Word to the wise: speak no evil about the speakeasy in front of Veronica. The aspiring businesswoman has no time for your negativity in her life.
On Riverdale Season 3 Episode 3, Veronica opened the doors to her secret underground bar beneath Pop Tate's Chock'lit Shoppe. The debts are piling up, and with help from her friends, she's going to make some extra money to keep the business afloat.
The problem, however, was that her enemies came out of the woodwork to make her life a living hell. Let alone the fact how ridiculous it was that a 16-year-old opened a bar without anyone even batting an eyelash.
The speakeasy plot had left me scratching my head ever since Veronica first brought it up.
Like, she's a teenager, and she wants to open a bar underneath the diner she owns. Let that sink in for a moment: a bar run by a teenager in a small town.
Sure, they bypassed that conflict by saying only mocktails will be served, but there's no way an active bar can run on only mocktails. Unless they're going for just the ambiance, people (especially adults) will want drinks, which means she'll need a liquor license. And once again, a 16-year-old owns the bar so that she won't get the license.
The Chock'lit Shoppe is already drowning in debt as is. This entire situation doesn't sound like a good business investment, but this is Riverdale, so it'll probably turn into a success.
Teen dramas toed the line in the past with plots that questioned the believability of the actors and the "teens" they played.
A good one that comes to mind is when Chuck Bass on Gossip Girl opened the burlesque speakeasy in New York City. There are a lot of similarities here. Once again, no one truly questioned and accepted it as fact that the rich playboy Chuck Bass would open such a bar.
I guess if the character is rich or from a powerful family, we just have to go with it. (What are your fave teens-act-like-adults plots? Tell me below!)
What's most shocking was that none of the adults cared that Veronica had this business in mind.
Sheriff Maneda and Penny Peabody felt more inclined to shake her down for cash than do anything. Even her parents (a criminal and the town mayor) would rather play manipulative games than approach the situation. Veronica made a decision, and people only thought about how to benefit from it.
Plus, why isn't this a big town scandal?
"The daughter of Riverdale's mayor opens a secret bar." There's a front-page story somewhere in there.
Either way, the bar looked gorgeous! The set designers did amazing work capturing a classy and jazz vibe from the roaring '20s.
Veronica: Okay, here’s the deal, you tell your lackeys to back off or else I’ll send these photographs of your drug lab to the authorities faster than you can say “Heisenberg.”
[Hiram looks through the photos]
Hiram: Hmmm, yeah, I doubt these will have much traction with Maneda.
Veronica: I won’t go to Maneda, I’ll go to the FBI. Oh, and also, I want $10,000 a week in perpetuity. That’s right, Daddy, I’m shaking you down.
What I appreciate about Veronica is that she stands up for what she believes in, and she won't be pushed around by anyone.
With all the sabotaging against her, like Sheriff Maneda planting the Jingle Jangle and Penny's play, Veronica didn't simply bend to their will. She fought back and took charge of her destiny. (And yes, I understand the irony of complimenting her determination after critiquing the decision to open the bar.)
Sneaking into the Ghoulies' lab to get blackmail evidence was really brave of her, Cheryl, and Toni. Taking that risk gave her the courage to stand up to her father and have the leverage to level the playing field.
In a way, that move earned her a lot of respect from Hiram. It's like he had a major "a-ha!" moment when she blackmailed her way into getting money every week. You could tell he was impressed!
Like father, like daughter.
Let's take a moment to appreciate all the scenes between Veronica, Cheryl, and Toni. Each shined with one-liners, humor, and personality.
I couldn't help but laugh when Toni ran frantically into the lab with her camera, followed closely by the others.
These three friends have such great chemistry together on screen. If we add Betty and Josie into the mix (and even Kevin), we'd have witty, sarcastic gold.
But, what is with the severe lack of Cheryl, Toni, and Josie scenes so far on Riverdale Season 3?
The three characters were mostly non-existent except for a few cameo moments and one-liners.
Josie's lack of development has stayed a consistent issue ever since Riverdale Season 1 Episode 1. Instead of having a story, she's used for musical moments. It's a shame it doesn't seem like that will change anytime soon.
In the case of Cheryl and Toni, we need more Choni scenes in our lives!
Cheryl sat on her throne like the queen she is before gracing us with the gift that was her presence. And, the cute Choni moments of them strutting into the bar arm-in-arm made up for the disrespect of their minimal scenes.
Suffice to say, their characters need more development beyond quick-hit plots.
Veronica: Serpettes, have either of you seen Jughead? I have a problem that his name scribbled all over it.
Cheryl: You mean True Detective?
Cheryl: He’s busy canoodling Nancy Drew no doubt. How can we help?
Archie's progression took another roller coaster path that shouldn't be surprising to Riverdale fans.
He started the hour at a low point, but when it seemed like he was going to make a breakthrough, he decided on a course of action that would cause even more trouble. It's typical Archie at his finest.
Seriously, breaking out of juvie is the worst possible plan he can do!
If he and the other inmates get discovered plotting, they could be reprimanded or sentenced to even more jail time. He'll get trapped in the facility with the warden and the other staff who will get their revenge. There will be no hope of escape -- just look at Mad Dog and his predicament.
The fights are brutal, and Archie is being groomed to be the house champion against his will. However, if he doesn't mess things up even further, there's at least some hope of him serving his time.
Though, that possibility is only on the grounds IF the warden lets Archie leave the facility alive.
I won't get too down on Archie, though. He did have a crucial breakthrough thanks to his inner voice finally listening to reason.
The heartbreaking chat between Archie and his inner Fred created a powerful scene that felt both genuine and raw. Archie's two-way dialogue with his father allowed him to speak his truth and seek guidance from the person he respected the most. And for once, Archie listened.
We need more heart-to-heart moments like this on Riverdale.
Archie wasn't the reckless vigilante or social-climbing musician. Fred wasn't the construction worker or mayoral candidate. Instead, we had a teenager in pain reaching out to his father.
Their hallucination reunion was a powerfully emotional moment, especially paired with the blue lighting. K.J. Apa and Luke Perry did a great job channeling the somber tone from inside the cell.
K.J. did an amazing job all around.
You could feel the raw anger when he reacted and trashed all of his prizes. The tension during that breakdown was so palpable.
Over at the Bughead storylines, Betty and Jughead investigated a theory that our TV Fanatics discussed during the latest Riverdale Round Table: Are the Gargoyle King and The Farm plots connected?
Short answer: yes. Longer answer: basically only because of Alice.
I smile whenever Bughead enter their Nancy Drew and True Detective modes to solve the mystery. Here, their answers could only be achieved by splitting up and exploring both leads.
In Betty's case, she didn't get the answer she was looking for, but it was a connection nonetheless.
Alice knows something about the Gargoyle King, and because of her and FP's stupidity, they're hurting more people in the long-run. Simply telling Betty and Jughead about the past makes the investigation more collaborative, and it will help take down the Gargoyle King. That's good for everyone!
Haven't the Riverdale parents learned by now that keeping secrets and acting like their children are stupid only causes more troubles?
I thought we were done with terrible character development during Riverdale Season 1. FP and Alice were so frustrating when they burned the game manual instead of talking to their kids. Now, Betty and Jughead have to do the legwork to fix the parents' mess.
If Betty wants to find out what happened at the circle meeting, she should convince Polly or Evelyn to tell her what Alice said.
Polly might be hesitant at first, but if it means saving lives, she might come clean. Evelyn, on the other hand, wanted to win over Betty in the first place, and their new alliance could potentially be the friendship we underestimated all this time.
Think about it: Betty Cooper and Evelyn Evernever friends? Now that's a twist!
Jughead: Please, Princess Etheline.
Ethel: Don’t call me that! You haven’t earned that privilege, and you’re definitely not worthy of the King’s scripture yet.
Jughead: Yes, but I want to be. I want to be worthy, Ethel. Could you show me how?
[Ethel gives side-eye to Betty before turning to Jughead]
Ethel: We meet tomorrow night at Dilton’s bunker. But, just you.
[Ethel looks at Betty]
Ethel: Sorry, Betty, but you’ll never worthy no matter how hard you try.
[Betty tries to suppress a smile]
Jughead's captivating-yet-messy storyline can be summed up in two words: "Dammit Ethel!"
Ethel Muggs is so brainwashed; her actions have thrown one wrench after another into this mystery. She embraced her Princess Etheline position a little too hard. It's safe to say that the Gargoyle King has her wrapped around his little finger.
My opinion of Ethel has changed significantly due to her actions toward Betty and Jughead.
Ethel was friends with the Riverdale group. She may not have hung out with them all the time, but they were supportive of each other. So, the fact that she willing put Jughead's life at risk with the poisoned goblet boggled the mind.
Jughead could've died! She could've died! This game destroyed lives, and she can't fathom that.
As much as I loved the candlelit scene and her lowkey shade toward (#EvilEthel), her actions were downright villainous.
Betty: Ben’s death haunts me, Jug. He didn’t scream. Why not? I wonder because that’s one of their rules of Griffins & Gargoyles?
Jughead: Betty, that’s what we’re missing. There’s no rule book, there’s no players’ manual. But, what if that’s the key to all this? The way that Ethel, Ben, and Dilton talked about it is like a religion.
Betty: Yeah, or a cult.
Jughead: And every cult has its king.
The big mystery of Riverdale 3A seems to be about the identity of the person in the Gargoyle costume.
We're heading into a full-blown cult storyline. And I am here. For. It. (Insert all the clapping emojis as you see fit!)
Thanks to #EvilEthel distributing the game manual to the students of Riverdale High, many new people are playing Griffins & Gargoyles. Cult-like mindsets could become an epidemic unless they stop the Gargoyle King. The next Dilton, Ben, and Ethel could happen to another one of beloved characters.
The Riverdale parents need to get their act together and tell the kids what happened all those years ago. Lives are a stake more than ever.
Also, yay! This Griffins & Gargoyles plot isn't a supernatural twist after all but just a cult story caused by mortals. All of the hopes came true.
Last Thoughts From Sweetwater River:
Ethel's test within Dilton's bunker looked so visually beautiful! There's something about being surrounded by countless candles that set the mood while also making it 100% creepier.
Also, we need to go shopping with Ethel next time. She has racked up discount points by buying candles in bulk.
Kevin being blown away by Josie's dress + she's so casual about it = iconic.
#FALICE is a thing! FP and Alice finally got together after a year of low-key flirting. We need more details ASAP.
Baby Teeth totally looks like Dane DeHaan, right?
- Hiram giving Veronica the painting of her from his study: a thoughtful sign of respect or kinda petty? I'm leaning to the former since he was proud of her business ambition.
Now, over to you, Riverdale fans!
What did you think of "Chapter Thirty-Eight: As Above, So Below"?
Will Archie and the fighters escape juvie? What repercussions will Griffins & Gargoyles have on Riverdale High? Should Evelyn Evernever be trusted?
If you missed the latest episode of Riverdale, you can watch Riverdale online via TV Fanatic. Come back here and share your thoughts in the comments.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.