Let’s Ponder Departures And Riverdale’s Cult Problem
by Erik Amaya
In a town like Riverdale, charismatic cult leaders have no problems finding followers.
Consider Edgar Evernever (Chad Michael Murray), who managed to turn every person Betty (Lili Reinhart) sent to spy on The Farm. Look at the way everything she’s uncovered about him — like Evelyn (Zoe de Grand Maison) being his 26-year-old wife — fails to topple him. He’s Teflon because people like Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch), Alice (Madchen Amick), Kevin (Casey Cott) and even Toni (Vanessa Morgan) want something to believe in. For viewers, it is clear he’s a con-man; multiple wives and pretending Evelyn was his daughter scream a long con. But within Riverdale’s often complicated and isolating atmosphere, it is easy to see how he thrives.
It is also easy to see how the Gargoyle King can sway a different sort of person to the darkness. As seen this week, he moved Kurtz (Jonathan Whitesell) into a position where he could hobble the Joneses with a few dice roles. But perhaps more important than the devotion Kurtz and Ricky (Nico Bustamante) gave him, is the way he arranged everything so Gladys (Gina Gershon) could be taken off the board. From early on, we suspected she might be the one under the mask, but now we see he wanted the drug trade all along. At this point, we’re still prepared to say its Edgar Evernever under those robes, even if the timing between his attempt to snare Betty and the King’s appearance at the final stage of the game make that difficult.
Then again, the timeline of this episode was all over the place. The Jones story (and its one connection to the Archie plot) seemed to be taking place across one night where Betty’s moves — finding out about Evelyn, arranging for her father to be transferred to Hiram’s (Mark Consuelos) prison, calling in the social worker to weed out Evelyn, and getting Penelope (Nathalie Boltt) to obtain custody of one of the kids — appeared to take place across a much longer timescale. And that’s before we factor in Archie’s (KJ Apa) drug test and the daylight press conference outside of Pop’s. If everything Jughead (Cole Sprouse) went through happened the night of the fight and all of Betty’s scenes happened across the following days, than Edgar could be the Gargoyle King Jug saw near Kurtz’s body. But even that doesn’t quite work because the robbery at Pop’s clearly takes place after the press conference.
This is going to be a tough one to unravel.
While we put that on the backburner, we should note the departures in this week’s episode. It marks the final scenes Luke Perry shot before his untimely death. As always, his Fred Andrews was in Archie’s corner, letting him make grandiose gestures like refusing to get back in the ring. It’s a damn shame we’ll never get to see their relationship resolve and Fred smile when Archie finally finds his true calling. Meanwhile, the episode also appeared to be Ashleigh Murray’s final regular appearance as Josie. The character is off to Nashville with her father, but Murray is off to the Riverdale spin-off Katy Keene. That said, one imagines she may make one more appearance before the season ends. To be honest, Murray and Josie were never well-served by the show. Riverdale always recognized that and tried to find ways of featuring her, but it never really worked. Considering the character starred in her own comic book for decades, maybe trying to include her on Riverdale was always a doomed proposition.
So let’s ponder Josie’s place in the world and her TV future while we take a look at a preview of next week’s show. It’s prom night, but the Gargoyle King may have other plans for Jug and Betty. Meanwhile, Mary Andrews (Molly Ringwald) comes back to town in the hopes of dissuading Archie from his boxing career.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays on The CW.