Riverdale – Chapter Forty: The Great Escape

Riverdale – Chapter Forty: The Great Escape | Season 3, Episode 5 | Rating: 9/11 |

Free at last, free at last, oh thank goodness Archie is free at last. This week’s episode of Riverdale is complete with suicide, resurrection, betrayal, questing, and a jailbreak. Let’s dive right in…

The Escape and the Parallels:

Emboldened by finding that rock hammer in Mad Dog’s book, Archie has taken it upon himself to plan a jailbreak. This first iteration involves having fellow inmate Baby Teeth get to a breaker and cut the power to the electric wire at the top of the fencing that holds them in. On a go from Joaquin, some kids cause a distraction while Archie, Joaquin, and a few others make a run for the fence but Joaquin falls and Archie goes back to help him. The guards are not too stupid to notice and begin firing rubber bullets at everyone. Archie decides it’s not worth it to fight and grabs Joaquin to bring him down and protect him. The game is up and he surrenders to the frustrating loss.

While this gambit of Archie’s was in play, Jughead was playing a similar game in Gryphons & Gargoyles with Cheryl, Toni, Sweet Pea, and Fangs. What’s strange about this whole thing is that the game they were playing involved an escape from the Gargoyle King’s fortress and just like Archie’s jailbreak attempt, they were unsuccessful in their quest to escape. What is going on in Riverdale to make the gameplay mimic real life? I certainly don’t have the answers but Jughead thinks he’s getting close. In fact, Jughead draws many parallels to the quests and gameplay of Gryphons & Gargoyles to real-life situations and believes the game has been played off book for much longer than anyone realizes. I know it sounds like he’s going a bit crazy but think about this: The magical realm in which G&G is played is called “Eldervair” which is an anagram for Riverdale. Jughead might have gone down a bit of a rabbit hole, but I think he has some very valid points, even if he seems a bit unhinged.

Meanwhile, Veronica is trying to figure out a way to get Archie out of prison. She’s hit dead ends with everything else she’s tried and, after a taunt from her father about Archie’s failed escape, she turns to a family friend Elio, to see what he can do. He manages to get Veronica into one of Archie’s fights as his date and manages to sneak back to the locker rooms and see Archie after the fight. After their tryst, Veronica talks game plan to get Archie out and the only viable option seems to be escaping through a drain at the bottom of the pool (where the fights are held) during one of the fights, so Veronica enlists Betty, Josie, Kevin, and Reggie to help bust Archie out. While they might be flying by the seat of their pants, they have a pretty great plan.

Meanwhile as the quest to break out Archie is in play, so is another G&G game with Jughead, Toni, Cheryl, Sweet Pea, and Fangs. Both the game and what’s going on in real life appear to be happening simultaneously, in the same sequence, and with the same outcome. There are a few twists to an otherwise relatively simple breakout that are both in the G&G game and happening in real life but the biggest “WTF?” moment comes when Joaquin stabs Archie in the side before he’s about to go out and fight. Why? Apparently, the Warden told Joaquin he would ascend if he did the task. The other big moment was Archie’s opponent ended up being someone we know and thought was gone: Mad Dog.

Both we and Archie can’t help but wonder where he’s been and sadly, we don’t get any answers. The best thing about having Mad Dog as his opponent means Archie gets some much-needed extra help with his escape. Once the breakout crew provides cover for Archie’s play for the drain, Mad Dog helps hold off the guards while Archie slips under the platform and goes down the drain. His escape is successful thanks to Betty and Kevin acting as a decoy for the guards while Archie is actually with Veronica, Josie, and Reggie. The game that Jughead is playing with everyone finishes and they all want to know if they were successful in freeing the “Red Paladin” and Jughead replies that he doesn’t know, that he made a last minute change to the quest and he was hoping to have the answer by now.

The next thing we know, there’s a bang on the bunker door and Archie falls in – hurt but safe. They saved the Red Paladin.

The Aftermath:

A strange thing happened when Betty and Kevin were caught by the warden and his guards: he wanted to know where the Red Paladin was. Now, how did both Jughead and the Warden know to call Archie the Red Paladin? Right now, I don’t have the answers for you. I can tell you that Toni patched up Archie’s shiv wound and hopefully he can get some antibiotics for having been in a drain pipe to boot. The gang agrees that Dilton’s bunker is the safest place for Archie to be and Veronica wants someone with him at all times. They make a pact (much like their parents did) to not reveal anything about what just happened to anyone else. They agree and part ways.

Meanwhile, Veronica goes home to do some damage control since daddy dearest spotted her at the breakout. She walks in the door to find her mother furious at Hiram, and now her, for everything that just went down and she leaves to go do some mayoral damage control. Hermione went to see the warden, who we know is a friend of Hiram’s. However, before the warden leaves his office to meet with Hermione, we see him look at some G&G cards: one card says, “Kill the Red Paladin.

The warden mixes a drink, drops something in it, takes a drink, sputters, vomits as he dies with blue lips from cyanide poisoning.

Other Notes:

  • Kevin and Josie’s parents announced they were getting married. They also played dumb when Kevin and Josie asked them about Gryphons & Gargoyles.
  • Reggie got a black eye from his father for asking about Gryphons & Gargoyles.
  • Speaking of Gryphons & Gargoyles, Kevin, Josie, and Reggie have started playing a game of their own. They are curious about what their parents are hiding in relation to the game and what Betty isn’t telling them.
  • Jughead had some unrest from Sweet Pea and Fangs. He promptly dealt with it by having Cheryl shoot an arrow from the top of his head. That put the other guys in their place.
  • Archie got branded from the warden after his first jailbreak attempt and that brand looks a lot like a runic symbol from Gryphons & Gargoyles.
  • Before Archie’s last fight, he was treated to something like a feast. He asked the warden how Hiram had managed to frame him for murder. As it was supposed to be Archie’s last meal, the warden indulged him: Hiram paid the dead guy’s friends $10,000 each to lie under oath that they saw Archie pull the trigger. The guys are in hiding now but no one is quite sure where.
  • Jughead comes upon the Gargoyle King in the woods on his way home and bows to him. This is after the warden commits suicide so we know he’s not the Gargoyle King. So, who is it?

Favorite Quote:

  • “Thank you for mansplaining my business to me.”  (Veronica to Elio when he offered suggestions on how to make her speakeasy better)