Riverdale Ep. 108 Recap & Review – ‘Chapter Eight: The Outsiders’
Riverdale is back and just as soapy as ever. I mean that in a good way. It’s all about family drama this week: Archie discovers that his dad’s business is one step away from collapsing in on itself; Polly finds herself caught between deciding whether to return to the Cooper household or move in with the Blossoms; Alice gives Hal Cooper the boot after she learns that he is an even bigger assh*le than she has been to Polly; Jughead faces his father about Jason’s death; Veronica may have ratter out Hermione’s affair with Fred to Hyram.
Everybody got that? Because that was just an oversimplification of what actually happens this week.
After a two-week break, “The Outsiders” re-establishes just how messed up the families in Riverdale really are. The episode’s main purpose, however, is to set up a whole bunch of dominoes that are sure to topple over in the weeks to come. If it means adding layers to our once one-dimensional sociopaths, I’m all in.
Coming back to the town of Riverdale and all it’s soapy teen glory, I was not expecting the amount of humanity and gravitas displayed by Alice Cooper (Mädchen Amick). Up until this point, she’s been one wire hanger away from becoming Mommy Dearest. The show has been making her out to be this unhinged, over-protective mother who possesses the kind of spitefulness and venom to which even Cersei Lannister might smile and nod in recognition (but would then make her hold her beer to show what a real boss bitch can do). This week, however, Alice shows that she really does care for her daughters. So much so that she’s even willing to kick out her husband to protect them.
Let’s rewind a bit. Alice discovers that Polly as been taking refuge at Hermione and Veronica Lodge’s home. She confronts Betty about it at school, but Betty lays down the hammer and give her an ultimatum: accept Polly’s decision to keep the baby or stay out of her life. One of the ways to start making amends is to show up at Polly’s baby shower. Still unconvinced that sending Polly away wasn’t the right thing to do, Betty and Veronica enlist Hermione to appeal to her senses, mother to mother. Alice does come around, and she transforms into a complex human being who doesn’t want her daughters to make the same mistakes she did when she was their age.
Then Polly drops a bomb about her father, Hal Cooper. Hal is so incredibly invested in his family’s blood feud with the Blossoms that he is willing to go as far as pressuring Polly into having an abortion. Alice was completely unaware of this. Turns out, Hal made her get an abortion when they were young too. Guess we know why Chic Cooper isn’t in the picture….
Alice genuinely wants her daughter back. When she confronts Hal about the abortion, she realizes that he can’t even accept Polly as his daughter as long as she still has Jason’s baby. At this point, Alice is willing to fight tooth and nail if it means bringing her back home. She kicks him out of the house, saying that she doesn’t want him anywhere near Polly when she comes home. But Polly doesn’t come back.
For as much as Alice has improved as a person, there’s still the fact that she had Polly sent away. Alice seeing the error in her ways isn’t enough to be forgiven just like that. It also doesn’t help that she isn’t able to stay civil towards Penelope Blossom at the baby shower for more than 20 minutes. Now Alice must suffer and live with the consequences. Alice’s outburst at the party reminds Polly of all the terrible things her mother did to her and ultimately decides to move in with the Blossoms. This crushes Alice (and Betty), but you can’t help but think that she brought this on herself.
Alice isn’t the only one-note Riverdale parent to receive an extra layer this week. There’s something more to F.P. Jones, Jughead’s dad, than dead-beat, unemployable alcoholic who happens to be a member of a biker gang. He’s still far from being as swell as Fred Andrews, but we get a sense that he may be trying to do right by his family. It’s just that…there are so many things already working against him.
Skeet Ulrich’s F.P. character isn’t without wrinkles of his own, but he can be downright honorable when he’s not wearing his Serpent’s “hat.” As lousy of a father he is, F.P. still knows to call Fred when he finds Archie and his friends picking fights with other Serpents on their own turf. Things could have gone wrong very quickly, but he handles it like a pro. Furthermore, when F.P. finds out that Fred’s business is suffering, he rounds up some of his own men to help out. Riverdale makes sure to endear Jughead’s dad before reminding us that he’s still involved in some shady dealings concerning Jason Blossom.
If the cops didn’t know about Jason’s drug muling for the Serpents before, they do now thanks to Polly. Jughead never knew that the Serpents were dealing in the drug business until he heard it from Betty, and confront his dad about it. Jughead already knew Jason had a lot of drugs stashed away so he can make enough money to run away with Polly, but he never imagined that his own dad might have known about this let alone be involved. He and Betty ask F.P. outright if he killed Jason.
Of course F.P. took offense to this question, but he understood the nature of the situation he put himself in. He promises that he doesn’t even have it in him to kill a kid, and he probably doesn’t. However, F.P. doesn’t exactly make himself look completely innocent when we know he has some of Jason’s stuff. Then, after Betty and Jughead leave, we find out that he enlisted Joaquin to seduce Kevin so he can keep tabs on Sheriff Keller. Furthermore, Joaquin is now being tasked to hide F.P.’s Jason stash so they can keep it as “insurance.” Insurance against whom???
What doesn’t exactly work in this episode is the short-lived tension between Archie and Jughead.
It’s nice to see Archie and Jughead be best bros, livin’ it up in and playing video games. But, damn it, Archie! Be more mindful of who you’re talking to when you start gushing about how your dad is the greatest thing since sliced bread and how he always has you back no matter how in the red he is with his own business! At least realize you’re being a tactless dum dum after the fact…. For reals.
That wasn’t the worst of it, though. Archie’s attitude toward Jughead upon discovering that F.P. is a member of the Serpents is a little uncalled for.
In defense of Archie, he is a little shaken that F.P. is a member of the Serpents, if not the King Serpent. He gave Fred a hard time for not allowing F.P. to redeem himself at work in the previous episode. Now egg is on his face upon learning that this man he just defended is actually a bit of a scumbag. It doesn’t help any that he’s now under the strong impression that it’s the Serpents who is trying to sabotage his father’s business. With all this anger Archie now has, he directs this at the one person who has nothing to do with what’s happening: Jughead.
Jughead is a little ashamed of how his life has turned out so far. His mother and sister are somewhere far away, his dad is a deadbeat alcoholic who can ‘t find honest work, and he’s practically homeless. He’s forced to on the generosity of his best friend. Jughead’s situation is the definition of “humbling.” After all of that, would you want your best bro and your girlfriend know that your dad is also a Southside Serpent who may or may not have something with Jason Blossom’s murder? No. You wouldn’t. And yet…Archie blabs about this fact in front of their closest friends.
Archie, Archie, Archie…. There’s a time and a place to discuss such sensitive matters, and it’s not at a baby shower in front of his girlfriend.
They do have a more serious talk at the end of the episode, and they make up. However, I feel like Jughead should have been much angrier about Archie’s actions than he is in this episode. Indeed, he might have been more ashamed than anything else, but Archie needs to learn when his outbursts are NOT okay. So even if Jughead really isn’t mad, he should have put Archie through the ringer before letting him off the hook.
Still it is nice to see them acknowledge one another as more than just “bros,” but actual brothers. It’s a sappy moment, for sure, but one that Jughead and Archie need for us to stay invested in their friendship.
- For as socially absent-minded as Archie is, he sure makes up for it with his sweetness towards the people he cares about.
- We find out through F.P. that it wasn’t the Serpents who beat up Moose and try to sabotage Fred’s business, but Hyram himself. He hired out-of-state goons as retaliation against Hermione for her affair with Fred. As of right now, we believe it was Veronica who ratted her out. There’s no confirmation, though.
- Archie after getting Jughead and him killed in a video game: “War is hell.”
Jughead: “No Archie, Hell is other people.”
- I like that the all the bad stuff in Riverdale is literally on the other side of the tracks.
- It’s becoming more and more apparent that Kevin is becoming Veronica’s bestie and not Betty’s.
- I know Riverdale is supposed to be a small town, but is Sheriff Keller literally the only law enforcement in town?
- Cheryl: “Nana has dementia and gypsy blood.”
- Speaking of Nana Rose, she divines that Polly is having twins. Is this our first indication that there is some magic in this world?
- “I think you know by now what I’m capable of.” No we don’t Alice. Please enlighten us.
- Joaquin seems genuinely crestfallen (my new favorite word) that he’s playing Kevin, who seems to actually care for him.