When Riverdale’s 12th episode of the season begins it jumps right into the student lounge at Stonewall Prep. Jughead and Bret are talking with Mr. DuPont about the duel challenge, which is apparently a real thing that teachers are okay supporting. He suggests, however, a battle of three: the winner of two ends up being the champ. There will be a duel, a fistfight, and a chess game, because Donna recommended ending with intellect.
Men of honor and rules
Complete in those hideous white dueling garbs, the two have a super quick duel and Jughead loses. I’m not surprised, he’s from the street, not the swanky suburbs, of course this isn’t his fight of choice. Then comes the fistfight, which Mr. DuPont says will go seven rounds. Jughead lets everyone know they won’t need seven rounds and he promptly knocks Bret out with one punch to the face. Unfortunately, Bret is a “Stonie” through and through so Jughead winning the fight makes him a target. He finds a dead snake nailed to his wall when he gets back to the dorm.
Prior to the chess match, Jughead tells Bret that he is not only a better competitor and writer, but also a better man. While they play the game of intellect, Betty and her Mom skulk around the basement looking for the supposed incriminating videotapes that Bret has collected. Unfortunately, there is an alarm triggered and Mr. DuPont lets them put the game on pause. We certainly cannot let anyone know about the Quill and Skull’s hidden room. Betty and her Mom get caught, they give the tapes back and the chess match starts back up again. But Jughead does something I’m actually quite surprised about when he throws the match- he lets Bret win and says, “You are more of a Stonewall man than I will ever be or I’ll ever want to be.” Dang Juggie.
I know what it’s like when the past comes knocking
The next scene takes us over to Andrews Construction, where Archie and his Uncle Frank find a man named Ted Bishop in the trailer. Ted served in the military with Frank and he is sharing news about their friend Greg who recently died. Archie invites Ted to dinner because that’s the kind of guy Fred raised him to be. He then also invites him to stay overnight so he doesn’t have to drive late. Archie’s Mom is out of town, so he figures there’s no harm, no foul.
We all know that Archie isn’t always the best judge of character. After he leaves for school, Frank receives a phone call from someone named June who says “Duckie was murdered.” Next thing we know, pleasantries have ceased and Ted has a butcher knife flying towards Frank. Of course, Archie comes back home because he forgot his phone, and he pulls Ted off of his Uncle. Perfect time for Ted to make a run for it.
Frank tells Archie that it must be related to a “security gig” he and Ted were a part of when they left the military. In short, he says they had been hired mercenaries. Frank thinks that Ted must be tying up loose ends. Archie takes his Uncle to see FP, Jughead’s Dad and Chief of Police. Uncle Frank then lets them know he can lure Ted out, and the meeting place will be the gym. It seems to work like a charm, because Ted ends up surrounded and arrested, but not before making a threat. Ted tells Frank that all bets are off; he and his family are now all fair game. Uh oh.
FP locks Ted up overnight, but it is a short time in jail, because after playing dead he escapes. Archie receives a phone call from FP encouraging him to take cover. Since Archie is facing a mirror and we can’t see his back, I’m guessing that it is already too late. My guess is right, Ted is already there and Archie’s face is smashed into the mirror. The two fight and Archie is literally thrown through the wall of a bathroom stall. This man is a trained ex-military mercenary, so I don’t think this is going to end well. How did this man get into the high school and find Archie alone in a bathroom anyway? That’s just crazy. Kevin walks in and catches Ted off guard long enough for Archie to knock him out with the lid of a toilet tank. But wait, there’s more! Ted gets up and runs down the hall and continues to attack Archie. WHERE IS EVERYONE!? Hello, teachers, students, administrators- where the heck are the other people in this school? Archie’s Uncle Frank comes to the rescue, also out of nowhere, knocking Ted out with what appears to be a trophy.
A trip to Veronica’s town
Veronica claims New York is “her town” and not her parents after they briefly discuss needing to share a ride in the car with their driver Smithers. Oy vey, Marie, that was an annoying scene. When Veronica gets into “her town” he squeals with glee and runs into Katy Keene at Lacy’s department store. Time to go clothes shopping before the college interview. By the way, Katy Keene is a new show on The CW which started this week, so introducing her through Riverdale was a nice touch. After the shopping, Katy asks Veronica if she likes drag. Yep, just like that, they are off to a place called Molly’s Crisis, a drag bar. Which seems like the best place to share sad news about Katy’s Mom being sick. Nothing like crying over some booze, as underage drinkers at a drag bar.
Veronica’s Mom, Hermione, lets her know that they went to New York because her Dad is very sick. He has a neuromuscular disease which will cause his muscles to atrophy. She does not say what it is, but she says they have caught it early.
Veronica lets her parents know that she will be going to Barnard College in New York. She also takes her last name back and refers to herself as Veronica Lodge.
Maple is too sticky to be ticklish
Toni sees Fang taking a rather large roll of cash in the school hallway. This is when he speaks to her about him and Kevin’s little tickle fest side hustle. Bleck. My guess is that this tickle fest will end up becoming part of the Maple Club that she, Cheryl, and Veronica are running.
Cheryl gets a terrifying blast from the past when Mr. Saint-Clare walks into the Maple Club. He speaks with Toni about wanting to host a gathering there to celebrate he and his friends getting into Harvard. Unfortunately, this is the same kid who drugged and tries to rape Cheryl in season two of the show. If you have been watching the show since the beginning, then you know Mr. Saint-Clare is Nick, which happens to be Veronica’s ex-boyfriend. Cheryl fills Toni in on this experience and she says she had been through something similar. She vows to help Cheryl work through the emotions of being triggered by seeing Nick today. We all know that Toni is from the street, she’s a tough girl. She might be sweet and loving with Cheryl, but Nick better watch his back.
When Nick wakes up in a Maple Club room with a fully clothed Kevin I can’t help but laugh. Oh man, Toni got him back. She must have drugged his drink and I bet he is recorded in some compromising positions. Yep, a laptop comes out with a video showing Nick, Kevin and Fang having all types of fun. Tickle, tickle. “Now listen up worm. You don’t know me, but I know you.” Toni vows to ruin him if he ever thinks about Cheryl again. I believe it.
Sex tapes and murder boards
Betty’s Mom tries to take her off the hot plate, after single-handedly putting her on said hot plate mind you. Principal Honey doesn’t listen though. He thinks that Alice and Betty worked together so she’d win last week’s quiz show by cheating. Betty not only loses the trophy but also her role as editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, a week of suspension and she is not allowed to go to her senior prom. Wow. Alice also shares that Bret is filing a restraining order against Betty, claiming he is afraid for his life. Do you know what this means? Betty will not be able to visit Jughead at Stonewall Prep anymore. Duh friends, this is not about fearing Betty, this is about isolating Jughead.
The Mr. Chipping apparent suicide case went cold, but now that Betty has extra time on her hands, she and her Mom decided to warm things up a bit. Betty moves her “murder board” from school to their house. Stonewall Prep has more than this suicide, but also many missing students, so the two get to investigating. Betty and Alice speak with Mrs. Chipping, who does not believe that her husband ever cheated on her and certainly did not have an affair with a student. She shared that he resented being a Baxter Brothers writer and was a heavy drinker. She hands over a box of her husband’s belongings from Stonewall Prep, because why wouldn’t you hand things over to complete strangers? They find military brochures and Betty somehow connects this to Moose. If you recall, Moose also went to Stonewall Prep until he left abruptly to join the military after it came out that he is bisexual.
Betty turned in every videotape she found except for the one labeled Donna. She and Jughead watch it and they find that Donna has been lying about an affair with Mr. Chipping. It is likely that Donna is lying about much more. Perhaps she is the real mastermind at Stonewall Prep.