Riverdale Ep. 111 Recap & Review – ‘Chapter 11: To Riverdale and Back Again’
It looks as though we finally have Jason Blossom’s murderer. Maybe. As we’ve come to learn over the course of eleven episodes, Riverdale and its citizens are never what they seem. Except maybe Archie himself. That sweet kid is an open book with no malice in him whatsoever. He’s too good for this world.
“To Riverdale and Back Again” not only brings all the kids together in one spot, but the adults as well. Mostly. There’s a particular air of excitement (good, bad, or to-be-determined) now that Mary Andrews (Molly Ringwald) is back in town.
Before we get to the nitty gritty, I just want to point out that the title of this week’s episode harkens back to the terrible, awful, ill-fated TV movie of the same name. It features the Archie gang all grown up and returning for a high school reunion. Archie’s a lawyer (lulz!), Betty is a teacher, Jughead is a psychiatrist, and Veronica is a four-time divorcee. However, we’re not really dealing with a class reunion, but a homecoming.
Yes, it’s Homecoming at Riverdale High. Betty is so distracted with preparing the school gym for Homecoming dance that she doesn’t notice her closest friends conspiring with Alice Cooper to investigate F.P. Jones. The Homecoming theme of “To Riverdale and Back Again” isn’t just reserved for Riverdale’s football game festivities, but it also welcomes back Archie’s mom.
Mary Andrews returned in the last episode to see her son, who drunkenly texted his father not to go through with the divorce. Unlike many of the adults stuck in Riverdale, Mary becomes an observer of how crazy this town really makes you. After a few awkward or catty interactions with some of her former classmates, she makes a comment how the town really hasn’t changed. It’s hard to say whether or not she says this out of nostalgia or as a negative observation to the state of things, or both. Then Fred cheerfully responds with “The best years of our lives.”
We already know that Fred Andrews generally wears rose-colored glasses when it comes to his high school years, but to hear him actually say that high school was the highlight of his life is kind of sad. You know most of the other adults on this show share a similar sentiment, as well. [Note to you kids not yet in college: COLLEGE is WAY better than high school.]
Other than Mary showing concern for her son, F.P. (Skeet Ulrich) is finally acting and looking like a responsible adult. Too bad he’s drawn an unhealthy amount of suspicion from half the town because of this.
F.P. has been going straight for some time now. He hasn’t missed a day of honest work, he stopped drinking, and he’s clean shaven. His trailer even looks put-together. Jughead is over the moon by his father’s turn-around that he’s considering moving back in with him. But Veronica and Alice aren’t so convinced.
Alice is like a dog with bone, she can’t let go of that one time she saw he and Joaquin talking privately in Archie’s room during the house party. To be fair, F.P. has been a shady character since we’ve known him. He runs with the Serpents, he’s done some dirty jobs for Hiram, and he had Jason’s letterman jacket for some reason. His hands aren’t exactly clean, but I can’t help but think he’s just making due with the poo-covered short straws life has been dealing him.
Then there’s Veronica who is desperate to know if her father is guilty of Jason’s death or not.
Together, Alice and Veronica devise a plan to investigate F.P., but they need Archie’s help. Archie only agrees to their scheme after Jughead tells him that he’s considering on moving back with his father. He only wants to make sure his best friend is going back to live with an innocent man. Meanwhile, Alice invites F.P. and Jughead to dinner before the Homecoming dance, not only to get F.P. away from his home but to obnoxiously interrogate him herself.
Veronica and Archie carefully look high and low for any evidence tying F.P. to Jason’s murder, but couldn’t find a single thing. If you remember, F.P. had Joaquin hide everything Jason-related in another location. The two take this as a good sign, both for Jughead and (for the moment) Veronica’s dad.
Little does anyone know, there’s still an unknown force operating off-camera. During Archie and Veronica’s musical number at the dance, the cops come to F.P.’s home with a search warrant. While turning the place down, Sheriff Keller finds a lock box with Jason’s murder weapon.
Betty sniffs out her mother’s shenanigans a little early on and protests, but doesn’t realize her friends’ involvement until after the fact.
Then Jughead finds out. He’s feeling a little betrayed by everyone at the moment, including Betty who was aware of her mother’s motives but never told him about it. Before anyone can explain what they didn’t find, the adults come to tell the gang that F.P. was just arrested for the murder of Jason Blossom. Jughead runs off in despair and anguish.
After an unsuccessful search for their friend, the gang end up at Pop’s Diner. Here, Archie and Veronica, who’ve just been appraised of the situation by Kevin, tell Betty that F.P. must have been set up. They looked rather thoroughly inside the place the gun was found, but found no such object. It must have been placed there after they left for the dance.
So who could have done it? WHO?!
Meanwhile at Thorn Hill, Polly snoops around the Blossom mansion and discovers that Clifford Blossom wears a wig to hid the fact that he has a full head of gray hair instead of red. This family is just obsessed with their red hair, aren’t they?
Penny convinces Cheryl to sneak into her parents’ room (so they can borrow Penelope’s “bling” for the dance). They find Jason’s engagement ring for Penny. Penny angrily asks why Penelope has the ring since Jason would never have given it back to them by choice. Cheryl stops Penny from taking back the ring, forcefully reminding her that she’s safe for only as long as the twins are inside. All bets are off after they’re born. In other words, proceed with caution from now on.
Cheryl continues to be a curious case in this murder mystery. She obviously has an unhealthy fixation on her brother, even now. While she seems vehemently loyal to her family, even she has her doubts. She questions the validity of Penelope’s story about Jason throwing the engagement ring at them after they tried forbidding him from seeing Polly again. While her parents maintain that it’s true, she lies to them and says that she disposed of the ring down the drain. In truth, she still has it in her possession.
Relieved, Clifford confesses that he should have been grooming Cheryl to take over the family business instead of her brother. According to him, Jason just didn’t have the ruthlessness Cheryl does. We doubt any of what Clifford says is true. If anything, it just sounds like he’s trying to put Cheryl on a pedestal to ensure her loyalty to them. What child does not want to receive high praise from their parents?
The whole situation seems to be tearing Cheryl up inside. She ends up leaving the dance during Archie’s performance in tears. Maybe she’s coming to her own conclusions?
- Only two episodes left!
- There’s a rumor going around saying that there will be one more death on Riverdale. Who do you think it will be?!
- Ross Butler, who plays Archie’s rival Reggie Mantle, is being recast for next season. Sad!!! But maybe his role on Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why could become more significant in the Season 2. I suppose that’s an okay trade-off.
- I’d like to applaud Mary Andrews for shutting down Alice’s cattiness. She also refers to both Hermione and Fred as her dates. Three’s company, anyone?
- Thanks to Veronica’s and Hermione’s testimony for Hiram, he may be released from prison soon. We leave the two ladies already bracing themselves for every possible fall-out that could come upon his arrival. In case you haven’t heard yet, Mark Consuelos will be playing Hiram.
- Someone please give Jughead a hug! Throughout the episode, he was happy at the thought of reuniting his family and possibly leaving Riverdale. Now he’s been plunged back into uncertainty.