Episode Recaps

'Riverdale' Recap – Chapter 137 – Good-Bye Riverdale

Written by 23 August, 2023

Riverdale, first let me say: Thank you for the wild ride. I felt lost after Once Upon a Time ended but found you and the opportunity to continue using my imagination. We don’t often get a series that allows you to throw off the real world and step into a world where adventure and strange things happen. While some television columnists see this as the end of the era, I’m sure that sometime in the future (hopefully after the Writers/Actors Strike), someone will emerge to keep this trend going. It may not be on the CW where these shows have always thrived, but somewhere, on some network, the need will arise.

I’m not sure in what direction the show will go tonight but I honestly feel that we will see how the gang’s lives progressed from 1955 on. I also think that we have a new “angel of Riverdale,” Jughead Jones. No, I was wrong. He is Rod Sterling Jones again. We’ve been promised that they will be allowed to relive their last day as high school students. That day probably wouldn’t be the one that I chose but with the episode called “Goodbye Riverdale,” I take it to mean that the gang leaves town. The line that Jughead says in the opening is about a town suspended in time makes me remember Once Upon a Time. My question is: Can people driving through see the town?

We open with the feeling that the gang did “bend to justice” but each had to do it their way. With Jughead’s narration, we learn that Riverdale is a town (as I said) lost in time. Betty is 86 and living with her granddaughter. She has her senior yearbook with her and is upset thinking of her Yearbook not having any friends’ signatures. Jughead appears in the room and tells her she can return to Riverdale by stepping through the door. Betty finds herself in her old room. Seeing Archie, she remembers all the times she had looked out. And we find out that Archie has bent toward justice. He’s going to go work on road construction with the Eisenhower project. He tells Mary who doesn’t want him to go but he explains that Riverdale will be their home. Mary sees Fred in Archie. They both share the wanderlust. Once Archie sees the Pacific, he won’t return.

Betty hears voices downstairs and finds Alice, as a stewardess, and Polly at the table. Polly and Alice have made up. So, I guess we can say, Alice has finally bent toward justice. Betty asks about what happened (she doesn’t remember). It seems Polly had twins (yes, like on the original timeline named Dagwood and Juniper) and never returned to performing. Alice had landed a plane. She fell in love with a passenger on the flight and they married and travelled. She sent postcards until they stopped suddenly.

“Sterling” Jughead and Betty arrive at school and it seems like a dream. Veronica arrives and they enter Riverdale High where Betty says it feels like the last time. Veronica smiles and says they haven’t graduated yet. Toni is the student president and comes over the loudspeaker to announce yearbooks are there, one per person. Of course, Toni has one last poem to read by the poet of the year, Archie Andrews. It is titled “Dreams.” Cheryl gives Betty a hard time when Betty gets her annual. Betty asks Fangs and Midge to sign the yearbook and the two are finally going to be married and raise their daughter. Fangs is a rock star who is heading out on tour after recording an album. Unfortunately, he dies during the tour in a crash. Midge and his daughter have a great life though off the money Fangs’ music makes.

Kevin invites Betty to lunch with him and Clay and tells her they knew about the foursome of Betty, Archie, Veronica, and Jughead. It seems that the four were always seen together “double-dating” and much more. Kevin and Clay plan to move to New York. Clay’s parents are accepting of Kevin and okay with their plans. Sterling Jughead tells Betty that Clay attends Columbia and ends up teaching there. Kevin opens an off-Broadway theater and they are both happy. Kevin dies first but Clay dies within a few days.

Reggie asks Betty when she hands him her annual why she wanted Archie instead of him. She tells him about the quad relationship and how she was with Archie, then Jughead, then Veronica. Reggie is shocked and asks why not ask him to join. Betty admits that they thought of it, but Reggie seemed so focused on basketball. She kisses him on the cheek. Sterling Jones tells her that Reggie went to Kansas State and left after a year to join the Lakers. During the summers, he worked the farm until it was sold. He married and had two sons, coached at Riverdale High, and was buried near the farm. 

Veronica tells Betty that she plans to return to Los Angeles and has a job with Peter Roth. It is entry level but she is determined to climb the ladder fast. Sterling Jones and Betty talk about what happened to Veronica. She quickly rose in the ranks and was running the place. Known for her style and taste, she was buried in the Hollywood Cemetery. Her legacy was two Oscars and Betty visits her handprints at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Sterling Jones reminds Betty as she gets sad that it’s a day without regrets.

That night Cheryl and Toni have a gathering to celebrate their partnership. Toni has a copy of the writing magazine for each of them. Cheryl wants them to view her paintings. They’re beautiful and Sterling Jones tells Betty that they move out west and raise a son they named Dale (Riverdale of course). The baby is being played by Vanessa Morgan’s real son. Both were activists for LGBT and died peacefully. 

Archie tells Veronica and Jughead about his plans and Betty joins them. While Jughead and Veronica are not happy about his decision, Veronica does point out that all had to go their separate ways. Betty says it’s not a time to mourn what they lost for the future waits. They decide to take one more ride together. Archie then reads a letter to his best friends. Kevin, Clay, Reggie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Toni, Cheryl, Fangs and Midge are there. He remembers their friendship. Oh, and Julian is there but doesn’t get recognized. Archie calls all those gathered his best friends forever.

Betty and Archie share one last hug. While they seem sad that they will be separated, Archie feels they will end up together. Betty tells Archie that he’ll make it to California and never look back. He’ll meet a girl who will make him laugh and they will have a beautiful family. He’ll work construction like his dad. When he dies, Archie will ask to be buried in Riverdale. 

Once again Betty and Sterling Jones talk. She has one more person she wants to visit, Pop Tate. She gets flowers and they place them on his grave. Betty asks Sterling what happens when you die. Sterling Jughead tells her he can’t speak for all but he thinks Pop Tate is still flipping burgers and making shakes. Betty tells Jughead that she read his obituary. He fulfilled his life’s dream of reviving his writing. His “Mad House” magazine became an institution even to the present day. He admits he could have done much worse.

They talk about Betty’s choice. Her first book and her advice column were successes. She protested the injustices and never regretted not getting married. She’s proud of her magazine (“She Says”) which is still popular. She adopted her daughter and Jughead admits he regrets not having a family. He has to take her back where her granddaughter awaits.

When next we see Betty, her granddaughter, and her husband (who looked like Reggie) are heading to Riverdale. They pull into Pop’s and turn to Betty who has quietly died. The young Betty opens the car door and goes inside where all her friends are waiting. Pop smiles as she enters. They have returned as young people to be together in the afterlife. She kisses her friends and joins Archie, Jughead, and Veronica in a booth. They knew she was coming and ordered her favorite, a strawberry milkshake. Sterling Jones once again tells us that Riverdale will be our (collective) home.

I’ve enjoyed bringing the recaps and opinion pieces for you at AlllYourScreens. I hope we all will take a little of Riverdale with us. This world needs more shows like this that make us think and go with twists and surprises. Where else would you get such reminders of the past? To Roberto, the writers, directors, producers, actors, and all the crew, I say thank you. I didn’t think I would have this type of adventure again when Once Upon a Time left the airways, but you gave it to me. I will always be grateful. Know that even us old folks appreciate imagination and inspiration. You gave us all of this over seven seasons and 137 episodes.

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'Riverdale' Recap – Chapter 136 – Golden Age Of Television

Written by 16 August, 2023

Tonight, Riverdale marks the next to the last episode of a show that has brought enjoyment to some and confusion to twice as many. I admit that with the first episode, I went: “What the…” but I came to realize that this show was one of the most innovative shows on television at this time. This series revisioned the comic in not only the characters but personalities and situations they face. We’ve been into a different universe, heaven, and along roads never imagined. I’m thankful for finding it after Once Upon a Time aired its last episode.

Riverdale tonight starts the memory of characters returning. I worry that this is a 1950s Riverdale set in the 2020s-era town. We may never know the answer but I think some idea will come. So let’s start the show and be prepared to cry.

Riverdale Changes — Better and Worse
Jughead is back as the narrator and calling Riverdale a utopia. Really? Oh, that’s right! The Blossoms are in jail. Mr. Featherhead is gone due to his involvement with the Blossoms (one part of the problem the gang has faced). And Jughead learns that Mr. Wrether is heading to Washington where the president wants him to deal with juvenile delinquency and comic books. With the history of the past arising, Jughead has hope (Jughead this is Riverdale). What will happen to Riverdale High though? PTA will meet to decide.

Betty finds that her parents are staying together but Hal will be living in the basement bedroom. Betty is surprised and asks Alice why no divorce. Alice responds that she’s never been alone. She went from her parents’ home to being Hal’s wife. The house and station are Hal’s. With Betty going to college, what will she do?

As the day progresses, Betty gets her book from the publisher in the mail. She gives Alice the first copy and Alice reads it. That night, Betty wakes and finds Alice crying in her bedroom. Alice tells her it’s good. Alice is glad she has done it and has come to know Betty better. The hopes, dreams, fears, and experiences that Betty and her friends have gone through impresses Alice. 

Toni has the new principal in mind, Mr. Weatherbee. She and Betty discuss it with Alice and Alice agrees to take it to the PTA. Next thing we know, Mr. Weatherbee (yes, our Mr. Weatherbee without the memories of cults) is the principal and hires Archie’s favorite teacher back. She’s kept in touch with Ms. Grundy and has read Archie’s poems. Archie plans to ride the rails during the summer and experience the world. She tells him that a writer experiences life to make it real in books (my words). Archie has a plan until he returns home to find Reggie on the porch. Reggie has learned that he can’t go to basketball camp because it’s during the crop harvesting season. He’s needed at home. Archie tells him to take the chance and go to the camp. Archie will put off his travels and stay behind and help Reggie’s family. To work the land is to experience life. Archie feels that this is what he needs at this time. 

Jughead has bad news. The latest comic, “The Comet” wasn’t accepted as it has the world destroyed and a black man and white woman living together in New York. Also, when he visits his editor, he finds out that the editor expected this to happen and has decided to close Pep Comics. He asks Jughead to write the final editorial of the comic which was the best they had ever done. Jughead writes the editorial and hopes the comic finds its way into people’s hands who want the world to be a better place. At the closed Pep office, Jughead says that it is easier to tear down than to build up. So true as he’s about to find out. 

Veronica agrees with the editor that it’s the best comic story ever written. She gets the idea to turn it into a movie and talks to Clay, who knows the original story by W.E.B. DuBois. He’s read it many times (Note: it was written in the 1920s). Clay agrees that it would make a wonderful movie. He’d love to write the script. Veronica knows that the racial them will make it an uphill battle to succeed but she does buy the rights. Clay agrees to write the adaption. Clay and Veronica say they need a big star, Sidney Poitier, who Josie McCoy knows. Veronica plans to open the movie in Cannes in four to five years. (While there have been many movies with “comet” in the title, a quick search did not reveal that a project like this was ever made.)

Cheryl is ready to take her stand and get the Vixens back. Nana has met with Julian and Cheryl and told them that they have to erase the stain of their parents. Cheryl’s way is to take on Evelyn for her head position with the cheerleaders. Evelyn doesn’t want her there but can’t stand up to Cheryl when she demands a dance-off. Need I say who wins? Cheryl survives to lead again.

Oh, and one thing I haven’t mentioned. Guess who is having an LGBTQ+ affair. It’s Sheriff Kline and Fred. Archie finds it out and is VERY surprised.

The Tabitha Angel Arrives
Get the tissues ready. Our Tabitha has shown up in the railroad car to see Jughead. He first thinks it’s Tabitha from school. She tells him no and she has something she wants him to see. She has a color television set (which of course didn’t exist) and puts on Riverdale (the series we have watched in its entirety). He remembers! She has succeeded in bringing all the timelines together and preventing Bailey’s Comic from destroying the earth. In doing it, all have merged into the one the gang is in presently (1955). There will be no return to 2023 from here. The good news is that the gang succeeded in “bending toward justice” and started to reshape the town/world and make it a better place where the destruction of Bailey’s Comet won’t happen. She can show the rest of the gang what happened but it will be up to them to remember everything or stay ignorant of the future. 

Jughead calls a meeting of the gang. He tells them what has happened and what he has seen. It is up to each of them to decide if they want to see what happened and carry the memories. The first to take the opportunity is Archie. He wants to remember but is troubled by what he sees. He’s glad to see his dad but hates that he died twice. He’s confused as he leaves and talks to the others. 

Next that wants to see the past is Veronica and Betty together. After the viewing, Betty has a hard time with what her family did. How could Hal be a serial killer? How could Polly die like she did? And what about the darkness that surrounded her family? Veronica has a problem believing that she killed her husband, Chad, and her father. The main characters, except for Julian who was a doll, decide they want to see it also. Yes, Dilton is included and Fangs is there. 

After the viewing, Tabitha meets with all of them. They must decide between keeping the memories or letting them go. Veronica wants to only remember the happy times they had together and the rest seem to agree. All that is but Betty who feels she needs to remember. Jughead plans to retain all memories as he is the chronicler of what happened. Angel Tabitha can make this happen. She can only share the good memories. Angel Tabitha feels they deserve this after all they’ve been through. They all meet (including Julian and Clay) at the Babylonium and see the equivalent of a home movie. It’s only the fun, good things that they shared/experienced and did together. She has hit a reset button for all but Jughead and Betty. If this didn’t make you cry, I don’t know what would. 

Tabitha leaves the theater knowing only the happy memories will remain. Jughead follows. He hopes she will stay and they can have a life together like they planned. Unfortunately, there is already a Tabitha in 1955 who will go to Chicago, college, and become a Civil Rights advocate. Tabitha tells him they can’t have the past but it still exists. They will always have the memories. They only have one path forward – which is a good thing. Jughead says it sucks. She holds out her hand and they kiss. Oh no, did she wipe his memory? No one remembers as she leaves. 

So this year wasn’t a waste as so many people thought. They needed to reset from total annihilation. With Jughead as the chronicler, and memories of the joy and good times. At Pop Tate’s, Jughead as the chronicler starts a new book (or diary). He types “Goodbye Riverdale” and we have one more episode! 

Next week: Betty and the gang have one last time together. No sign of an aged Betty but that’s been given as a hint. She wants one more time with her friends and their youth. Well, wouldn’t you be at 84? 

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'Riverdale' Recap – Chapter 136 – The Golden Age Of TV, Black And White

Written by 09 August, 2023

Tonight, Riverdale does the monochrome version of the program. I haven’t seen a current production done in black and white since the 2012 Whedon version of Much Ado About Nothing. Black and white is its own genre of film and sometimes bothers viewers. I grew up during an age of black-and-white television and was shocked when my father got us a color set. It’s also strange that it deals with the Cold War and the nuclear bomb. The only thing I remember from the drills is to take cover. Our bomb shelter was a local church about a mile away. You know we wouldn’t have reached that in time.

My real thoughts are that this is setting the show up for multi-verse or various universes that must come together. A nuclear blast could do it. To me, the blast looked more like the Bailey’s Comet blast. The “bending toward justice” theme will be hard here but we’ll see where it goes. It’s more likely to start the gang’s memory coming back. And while some Twitter (X) participants are having problems with Ethel’s emergence as a primary player, she is a “B” character in the comics. It comes down to Rivervale for both Ethel and Dilton. Hopefully tonight we’ll find out how.

Mysterious Melting Man
Jughead’s story opens at the theater where he’s watching a horror movie. It appears that half of Riverdale High is there. He stops Ethel as they leave to discuss how she’s doing. Ethel has a new boyfriend. As they stand talking, a man appears and dies in front of all. Seems he’s not the only one. Our friendly morgue doctor tells Jughead (after getting a comic) that it was radiation poisoning but Kline took the body before more information could be gathered. One interesting feature is that the man worked for Blossom’s Maple Factory – just like Ethel’s dad and Mr. Rayberry.

Later, Jughead asks Ethel about her father’s job for the Blossom family. Ethel doesn’t want to talk about it as she is moving on with her life. With Ethel a washout, the surprising one to supply details is Dilton. Wait! We get the bunker. Dilton’s dad built it to protect the family after being given palladium by Ethel’s dad. Palladium is even more dangerous than hydrogen and other nuclear bombs. This will be a safe zone for them. And yes, it is the bunker where the third Jughead writes comics. Later, Jughead approaches Cheryl to ask about the mines and they end up going down into the mines together to take pictures. (Unfortunately, we don’t get to see the photos!) Is this for Dilton’s redemption and his bending toward justice?

Shipping Out
Archie’s story is “Shipping Out.” Frank tells Reggie and Archie he’s got them into a prestigious basketball camp. Then evil Frank ruins it by asking Archie if he can let his poetry go that long. Later at school, Archie sees Kevin and Clay tying knots. They’re going out on a cargo ship as Merchant Marines and that makes sense to Archie who decides to go also. Clay tells him the adventure would offer inspiration for stories.

At dinner, Archie announces his decision and Frank says that makes more sense than going to college to study how to write poetry. They bicker back and forth, and Mary puts a stop to it. Later, Frank finds Archie exercising in the garage. Frank makes his pitch about Archie going into the Army and becoming a hero by protecting democracy. It would be better than the Merchant Marines because he could join now. To make it complete, Frank gives Archie his father’s dog tags. (And Frank goes back to being a jerk!)

The next morning Archie talks to his mom who gives him the true story. At dinner, Mary goes on the attack and tells Frank to leave Archie alone. He needs to finish high school and make his own decisions. To finish it off, Mary throws Fred out (thank goodness). Fred goes to stay with Sheriff Kline. Before Fred leaves, he seems to want amends. Mary lets him come to Sunday dinner. Archie delivers the key line. Most of the poets he idolizes wrote their poems in the foxholes. This seems to surprise Frank.

Project Moloch (A Weird Version of the Manhattan Project)
Okay, remember I said that Cliff Blossom was evil? We’ve all known that Penelope was. Cheryl and Julian come home from school to find Dad with a visitor from Washington. He’s delivered an ancient ugly statue which Cliff tells the twins was used in sacrifices. Okay, I admit I may not have gotten that right.

Cheryl later has a dream and wakes up screaming. It’s about the nuclear bomb. She goes downstairs only to overhear a conversation about Project Moloch and the palladium. It seems that when the bomb goes off, the Blossom family will survive and be part of the new leaders of survivors. 

First Cheryl then Cheryl and Jughead go down to get proof. The pictures that Cheryl and Jughead make are sent, via Veronica’s contacts, to Washington. Cheryl knows what is coming and greets the agents at the door. (Was that Chick leading them?) Anyway, the parent Blossoms are led off in handcuffs and the world is saved.

Driver’s Education
Betty’s story deals with birth certificates to get their driver’s license. After the ladies get their parallel parking drill finished, they now will go get their license. All applaud Ethel when she does a perfect job (wish I could). Ethel seems worried though because she doesn’t have her birth certificate. They’re in the family home, Ethel, for good reasons, doesn’t want to go there. Betty agrees to go get the documents but finds much more. Betty finds bank deposits for the Muggs from her father and a picture of Hal holding a baby about Betty’s age.

What do you do when you find your parents lying about something? If you are Betty, you confront them. Hal gives the story that Ethel’s mom cleaned the house for the Coopers. Betty points out that the checks are current. Alice stops Hal before more lies. He got Ethel’s mom pregnant, and Ethel is Betty’s half-sister. Alice sends Hal out of the room. She and Betty have a heart-to-heart. This is the reason Alice can’t forgive Polly’s choice of career and Betty’s book choice. Betty asks Alice if she was afraid this would happen to her. Alice admits it was. They hold a family meeting and tell Ethel the truth. Ethel now understands the reason her parents acted the way they did toward her. This is the reason Alice took her in after her parent’s death. Alice and Hal offer to adopt her but Ethel wants only one thing: to be happy!

At Pop’s, Ethel tells Alice, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead goodbye. She and her boyfriend are headed to California. Alice wants her to stay and worries about what she will do but Veronica has taken care of that. Veronica has gotten her job as an art illustrator with a film company and a place to live with a friend in a well-known address. Ethel hugs Veronica with a thank you and Betty and she shares a sisterly hug. To Jughead, Ethel gives a hug and says “We’ll always have Pep Comics.” Alice now feels Ethel will be fine.

The Bomb Information
Dilton’s dad, the science teacher, shows a film about what will happen if Riverdale gets hit with a bomb (think Bailey’s Comet). Later in their gathering, each says what they will do. Jughead points out the town will be vaporized but Veronica says she’ll go into the mini-city beneath the Pembroke with Jughead. Cheryl will go into the mines (with Toni, of course) while Reggie will go home and climb down the well. Archie would grab Mary and head to the mountains in Colorado, but Clay says that wouldn’t work. Kevin would get in a refrigerator and Betty thinks that is dumb.

Ending Narration
Jughead says all the pieces were falling into place and we are back to colorized show. We get “The End” but is it? Of course not – two more episodes remain.

Tonight’s show was more like Rod Sterling’s The Twilight Zone and echoed back to Rivervale. We saw the bunker and its history. More importantly, we may have seen why Alice was the way she was. Mary is still the angel but Frank and Hal moved backward. The evil came out and we see the hidden mystery of the palladium. It was a hard episode to see any “bending to justice” but I think that is seen with the palladium. And do we know if this really happened at all? Luckily change is coming. 

Next Week: We get some memories of high school and the return of our angel of Pop’s, Tabitha. This stirs Jughead’s memory. Will the reason to “bend toward justice” become clearer?

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'Riverdale' Recap – Chapter 134 – A Different Kind of Cat

Written by 02 August, 2023

Riverdale tonight has the return of Josie McCoy. I love how some of the favorite characters from the original Riverdale are coming back. I will admit that I wish we had more of the guardian angel of Pop’s, Tabitha, back but I understand they are honoring their history. From the previews, Josie of past Riverdale looks like a cabaret singer, and we know she’s up to the job.

But let’s address Riverdale’s “elephant in the room,” shall we? The promos imply that Archie, Betty, and Jughead must confront some demons from the old present-day version. I don’t think Archie will become Captain Pureheart as we have not seen any superpowers. If anything, I think he will become a voice for hope. Betty is posted as “serial killer.” Does this mean that Hal or Alice is a serial killer and Betty must accept and deal with it? Let’s face it! Her parents are abusive. And Jughead was with “alien abduction.” This could go in many different forms (from angels to aliens) and could mean that he moves on to be with Tabitha. If this is the case, then why the leaked picture of him at Pep? Well, we’ll know about that soon enough. And the final episode, “Leaving Riverdale,” sounds too good to be true. Is Lili going to play an 86-year-old or will it be someone older? Also how many of the key cast would have lived that long? We get a hint their memory comes back, and they, as their old selves, celebrate one more night at graduation. I think we’re in for a wild ride.

Secrets Come to Life
Tonight, Betty narrates as she writes in her book. She sees herself changing (justice?) and we’re reminded of the abuse/strange happenings to her this year. They play up the Alice/Betty situation where Alice says she’s no longer Betty’s mom and then slaps her over the clothes comment. Well, we’re already aware that there is no growth for Alice. With what she plans for the book, she could become another Gloria Steinman (bending toward justice as women’s lib).

And school sees the arrival of Jughead and Veronica, a new power couple. Well, Jughead is worried but Veronica in that sexy dress isn’t. She reminds him of her sexy witch costume which gets Jughead thinking. In class, he draws a sexy witch for a comic about Veronica, the Sexy Witch. Of all the students, Betty seems the most surprised at this couple.

Betty is more surprised at hearing Reggie and Archie tell about their visit to Trula. Both want more and plan to return. In class, Ms. Grundy reads Archie’s poem and tells him that he grew up overnight. She tells him to keep experiencing life and he says he plans a return visit which is like he grew up overnight. Well, it’s true he “did become a man (as they use to say.” While some people would say this was “growing up,” it doesn’t bend toward justice so forget that!

And let’s not forget the photos of Cheryl and Toni which Penelope destroyed. She may have got the photos but Cheryl quickly does a new batch. The only problem is she drops said photos and Betty sees them. Cheryl runs out with Betty following and a new collaboration starts. Betty wants Cheryl to write a chapter for her book, including the photos of her and Toni. This could be starting a bending toward justice for the LGBTQ+ community.

Josie McCoy Arrives
At the Babylonium, Veronica is showing A Star Is Born when Josie arrives. Veronica is surprised to see Josie in Riverdale because Josie is a bona fide star and founded the Black Theater Organization. Josie has come to Riverdale to shake the town up. Josie has a movie she wants to be marketed and shows Veronica the film. Veronica loves the movie. She takes Josie on a tour of the town which includes The Dark Room where Archie isn’t seen as a star but Fangs impresses. Fangs performs “Great Balls of Fire.” Josie loves Fangs but rock isn’t her bag, and she does a “beat” song about a cool cat that gets a standing ovation. Afterward, Josie talks to Fangs and the others. She’s willing to help Fangs who later calls Midge about his good luck. He’s going to New York, and she won’t be with the Sisters much longer. 

Josie isn’t finished with Riverdale High yet. She meets with the African American students to inspire them. She tells them that she has found that she must be herself. That’s why she has worked so hard. She asks about how the group formed and Toni admits that she started it. Toni formed the group because she was tired of being labeled by the town’s gatekeepers negatively. Toni feels that all can make a difference in the world and Josie agrees.

Later, Josie approaches Veronica to do the premiere. Josie has stipulations because Josie either must make it with the film or disappear. Everything Josie has or owned has gone into Going Uptown. It must be on a huge scale with spotlights and everything that goes with a big premiere. Big-time producers weren’t interested but Veronica has a plan. She promises Josie that it will become big. The night of the premiere, Josie does her hand prints. Veronica used her father’s name and got studio types and film critics there. They start the film, and it breaks. While Veronica freaks out, Josie keeps her head and sings the title song while Kevin and Clay save the film. Josie’s song impresses all (and Fangs is on the piano).

After the movie, Veronica tells her that the reporter is on his way back to New York. The headline is “A Star is Born” and the critic loved it. They see Going Uptown as the winner of all major awards for the year. Josie seems scared and embarrassed even though she has made herself a star. The reviewer got one thing wrong Veronica says. Josie was always a star. Josie sees the two as a good team and they should do it together. Will Veronica use films to bend things toward justice? 

Jughead and Pep Comics
Jughead is worried that Pep Comics (well all comics) are going under. He shares his feelings with Veronica and his illustration of Veronica, the sexy witch. Veronica tells him to show it to his editor who likes it but is afraid it won’t be accepted the way the character is drawn. The editor suggests making the witch half-human, the girl next door, and blonde. As Jughead learns, it still doesn’t go over well with the comic syndication. So Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, will be saved for a few years (and the rest is history). Oh, did I mention that Veronica finally gets Jughead out of the S jersey and into a tuxedo for the movie premiere? I’ve always wondered what the “S” stood for (and the comics suggested Santa). Could it have stood for Sabrina all along? Does this give us hope that Sabrina shows up?

Archie’s Future Endeavors
Both Archie and Reggie were – well inspired – by Trula. Archie focused his poems on heartbreak and wrote a poem that used the illusion of Eve and the garden. Archie returns to Trula who doesn’t do long-term but takes the flowers he brought. Archie writes one inspired by Ms. Grundy. He plans to read it at The Dark Room where he gets strange looks and Ms. Grundy leaves. Archie asks her the next day if she liked the poem and she tells him she had to leave to “go home to her husband.” Well, this isn’t the same as season one is it? She tells Archie to turn away from teen angst and to write about what causes him pain. 

Archie thinks about the new topic and writes a poem about his father’s loss. He and Reggie work the premiere as bellhops and prevents people from leaving the event when the film breaks. On returning home, Archie finds Frank in the bedroom reading the poem. Frank isn’t happy and tells Archie he shouldn’t have written such a sad piece about his father’s death. He also tells Archie that he should write poems and never about Fred. Is Frank hiding something or just upset? I thought he was accepting but evidently, he’s not.

Cheryl and Betty
Betty has decided to pose in sexy lingerie for the cover of her book. Cheryl and Toni help her with the concept.. Yet, after seeing the pictures, Betty is happy but feels like a fraud. She’s never had sex. Cheryl has a suggestion for her problem. She hands Betty a magazine and tells her to take a bath and ‘satisfy herself.’ Really, Cheryl. Betty IS the girl next door. Cheryl gets to work on a new painting. This one is one of Betty from the book cover shoot. Betty loves the portrait for it is. Cheryl tells Betty it’s because Betty is beautiful. So Betty is getting her eyes open to feminism. This could be seen as a bending toward justice depending on how she uses it.

Where We Stand?
So where does this leave the ‘bending toward justice’ theme? I see growth in Veronica because she and Josie can be a force for change in movies. Jughead has some new ideas that could change the way comics are conceived. Is Archie Comics next? And Betty, well, she’s learning about sexuality. No change really for her because she’s been experimenting and reading for a while. The African American students are bending toward justice as they have had a lesson from Josie about becoming themselves. Yet, Frank has stepped backward as he is unaccepting of Archie’s choice of feelings for Fred. Is it because of jealousy or are they hiding something? Or is it Frank returning to Pickens Frank?

Next week’s episode is in black and white. And is it very strange in the short preview? Do aliens attack? Why is Cheryl screaming? Is there a killer involved? And does an alien ship arrive or Bailey’s Comet? Does the gang begin to remember or is it too soon? We have a week to wait!

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'Riverdale' Recap – Stag — Chapter 133

Written by 26 July, 2023

Hmm!  Riverdale just how does a "stag" party "bend toward justice?" While stag parties for guys are not about anything but women and sex (according to the show and Julian), the guys have already faced this once this season. No mention of a lady's stag party (which is called a bachelorette party). So, the real question is how do the Riverdale girls play into the mix? And why in the world is Trula back? Oh well, here goes nothing.

At Riverdale High, a small group of Betty, Clay, and Archie have been with Mrs. Grundy reading “Howl.” Apparently, Clay is into counter-culture and Betty sees it as interesting but Archie is confused. They all ask if they can continue reading and she agrees (why couldn’t it be Kerouac—I like him better than Ginsberg!).

The Blossom clan is up to mischief. Julian has a “stag” movie and plans to have the basketball team view it in the Blossoms’ barn. Meanwhile, Cheryl and Toni are viewing a “lesbian” magazine when they get a better one. Both Julian and Cheryl are anxious to watch and experiment but different lifestyles. Julian plans to show the film but Veronica learns about it and allows them to use the Babylonium only if she can see it with Betty. Unfortunately, Betty recognizes the star – her sister, Polly. Veronica shuts the movie down. Meanwhile, Cheryl and Toni are taking photographs together in sexually specific detail. Cheryl plans to paint a portrait in oil while Toni plans to sell the pictures (after high school) to a magazine.

And Jughead? Well, Pep is empty when he stops by. The guidance counselor and a “sister” from Quiet Mercy wants them to follow a set of rules – shall we just say an ultimatum? Stand by for plotting but who will Jughead use? How can this ‘bend toward justice’?

Archie and Reggie

Archie and Reggie, of course, go to the screening that Betty interrupts. Julian offers them a projector and the film but it’s not the one Archie and Reggie expected. It’s a ‘wrestling’ movie like the ones Clay and Kevin watch. Archie later tells Reggie about the “beat” poets who have a very open lifestyle. (I really didn’t think “bending toward justice” would go this far. The “Beat” influence became a part of the 1960s where finding yourself became a theme. Both have trouble sleeping as they can’t get over what they’ve seen. 

Archie and Reggie get to Julian and actually get their money and a new film. The new film has a threesome in it. When it starts, the film breaks and burns. Archie has an idea (oh great, this can’t be good) that might be what they need. They go to see Trula and she wants to know which one will go inside or do they want to go in together. Both enter the room and afterward, they feel differently. Reggie, after the experience, says anything is possible. Archie looks love-struck but has seen life differently. Archie says he loves Reggie as they watch the sun rise. (If ‘bend toward justice’ means moving to experimentation, I think more progress has been made. To me, this is preparing the two to make a difference in the future.)

Betty and Veronica

Betty gets a visit from Polly who is now a famous burlesque dancer. It’s Veronica, of course, who has heard of her and Betty takes her to meet Veronica, her biggest fan. When Polly left Riverdale, she went to New York and made the movie (for money of course). saw Gypsy Rose Lee perform and loved it. She worked and made a name in the burlesque business, even traveling to Europe. Veronica loves Polly Amorous and suggests a girl’s only night at the theater. Polly has a new routine and agrees. Polly is getting married to a stockbroker and wants Betty to be her maid of honor. (Okay, this openness in the 1950s is ‘bending toward justice’ because Gypsy Rose was considered art but “adult art”. Acceptance was a step forward in a time when people looked for something that went against norms.) 

When Polly performs, she does the Gypsy Rose classy strip to “Everything is Coming Up Roses.” If you are familiar with the movie/play Chicago, we get Betty imagining performing the same routine in the same style. Polly gives Betty a glimpse of a possible future. Alice is looking at photos of Polly in her dance costumes. After the show, Polly tells Betty to follow her dream wherever it takes her and don’t worry about what Alice thinks. To Polly, Alice’s attitude is on Alice, not Polly. Okay, this is definitely “bending toward justice” because, in the late 1950s, questions about rightness and wrongness lead people to follow their truth and help those that needed it. 

When Betty sees her mother next, Betty calls her cold and accuses her of sabotaging her family. Alice tells her to go. When Betty says she will take off her clothes like Polly if she wants to, Alice slaps her face. Betty tells Alice she’s not surprised but wondered how long it would take Alice to slap Betty. 

Toni and Cheryl

Toni and Cheryl are exploring their sexuality. Their sexy shots turn out better than expected. Cheryl takes one to paint. After high school, Toni will submit them for publication. Little does Cheryl know that the time for the photographs to come out will be sooner than she thinks. When she gets home from Polly’s show, she finds the portrait she was painting destroyed by Penelope who makes threats. Cheryl meets Toni at Pop’s and asks how soon can the photos appear. Cheryl is ready to come out in the open and declare war on her father (remember I call him Clyde), Penelope, and Julian. This is definitely opening a ‘bending toward justice’ theme. Cheryl is moving their relationship into the open and doesn’t care who she takes down by doing so. Again the parents and Julian are closed-minded and trying to force Cheryl to their will

Jughead and Veronica (?)

Who would have thought that Jughead would turn to Veronica with the comic book issue? He tells her about the “compliance” list and how it is just of out 1984 complete with “Big Brother” watching (please, no reference to that reality show). The compliance says no horror, terror, or sex. The word depravity has not been defined. Veronica tells him that he and his editor meet with the guidance creep and the others. This was only an offer.

Well, in the guidance counselor’s eyes, it is an order. He, along with the school principal, “Clyde,” and a sister from the disorder of mercy see their rules as set in stone. The editor points out that it is very vague and breaks the first amendment as it is censorship. Jughead and the editor suggest a rating system that would classify the comics and their contents. The guidance counselor will not have this as it is corrupting the youth. When Jughead points out that Shakespeare did the same thing, Clyde seems to offer a threat against banning those books. The other comics have agreed. Either Pep agrees or will never appear on the newsstands again. When Jughead tells Veronica, she tells him not to give up and they have an interlude. This again reflects down to the future. In 1969, a system was introduced for movies and was followed by rating television and music. Even video games today carry a rating. These ratings reflect what Jughead was suggesting – violence, sex, graphic depictions.)


Throughout this tale, “Howl” was an unconscious theme. I didn’t even know it existed until I took a 1960s literature (grad level) course in college. The beat generation started changing the world. Clay had also seen the change, Betty gets it more from Polly/Alice's interaction. Archie had a hard time and said he’d never make it as a poet because he was too square. Reggie and Archie’s experience and watching the sunrise changed Archie’s view. His eyes are open and all types of experiences will be found out in the world. His bending toward justice will lead to being a voice but how. 

Once again, the teens show the knowledge of what it will take to “bend toward justice.” The adults don’t have a clue. The close-mindedness of Alice, “Clyde,” Penelope, and others are true to the period. It may be why the 1960s were a time of unrest and change. I wish that the changes had stuck because so many seem to be changing once again.

Next week: Josie McCoy shows up to do a show at Ronnie’s. Will the “downers” allow it?

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'Riverdale' Recap – Chapter 132 – And Miss Riverdale Is...

Written by 19 July, 2023

Riverdale’s theme this year has been bending to justice. Now a beauty contest in my mind brings up two things: conceit and bullying. I can see how they could need to bend a beauty pageant toward justice but let’s face it, a beautiful girl is in the eye of the judge (and whoever pays them to select the winner). Did I really say that? Yes, I did because a spoiler has issued the verdict Alice doesn’t name the right girl. We’ll wait and see. 

As I’ve said before, the “teens” of Riverdale see the corruptness more than the adults. Will this hold true tonight? Mary has always been a voice of reason and Frank is getting there. Featherhead seems to realize that some of the things the students have said are true but he’s too scared to do anything. The problem adults are the Blossoms, the Coopers, Sheriff Kline, and the school guidance counselor. Who is controlling the thoughts of Riverdale and why? I’d place my bets on the guidance counselor.

The Set-Up

Riverdale Miss Teen Queen is being planned and girls are signing up. It’s going to be broadcast live on national television (big whoop in my book). Veronica, Toni, Cheryl, Midge, Evelyn, and Ethel are writing letters to “The Girl Next Door” about their hopes and dreams. Let’s just go ahead and add Evelyn to the evil list, shall we? She knows that Betty answers the letters. The prize is a scholarship that Alice holds up under Betty’s nose like a carrot. Betty wants college, and Alice wants finishing school (really Alice, is Betty a debutante)? 

The Goal

At the school, the girls talk about the pageant. Each has their own reason for wanting to do it and basically, it is a get-even moment with each having their own goals. It’s Toni who admits that she won’t win because of the racist attitude. The Miss American Pageant has stipulations (in 1955) that the contestants must be “white” so Toni doesn’t stand a chance. (Note: In 1970, the first African American, Cheryl Brown, would compete.) Later Betty and Veronica talk. It will be a “gas” if they do this together. Betty wouldn’t have to fight for college on her terms. Alice will later tell Betty the pageant can’t be used to make one of Betty’s personal “feminist” statements. Alice admits she wanted to be a stewardess but married Hal and became a wife and mother which was much more fulfilling (why do I sense Stepford Wives here). So far, the view of Toni echoes the changes to come. 

Oh crap! I remember the “poise lessons” with the book on heads that all little girls in my area suffered. Every young lady I knew had grandmothers who made us do this. We may not be a deb, but we must learn to act like one (and this was the 1960s before things changed in 1968). Alice tells the girls they must be ready to be ambassadress for the entire year, an example of all that is good in the little town of “pep,” Riverdale. Ethel wants to participate and has a dream of what winning would be like. Unfortunately, Alice only wants Ethel as her assistant. Alice never learns, does she?

At the dress fitting, I’m seeing the good (Mary) versus the evil (Alice). Evidently, they competed in high school. Toni makes the comment during the preparations that she doesn’t like the swimsuit because she doesn’t want old men telling her how “beautiful” she is. Toni knows she’s beautiful (and another bend to justice) because Toni realizes her own self-worth. We learn that Mary thought being Teen Queen would help make her president. All the other girls talk about change in society with Toni adding an African-American as president. Evelyn is the only one stuck in the 1955 ideas. Mary mentions that Midge’s dress is too tight. Alice realizes what it means and has a talk with Midge who is forced to withdraw from the pageant and school. She’s sent to the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Again, Alice doesn’t understand but does what she sees as her duty. A girl’s body must be treated as a temple and not soiled. Evelyn agrees with basically calling Midge the town slut. Well, now we know why Evelyn was at the body farm.

Betty sees Ethel crying at the fitting, and Ethel confesses she wants to participate. When the girls meet, Midge is the subject and all but Evelyn seems to agree that it’s not fair that the ladies suffer the consequences while carrying the “burden.” Veronica talks about the need for a pill they could take once a month to prevent pregnancy. Evelyn is upset because the view is too radical. Betty talks to Ethel about joining the competition as Midge’s spot is opened. Meanwhile, Toni and Cheryl tell Fangs what happened, and Toni promises to help with Fang’s success while Cheryl sets up a phone call. All but Evelyn show growth here.

When Alice sees Ethel in the yellow evening gown, she starts worrying and uses the assistant as the problem. Betty has solved that by having Dilton help. Later, Alice says that Ethel cannot represent the ideals of Riverdale because of all she’s been through. Alice must protect the contest and orders Betty to tell Ethel she must withdraw. Veronica isn’t having it. Betty and Veronica talk to Hal. Veronica points out that by not letting Ethel compete, the money made from ads would disappear. All the girls (except Evelyn) will refuse to participate. The studio, network, and town will be embarrassed. The threat works, and while Alice isn’t happy, she has to let it happen. It seems Hal has made many messes and Alice has had to clean it up. Could it be the serial killer angle? 

The boys gather at Pop Tate’s and even Jughead is there. The girls make their entrance in their evening gowns with Kevin singing “One Enchanted Evening” from South Pacific. For talent, Ethel sings “Who Will Love Me.” Roberto, why did you let her leave when she did? She could have added so much! Anyway, Alice realizes that Ethel has talent. The boys are surprised and the judges (the principal, guidance counselor, and Mr. Blossom) are shocked at the reaction Ethel gets. When the winner of the pageant is announced, it is Ethel. Alice lies because that’s not what was written on the card. Fangs and Midge talk. Fang has plans and tells her not to give up hope. They will be a family “come hell or high water.” 

Later, Alice reveals to Betty that Betty won. Alice has lied on air and the judges and Hal were furious. Alice hopes that Ethel’s winning will change lives. Is Alice starting to bend? Evidently, Betty sees a change as she tells Alice that she did the decent thing for once and that she loves Alice. Betty goes upstairs and writes to all the girls telling them something very important. The girls are not alone in the world. They need to work toward a better tomorrow.

The bending toward justice is happening. Even Alice moved forward. Toni showed the most understanding with Betty close behind. Let me add. I’ve read many speculations about returning home to the present. I realized last week that this couldn’t happen. In 
Riverdale’s present timeline, that world no longer exists. Maybe the goal of Tabitha was to make the world a better place so this wouldn’t happen again!

Next week:  The guys plan a stag party but the girls are planning their own stag show. 

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'Riverdale' Recap — Chapter 131 – Archie: The Musical (Or More Growth?)

Written by 05 July, 2023

Riverdale tonight is going to do the yearly (and last sadly) musical. It’s all original and so we have no clue on what the songs are or who will sing what style. The one thing we do know is from a preview of Riverdale I saw yesterday where Archie is having problems with his song. In fact, Archie sees it as a better fit for his understudy, Julian (really). Kevin and Clay ask Archie how he really is, and he honestly hadn’t thought of it or had a clue. Is this what “bend to justice” means for the gang? Do they have to find out who they are and the difference they can make in the world? I honestly don’t think they can go back to pre-Bailey’s Comet as that world probably no longer exists (but more on that in a later post).

Is It Real – Or Imagined
Okay, we open with a musical number where the characters sing about starting their senior year but as they point out after practicing that they’re juniors and it’s spring. The song is good but I didn’t get a title. It reminded me of the opening of Grease but without the bullying. Of note, we have all the major players there. In addition to Archie, Betty, and Veronica, we get Jughead, Ethel, Dilton, Reggie many more. We also get confirmation that Cheryl is no longer a Vixen. Both Reggie and Jughead do not want to do the musical. Jughead isn’t there for musical comedies and Reggie agrees and they leave. Jughead gets out of doing a true solo again. 

As the others leave, Archie and Julian stay to practice Archie’s “I Want” number. The problem is that Julian, Archie’s understudy, sings with Archie and it’s hard to tell who the song is about. They have the removal of shirt scene and shower scene where Archie is called the “all-American” man. When Archie stops the number, Clay and Kevin ask who he is and Archie honestly can’t answer. Later, on the second try by Kevin and Clay for the Archie song, Archie refuses to sing. He needs to step away for his “mental health” while he works out who the real Archie is.

Archie and Jughead meet at Pop’s and Archie can’t even order a grilled cheese sandwich. Jughead tells Archie that he’s an existential man who is trying to find himself. Archie realizes that Jughead is right. He’s too busy trying to please everyone that he can’t decide on what he, Archie, wants. When Pop brings a sandwich, Archie wants a different one and Jughead eats the original. Archie goes to see Frank and tells him he just can’t be on the basketball team anymore. Archie has finally made a decision that he wants to focus on his poetry. Frank is mad and tells Archie he will regret it. Again, Archie may be growing as he doesn’t know what he wants.

Kevin and Clay, Cheryl and Toni
Kevin and Clay leave the school after rehearsal and Kevin tells Clay, in song, that Clay is Kevin’s angel. Seems Kevin’s home life is the pits (more about this later). To him, the world is so far away and he needs to be in a place where he and Clay can be together. The two of them even do the prerequisite of every Broadway musical of a romantic dance that ends in a kiss.

The song that Clay and Kevin have for the four girls makes it seem they only desire Archie. The girls aren’t having it. Cheryl and Toni want a song that is really about their relationship. The one they are doing is setting the girls up to be the opposite of what they are (“frenemies”). Betty and Veronica want a different song and Veronica is going to talk to Cole Porter (more about this shortly).

Kevin and Clay take Cheryl and Toni’s thoughts to heart. They write a new song and the girls love it. It’s a dual duet for Kevin/Clay and Cheryl/Toni about being in a same-sex relationship. It deals with the question: “Do You Know What It’s Like.” While the song is moving, Kevin tells Cheryl and Toni that no matter how powerful it is, they can’t use it because Featherhead won’t approve. Cheryl tells Kevin that when the time is right, she and Toni will perform it with Clay and Kevin.

Betty and Veronica
Veronica approaches Cole Porter to write a song for the two of them. Okay, I know it’s not really Cole Porter but the thought is good. Before it gets to Riverdale, Veronica tells Betty that she and Archie kissed. Betty, of course, wants to know if she likes and has feelings for Archie. Veronica tells Betty that she does but right now Veronica likes Betty more. Veronica’s life in Riverdale has made her closer to Betty than she’s been to anyone else. They agree that the universe is telling them to swear off Archie and focus on the here and now. Growth here also but not sure how serious it is (yet).

When the song arrives, they perform it for Clay and Kevin. In the dream sequence, they seem to think along the same lines and goals. Again, we get a kiss between these two in the dream and almost in the performance. The song has moved them and Clay and Kevin want to know what’s going on. The girls tell them an energy exchange has happened. They want that energy to be seen. Later, in the lounge, Veronica and Betty talk about Archie when he arrives. Archie admits to kissing both of them but he’s doing some soul-searching and, well, that comes first.

So why all this? Kevin is having family problems. His father is living in his office while his mother and he share the house. Kevin eats with his father at the office and tells him about the musical. Kevin really wants his father in the audience to celebrate with him. Tom tells him that there’s more going on between his parents than Kevin knows. Kevin leaves surprised. 

Kevin and Clay spend the night together and almost get caught by Kevin’s mom. She knocks on his door and Clay goes out the window. She and Tom want to have dinner with Kevin that night at Pop’s. At dinner, Kevin talks about the musical, but Tom interrupts with the news of the divorce. Kevin’s told that his parents are calling it quits and the marriage can’t be fixed. There are just too many differences between them and Kevin leaves upset. He has to prepare for the preview for Featherhead.

The Finale That Explains (Somewhat) All
The preview is held with Julian (as Archie), a pretend Reggie and Jughead, and the rest presenting the musical for Mr. Featherhead. The number is again an ensemble piece and Featherhead seems impressed. Yet, he still asks to see Kevin in his office. Featherhead has bad news for Kevin. Featherhead cannot allow the musical “Archie” to go forward. With the “communist” scare, Featherhead sees it as too soon and wouldn’t fill seats. Now, Featherhead will allow Oklahoma to be performed.

Kevin goes back and tells the group that the musical is off. He blames their nitpicking but Clay tells them that there is more to Kevin’s problem. The problem is that Kevin’s parents are divorcing. Kevin goes home and tells his mom that he’s afraid he is to blame. Things started to go wrong when he and Betty quit dating. Kevin’s mom assures him that the problems were going on before that. He didn’t cause the split and Kevin shouldn’t feel guilty or ashamed. I honestly think she knows about Clay spending the night because she tells Kevin she loves him unconditionally.

At school, we get Kevin’s real final song. He’s in the classroom playing the piano when Archie walks in. Archie thanks Kevin for forcing him to make decisions. Archie also knows the musical is off. He wants to know about Kevin’s new song and asks Kevin to sing it. While Kevin sings about an empty stage and how he feels, Archie joins in. Their voices blend well on the “Friends Forever Never Say Goodbye” line. Betty hears and joins in followed by Veronica as the song talks about the “edge of time” (are we getting a hint here that they’re waking up). As the song continues, Toni and Cheryl join, then Clay, Midge, Fangs, Jughead, Ethel, Reggie, Julian, and Dilton. All are there and are trying to help Kevin heal and get through this. Clay hugs Kevin and the rest join in for a group hug. The song, “This Is Our Song,” echoes as the theme of the year. Is this song going to serve as a rallying song or does it really stand for the move toward “bending toward justice?”

So who has made growth and maybe started “bending toward justice.” I’d say Archie has really come to grasp the fact that he has tried to be too much for too many people. Betty and Veronica realize that there is more to their life than one Archie Andrews. Cheryl and Toni realize that they want to be truthful about their relationship and will stand up for it. Jughead has moved back to his friendships as he sees what his friends are going through (at last he and Archie share a scene together). Julian, well, the jury is still out on him. The surprise is Featherhead. He realizes the merit of Kevin’s piece and wants to “bend” but just is too scared to do so.

The grade for this musical episode – B- for me. It advanced the story but not enough to move to the end of the season.

Next New Episode:  The Riverdale Beauty Pageant and seems to be Ethel centered. Alice doesn’t want Ethel to participate, and we get the real Alice. She only cares for the win and Ethel isn’t it. So where will we go? Will Alice finally have something that makes her a caring adult?

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'Riverdale' Recap – Chapter 130 — The Crucible (Or Is It?)

Written by 28 June, 2023

Previews for tonight’s Riverdale mention that there are two witch hunts. No, they’re not looking for Cheryl as a witch. The Riverdale adults are going after two different types of people. Clifford has gotten wind of the LBGT situation and the powers that be (principal and counselor) are seeking the communist.  Riverdale again is aiming to see who is willing to bend forward or make accusations of people for being different. 

Clifford already seems to be against change as he promises to take the Vixens away from Cheryl if she doesn’t give him the names of the LGBT students. The other situation appears to be more visible – communists as teachers.  The Crucible was a play by Arthur Miller written in 1953 and used the Salem Witch Trial to make their point.  Riverdale is going to use an English teacher for their point in the communism story with the English teacher who allowed Toni to read her poem and praised the basketball player poet. On another note, I have to wonder if the Lodge parents fall into the suspicious character's angle. The McCarthy (Joseph, not present-day Kevin) of that period blacklisted some very good actors and even went after Lucille Ball!

Let’s look at those who have not so far shown a tendency to bend toward justice. While the school is multi-racial, we see a reluctance on some of the administration’s part to recognize it. Then there is the comic book issue with the principal and guidance counselor not understanding the creativity and new ideas. To them, the comics are violent and infringe on people’s thoughts. Then you have Clifford (who I like to call Clyde) who wants to control the thoughts of all the town. I still say there is something in the milk (compare it to the drugs in Sweetwater River) and is a type of mild control. Alice, as usual, and Sheriff Tom Keller have bought into it.

On the side of good, you have Mary. I’m seeing Mary as more accepting and an angel to move Riverdale toward acceptance of all (justice). Along with Mary, Frank is moving in that direction. And this is strange because while Frank was the brother of Mary’s husband Fred, he was also willing to accept the words of Percival as law. How did this happen? Could the spirit of Fred be guiding Frank? We need our Tabitha (guardian angel of Pop’s) back.

And We Have Action
Of course, we don’t get the stories separately (or at least not yet). During the English Class, Mrs. Thornton has had the students do plays. After a scene from Cat on the Hot Tin Roof, Clifford Blossom, Sheriff Keller, and the principal enter and escort their beloved teacher out. She’s been teaching subversive information to the students and is a communist or so they say. Penelope Blossom will be taking her place until a replacement is hired. (Don’t scream but it is Ms. Grundy). Meanwhile, Clifford is going to straighten the students out. 

Later in the lounge, Cheryl doesn’t believe her dad’s part, but Veronica knows of the McCarthy blacklisting. During that investigation for Senator Joseph McCarthy, people were blacklisted because they thought differently and spoke out in television, movies, and print. Ethel and Jughead are affected. Parents have complained that their comics which have been pulled from the newsstand. So we have a setup where people can move toward justice. Will they? Theadults seem too closed-minded to do this. 

Interestingly, some funny things are happening which will play a role in the students’ decisions. Betty has lost her typewriter and telephone. Archie has been called to the principal’s office so they can find out if he has been turned to communism. He later has to answer Fred’s questions about whether Archie wants to write. 

Cheryl and Veronica have the biggest problems. Cheryl has been ratted out because of Halloween night and holding hands with Toni. Her parents want her to confirm a list of “different” students. If she doesn’t tell who has “relationships,” she will lose her reputation and the Vixens. She and Toni figure out that it was Evelyn Everheart who did it because Evelyn feels she would make a more moral leader of the Vixens. (Evelyn shouldn’t talk about morals. She led a cult that took body organs.)

Meanwhile, Hiram arrives for a visit and favor from Veronica. He will be seeing what her life is like but really wants her to sign an affidavit that she was with him in Cuba. He is being pursued by the FBI and could lose everything because of his contract’s morality rule. Interestingly, he starts the gang thinking. Hiram tells Julian that he needs to put more thought into his Hamlet and think seriously about the words. Emotion needs to play into the performance. After seeing pictures that the FBI has, Veronica has a hard decision to make. Both Cheryl and Veronica need to take stands for good. Will they do so and how will it affect their future as the season plays out? 

So what happens? Betty steals the typewriter from the former “Blue and Gold” newspaper office (which has been closed because the principal doesn’t want ideas out) and starts an “advice” column. She picks up a sack full of mail so questions are there. Jughead and Ethel take returned comics to sale (more on this in a few). Archie finds Mrs. Thornton and they talk. He calls the world crazy and she gives him a copy of The Crucible to read. It opens Archie’s eyes to what is going on around him. She’s moving to Greendale where people are open-minded. 

In class, Archie gives a speech made by Mr. Proctor in The Crucible which starts all his friends thinking. Archie is very dramatic (and good) and tells Betty (who is helping) to say his name (Mr. Proctor). He is a person. The character is nothing without his name. Archie inspires Cheryl who goes to see the principal, the evil guidance counselor, and her father. They give her the list and Cheryl takes a stand. She refuses to give them the names of the LGBT students in class. She gives up the Vixens (but Evelyn will not win). When Cheryl tells Toni, Clay, and Kevin, Clay states the obvious. It’s wrong. Movement there, folks. Jughead and Ethel get squealed on at Pops by a Boy Scout who is working undercover (evil Sheriff Keller). They are forced to give the comics back. Isn’t Sheriff Keller guilty of using a student to do his work?

Meanwhile, Veronica is facing a more complicated problem. She performs a piece from King Lear where the beloved daughter promises to love her father but can’t give him what Lear wants. In the play that starts a series of misadventures that cost Lear his kingdom and sanity. She does give Hiram the affidavit he wants but not without requirements from him. Hiram must tell Hermione about the affair and sign Pembroke over to Veronica so she will always have a home. 

In the last few minutes, some new developments show up. Miss Grundy becomes the English teacher and will help Archie secretly with his poems (well, at least it is not music). Hermione shows up at The Pembroke and tells Veronica that she and Hiram are divorcing. She wants the two of them to move to New York. The principal, guidance counselor, and Sheriff Keller are going drastic and going to buy the comics from the students. And what do we get there? They burn the books in front of all the students. I had wondered if this would happen.

Future Forebodings
Tonight’s theme can be summed up this way: our world Is a crazy place and words have power. Isn’t it strange that we are seeing this today (even more that there was a McCarthy in the story)? The guidance counselor (more than the principal) wants everyone to think alike and live alike. Sheriff Keller is more than willing to do his bidding. While we didn’t see Alice, we know she took the telephone and typewriter. They think they are controlling the teen's mind but instead, they are giving them the chance to grow and make their own decisions. Are they growing toward justice? 

Cheryl’s stand against her father shows that she’s seeing the world in a new way. Veronica, while taking care of herself, may have lied for her father but she’s also protecting her mother in the only way she can. Archie has seen that things are always disguised and show this to others. Betty has decided to help by giving advice. Ethel and Jughead must devise a way so censorship does change. All of the gang know what must be done. It’s making others see and move the arrow toward recognizing and helping.

Tonight saw huge growth for Cheryl, Archie, Betty, and Veronica. We knew that Jughead and Ethel had a hint of what the world (or Riverdale) was becoming. Now they must make others realize and also make the changes that will help and (hopefully) restore the old Riverdale wiped from their memories. Do I think that will happen? I have a theory but not ready to share it yet.

Next week: The musical: Archie. I’ll have a piece about not fearing original music next week.

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'Riverdale' Recap – Chapter 129 – After The Fall (Or 'After The Wilding')

Written by 21 June, 2023

Let’s face it with Riverdale this season. We have no idea where they are going. We moved to 1955. We’ve seen some things that are happening out of sequence with the history of the United States. We’ve been told that the Riverdale gang must bend toward justice. To me, this means to right the wrongs of the era they’re in and all that has gone before in their lives. The problem is this. Are we aware of all the wrongs?

So what wrongs have been heading to being bent at this time? I’d put down the Civil Rights era (which was the mid to late 60s). The LGBTQ+ moves forward with Kevin and Clay (still happening). The acceptance of Reggie from a mixed family has come into play (and we didn’t know that it even existed). Then we’ve got the milkman and the question is something wrong with the milk (I’m guessing it is Clyde Blossom who is behind it).

While the Riverdale teens seem to get it, we don’t see any “growth” in the adults. Mary didn’t need to change much because she wasn’t involved in the crazy stories of seasons one to six. She always had sense. Fred seems to be accepting but can he accept Julian driving off the bridge? Tom hasn’t accepted Kevin being gay and doesn’t speak to him. Alice is still following cults in the hope of glory. To me, she’s going to be the hardest “nut” to crack. Let’s face it though. She followed a cultist and the devil so what more can we expect? Let’s also not forget that for some reason she doesn’t want to discuss sex with Betty and walked away from her daughter. Hiram, well, that’s still in the wait-to-see category.

This brings me to the curse of Bailey’s Comet. Percival Pickens sent that to Riverdale but he’s being punished. The question then is: Did he exist in Riverdale in 1955? My thought is no. Does he have any residual power on what Bailey’s Comet caused? On that, we will have to wait and see.

Okay: I’m just going to put this here. Remember how Percy controlled everything with threats and underhanded dealings? Well, I’m seeing Clyde Blossom in this role more and more. He even carries the “evil look” that the devil and Percy had. He thinks that he can control everything.

Tonight’s Reveal
The real reveal of tonight’s show is what started when Jughead and Ethel meet with the Pep editor with a new suggestion about the “milkman” comic. They make it a mailman doing the crime. Well, the editor liked it and gives them the go-ahead. The editor then states the obvious. “The Storm is coming.” They can either take a stand or bury their head in the sand. Jughead and Ethel want to stand against the storm and the editor is also willing to do this. Later, in the ending, Jughead (as narrator) talks about the brotherhood of Reggie and Archie who will now have to stand “as brothers” against the coming storm. I feel as we move forward, we will see the gang and friends standing against Clyde, Sheriff Kline, and others.

Actual Movement and Clues
Now to the movement. Let’s start with the Blossom family. No change here except for Cheryl who has been moving forward while we learn of her family. She wants to stay with Julian but gets threatened by Clyde with “something worse than Julian’s fate” if she doesn’t go to the Pep Rally. At the Pep Rally, she introduces Archie who realizes that Cheryl isn’t okay. It’s before the game is played that Julian comes out of the coma and he seems to be a different person. Can they both work together and against Clyde?

Let’s move to the rest of the Blossom family. Remember. I mentioned that Clyde was reminding me more and more of Crypto from Rivervale.  Riverdale is setting him up to be the “bringer” of the storm. He wants to replace Reggie with K. O. Kelly (the Katy Keene boyfriend from the spin-off). Cheryl overhears the plot and runs to Archie who tells the team. The team has a meeting with Clyde and threatens to walk if he doesn’t allow Reggie to play for the rest of the season. Once again, the teens are moving toward justice while being threatened by Clyde with consequences (the storm again).

Let’s now move to Ethel. Just a minor movement here. After Tom doesn’t press charges with her killing the milkman, Alice once again opens her home to Ethel (a slow movement by Alice). Of course, she didn’t have much choice as Mary was listening. The next morning, Alice treats Ethel like a beloved daughter and Betty as an unwanted guest. Once again, no movement forward on Alice’s part. At school, the principal and counselor are happy that Ethel has proven her sanity by protecting herself from the drifter. Both Jughead and Ethel question them on where they heard this, and it came from Kline. I’ve already mentioned the Pep meeting and won’t go into that again here. Kline has not bent toward justice and neither has the counselor. Featherhead thought may be changing as he looked surprised at what the counselor said. More on Ethel at the end.

Now on to Betty and Veronica. This does get interesting as they decide to move in together at the Pembroke and Betty picks the lock. Look, I read Trixie Belden (which Betty read) and Nancy Drew. Neither one taught me how to pick a lock. These two have developed into true friendship. With Kevin and Clay, they have a slumber party (with alcohol). Interesting that this is the first time that alcohol has come into such play with all four having to hide their eyes behind sunglasses.

Mary is proving to be the real force of good in the show now. It is she who gets to the bottom of Betty and Veronica’s living arrangement after they went shopping in the story. She goes to the Pembroke and stops the two from experimenting with a lesbian relationship. Mary also is the one who lectures Alice and Hermione about their relationships with their daughters. This brings Betty back home and Alice acknowledges her as a daughter and Ronnie gets Pembroke’s key back.

We can’t forget Archie and Reggie. It was Reggie who saved the team’s lives as Julian drove into the river. Reggie dove into the river and dragged all to shore. He and Archie decide to make a pact that they’re going to win the season. When Cheryl tells Archie about her father’s plan to bring in K. O. Kelly, Archie decides to leave the team if Reggie is forced to go. His loyalty to Reggie and what Reggie did makes the team agree with Archie. They stand together at the heckling of the prep school. They face Clyde as a team. Archie and Reggie enter the gym together as co-captains at the start of the game (which they win). Reggie and Archie are now brothers (which they never have been before so moving toward justice here). While Archie feels like an imposter, it is Reggie who said it would take both of them to win. Archie even gives Reggie his father’s “captain’s” patch after the game which Reggie promises to return. So here are the teens once again bending toward justice as they stand together.

Okay! We see Reggie, Archie, Betty, and Veronica realizing that it takes more than one person to make a change. I see them as the guiding force. We have Clay and Kevin with Cheryl and Toni expressing the LGBTQ story and going to have to take a stand. All of these are moving forward with the need for justice for people. Jughead is being set up for the voices of reason (I think). Mary is the “mother figure” and seems to be the only real “safe” parent on the show although Frank has made progress (he’s become the Fred character). 

The villains are becoming more clear as the storm approaches. Clyde knows of it so he is very much like Percival Pickens last year. The guidance counselor at the high school seems to make sure the “evil” plan and storm are not visible to the students. Alice is still following the “promise” of what the storm will bring to her. She’s still in cult mode. 

So that leaves Ethel, the English teacher and the editor of Pep Comics. The Pep Comics editor gave us the indication of the storm coming (why am I thinking of Stephen King’s Storm of the Century?). Ethel has an unusual role. I realize that she’s the tie that connects Riverdale, Rivervale, and the three Jugheads. Will her role become more complicated? Is she like Mary the force of good that offers guidance to those who seek justice? Was she sent from the angel of Pop’s (Tabitha) as a helper?

One more thing to the viewers: Did you notice these two key items? When Clyde made his threats, there was darkness and a storm. While the game was played out with a united front and town, there was a bright light of goodness and perfection. And how does all this complete the “bending toward justice?” Maybe I will see more answers next week.

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'Riverdale' Recap – American Graffiti (Chapter 127)

Written by 02 June, 2023

Riverdale, somehow I don’t think this will be the “graffiti” known today. To present-day young adults, graffiti means artwork/words on buildings, sidewalks, etc. That’s what I’m familiar with and evidently part of the senior prank at one of our high schools. Maybe Riverdale plans to pay tribute to the movie by the same name. The movie, “American Graffiti” was about coming of age in the 1950s but there was no murder mystery or coffee shop. It was about a diner like Pop Tate’s though so maybe that is why they are calling it. Tonight, we have a double date for Archie/Betty and Reggie/Veronica. Does Alice know (or care)? Probably not. Her mothering skills were as bad in the 50s as today.

Jughead and Tabitha Solve a Crime
We open where we left off. Jughead talking to Sheriff Kline about Ray Bradberry. Jughead tells the sheriff he is going to try and find out more about Ray Bradberry (especially his wife). It doesn’t compute to Jughead, and he enlists Tabitha as his assistant. He tells her that Ray’s death doesn’t make sense. At Mr. Bradberry’s, they find a photo of an African-American woman named June. She lives in South Carolina. Apparently, there was something special between the two.

Tabitha convinces Jughead to call her. Is that “Mrs. Simpson” he asks for? Never mind. Jughead introduces himself and tells her what happened. She wants to know if it is the house on Magnolia Street. Jughead tells her yes and promises to be there to meet her on her arrival. It seems they were married in Los Angeles and could live as a couple in a few cities. In South Carolina, it was a different story. Their marriage was held against the couple and rocks were thrown through the window. Ray left to protect them both. Jughead and Tabitha are now convinced Ray was killed.

When Jughead presents the theory to Sheriff Kline, the sheriff gives Jughead two thick files. What Kline has discovered (or made up/been given) says that Ray was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party and dodged the draft. He has evidence that Ray had spent some time in a mental hospital. Again, Jughead must question if Ray took his own life. I have to ask: “Who had Ray killed?” Also, did Kline try to over sell this story?

When Ray’s wife, June, arrives she looks at the letter and remembers the past. Ray and June had planned to go to Paris where they could be free. Jughead asks about Ray belonging to the Communist Party and June says it wasn’t for long. Ray also had scholarships and awards. He worked at the “maple factory” (I thought: Blossom’s Maple Factory, oh no) and felt there were better things around the corner. Jughead wonders if she has any idea on who killed Ray, but she doesn’t. She has seen many terrible things but won’t stop Jughead from asking the questions. She does want him to finish Ray’s book and Jughead agrees and plans to give the proceeds to June when it is published. Then June embarrasses Tabitha and Jughead by asking if they are going steady to which both say a nervous no. She leaves and tells them to take care of each other. Has the “bending toward justice” started in this moment?

Later at Pop’s, Jughead and Tabitha talk. Tabitha would like to talk to her mom but doesn’t know if it is the right time. Jughead feels like that in some ways also. Later, as Jughead goes through things at Ray’s apartment, the neighbor knocks on the door. She needs milk for her cat and wonders if Ray had some. Looking in the refrigerator, they find it empty, and the neighbor remarks on how strange that is. She had heard the milkman at a strange time with milk. Where is it now? Jughead suddenly knows who the killer is!

The Double Date
Archie and Reggie are having breakfast when Uncle Frank enters. He has something for Archie. Since Archie got his grades up, Frank has his car keys, and the boys are gone. Archie tells Reggie that the car was rescued from the dump. His father, Fred, helped Archie rebuild it. The two take the car to school where Betty and Veronica watch them while plotting. Those two wanted to be independent women but the car may have changed that.

Veronica asks Reggie to have another chance at a date. He agrees and Reggie asks to borrow the car. Archie agrees but a little later is approached by Betty. Archie and Betty decide to go on a date even though they don’t have a ride. They’ll walk to the diner. Both couples go on their dates, but it wasn’t what the girls expected. Archie kept watching for his car while Reggie tells Archie he went for a ride on the highway. Some bad blood will build over that but we learn more later.

The next morning, Uncle Frank asks Archie what happened last night, and Archie confesses. Frank tells Archie that he and Fred had a similar relationship. Frank brings Archie around to treating Reggie like family. Meanwhile, Betty and Veronica are talking about the problems with their dates. They decide to double date and go to Centerville for Fang’s concert. The guys agree.

On the date, they stop at Pop’s for a meal. Reggie and Archie are obsessed with a car magazine and the girls suggest that it’s time to leave. Both Archie and Reggie reach for the keys but Archie claims the car. They start off to Centerville and run out of gas. While Archie and Reggie start off to Pop’s for gas, Betty and Veronica sit in the car and wait. The boys fight like brothers over different things on the way to the gas pump while the girls get a ride from Cheryl to the concert. While getting gas, Pop offers his old truck to Reggie and Reggie takes it and promises to fix it up. As the guys walk back to the car, Reggie admits that he took the car to visit his folks. Reggie has been homesick and needed to see his mom and dad. Archie admits that he misses Fred. Their friendship gets deeper. They arrive back to an empty car.

The next day, Archie finds Reggie at a garage working away on the truck. What surprises Archie is who else shows up to help. Apparently, Betty can repair cars and is helping Reggie. She also takes the time to rub it in that Fangs was fantastic. 

The Book Group
This story was not what I had hoped it would be. While we have Toni, Clay, Tabitha, and others talking about books about African-Americans. They have not invited any others like Cheryl and Kevin to come. . Cheryl asks if she can attend so she can be with Toni. Eventually, both she and Kevin join the group. They are reading Native Son by Richard Wright. Kevin offers his thoughts while Cheryl seems afraid to talk about what she got out of the book. After all the others leave, Cheryl tells Toni that the “white family” in the book is too much like her family. Cheryl calls the book powerful and she’s afraid that what she would say wouldn’t be accepted by others in the group. Cheryl and Toni grasp hands after Cheryl makes sure no one is watching. Toni invites her to go to Fang’s concert in Centerville and Cheryl agrees. Later we learn that they had Midge in the car and picked up Betty and Veronica.

Fangs and Midge
At school, Fangs tells Midge that he wants to make a life for her and the baby. He plans to play at Centerville and make a name for himself as producers will be there. Midge wants to come but Fangs is worried that it’s not a good town and a rumble might happen. 

Well, we already know Midge goes with Cheryl. The day after the concert, people ask Fangs for his autograph. He gives it but Midge walks away. When he catches up with her, he has good news. Midge is his lucky charm. A record producer wants to work with him. They kiss as this could be the way they become a family.

Next Week: Veronica decides to host a Halloween night. Do murders occur? Is there a new love triangle forming between Reggie, Archie, and Betty?

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