It's campaign time at Riverdale High as Alice Cooper (Madchen Amick) moderates an assembly of the three pairs of students running for student council president in the latest episode The Noose Tightens. The prospective candidates being Jughead/Betty (Cole Sprouse/Lili Reinhart) aka Team Bughead, Veronica/Archie (Camila Mendes/KJ Apa) aka Team Varchie, and Josie/Reggie (Ashleigh Murray/Charles Melton) aka Team Rosie. While Bughead promises to make sure the North and Southside get equal representation, Varchie says they won't let their opposing parent's mayoral race affect them wanting what is best for the school. Team Rosie just retaliates with that they're "chill, unlike these guys." Sounds like a strong platform for success Ronnie.
After the assembly lets out Alice gives FP (Skeet Ulrich) a piece of her mind about Betty living in his trailer home. FP calms her down by letting her know that he's properly sleeping on the couch and warns her to make things good with Betty before she loses her daughter for good. In other parental conflicts, Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos) puffs out his chest and opens up the discussion with Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) about him running again Hermione (Marisol Nichols) for mayor. Fred lets him know that he's the answer for the town because he never left Riverdale for New York and most importantly never went to prison. I think Veronica is going to have to pick her dad up because he just hit the floor from that punch to the gut. Archie tries to settle things by letting both sides know that he and Veronica just want this to be a fair fight. In politics?! Good luck with that.
When Alice returns home that night she finds Chic (Hart Denton) sitting directly in front of the TV watching the news. I guess with no real parents growing up he was never taught how bad that is for your eyes! It turns out the authorities have found the car from Chic's murdered druggie pal in the swamp so now Alice alerts FP because she's worried that they're about to be discovered. FP reassures them all that things should be fine as long as they just act normal. But as Betty would bring up later, "normal" for them just means "investigating things they shouldn't." So Bughead is now on the case and they call upon their favorite source, the sheriff's son Kevin (Casey Cott) to find out more. They act like they are just doing an article about how folks are using the swamp as a dumping ground. Kevin informs them that the owner of the car has already claimed it so the next thing is to determine who stole it. Of course, the dead druggie guy stole it-as they do!
The Lodges have some unwelcomed guests come into town in the form of Hiram's crime baddies Lenny (Eli Gabay) and Carl (Mark Gibbon) who are not happy about Hermione running for mayor because it might bring unwanted attention to their business. They have a sit down for a candlelit dinner with Hiram in a restaurant which comes off like maybe the most cliché thing this show has ever done. Lenny and Carl do like Hiram's vision of building a prison in Riverdale so they will go along with the election if they get 25% of Hiram's prison profits. Hiram turns down their offer so they let him know he has no backup because they've taken all of his out-of-town muscle. This cues Archie to bring it upon himself to state that he's taken care of things for Mr. Lodge before- most notably Papa Poutine- so they shouldn't call them defenseless. Lenny and Carl are not scared by some high school kid and laugh off his threat.
Back at Riverdale High, the junior Serpents meet during their club hour to discuss how they don't feel that Betty should be allowed to be on the ballot for them because they don't trust her. When Betty argues that she's helped them on numerous occasions Sweet Pea (Jordan Connor) argues that she was just doing all of that for Jughead, not them. He predicts she will abandon the Serpents in the end, just like her mother. He goes on to the say that is a "slap in the face" to run with the "turncoat's daughter" so as long as she is a part of his campaign, Jughead will not get the Serpent vote. In other campaign news, Reggie goes to Archie and tells him that they need to have an old-fashioned man challenge over who gets the Bulldogs votes. They end up having an arm wrestling contest where Archie comes out as the victor. That sounds about right on how two jocks would settle things.
Meanwhile, at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy where our favorite force of nature Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) has been holed up in since her scheming mother sent her there, is not living a charmed life. In between having to do physical labor of moving giant heavy brown bags from one random spot to another her only downtime comes when they sit her down for movie-night. But she's not watching the latest blockbuster starring The Rock, instead, they're black and white shorts that show two high school boys choosing to spend time together down by the river then out looking for girls. Is there a particular reason that no one mentions how they look like Kevin and Moose (Cody Kearsley)? And how are hard labor and bad movies supposed to "fix the gay" in her?
Over at FP's trailer, Team Bughead lets their parents know about the real owner claiming the car and it turns out that Chic says "Dwayne" used to borrow his girlfriend's car sometimes. All these episodes later and NOW he says his druggie buddy's name. As all of this drama continues, Alice demands that Betty move back home and when she stands her ground that she won't until Chic leaves, he agrees to look for his own place. Hallelujah! As soon as Betty moves back though she tries to get her mother to sign a consent form so she can get a Serpent tattoo. It comes as no surprise that Alice refuses to which Betty says she'll just find a way to get it done regardless. Before they can finish that lovely argument, Chic shows up with Dwayne's old girlfriend Darla (Azura Skye) because in his stupid idea to try and help he instead just left the door open for more problems. The good news is Darla doesn't have even the slightest love lost for Dwayne, the bad news is she wants the $10K that he owed her and if she doesn't get it, she's going to feel the need to tell the sheriff about her situation. Once again, Chic sucks.
The next morning, Betty leaves to go to the bank and pull out the money but as she is just on her way back Alice calls to warn her that Chic's old crazy landlord is now over there as well! Betty is confused on what to do next but all she does know is that her mother tells her not to come home. But as we've already seen from Betty is she doesn't listen well, and with that, she does return home with the money. But even now that they have their money they still feel like hanging around some more but Betty has planned for this outcome. Just like a SWAT team Jughead and his Serpent squad bust through the front door and show up as reinforcements. When Darla tries to be a smartass and say that she's going to have to pay the sheriff a visit, Betty brings up how they are good friends with the sheriff's son who is he going to side with? Darla and her crony do the smart move and take the money as they walk out the door. But all this has finally been too much for Alice and she tells Chic he has to move out NOW.
As Archie and Veronica return to the Pembrooke, they walk in on Hiram's bodyguard Andre (Stephen Miers) getting the crap beat out of him by a man in a black hood. Archie's temper immediately spikes and he gives chase to the assailant and tackles him outside. When he is able to pull the mask off its Adams (John Behlmann), the guy that had been posing as an FBI agent for the Lodges. He gives Archie a swift punch to the face and says, "Tell your girlfriend's father to take the deal." Now Hiram has apparently lost another person that he thought he could count on.
Toni (Vanessa Morgan) approaches Veronica and Josie and says that she's concerned something has happened to Cheryl. When all three of them realize that Cheryl hasn't posted anything on social media for several days they really do believe something is wrong! It's sad but true that this is valid proof of something being wrong with a high school student. All three girls go over to Thistlehouse to talk to Penelope Blossom (Nathalie Boltt) who admits that she sent Cheryl off to a "private wellness institute" because she was worried after all of the drawings she found Cheryl had made of her and Josie together. This does take us back to that time when Cheryl was a little cuckoo for some Josie (bloody pig's heart ring a bell?) When Cheryl's mom mentions the negative impact this might happen if it were to get out, it foils the girls plan to involve the sheriff. Sheriff Keller is sure avoiding a lot of problems this week! This freaks Josie out and takes her out of the Save Cheryl Squad much to the dismay of Vee and Toni. The next day, Mama Blossom leaves Nana Rose (Barbara Wallace) by herself in the house with just the smallest TV on to keep her entertained. There's no way she can get Netflix on that! Knowing her granddaughter is in peril, the disabled woman throws herself to the floor and crawls over to the phone and calls Riverdale High. She makes a request to talk to Toni and after the principal's office pages Toni she comes to the office. Nana Rose tells her that Cheryl is "not far away" and that "Cheryl is nearby. With The Sisters-"And that's all she gets out. We see Uncle Claudius (Barclay Hope) standing over her with a clipped phone cord. Oh, Nana, you've made a brave sacrifice.
While Archie breaks his promise to his dad that he would be there for his campaign speech to announce his candidacy for mayor he is instead at the Pembrooke. Hiram has a talk with Archie to inform him that he's going to give Carl and Lenny what they want in the interests of keeping his family safe. Wanting to help out the Lodges over his own family, Archie approaches Reggie and tells him that supporting the Lodges is right because the prison is a great future for Riverdale. He offers him all of the Bulldogs votes for the election if he'll help him out tonight.
At the "Godfather" restaurant Hiram doesn't show for his dinner with Lenny and Carl and when their waiter relays a message: They should go outside and check on their car. Since we're already doing clichés we know what's going to happen and sure enough, their car explodes as soon as they go outside. Right after that a group of boys dressed in all black and wearing hoods over their heads that make them look like extras from a Mortal Kombat game walk up to the two mobsters and say, "This is a message from the Dark Circle," says one member of the anonymous crowd. "Hiram Lodge doesn't stand alone and Riverdale is protected. You should leave before it's too late." Red Circle or Dark Circle, they sure don't put a lot of time into the names, do they?
With only this small bit of information from Nana, Vee and Toni go to Kevin because it seems if you have to know about gay conversion houses he knows all of the Riverdale history. He informs the girls that the Sisters of Quiet Mercy is one of the rare places that still operates an off-the-books gay-conversion-therapy operation. During Prohibition, they ran a distillery with a tunnel that opens out near the river but now it's used for gay boys to sneak out of the facility to hook up with welcoming other boys like Kevin who hang out in the forest. This town never disappoints in its surprises! The good news is they can use this tunnel to try and smuggle Cheryl out. That night, Toni armed with a crowbar and Veronica with a costume that would stop any male in his tracks from her cleavage, they break in and use the tunnel to enter the facility. At that moment, Cheryl is just sitting in the movie room, crying as she watches more terrible black and white shorts. Toni races around the halls, calling Cheryl's name until she finally finds her. Cheryl timidly walks up to Toni as they embrace and then kiss with the projector just showing their silhouettes. They weren't even waiting for another second for that moment to happen. Afterwards, they meet up with Veronica and quickly run back down the tunnel as the nuns try to pursue them. But let's be real, those old bones can't catch the girls' youthful strides.
The next day, Archie mom Mary (Molly Ringwald) confronts Archie about missing his dad's speech before she's about to leave town. "I'm looking at you now, and I don't know who you've become. Who are you, Archie?" It seems he's the guy that just wants to keep his girlfriend's parents happy because they decide to reward him with a blue convertible Firebird as their appreciation. Hiram tells him that their enemies will be back but Archie responds with, "We'll be ready for them, sir." This kid totally forgets he's just in high school.
Alice goes before the junior Serpents at Riverdale to tell them that she is done attacking the Southside and from now on she will support where she is from. And I'm sure it makes it all the easier as we see her knock on FP's door with that hungry look in her eyes. He smiles and lets her inside. Can't wait till Hal finds out about this one.
Finally, Cheryl is back at Riverdale High and while she is all googly-eyed with Toni, she is still fully focused on getting her revenge on her mother. But first, she approaches Kevin and says that he is the perfect lead for the play he is directing, Carrie: The Musical. He tells her he's holding auditions but she tells him to cancel them because it's all hers.
What a perfect segue to the musical episode they have lined up next! Are you excited to see this show do a musical version? What's going to happen now that the Lodges have started a war? What will happen between Archie and his dad after he bailed on him when the next episode hits The CW?