Riverdale Ep.109 Recap & Review – ‘Chapter Nine: La Grande Illusion’
All roads lead to syrup. At least, such is the case in Riverdale’s ever-expanding shenanigans that all started with Jason Blossom’s murder. More and more, we’re being pulled into dangerous intrigue caused by the adults of this town. I find it interesting that the parents are no more a moral compass than the kids are to each other when they’re at their most mischievous. Actually, no. The kids seem to act better than the adults most of the time. That doesn’t mean they don’t have their own life lessons to learn, though.
This week on Riverdale, sweet summer child Archie learns a hard lesson about the price of his own dignity, Veronica continues to learn about the consequences stemmed from the sins of her father, and Betty bears the weight of putting her family back together.
In the case of Veronica, Riverdale steps into “very special episode” territory and pulls a switcheroo at the end.
Barb Ethel Muggs (Shannon Purser) presents an alarming poem to the class. At worst, she could be contemplating suicide or self-harm. Veronica jumps in to make Ethel better, and along the way, finds out that her parents are fighting over financial reasons. She then discovers that her father Hyram is the cause of the Muggs’ financial ruin as well as Mr. Muggs’ suicide attempt.
Ethel’s truth come to light, something triggers inside Veronica. She retreats to the girls’ locker room, rips her signature pearls (a gift from her father), and breaks down into Betty’s arms.
Veronica is now done with her father. In the beginning of the episode, she was ready to go far as to lie for him in court. No longer. She’s seen the consequences of Hyram’s shady business and wants no part in continuing that. Side note: it seems as though Veronica did not tell her father about Hermione’s affair with Fred Andrews. It now looks like Clifford Blossom leaked that info to Hyram. More on why later.
“La Grande Illusion” introduces to us the importance of the Blossom’s maple syrup industry in Riverdale. It’s all anyone consumes in this town when they want to drizzle something sweet over their waffles and pancakes. It’s funny to see even the Coopers buying the product. You’d think Hal or Alice Cooper would use another brand, even if it means driving into the next town to find a Mrs. Butterworth’s. Thinking about it now, not once did I question the ridiculousness of how much the Blossoms have prospered as much as they have just from tapping a few hundred trees. The first tap even comes with some over-the-top pomp and circumstance. You gotta give this show credit for embracing its peculiarities.
Because the first day of maple season is met with so much celebration, Cheryl Blossom is in need of some moral support. Specifically in the form of Archie Andrews. It was only a matter of time before our sweet, honest-to-goodness Archie Andrews would unwittingly get himself into a version of Indecent Proposal. He really is oblivious to most of the drama that goes on around him. Either that or no one fills him in.
Even if Archie was appraised of Cheryl’s cruelty towards Betty concerning a severe lack of communication with Penny, would he still take Cheryl up on her offer to be her plus-one at the tree tapping ceremony? Probably, because he’s just too good for this world. It also helps that he’s in it for admission into a prestigious summer music program, to which the Blossoms will help put in a good for him. But the deal kept evolving and changing, and the stakes becoming more enticing. One little stand-in for moral support turns into a dinner date at a family/business event. If Archie continued to be unaware of the Blossoms’ flattery and bribery, he probably would have found himself as Cheryl’s paid boyfriend.
He eventually does realize that his dignity was being purchased, but not without a few consequences. Not only does he become the subject of Cheryl’s slow-cooking wrath, but he also loses Valerie as a girlfriend. She was cool with him accompanying Cheryl as a favor, but then that whole situation started to get more complicated and she was disappointed he was willing to sell his dignity to become more advantaged in life. Considering who Valerie is and what her fellow Pussycats have been fighting for, it’s understandable to feel a little resentment. But that wasn’t what broke them up. Since calling him out on his B.S., Valerie felt ignored. Probably because Archie just wanted to avoid further confrontation. Whatever seemingly well-intentioned thought Archie may have had, he blew it anyway. At least he gets to walk away with some information he gleamed from the Blossom household.
It turns out that Cliff and Penelope were the ones behind putting Hyram Lodge in prison. Furthermore, he finds out that Penny’s distancing herself from the Coopers has been because she is spying on the Blossoms. The former is a particularly alarming piece of information when you pair it with the fact that Cliff Blossom is the one who has been trying to push Fred Andrews off the contract on the drive-in lot. The lot that Cliff and Hyram are currently fighting over for some reason. If Hyram is aware that the Blossoms are behind his incarceration, what are the odds that he got his revenge by killing Jason, the heir apparent to the Blossom family business?
Suddenly Penelope’s “So you’ve come to gloat?” greeting to Hermione at Jason’s memorial makes so much sense.
What Jughead, Betty, and Archie don’t consider as they put Hiram’s name on the murder board is that what counts as Mr. Lodge’s motive to kill Jason should also count for Hermione’s as well. She could have easily carried out the plan on Hiram’s behalf, or as her own revenge against the Blossoms for putting her husband in prison.
What an upset that would be if Hermione Lodge turned out to be the true villain of this story!
On the Cooper home front, Alice is spiraling after losing Polly to the Blossoms. Betty is doing her best to find out what is happening with Polly, but without much success — Cheryl hasn’t exactly been very forthcoming despite having agreed that they should work together to help Polly. As for Alice, she is intent on outing the Blossom family and showing their true colors via the local paper. The fact that Betty is 100% behind this vindictive and desperate move actually makes me want to root for her to succeed. She doesn’t. At least, not right away.
Hal Cooper, locked Alice out of the paper. In fact, he fires her. It’s a weird switch considering you’d think he’d be more than on board discrediting the Blossoms. Then again, without much hard evidence he could be sued for libel. Don’t want that happening. Lucky that Alice was unsuccessful in her vendetta because she later finds out from Betty that Polly is acting as a spy.
- I hope Archie kept that rad Les Paul guitar. It may have been a bride to sell his soul, but it was a good bribe.
- Trying to figure out how Hermione came to the conclusion that Clifford told Hiram about his wife’s affair with Mr. Andrews. Did F.P. tell her off screen? If she’s the true villain, maybe she’s shifting blame?
- We’re reminded of Cheryl’s ambiguous infatuation with her twin brother. Ick.
- I’m pretty sure Cheryl saying ““That was a joke, you hobo” to Jughead was what finally pushed Betty into supporting her mother into write that exposé against the Blossoms.
- I think Alice has grown used to the fact that Jughead is dating Betty.
- It’s been bothering me for weeks, but I finally figured it out: Jughead is the Shawn Hunter to Archie’s Corey Matthews! #BoyMeetsWorldReference