Pep Talk: Riverdale Episode 411, "Quiz Show"

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Riverdale 411 Quiz Show

Me: RIVERDALE couldn't possibly get any darker or more bizarre.

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: Hold my beer.

Alright, so let's get the larger plot points out of the way.

Archie (KJ APA) is trying hard to give a second chance to his long lost uncle, Frank (RYAN ROBBINS) by giving him a job at Andrews Consruction. But he doesn't just give him any job -- he makes him foreman, replacing Tom Keller (MARTIN CUMMINS) who, as Riverdale's former sheriff, has intimate knowledge of Frank's sullied history. The crew is further demoralized when they don't get their annual Christmas bonuses, something Frank sets out to rectify but in the worst possible way. This one is a train wreck waiting to happen, not a redemption story, and everyone can see it being broadcast, except Archie.

Veronica (CAMILA MENDES) and Cheryl (MADELAINE PETSCH) go into business together producing their own brand of rum (because teenagers can... oh never mind, it's RIVERDALE), now appreciably (and legally) different from the rum being produced by her father, Hiram (MARK CONSUELOS). That doesn't stop Mayor Hiram from running a raid on Veronica's speakeasy to smash the "free samples," but Cheryl has another place in mind where they can distribute their uniquely (and quickly) distilled liquor. And she knows just the person to watch over it while the girls are in school (because, you know, they're teenagers).

Betty (LILI REINHART) is determined that Riverdale High defeat Stonewall Prep in something, after the Stonewall players played dirty to win at football. Plus she wants to wipe the smug look off of their leader, Bret Weston Wallis (SEAN DEPNER). But rather than compete on the field of sports, Betty chooses the battleground of academics, targeting the upcoming quiz show. It's a war of wills as each tries to get into the other's head. But victory (or defeat) hinges on the intervention of Betty's mother, Alice (MADCHEN AMICK), who has been made aware a Yale recruiter is in the audience watching, willing to give Betty a second shot at acceptance after she was initially denied because of her father's history.

Jughead (COLE SPROUSE) stands before the "Baxter Brotherhood" to be critiqued over the draft of his Baxter Brothers Mystery manuscript. They just want one little thing changed: the mystery itself. Ouch. I feel your pain, Jug. The board seems intent on pushing Jughead toward a particular mystery. They all but demand he create a story involving none other than his girlfriend's father -- the Black Hood.

And then things get weird.

Fangs Fogarty (DREW RAY TANNER) finds Kevin Keller (CASEY COTT) at Pop's, and tries to strike up a conversation. Kevin thinks he's trying to get back together (and he is) but Kevin already has a blind date coming to meet him and take him back to his hotel room. So much for dispelling the stereotype of gay men as promiscuous. But this Johnny-come-lately has an agenda in mind. It appears showrunner Aguirre-Sacasa is taking another "rippled from the headlines" story and turning it into a Riverdale plot. In this instance, it's the tale of David D'Amato (just Google it), who offers Kevin the opportunity to make some serious bank making fetish porn videos. Kevin reluctantly agrees, even though he isn't into the partner the producer has in mind. But afterward, he agrees to a second time if he can do it with somebody else -- and that somebody else is Fangs. We're thinking Fangs will be tickled to take him up on it (although it's really going to be the other way around).

Keep hanging around, kids, because we're getting closer to what is apparently the murder of Jughead Jones, if those climax-bumps mean anything at all.

Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0