Riverdale (S03E15) “Chapter Fifty: American Dream”

Hello, Riverdale fans! Here’s my review for the latest episode entitled ‘American Dream’.

a birthday surprise

The episode starts off with the Jones family having breakfast. According to Jughead (Cole Sprouse), it’s FP’s (Skeet Ulrich) 50th Birthday.

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FP settling into his role as sheriff. Photo courtesy of Google.

Gladys (Gine Gershon) has a surprise for the family: She bought a house. It isn’t just any house though. It’s Betty’s(Lili Reinhart) house. Naturally, there’s some awkwardness there. Jughead kindly offers to put Betty up in her old room, but Betty says she’ll be staying at Veronica’s (Camila Mendes).

The three musketeers are back at last! As Jughead and Betty help Archie (K.J Apa) figure out the business with The Red Paladin, they figure out there’s one than one Quest card. There is more friction in the world of ‘choni’, as Cheryl (Madelaine Petch) and Toni (Vanessa Morgan) have another disagreement. Later, when Cheryl visits La Bonne Nuit to offer up a peace offering to Toni, she sees that Toni is singing with Veronica, and having the time of her life.

a new case and a conversation

Archie decides to go see Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos). He figures that since Mr. Lodge started the Red Paladin Quest, he might know about the Quest cards. Hiram tells Archie there are 12 cards. He gives Archie the locations of some of the fizzle rock hotspots where he may find more information.

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Betty, Jughead, and Archie are hard at work. Photo courtesy of Google.

At the police station, Alice (Madchen Amick) confronts FP about buying her house. He tells her he had no idea. FP says that he loves Gladys and wants to be with her. He effectively rejects Alice. It’s such a sad and final moment, that it becomes heartbreaking to watch.

At La Bonne Nuit, Reggie (Charles Melton) approaches Veronica with a proposition to be her business partner. Veronica turns him down. At the Jones’ place, Jughead sits down with his mother to have a real, actual conversation. Naturally suspicious, Jughead questions her motives for moving back to Riverdale. In turn, Gladys talks about wanting to be a family and have them all together again. She asks Jughead to give a speech at the birthday party she is throwing for FP at La Bonne Nuit. He reluctantly agrees.

The serpents start their deputy training, and Jughead goes with his father. In the car, FP talks about how happy he is at basically getting a second chance at life. He’s in a good place. Rumors start spreading that fizzle rocks are on the rise again. Jughead suspects Mr. Lodge.

an addendum

Feeling guilty about refusing Reggie, Veronica tries to pay him off. It doesn’t go over very well, as you can imagine. Armed with the locations of fizzle rock hot spots, Jughead, Betty, and Archie start tracking the Quest cards. They begin at the comic book store. Later on at Veronica’s house, Betty and Veronica have some girl time. It seems like the first time in a while that we’ve seen them chat like this. After Betty tells Veronica about the Jones family moving into her house, Veronica reveals to Betty what she knows about Gladys.

Betty, Jughead, and Archie are meeting in the bunker after the comic book store. Inspiration strikes as they figure out to put an addendum on the Quest cards in order to draw them out. As they disperse, Betty gets Jughead alone and tells her what she learned about Gladys. He initially dismisses her claims about his mother being a drug lord, but Betty is insistent that they’re true. He says he’ll check it out.

Archie goes back to Mr. Lodge and updates him on the Quest card situation. Hiram gives Archie keys to an old boxing gym to use as his staging ground for the Quest. Later on, Jughead sends his gang out to deliver messages and find out more potential information about his mother.

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Archie is injured but definitely not out. Photo courtesy of Google.
the red paladin challenge

At La Bonne Nuit, a furious Gladys stops by with Reggie. He went to try and get his car back. Veronica is not happy, because now she has to comp the party for Gladys. Seems like Reggie and Veronica are going in opposite directions, and rather quickly too. Cheryl comes back to La Bonne Nuit that evening. She locks eyes with Toni as she appears to be casing the joint. After closing Cheryl does indeed come back to attempt a robbery. Toni is waiting. After a brief confrontation, the two girls end up having sex.

The Red Paladin Challenge starts. Archie starts fighting the challenges and winning (getting quite injured in the process). Soon there is only one more challenger left. It’s one of the late Warden Norton’s men. This fight is particularly brutal, but Archie finally emerges victorious. The Quest has ended and he is no longer marked for sacrifice.

After their moment of passion, Toni finally has a serious conversation with Cheryl. Toni tells Cheryl that she feels like they are moving too fast. She wants to slow things down a bit. Incensed, Cheryl tells Toni to move out and storms off.

Now that Archie’s Quest is done, he goes back to Mr. Lodge to give him back the keys. In a surprising move, Mr. Lodge gives Archie the gym and tells him to keep it ‘as compensation’ for putting Archie in such a mess in the first place. Archie accepts.

the truth comes out

Reggie comes back to Veronica. He says he wants more. In turn, Veronica gives him the keys to his car, which she had bought back from Gladys. She tells him that ‘now we don’t owe each other anything’. The serpents find Jughead and confirm his story about Gladys being a drug lord. Naturally, he confronts his mother about it. Instead of denying it, she bares all. Gladys tells Jughead she did it for the family, and to tell FP the truth would utterly destroy him.

Everyone gathers at La Bonne Nuit for FP’s party. Jughead gives a very beautiful and moving speech, choosing not to reveal his mother’s true nature. The episode ends with him telling Betty that he plans on running his mother out of town.

final thoughts

Well, this was an interesting episode I must say. The dynamic between Reggie and Veronica feels way too adult to me- in fact, the whole thing of Veronica owning a speakeasy/underground casino seems weird. Technically, Veronica is a minor. How can she be running this operation legally? Mind you, the whole casino thing is certainly not legal. I feel like it’s a matter of time before she is caught.

Holy freaking crap seeing Archie kick ass the boxing ring was pretty awesome to watch. I thought the whole sex scene between Cheryl and Toni was unnecessary. Yeah I know, I can hear the cries of outrage from ‘choni’ fans. I don’t dislike the pairing, but I just don’t like how they went from arguing to suddenly having lustful sex.

I am curious to see how Jughead and his family are going to live in Betty’s old house. How awkward is it going to be? I’m sure we’ll find out soon.

Overall, I give this episode a 7.5/10

Catch a new episode of Riverdale on Wed, Mar 20 on the CW at 8/7C.