Riverdale – Chapter Fifty-Three: Jawbreaker

Riverdale – Chapter Fifty-Three: Jawbreaker | Season 3, Episode 18 | Rating: 7/11 |

Welcome back to Riverdale. We pick up exactly where we left off when last we met, so let’s just dive on in.

Learning to Let Go

Betty is fighting tooth and nail to get her mother back from the Farm and so far, she’s losing. We watch Betty’s sit-down with Edgar Evernever, and while we don’t know how he seems to be making dead people come back to life and interact with their loved ones, we do find out his back-story.

Edgar was a much different person once upon a time and he left behind a tattered mess of a life to die in the desert. However, he stumbled upon something and, when he woke up, he was being tended to by a couple who owned a farm. He was reborn a new person during his time spent there and wanted to create his own farm to help others. It’s a lovely story for sure, but Betty isn’t drinking the Kool-Aid. Instead, Betty tries to find proof that her mother can’t be talking to Charles because he’s dead and she fails miserably. After a brief chitchat with her father, she decides to fake a gravestone and take her mother to see it. Alice isn’t buying it and Betty ends up chloroforming her mother and holds her hostage at Dilton’s bunker.

Betty is attempting to deprogram her mom by showing her scrapbooks of their life together and it’s clear that Alice is so hurt by the past that she wants absolutely nothing to do with it. Whilst Betty maintains the past makes up who a person is now, Alice says she’s a whole new person. Tears were shed and Betty leaves Alice alone in the bunker to look at her life while Betty goes to school. What Betty comes back to is Alice burning all the photos from the scrapbook. Clearly, her deprogramming isn’t working.

At some point, Betty starts listening to the tapes she stole from the Farm and Alice shares her fear of Betty and seeing the same darkness in her that she saw in Hal. An enraged Betty confronts Edgar and asks why he made Alice say all these horrible things about her on tape. Edgar, in the most irritatingly calm replies, that Alice said all those things of her own volition and asks what’s so wrong with what the Farm is doing to help Alice heal. Why is it bad that Alice sees Charles when it gives her such a sense of fulfillment in ways no one else can?

It’s an old wound that needs to heal and just because Betty can easily move on from things, doesn’t mean her mother can. It was this moment that finally gave Betty a wake-up call. Betty finally relinquished control of her mother to Evelyn at Pop’s and asked Evelyn to take care of her. Evelyn’s reply was that’s all they’ve ever wanted to do.

Ready, Set, Fight

Archie wants a rematch. Specifically, he wants to join Elio’s boxing tournament the Gilded Gloves and face off with Randy Ronson again. This takes a little finagling as Elio isn’t so keen to let Archie and his fighters in on the fun. Some persuasion from Veronica turns the tables in Archie’s favor after a strategic interview with Alice on Riverdale’s news broadcast about the gym and an open call out to Ronson. But the tournament isn’t just about the fight: for Mad Dog and Archie’s fighters at El Royale, it’s all about honoring Baby Teeth and fighting in his honor.

Elio does agree to let Archie fight Ronson but Archie needs to move up a weight class so a lot of burgers from Pop’s ensue. Before the fight, Mad Dog comes to Archie and says that Elio has Ronson juicing on something because he’s super aggressive and when you look into his eyes, you don’t see Ronson, just an animal. Reluctantly, Archie takes something from Mad Dog just in case.

Fight day comes and Elio gives Ronson that extra boost and Archie is getting hammered. Archie tells is coach Tom Keller that Ronson is on something and Tom tries to get the ref to call the match but Elio says the only way the match ends is with a forfeit. Archie gets back in the ring and manages to knock out Ronson, making him the winner. However, after time is called Ronson doesn’t get up and it’s possible that he’s dead.

The Takedown

There’s a new drug in Riverdale and it’s literally making people crazy. We first run into it when FP and Jughead are running down a lead about Baby Teeth’s death at the Maple Club when there is a disturbance. A john is completely foaming at the mouth like a rabid animal with a shard of glass in his hand and ready to fight. Some quick thinking by FP gets him in cuffs and behind bars, but he’s not the only one. A cheerleader at Riverdale High is caught banging her head into the lockers and foaming at the mouth along with others. The high takes a while to come down from and all we know is this stuff is called “G.”

We do find out Kurtz is the dealer and Jughead suspects it’s a bad batch, which accounts for the rabies-like symptoms. A tip-off suggests Kurtz will be at the fight and Jughead and FP manage to finally catch Kurtz. Once in interrogation, they ask about Baby Teeth, what his death meant, etc. Kurtz says Baby Teeth was just the warm up to the ultimate quest. Kurtz goes on to hint that the princess is in trouble (meaning Jughead’s sister, JB) who Kurtz says she’s been summoned by the King. Low and behold, JB is in the forest with Ricky (the kid who tried to kill Archie) whom she’s been playing G&G with. Who should they stumble upon but the Gargoyle King, who seems to be back. Again.

Make Your Choice

Toni isn’t particularly thrilled that Cheryl has gone all in on the Farm and decides to have some words with Betty. Betty is the reason Cheryl went in the first place, so it’s clearly her fault. When Toni learns from Betty that her girlfriend thinks she’s speaking with her dead brother, Toni is clearly concerned. Betty sends Toni the footage of Jason being shot as a way to help snap Cheryl out of her Farm fog and get her back to reality. Sadly, this ploy doesn’t work as Cheryl calls the footage fabricated and a hoax.

When Toni asks if Cheryl has hugged her brother, Cheryl gets blustery and says she has but promptly changes the subject. In another attempt to get Cheryl back, Toni diverts her from going to a Farm meeting by way of a hookup. The following day, however, a tearful Cheryl tells Toni that she’s been told she has to choose between her brother or her girlfriend. Cheryl’s choice is her brother since she’s loved him longer and an upset Toni asks if there’s a way that Cheryl can have both. This leads to Toni joining the Farm, but we are pleased to find out that she’s joined as Betty’s inside woman at the Farm. They both have loved ones they want to get back.

Other Notes:

  • At Betty’s request, Hal signed the divorce papers but he wants a favor: Hal wants to go home. I think that’s a no.
  • Baby Teeth died from blood loss due to having his teeth pulled pre-mortem. Let’s be frank, that isn’t really a thing unless he has a clotting issue, but way to scare people out of going to the dentist.
  • Kurdle Jr. did find a matchbook from the Maple Club in Baby Teeth’s throat. No idea what it means.
  • Evelyn called Toni a detractor from Cheryl’s studies at the Farm and Toni challenged her right back. Evelyn also attempted to intimidate Betty but Betty shoved her against a locker and threatened to kill Evelyn. She wasn’t having the best week.
  • Seeing Kevin and Fangs as part of the Farm makes you wonder what wound they are trying to heal. Also, seeing the Farmie group dressed in white strutting around the halls makes me want to punch them all. Did I write that out loud? My bad.
  • I loved seeing the core four chatting together at school and swapping ideas. We haven’t seen the four of them together for a while.
  • Pop’s is officially Archie’s sponsor and Veronica showed up to present him with a new robe and trunks before his fight. There was a moment and as Fred aptly says, “Flying a little close to the sun there, aren’t ya?”
  • Betty struggles with hearing what her mother said on the tapes and asks Toni if she’s a monster. We all know Dark Betty’s history but – like Toni – I don’t think it makes her a monster: it makes her a human.