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Riverdale Season 4, Episode 2 Recap: Bees?!

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Is it just me, or does it sound like even Cole Sprouse is getting tired of these voice-overs? We’re back to Riverdale‘s regularly scheduled hot mess, and our faves are already up to no good. These Riverdale recaps just got fun again.

We’ve jumped forward to the end of summer, and Archie’s doing what he does best: feeding the CW’s white savior complex. While Archie is busy trying to convince Mad Dog to go back to school, Betty and Charles are worrying about Alice, Veronica is saying “no comment” to her parents’ lawyers asking for a statement of support, and Cheryl is asking her dead brother for fashion advice. Just another normal day in Riverdale! We’re only two episodes into our Riverdale recaps, and it’s already impossible to keep track of what’s happening. Lucky for you, figuring out what TF is going on is our job, and we’ve got a handy guide to what you missed on Glee! Riverdale.

Riverdale Recap, Season Four, Episode Two: What Just Happened?!

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Our Core Four mourn their last first day of high school with a bottle of wine, a white shag rug, and a roaring fire. Before we could ask if this was the beginning of a porno made for middle-aged mothers, the scene becomes the beginning of a porno made for middle-aged mothers. After a night of vigorous PG-13 boning, the couples are late to school and run into their strict new principle, who reminds us that Principal Weatherbee’s first name was Waldo. Waldo Weatherbee. Sure, he’s also strict and “running a tighter ship” or whatever, but let’s just bask in the glory of Waldo Weatherbee for a moment.

Kevin apologizes to Betty for joining a cult and almost lobotomizing her, and even though he drastically underplays the severity of the situation, she still lets him join the Blue and Gold like the really great friend she is. Betty probably just feels bad for him because of this terrible purple lipstick the Riverdale H&M department put him in, but before they can really get into it, Veronica pulls the fire alarm to avoid a run-in with true crime-hungry newshounds. Just kidding! Literally, no one noticed. Political power couple Choni brings Principal Honey a nice welcome basket, only to be told he’s canceling the back-to-school dance. Cheryl even brings out the dead brother card to no avail. This new regime really does mean business.

A fancy private school wants to recruit Jughead the Literary Genius, but Jug politely declines. Apparently, his passion for being glued to the hip with his girlfriend trumps his passion for the written word. That doesn’t stop their admissions officer from making a house call, where he’s talked into giving prep school a shot. The campus seems like someone added exposed brick to the Riverdale High set, but the students look like Trump supporters and call Jug “Forsythe,” so there’s no questioning that we’re not in public school anymore. One apathetic Riverdale High English class later, Betty sees Jug’s wasted potential and pushes him to embrace his destiny with the Dalton Academy Warblers. This is apparently a boarding school, so it looks like the only reason Jughead won’t be around for Archie, Veronica, and Betty’s bloody naked bonfire adventure is that he’s living it up with the one percent.

Meanwhile, Cheryl almost gets caught asking her dead brother for guidance by Toni. Yes, we know his name is Jason, but dead brother just gets the point across so much better. Cheryl, always an evil genius, distracts Toni with her plan for the perfect party. Principal Honey can take away the school gym, but no one can take away high school students’ determination to get drunk in taffeta. Anyway, who needs a gym when you have a gorgeous garden courtyard with no adult supervision? Her plan backfires when Principal Honey calls in a noise complaint just to shut down the rager, so naturally, Cheryl responds by filling his office with bees.

Pivoting back to Kevin’s portion of this Riverdale recap, Betty discovers that he isn’t as recovered as he claims to be: Charles has learned that Kevin is still hitting up Fangs for a midnight suck. It’s a spooky October vampire joke, guys! Get your minds out of the gutter. Betty’s tasked with bringing Kevin in as an FBI asset. She does this by tricking Kevin into thinking there’s a star witness against The Farm, and Kevin immediately goes back to his former cruising woods to tell Fangs the big news. Their conversation makes it pretty clear Kevin is being used for information, so Kevin’s follow-up apology to Betty and Charles in their makeshift interrogation rings a little truer. Betty endangers her mother’s life by trusting Kevin with the knowledge that Alice is undercover at The Farm in a misguided attempt to prove he can still be rehabilitated. She asks him to trade fake intel in exchange for the location of her mother and The Farm. Shockingly, this doesn’t backfire, and Kevin realizes that Chad Michael Murray is now *armed* and dangerous, fortifying The Farm with a veritable arsenal.

Mad Dog officially heeded Archie’s advice and joined the football team, so we can expect a Blind Side subplot in the near future, but for now, we’re focusing on Reggie’s issues with his abusive father. Reggie responds to his trauma by bullying Mad Dog about his time in prison, which is clearly a great idea. Antagonize an ex-con who’s built like a redwood, that’s going to go over *super* well. Mad Dog’s domination on the football field is the final straw that makes Reggie’s father’s abuse clear, but Archie’s attempts to stand up for his friend lead to a football brawl. A post-party heart-to-heart serves as a more appropriate setting for Archie to talk to Reggie about his father’s abuse, and Reggie resolves to take a stand against his father… by trashing his dad’s car. There’s hopeful music playing in the background while he does it, but we can’t imagine this ending well. Except, it does. The next day, Reggie tells Archie that this magically cured his familial ills. Not only is trashing your abusive father’s car terrible advice for any viewers at home going through similar struggles but having *this* be the neat bow Riverdale ties around Reggie’s super serious storyline is a hollow cop-out.

While Honey’s busy focusing on taking away what little joy these students still have, he leaves Veronica completely defenseless against the paparazzi, who have recruited freshmen to take photos of her changing for $500 a pop. Somehow, we feel like they would have done it for free, making this the first time a gossip column has *over-paid* their employees. Lucky for Veronica, this freshman is a time traveler from the past — that’s the only explanation for him using a film camera like it’s 1985. Principal Honey is not only unhelpful but goes so far as to ask Ronnie to leave Riverdale High because of bad press claiming she’s responsible for Hiram’s crimes. Hiram leaked that (low-key true) story himself, and their confrontation is creepy AF. Veronica is inspired to hold a press conference throwing both Lodge parents under the bus, but only after she sings “All That Jazz” at La Bonne Nuit. An interesting song choice, for sure. I wish they would stop asking these poor women to dance — just because you went to Tisch and took a few Millenium classes does not mean you can pull off Fosse. Or sing.

Remember how we said Jughead definitely isn’t dead? Well, now we know for sure. A flash forward to spring break shows FP and the entire town of Riverdale on a dramatic search party for Jug, obviously foreshadowing something ominous in his very bright future. So obvious, that there’s no way this isn’t a red herring. But, hey, these are Riverdale recaps. We don’t tune in for subtlety.

The Most CW Moment

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The CW

When Cheryl’s epic smackdown of her high school principal was set to an original 1950s-style song name dropping Riverdale’s main characters.

How We Feel

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Let’s get the serious part of this Riverdale recap out of the way first: The way Riverdale handled Reggie’s family drama was totally uncool. Tackling a Very Special Episode like this without affording the situation the gravity it deserves is irresponsible at best and dangerous at worst. When your characters are fighting bears and opening secret speakeasies, it’s fine to be a little lazy with continuity and hasty with conclusions. Encouraged, even! That’s the stuff that keeps us coming back. Child abuse is a different story, and it can’t be solved by giving your main bro some dap and walking into the sunset. We aren’t experts on abuse, but the kind folks over at the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline legit are. Call them at 1-800-4-A-CHILD or visit their website for help if you or a friend are suffering from violence at home.

So, back to the fun stuff. I’m sure you noticed this Riverdale recap clocked in at about 1,000 words, which is way too effing long and evidence that Riverdale is doing not only the most but also a bit much. If we have to ask ourselves whether we’re more surprised that a character would wear white after Labor Day or that she’s still discussing outfit choices with a corpse, something has gone deliciously wrong. Speaking of Jason’s corpse, Cheryl was pretty bold throwing a rager with her dead brother barely hidden downstairs. It would be a stretch even if Jason was somewhere hard to find, but he’s in a room that doesn’t have a real door. It’s just a threadbare wire gate with huge holes in it. And Jason’s weird, dead hands are sticking out from under the white sheet she casually threw over him like a demented children’s ghost costume. No wonder crimes never get solved in Riverdale — the literal chief of police went to break up a high school party, and even he didn’t notice the mummy downstairs.

The only student Riverdale has done as dirty as its adult characters is Kevin, who hasn’t once caught a break. This poor kid just wants to find love, and instead nearly dies while cruising in the woods (we will *never* forget this), joins a cult, and is abandoned by all of his friends for being tricked into joining a cult. All of the other teens are given way too much slack. We’re really supposed to believe that Veronica is a shoo-in at Harvard even after changing her family name, which was probably the only way she’d be getting in IRL, and Jughead is recruited for prep school because he can rattle off literary facts from Wikipedia. But Kevin is constantly being used, rejected, and thrown aside. Casey Cott deserves better! The LGBTQ+ community deserves better! At this point, Riverdale’s constant harassment of its only gay lead is bordering on homophobic. Yeah, I said it.

Jughead’s favorite book is Moby Dick, which is a huge red flag, but as we mentioned earlier, that’s apparently enough to get him into the ultra-exclusive prep school that’s been in Riverdale this whole time, which begs the question, why are Cheryl and Veronica in public school? Their principal reads Rumordale, for goodness sake. These were the two wealthiest teens in the neighborhood when Riverdale started, and I’m pretty sure they’ve both been kicked out of school at some point, but conveniently, this new school and its Robin Williams-wannabe teachers were only introduced around the time Cole Sprouse is rumored to be looking for a way out of the show. We’re just sayin’. This plot was totally done before when Jug went to the South Side, and we’ve even had a typical “cool teacher” on the show before, too. Of course, that teacher ended up being a drug kingpin, so we’ve got a lot to look forward to at Sweet Valley High.

At the end of the day, though, Riverdale recaps are about one thing, and one thing only: Watching actors convince themselves they can sing. This show is just that Kristen Wiig dinner party sketch where she keeps insisting that people shouldn’t make her sing, then singing as they beg her to stop. Please. No one is making you sing. Does Riverdale have some sort of shady, back-alley tax deal with a recording studio? And *how* are these actors still flat through all that autotune? It’s not the actors’ fault the writers keep doing this to them. And, honestly, it’s not the writers’ fault, either. It’s our fault for tuning into this garbage every week and loving every second of it.

Join us next week for another batsh*t Riverdale recap!

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