Riverdale – Chapter Thirty-One: A Night to Remember | Season 2, Episode 18 | Rating: 9/11 |
The week’s episode of Riverdale was supremely musical in nature with our favorite Riverdale kids (and one mom) bringing the musical version of Carrie to life. What’s particularly special and cool about this episode was the fact that it wasn’t just a standalone, throwaway, filler episode and it gave us a chance to see some people we haven’t seen for awhile like Moose, Midge, and formerly horrible footballer, Chuck Clayton.
The musical within the episode helped to further the plot of our favorite teen drama while sprinkling in some character development along the way. Director Kevin cast everyone for the Carrie musical in accordance to how we first came to know everyone in Riverdale and even people like me who weren’t familiar with Carrie (minus the bloody bit) were able to keep up. This episode follows the production of the show from the first read through to final performance with songs tied in both as part of the school production and also as part of daily life. As a musical theater kid from both high school and college, there are some things that anyone who did theater will laugh about in the show. I definitely don’t remember needing permission from my parent to be involved in a high school production, but things have changed. Also, anyone who isn’t cast or crew is allowed backstage (I’m looking at you, Chic), and no one in full costume and makeup is allowed to peak around the main curtain to talk to someone. Bad girl, Alice!
However, the one thing that Riverdale got right is that something almost always goes wrong in theater and there are moments when the whole thing feels like a train wreck. In this particular instance, a sandbag fell and almost hit Cheryl after a fabulous number where she proves she has the chops for the leading role of Carrie. While theaters do have some lore about being haunted, it’s later revealed that after the incident, Kevin got a note from someone claiming to be the Black Hood (remember him?) and they are demanding the role of Carrie be recast. As Jughead says, the whole thing is very Phantom of the Opera and the incident is shrugged off as jealousy because why would the real Black Hood – if he’s still out there – care about something like a high school musical? There is a small amount of sleuthing thrown in with Betty and Jughead trying to find out who sent the letter but nothing really comes of it. After the first letter is ignored, another shows up demanding Cheryl be replaced or else next time the sandbag won’t miss. Kevin, along with Cheryl’s horrible mother (who did not give permission for Cheryl to participate in the first place) forces a recast (read: the understudy usurps) bringing Midge front and center as Carrie. We finally make it to opening night and all goes wonderfully until a set piece flies out and Midge is dead: knifed to a set piece like a circus dagger trick gone horribly wrong along with big letters announcing that the Black Hood is back and death is coming.
What’s great about playing a role is the opportunity to dive into the character. What’s great about it in Riverdale is the opportunity for our favorite teens to compare themselves to the roles they’ve been cast in and, coupled with Jughead’s interviews, allows for some real self-exploration…
Archie was cast as the boy next door and, subsequently, Betty’s character’s boyfriend.
Something we know from the Archie comics, right? Well, Archie has finally come to terms with the fact that he’s no longer the sweet and loyal boy next door and, instead, has wandered down a darker path, careless about hurting people like his father along the way. In a horrible attempt to drive a wedge between Archie and his father Fred, who is working on the show to build the set, Hiram (who is producing the show) drops by to ask Fred what he thinks of Archie’s new Firebird (from Hiram) knowing that Archie hasn’t told his dad yet. While Fred plays it cool, he later tells Archie that he was hoping to continue the tradition of buying an old car and fixing it up together as father and son. Instead of driving a wedge between father and son, this seems to serve as a wake-up call to Archie. He later goes to Hiram and says that he might work for Hiram but should he ever try to come between him and his father, it’s a battle Hiram will always lose. If that wasn’t enough, he hands the keys back to Hiram, sells some music stuff, and buys a car at the junkyard for him and his dad to fix up together. Finally!!!
Betty was cast as the good girl and Archie’s character’s girlfriend.
Well, we know she’s not Archie’s girlfriend and, right now, she is supremely acting the part of the mean girl. Between saying things like, “Veronica is just as much of a privileged, selfish, spiteful mean girl as the part she’s playing.” to Archie privately and “You are the literal embodiment of Chris. Never has a role been so perfectly type-cast. I mean, think about it: Spoiled rich girl, check. Major daddy issues, check. Bad to the bone, trying to control everyone around her, including her boyfriend and best friend. Check, check, check.” while in front of the rest of the cast during rehearsal. We know Betty is still upset with Veronica but that’s no reason to talk badly about her like that. Those are some deep cuts Betty just threw down for a “good girl.”
It’s worth mentioning that Veronica held herself together with all the grace, dignity, and poise of a good girl even as blows were thrown. Thankfully, Archie was there to remind Betty that she doesn’t know the whole story about what’s going on at home with Veronica and he also reminded Betty about how quickly Veronica forgave her when the Black Hood made her say all those awful things to Veronica. It takes a musical number, but the two manage to bury the hatchet and get back to being best friends.
Alice has had to come to terms with a few things during the production. First, we are on the back end of whatever happened with her and FP Jones and while she seems ready to go, FP seems almost scared. Alice invites him to the show and when FP seems to blow her off because he’s “got work,” she goes off on him with one of her fabulous mini-lectures, “Wow! Really? This old act again? You know what’s funny? I was afraid our kids were going to make the same mistakes we did, turns out we’re the ones making them all over again.” Burn!
In addition, during a rehearsal, she sings about being left alone and instead of saying the name Carrie, she says Betty and ends up running off the stage and breaking down. Betty comforts her mother who is struggling with the fact that she’s pushed everyone away and Chic can’t be bothered to return her calls and let her know he’s safe. Betty being Betty convinces her father Hal to come home and, after a heart to heart with Alice where he says he suspected Chic wasn’t his, says their secrets can’t hurt them anymore. The sad about the whole family reunion is FP did, in fact, make the show but saw Hal Cooper and promptly turned tail and left. Also, I’m not sure what happened to Hal’s formerly proclaimed love for Cheryl’s mother, Penelope, but that seems to have been forgotten. Lastly, we don’t know what happened between Alice and FP but it seems Alice neglected to mention their rendezvous to Hal, but we shall have to wait and see.
Cheryl, who I expect has been to Hell and back was cast as the outcast of the musical and was later cast aside from the show due to threats on her life and her horrid mother.
She did finally manage to repair things with Josie in the middle of a scene when they were supposed to be singing about friendship. Apologies happened and forgiveness happened. However, Cheryl’s fight that we’ve come to know and love seems to be lost when it comes to her mother. Thankfully with some kind words from Toni, Cheryl manages to rise in the best and most insane Cheryl way possible. You might have thought Midge would be the only bloody one but Cheryl walks into her home head to toe in the iconic bloody Carrie way with candelabra in hand. She says the blood she’s wearing belongs to Jason, her father and her mother are next, demands to be emancipated and have the home to herself and her Nana, threatens her mother and Uncle Claudius, and threatens to burn down another house. In essence, it’s a big “f-you” and “pack your bags” to her mother and Uncle Claudius. We know she’s a little insane, but with a mother like that, I truly think it’s where she has to go in order to be heard. We don’t really know how this whole thing resolves as she’s next seen blood free and watching the show along with everyone else.
In case your memory of Chuck Clayton is a little foggy, here’s a quick reminder: He was part of the guys club who had a book about all the girls they hooked up with and what their rankings were. He took Veronica on a date and later posted that she was a slut when nothing happened. This is when Dark Betty made her first appearance in order to get justice for all those that had been wronged, including Veronica, her sister Polly, Ethel, and others. He seems to be back at school or at least, back in our orbit, and wants to turn his reputation around. He puts in the work and behaves himself throughout the entire production resulting in his status as pariah being lifted. Hooray for positive change!
Odds and Ends:
- Who killed Midge and why? Honestly, I have no idea but we do have a list of suspects including Ethel, Moose, Chic, and even Sheriff Keller was walking around backstage.
- Ethyl has been acting suspicious and Jughead found magazines with letters cut out for a “vision board.” We don’t know what her deal is but I seriously doubt she’s the Black Hood.
- Who do you think is the real Black Hood? I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if it was Chic or Claudius.
- So if – according to Alice – Chic isn’t Hal’s son and he’s not FP’s son, whose son is he?
- While the whole Riverdale cast was mighty talented, I’d like to give a shout out to Madelaine Petsch because, damn, can that girl sing!