Warning: Spoilers for Riverdale season 3, episode 8, “Outbreak,” ahead.
Riverdale has fallen, y’all. It didn’t really take very long either. When the biggest criminal in town is married to the mayor, things can go south rather quickly. Here’s how it all went down.
An otherwise normal school day at Riverdale High takes a turn when the entire Vixen squad (with the exception of Cheryl) falls into seizures. Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) takes Toni (Vanessa Morgan) to recover at the Blossom family home and invites her to move in permanently. Over at The Pembrooke, Veronica (Camila Mendes) wakes up in her bed to the sound of her parents arguing. She overhears Hermione (Marisol Nichols) coming down on Hiram (Mark Consuelos) for letting things get out of control. They decide it’s best if Veronica goes to New York to recover but she refuses to go because she knows it has something to do with whatever they’re plotting next.
While hanging with Reggie (Charles Melton) at Pop’s, Veronica recruits him to help her investigate her father’s Fizzle Rocks scheme. The next day at school, the administration has everyone on high alert after the incident with the Vixens. Veronica discusses the situation with Cheryl and theorizes that her father is trying to get Riverdale High shut down just like he did with Southside High. They agree to team up and get to the bottom of everything just as people wearing hazmat suits raid the school to round up anyone who might be infected with whatever is causing the seizures.
Reggie reports that the Fizzle Rocks are originating from the prison being built at the old Southside High and that it’s being given out for free. This revelation prompts Veronica and Cheryl to crash the emergency PTA meeting at Riverdale High, where Mayor Lodge is about to sign an order to shut down the school. Veronica reveals what she learned about Fizzle Rocks, but Hiram denies everything and the rest of the adults quickly dismiss her. Cheryl jumps to her defense just as her mother Penelope has a seizure. Back at the Lodge residence, Hiram and Veronica chat one-on-one and he admits that she was right about everything she accused him of. He tells her his plan is to control all of Riverdale and he wants on her by his side so he has someone to pass it down to. The offer is rejected, but Hiram seems to think that his daughter will come around.
We’ve been duped! The end of last week’s episode made it seem as though sweet Betty (Lili Reinhart) was on Fizzle Rocks and officially under the Gargoyle King’s spell. This week, however, we learn that the drugs wore off and she found herself in a room with a gargoyle statue. Is that who the Gargoyle King is—a hallucination? This solution doesn’t exactly explain the other sightings, unless everyone in town is on drugs. Has Hiram spiked the town’s water supply? Anyway, it takes more than a dose of hallucinogenic drugs to take down Betty Cooper. It turns out she is still faking everything and plotting her next move.
Her mother pays her a visit to let her know about the mass seizures at Riverdale High and the emergency PTA meeting. Recognizing she needs to act quickly, Betty decides her best bet is to shake Ethel Muggs (Shannon Purser) from her G&G delusions to help her figure out why the Sisters of Quiet Mercy are working with Hiram. She locks Ethel in the Gargoyle King’s chamber until the Fizzle Rocks she’s been fed every day wear off. It isn’t easy work convincing Ethel that the Gargoyle King is just a hallucination brought on by the drugs—which is what Betty seems to think right now—but she finally comes around and agrees to assist with getting the truth out of the ringleader, Sister Woodhouse. Ethel helps Betty gain access to a phone; she calls Veronica and fills her in on everything that she’s learned, including Hiram and the Blossom family’s involvement in the distribution of Fizzle Rocks.
Then Betty and Ethel manage to abduct Sister Woodhouse and hold her hostage in the Gargoyle King’s chamber to get some answers. We learn that the sisters invented Griffins & Gargoyles as a way to control the patients in their care and that the sisters work with Hiram because he shares their mission of helping the kids by any means necessary, which includes drugging them. Betty and Ethel leave Sister Woodhouse tied up and set out to free the other patients. Nobody is interested in leaving, because they feel protected by the Gargoyle King and the game. In order to convince everyone to leave, Betty assumes the role of a new G&G character, the Griffin Queen, who defeats the Gargoyle King.
Archie & Jughead
After fleeing the farm where Laurie Lake (Riley Keough) ratted them out to Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos), Jughead (Cole Sprouse) and Archie (KJ Apa) pay a visit to Jug’s mother and sister. Jellybean (Trinity Likins) is excited to see her big brother and instantly starts crushing on Archie. The reunion between Jughead and his mother Gladys (Gina Gershon) is a bit more tense, considering she recently rejected his request to come live with her.
The boys fill Gladys in on everything that’s been going on and she’s not happy to learn that Jughead joined the Southside Serpents and has become the Serpent King. Archie is walking off on his own when Penny Peabody (Brit Morgan) comes out of nowhere and grabs him to take him back to Riverdale. The plan is foiled by Jellybean, who knocks Penny out with her slingshot and saves Archie. The kids leave Gladys to do whatever she needs to get answers from Penny. She finds out that Hiram’s vendetta against Archie is just a small part of his bigger plan to take over the entire town. The Man in Black is also looking to punish anyone who helps Archie, which forces the boys to go their separate ways: Jughead plans to return to Riverdale while Archie heads to the border. The next morning, FP (Skeet Ulrich) and Fred Andrews (Luke Perry) show up at the junkyard to help their sons.
A town in chaos
Things are reaching a boiling point in Riverdale. After learning from Betty that the Blossom maple syrup trucks are being used to smuggle Fizzle Rocks, Veronica and Cheryl tie up Penelope to find out why. Apparently, the family made a deal with Hiram that their prostitution and drug ring will be protected in exchange for use of the trucks. The girls recruit Kevin, Moose, and the RROTC boys to help them storm Mayor Lodge’s office to stop her from enacting the order to shut down the high school. But she’s already declared a state of emergency in Riverdale; they’re too late, and the town is now under quarantine.
Outside of the town, Fred is tearfully helping Archie (with newly dyed black hair), his dog Vegas in tow, get to the border. Back at the Sisters of Quiet Mercy, Betty and Ethel are trying to figure out where to go when Alice shows up to take her daughter somewhere safe. FP and Jughead get to the town line but armed guards prevent them from getting in. Elsewhere, Hiram has called the governor to thank him for his help in sealing up the town. They hang up, and…Hiram is shown raising a drink to the Gargoyle King who is standing in front of him.
Does this mean that the Gargoyle King is real, and it’s someone even more powerful than Hiram? Or is Hiram also on Fizzle Rocks, taking over the town while tripping on hallucinogenic drugs? We’ll have to wait until January to find out.