The River Vixens suffered a seizure at Riverdale High, Jughead reunited with his mother and sister, and Betty freed the patients from the Sisters of Quiet Mercy on Riverdale Season 3 Episode 8.
Below, TV Fanatics Becca Newton, Brandon Vieira, and Kat Pettibone debate Betty's future as the Gryphon Queen, the true origin of Gryphons and Gargoyles, and the consequences of the town now being quarantined.
What are your first thoughts of Riverdale Season 3's midseason finale?
Becca: My thoughts are all over the place, but it's Riverdale, so that seems appropriate. Anyway ... Luke Perry is so underutilized, and Fred really needs to stop giving into Archie's choices so easily.
Archie's journey into the wilderness is the plotline I'm least excited about resuming. I'm doubtful the payoff will be worth the screen time.
How JB is portrayed is pretty much how I imagined her. Riverdale went in a different direction with Gladys than what I was hoping for, but I'm glad they didn't abandon the idea of Jughead and Gladys being more similar in personality than Jughead is to FP, even if how they're demonstrating that is not the way I wanted.
Gina Gershon is already proving to be a great addition.
As entertaining as watching Betty and Ethel square off agast each other was, it was good to see Betty snapEthel out of the brainwashing and their team up. I hope Ethel continues to be a prominent player in the episodes to come.
Brandon: It wasn't my favorite episode this season, but it was a pretty darn good one. It really set up a lot of what we can expect moving forward and I'm pretty excited about all the possibilities. I'm glad to see that a Varchie reunion isn't in the works anytime soon and perhaps a "Veggie" (Veronica and Reggie) coupling may be in our near future.
Plus, I'm glad to see Betty saving the day and kicking some butt sans Jughead. I may be one of the few that thinks this, but Betty needs to move on from Jughead. She can do so much better.
Luckily, the way the story for both characters panned out tells us that Bughead will be separated for an even longer period of time.
While Jughead's family reunion was nice, the best part of the midseason finale was the Veronica and Cheryl team-up, with an assist from Kevin. I would like it if these three continued to work together moving forward. Oh, and Riverdale needs more Kevin, like ASAP.
Kat: It was dark, but it was one of the best "finales" they've attempted. Although it brought up a lot more questions (that will hopefully be answered in Riverdale 3B), it also answered some in a way that actually made sense.
There was context to back up most of their reveals, and that's not something we've always seen from the show. I thought both the Betty and Archie/Jughead storylines match up in terms of intrigue, but I was once again disappointed with Veronica's.
The writers don't seem to know what to do with her or Hermione this season, and they both come off like an afterthought.
We finally were introduced to Jughead's mother and sister, Gladys, and Jellybean. Based on their interactions with FP and Jughead, do the Jones's have a shot at repairing their fractured family?
Becca: In a universe where the Jones' would have time to focus on family issues and hash it all out, I think they would have a shot. Unfortunately, it's likely outside forces are going to prevent it.
Gladys (and presumably JB) will be showing up in Riverdale, but I predict the fallout of the plotlines they're involved in will result in them having to leave again.
Brandon: There's a very small chance it could happen. While Gladys and Jellybean were easily willing to let Jughead renter their life, it wasn't the same for FP.
Jellybean feels abandoned by her father, and I imagine the marriage of Gladys and FP was fraught with issues long before she left. However, I do think that the Jones family will get the chance to heal all the wounds they've left unattended for such a long time due to Jughead and FP being locked out of Riverdale.
They'll be looking for sanctuary in the meantime and who better to provide them that sanctuary than Gladys and Jellybean?
I would love to see more scenes between FP and Jellybean moving forward because seeing FP be a dad to a young girl would be absolutely adorable.
Kat: Repairing it in a way that brings FP and Gladys back together romantically? I would say no, seeing as how the FP/Alice storyline seems far from over. However, I do think they have a chance of repairing their family in a general sense and working past the trauma they've all put each other through.
I think Gladys coming back to town will initially cause more chaos, but it may work out in the end. Gladys is a complex character, lots of shades of grey surrounding her, but I don't believe she's a villain at heart.
Neither her nor FP were/are perfect parents, and I hope they can both accept that and do what's best for their kids going forward. I'd like to see a family in Riverdale have two present, active, loving parents doing the best for their family.
Betty assumed the role of the "Gryphon Queen" to convince the patients to leave the Sisters of Quiet Mercy. Will this new persona play a part in the scheme of the Gargoyle King's game?
Becca: The Gryphon Queen is not going away. It's Gryphons and Gargoyles. It was never just the Gargoyle King's game; it was always their game.
Brandon: It has to, doesn't it? Betty has been the savior of Riverdale for as long as we have known her. She's sure to do it again, and the way Betty and Ethel described the Gryphon Queen, basically described Betty in a nutshell.
A fierce, warrior queen who is willing to take down the Gargoyle King if it means protecting her flock (in this case her friends). Betty is the embodiment of the Gryphon Queen, and when it comes time to take down the King, the Gryphon Queen, will strike again.
Betty: Ethel, I’m back.
[Betty opens the chapel doors]
Betty: Are you okay?
Ethel: I don’t understand. It’s just a statue. But I saw him.
[Betty sits down in front of Ethel]
Betty: We all did because we were high on Fizzle Rocks. The Sisters feed us drugs that make us susceptible to visions they suggest. They let us play the game and then they use our delusions of the Gargoyle King to scare us into submission.
Kat: I would assume so, seeing as how Jughead's "Game Master" and Archie's "Red Paladin" titles seemed to anchor a few arcs already. It seems like the Gargoyle King is actively trying to get rid of anyone who opposes him/threatens his reign.
Those people are the Game Master, Gryphon Queen, and the Red Paladin in the game. Just as they are Jughead, Betty, and Archie in real life.
Sister Woodhouse revealed the true origin of Gryphons and Gargoyles. Do you think this was a satisfying discovery?
Becca: Right now, the information about G&G's origin feels more like exposition than an exciting reveal in its own right.
Sister Woodhouse: The children who come through our doors are broken. It’s our sacred mission to fix them using whatever tools necessary.
Betty: Does that mean the Sisters created Gryphons and Gargoyles? As a tool?
Sister Woodhouse: Misbehaving children have been brought down to this room since the asylum opened. That statue scared them into submission. Some of them, the more disturbed ones, created a fantasy realm ... a game ... to cope with the fear of the one they named, “The Gargoyle King.” We embraced it as a therapeutic tool and it worked because it embeds itself in the minds of the players. It makes them complacent, focuses them.
Betty: If that’s true, then how did the game get out into the world? Did you give it to Hiram?
Sister Woodhouse: It was never meant to leave these walls. It’s too powerful. A game born of madness.
Ethel: A madness you helped nurture. And now people like Ben and Dilton are dead.
Brandon: I think Sister Woodhouse only gave us a small taste of the Gryphons and Gargoyles origin story. I think there is way more to the story than she or anyone else knows. Her reveal was satisfying enough for a midseason finale, but I still want more answers.
Kat: It seemed like somewhat of a stretch in order to connect everything together. What confused me was how Sister Woodhouse claimed it was just a game for the SOQM to help their patients, and it was never supposed to leak out into the real world. But yet, when Betty said she was calling the authorities.
Woodhouse said she only answered to the "Gargoyle King." If she's in charge, well aware of the drugs and the hallucinations, as well as the origins of the game, why does she buy into the Gargoyle King? It was a little bit of a messy reveal.
Hiram is not the Gargoyle King, but simply a loyal ally to the King. was your guess correct?
Becca: I've probably annoyed everyone by repeating my opinion about the Gargoyle King being an observer and how he gets his victim to act on their own accord, but for me, those were big reasons as to why Hiram didn't make sense as the Gargoyle King.
Hiram is too much of a schemer who can't resist stirring the pot, which isn't the Gargoyle King's style.
Brandon: Yes, it was, and I am oh so happy about it. I would be massively disappointed if the Gargoyle King ended up being Hiram. That's just way too obvious. However, knowing that Hiram is just doing the King's busy work makes me happy.
Hiram was always this man who seemed so in control of everything, but he's actually being controlled by someone else. I'm glad the identity of the King is still a mystery and eliminating the obvious suspect leaves me even more excited to find out who it will be.
Kat: I never thought Hiram was the Gargoyle King. I know Riverdale likes to go for the obvious reveal, but that would never have been too obvious, seeing as how Jughead already accused him two episodes prior. The show clearly had Hiram pulling strings to some degree out in the open.
There had to be more to the story, another character or connection we're not privy to yet. At this point, I'm only wondering if Hiram is also high on Fizzle Rocks and hallucinating, or if the King was really standing there with him at the end of the episode.
The town of Riverdale is now quarantined. What troubles do you see coming up for the town and our favorite characters?
Becca: The seizures are going to be an issue. Characters are going to become afflicted at the worst times. Coordination among groups will be another problem. Will the parents who aren't the Lodges and Blossoms finally start working with instead of against their kids?
The hardest challenge of all will be getting the outside world to care. Veronica made a big speech about making sure the outside world knows what Hiram is doing, so I'm really curious if Riverdale will follow up or forget about that.
Brandon: Things are going to get way worse for the people of Riverdale before they get any better. Betty and Alice are going to have to deal with Hal again, which is going to cause both of them a lot of problems.
For Jughead though, this might give him the chance to reconnect with his family now that he and FP are locked out of Riverdale. And since Betty might be a little preoccupied to save the day at the moment, it might be up to the dynamic trio of Veronica, Cheryl, and Kevin.
I would love for that squad to stick around for a long time. Archie's adventure is the only one I'm not so sure about. Now that he's running alone, what's next for him? I'm curious to see how Archie fits in with everything else going on. He is the Red Paladin after all.
Kat: I see total and complete chaos. It's basically the Riverdale Purge, and Hiram Lodge is running the show. Increase in gang activity, the release of certain prison inmates, drug addictions; I'm sure we will witness all of it when we return in January.
I also see a type of civil war breaking out. I can't imagine Jughead, Veronica or Betty being willing to give their town away without putting up a fight.
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Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.