickens and Hiram Lodge, hold them accountable. Reparations must be paid to men like Thomas Topaz, who are too old and beaten down to fight back for themselves." Riverdale is a deeply troubled town, and Jughead thought that publishing the article would strong-arm them into owning up to it. Toni exclaimed that her grandfather wasn't a broken down victim nor is he a prop for Jughead's vendetta against the Northside. While she understood that he hated the Northside and that being invited to work the Pickens Day party triggered all the rage about being born on the wrong side of the tracks, the Uktena tribe, as far as Toni was concerned, wasn't Jughead's story to tell.
Penelope visited General Pickens' statue in Pickens Park to pay respect and lay red roses at the statue's feet. Before long, she's joined by Cheryl, who questioned the sincerity of her gesture, referring to her as Jackie-O before saying that there weren't any cameras present. Cheryl asked if there was any validity to Jughead's article that accused her great-great-great grandfather of hiring General Pickens to steal land from the Uktena. Penelope confirmed the articles' report by asking Cheryl how did she think their family got started in the maple syrup business, which meant that the Blossoms were partly responsible for killing hundreds of people. "For what, a bunch of maple trees?" Cheryl asked as a single tear runs down her face. More than just maple syrup, in the killing of hundreds, they gained access to dark, fertile earth and Sweetwater River. Back in those early days, they had a hand in everything. Building the railroads, operating the saloons and, yes, even a brothel. Old ways die hard, it seems, given Penelope's recent escapades.
Pickens Day Celebration
In Pickens Park, Hermione greeted Sierra and Josie as they arrived at the Pickens Day celebration. She was surprised to see that they made it and sorry to hear that Josie won't be performing with Veronica. Sierra explained that she had forbade Josie from performing following the publishing of Jughead's article because of the possible dangers she could face.
Meanwhile, Hiram approached Archie to shake his hand in the park after his surprise victory over Chuck Clayton. As Hiram tried to pull away, Archie held on to his hand tightly, asking if they were done with the back and forth. In response, Hiram invited Archie over to the Pembrooke so that they can talk about a few things.
Despite claiming that he was staying home to catch up on a few odd jobs around the house, Hal confronted Chic at Pickens Day. He wanted to know if Alice knew what kind of person they had welcomed into their home, in the room next to Betty's no less. While they were gone, Hal gained access to Chic's computer. In doing so, he discovered what Chic had been doing online with his "clients". Betty insisted that he stop snooping through Chic's business and harassing him, though Chic wasn't the only subject of Hal's anger. He even scolded Betty for bringing Chic into their lives and into their home, more specifically, Polly's bedroom. Alice remarked that Polly was no longer apart of their lives and that therefore, it is no longer her room. Hal told Alice that Chic had to go and that she knew exactly why. Alice reminded Hal that she had thrown him out the house before and that she would not hesitate to do it again. Heading the warning, Hal took off, unbeknownst to him that Penelope watched the entire confrontation unfold.
Fred gets on stage to welcome everyone in attendance. On behalf of Lodge Industries and Andrews Construction, they were thrilled to kick the party off with what he described as being a new twist on an old favorite. In doing that, he introduced "Veronica and the Pussycats" i.e. Veronica, Valerie and Melody. Everyone in town watched as the Pussycats performed on stage, with some being more enthusiastic than others. Unfortunately, their performance was interrupted by the Serpents, who came protesting the event in an effort to heal the wound that had been reopened by Jughead's article. They marched into the park with duct-tape covering their mouths and signs that read 'honor this land' and 'sacred land'. Surprisingly, Cheryl joined in on the protest, standing just behind Jughead and Thomas. With Sweet Pea and Fogarty at her side, Toni, who is seemingly lead the protest, stood in front of the stage to announce that they represented the dead and the silenced. Pickens Day was a lie. General Pickens slaughtered the Uktena tribe, Toni's grandfather's family. And the land in which they were standing on, would soon give way to a new Southside, which was stolen from them. While the Serpents couldn't bring them back, they could at the very least honor them. Hoping to defuse the protest and prevent any kind of riot, Hiram got on stage to applaud the Serpents for standing up for justice, as well as the honor and legacy of the Uktena, who contribute to the rich tapestry that is Riverdale, that is the Southside and that will be SoDale.
As Pickens Day came to an end, Penelope approached Hal as he sat alone, eating a maple snow-cone. She offered to get him a proper dessert since he is in need of company and she had nowhere else to be.
Jughead sat in a booth at Pop's late that night, adding another entry to his novel as Pickens Day had officially come to an end. In this entry, he described how a horrifying act of desecration would be committed. Sure enough, the next morning, Sheriff Keller, Mayor McCoy, Hiram and Hermione gathered in Pickens Park after being alerted of the desecration of General Pickens' statue. Its head has been removed and red paint covers the statue to simulate blood. Since Hiram and Hermione were calling the shots, Sierra asked how they would like it to be handled. Hiram demanded that the investigation for the missing head be handled swiftly and with extreme prejudice given that the most likely suspects were the Serpents.