Before Riverdale went on their winter break, things had really got to an extreme point of drama in the town. So it makes sense for them to find a way to unwind a little bit after all the stress the characters have been going through in The Hills Have Eyes. Hiram (Mark Consuelos) approaches Veronica (Camila Mendes) and Archie (KJ Apa) and says that he and the missus were going to head up to the family lake house but they have to cancel because of some "business" they need to attend to. Instead, he offers it to them and suggests they take a "romantic getaway," even going as far as to suggest they invite Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Jughead (Cole Sprouse) to go up as well.
It does seem strange that the VERY protective father we know Hiram to be would propose a sex filled weekend away from the parents-and we would be correct. Hiram takes Archie aside and tells him that he is hosting a meeting of the New York families because, in the wake of Papa Poutine's death, things are quite tense with the criminal baddies. He wants Veronica out of town as a precaution and he's also sending the town's most resourceful driver Andre (Stephan Miers) to be stationed close by from the cabin. But Veronica is not to know Andre is there. Daddy Lodge and Archie have a secret club going on.
Speaking of Betty, some time away from her home is definitely what she needs because, in the aftermath of the random murder that they covered up, Chic (Hart Denton) has gone from welcoming lost brother to pesky annoyance. He uses her bathroom and has gross refrigerator manners which make it seem like they've made up their past time for sibling rivalry very quickly. When Veronica asks Betty if she and Jughead would like to join them, Betty sees it as the salvation of her keeping sanity. Jughead agrees to it as well but he's not just thinking of it as a time to roast marshmallows but more of trying to get more information out of Veronica about her dad for his expose piece.
Because she has the hearing of an owl, Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) hears the group talking about going away for the weekend and tries to include herself in the trip. Veronica comes up with the swiftest way to cut her down by letting her know it's a couples-only kind of trip. Cheryl tries to save face by wishing them well but we all know that a reminder of her single status is one of the main roots of her problems. Back at home, Cheryl is still dealing with her mother being a courtesan for single men and is basically using their home as a brothel. To make matters worse her mother now blames her for having to sleep with these men because she blew the whistle on her "relationship" with Hal Cooper.
When Jughead goes over to Betty's to pick her up, he gets a random encounter with Chic for the first time. Chic somehow sniffs out immediately that Jughead knows about the murder cover-up and warns him that if he tells anyone that "it will be bad for Betty and Alice." Well, that is one way not to get invited to the wedding Chic.
Off we go on long roads through tons of heavily forested areas (isn't that all of Riverdale?) to arrive at a cabin that looks better than most people's homes. It has a spectacular view of the lake and is ripe for a teenage horror movie. Andre drops them off and leaves their bags as Veronica asks Archie to take them all in because Jughead seems to be above taking his ladies luggage. Now being in the middle of nowhere you would think cell reception would be crap but apparently not because Cheryl decides to call Jughead and leave him with a nugget of information.
She tells him how she witnessed Archie and Betty kiss that one time in front of her home. She properly drops that bomb and then wishes them all a great weekend as she hangs up. That is the portrait of one miserable girl. Somehow Jughead is not very phased by this he just tells Betty that he is puzzled as to why she didn't tell him even though he told her when he kissed Toni (Vanessa Morgan). She explains she wanted to tell him and he does a good job of being an understanding boyfriend since he knows her long connection to Archie. And then they're saved from the conversation getting too deep because they can hear the squeaks of teenage lovemaking coming from Veronica and Archie's room. Look at all these kids smiling, this doesn't happen on Riverdale!
After they meet the two lovers downstairs, Jughead and Betty sit down for some of Vee's jalapeno margaritas (of all drinks to have?) and Jughead decides to use this moment to try and pry some information out of Veronica about her family business. She is totally unsuspecting to his questions but Betty can see what he is doing and she doesn't like it. She quietly tries to get Jughead to stop but this alarms Veronica that into thinking that Cheryl's intentional sabotage for a harmonious weekend must be fixed quickly. So her suggestion is for hot tub time!
They change into their swimsuits (or trunks for the lads) and still armed with their jalapeno margaritas settle into the steaming water. I don't know if it's the drinks or if this was something she had just been stewing over for some time but Veronica comes up with the idea that the way for them to put all this random act of lip-locking behind them is for her and Jughead to kiss. Jughead stands up and proclaims that he agrees with this idea for the continued success of "Bughead" to endure. Without much argument from Archie or Betty, Veronica gets up and lays one on Jughead. I don't know if it's meant to look like a brother and sister who DON'T want to be intimate, but that's what it looks like. No heat coming off these two from my perspective, I'm actually uncomfortable. I guess that action got Betty riled up because when she and Jughead get back to their room she surprises him with her "Dark Betty" wig and playfully tells him that if he enjoyed kissing Veronica, she needs to "punish" him. On the other side of the wall, the opposite is happening as Archie just wants to go to sleep and Veronica is ready for Round 2. But instead, they just get to listen to the sounds of mattress squeaking from their friends on the other side. Touche!
The next morning, Veronica would spy Archie sneaking off into the woods and upon following sees him having a conversation with Andre. She is very upset by this and sends Andre away immediately. Archie tries to calm her down by letting her know he is only there for protection with the meeting her dad has going on in town. The fact that Archie has hidden this piece of info from her upsets her even more and she leaves to go into town with Betty. Secrets only work if people don't find out, Archie. While shopping at a local store in town Veronica begins chatting up the boy behind the counter who recognizes her from past visits. She mentions how her folks are not with her this time which is probably not the best news to share when you're in a land of wealthy homes.
Back in our namesake of Riverdale, it's not all harmonious times for everyone else. Josie (Ashleigh Murray) is dealing with just finding out that her parents are planning on getting a divorce because of her mother's affair with Sheriff Keller (Martin Cummins) but the only reason it hasn't happened is that Keller hasn't told Kevin (Casey Cott) or his wife that is overseas. Josie already didn't approve of the affair, to begin with, but to find out that Kevin is blind to the truth as well makes her feel the need to tell him. She has a sit down with him at Pops's and after giving Kevin the bad news it sends him off to confront his father. Kevin scolds him for not only keeping the secret but deceiving his mother who is putting herself in harm's way for the country. Funny how the Sheriff is trying to uphold justice but he has no problem creating lies that suit his own life. When Sierra McCoy (Robin Givens) finds out she yells at her daughter for messing up Kevin's family but Josie defends her choice saying that she did the same to their family. Sierra explains she had no choice because of the Lodge's blackmailing her, but Josie didn't have to do what she did. Fair point Mama McCoy.
Kevin is also dealing with his own romantic problems as he tries to invite Moose (Cody Kearsley) to go to a movie called Love, Simon with him. The movie is an actual real film directed by Riverdale executive producer Greg Berlanti and coming out the week after this episode airs. Very clever cross-promotion CW Network. But back to the show, Moose tells Kevin that he is already going with Midge (Emilija Baranac) and he's welcome to join them. Kevin realizing that three is a crowd turns down the offer and is obviously a little hurt by his sometime hook-up.
That evening at the movie theatre it appears to be singles night as Kevin decides to go by himself anyway and he runs into Josie there. She apologizes for intervening in something she had no business in with and making a mess of things with his dad. Kevin accepts her apology and since they are both alone they decide to watch the film together. Also, at the theater, that night is Toni who sees Cheryl and even though she's been nothing but terrible still approaches her. She asks Cheryl if she is okay (which when does she ever seem like she is) and when she answers about her not wanting to go home because of her escort of a mother having strangers over it is obvious she is not okay. For some reason, Toni asks if she would like to sit with her during the film since her friend bailed on her. Toni is a better person than I, that's for sure.
Back at the lake house, Archie and Veronica quickly make up by Archie agreeing to always put her first instead of her father. But the joyous weekend is about to abruptly end when Jughead gets a call from FP (Skeet Ulrich) and he is told that Hiram Lodge has bought the trailer park. Everyone is celebrating because Hiram has lifted their eviction notice and eliminated all their unpaid back rent. While all the Serpents seem thrilled about this news, Jughead sees right through Hiram's gesture of good faith and suspects he is just up to no good. He confronts Veronica about her father just trying to own the entire Southside but Archie and Veronica suggest that maybe Hiram is trying to make up for the article he wrote about what a bad guy he is. Jughead calms down but he doesn't seem fully convinced in the least.
Just when one fire had been put out, another begins when Betty gets a call from her mother and she is informed Hiram has bought the Riverdale Register. These New York family meetings are sure productive! Now Veronica has to put her boxing gloves back on because Betty is ready to throw down. Betty accuses Veronica of being complicit in her father's actions and she feels betrayed by this attack on her family. Jughead is all but ready to back his girl as he tells Veronica that her father is just trying to monopolize the whole town under his rule (ironic that they were just playing the board game of Monopoly). Of course, Veronica denies all of this but can we really believe anything this girl says when we know she's clued into her family business? Archie tries to speak up for Hiram Lodge by telling them that he paid his dad's medical bills but all that gets from Jughead is he is completely disillusioned.
This argument could've escalated if not for a sudden sound of breaking glass that happens. When they all stop arguing to listen, four locals have broken in and are armed with axes and bats. They give a rant about them being annoying rich folks in town and they want all their money they have. The foursome keeps calm and goes along with the demands as Veronica carefully pushes a silent alarm. After they get the money the leader doesn't seem ready to go yet and tells our friends to get down on their knees. They don't have guns so this looks to get really gruesome but then the (rotary) phone rings and Veronica tells them that she pushed the alarm and the police are on their way. The townies panic and flee out of the cabin in a hurry but the leader snatches Veronica's necklace before he goes. Archie feeling the need for some vengeance gives chase into the forest and is able to tackle the leader of the group down. He pulls off the guy's mask and it's the boy from the local store earlier. As he's about to give him a beating Andre appears out from behind a tree and tells Archie to leave the boy to him. As Archie makes his way back to the cabin he hears a gunshot go off in the distance. Sorry townie. You picked the wrong rich people to mess with.
Later on back at the Pembrooke, Hiram talks to Archie and tells him that he did the right thing by going along with the robbers and not trying anything. Hiram continues with asking Archie if it bothered him with what Andre did to the boy in the woods. This is an obvious test and Archie just answers by saying he's always been upset with himself for hesitating when he could've taken The Black Hood down himself. Hiram reminds him to never hesitate. And with that, he gives Archie back Veronica's necklace which the townie had stolen.
Back at Pop's diner, Josie and Kevin are sitting down with their parents and realize the four of them need to have a long talk to work out their complicated situation. Cheryl and Toni have made it back there as well and when they begin to talk about the movie Cheryl relates to it all too well. She opens up about having a best friend in junior high school named Heather that used to sleep over all the time until her mother caught them in the same bed together. Her mother called her "deviant" and Cheryl sees it as the one person who loved her as much as she loved them. Toni grabs Cheryl's hand and tells her that "You're not loveless, you're sensational."
I don't really understand this decision to put Toni and Cheryl together, it feels like a writing stunt. If they had at least become friends or even had a civil conversation before this I could understand but in one episode they turn immediately close just after watching a film together. I like both of the characters and I think it's going to turn very juicy soon but I still feel like it was concocted instead of just organically developing. How did you all like the return to Riverdale on The CW? Sure didn't stay drama-free for long, did it?